Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Berglund Center (AKA Roanoke Civic Center), Roanoke, Virginia
The ECW episode fresh off of Vengeance, which was a very successful showing on their part. I gave the ECW part of the show a very solid 7/10. I'm anxious to see how they capitalize off of this momentum. I'd also like to note that my copy of this episode starts with Sabu entering the ring, so I am not entirely sure if there was anything relevant other than the intro to the show that happened.
Roadkill vs. Sabu
The opening match to kick off ECW is an odd one. These guys have had 0 story together, but I guess they are keeping the pattern going that they started last week. That is starting the show off with a random Sabu match to get fans in the extreme mood. I'm not going to lie, I kind of like it. The match was well paced and the only botch that I noticed came from when Sabu was going for a flip of sorts over the top rope and landed right on his head. The match continued back and forth until Sabu got the upperhand thanks to the use of a chair and finished Roadkill off with a modified Camel Clutch. Modified thanks to the chair Sabu was sitting on.
Winner: Sabu in 5:21
Definitely a solid opener. Nothing special by any stretch but the match got you in the mood for some extreme wrestling. Not much else to say. *½
After the match, we go to Joey Styles and Tazz, who have some big news. Apparently, the main event for the night will be Rob Van Dam vs. Kurt Angle for the ECW Championship. The match kind of comes out of nowhere, but these two are terrific wrestlers, so who knows what to expect.
We come back from commercial break to Tommy Dreamer standing in the ring. He says he has gained new respect for the Big Show for that beating he took last week, and asks if he can have another. Sorry for my ignorance, but I do believe that is a throwback to the original ECW when Dreamer was being beaten by Sandman, correct me if I'm wrong. Big Show walks out quite mad, and begins pounding on Dreamer. He hits him with numerous powerslams, and finishes with his Cobra Clutch Backbreaker. I still haven't figured out the point of these, maybe building to a match? Personally I feel these could've been matches themselves, but maybe I could be proved wrong.
The camera cuts backstage where we see Kelly Kelly flashing Mike Knox (we don't see anything, don't get your hopes up). He says how he only likes it when she shows him, and says if you want to be out in public so bad why don't you just come to the ring tonight with me. I don't even get the point of these segments.
Then we cut to Kurt Angle, standing by himself. It starts out like a normal promo, but gets a little emotional and actually does a great job explaining why the main event is the way it is. He talks about how every day since he lost the championship at Wrestlemania 22 is a failure, and that he has wanted this match so bad. And how he can see it in his daughter's eyes when she hugs him that he is no longer champion. The part that clarifies everything is when he says that he will do what it takes, even if that means taking Rob Van Dam, and man who he has no personal issue with, and beating him to a pulp. I really liked this promo clarifying things.
Danny Doring vs. Mike Knox w/ Kelly Kelly
I was going to call this a classic squash match, but it did involve a little extra. Kelly Kelly went to "expose" herself to what I believe was a placed fan, and Knox came over during the match and pushed the fan away. This caused Kelly to storm off, and Mike Knox would roll back into the ring and finish off his opponent.
Winner: Mike Knox in 01:54
Not going to give a rating for this squash match, but I would like to point out that since I'm watching every episode of Raw from 1998 for the first time (I'm only on episode 2 so no spoilers please) this gimmick type thing from Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly remind me of a modern day Marc Mero.
After the match and commercial break, we come back to yet another installment of Kelly's expose. Same stuff, Knox comes on stage to cover her up, whatever.
Some guy comes out, seeming to be a male stripper. I didn't catch his name, but it was another Sandman segment, but at least this time it wasn't a match. Sandman beat the crap out of him, drank beer, same old stuff.
We go backstage to find Paul Heyman talking to RVD about the importance of the match tonight. He tells RVD that he needs to win, but RVD responds confidently and says have you seen me these past few days? I've been smoking (ok I have to admit I liked that pun).
Edge shows up at ECW, not sure if he will have anything to do with the main event, and if not, I don't know what the point of showing Edge kicking a few fans out of their seats is. Edit: We come back from commercial and Tazz is in the crowd interviewing Edge, and it seems it was just to cement Edge as a heat magnet.
ECW Championship Match: Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Kurt Angle
As soon as the bell rings we get what any good Kurt Angle match starts out with, mat wrestling. Angle does slip up with his grappling which gives Van Dam and opening to get the advantage. He goes to the top rope a bit too early however which allows Angle to push him off the top rope to the barricade outside of the ring. We come back from commercial to see Angle in control, constantly trying to get that Ankle Lock locked in, but RVD keeps finding a way to counter it. Soon enough Angle goes for an Angle Slam which gets countered into a beautiful DDT and RVD follows that up with a Five Star Frog Splash for the win.
Winner: Rob Van Dam in 17:11
It was an interesting attempt for a mix of styles, one that sadly didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. That's not to take anything away from these two great superstars, it's just that RVD's aerial offense and Angle's technical offense just didn't click. I liked the experiment but hopefully we don't see these two together again, for a while anyway. **¾
Overall: 3/10. Slightly better than the 1st episode, but not close to how good the second episode and Vengeance were. You'd expect better from a show headlined by RVD vs. Kurt Angle, but it was just constantly brought down by bad segments. I know they don't have much time for these shows, but man you'd think you could get at least 2 matches over 8-10 minutes. Hopefully next week is better.