November to Remember 1997 – I barely remember this

November to Remember 1997
Date: November 30, 1997
Location: Golden Dome, Monaca, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 4,634
Commentator: Joey Styles

Well it’s three and a half months later and as usual, things have changed a bit. Bigelow won the title from Douglas and tonight is the rematch. Other than that we have the match that was set up three and a half months ago as Sandman fights Sabu in what I’m sure will be a classic.

Taz is still TV champion and defending against Pitbull #2. This is the Wrestlemania for ECW, so it has to be better than the last two PPVs right? Well Hardcore Heaven was much better than Barely Legal, so maybe Heyman has figured something out. Let’s take a look.

Well for one thing the arena looks FAR better. You can see past the third row and the lighting is there. There are about two and a half times the amount of people than at the last show. Styles in the intro says that this is the biggest crowd in company history. That’s a good sign. The company is gaining a bigger audience and there’s nothing wrong with that. I still don’t entirely get the theme song thing but that’s neither here nor there

Chris Candido vs. Tommy Rogers

Rogers doesn’t even get his name announced. Candido is back in black and the sound system more or less sucks. The reverb is WAY too high and if I didn’t like AC/DC I wouldn’t know what the words were. Chris is WAY over. Rogers is one half of a very popular 80s tag team called the Fantastics. Ah ok we’re doing the in ring introductions. That makes sense.

Rogers is booed out of the freaking building. Rogers is just one of those guys that is out of the limelight now and is just in the smaller indy companies getting a paycheck on his name which is fine. A ton of guys still do that and it’s very lucrative for them. This starts off with some great technical stuff and the fans chant boring. There’s your ECW stereotype for the night: blood thirsty fans.

Something to connect him to modern times: he invented the move now knows as the Unprettier. Sunny jokes abound as it just came out that Candido is engaged to Sunny. Rogers looks like an indy wrestler and that’s not a compliment. He clears up a bit of that by suplexing Candido from the ring to the floor. This seems like a standard lightweight match and it’s working pretty well.

Dang I’m rather impressed. Again, this is what happens when you let two good workers get out there and just work a match. It’s back and forth and hard hitting stuff. Rogers, while definitely the guy that’s going to lose, makes a go of it and a lot of the time that’s all you can ask of someone. And here’s Lance Storm for no apparent reason.

He’s a recruit of the Triple Threat, Candido’s faction, so that explains things a bit. Jerry Lynn runs in for the save and apparently this is now a tag match. Ok then. Lynn has short and uncurly hair which just looks odd for him. Candido goes up top and it’s let’s have a bunch of people have them dive off onto each other. That never gets old.

The referee officially makes it a tag and we keep going. It’s also an issue for Style as he has no notes on Storm and Lynn. That’s a legit problem actually. We get an back shot of Candido. Now why could that not have been Sunny? Storm misses a missile dropkick and it’s a melee of course. This is tornado rules of course. Lynn takes a powerbomb off the top from Candido called the Blonde Bombshell but Rogers makes the save. An Unprettier connects on Storm but he walks into a Northern Lights Suplex from Candido for the pin.

Rating: B. If there was a rating between B+ and B then I’d go with that. This match was kind of a mess but it was fast paced and they worked hard so they get points there. The singles part was MUCH better than the tag but the rating is a combination of both matches though so there we are.

We get a very quick recap of Mikey Whipwreck beating Austin at this show two years ago and that Justin Credible is awesome.

Justin Credible vs. Mikey Whipwreck

Justin is a guy that is just tragically overrated. I’ve never seen anything of note out of him but he was pushed to the moon and back by Heyman so there we go. Whipwreck was supposed to be a jobber but he kept winning and is somehow the only triple crown winner in ECW history at this point. I’d look for a relatively quick squash here.

Justin has a manager named Jason who Joey gets hives from apparently. I never got that joke. The ring looks a lot better tonight too. Mikey is a cruiserweight guy that was in WCW for a cup of coffee and never did anything but take a check to stay at home. He returned to ECW and jobbed all over again. Granted that was a few years after this.

Credible is reminding me a tiny bit of Roddy Piper as far as mannerisms go, but he doesn’t have the in ring work to back it up which is going to hold him back in the long run. Jason clotheslines Mikey while Justin has the referee, which is pointless as there are no DQs. Justin is completely dominating here. I think this is supposed to be a squash but given Mikey’s resume this isn’t making sense to be a squash.

Here’s Mikey’s comeback and now Jason is in there, more or less making this a handicap match. That goes nowhere for him though as he gets kicked in the balls, setting up the Whippersnapper (stunner) off the middle rope. Mikey used that before Austin did it should be noted. And that ends Justin’s undefeated streak. They call it an upset, so I have no clue what this was supposed to be.

Rating: C+. Wait, so what was the point of making Justin out to be this big young rookie phenom? Mikey, a guy that they pointed out wasn’t doing much lately beats him and ends the streak just like that? I don’t get that at all. It was ok, but Justin dominated the majority of the match and then in the end Mikey hits like three moves for the pin? Not exactly making Justin look that good Paul.

Al Snow and Head are in the locker room. Snow was in the WWF and ECW at this time and was thrown out of the former after losing on a PPV. Head got the loss, so Snow proclaims that Head screwed Head. Keep in mind: this is 2 weeks after the Screwjob. Snow is freaking insane and I love him.

Joey now has to make this seem normal. That doesn’t work at all.

We recap Sabu vs. Sandman, which is an old rivalry based on Sabu throwing a fireball at Sandman. More than that, it’s kind of a cock contest over who is a more violent excuse for a wrestler, and tables and ladders are legal. This could be bad.

TV Title: Taz vs. Pitbull #2

Taz is WAY over. We can barely hear Joey over the reverb of the sound system. This is apparently personal. Why is it personal? We’re not told, but it’s PERSONAL. Heyman jumps on commentary here for no apparent reason. They really need to turn Joey’s mic up. I can barely understand him and Paulie.

Taz takes a great powerbomb about 15 seconds in but apparently Taz is going to recover and kill him, at least according to the crowd. Heyman keeps saying this could go on all night and I think I see what’s coming. And I’m right. Two suplexes from Taz and Pitbull taps to the Tazmission in about a minute and a half.

So let me get this straight. The other world title just got defended on the Mania of this company in a minute and a half? Remember that this isn’t like the IC or US title. This is like the Smackdown Title or something like that. I’m not buying this at all.

Post match Taz makes gay jokes about a guy named Brakkus who is bigger than Ezekial Jackson. Nothing happens but Taz beats up the security guy. Heyman panics and says go to anything else so we see Bigelow launching Spike into the crowd which has nothing to do with anything but we see it anyway. Ok then.

Rating: N/A. This just wasn’t a good idea, but I’m sure people will say it’s an ECW thing. Yes, it’s a good thing to have one of your biggest matches go 90 seconds. Defend that.

Let’s continue to waste PPV time on a highlight that has nothing to do with anything. That makes sense.

We get some clips of Bigelow taking the title from Douglas thanks to Rick Rude. If you didn’t live in New England, you were screwed as a fan when it came to PPVs in this company.

Tag Titles: F.B.I. vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardcore Chair Swingin Freaks vs. Gangstanators

This is of course elimination rules. In case you’re unaware, the FBI are the Full Blooded Italians and consist of Tracy Smothers and Little Guiido (Nunzio). You know the Dudleyz. The team with the really long name is made of Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney. The Gangstanators are New Jack from the Gangstas and Kronus from the Eliminators. Tommy Rich, the FBI’s manager, cuts a bad promo in his southern accent against the crowd.

The Dudley introduction of course takes forever. To be fair though, the heat on them is epic so there we go. Big Dick Dudley is freaking scary looking. Gertner’s line of “the man that last night impregnated YOUR mother” was good if nothing else for its delivery. Only two of the teams are here so far and the segment has been going nearly five minutes.

If a team is the ECW Tag Team Champions of the World, why do they need the ECW part there? If they’re world tag team champions of the world, why do they need the ECW aspect? Unless there are other wrestling organizations on other planets, then doesn’t of the world encompass everything? Ah the chair swinging freaks show up and swing chairs while looking like freaks. Well at least their names are right. The bell rings and we have no Gangstanators.

Joey bets on the long named team. How in the world was Tommy Rich world champion? I will never understand that for the life of me. Everyone is in the ring and there are no tags. Oh this isn’t going to go well is it? Good grief can the referees slow down? Styles says that John Finnigan is assigned this match, which he follows up by saying poor bastard. That’s rather amusing. And as the Dudleys start dominating, we get Natural Born Killaz and it’s the Gangstanators.

That song is going to play until they’re eliminated isn’t it? I literally can’t understand or hear Joey over it so I have no clue what’s being said. Ah good the song is turned down a bit. Here come the weapons as New Jack is now able to “wrestle”. We’ve got signs, mailboxes, guitars and a cheese grater in case you were wondering. Actually I can live with this since it’s only the first time in four matches. That’s far more reasonable.

Just about everyone is bleeding here and I want to break that song. Ok we’re left with Kronus and D-Von in there now. Oh my stars and garter belts we have something resembling order! And here’s Big Dick Dudley to end that. He misses a moonsault by about ten miles. Even if Kronus had been there it wouldn’t have come close.

Kronus hits a 450 on him for no apparent reason as the song is playing the whole time. This is just completely insane. And Bubba dives over the ropes and takes out everyone. Ok that was actually cool looking. New Jack is in the ring alone with a guitar meaning he’s not actually alone but you get the idea. He breaks the guitar over Rich’s head and the freaking song is still going.

Kronus stands on the top rope and Guido hits him with a flag (not the pole mind you but a flag) and he falls into a Bubba Cutter to eliminate him and end that freaking song! I love Guido did you know that? Now it’s much calmer too. There are a lot more weapons, but it’s much calmer.

Eight people plus managers is just WAY too much. Guido takes a SICK bump as Bubba picks him up and throws him head first into the turnbuckle. It’s a lot worse than it sounds and looked awful. In a cool spot, Gertner throws powder into Bubba’s eyes by mistake and Bubba hits D-Von with a 3D after it’s reversed. I kind of like that for some reason.

We’re down to two teams now by the way. Rotten gets a Terrible Towel from somewhere and just as fast it’s gone. There goes the referee and we get another, but he’s dirty apparently. Yep he won’t count for the faces but does a fast one for the FBI to end it.

Rating: D+. Oddly enough, this wasn’t bad. You have to accept the violence and insanity with ECW, but DANG what was the point in the FBI holding the belts here? That makes less than no sense, but it’s ECW I guess. This was freaking insane and once the Gangstanators were out it went WAY up in quality.

Dreamer shows up with Beaulah and says he’s here to take out Van Dam despite being injured.

RVD has been working for Vince so Tommy, the embodiment of ECW, doesn’t like it. These video recaps are VERY helpful for someone like me that has no clue what’s going on.

Joey says they’re supposed to have interviews from the main event guys now, but neither will talk. Good to know I guess,

Rob Van Dam vs. Tommy Dreamer

This is a flag match but not in the usual sense. It’s a standard match but the winner gets to raise their flag: WWF for RVD and ECW for Dreamer. It’s very amusing that Dreamer would wind up in WWF and Van Dam would be the last big star for ECW. Ok it’s not that funny but whatever. Both guys have awesome music if nothing else.

You can hear the opening notes of Enter Sandman but they cut off just as fast and Man in the Box starts up, so I’m guessing that was a mistake. Beaulah is freaking amazing looking. Dreamer may be a jobber but he gets that. Dreamer wins, end of argument. Dreamer is 26 here, and that’s just weird to hear. He seems like someone that should always be like 35 or something minimum.

I can’t get over how beautiful Beaulah is. She’s more or less wearing a low cut dress that’s skin tight so she’s about to fall out too, but her face could rival Trish’s here, Dreamer is a guy that has aged well. You can tell he’s a lot older now, but not by a lot. We’re already on the floor so at least that didn’t take long. We get a Van Daminator about a minute in but it’s on the floor.

Van Dam is bleeding from the eye and I’d bet it’s legit since blading there would just be stupid as all goodness. Massive GET THE F OUT chant at RVD. He’s quite a heel actually. The fans are all over him and his demeanor never changes. A fan shouts “give Dreamer a minute!” which is very amusing.

Apparently Dreamer has a broken heel and a separated shoulder but he finally starts getting some offense in. When you can get a loud BREAK HIS NECK chant going, you know you’re drawing mad heat. Dreamer goes up for something but Alfonso hits him with a chair to the injured foot and that earns him Rolling Thunder which is just called a tumbling splash here.

Starship Pain gets on knees and chair. I love the counter Dreamer just used. Van Dam tried to get fancy and had his legs spread across the ropes so Dreamer just kicks him in the nuts and DDTs him. Alfonso has the ref though so there’s no cover. A bunch of referees come out for no apparent reason and one is Jeff Jones, who cheats for Van Dam.

The other referees and Beaulah beat him up as we get a great thong shot. Apparently anyone can count here as she gets two for Dreamer. You can barely hear Joey at all. Dreamer has the ECW flag and is about to put it over Van Dam but Stevie Richards, Doug Furnas and Phillip LaFon show up to interfere, allowing for the Five Star to hit while they count the pin. That apparently ends it.

I seriously can’t understand Joey at all. They put the WWF flag over Dreamer and put him out a table.. Sabu comes out and clotheslines Beaulah for no apparent reason. Dreamer gets up and covers her and we get Sandman’s music for the save. I said he comes out for the save.

Ok, while Dreamer is being beaten on, he does his full entrance first. At least I think he does. I hear music but I can’t tell what it is and I can’t hear Joey to tell me who it is so I have no idea. Oh ok it’s Sandman. These problems HAVE to be fixed. They can’t keep having technical problems this bad. It’s inexcusable and hurting the show a lot.

Rating: C-. Can we get a match longer than a minute and a half with no interference? I mean really is that so hard? It wasn’t bad, but man they could have done it without the interference. In a place where weapons are legal why couldn’t they just have Van Dam beat him and THEN do the beatdown?

With no transition at all, here’s your penultimate match.

Sandman vs. Sabu

I’ve had a timer going. Sandman’s music hit four minutes ago and he’s still not in the ring. I get that that’s his thing, but they could have killed Tommy and buried him with this much time. Sabu finally dives on him,, I think out of boredom. Remember, ladders and tables are legal, unlike in other matches where everything is legal. And all of a sudden we have a ton of ladders and chairs too.

The fans chant at someone to sitdown. Is there a class or something where I can learn these chants? Well I can hear Joey now. I’m sure nothing of note happened that I would need to hear from him in the last 12 minutes. Sabu “dominates”, meaning he botches less than Sandman, until Sandman “takes over”, meaning he falls into Sabu which is called an elbow. What the heck am I watching?

I’ve seen backyard stuff more “professional” than this. There is spray paint on the bottom of a table where it says ECW. Good to know who the table belongs to I guess. Hokey smoke a wrestling move! It was a slam in case you were wondering. HAHA Joey called them athletes. It’s 4:15am. I needed a laugh like that to stay awake.

There’s a table between the ring and the guard rail. Sabu is kind of on it and Sandman goes to the top. He drops a “leg”, meaning some part of his lower body that isn’t really clear and “hits” Sabu, meaning Sabu moved and there was no contact but Sabu acted like it hurt anyway. Apparently people still aren’t sitting down. We get another alleged legdrop.

Even Hogan wasn’t that bad. What’s this? They must be lost. They accidentally got in the ring. My mother and father threw this much stuff at each other during their divorce. Were these two married? I’ve come to a conclusion: this isn’t a match. It’s not wrestling. It’s not professional either.

It’s just two guys using weapons to hit each other. If you want an idea of why ECW was considered crap and second rate, I give you Exhibit A. I have better things to do than keep watching this so called match so I’m cutting it off here. Sabu wins with an Arabian Facebuster with a ladder in case you care.

Rating: N/A. This wasn’t wrestling, period.

ECW Title: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Shane Douglas

Now, hopefully these guys have something better to offer. It certainly can’t be any worse. If it’s even wrestling, it’s better than that. I would say that previous thing is why I would say I’m ashamed to be a wrestling fan, but since that wasn’t wrestling I’m clear of any such issue. We can’t hear Joey again over the music. Remember that these two are teammates in the Triple Threat.

Challenger comes out last so it’s fairly obvious that we’re getting a title change here. Bless my soul we’re getting wrestling! I don’t like Douglas but I can go with this easily now. There’s a LOUD Cornette chant which I don’t know if I missed the reason for or not. This is actually pretty good. It’s not great or anything, but it’s holding my attention. Bigelow is controlling it here which surprises me.

I guess it’s because it’s easier for him to do something with Shane than for Shane to do something with him. That makes sense at least. Shane stays in there at least with some decent stuff here and there which always helps keep a match solid. Another reason this match is decent: there are relatively few weapons shots. I can’t get on them for using a few as just about every major company used weapons a bit in their main events. A bit of them are fine, but use them in moderation.

There’s simply no need to have them all over the place and using them from the opening bell. That’s just freaking pointless. Anyway, Bigelow is more or less dominating this whole thing. I love how the people in this company would just come and go but the main event guys for the most part stayed. I guess that’s why they were in the main event: they were the only ones that were always around.

Oddly enough these two would be gone before the company folded but whatever. Francine tries to use a crutch and that gets her nowhere but scared right back down to the floor where she was before. Ok then. Bigelow keeps wprking on the right arm, which just looks odd . Like I’ve said, hardly anyone not named Benoit ever did that.

Since Bigelow has dominated the whole match, I would bet my house on Shane winning with a quick move. Heyman does that all the time and it’s really annoying as it’s very predictable. And holy crap I’m right as Douglas hits a belly to belly suplex out of nowhere and we’re more or less even.

Bigelow gets a chair and a table as the fans are all behind Shane. He’s the hometown guy so at least there’s a reason for Shane to get the title here. With Bigelow dominating again, Shane hits a quick belly to belly through the table for the title. I mean one second Bigelow was dominating and the next he was getting pinned. That’s not exciting or sweet. That’s stupid.

It makes the champion look weak because he can’t kick out of a simple suplex and it says that his offense sucks when after 25 minutes of pounding on Shane he is able to throw a 400lb man around. I get that it makes Shane strong, but it makes Bigelow looks way too weak and that’s just stupid. The Triple Threat celebrates to end it.

Rating: C-. This is a match that looks good on paper but sucks in reality. It was long and drawn out, but that doesn’t mean it was good. That’s a big problem a lot of fans have. They think that more time instantly means better match and that’s simply not the case. The psychology here was so off that Freud couldn’t solve it. There was no flow to it at all and the ending was just contrived stupidity.

More or less it was Bigelow beating on Shane to set up a big moment for the live crowd and that just doesn’t work. They tried to make it a big moment and it kind of was, but the title change a month and a half before was to do nothing but let Shane win it here, and that’s just stupid. Shane would hold the belt for over a year, losing it in January of 99, which is so stupid I don’t have the time or the patience to get into it here.

Overall Rating: D. If this was any other show in the year, this is a C or so. But this was their Wrestlemania? That simply doesn’t work at all. It felt like any other show and it was supposed to be special. They talked about it like it was special and that the ending was special, but it just simply wasn’t at all.

There was a lot of good stuff here but a lot of bad stuff. The next to last match was inexcusable. I don’t care that it’s an extreme company. At the end of the day, it’s a wrestling company and that’s what the focus should be. Not 20 minutes of the Home Depot Wars. Matches like that are ok if they’re executed properly with good workers (see Cactus Jack vs. HHH at the 2000 Rumble for details) or used for comedy (see Holly, Crash).

This however was sloppy and not interesting. It should have been eight minutes at the very most. Instead it’s two and a half times that long. That doesn’t work at all. The technical stuff can’t be happening either. You have one commentator which is risky enough as it is, but to not be able to hear him is just too much, especially for the sake of having loud music. You’re sacrificing the PPV audience for the live audience, which is just stupid as all goodness. If this is a house show, great. It’s a PPV though and they need to understand that.

Now for the good. The show looked FAR better than it did last time or the time before. This looked like a major show from a major company. The wrestling for the most part was good. I’d say about 75 to 80% of this was passable if not good. The tag match is ok as it was one of about seven matches (Home Depot wasn’t a match remember) and it was the only one that used a large amount of weapons.

I’m cool with that. It’s going to happen so keep it in the most over the top match. That’s fine. A final thing: GIVE US CLEAN FINISHES. Seriously, of the seven matches on the card tonight, we had one with a double run in, one with a run in, one that went 90 seconds, the 8 man tag title match that wound up with about 12 people involved and a cheating ref, a match with three people interfering, both managers interfering and a cheating referee plus two other referees, giving us ten people involved in a one on one match, and the main event which was ok but ends with more weapons.

Just give us a few clean pins. It’s really not that hard to do, trust me. This was bad for a major show but decent for a regular show. Like I said, as a regular show this would be a C or a C+, but if this is what’s supposed to be the big show of the year, it’s nearly a failure. It’s watchable though, but only for fans.

1 comment

  1. Matt Jarrell says:

    Good review. Agree all the way about Sabu-Sandman. That match was so awful that it made even XPW’s worst matches look like HBK-Taker by comparison.