Let’s return to the land of extreme with ECW on TNN for this installment of First Month Fire. Episode two aired on September 3, 1999, and featured three title matches and two important moments in the company’s final years.
First off, Joel “she said she loves vanilla ice cream, so he gave her his cone and made scream” Gertner joined Joey Styles as the color commentator for ECW on TNN. Yes, I had to type that out. It was mandatory.
During the show’s opening greeting with Styles and Gertner, Jerry Lynn came out, ran down WCW and WWE, and challenged RVD for the ECW TV Title. Bill Alfonso came out and rejected the challenge.
This was followed up by the TV Champion coming out and attacking Lynn. We also had a dope Lance Storm video set to Rob Zombie.
The opening match saw Taz defend the ECW World Championship against Yoshihiro Tajiri in a brief but competitive match. When I first watched it when it aired I believed Tajiri would pull out the win.
Watching it again, it was obvious he wasn’t taking the belt off of Taz but he put up a good struggle against him “The Human Suplex Machine” managed to keep a quick pace against the “Japanese Buzzsaw.”
I think this would’ve been a closer match if it was ten minutes but the real business of the episode wasn’t the World title but the Tag Team titles. Still, this was an enjoyable showdown that had the appearance of going either way.
Remember, this is ECW it was rawer than RAW and anything could happen as the surprise main event showed.
The Dudley Boyz came out, ran down the crowd, and challenged for the ECW Tag Titles. Champions Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley held the belts for less than two weeks before the Dudleys ended their reign following a brisk, mild brawl.
I didn’t expect much out of this match. Highlights were Bubba Ray’s Bubba Bomb on Spike Dudley from the turnbuckles and Balls Mahoney denting the hell out of a steel chair on the Dudleys’ skulls.
After that, we get some great promo work from Bubba Ray Dudley about how they’re taking the titles to WWE. However, there is one final piece of business. They have to bury the symbol of ECW: Tommy Dreamer.
As expected, “The Innovator of Violence” comes out to defend ECW and his girlfriend Beulah’s honor. He has two herniated discs and honestly shouldn’t be out there. Heyman and Francine try to stop him but he hits the ring anyway.
Dreamer gets creamed by the Dudleys for the most part but manages to turn things around when a ladder comes into play. That’s short-lived as he is sent into the ladder in the corner.
D-Von hoists Dreamer up for the 3D but Dreamer counters with a DDT. Surprised, Bubba Ray is left exposed to a DDT from Raven who comes out of nowhere and covers Bubba for the pin.
Dreamer is left stunned that he won the match and that his greatest adversary Raven is now his tag team partner and co-champion. It wasn’t a great or even good match but it told a great short story and had a twist at the end.
ECW on TNN #2 Verdict: Mid-Tier (7/10)
This was an awesome episode of ECW on TNN. Actually, this was the actual first episode since the first episode—or episode zero—was an introduction. Episode two actually had some story building throughout.
The Dudley Boyz played the hated heels until the very end even though the crowd was mixed between respecting the Dudleys and hating to see them go and being bitter that they were leaving for WWE.
Raven coming in at the last moment to scavenge the ECW Tag Team titles and become Tommy Dreamer’s partner gave me chills during the rewatch.
It was just awesome to see, really. Even though all of the matches were extremely brief, they all fit the brisk pace of the show perfectly.
Remember, Fridays on TNN back then were the Thrill Zone and ECW on TNN delivered that. The episode ran for somewhere around 45 minutes but it felt much shorter. I would’ve loved a longer match was this was a perfect use of an hour slot.
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