ECW Hardcore Heaven ‘97

Live from Fort Lauderdale, FL

Airdate: August 17, 1997

Attendance: 1,950

Hosted by Joey Styles

Who will win the three-way dance for the World title? Can Dreamer avenge being humiliated by Lawler? What else transpires? Let's find out! Also, as with all ECW material, this reflection is rated TV-MA.

Styles welcomes everyone to the show, but "Ravishing" Rick Rude interrupts him. When Rude steals the microphone from Styles, the Fort Lauderdale faithful chants "You sold out" at him. Styles then leaves the ring disgusted that Rude rented himself out to a "boy toy." After Rude performs his pre-match spiel, he introduces Chris Candido.

Immediately after Candido comes to the ring, ECW Commissioner Tod Gordon, along with some officials, decries that Rude isn't a licensed manager and must leave within ten seconds or Candido forfeits. Rude complains but ultimately complies with Gordon despite tossing in a "Fuck you, Gordon."

Opening montage.

Match 1 for the ECW World TV title: Taz (champion) versus "No Gimmicks Needed" Chris Candido


Rating: ****

Summary: Good psychology by Candido was matched by Taz's judo and suplex variations. Great match, guys!

Styles then shills November to Remember '97 LIVE on PPV on 11/30. Order NOW! During some earlier footage, the Insane Clown Posse got destroyed by RVD. Sabu joined the fray, and the beatdown continued.

Match 2: Spike Dudley versus Bam Bam Bigelow


Rating: *1/2

Summary: This was more or less a squash as Spike barely got any offense and was summarily pummeled.

After the match, Spike bleeds all over the place, and an EMT as well as an official assist him backstage.

We then revisit the 2-on-1 beatdown of the ICP when Sandman, whose back was apparently injured by Sabu, came to the ring with his customary kendo stick. As he swung the stick around, Sabu CREAMED him with a chair to the face. RVD then deliverED a Van Daminator while Sabu mounted the top turnbuckle. While leaping to the mat, Sabu SMASHED the chair in his face again. With the chair laid atop Sandman's face, RVD and Sabu leaped from opposite turnbuckles DEMOLISHING Sandman.

We then see Sandman wheeled into an ambulance, and it heads to the local hospital.

Match 3: "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam (w/ Bill Alfonso) versus Al Snow


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Snow carried RVD to a really good match by matching RVD's high-flying with ring generalship.

From a helicopter, Lance Russell poorly narrates Sandman's commandeering of the ambulance in order to return to the arena. All Sandman needs now is face paint and a customary howl.

Pre-recorded promo by Lawler who name-drops Undertaker, Bret Hart, and Stone Cold Steve Austin in an effort to run down Dreamer.

Match 4 for the ECW World tag team title: The Dudley Boys (champions w/ Joel Gertner, Sign Guy Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, & Jenna Jameson) versus PG-13


Rating: **1/2

Summary: With the comedy bits, Jameson, and some good spots, this was an entertaining match.

More helicopter footage of the ambulance containing Sandman airs.

Prior to the next match, Lawler plugs the WWF PPV on 9/7. He then repeats the same promo from earlier.

Match 5: Tommy Dreamer (w/ Beulah) versus Jerry “The King” Lawler


Rating: *

Summary: Typical ECW brawl that the Fort Lauderdale faithful enjoyed; otherwise, it was completely smoke-and-mirrors to hide the limitations of both wrestlers. At the very least, Lawler got his comeuppance for what he did to Dreamer.

Video airs featuring footage from The Night the Line was Crossed.

More aerial footage is shown as Sandman returns to the arena in an ambulance. When Fort Lauderdale's finest try to get him, Sandman WHACKS them with his kendo stick.

Match 6 for the ECW World title (three-way dance): Sabu (champion w/ Bill Alfonso) versus Terry Funk versus the "Franchise" Shane Douglas (w/ Francine)


Rating: ****

Summary: Combine Sabu's aerial skills, Douglas' tenacity, and Funk's craziness, and this was a fun ECW main event. Kudos, gentlemen!

After the match, Funk tries to get at Douglas, but Francine SMACKS Funk in the back with the belt. Next, Douglas whips him with the belt while the Fort Lauderdale faithful chant "BULL-SHIT." Suddenly, Gertner enters the ring, and the Dudley Boys follow. While the Dudley Boys beat down Funk, Gertner wants him to leave the Triple Threat and join the Dudley faction.

Next, Candido and Bigelow come to the ring to brawl with the Dudley Boys. The locker room then empties into the ring while Big Dick Dudley chokeslams Chris Chetti. As the Triple Threat heads backstage to celebrate, Tracy Smothers receives a chokeslam. Snow then gets a taste of what Big Dick Dudley has to offer, and Hack Myers and Thomas "Inch Worm" Rodman get double-chokeslammed. After Wild Bill takes a chokeslam, Ballz Mahoney and Axl Rotten hit the ring with chairs.

Big Dick Dudley then chokeslams Mahoney while Bubba Ray delivers a Bubba Cutter to Rotten. The Gangstas music hits, and New Jack along with Kronus storm the ring with weapons. After an initial surge, they fall victim to a double chokeslam by Big Dick Dudley. Perry Saturn enters the ring, smashes a crutch on Big Dick Dudley, and delivers consecutive Saturn Cutters to Big Dick and D-Von.

After Kronus slams Bubba Ray, Saturn, on one good leg, mounts the top turnbuckle, hits the big elbow, and appears to be injured. Kronus then mounts the same top turnbuckle and gives Big Dick Dudley a corkscrew moonsault. Chaos continues as Kronus slams D-Von, mounts the top turnbuckle yet again, and delivers a frog splash.

Kronus then gives Bubba Ray a somersault leg drop while the babyfaces corner Gertner. As he nails Gertner, New Jack waves everyone off to CROWN Gertner himself. From the top turnbuckle, Kronus hits a 450° splash on Gertner. For all intents and purposes, Gertner should be pushing up daisies. The show then goes off the air while the babyfaces stand among the Fort Lauderdale faithful to chant "E-C-W."

Conclusion: With the rather good World title change and the World TV title matches, this show deserves a recommendation. However, there are two caveats.

First, the lighting was HORRIBLE. Shadows were everywhere, and some maneuvers were blatantly missed by production. I realize that ECW doesn't have the production budget of WCW or WWF but asking wrestling fans to fork out $20 for a less-than-pleasing visual product is a lot. Second, the Fort Lauderdale faithful tried to be as good as if not better than the show itself. While I can appreciate an enthusiastic crowd, one that goes into business for itself is unwarranted and unnecessary.

Nevertheless, while I wouldn't hold this show up as highly as Barely Legal, I wouldn't discredit it either.

Buyrate: 0.21

Stay tuned for WCW Monday Nitro 8-18-97!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

Custom Search

web counter
web counter