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  April 19, 1999

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ECW bungles Buffalo show


 Extreme Championship Wrestling brought their freak, sideshow to Buffalo's Burt Flickinger Athletic Center on Saturday for what has to rank as one of the worst house shows I've seen in 15 years of attending live events.

The feeble attempts by the entire roster in proclaiming ECW as an extreme alternative to the WWF and WCW all night may have been bought by their fans who chant "ECW, ECW" like loyal minions almost on cue, but I wasn't buying it.

There's nothing extreme about Dangerous Danny Doring, unable to get heel heat the old fashioned way, (by earning it in the ring) having to rely on profane language and sexist and homophobic remarks about the local fans to get heat.

There's nothing extreme about parading out a roster of scrub talent such as Big Sal E Graziano, Skull Von Crush, The Dudleys, Rhino Richards and Tommy Dreamer, all of whom couldn't wrestle their way out of a wet paper bag if their lives depended on it.

There's nothing extreme about sending World champion Taz against Spike Dudley in the third match of the evening, almost as a throwaway match. There's nothing extreme about a show where the booking was all over the place, (case in point: the Dudleys won the tag belts when Devon Dudley beat Rob Van Dam in a singles match!)

There's nothing extreme about Tommy Dreamer taking shots at the WWF and WCW, only to go on and participate in a 45-miunte farce of a match with Steve Corrino where he seemed more interested in doing tongue in cheek impersonations of Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Diamond Dallas Page and The Rock.

There's nothing extreme about the same match we've all seen New Jack in a million times before, (his music plays, he comes out with some weapons, lays into his helpless victim, match is over in five minutes).

There's nothing extreme about a bunch of sex starved lunatics encouraging Francine to take her top off, oblivious to the fact there was a match going on in the ring.

And there's nothing extreme about talent like Super Crazy, Yoshihiro Tajiri and Jerry Lynn being squandered in meaningless matches instead of being showcased properly.

If anybody wants evidence of why ECW is floundering right now, look no further than Saturday's effort in Buffalo. Several of ECW's major problems, symptomatic of why they are stuck in such an uncreative rut, were made painfully clear at this show.

The card was so ridiculous one suspects that the bookers must have been blitzed out of their minds.

The barrage of insults made towards the WWF and WCW by Tommy Dreamer and Team Extreme throughout the entire evening only served to demonstrate how na•ve and insecure ECW really is. This outlaw promotion image and the "us vs them" mentality that ECW so successfully marketed may have worked through 1994 to 1996 when their product clearly was better than the WWF's and WCW's, but in 1999 it's nothing more than a laughable clichˇ. A clichˇ that only ECW and the densest of fans believe.

Do they honestly think the crap they presented Saturday night is any better than what the WWF and WCW is producing? Perhaps Dreamer et al should concentrate a little less on what the competition is doing and a little more on their own product.

Then there's the predictable chair shots, the countless run ins and interference and the screwjob endings, all of which have been done to death and no longer have any meaning. Wrestlers file into the ring and freely interfere in matches without so much as a warning from the referees.

Considering how ECW sells itself as not having any rules, one has to question why referee John Molineux checked the wrestlers for weapons at the beginning of each match. Was Molineux actually looking for foreign objects to confiscate or just trying to cop a cheap feel?

I'm not sure what ECW has against the idea of clean finishes, but if the rules of wrestling aren't enforced by their referees, then why even bother have them out there? Their presence isn't really needed until a pin attempt is made.

This show was a sham, and a complete insult to my intelligence. One evening in Buffalo proved that in terms of providing a great in ring product, ECW may talk the talk, but they sure as hell can't walk the walk.

Saturday's results

  • Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney beat Little Guido and Big Sal E Graziano (Axl pinned Big Sal after a predictable double chair shot)

  • Danny Doring and Skull Von Crush vs Nova and Chris Chetti ended in a no-contest when Taz cam out and Taz-plexed all four men.

  • ECW World Champ Taz defeated Spike Dudley by submission.

  • Super Crazy and Jerry Lynn defeated Lance Storm and Justin Credible by pinfall.

  • Devon Dudley beat Rob Van Dam by pinfall due to outside interference from Buh Buh Ray Dudley, capturing the ECW Tag titles (Sabu was injured, making this singles match for the titles).

  • Yoshihiro Tajiri defeated Rhino Richards by pinfall.

  • Tommy Dreamer defeated Steve Corrino by pinfall.

  • New Jack defeated Mustafa in an "original gangstas death" match by pinfall.