Into the Vault: ECW A Matter of Respect

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We’re checking out ECW A Matter of Respect from May 11, 1996. Yeah, we’re still powering through the spring-summer of ECW to catch up to WWE and WCW. 

Storylines On This Show 

There were a couple of things to follow. D-Von Dudley is still having trouble shaping up the Dudley clan. Big Dick Dudley is alright but Buh Buh Ray and the rest? Whew. 

We also have the early formation of The Full Blooded Italians as a tag team with Little Guido and JT Smith. Axl is still seeking fights.  

He had an encounter with Little Guido at ECW Hostile City Showdown and that got a little heated. Here we are. 

As expected of a dominant World Champion, Raven is once again defending. Familiar rival The Sandman is hunting down the belt and has Missy Hyatt and Scorpio in his corner. 

Pitbull #2 is after the World title as well. He probably ranked in there. ECW will surprise you with matches. 

Like Axl, Shane Douglas is still seeking competition and now he wants a high-stakes bout. TV Champion 2 Cold Scorpio gave him a shot for this show. 

Also, there’s a lot of stuff brewing in the respect match between Sabu and Rob Van Dam—and its aftermath. The side-feud between Tommy Dreamer and Brian Lee continues with “The Innovator of Violence” teaming up with The Gangstas. 

Lee didn’t come alone and has The Eliminators on his side. I love it when two separate feuds can be fit into one match. It’s such simple booking but it works. 

Low-Tier 

Man, Axl Rotten had a really good run. His tag match against The FBI wasn’t bad at all but the antics of The FBI dragged this a little longer. Once I realized this was mix-match match—and that it was evenly mixed—it kind of took me out of it. 

Into the Vault: ECW A Matter of Respect

I guess I’d gotten behind Axl and him coming out just to throw hands. That worked for me perfectly. His matches were never that lengthy—outside of facing The Sandman—but they were fun to watch. 

Mid-Tier 

I actually enjoyed The Dudley Boyz vs. Damien Kane and Devon Storm. As a brawl, it dragged a bit and some of “Dangerous” Devon Storm’s offense looked…dangerous. 

By that I mean that it looked like no one was prepared half the time and you just see Storm diving out of nowhere. Styles was right in saying his chairshots were WCW-influenced. They were powerful weak. 

Into the Vault: ECW A Matter of Respect

I wanted to give Dreamer and The Gangstas vs. Brian Lee and The Eliminators the gold but I couldn’t. The main even went on a little too long. I love brawls but there’s a pace and duration to them.  

This one just seemed to go on after a while. The guys on both teams all delivered a wild, intense brawl it’s just the length of it. That part came off as something one would do if the match was pushed back. 

Exotic-Tier 

Chris Jericho taking Mikey Whipwreck was satisfying. Great pace, great length, both of these guys could rock it in 1996. Both had a sound PPV game at this time and Jericho’s would only improve. Really good match. 

We have Raven defending the ECW World Championship again. While it seemed like he whined a lot about stuff that happened roughly ten years prior, the guy is fighting champion. 

He was going to be able to hang with The Sandman. Despite how rough and reckless he wrestles and how sloppy he comes off at time—that hideous-ass leg drop and elbow drop—he will deliver in a brawl. 

Pitbull #2—primarily a tag team competitor—also held his own here. This was a strong match up and a solid defense for Raven. 

Into the Vault: ECW A Matter of Respect

I don’t know if anything needs to be said about Shane Douglas vs. TV Champion 2 Cold Scorpio. These two have real chemistry and there’s a rivalry here.  

Sure, it’s been put on ice for a period but when these guys mix it up, you’re getting some really sound, rock solid wrestling.  

You could say rivalries and matches like these are a precursor to the early approach of Ring of Honor in presenting competitive, mostly clean matches alongside overbooked, wild brawls. 

This is a match worth watching even if it’s a bit on the lengthy side. It’s a strong but unsuccessful defense for Scorpio but presents him as someone who could go after and take larger prizes in ECW. 

Rounding out this tier is another showdown between RVD and Sabu. I’ll put this on par with the last match up from ECW Hostile City Showdown 

The ECW A Matter of Respect encounter featured progress in the rivalry between the two. Van Dam picks up the win by compressing Sabu’s neck and putting him away with the split-legged moonsault. 

After an exciting, hard-fought match Sabu expresses respect for RVD. Rob Van Dam—the Ken to his Ryu—didn’t return the sentiment and even called him “a piece of shit.” Holy hell, RVD!  

Sabu’s loss surprised a few people—especially the fan in the front row. He was in total disbelief. There was some great foreshadowing here as Taz was at the entrance aisle watching as things unfold. 

Keep Sabu and Taz in mind! 

ECW A Matter of Respect Verdict: Exotic-Tier (8.5/10) 

This is a highly recommended show, it’s on the WWE Network under In-Ring and ECW in the supercard section. Extreme Championship Wrestling was really on a roll in 1996! 

As for Match of the Show, I’m giving it to Sabu vs. RVD again but Shane vs. 2 Cold Scorpio is hot on its heels. Both of these bouts are essential if you’re diving into ECW’s vault. 

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