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  Oct 26, 1998

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ECW invades Buffalo


 Many regard the World Wrestling Federation's adult-themed shows showcasing sexual innuendo and sensitive language as pushing the limits of acceptability alienating both parents and young children.

As the old saying goes...Canadian grappling fans, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Based out of Phillydelphia, Pennsylvania, and owned by Paul Heyman (aka: Paul E. Dangerously), Extreme Championship Wrestling makes a standard WWF show look like a Girl Guide bake sale. Whereas the Big Two's content is regulated somewhat by corporate advertising, ECW takes advantage of its lower profile to push a unique hardcore presentation. Obscenities, partial nudity and blading...blading...and more blading are the ECW trademarks attracting wrestling fans searching for something grittier than the slick production values that the Big Two serve up.

Unfortunately for Canadian wrestling fans, ECW is not available for consumption unless you are lucky enough to own a satellite dish or have access to the Internet. No network carries ECW's weekly show here in the Great White North and while there's an audience for it, Viewer's Choice - Canada's pay-per-view broadcaster - has yet to make an ECW pay-per-view available to its subscribers. The majority of Canadian fans are familiar with the names Tommy Dreamer, Justin Credible, Lance Storm and Taz by reputation only as they've never had the chance to see them in action.

Which is precisely why when SLAM! Wrestling caught wind of a scheduled ECW house show in Buffalo, New York, yours truly and carload of blood-thirsty hardcore grappling fans hit the road last Thursday night driving two-and-a-half hours from Toronto to take in the action.

(Editor's Note: Mucho thanks goes to Stuart "The Sycho" Green for chauferring the excursion. You rock heavy, dude.).

Grinding bumpers with rush hour traffic, we arrived late missing Chris Chetti beating Danny Doring and Taz vanquishing Big Dick Dudley. Greeting us outside the spiffy Burt Flickinger Athletic Center sat three or four ambulances in anticipation of tonight's mayhem and an ECW transport truck.

We crossed the street and were surprised by none other than ECW World Tag Team Champions, Rob Van Dam and Sabu. The high-flying duo sprinted by us at full-tilt looking for a way back in. No time to chat, the New Triple Threat members had apparently stepped out for a breather and locked themselves out of the arena by mistake.

The impressive facility capable of housing about two thousand people or so, showcased the card on a large indoor basketball court. The ring was situated in the middle surrounded by general admission bleachers on two sides and approximately 10 to 15 rows of ringside seats. Thin, grey gymnastics mats covered a portion of the court. A walkway separated from the top row of bleachers by metal railing encompassed the entire court providing a good vantage point for fans.

Gorilla-sized event security positioned themselves in close proximately to the ring at all times intervening whenever a wrestler regularly flew into the fifth row sending fans scattering in every direction.

The crowd, consisting of mostly teens and adults with a smattering of children safely seated in general admission away from the unruly action, wondered about freely as matches raged on. People stood on the court in small pockets casually chatting. Kids play-wrestled in the stands. The intimate setting undisturbed by extravagant light shows, fireworks or smoke machines made for a very relaxed atmosphere in the stands.

Within the immediate ringside area the difference was like night and day. Wrestlers landed in the seats right on top of fans too slow to split the scene. Pieces of broken hockey sticks, crutches, mops, brooms and tables employed in the main event Weapons Match pitting Tommy Dreamer and New Jack against Justin Credible and Jack Victory landed in the seats.

Sitting in the stands as I did doesn't guarantee your safety either. As two wrestlers battled out of the ring, over the retaining fence and up into the bleachers, a wall of general admission fans surged right towards me in hot pursuit. Relying on my inherit Dean Malenko combat savvy and Dynamite Kid-like agility, I deftly dodged the human stampede preserving my journalistic carrer.

Besides the general pandemonium, there's also the "colourful language" to give thought to if you are thinking about attending an ECW show. Steve Austin at his worst (or best depending on your point of view) isn't even in ECW's league. Fans with sensitive ears or small children, consider yourselves warned in triplicate.

Of special interest to SLAM! Wrestling was a bout involving Canada's own Lance Storm (former partner of Chris Jericho as the Thrillseekers tag team) taking on Chris Candido (Skip of the WWF Body Donnas team to the unenlightened).

Candido took up the house mike ripping on the new Triple Threat as a "bunch of pretenders".

"If you think I would drag the world's most beautiful doll to New York - you've got it right," declared Candido setting the stage for Tammy Lynn Sytch's entrance. Sytch, known as Sunny in the WWF, joined her man in the ring posing seductively for the crowd wearing a mini-skirt six sizes too small. Storm and his valet Tammy Lynn Bytch look on in disgust. Candido did his Rick Steiner imitation crouching on all fours as Sytch sat on his back. This brought forth a "Show some tits" chant from the crowd.

Candido and Storm traded punches and chops. Candido whipped Storm out of the ring bowling him over with a plancha. Both wrestlers tasted the steel fence then Bytch interfered dragging her nails down Candido's back.

Candido held Storm up for a standing suplex but Storm reversed it into a Lion Tamer. In a wicked move, Storm grabbed Candido by the neck and threw him over the top rope to the floor.

Candido recovered to drop Storm with a swinging DDT. As Candido climbed the top rope Storm punched him in the gut. Candido recovered hitting a running powerslam on Storm from out of the corner. Bytch and Sytch jumped into the ring and went at it eliciting a huge pop. Sytch punked Bytch and Storm with a Stunner laying them out cold. Candido executed a splash from the top rope and got the pin. Sytch stood over Bytch and ripped her skirt and shirt off revealing a g-string and a lacey bra. Candido ripped of his wrestling trunks showing off his g-string and put on Bytch's mini-skirt to mock the retreating Storm.

In other bouts...
  • Chris Chetti beat Danny Doring.
  • Taz bested Big Dick Dudley.
  • Masato Tanaka defeated Balls Mahoney.
  • Tracy Smothers dropped one to Super Nova.
  • "The Franchise" Shane Douglas beat Mikey Whipwreck.
  • Sabu and Rob Van Dam held onto their ECW World Tag Team straps by dropping The Dudleys.
  • Tommy Dreamer and New Jack got a hand from Spike Dudley to down Justin Credible and Jack Victory in a Weapons Match.