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Monday Night Mayhem DVD Review: “Timeline: The History Of ECW: 1997: As Told By Sabu”

Produced By: Kayfabe Commentaries
DVD Review Written By: Shawn “The Angry Hero” Marek

Once again, the mighty Kayfabe Commentaries strikes again, this time with a fresh take on their Timeline series. Normally, we delve into the history of the WWE, but for this installment, it’s 1997 ECW, with one of the most revered hardcore icons in professional wrestling, Sabu!

Ever since breaking his character’s silence in the 2006, we have been gradually introduced to more of what Sabu (the person) is like when he’d not smashing tables. He’s a humble, generous man that has seen many highs & lows throughout his career, many of which came about in 1997. It was the year that arguably was ECW’s peak of success, and Sabu, along with Sean Oliver, break it down, moment by moment.

True to their word, we start off with January’s House Party ’97 with the debut of Tommy Rich, whom Sabu loves because of Tommy’s history with this uncle, The Original Sheik. Tommy also got high marks from Sabu for being ready to throw down when fans stepped over the line. Sabu gives his takes on the myriad of ECW debuts throughout 1997, including Danny Doring, Jerry Lynn, & Rick Rude to name a few. He also explains the relationship between Michinoku Pro & ECW that ran through the year, as Paul E. brought in The Great Sasuke, and in turn, he introduced U.S. audiences to Funaki & Taka Michinoku.

There’s lots of love for Terry Funk on here as well, as Sabu has nothing but great things to say about “The Funker.” He talks about the Terry Funk tribute the night before Barely Legal and how awkward New Jack’s hour-long (was it really?) speech was. Sabu also reveals information about Terry’s “Retirement Match” against then-WWE Champion Bret Hart, where, for some reason, Chris Candido acted as a mediator between the two wrestlers. There was also the genuine emotion displayed by Funk after winning the ECW World Title at Barely Legal, as well as the infamous Barbed Wire Match, where Sabu won the title from Funk. If anything, Sabu gives us some convenient tips about how to survive being entangled in barbed wire with minimal damage.

1997 was also the year that ECW invaded the WWE & USA’s Monday Night RAW, an angle that Sabu had a huge part in. He talks about how he tried to stay true to the ECW spirit on television, by smashing Flash Funk through a table. It was pretty much a gamble, as Sabu wouldn’t ask to do something only to see if later they would tell he that he wasn’t supposed to. It was an interesting scenario where Paul E. was, in essence, able to “book” his own guys on the competitor’s television program. Of course, it all made sense when it came to light that Vince McMahon had more to do with ECW’s viability than initially believed.

And who can forget the infamous “Stairway to Hell” Match from November to Remember ’97 between The Sandman & Sabu? We get Sabu’s perspective, as he recalls The Sandman being hopped up on acid during the match, all the while thinking that Sabu is Godzilla. Sabu’s fortunes fell even further a short while later, as he suffered a broken jaw from an errant table leg during a tag match. I remembered this distinctly, because it was the first time I heard of someone using super glue to tend to an injury. Sabu talks about the injury, where amazingly, he only lost a single tooth and still wrestled as scheduled.

What I really dug about this video is how it reminded me so much about what fascinated me not just about ECW, but wrestling in general back in 1997. As I’ve mentioned numerous time before, I discovered ECW in 1996 and was hooked immediately. All of these references from the Fonzie/Beulah match and even the obscure ones such as the Pennsylvania fan riot are just cool to hear & reminisce about. 1997 was such as huge year for ECW, and Sabu’s commentary really hammers that home.

If you’re an ECW fanatic, get this right away. You’ll be racking your brain to remember where you were when all of these events happened and how cool it was to be on board during this time period. If you new to the ECW game, this is a cool supplement to Forever Hardcore or The Rise & Fall of ECW. Sabu is a great guide, and the two hours breeze by and are never dull.

Check out www.KayfabeCommentaries.com for information on how to pick up your copy of “Timeline: The History Of ECW: 1997: As Told By Sabu), as well as all the news on their forthcoming releases. Be sure to follow me right now on Twitter (at www.Twitter.com/AngryHeroShawn), and check out my Future Endeavored blog (located at www.FutureEndeavored.tumblr.com). Thanks for reading, and remember: Above all things, be a man!