It’s the end of the summer with Into the Vault 1996. Extreme Champion Wrestling has the honors of closing out the season with ECW Natural Born Killaz from August 24, 1996.
Louie Spicolli continues to impress against Devon Storm. Honestly, Storm should’ve been a bit of a squirrelly opponent for Spicolli was they delivered something decent.
Neither smack “Must see match” or “Blazing hot up-and-comer” but if you saw this match on ECW Hardcore TV, it would’ve been a mid-tier match at most.
Mikey Whipwreck defending the EWA European Jr. Heavyweight title against Little Guido was a really solid match. Just looking at Guido’s recent matches from 1996 and you’d forget he’s the Sicilian Shooter.
Blame JT Smith and his shenanigans. Mixing it up with Whipwreck reminds you of that but also reminds you that you shouldn’t sleep on Mikey. The guy had the skill and a motor on him.
I’m glad to see that The Dudley Boyz have moved on from the FBI—to bickering with each other. Axl and D-Von had gotten tired of Buh Buh Ray and the other Dudleys’ nonsense and have challenged them!
This was a solid brawl and the match we should’ve gotten for Axl Rotten some shows ago. Buh Buh Ray is really growing as a face but knowing how vicious of a heel he becomes; this is interesting to see.
The Terry Gordy vs. Brian Lee “Badstreet Match” street fight was short, fast, and furious. Looking at it, both Gordy and Lee should’ve just stayed in ECW. They’re both at home with the wild, arena-wide brawls and backstage bruhahas.
We have dog collar match action as Raven and Shane Douglas take on The Sandman. It was supposed to be Pitbull #2 and The Sandman but for most of the match, Hak took a beating.
The Sandman excels at these gritty, blood and guts matches as does Raven. With him taking the brunt of the beating, Pitbull #2 arriving late in the match really made all of this pop.
There’s no Sabu vs. RVD this show. It actually doesn’t feel weird either. Give those men a break, Paul E. Rob Van Dam didn’t take a break from dope matches as he defeated Doug Furnas in one such bout.
Just an aside about how Doug Furnas was still in prime condition and ability after ten years in the business and a lot of stiff, physical matches. He’s a freak and keeps pace with RVD flawlessly.
Tommy Dreamer’s selling and bumping really made his match against Taz. In one of the rare moments where the camera caught a dramatic shot in the match, you had Taz just standing over a beaten, prone Dreamer like vicious beast.
Taz handled the graphic design for ECW and missed out on a dope Ali standing over Liston-style shirt. Anyway, this was a good match mainly for Taz’s aggressive approach and Dreamer’s performance.
The Gangstas defending the ECW World Tag Team titles really hit it out of the park. I mean, the event was named after their theme song and they were given a steel cage. New Jack and Mustafa were going to deliver.
I have to say: The Eliminators are the best opponents for the champs. While they have a wider arsenal of techniques, they really bring it when mixing it up with The Gangstas.
The cage match was intense, violent, and probably the champions’ strongest title defense across all of their reigns.
ECW Natural Born Killaz Verdict: Exotic-Tier (8/10)
The Gangstas have gotten main event billing a few times in 1996 so far. They deliver the kind of bloodshed that the bloodthirsty part of the ECW fanbase loved.
This wasn’t a show all about the brawling as there were a couple of solid-at-minimum matches here. The ECW Tag Team title match between The Gangstas and The Eliminators take Match of the Show honors for ECW Natural Born Killaz.
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