Friday, July 14, 2000

The World's Greatest ECW Heatwave 2000 Preview

At the beginning of the year, it appeared 2000 would be among ECW's best. They were building a strong champion in Mike Awesome, working towards an anticipated feud with main event-bound Rob Van Dam. They'd imported the right men, and worked them into the storylines relatively easily with Yoshihiro Tajiri and Masato Tanaka. They were available to a large audience with their running ECW on TNN program, and interest was climbing by the day. Unfortunately, things have gone anything but up since then.

Sabu attempted to jump promotions, only to be shot down by Heyman. Chris Candido and Tammy Lynn Sytch successfully made a presence in WCW, as did Mike Awesome.. still carrying the ECW gold. Former TV Champion Super Crazy is having difficulties even entering the country. TNN has signed big name the WWF, and quickly shoveled the ECW program off their network. On top of that, things have been in steadily declining in the financial department.. weak promotion has hurt house show attendance, and workers weren't being paid. Raven is biding time before a big jump to the WWF, and the Sandman's problems with the ECW owner appear to be worsening by the hour. If things don't pick up soon for the little promotion that could soon, I fear the repercussions. What ECW needs to do now is almost reinvent themselves. Fan support is one thing they've never lacked, and I wholeheartedly believe they're catering to the crowd that's remained loyal for years with this card. There's truly something for everybody, with Tajiri, Guido and Psycho treating the purists, Rhino and Sandman lending their talents to the spot fans, and Credible / Dreamer lending their blood for the Hardcore enthusiast. If Heyman can pick up the carelessly tossed pieces of WCW (and in that, i mean Blitzkrieg, La Parka, Psychosis and others..), he could rebuild the promotion in a new image. An image I'd be proud to watch religiously.

Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Psychosis vs. Little Guido

Ho. Ly. Shit. Here are three men that can tear up like nobody's business. Here's one of the greatest mat wrestlers in the game, Guido, one of the top three luchas in the world, Psycho, and one of the stiffest, most inventive guys around, Tajiri. To see any combination of two here would be a match of the year candidate.. but tossing all three in at once? Yikes. It's great to see Psychosis back home, where I'm hoping a fire will be lit underneath him once again. When inspired, he ranks among the top ten workers in North America. Without question. My praises of Tajiri haven't exactly been few and far between, either. Though I don't like him as much in the face role, I've accepted it.. so long as I still see him on my TV every Friday night. Guido's in a class all his own when it comes to putting together a dynamic match on the mat. Imagine if Malenko had gone to ECW instead of the WWF. What a clinic these two could've put on together. At any rate, it's common knowledge that ECW's lined up some spectacular openers in the past that have failed to deliver as strong a match as expected (several Super Crazy / Tajiri / Guido brawls early in the year.. while more than enjoyable.. weren't all they could've been). I'd be willing to bet that isn't the case here.. and it's just what the promotion needs. For a winner.. I'll go with Tajiri, taking the surprise win over the obvious favorite, Psychosis. Somebody get a mop.
Winner: Yoshihiro Tajiri

Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino

Allriiiight. Steve Corino on a PPV... wrestling, not managing, and he isn't taking on Dusty Rhodes. There is a god. Here's hoping Lynn and Steve-o get something like 20 minutes (which isn't that outrageous here in ECW), so I won't have to tell you why they each kick several degrees of ass. See, this is the kind of match that gives me hope in ECW. This is the kind of match that makes me sit up and take notice. Hell, this is the kind of match that makes me.. smile. Lynn and Van Dam had arguably the best series of matches a year past now, and I stand confident that, given the opportunity, Lynn and Corino could leave those in the dust. Here's to building a long feud with these two.. as for the winner, it's a tough call. I'll try my dice with Corino this time, with Lynn evening the odds later on.
Winner: Steve Corino

Rob Van Dam vs. "The U.S. Male" Scotty Anton

I haven't been keeping up with this feud, so I'll let explain: "When Mr. PPV made his initial return from a broken leg, he knew that he would be vulnerable to attack. He trusted his best friend, Scotty Anton, to accompany him and watch his back until he was ready for active competition. In return, Anton was able to sign with ECW, and wrestle his way out of the shadow of his past ridiculous personas. Whether through the prodding of the Network, or his own insecurity, Anton felt it was Van Dam's shadow he needed to escape, and turned on his friend at Hardcore Heaven." Now that we're in the know.. I'll go with RVD. Because he smokes pot, and that makes him popular.
Winner: Rob Van Dam

Rhino vs. The Sandman
ECW Television Title Match

Another match that isn't exactly the ham and eggs in my continental breakfast. Though I'll acknowledge his physical ability, Rhino just doesn't appear to be the "phenom" Joey Styles would like us to think he is. To be honest, I'm surprised McMahon hasn't plucked him up yet, with his much-publicized love of the big man. I'll give credit where credit is due, however, Rhino is a valuable asset to the company and is really putting his heart into his work. He's a deserving TV champion, but wasn't my first choice for a replacement when RVD went down. Sandman, on the other hand, has little redeeming values left in him. His wad was blown during his initial, pre-WCW run with the promotion. Aside from the big moment when he made an unscheduled return to the promotion that had led him to fame, Sandman's new run has been something of a flop. Bearing that in mind, I'll go with the Rhino victory, after spearing a naked Sandman, his mother in law, his father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate, and his penis through a table or two.
Winner: Rhino

Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
ECW Heavyweight Title "Stairway to Hell" Match

I'll be blunt: I'm not the biggest fan of either man in this main event. Credible's feud with Lance Storm was set to launch him as a full blown heel.. possibly deserving of a World Title push.. but with the exit stage left of his former Impact Players partner, so went his chances as a credible world champion. Many are having a difficult time accepting him in main events, a disease that admittedly afflicted Jarrett, HHH and Rocky during each of their respective rises to the top. Where Rocky had Austin, HHH had The Rock and Jarrett had Sid to establish their individual names at the top, Credible only has Tommy Dreamer, an aging veteran who never really received the push he probably should have. The 'stairway to hell' match has historically been a vicious gimmick, and I'm sure this Sunday will be no exception. It doesn't float my boat, but for what it is, I'll admit it should be good. I'll take Credible to retain for another month, maybe two before Dreamer finally captures the gold.
Winner: Justin Credible

In Closing...

Despite a bogged down upper card, this looks to be a really healthy PPV lineup. Heyman will certainly throw in a couple new matches at the last moment, and here's hoping those keep up with the strong undercard.. rather than the main event. It's a shame that ECW's in the trouble it is, because we won't be seeing action like this anywhere else in 2000.
until next time, i remain

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