THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT
 
Wow, hard to believe it's been 10 years, huh?

Yeah, yeah, the simpletons out there may be running about talking about 9/11 this or 9/11 that, but I say this; what has had a more profound influence on the world, ECW getting a cable deal on The Nashville Network or the single worst act of terrorism in the history of the United States (that, let's face it, is still only about half a percentage of the amount America has exported since its inception)?

Before you answer, let's look at the data, shall we?

August 26th, 1999: The very first episode of ECW on TNN is aired.

August 27th, 1999: Kenneth Katzman releases the United State Library of Congress memorandum "Terrorism: Middle Eastern Groups And State Support" detailing the "immediate threat" of Al Qaeda operation in the United States.

October 7th, 2000: The very last episode of ECW on TNN is aired.

October 12th, 2000: Al Qaeda operatives bomb the U.S.S. Cole at the port of Yemen.

January 12th, 2001: ECW runs its final official show.

January 25th, 2001: Richard Clarke issues a memorandum to Condoleeza Rice stating that a principal review of concomitant Al Qaeda operations is urgent in preventing an ensuing act of homeland terror.

September 10th, 2001: On Monday Night Raw, former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Taz is beaten by a gaggle of insurgents, leading commentator Paul Heyman to state that "this is greatest act of terrorism I have ever witnessed!"

September 11th, 2001: The new P.O.D. album is released. And, oh yeah, 3,000 Americans get killed by angry hairy people that are also rich.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT! (Cue crazy ass Glenn Beck voice)

Anyway, to honor the double anniversary, why not kill two birds with one stone and celebrate a group of alike-clad extremists that repeat mantra and declare jihad on mainstream culture and recap an old ECW PPV, what do you say?

Heat Wave 1998 is considered by many ECW historians (read: virgins) as being the best PPV the company ever produced and one of the high water marks of U.S. wrestling in the decade. Seeing as how the previous show, that one Wrestlepalooza offering I covered a few months back, was largely considered to be the company's biggest failure (outside of Justin Credible, of course), is it possible for this slice of 90s nostalgia to live up to the retroactive hype that so many an unwashed faithful espoused back in the day?

Only one way to find out, my brethren. I present unto thee, ECW Heatwave 98!

We are coming to you LIVE from Dayton, Ohio, home of chubby white kids in Tommy Hilfiger shirts and fatties with bulbous jowls, or at least that is the impression one would foster by looking at tonight's audience. Of course, we get the obligatory Nuremberg chant and host Joey Styles says that things, it is indeed that they are "on". "Joey!" chant form the audience and out come tonight's special guest color commentators, ECW World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas and Francine. Wait, how can they be "colored commentators" if they are both white? I mean, Francine does have a tan and everything, but. . . Oh, "Color commentary"' Got you. The Franchise hams it up for the camera before grabbing Styles mic and shouting to cut his procreating music. Shane says that tonight, Bam Bam Bigelow is going to put Taz through the "goddamned concrete" as the ECW faithful demand some good old fashioned tittage. Joey says that his knew suit, much like Francine, is double breasted, and then gets a face full of mammary. As far as day jobs go, that has to be much better than hawking Sacajawea dollars, isn't it?

Opening ECW video package, and then the dulcimer tones of Prong spill forth from the PA System. Justin Credible and his kooky collection of Euro trash bodybuilders, crazy haired bleach blondes and whatever the hell Nicole Bass is supposed to be then stroll out, which incites this funny from Joey; "We should call her Russia because she's so much bigger than Chyna!" GAS! (Guffawing at such)

His opponent is none other than Randy The Ram himself, Jerry Lynn, whom is sporting the Kawada-esque britches for tonight's gala. Hey, you have to break out them there fancy duds for such formal outings as ECW rassling, is that not correct?

This is the final match of their so-called "Summer Series". According to Shane, whoever wins this match wins the feud. You know what that kind of reminds me of? Did you ever so that one shitty movie with Clint Howard and Charlie Sheen called "The Wraith", the one about the alien ghost dude that races Billy Idol fans in the dessert? Well, don't.

We get some excellent scuffling to begin, as the crowd chants "Just an asshole". Collar and elbow, transitioning into some nice exchanges that Justin only fucks up a little. Hey, that's a big compliment for the guy. Chop exchanged, feigned tombstone, and Justin takes a tumble to the outside. PLANCHA! Air Lynn takes off (the service is moderate to acceptable, I suppose) and uses Credible as an open field in Pennsylvania. . . Never forget.

Funky supplex nets just a two for Lynn. Headlock takedown rest spot followed by a neat exchange spot which culminates with a visit from the inverted DDT fairy. Chair assisted knee to the face and Lynn eats a folding-tasting power bomb. The ref (sporting the requisite Auto Zone-ish garb) only counts a two. Wait, if there are no rules in ECW, then why does Justin bother distracting the ref while his cronies kick the shit out of Lynn? I mean, that's like all superfluous and unnecessary and whatnot. More chops, and Justin steals a brew from a fan and smacks Lynn across the face with it. It's funny because one of the black bedecked security folk has to stop the fan from jumping over the guardrail. Well, he did steal his shit, man. . .

Ric Flair homage and Lynn eats clothes line. You know, like some autistic children are fond of doing. Justin eats a pancake and then Jerry is shown the sidewalk. Headlock spot, exchanges, and Jerry breaks out the Liger Bomb. Just a two. Sweet hurrancanrana, which in Spanish, means "hurricane frog". With such a colloquialism in mind, one must ponder: What the fuck are the wrestlers in Mexico on?

Uh oh, here comes the McGuffin Chair. DDT, and Lynn secures but a two. Ace Crusher, table, another hurrancanrana? Yes, please. The ECW faithful, they are appreciative from such a gift from the heavens. Absolutely excellent finish in which we have not one, but TWO pile drivers from Lynn, not one, but TWO nut shot comedy sequences and not one, but TWO instances of Lynn committing horrendous acts of misogynistic violence on the female form. Goodness, I miss the Clinton years. OUTTA NOWHERE, Credible switches a third hurrancanrana into pile driver off the top rope for the win.

Winner: Justin Credible, fans of spinal compressions

Damned good little match. I rate it of (THE RUNNING MAN) quality and it is time for a recap of the Chris Candido / Lance Storm rivalry. As always, Paul H and company do a darn impressive job of condensing the finer points of the former tag team champs descent into animosity, and out comes Storm to some AC/DC. Chris Candido comes out. . . To AC/DC, also. Well, that, and Sunny. That's got to be worth a few bonus points, I suppose.

Something about collared elbow ties and we get some nice rolling about. Storm hit's a dropkick, and then its chops galore, which is about the worst sounding name for a porno actress I can think of. Storm yanks off Candido's head gear and then it is time for Chris to KICK SOME ASS. Storm does some wife chasing and gets a SICK power bomb for his breaking of the seventh commandment. Wait, that is the one about coveting one's ass, isn't it? Yeah, probably. Stalling supplex and leg drop form the second turnbuckle? Just two for the Candido. Power slam? Yeah, that's only a two. Supplex to the outside, tossing your enemy into a fat black guy wearing hot pink and a suicide tope to the first row? Looks like Storm just nailed the late 90s trifecta! Goofy pin fall spot and Storm Super Plexes Candido. Spinning heel kicks are only worth a deuce in 1998 dollars. So are Liger Bombs, apparently. Candido fires back with a power slam. 2! Sunny pours a fistful of cocaine into Chris' hands (or maybe baby powder, but this IS ECW we are talking about) and vis--vis a slap from Storm, Chris is quite literally BLINDED and ends up slapping the taste out of the ref's mouth. Comedy. Super kick from Storm, Sunny pushes Lance nuts first on top of the turnbuckle, and Candido tries to school boy the ref for the victory. Anyway, Sunny's bra strap breaks and she rolls around on the mat much to the inherent happiness of the ECW crowd. Finally, a Bush I want to see in office! We conclude the cluster fuckery with Storm landing a SICK ASS power bomb off the top rope for the victory. Wait, I thought he was blind? Ah, this wrestling business is a bunch of bullshit.

Winner: Chris Candido, the guy with emergency tit covering jacket supply

Another entertaining little diversion, worthy of (THE RUNNING MAN) stature. We head back to the mother ship with Styles, Francine and Douglas as a pre- taped video of New Jack getting done in by the Dudley Boys is rolled. Hey, since New Jack purportedly lives in the Atlanta area, maybe I can invite him to my graduation ceremony? How cool would it be for me to walk across the stage, and before I pick up the diploma, have "Natural Born Killaz" break out over the PA system? Oh, the people form the last three years of my existence that are worthy of being stapled by a faux bounty hunter garbage wrestling legend. . .

Anyway, we are back to Camp Styles and Douglas, as an enigmatic "Goldberg sucks!" chant echoes throughout the arena. But who else is going to play goalie, guys! So yeah, all of that to say that the New Jack / Jack Victory bout for the night is off. All I can say about that is. . . Thanks.

Backstage, and it's RVD, Sabu and Bill Alfonso. Holy shit, this little skit is great, and probably racist, to boot. Also, Van Dam's Battle Creek tee shirt rules it. The world of eleven years prior is a world I wish to live in.

Crank up the Sega CD music, you fucker of mothers; it is time for some AWESOME / TANAKA, or as it is sometimes called, sheer fucking awesomeness.

To begin, Awesome accuses Tanaka of having an Oedipus complex and feeds him an over the shoulder supplex. Slingshot Shoulder block from Awesome. Huh, try saying that one five times fast. Much like the great tsunami of 2004, Mike splashes an Asian. Shit, that was off color, even for me. Irony: how about a suicide dive from Awesome? Tanaka no sells some Germans and makes Mike swallow some lariats. RUNWAY CHAIR SHOT OF DOOM! Oh, how I loves it. Chair duel, and Awesome FLIES into the first row. Awesome bomb only scores a two. I guess Mike never took a history course; everybody knows that it takes TWO bombs to submit the Japanese. Jeez, that's day one stuff right there. Alabama, err, Tampa Slam and AWESOME SPLASH. Doesn't that sound like a water park attraction?

CUE CHAIR SHOT SEQUENCE. I'm not sure how many brain cells this bout cost Masato, but I'm pretty sure that by the end of the bout, he has lost the ability to do long division. AND HOW ABOUT AN AWESOME BOMB TO GO ALONG WITH IT?

And what do you know, Awesome ends up being the one sent through the table to the outside. SWERVE! Sacrosanct feces chant. Roaring elbow, Tornado DDT on a stack of chairs, and Masato sows vengeance for the people of Hiroshima.

Winner: Masato Tanaka, survivors of Nagasaki

Yeah, it's true that these two have had way better matches, but this is the first bout they had that made US fans take note and say well golly gee, those fellows sure are swell. Not as splendiferous as some people make it out to be, but it is significant and damned entertaining. A very worthy (PREDATOR) level bout, nonetheless (although as far as I am concerned, these matches are only canon if Awesome wins. Hey that's the way God wants it. . .)

Long tracking shot of the Hara Arena. You know, the ECW film crew should get some credit here. They made a shit box that holds 4,000 people top and made it look like fucking Super Saitama Arena. Good job, guys that don't have jobs any more.

Taz: "I am angry, GRR. . . And also short."

November 2 Remember 98 is being held in New Orleans. I'd make a joke about flood waters, but, meh. I already expended my mocking of human tragedies quota with the multitudes of 9/11, tsunami and Hiroshima references dotting this document already, so to heck with such efforts in tastelessness.

Hey, Shane Douglas sips Diet Pepsi. It's the mediocre performer's soda of choice!

Awesome (and sacrilegious) backstage promo from the Dudley Boys. Also, Big Dick Dudley's tee shirt gets bonus points for the funny.

Huh, that's some pretty peculiar Dreamcast sounding music wafting over the PA. Holy shit, it's Raiden from the Mortal Kombat games? Well, that, or that one guy from Big Trouble In Little China. And behind him, it's Hayabusha, which according to the MS Word spell checker, should be called "Hairbrush" to us American fans. Huh, Hakushi, Hayabusha, Gladiator, and Masato Tanaka on one card? This PPV FTW. Well, I guess a more fitting term would be this PPV FMW, but I digress, and wildly.

Funny, announcer guy, I've never heard of Bombay, Michigan, before. Must be right outside of Grand Rapids, I muse. You know, I always wondered how a genocidal Arab and a Michigander pot head found such cohesiveness. Fuck, that right there is an element ripe for a late 80s sitcom. Or, wrestling promotion tag champions. Either one, I guess.

RVD and Hayabusha to start, and boy, is it leg draggy. At one point, Joey accuses Hayabusha of a "Japanese arm drag". Well, it's not like he had an option, is it? Why don't you call it an "American elbow drop" when The Sandman does it, huh? It's official: Joey Styles = racist. Get it on gold letters, with those silvery stars they used to give you in kindergarten to go along with it.

In comes Hakushi, and things get very kicky. Hakushi ropewalk; fuck, why doesn't RVD just nudge him off the guardrail? You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say this whole wrestling stuff is fake. Just call it a hunch.

In comes Sabu, so it's a fake Iraqi guy in MC Hammer pants duking it out with a guy that has writing all over his body. A lot of people have asked me what the writing on Hayabusha means, so I guess know would be a good time to explicate on the inherent meaning of the prose; roughly translated, the body art reads "I'm Japanese." As it were, such is comprised of one hundred and forty characters in the Nippon language. FACT.

Tag for Hayabusha, as the tag champs go outside for a (dope) smoke break.

Submission wrestling. . . From Sabu? I've seen everything now! (Except for a sealed hymen in this day and age.)

All right, there's too much science going on in this match. What we need is some bullshit high flying, and what do you know? The great gods of wrestling answer our prayers. It's bedlam in the first four rows as Sabu wipes out the Japanese challengers. So what does that make Sabu, fat man or little boy? READ YOUR HISTORY BOOKS, KIDS.

Awesome tandem Surfboard - Chair shot thing a ma bobber from RV-BU. Are those mustard stains on the pants of Hakushi? And what is he doing wearing white after Labor Day, any way?

Time to go into full train wreck mode, and oh boy, is it awesome. For five minutes straight, it's just totally unrefined spot after spot, with no rhyme nor reason nor bit of attention paid towards being technical in any manner. In other words, its what these guys do BEST, and it is indeed something beautiful.

Man, is Hayabusha's Shooting Star Press a sight to behold.

ATTN: Prop master: for next PPV, invest in more reliable tables. That is all.

Thanks, the management.

Stereo Frog Splash Finale? Yeah, that's always a good closing tune.

Winners: Rob Van Dam and Sabu, Funyan and Cheet-ohs manufacturers the world

over Well, that last bout was like a really middle of the road TROMA movie. Yeah, it's violent, retarded and starring a bunch of schmucks, and you are probably dumber for having sit through it, but it gives you what you want; instant gratification via mindless, senseless mayhem and in that, I can't help but give it a sterling recommendation. Of (THE RUNNING MAN) quality, and it is time to move on.

Recap of the Taz / Bam Bam rivalry. Surely, this one needs no further elucidation, does it? Bigelow puts Taz through the ring, Shane Douglas keeps ducking Taz, all of that stuff? Eh, Wikipedia it and save me the time.

Hey, this one is a Falls Count Anywhere bout. Neat.

Right off the bat, we have power bombs, middle fingers, judo throws and mudhole stomping; yeah, I'd say this one is going to be a clinic in ass walloping. Clotheslines, some boots, and Bigelow takes a dive to the outside. Meanwhile, Taz leers over the wreckage like some post-apocalyptic tyrant. I like.

I <3 crowd scuffling. Some guy in the crowd is carting about signage that states his unyielding affection for some female. Because nothing says "Romance" like Philadelphia garbage wrestling. What a natural Don Juan that fellow must be (I'm guessing he's going to wait until an ICP concert to propose to her.)

Have a seat, Taz! Get it, because BBB just threw Taz into a bunch of chairs? Ho, ho, that is comedic gold if you ask me.

So, I have an AP Style guide question here; should I refer to it as steel guard rail in the singular or as the plural? I mean, yeah there are several links in the railing, but it is one consecutive chain, so which do I use? Man, fuck MLA Citation.

A Fujiwara amrbar? Sorry, Taz, this is a street fight; displays of authentic grappling are strictly verboten.

Taz Mission attempt squelched by a jaw breaker. Hey, who is the red haired dame with Bozo the Clown coif in the front row. A dame that is willing to accompany me to an ECW show is a dame that is NOT worthy of girlfriend status. Sad, but true.

Triple B sends Taz through a table, so Taz exacts his revenge by putting BBB through the table he just went through. Wait, how is that possible? Uh, mirrors, I guess.

There's some fisticuffs on the entranceway, and BBB sets Taz up for his finisher, and what do you know? Taz counters with the swinging DDT and puts both of them through the ramp. Hmm, where have I seen that one before. . .

Anyway, Bam is the first guy out of the hole, and he begins to slowly lumber back to the ring. We pan back to the perforation of the walkway, and out comes Taz like a re-animated Jason Voorhees, seemingly re-energized by the fall. Taz takes a running leap and pounces on BBB like a lion on a rhinoceros, sinking in the Kata Ha Jime and securing an almost immediate tap out.

Winner: Taz, UFC fighting before it was cool to steal moves from it Another entertaining little slice of yesteryear. Definitely of (THE RUNNING MAN) quality, as Shane Douglas throws down his headset in protest post-bout.

Short recap of the Dudley Boys putting Beulah in the hospital. Joey Styles, in "shoot mode", says that the Dudleys make him "sick to his god damn stomach". But you're a Republican Joey, you're supposed to love Jesus! Why the blasphemy! Why, Why!

The Dudleys stroll, out, and as the norm, they get their ten minute introduction. All in all, it is not as good as the immortal Heat Wave 1999 spiel, but as Joel Gertner spouts ejaculation jokes whilst Jeff Jones swings about a blow-up doll facsimile of Beulah "McGilla-Slutty", one can't help but chuckle at such base humor.

Of course, the faces get a ten minute intro of their own, as The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley waltz to ringside carrying about ladders that are somewhat idiosyncratic to their sizes in correlation to one another. For some reason, this feels more like the makings of a bad Three Stooges short than a hardcore tussling bout.

The Sandman kills off about three beers whilst Spike rolls around on the ramp and barks like a dog. Meanwhile, Tommy is pretending to be a fire hose, spouting mist at the people that kind of crippled his girlfriend. So, let me get this straight: a bunch of ruffians maim your other of significance, and instead of, I don't know, having them arrested, you just spray foam on them? I'm telling you, as soon as these wrestlers find out about the legal system, these disputes will be finalized a lot quicker.

Anyway, I am not even going to bother with a recap for the show's main event; instead, I'll let you decipher the allegorical content of the bout's mayhem yourself. All in all, I can't say that it's the best cluster fuck garbage bout in the annals of the company, but like a Saturday binge on pineapple pizza, Code Red Mountain Dew and the first three Silent Night, Deadly Night movies, damned, is such decadent living enjoyable. A solid (THE 6TH DAY) finale, and a pretty agreeable ending to what is considered among the best match-by-match PPVS of the decade.

Anyway, its easy to see why this one is vaunted by so many purists, as though the show contains no real mega-classics, it is just a damned entertaining romp from start to finish, with nary a bad match in the line- up. This one that is well worth going out of one's way to view, so I give this PPV my highest possible recommendation, a 7.5 out of 10. Eltism FTW.


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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).