On This Day: March 1, 1998 – Living Dangerously 1998: This Company Is In Trouble

Living Dangerously 1998
Date: March 1, 1998
Location: Asbury Park Convention Center, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Attendance: 3,700
Commentator: Joey Styles

It’s been about four to five months since our last outing and only one thing has really changed: Al Snow. He’s risen to prominence now with the Head gimmick and he is having a match tonight with Kronus to showcase himself. Also Storm is feuding with Candido because Storm got thrown out of his spot as a Triple Threat prospect.

 

Also we have Taz vs. Bigelow for the TV Title in Bigelow’s home town. That could be good. The company has lost its pass now for being a young company since their last two PPVs have looked good and been decent, so it’s now a regular grade and not an ECW adjusted one. Let’s get to a show that I’d guess is named after Heyman’s alter ego. Let’s get to it.

We open with a shot from last night apparently of Taz walking into the empty arena and saying he’s ready. Isn’t that called breaking and entering? I think this is supposed to be based on Rocky but I’m not sure. Oh wait it’s from Philadelphia. Of course it’s a Rocky reference.

Joey opens the actual show and the arena looks really good. It’s well lit and looks very full, which makes me think there were like 8 people on the camera side. We get the intro video and song and we’re ready to go.

Jerry Lynn/Chris Chetti vs. F.B.I.

Chetti was the first graduate of the House of Hardcore, the ECW wrestling school, which I know because Joey says that Chris Chetti was the first graduate of the House of Hardcore, the ECW wrestling school. The F.B.I. are all dancing for some reason. This is Guido and Smothers in case you were wondering.

 

Lynn had little credibility at this point but he was getting more popular. Chetti is introduced as the first graduate of the House of Hardcore, the ECW wrestling school. The fans don’t like Smothers, like at all. Maybe Lynn has more credibility at this point than I thought. Ok the WOO for chops is getting annoying.

 

Lynn takes out both guys with a nice looking dive from the top. Rich accidentally nails Chetti. Wait what? That’s what Joey said but it makes no sense. That’s not something I usually have to say about him. He annoys me but to be fair he doesn’t make many huge mistakes. Also to be fair, another guy up there might catch his errors, which are understandable.

 

Chetti hooks a small package but Lynn messes up and has the referee. Again Chris gets the cover on a rollup but there’s no referee. Chetti gets a nice spot where he runs up the corner and comes back with a reverse leg lariat. That was pretty sweet. He finally gets the hot tag to Lynn who cleans house including a jumping back elbow which makes him awesome. Rick comes in with an Italian flag but the shot misses and hits Guido, giving Lynn a rollup for the win.

Rating: C+. Not bad at all. It was pretty fast paced and formula based so everything went fine there. It got the crowd into the show which is never a problem that this place has so that kind of makes these matches redundant. Even still, this was fine.

Joey says Wing Kanemura isn’t here so of course we get a video package anyway on him. He’s not here. Ok then.

Lance Wright, some jerk in a bad suit that says he works for Vince, says that tonight it’s Doug Furnas vs. Tanaka. This guy is really annoying.

Masato Tanaka vs. Doug Furnas

So I watched the whole match before I started writing about it and the only word to describe it is sloppy beyond all belief. I mean they botch a ton of stuff here and it’s not like they’re little spots. They botch BIG spots. Tanaka tries for a tornado DDT but it turns into them just falling all over each other.

 

I guess you can chalk some of this up to them having limited time to prepare, but at the same time these are pros and shouldn’t have to deal with things like this. The fans are booing the heck out of this match and I can’t say for a second that I blame them. It’s just amateurish looking to say the least.

 

A botch here and there is one thing but this is awful. Tanaka ends this nightmare with a roaring elbow. Ok so it wasn’t all botches but still there were FAR too many in here to be acceptable. Post match Wright talks about WWF higher ups and Furnas nails him before putting on an ECW shirt, and I’m assuming defecting or something like that.

Rating: D. The botches just killed it and in a match that doesn’t even go for six minutes that just sucked the life out of this one for me. This just wasn’t worth a PPV time slot but again to be fair they didn’t know that this would be the match. They at least realized the match sucked and ended it before it got out of hand.

Ad for the Hardcore Hotline. Also, you can get a FREE merchandise catalogue. That’s actually smart. Wrestlepalooza, which might be the best name ever, is in two months which is the shortest layoff yet so that’s a good sign.

We can’t air Sandman vs. Sabu because it’s graphic. Keep that in mind.

Nicole Bass, an annoying chick that thought she was a hot Chyna and Jason, an annoying guy, show up and demand that we see a tape. It’s of Dreamer showing up without Beaulah. Yeah that’s it. Tommy has his dog with him. That’s just cool for some reason.

Rob Van Dam vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

Van Dam is still a huge heel here but it’s lightening up a lot. Scorpio is over as free beer in a frat house. He’s Flash Funk at this point but here he’s just the simple 2 Cold Scorpio and therefore much better than he was in WWF. The more I hear the more I think Van Dam is already a face. They start with a long feeling out process which is fine as they do some decent technical stuff.

 

However, we of course get a botch because it’s ECW. Those things just suck the life out of a lot of matches. I understand that they are going to happen and at least here they covered it up a bit. In the previous match they just assumed no one noticed and thought it would be fine. That’s just freaking dumb. We get a very nice reversal sequence with a lot of monkey flips that ends with a standoff.

 

Very nice indeed. We hit the floor and Van Dam is in the crowd. Well you knew it was going to happen sooner or later I guess. I think they’re going for the big epic match here but the fans aren’t all happy with it which can’t be a good sign. To be fair though, most of the time not all fans are going to love the thing. The fans want Sandman apparently. That sums up ECW crowds pretty well.

 

We’re given a high flying technically mostly sound match, and the fans want weapons and blood and tables. So many times these fans were just ridiculous and stupid and this is one of them. Scorpio hits a SWEET moonsault. The Five Star which isn’t called that yet gets knees or what are called knees I suppose as it looked like it hit pretty well to me. We hit the ramp for awhile and the Van Daminator is more or less no sold. Hint for how to counter: HIT HIM WITH THE CHAIR. Seriously dude, use some freaking intelligence.

 

A piledriver on the ramp and Van Dam is hurt. And there goes the referee because in a no DQ match we need a referee for…? Van Dam tries to steal the 450 and would have missed completely anyway. Scorpio mostly hits the 450 and here’s Sabu to up the workrate. An Arabian Facebuster gets two. Sandman comes out to chase off Sabu. Van Dam gets a SWEET jumping rollup for the pin. Post match Van Dam acts very cocky and offers a handshake but Scorpio nails him to a big pop.

 

Sabu comes back with a table so they try to put Scorpio through it. Naturally this doesn’t work as Sandman makes the save. In a stupid moment, as Scorpio is laying on it and Sandman makes the save, he pops up as soon as Sandman is here. Yeah that didn’t look dumb at all. Sandman tries a hurricanrana from the top through the table on Sabu. Guess what happens. Go ahead and guess. Anyway, the two faces share a beer after the match. Sandman dances. This is disturbing.

Rating: B-. This was good, but it suffers from the same problem that it always does: Paul Heyman overbooking it. Can ANYONE explain to me why Sabu and Sandman had to come in there? I know RVD and Sabu are partners, but he had no business coming to ringside at all.

 

The match was rather good until they went to the floor and it became just another brawl. Why is wrestling so hard to do when you have two guys that are really good at it? I get that it’s a hardcore company, but at the end of the day it’s a wrestling company and should be about wrestling.

Ok so see if you can follow this one. That’s not me talking, that’s how Heyman starts the next video package. Are you freaking kidding me? The idea is that Storm was a Triple Threat (top heel stable) prospect and won the tag titles with Candido who was in Triple Threat.

 

Sunny showed up and got Candido to go insane and beat up Storm so they’re still champions but hate each other. I didn’t know Russo worked for ECW. Tonight there’s a tag match where they’re on other sides and both get to pick partners. The winners get nothing at all. They would hold the titles another THREE MONTHS before losing them. You think that’s long enough?

Dudley Boys vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley vs. Hardcore Chair Swingin Freaks

It’s elimination rules of course. Gertner’s intro is hilarious for Big Dick Dudley: “The man who last night took such liberties with YOUR mother that he is now legally your father in 17 states.” That is just awesome. About himself: “More tongue in cheek than a lesbian orgy” and “Joel, your girlfriend has me on speed dial because she loves the way I star 69 her, Gertner.” This guy is awesome.

 

He follows that up with “Currently getting jiggy with it to my left,” seriously, sign this guy now. The intro takes like 8 minutes but it’s hilarious. Balls and Axl come out and the brawl is on early. And after some ok stuff here’s New Jack with his weapons to screw the whole thing up. Oh dang it we have to listen to the freaking song again don’t we. Yep we do.

 

The music really throws things off as it keeps making me think that something important is happening or that the team who came out to it are winning. And yep it’s all weapons now. Spike keeps jumping all over the place because that’s the only thing he can do to make sense here. And now all six go into the crowd. Ok then. We’re at the merchandise stand now and Spike and New Jack dive like 15 feet to the floor through tables through the Dudleys.

 

Ok, when Mankind did it, it was cool. This was just mindless violence being substituted for wrestling. Keep in mind that ten minutes into this match the sang song is still playing. An Acid Drop through a table gets two for Spike as Bubba saves it since they want to eliminate Balls and Axl. And a 3D does just that. Twin guitar shots and an Acid Drop and a chair from the top ends this mess.

Rating: D. I hate these things. They’re just complete garbage and more than anything else, I hate that song. Why is this considered interesting or good or anything like that? Anyway, this was just like every other one of these that they did as in it was completely pointless and mindless crap.

We get a big long package about Justin Credible who was pushed to the freaking moon for years. The problem: the fans didn’t care or buy it. Why didn’t they? Simply put: he wasn’t any good. He was average as can be and that’s it.

Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer

Jenna Jameson is the new reporter. Naturally she’s almost naked so that’s fine. Justin Credible comes out and says he has Beaulah so who needs Jenna. I would agree actually. Nicole Bass and Jason are with him and I honestly thought Bass was a man at first. Jenna tries to act tough and it just fails. Dreamer comes out and I have to hear her consistently say Tommy I love you (for those of you that don’t know, that’s my first name).

 

He kisses her and Joey says Dreamer goes where every man has gone before which made me laugh. Dreamer actually hits a plancha as we have a priest in the front row and we keep hearing about how Justin crossed a line. That amuses me to no end. And hey, what a shock, it’s a brawl. AGAIN Joey talks about the Sandman vs. Sabu match that we can’t show. Let it be made clear: WE CANNOT SHOW IT.

 

Yeah just remember that. Dreamer hits a running dropkick to the chair while Justin is in the Tree of Woe. We get kind of a Raven spot as Dreamer gets hit with a drop toehold into a chair. Ok, Justin doesn’t deserve to be WOOED on chops. Neither does Tommy to be fair. They use a chair for about ten spots in a row because that just makes things better or whatever. Dreamer hits a DEATH VALLEY Driver (screw that Spicolli nonsense. He was a drug addict and died after taking too many drugs.

 

He’s not some saint that deserves to be canonized. Let it go already.) which Justin no sells. The spinning, which adds nothing to it that I can see, tombstone hits and here’s Beaulah. She hits Justin low and does the same to Jason before DDTing him. Nicole puts her in a bearhug which she manages to botch.

 

Bass falls out of her top as Mikey Whipwreck, who feuded with Justin but has no bearing here comes in for the save. He has a bad leg and Justin breaks a crutch over his cast before Dreamer hits a DDT for the pin.

Rating: D+. What was the point of this again? I forgot with all the chair shots and nonsense going on. This was just more mindless fighting that nothing actually came from. I’m not huge on that as it just was stupid. And I like Tommy.

We get the same ad from earlier for the catalogue and PPV which apparently wasn’t supposed to air then.

Now we get what was supposed to air: Bigelow vs. Taz which was because Bigelow was getting beaten up by Triple Threat so he asked Taz to be his partner to fight them. Taz gets a great line: “I’m not gonna be your partner. I’m gonna be your savior.”

 

Keep in mind that was in his shouting voice. After Taz beats up Shane and says he wants to be world champion (the match didn’t happen for almost another year) Bigelow jumps him and reveals it was all a setup to stop Taz. That makes sense I guess.

TV Title: Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Remember that Bigelow is the hometown boy. I love how they announce Bigelow’s weight and Joey says a different one during the match. That always amuses me for some reason. Bigelow hits a great powerbomb. He was always great at that move. Shame Diesel was using it in WWF so Bigelow couldn’t do it. This is a long brawl but there’s some wrestling in there to balance it out I guess.

 

They hit the crowd for awhile and actually Taz gets some solid cheers. And then Bigelow gets suplexed off the ramp and to the floor and both nearly die. Because that’s clearly the big ratings draw here right? We go back to the ring and Bigelow uses power stuff which Taz gets to suplex his way out of. See, THAT is how Taz looks good: when it’s Shane or some small guy that he’s throwing around it just gets repetitive.

 

The suplexes are leverage moves and now he’s getting to show what he can do with that leverage, making it seem far more important. The tables are brought in as we just have to have those because the wrestling here clearly isn’t good enough. We brawl on the floor AGAIN as I grow to hate Heyman even more. It’s ok to just wrestle in the ring guys. The fans are really restless here as they were popping like cherries for the wrestling stuff.

 

Case in point: Taz takes a sign to the head, fans are dead/booing. They trade punches, crowd cheers. See? It’s not hard to just have wrestling. Tazmission is locked in and Bigelow drops him through the ring. They climb out and Bigelow pulls Taz up for the easy pin. It looked cool and the fans all freaked out over it, but Bigelow couldn’t win with his shoulder piledriver to give us a standard ending? I hate that.

Rating: D+. The brawling was just too much here. This match wanted so badly to be good but the brawling and the tables and the over the top nature of it just killed the thing. Paul just refused to accept the idea of two good wrestlers just getting out there and wrestling and that’s what wound up killing him off in the end. Sometimes the fans just want wrestling and while Paul tried to do that, he went too far most of the time and it killed things.

Heyman runs up and says the Kronus vs. Snow is cancelled and we’re going to see Sandman vs. Sabu from before the PPV, the PPV that the censors said WE CANNOT SEE. Ok, a few questions here. Number one, there was porn on PPV yet this is inappropriate? Number two, if this is such a hot feud, which it was I guess, why not have this on the PPV?

 

If they were upset that it couldn’t be shown, why would you film it and not air it? Everything else is live, so why wasn’t this? I get in something like UFC where they have the prelim fights taped in case something goes like 10 seconds. That makes sense as it’s a legit concern and if something like that does happen, they have something that they can plug in and give the fans a legit PPV.

 

However, you wouldn’t put St. Pierre in a prelim match that MIGHT make air. This whole thing with Joey constantly saying we can’t air it but there just happens to be full commentary for it anyway makes me shake my head. I guess if you think about it enough it could make sense, but you shouldn’t have to think that hard about it which is the point.

Sabu vs. Sandman

This is dueling canes. Sabu hits the ring second and gives him some fairly weak cane shots. And as Sandman takes over…Sabu runs in for the save? The first guy is RVD in disguise. That’s actually brilliant. Alfonso sends Van Dam to the back despite them destroying Sandman. That makes sense right? Anyway, this is your standard weapons/garbage match because neither can work more than two minutes without them.

 

Wait, where are the canes? I see no canes. Oh that’s right. It’s freaking ECW, meaning there’s no logic at all. It’s just Sabu beating up Sandman for about 10 minutes before Van Dam comes out to help him. There’s just nothing to talk about here at all as it’s terrible. Sabu beats up Sandman some more and the crooked ref of the week comes out to count the pin. This was awful.

Rating: F. What was the point of the canes match or whatever? What was the point of any of this actually? I just don’t get the point here at all as it wasn’t any good and it was just more mindless brawling which seems to be the theme for the show.

Back in the arena, everyone has Styrofoam Heads. Styles yells at Heyman for showing the match that the censors wanted to keep off the air. Apparently they didn’t fix the ring but the main event is happening anyway. Styles says he quits if this happens again with Paul. It’s convincing if you don’t think about it I guess.

Chris Candido/Shane Douglas vs. Lance Storm/???

Two guesses as to who Storm’s partner is given the heads out there. And the partner is Sunny, and you can see the screwjob from here. Storm and Candido do their usual thing which means its cool. Sunny comes in and we don’t have the catfight with Francine. OF COURSE Sunny makes the swerve that no one bought. The fans chant that they want Head.

 

For some reason they give Storm a mic while he’s in a camel clutch and as Candido asks what he’s going to give him, Storm says he’s going to give him head. And yep, Snow comes out. However, for no reason at all, they keep spinning the camera upside down at random intervals. It’s REALLY confusing and annoying. So after about a three minute brawl with Snow’s music playing and Shane falling through the hole in the ring, Snow gets the pin with a Snow Plow. The celebration ends the show.

Rating: N/A. This was way too short and way too over the top to grade. With the camera spinning and the lights going out I couldn’t really keep track of it. Seriously though, this was the main event: a four minute brawl that ends with a quick pin. That sums up everything to me.

Overall Rating: D. There was one title match and a 4 minute main event. How in the world does this validate a PPV show? This show had the skeleton of a good show there, but it just failed to deliver one. To be fair though, I think it’s because of Heyman more than anything else.

 

He just can’t let things stay the way they should be and it’s killing him. There just doesn’t need to be a chair or a big angle all the time and it weakened the show badly here. I wanted to like this show but I just couldn’t do it. They tried but they were running with an anchor. Only for ECW fans.

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