Reported by Mike Siciliano of WrestleView.com
Pro's from the Palace (#78) - DVD Review Today: ECW Blood Sport
On Friday, February 10, 2006 at 6:12 AM EST I picked up the ECW Blood Sport DVD set, and I watched the entire thing last night, so let's go through a couple of the surprises..
This is going to be long, as I am writing this as I watch it. So, I apologize in advance, but I thought this package deserved this much detail.
First off, Disc 1 begins with two tag matches, both involving Cactus Jack. Cactus teams with a SHRIMPY Mikey Whipwreck vs. the Public Enemy in the first match, the classic David vs. Goliath situation, followed up by a dream hardcore matchup involving Mrs. Foley's baby boy & the Franchise Shane Douglas against Terry Funk & The Sandman. Nothing of consequential note out of these matches. Violent, brutal, but not much in the way of significant blood loss. However, things change with the third match.
Ian vs. Axl Rotten in a Taipei Death Match. First off, Paul Heyman hosts this DVD from the WWE studio, and let's call it right down the middle, Heyman has some sick tendencies. He talks about this match with a passion in his voice that is almost scary. This match, quite frankly, is one that involves the most blood loss I have ever seen in a wrestling match. I've seen Axl compete live. He is sick, twisted, and nuts in 2005. I can't imagine how insane that match with him and Ian fighting with taped up fists full of broken glass. It was violence to a level I don't think we will ever see on television again.
Next, Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Psicosis in a Mexican Death Match. Psicosis kicks Mysterio's ass all over the ECW arena in this one, but there is a problem here. Not from the match, the match is extreme lucha libre to the maximum. WWE EDITED Mysterio's theme song for his entrance to his old WWE "619" theme. I think that is absolutely pathetic. If you're going to take that type of action, then just leave the damn entrances out of the package all together. Its petty in the grand scheme of things, but it is still pathetically shallow on WWE's part.
On the match itself, Mysterio takes one hell of a pounding in this match, and keeps getting up for more. It is impressive to see how Mysterio can absorb the amount of punishment he takes from the masked Psicosis in this contest.
One side note, as I write this column while literally watching this package, Joey Styles is on a par with Jim Ross for announcing. He is emotional, informative, and entertaining. Vince McMahon needs to shut up, and leave Styles alone to do what he does best. HE made the mistake of taking Jim Ross out of Raw's announce team. It needs to be maneuvered, and Styles needs to do what he can do, which is beautifully illustrated in this package ECW Blood Sport, The Most Violent Matches.
What can be said about the match? It would be nice to see if the current product in WWE would allow a talent like Rey Mysterio to showcase his talents like he did in that matchup back in the ECW arena with Psicosis. I can guarantee you this. It would bring ratings back to the shows like you have never, ever seen.
Heyman takes some shots at Eric Bischoff for his claims of discovering Mysterio, Psicosis, and the subject of the next match, ECW World Television Champion Chris Jericho. Jericho takes on PitBull #2, 2 Cold Scorpio, and the Franchise in a four corners match for his TV Title, the first title that Jericho ever won in the United States.
Pitbull #2 got a welcome of sorts from Shane Douglas to start the match, that being a chair right between the eyes. Not exactly the way I would think you'd want to go to work. Pitbull never made it to the ring before Douglas levelled him.
An interesting fact. This four corners match took place while Jericho was only 25 years old as ECW World TV title holder. Jericho has been a major player in the wrestling business forever. It's more of an understanding to me now watching this match why Jericho stepped away when he did from WWE to take a break from the squared circle.
Shane Douglas, a much younger Douglas, still shows his cerebral ingenuity with the mind games he played on Pitbull #2 during this match. Scorpio reminds me of a bigger version of Rey Mysterio with some of his acrobatic skills, especially for someone of his advanced size.
"It's a good thing the Franchise wears yellow tights. It matches the streak down his back." One of the verbal gems of the announcer of ECW, Joey Styles. While the lucha libre match did not have any blood, Pitbull #2's shot from Shane busted him open, which only got worse during this contest.
If there is such a thing as human chess in ECW, this one may be an example of it. Where the huge bumps and heavy weapon use lacks a bit during this match, the back and forth mind games involving the Pitbull, Douglas, and the athleticism of Scorpio and Jericho does make for some interesting material consumption.
The fight does go in to the crowd when Franchise tries to take advantage of what he believed was a fatigued Pitbull, and in the process, Jericho and Scorpio spill in to the crowd, literally, following a set of planchas outside the ring basically playing the foursome like a human domino board.
This match seems endless. I have to admit that I would have questioned putting this type of match on a disc entitled the Most Violent matches. While the action is impressive, I would think that there may be some possible clips that they did not put in this thing that could have replaced this four corners World TV title match.
Scorpio countered the lionsault in this contest by drop kicking Jericho in the back of the head MID JUMP. A massively impressive counter of the lionsault. Scorpio beat Jericho when Douglas double crossed Jericho on tagging in to the match, cold cocked Jericho, allowing Scorpio to hit a flying corkscrew leg drop off the top rope following a tombstone piledriver for the win at 27:00. The match continues.
Douglas tries an alliance with Scorpio against Pitbull #2, but Scorpio begins the assault on the Franchise. Scorpio hits a scintillating sunset flip off the top rope on Douglas, almost flipping himself in midair. Scorpio tries to win the match by moonsault on both Pitbull and Franchise, but both move out of the way. At 34:00, Scorpio loses the fall to Pitbull #2 following a super power bomb by Pitbull #2, being assisted, believe it or not by Shane Douglas.
Pitbull #2 is a big boy, by the way. Franchise looks a lot younger, and a lot thinner in this contest. Much different look on the part of Shane Douglas from his appearance at Hardcore Homecoming last year.
Things get extreme again as Pitbull #2 powerbombs Douglas through two chairs, totally destroying one of them in the process. Francine interferes on behalf of Pitbull when Douglas appears to have the match won, only for Francine to turn on the Pitbull himself and throw powder in the eyes of #2, giving the advantage clearly to the Franchise.
However, a little fire up by Pitbull #1, and the tables turn.
I guess I was wrong. The Pitbulls powerbomb Francine through a table. Douglas tries to win by using anything possible, knuckles, a chain, but nothing seems to work. Following a missed spin kick in the corner, Douglas hits a belly to belly to pin Pitbull #2 and win this match.
Honestly, I didn't want to go through play by play, but I thought there was some parts of this match that you guys would find unique.
Next up, 1996 Hardcore Heaven, a weapons match. Brian Lee vs. the Innovator of Violence, Tommy Dreamer inside of a ring that looks like a military bunker with the amount of debris, weapons, and items of mass destruction around the ring. Styles described it best, "He's like a kid in a candy store, he's like Tommy Dreamer in a weapons match inside the ECW Arena."
I would have to believe that any company that made headache medicine back in the days of the ECW would be millionaires today for the amount of times that a head hits some form of a foreign object. In this particular case, I would refer back to Dreamer's head bouncing off the side of a truck outside of the ECW Arena on Swanson and Rittner in Philadelphia, PA.
I can't even imagine the atmosphere in this setting for these types of matches. The insanity must have been absolutely off the charts.
I have now heard the new meaning of "C.O.D." courtesy of Joey Styles. "Concussion on delivery." Beautiful.
Dreamer almost got maimed with a cinder block and a baseball bat, but with the use of some very pleasing distraction by the women of ECW, Dreamer wins the match with a DDT on a stop sign. Some post match activity brings Lee and Dreamer to the balcony of the ECW Arena where Lee ends up chokeslamming Dreamer through three tables.
Next up, one of the pioneers of ECW, RVD, in a stretcher match at "The Doctor is In" vs. Sabu.
What surprises me in this matchup is obvious. The first two to three minutes of the match involves WRESTLING. No weapons, no chairs, nothing extreme, just very intense, hardcore wrestling. I didn't think it was in the realm of Sabu to wrestle for that long without something foreign in the ring.
Just as I hit the "g" on the end of the last sentence, Sabu sets up a table for Van Dam from one side of the ring to the steel barrier, so I guess the idea of the previous sentence should be re-evaluated.
Interesting side note to the stretcher match. In ones I have seen recently, the wrestler himself has to wheel the opponent to the locker room on the stretcher. In this one, they actually have EMT personnel, or personnel dressed in that garb to wheel the wrestler out. Surprising.
Insanity. Sabu just asai moonsaulted Van Dam while RVD was on the stretcher itself. How the stretcher didn't collapse is beyond me. Both men were being wheeled out when Sabu got up after the EMTs couldn't expand the stretcher to the full height, (Hey, I'm in health care, I see these things), and leg drops RVD on the stretcher himself. Extreme, indeed.
Sabu's plans fouled up, as he tried to moonsault on to RVD on the table he set up eariler in the match, but RVD countered it in to a fisherman's buster on the table, shatteiring the table, and in the prcoess, knocking Sabu out. But, the match doesn't stop, because Sabu rolls off and the match continues.
Sabu won the stretcher match when RVD tried a somersault plancha off the top rope to the floor on the stretcher, and Sabu moved out of the way.
Next up, and last on disc #1 is the 3 way dance for the #1 contendership to Raven and the ECW World Title at ECW's first PPV, Barely Legal. The participants, Terry Funk, the Sandman, and Big Stevie Cool, Stevie Richards. Tommy Dreamer is in the booth with Joey Styles for commentary, as apparently, Dreamer gave his spot for the right to allow Funk to compete for the slot to fight for the World title.
Funk hit four consecutive hangman's neckbreakers on Big Stevie Cool. I am shocked that Richards's head didn't roll off his neck, and out of the ring. Sandman brought the extreme element to this three way dance by introducing a ladder.
At 53 years of age, Terry Funk hit a moonsault on Stevie Richards from the top of a ladder. Sandman then takes a ladder, and proceeds to crush Richards with the same ladder from the top rope. Styles takes a shot at WWE during the commentary by the following statement: "You're watching ECW's very first pay per view, Barely Legal. Everything else is a cheap imitation. Trust me, you'll find out tomorrow night." My, how the tables have turned.
Dreamer calls this match "the best 3 way hard way dance he's ever seen." Funk basically used the ladder as a windmill taking out anything that had a heartbeat and two legs.
The miracle of modern science is that nobody is bleeding as the amount of weapons that have been used during this 3 way dance.
Sandman brings out a trash can wrapped in steel, and Funk suplexed Richards on the trash can wrapped in steel. Styles says that something like that would snap your kidneys like water balloons. Classic commentary, if there ever was any.
Sandman and Funk take their turn absolutely destroying Big Stevie Cool with anything they can hold on to that is not nailed down. Dreamer asks Styles how he is able to call this stuff. No comment.
Sandman and Funk eliminate Big Stevie Cool with a spike piledriver and double pin, both Sandman and Funk cover Richards to eliminate him from the three way dance.
If this isn't a microchasm of Richards' career, he just gets pinned in a match for a shot at the World title, and as he tries to leave, Funk backdrops Sandman over the top, and Sandman lands 100% on Richards on the concrete floor.
Funk grabs barbed wire and proceeds to whip Sandman's bare back with it, as he has his shirt pulled over his head. Sandman comes back, hits Funk with the steel plate, wraps the barbed wire around himself, and proceeds to shoulder block Funk all over the arena. Richards, who is still in the area, superkicks the Sandman, Funk hits a moonsault, and wins the 3 way dance for a shot at Raven and the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
Heyman then introduces the World title match between Funk and Raven, and here we go. Raven hits Funk with the belt, and Raven basically begins the annihilation. Dreamer tells Styles to leave him alone as he "cannot do commentary." Funk is bleeding, worse than what I saw in the Taipei Death Match. The doctor is called out by the referee, but Funk refuses to be removed from the match.
The doctor calls to stop the match, Raven hits the doctor following a plancha through a table. Interference comes out from Raven's Nest. Raven claims he is going to chokeslam Funk through three tables, and Dreamer tries to stop it, but he is cold cocked with a trash can by Big Dick Dudley.
Dreamer then chokeslams Dudley through the tables from the broadcast perch. It looks like Dudley went through a black hole in to the crowd. Dreamer then takes out Raven's nest, and is going to confront Raven. Dreamer DDTs Raven, and Funk beats the Bowery native with a near fall, and then a small package. An absolute classic finish to a match against all odds. It's not even listed in the credits that this match is on the DVD, which is a nice bonus as well.
Disc 1 ends with Dreamer and Funk hugging and Funk holding the ECW World Heavyweight title in the air.
Disc 2, I had to watch the match between Bill Alfonso and Beulah. I gotta be honest. It's not that bad. Alfonso bleeds like a stuck pig, and McGillicutty hits some terrific moves, with the win coming on a hurricanrana counter of a power bomb. What had the tendency to be a bonafide cluster f turned out to be what Heyman exactly said, 5 of the most intense minutes of professional wrestling history.
I also watched the promo in extras about the Taipei Death Match. Axl Rotten is right. Nobody in this world on this planet would have the guts to do what they did, Styles called both men knuckleheads, which is always interesting to see a grown man in a fashionable suit use the term knucklehead.
This next match, which is actually the opening match on Disc 2, according to Heyman, was so gruesome, it was not booked again in ECW ever again. A barbed wire match for the ECW World Title between Funk and Sabu, at Born to be Wired. Heyman called the level of violence in this matchup, "disturbing."
Funk is wearing a tee-shirt stating "I am a Funker you can be proud of." Styles announces the referee for the match, and then mutters to himself under his breath, even though you can hear it as plain as day, "poor son-of-a-bitch." Hysterical.
Think about this for a second ladies and gentlemen. Funk did a barbed wire match last year with Sabu and Douglas at Hardcore homecoming at 61 years of age. This one was while he was champion at 53, that being Funk. Who here wants to see Funk be classified as dangerous.
The barbed wire rips apart as the camera zooms to Sabu raking Funk's face against the wire, then Sabu takes the ripped piece of barbed wire and stabs Funk in the face with it repeatedly. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a father of three small kids. There is no way in hell you would ever get me to have them watch this stuff.
I have heard about this match. I have never seen it, but I have heard about it. This is the match, UNCENSORED FOOTAGE, of the match where Sabu's bicep is ripped apart, and he literally takes a roll of tape, and tapes the arm closed. While doing so, Funk hits a neckbreaker over two chairs on Sabu, WHILE he is taping his arm back together. Heyman called this disturbing. I call it sick. It makes me feel uneasy to even watch it, but I love it.
The camera angles of Funk raking Sabu's face across the barbed wire is really, well, blood thirsty.
Bill Alfonso tastes barbed wire in this match, which is always a good thing. He then takes barbed wire, wraps it around his fist, and basically use Alfonso like cheddar cheese, and grate him in to a fine powder with the barbed wire.
Funk takes a piece of barbed wire, after cutting it off the ring ropes, and whips Sabu like a government mule, to use Jim Ross's catch phrase. One thing is for certain in this match, we're not going to hear Alfonso's incipid whistle throughout this encounter.
Van Dam comes out to tie Funk up in barbed wire. Sabu hits a leg drop through a table on the concrete floor on Funk, while Funk was still wrapped in barbed wire, literally. Dreamer comes out to assist Funk.
Sabu wraps himself in more barbed wire as Funk is back on a table, and then leg drops Funk again through a second table. Sabu was up in the ring, SCREAMING as he wrapped himself in the barbed wire. This is not extreme. This is suicidal.
Sabu won the title by pinning Funk as they literally squirmed for position absolutely entangled in a mass of barbed wire around both their bodies. It's squeamish to even try and write about it. I cannot believe WWE released this footage on a DVD under their flagship.
Sabu is heard as they spend a good five or six minutes trying to separate the two individuals from the ball of barbed wire they had become, Sabu is heard muttering some very colorful metaphors. Can you blame him??????????
Next up Bam Bam Bigelow vs. the Human Suplex Machine and, I love this nickname, the unrecognized FTW World Heavyweight Champion Taz at Heatwave from Dayton, Ohio. Heyman claimed this match was more out of control than any other. A Death match between the two competitors, falls count anywhere in the building. Shane Douglas is with Styles for commentary.
Douglas put over Taz as a competitor, and Styles calls it refreshing that he has a color commentator that is ready to "call it down the middle."
This one hit the crowd in a big hurry, and intense as hell. Taz has the resilience of 100 pit bulls from the amount of punishment he takes in this contest. Surprisingly, no blood as of yet. Styles calls the official John Finnegan, "a poor bastard", for having the uneviable task for trying to officiate this riot brawl.
The knowledge of holds out of Styles is impressive. He is using Japanese terminology for some of the holds being used by Taz that I have never heard before in my life.
Taz, during a shot on the guard rail by Bam Bam, got busted open in this one right around his left eye.
It's really surreal to see ECW action in a locale outside of Philly's ECW Arena, as this one was, as I said before, from Dayton, Ohio. Taz takes a whip in to a table, head first. Looked like a crossbow arrow going through the bullseye, literally.
Taz T-boned tazplexed Bigelow through the broken table from before. What a show of pure power from the Human Suplex Machine.
Bam Bam was going to try and suplex Taz from the elevated ramp in to the crowd, but Taz countered it in to a DDT that literally went through the elevated ramp. Douglas shouted repeatedly that both of them are dead, and Styles nearly cursed, wondering what happened.
Bigelow came out of the crater from the DDT, and stumbled toward the ring. Taz came out a few minutes later, absolutely fuming, jumped on Bigelow, and got the win with the Tazmission. An absolute chaos-laden encounter.
Next up, a "classic" in the eyes of Paul Heyman, for the ECW World Heavyweight Title, from the Arena, Shane Douglas versus Taz. Franchise was sporting a nasty looking cast on his arm.
For the first five to six minutes, this one was a classic mat wrestling exhibition by the two combatants, before things spilled out to the outside of the ring.
Douglas hits a surprising shot from the top rope on to Taz on the arena floor with the cast. Surprising to see Douglas use some aerial tactics. To show some more surprises, Douglas hit a high cross body from the broadcast nest on to Taz on the stage below at the ECW Arena.
The intensity of this one is off the chart. Taz wins the match with the Tazmission and then a suplex while in the Tazmission through a table. Douglas tried to counter it with shots to the head with the cast, but the eventual result led to Taz's retaining of the title.
Paul Heyman's most "extreme" named superstar, Balls Mahoney teamed with little Spike Dudley to meet up with the Dudley Boys. Heyman says "D'Von, get the flaming tables." It's a street fight, falls count anywhere from Chicago. The tye-died clad Dudley Boys, the ECW World Tag Team Champions against Spike & Balls. The extreme comes in early, as Bubba SCREAMS for Sign Guy Dudley, and a cheese grater is thrown in and Spike Dudley is torn apart like shredded cheddar.
Spike does get his revenge, tearing up Bubba's face with the cheese grater.
Spike then takes a page out of the Hardy Boys book, leaping from the balcony on to both Bubba and D'Von, as well as taking out his partner, Balls Mahoney.
Some interference from Sign Guy Dudley, and the Dudleys take over, hitting 3D on Spike. Balls, one half of the Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks, cold cocked both Dudley boys with a steel chair.
Balls sets up a table, with thumbtacks on it, and then as he is about to light it, D'Von lit up Balls with a chair shot to the back. Bubba then proceeds to powerbomb Balls through the flaming table with thumbtacks, to get the three count.
Mike Awesome was next in line to take on Spike Dudley at Guilty as Charged from Birmingham, Alabama. Awesome was the World Champion, accompanied by "Judge Jeff Jones". (Who the hell is that guy?)
Awesome press slammed Spike in less than five seconds, even before taking the belt off his waist, through a table on the floor. As soon as Spike crawled back in to the ring, Awesome threw the little runt of the Dudley litter through two tables on the other side of the ring. Hello, massacre, anyone?
Spike does get in some good offense on the ECW Champion Awesome, but Awesome still has the majority of the advantage throughout the contest.
Awesome, at his size, does a plancha over the guard rail, and on to Spike in the first row of the seats, which is incredibly impressive for a man of his stature.
Spike, who had been beaten, bloodied, and battered from pillar to post, was able to turn the tables on Awesome after biting him on the apron of the ring, and then hitting the Dudley Dog to the floor through a table, sending this judge in to hysterics right next to where the carnage lay.
Spike tried for the win with another Dudley Dog, but Awesome threw him through another table on the concrete floor.
Spike loses the match with an awesome bomb from the top rope through a table. An incredible showing by the runt of the Dudley litter, and someone needs to explain to me who this valet is or was with Awesome.
Due to time constraints, I don't have the opportunity to go through the rest of the DVD package with as much detail as I have to this point. I'll tell you what's on it however.
A match from ECW's show on TNN, from Feburary of 2000, between the Sandman and Rhino. Another one from TNN, March of 2000, a three way, which turns out, (and I didn't realize this at first, but I should have), to be the 3 way that happened at One Night Stand, Tajiri vs. Super Crazy vs. Little Guido. Obviously, the One Night Stand encounter was the rematch from this one that is shown here in this package. Also on the DVD package, from disc 2, in January, 2001, at Guilty as Charged, an I Quit match between Tommy Dreamer and C.W. Anderson, and, at One Night Stand in '05, the match between Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome.
Extras include, like I said before, the piece by the Rotten brothers on the Taipei Death Match, a piece on ECW and the copious amounts of blood that spills, a piece on the flaming table, C.W. Anderson talks about his I Quit match with Dreamer, how Danny Doring and Roadkill got into the business of wrestling, pieces by the Pitbulls and Justin Credible, highlights from the upset of the century involving Cactus & Mikey vs. the Public Enemy, and a match between the same Public Enemy going up the Gangstas from January of 1996.
I haven't found easter eggs yet, and I'll try and expand on this review, and re-publish it down the road, but for now, here are some final thoughts to wrap this up. Sorry it's so long.
I am absolutely shocked Vince released this. I didn't think WWE would release something so violent. I recommend it to any hardcore ECW follower, but ladies and gentlemen, please.
Don't show this to your kids.
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