Wrestlepalooza 1998 – Al Snow Main Events A PPV! Uh…….Why?

Wrestlepalooza 1998
Date: May 3, 1998
Location: Cobb County Civic Center, Marietta, Georgia
Attendance: 3,401
Commentator: Joey Styles

It’s been two months since Living Dangerously and not a lot has changed. It’s still Snow vs. Douglas as Snow’s insane rise in popularity continues. Candido and Storm are still champions that hate each other and are defending the belts tonight in a storyline that NO ONE has ever seen before. Van Dam has begun his two year long reign with the title and has his first big defense tonight: he’s fighting Sabu. Oh this could hurt a lot. Let’s get to this as the card looks somewhere between bad and ok.

We do the intro video before the show introduction this time which I like a lot better. The other way just takes me out of the show for some reason. It usually feels like they forgot to do the show opening or something and then went back to it.

F.B.I. vs. BWO

Suddenly I want some alphabet soup. It’s Tracy Smothers and Guido vs. Super Nova and Blue Meanie. The BWO itself is actually over and dead but they both wear blue and team together still so there we are. I want to hit Tommy Rich. The guy is just freaking annoying. He gets a huge F YOU chant directed at him so at least Georgia fans are intelligent. Nova and Guido, the two talented guys, start us out.

Nova is a superhero by the way. Meanie is just a fat guy that has nothing else going for him. Nova is well known for having a very unorthodox offense and it’s on display here. Meanie comes in and Rich says we need to have a dance contest. And the referee dances too. THANKFULLY Smothers jumps Meanie to end this mindlessness. And the referee slams both heels to get two on Smothers. What the heck am I watching???

Finally we get something sensible as Smothers hits a nice bicycle kick to Nova’s head. Meanie can’t even get into the ring correctly. This is what critics mean when they say this company was a joke. When you’re that sloppy, you have no business being in a ring on a major show at all. Meanie misses the moonsault, which is just about the only move Meanie could do without injuring someone else. Nova hits a downward spiral for the pin. And the faces do the YMCA afterwards. My head hurts again.

Rating: D+. It wasn’t bad, but for the most part it was an unfunny comedy match. Nova was cool, but other than that there was just noting at all that stood out here for me. Meanie was just a fat tub of goo that never did anything of note outside of ECW (Bluedust was nothing of note and yes I know he was in WWF for awhile) and the FBI were always annoying to me. It’s not bad but it’s nothing to write home about, or better yet it’s nothing to review. Wait what?

We recap Justin Credible vs. Mikey Whipwreck. This feud is STILL going? This was just a way to get Justin over which completely failed as there was one simple problem: Justin wasn’t any good. Paul kept trying to tell us he was but it simply wasn’t there. Justin got pushed until the company folded and was getting said push over guys like RVD. That should explain a lot to you.

Justin Credible vs. Mikey Whipwreck

So Mikey’s destroyed knee is all of a sudden fine. Good to know. He gets some good punches in and we’re on the floor already. They throw Justin into the crowd and he more or less crushes a fan. I get that this is a different kind of company, but dude, don’t half crush your fans. Justin shoves Mikey off the apron so that he crashes into the guard rail. We have our first chair of the evening and Mikey takes a SICK bump into it.

That looked like it would have nearly killed him but of course he’s fine. The fans chant Aldo at Justin. He was Aldo Montoya in WWF in case you didn’t know that. If nothing else he gets a nice counter to the Whippersnapper (Stunner, which Mikey used way before Austin) by just hooking him in a reverse DDT. It was very nice indeed. These fans are really annoying.

I get that they’re a major aspect of ECW, but to fans like me who aren’t huge fans and are the audience that ECW needed to grab in order to stay in business, they’re very annoying indeed. Justin gets suplexed through a table which of course is impressive even though we see it about five times a show.

And now it’s just about the chair and nothing else. It’s just big spot, two count, chair spot, two count, big spot, two count over and over again. Chastity, the valet of Credible, takes a BAD Whippersnapper off the top. And Justin gets the tombstone out of nowhere onto the chair for the pin. I hated that ending.

Rating: D+. So in other words, Justin lost twice in a row but he gets a more or less fluke win here and he wins the feud. ECW and most other wrestling companies have a major problem with this and it drives me insane. Just because you win the last match in a feud doesn’t mean you win the feud. Take Dreamer vs. Raven for example: Dreamer “won” the feud, but he lost probably 100 times and got one victory. How does that make him the winner?

As for this match, the ending was just big spot after big spot and then Justin got the tombstone for the random pin. That’s supposed to make sense I guess. Justin, who is supposed to be the best wrestler in the world according to Heyman, did nothing other than a throw into the guard rail all match but hits one big move to win the thing. That’s GREAT wrestling indeed Paul.

Rotten and Mahoney want their shot at the titles. They demand a shot and just get one. Ok then.

ECW Tag Titles: Hardcore Chair Swinging Freaks vs. Chris Candido/Lance Storm

They still hate each other and even though they don’t get along and fight each other, they manage to beat every team in the company as they do it. Don’t you just love Heyman’s brilliance? Mind you the challengers were in the arena to make their challenge yet the champions are here first. In a funny spot, they argue over who gets top billing. Oh I get it now: the champions came to the ring and were introduced before they actually accepted the challenge. Is Heyman even thinking?

The Freaks are Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney in case you were wondering. To my surprise we start with a wrestling sequence. Something tells me this isn’t going to last long. Good night Balls Mahoney is worthless. Rotten is trying to wrestle which works ok but it’s hard to take a guy who wrestles for a team called the Hardcore Chair Swingin Freaks seriously. They do a standard tag match here and it’s really not that bad. I’m very surprised. Rotten throws chops and the fans WOO.

They start a BRING IN FLAIR chant and my head begins to hurt. First off, just no. Second off, isn’t that exactly what ECW is supposed to be against? Third of all, I love how they just assume Heyman can afford that. The fans were stupid at times and were dragged around by Heyman by their noses. It’s really pathetic at times. Sunny shows up and the champions fight over Storm saving her. “Hey! You keep your hands off my fiancé! If she dies who cares??? YOU JUST STAY AWAY!”

And now we get to the flat out stupid part of the match. Balls hits his finisher. There’s no one around. They should win the titles. He goes to get a chair. That’s almost understandable I guess. Now let’s have the stupid part. He turns around with the chair in his hand and Storm jumps up with a springboard to come at Mahoney.

What does he do you ask? Does he throw the chair at Storm? Does he, oh I don’t know, MOVE? Nope. He puts the chair in front of his face so Storm can kick it into Balls’ head. That was just pathetic looking. On and Candido hits Storm with the chair so he can get the pin and they fight back to the locker room. This has NEVER been done before!

Rating: C+. Other than the freaking idiotic stuff at the end, this was ok. The key thing: for the most part they kept things toned down and had a wrestling match. Since Barely Legal they’ve toned the violence down a good bit and it’s been helping a lot. This was ok and would have been a lot better had the ending not sucked as much.

Ad for the merchandise catalogue and Heat Wave 98. That one’s coming soon.

We have a “Legends” ceremony from earlier. It’s Junkyard Dog, Dick Slater, Masked Superstar (Ax from Demolition) and Bullet Bob Armstrong. You know, a bunch of old NWA guys, because ECW and the NWA got along SO well. This was a nice idea, but when you look at it this was just stupid.

Shane Douglas, who is apparently held together with tape at this point, is brought out to be told about how tough he is. So despite all these injuries, it’s fairly obvious he’ll win tonight. We’ll get to the pure idiocy of this later. He runs down the WWF and Shawn, who had just left with the broken back that kept him out for four and a half years. Oh and he runs Flair down too. If Shane drew in the entire run of ECW what Flair or Shawn drew in a single year, I’d be stunned.

This is just Shane saying how great he is and how tough he is and how tonight might be his last match. Taz comes out to tease their showdown. Nope, we’ve still got another 8 months before that because the top face vs. the top heel isn’t a match we can have when the fans are begging for it of course. We get what might be the first F Bomb on an ECW PPV. Taz demands the Title be handed to him instead of you know, winning it.

Taz does a weird looking choke out that wasn’t the Tazmission and security breaks it up. Like I said, this match wouldn’t happen for EIGHT MONTHS. What they were waiting on is beyond me. Bigelow comes out to fight Taz and that’s broken up too. They handcuff Taz and arrest him for no logical reason as Shane is spitting up blood. I love how Shane runs down Shawn but he’s going to do the same thing: make this big come from behind win over Snow which makes NO sense but they did it anyway so Shane can look awesome all over again.

Oh dang it we have a New Jack match now.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. New Jack

GAH IT’S THIS STUPID SONG!!! Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? New Jack is going to get destroyed other than some weapons shots because the guy can’t wrestle a freaking match to save his life but hey, let’s play his song while he’s getting killed. Yep, 30 seconds in and we have weapons. Why is this appealing at all? It’s just mindless violence that has no business being called wrestling.

Bigelow is better than this on so many levels and it’s not even funny. We’re in the crowd now as that song is still playing. Bigelow just throws chairs at him as this is supposed to be entertaining. I get that some fans want this, but it makes the whole company look amateurish as a result. If this was still a regional promotion, this would be just fine. But it’s not a regional company anymore.

They wanted to go national but they can’t let go of the hardcore nonsense and it’s really hurting the product quite a bit. This is going to get at least ten minutes of about three hours. And New Jack jumps off a balcony with a guitar shot to Bigelow’s head. So even though that should likely kill both of them, the fans cheer.

And now let’s just lay around for awhile because that’s a great use of PPV time. Ok to be fair almost all wrestling companies do the laying around thing. Bigelow hits the Greetings From Asbury Park which doesn’t connect at all but whatever. At least it’s over.

Rating: F. I get why it’s here, but it still sucked and was completely worthless. At least we get Welcome to the Jungle. I hate these matches or whatever they are.

We see Dreamer and Sandman getting beaten up by the Dudleys set to a ballad of all things. That was odd.

Dudley Boys vs. Tommy Dreamer/Sandman

Sandman cuts off the always funny Gertner entrance but the song makes up for it a bit. Beaulah is about as close to perfect as you can get. This is another “grudge” match where the grudge was developed between PPVs with no explanation as to what started it or any useless information like that. I get that Sandman’s entrance is cool, but they need to cut a minute or two out of it as it just goes on forever. Yep this is going to be a massive brawl because it’s been a full 4 minutes since we saw one of those.

And there’s the first table and my eyes roll immediately. This of course devolves into a massive brawl that has no semblance of anything noteworthy at all. We get some great shots of Beaulah and that’s about it. Sandman leaves because of his neck and after about five minutes of Tommy being murdered, Spike more or less replaces Sandman.

He gets a 3D for trying to save Beaulah but Sandman comes back in a neck brace. Yeah because he was able to see the doctor and the doctor released him inside of five minutes I guess. A pair of DDTs end this and the Dudleys lose.

Rating: D-. Only reason this isn’t failing is I’ve always thought Beaulah was beyond sexy. This was just ridiculous as Dreamer survived what should have killed him to come back and be fine. It was just a total mess and it wasn’t entertaining for the most part. They had no idea what to do with the Dudleys at this point.

So Sabu had a TV Title shot here tonight against Bigelow and he sent RVD, his partner, in to beat Bigelow up a bit but Van Dam wound up winning the title, leading to this. That’s actually decent.

TV Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu

Something tells me we’re going to have a ton of weapons here and I base that on the fact that it’s a Sabu match. Van Dam gets on the mic after they feel each other out a bit and says this isn’t going to happen and it was a plan. Sabu of course goes after him anyway and makes the speech completely pointless. They actually go four minutes with no weapons. That has to be a record of some kind for Sabu.

We go back to the ring at about 8 minutes in for a change of pace. Oh never mind the chair is there with him. And hey we go back to the floor AGAIN. Joey talks about how brutal it is. I couldn’t agree more. In an impressive spot, Van Dam manages to crotch himself on the guard rail when there’s no guard rail underneath him. Joey: Sabu is deadly at throwing chairs. That can’t be a good sign.

Sabu of course kicks out of the Van Daminator and the Five Star because that’s perfectly reasonable. We’ve been going about half an hour now and I think I know what’s coming. I know this isn’t a lot of text for that long of a match but it’s been about 15 minutes of them just wasting time or laying around or setting up tables and chairs.

There’s been more or less nothing of note here and I’m sure some ECW fan will explain to me that I just don’t get this match and why it’s so great. I’d love one day to watch one of these shows with an ECW fan and hear them try to defend it. Sabu kicks out of the Five Star through a table. Yep that’s perfectly realistic. The move known as Starship Pain gets two and then Sabu gets two and the bell rings for the STUPID time limit draw. They yell at each other for a long time.

Rating: D. There were some interesting drama spots near the end but for the most part this match sucked. There was so much time spent laying around and ridiculous kicking out of moves that it just stopped being interesting. Most of it was on the floor and Sabu of course botched half of what he did. This was ridiculous and the third match in a row that was stupid, and considering the obvious ending coming up, this isn’t going to be a highly received show.

We hear from Shane who reminds us that he’s VERY hurt. We get WAY too long of a recap of Shane’s career and a quick thing from Snow saying he’ll win.

ECW World Title: Al Snow vs. Shane Douglas

So Snow is more or less the hottest thing in the company’s history as everyone likes him and he’s having the best matches of his career. Shane is hurt beyond belief here so to have him win would tick off the audience and completely bury Snow more or less guarantees that Shane will keep the belt here. This starts off like a good showdown match: with both guys being in control for a good while.

This is actually decent stuff with both guys only using a chair. Snow actually kicks out of the belly to belly suplex which anywhere else would be nothing but here it’s a big deal apparently. There’s also no interference for the most part until the locker room empties to watch the match. After a Francine run in, Snow goes up top for a sunset flip which completely misses and Shane drops down for the pin.

The fans go DEAD. I mean they are as quiet as any fans ever have been in ECW history. This was just stupid booking and you can tell Joey thinks so too. This would have been like Austin losing to Michaels at Mania 14.

Rating: D+. And that’s being generous. The problem was that Heyman had booked himself into a corner as he had Taz vs. Shane which he had to build to but Snow was WAY more over than both guys and should have won the title here. However, it had to be about Shane again who no one cared about other than like 8 people. Again, he held the title EIGHT more months after this, FINALLY losing it to Taz in January before leaving a little while later.

The problem was that Snow or Taz should have had the title but by the time they pulled the trigger with Taz the company was in major trouble. Snow was literally on Raw the next night and not seen in ECW again, and why should he have been? He just lost the biggest push of his career and was more or less crippled so that Shane Douglas could get another big push. And people wonder why ECW isn’t around today.

Overall Rating: F. This show was just bad as NOTHING happened here. Seriously, the TV Title match goes to a draw, Heyman’s idiocy eats Al Snow for a solid meal, the Storm/Candido feud is STILL going on and burying a team at a time, Sandman and Dreamer beat the best team in the company despite one being in a neck brace and Credible is apparently cool for beating up a comedy champion.

What was the point here? The Snow thing is just inexcusable, period. It’s stupid stuff like this that caused Heyman to be out of business and he should be considering this crap. Oh and someone PLEASE defend RVD vs. Sabu. I want you to.

2 comments

  1. Matt Jarrell says:

    Good review KB. Pretty funny to think that an Al Snow main event drew a bigger crowd than what TNA can draw today.

  2. ehh says:

    There’s no way Snow could have won. He was on loan from the WWF at that point. He was sent there to get himself over or his career was pretty much over. He did that. WWF came calling. This was his send-off, and something of a gift from Heyman. I don’t think Snow had ever been promoted as a top guy, by anyone, ever. Even in SMW he was a midcard guy. So the fact that he was headlining a show for ECW was a bit insane. Should he have gone over? Probably. But I don’t think the WWF cared too much about that since he redebuted with the company a month or two after this.

    Also, the Dudleys/Dreamer feud was more the means to an end. Beulah wanted off-camera because, if I remember right, she was going back to school or something like that. The point of the feud was to write her out of the picture. So they came up with the angle where the Dudleys broke her neck. It accomplished that first goal, and it put more heat on the Dudleys. So I don’t think it was entirely pointless.

    I don’t want to seem like an ECW apologist. They did some dumb stuff, but I do think you’re being a bit harsh. If you look at the company as the last regional territory, which it was, instead of some counter-culture revolution, which Heyman tried to position it as, then I think expectations are set at an appropriate level. It wasn’t the greatest promotion ever. It was just one of the best territories.