November to Remember 1998 – Why This Wasn’t Taz’s Night I’ll Never Know

November to Remember 1998
Date: November 1, 1998
Location: Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Attendance: 5,800
Commentator: Joey Styles

So we’re another three months later and not a ton has changed. Shane is FINALLY coming back to the ring since you know, that whole three months of not being able to wrestle wasn’t justification to take the belt off of him AT ALL. At this point he’s held the title for just shy of a year and will hold it until January where the yearlong story with Taz will be blown off.

The main event is Sabu/Van Dam/Taz vs. the Triple Threat. Jake Roberts and Tommy Rich are here and we’re near the Gulf of Mexico. Oh dear. This sounds like HEROES OF WRESTLING all over again. Let’s get this over with, and I’m appointing X to be near me with a bottle of whiskey and a gun.

We open to New Jack jumping Jack Victory in the parking lot in black and white for no apparent reason. Metaphor for something maybe? Jack gets cuffed and taken away by conveniently present policemen. I really don’t like New Jack in case you didn’t know. I didn’t mention this but this show is more or less their Wrestlemania, so keep that in mind as I’ll be grading it as their mega show.

Joey, who looks different for some reason, runs down the card as per usual. Just to be clear: the main event of the biggest show of the year is a six man tag match with no title on the line. Just keep that in mind. And here’s Terry Funk for no apparent reason, wearing a mortarboard (hat you wear when you graduate). I love Funk’s voice. It’s just so freaking insane sounding that it’s awesome.

He’s mad that he wasn’t invited and FUNK YOU Paul E and the fans. He’s also mad about Dreamer picking someone else as his partner tonight. He says Dreamer’s father was a crackhead and his mother was a whore. Well that’s better than smelling of elderberries and being a hamster I guess.

Dreamer comes out as Funk says he’s been practicing his double flip off the top rope and he doesn’t get to do it. This was uh, different. Yeah that’s right. It was different. Not bad or anything, just odd.

Theme song, with a graphic thanking the fans. Nothing wrong with that.

Blue World Order vs. Danny Doring/Roadkill

The BWO here are Nova and Meanie, as Richards realized he had that thing that people like called mainstream appeal so he’s in WWF at this point. Roadkill is an Amish guy, called the Angry Amish Chicken Plucker. This could be a really long night. They’re a new team here but they would eventually become kind of a big deal by ECW standards. Doring is about as bland as you could dream of a guy with his name being.

Nova has some unique offense from what I remember so this should be ok. And here’s Funk again with his own cameraman. There’s also a camera following Funk and his cameraman. Styles asks a great question: why are we focusing on Terry Funk when there’s wrestling going on. Funk takes over as timekeeper. Again, I get that he’s a far bigger star, but if you’re going to have these four guys out there, don’t take the focus off of them for Funk.

Yes he’s by far the bigger star and more important than all four combined, but show the guys some respect if you could. We get a lot of heel miscommunication to keep the faces in control as this is becoming a glorified squash. Ok the People’s Legdrop is kind of a cute idea but I’m still not huge on theatrical moves. Not a big deal at all though. And here’s Funk again to interfere and then put himself through a table.

Doring is setting for something but stops to do a strut called the Dastardly Shuffle. I like the name if nothing else. Ok seriously, have the match, or follow Funk. This is annoying. Joey makes me chuckle asking if Roadkill took a horse and buggy to New Orleans from Pennsylvania. That’s rather amusing. He does a Taker rope walk but misses the elbow drop he was trying.

Doring has a lot of long and drawn out names for his moves which is clever for some stupid reason that I don’t get but whatever. He and Nova are working the majority of the match which is intelligent. And now we have one of my biggest annoyances of ECW: claiming Monday Night shows steal all their moves. This is brought up by Nova doing a move called the Sledge-o-Matic. It’s a diving powerbomb where he goes to the side on the landing.

In other words, it’s the same move but with a slight twist that makes zero difference. It’s wrestling guys. People use the same moves quite often. You don’t see a right hand being called a Strangler Lewis Special do you? Now yes, ECW got ripped off more than any other company I can think of, but at times they got ridiculous complaining about it.

I mean really, can you imagine someone complaining about every tiny little thing that goes on at a wrestling show which no one else would have the sheer stupidity to notice since no one else would be such a bored and pathetic human being to think this in depth about such a thing? Can you imagine how pitiful that person really is? DANG they would drive me crazy. What’s the point of picking something apart and blowing the tiniest thing completely out or proportion?

Anyway, this match needs to end as the right lace of Nova’s left boot has a single thread sticking out and it’s driving me crazy. Nova hits a modified tornado DDT that is completely different than the one that Chavo Guerrero had been using around this time, because it was MODIFIED. The BWO wins it with a double team move where Meanie did a wheelbarrow lift into a DDT from Nova called the Blue Light Special.

And here’s Funk again to steal the spotlight, which yes I know that’s fine and the point. I have no problem with it here, but did we need to have him do the stuff during the match? Not that I can see of. Heyman comes out to calm him down. So in other words the ten minute match was all just to set up the Funk angle. Got it. Not that bad of an idea I guess as at least there was a full length match, unlike in WWE where it would have been lucky to go 100 seconds before Funk ran in, so points for that definitely.

Rating: D. It was a long squash and Funk stole the focus at a very annoying rate. I don’t get that but we’re just twenty three minutes into the show so maybe we’ll find out later. This wasn’t a very good match but it got the crowd going, which isn’t really something ECW needs as I always thought they had Red Bull IVs going into them but I get the idea.

We recap the tag title match with is Balls Mahoney and Masato Tanaka vs. the Dudleys. Mahoney and Tanaka had a match where they more or less had a chair duel that went to a draw. They had another and the Dudleys ran in for no apparent reason. Somehow this got Tanaka and Mahoney a tag title shot but the Dudleys beat them up beforehand so they got the shot and won the belts. Ok then.

And that match isn’t for about 40 more minutes. Why am I trying to make sense of this?

Tracy Smothers vs. Tommy Rogers

O……..k. Rodgers is one half of the Fantastics from the 80s but since he was an agent for ECW that makes sense. The FBI, the Full blooded Italians, have a German wrestler named Ulf Herman with them now. Rogers has Chris Chetti. Not actually explained but I guess it was a known thing at the time. This was a comedy stable that was very popular although I never could get into them.

Oh ok Chetti is there to watch his back against the FBI. That makes sense. I guess Chetti just sits in the back in his gear as a backup for hire? Rich complains about the town for cheap and easy heel heat. Rogers gets on the mic and points out the joke of the FBI. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Amusingly enough they make fun of the Saints and earlier today they made the Super Bowl so that’s kind of funny. The fans want their pizza.

This is a fast paced match to start off which is fine but less than two minutes in and we’ve had four interferences already. And we have the camera on Herman and Chetti who fight to the back. Oh look, MORE INTERFERING. I get that it’s a heel stable, but dude can we have ONE match with no interference? Is that too much to ask?

Guido has done three different run ins inside of two minutes. This is the straight wrestling match tonight right? Rogers looks in ok shape actually. There’s a logo in the middle of the ring now for the show which is a nice little touch. After MORE heel miscommunication, Rogers hits the Tomikaze (Unprettier/Killswitch which he used first) for the pin.

Rating: D+. This match exemplifies two of the major problems I’ve always had with ECW. Number one, while decent, what possible reason could you could up with for two guys in their late 30s of this caliber to wrestle on the biggest show of the year? I can overlook that though as the wrestling was actually rather good here so that’s excused.

However, that’s the problem here: the wrestling was rather good, but there were literally 6 different interferences in this match. Why can’t we just have a good wrestling match? Is that a sin or something?

The FBI argue/fight but instead they jump Rogers instead. Chetti comes out for the save with a nice springboard double clothesline. He hits a moonsault onto Rich and Mabel is here with Herman. Are you kidding? Is this supposed to be a major talent acquisition or something? Herman hits what would eventually evolve into the Musclebuster.

And here’s Spike Dudley to beat up Herman who is about Hall’s size and then Mabel. This makes perfect sense too. Spike gets the Acid Drop on both guys and sits on them…and the referee makes the count and calls for the bell. Yeah sure why not. Mabel would be Viscera in less than three months. The fans bought this is nothing else so I guess it had something resembling a point, and Spike was a giant killer anyway. It was quick too so that’s not so bad.

Rotten, Mahoney and Tanaka say they’re ready for the Dudleys. Rotten wasn’t terrible on the mic actually. He’s doing nothing but screaming, but he’s articulate and makes his point so I can’t complain much. Match isn’t up next though so there we go.

Lance Storm vs. Jerry Lynn

Storm has the newly appearing Tammy Lynn Bytch with him. She’s more commonly known as Dawn Marie. Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch but since the names would just get complicated we’ll go with Sunny and Dawn here) and Mikey Whipwreck are the guest referees. Why Mikey? Why two referees?

I’m assuming we won’t be told, but remember kids: even though ECW was marketing to the masses now and had no national television outlet, it wasn’t their fault that you didn’t get storylines that you had to live in New England to know about. Just ask any ECW mark and they’ll tell you that. I always had a big thing for Marie. Storm is freshly heel here. Everyone gets their own entrance of course, and once again let us remind you: Mikey has pinned Steve Austin.

Can’t blame them there as that is a big deal kind of. Oh wait this is 98. That’s freaking huge. We get a big recap of it with Heyman narrating and he points out that we get a great back shot in it. Heyman was different if nothing else. In a big brawl at the ECW Arena Mikey ran in to help one of the girls. That’s an explanation so I’ll give it credit for that. These recaps have been a God send as I would have no clue otherwise. Barely Legal really needed those.

And yep Sunny looks great. She knew how to carry herself better than any other woman in wrestling history, including Elizabeth. She puts her shoes on in the ring which is of course both a big production and sexy somehow. This should be good as I’ve always been a fan of Storm’s in ring stuff. One time Sunny needs to just flash the freaking crowd to end the chants. Ok so I just want to see her boobs give me a break.

Thankfully Mikey goes to the floor so we only have one referee in there. Still a bit overbooked but there’s a point and backstory to it at least so that’s an improvement. They are freaking MOVING out there. This is by far the hottest the crowd has been all night long. Ok so maybe the overbooking works here. Tammy really wants to get to count the pin on Storm mind you. Storm is born to be a heel really. He’s awesome at it.

We hit the floor and Lynn just goes off. I love with Storm does a springboard move. It just looks so smooth. Storm goes for another one over the top rope but hits his head/neck on the rope on the way to the floor. He’s fine but that could have been bad. Storm hits a Skull Crushing Finale which is a move I’ve always liked. Has there ever been a more painful looking move than a surfboard? I certainly can’t think of one.

Sunny’s facial expressions are awesome. I kind of like the dynamic they’re going with here as they’re not even trying to hide the biased officiating here. Here’s Dawn interfering and yep she’s getting stripped. Mikey runs in and hits the Whippersnapper on both girls. Oh never mind they blocked it on Sunny. Lynn gets one as well and that only gets a VERY long two.

Sunny messes up the one she gets but then after a small package from Lynn on Storm, Mikey reverses it so Storm has the cover and fast counts it. It was something about Storm low blowed him but Mikey couldn’t tell. The problem was that no one got that, which messed it up. The crowd went silent on that one.

Rating: B-. Seriously, Jerry Lynn and Lance Storm? I mean really Paul, do you not think that these two can have a good match without some big thing going on? I get that the interferences made sense, but dude, look at the two guys in there and tell me with a straight face that they need the help to have an entertaining match.

Funk apologizes and says he’s done with wrestling and he won’t be this much of a jerk again. Oh and this is for good. We’re at an hour, seventeen minutes and twenty-seven seconds into the video. Keep that in mind.

We recap the tag title match and then we recap Justin vs. Tommy in the dream mystery partner death match. They keep calling Justin the fastest rising star and hottest star in wrestling. They back this up by showing him breaking the leg of a Japanese star and injuring Mikey Whipwreck, caning Sandman a lot, and caning Sandman a lot.

So let me make sure I got this right. He broke the leg of a guy most people don’t know of, he injured the leg of a guy with a LONG history of knee problems, caned a guy that made a living in cane matches, and did exactly the same thing that Sandman did far more famously years ago. I have NEVER gotten the hype about Justin.

He couldn’t wrestle more than anything average, he had a gimmicky name and he didn’t look special at all. Yet Paul refused to put RVD on top over him. That makes no sense but it’s Heyman so at times it’s a wonder you can understand what he says let alone what he’s thinking.

ECW Tag Titles: Masato Tanaka/Balls Mahoney vs. Dudley Boys

We got the explanation already….45 minutes ago, but we did indeed get it. Hopefully Joel gets to talk for awhile here as he always makes me at least chuckle. We get Bubba instead, which works fine for me. Joel makes a Mark McGwire reference, which is a lot less awe inspiring now. Screw it. He saved baseball so I don’t care. He has more game than Parker Brothers too. That’s a good line.

The intro is subdued here as I guess taking ten minutes was too much. I’m guessing Rotten is hurt here or something as he’s out with them. It’s another odd tag team here with Tanaka and Mahoney. Yeah they say he has liver and kidney problem. That’s what I was thinking. I love how so many Japanese wrestlers are just from Japan. No town is ever given. It’s just Japan.

Apparently the Louisiana Athletic Commission says no chairs, but they’re going to do it anyway because the big two wishes they could do things like ECW does. I get the idea, but that’s just laughable at this time period. Rotten apparently overrides the athletic commission and chairs are legal. Even though this is a deathmatch, they’re tagging in and out. Somehow this is the most contained match of the night.

I hate nerve holds. It’s more or less a neck massage. If you insist on resting less than five minutes into the match, use a chinlock or something that looks good. Sign from Sign Guy: D-Von Stained Monica’s Dress. D-Von does a People’s Elbow but ends with a headbutt. Keep in mind that earlier on they criticized the Monday shows for stealing moves. I guess a comedy move works here.

We hit the floor and Bubba dives over the top rope to take out the other three. Yep we’re at the messy portion of tonight’s show, but this one is a deathmatch so that’s more understandable. Bubba takes four roaring elbows before going down. The managers and other guys get into it but only with each other so there’s a chance that there won’t be any interference here.

I’ll give them credit: they went an hour and forty minutes with no weapons. That sounds condescending but in reality that’s a very good thing. Over half of the show wasn’t ridiculously violent. Now it was ridiculously overbooked, but the wrestling still happened. The faces take four chair shots to the head each and then Tanaka kicks out of 3D.

AND THE DUDLEYS EXPLODE!!! Why is it that chair shots don’t put people down here? I mean it’s a freaking STEEL CHAIR. There’s strong style and there’s freaking stupidity. In a VERY funny spot, the referee goes down and we have the Dudleys’ evil referee to come in. He fakes the shoulder injury thing, and Tanaka yells at him in Japanese. Jones, the referee, pulls out a Japanese to English dictionary and I lose it. It might be that it’s 3am, but that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in ECW for some reason.

And now it’s table time. To continue the theme of the night, Van Dam and Sabu run in and put the champions through tables in a cool looking spot. Naturally this is enough for the titles. In other words, a splash/leg drop onto a table, meaning there was less time for RVD or Sabu to get momentum going, was enough to get the pin, but BLASTING THEM IN THE HEAD WITH A METAL CHAIR WASN’T!

Rating: D-. This was crap, plain and simple. It only passes for the dictionary spot which legitimately cracked me up. Seriously, nerve holds, no selling of chair shots, RVD and Sabu running in and all that was just too much for me. They held the belts five days anyway.

The Triple Threat says they’ll win because they’re a team.

We hear about the Triple Threat vs. the three faces tonight.

Ad for the ECW CD.

Justin Credible/Jack Victory vs. Tommy Dreamer/???

This was explained earlier so I’m not redoing it. And the mystery partner is Jake Roberts. Is this supposed to be a bigger deal than Mabel was earlier? Jake is in street clothes here. This is also a deathmatch apparently. Jake is way taller than the rest of the people in the match. He’s also in street clothes for no apparent reason. Justin beats up Tommy for awhile, including a DDT where he doesn’t actually go down with him. Yeah that was weird.

He follows that up like he does any move he does: taunting the crowd. There’s Jason coming in to make us 5/5 for interfering in matches. Yes it’s a manager so it’s a bit of a stretch but still. They go for the Raven drop toehold thing but they get it backwards somehow so Dreamer goes chest first into the back of the chair. That was just odd looking.

Dreamer finally breaks up the momentum with Emerald Frosion, a Misawa move that he had been using for years and I’m sure will now be used on Monday nights also as it’s the Dreamer Driver here. I love double standards. Jake and Dreamer set for double DDTs, but Rod Price and One Man Gang are here to give us a REAL run in. Without knowing what they’re doing here, they would be people seven and eight of Justin’s entourage (Justin, Victory, Nicole Bass, Lance Wright, Chastity, Jason). You think that’s enough???

And here are New Jack and Kronus to beat everyone up with weapons. Yeah this isn’t taking the spotlight off the big celebrity mystery partner or the big feud here at all. You know the song wouldn’t be so annoying if New Jack was actually worth a stupid thing.

Hey they stopped the song when it stopped being about New Jack. There is hope I tell you! Bass runs in and gets a low blow and Jake’s DDT for her troubles to a huge pop. It amazes me that Jake has made a second career out of showing up and hitting a single DDT and nothing else. He gets another on Justin for the pin.

Rating: D+. For once here and I have no idea why, they run ins made sense to me. Well scratch that. I can understand everything with the run ins other than Gang and Price. Now after that New Jack and Kronus make sense as they’re balancing things out. I guess the run ins made sense here, but I’ll say the same things I’ve said all night: what’s the point to it as it’s just overbooking, and second, this is the 5th match and the fifth with a run in.

When you do it that many times, it’s total overkill. Wait…Victory was NEVER IN THE MATCH. Literally, he didn’t get tagged in and Jason kept running in instead. That’s ECW for you I guess. Final thing: how can Credible be considered the hottest thing in wrestling if he never, you know, wins?

And of course Funk is here to beat the heck out of Dreamer while screaming at him to say he’s sorry and that he’s a jerk. Dreamer won’t fight back, which is a touch that I like. This would go on forever but Funk “retired” long enough to go back to WCW to watch it freaking die.

The face team talks. Read as Van Dam talks.

And now Taz breathes heavily and talks about Shane. You know, the guy he’s been talking about for the last 7 months but you know, at the biggest show of the year, we can’t have the epic title change as Shane has to hold the title for another two months to validate his useless existence. Seriously, I do not get this.

This is the big return for Shane. His injuries weren’t enough to take the title off of him, so in other words he’s going to keep the title an extra five months due to injuries and apparently some unspecified reason here.

Triple Threat vs. Sabu/Rob Van Dam/Taz

Triple Threat is Shane, Bigelow and Candido. Sabu has a neck brace on for no apparent reason. I would guess it’s due to him being Sabu. Of course there’s no actual semblance of that pesky tagging or wrestling thing. Yep it’s more brawling. I just saw the dumbest spot I’ve ever seen. Sabu sets the chair up for the triple jump over the ropes. Ok that’s fine. Shane and Bigelow look up as he’s getting to the top rope.

Now at this point, I could actually buy that they simply don’t have time to move. However, he botches the move so THEY STAY THERE WHILE HE RESETS AND DIVES ON THEM. And when I say resets, I mean he staggers on the rope, gets down and jumps again. Yeah, the heels have no issue with just standing there and letting themselves get jumped on. Do you see why this place makes my head hurt? HOLY CRAP they’re tagging!

This is just a huge mess as there’s no point to this match as nothing other than a big pin from Taz on Shane is going to happen, setting up their match probably three months from now. HERE WE GO! Taz vs. Douglas! The showdown that’s been six months….oh of course they mess it up. Instead of seeing them go one on one, we go to a shot of Van Dam balancing himself on a corner before jumping down and then throwing himself at Bigelow.

This place stuns me at times. Oh ok we’re back now. And Van Dam keeps doing flips which we keep cutting to. TAZMISSION!!!!! And Sabu hits an Arabian Facebuster from the top with a chair onto Taz then covers Shane to get the pin.

Rating: F. So let me make sure I have this straight. We’ve spent seven or eight months building to one match: Shane vs. Taz with Taz ending the epic reign of Douglas and taking the belt in a huge moment. Ok, that’s fine. That’s wrestling booking 102 or 103. I’m cool with that. So then Shane gets hurt and has to take off at least three months.

Now here you have a major dilemma and the problem with long and drawn out angles like this: (To be fair though, for a company that has 4 PPVs a year, I can completely understand wanting to wait and draw it out) what if someone gets hurt? Things can change in the interim and that’s what’s happened here. Shane was hurt so the feud was dragged out even longer. Now we get to the dumb part.

Last PPV, held on August 2nd (remember this is on November 1st) Shane announced he would return to the ring at this show. Read as: they had three months of TV to set up whatever match they wanted. And so we just set up Taz vs. Sabu? Why? This makes zero sense, but hey, it’s ECW, so it’s awesome right?

Overall Rating: F+. Did they actually think before they put this show on the air? Again as I’ve said before, it’s like they forgot they had a PPV and just threw it together in two days. This was their Wrestlemania and it’s not like they didn’t know that as Joey says that this is their showcase event to open the show. Nothing of interest happened here.

Mahoney and Tanaka lost the belts less than a week later so the title reign is up there with Volkoff and Sheik taking the belts at Wrestlemania I. This show was just a failure all around, but for some reason there was some little thing I liked about it and for the life of me I can’t put my finger on it, hence the F+. Stay away clearly.

1 comment

  1. Javier Torres says:

    This wasn’t one of the better ecw shows for sure. If I remember right the reason the run ins in the dreamer match happened was because Victory broke his leg legit during the match.

    [Reply]

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