And that’s actually good for a change.
Heat Wave 1998
Date: August 2, 1998
Location: Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Joey Styles, Shane Douglas
With all that going on, the main event is a continuation of another feud from Wrestlepalooza. In the featured match of the show, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley team up against the Dudley Boys in a six man street fight. How a street fight is different from any other match in ECW will have to be explained. Other than that there are some fresh faces showing up here so let’s get to it.
The arena looks bigger than any they’ve run before in this series. There’s a ramp again and the brick wall entrance.
Joey welcomes us to the show and brings out Shane Douglas to do commentary with him. Francine comes out as well and is wearing a bikini with a jacket over it, much to the crowd’s delight. Shane is excited to see Bam Bam Bigelow get his hands on Taz again because Bigelow is going to put Taz through the concrete. After some jokes are made about Francine’s breasts, we go to the opening video.
Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn
Credible’s entourage continues to grow as he now has Nicole Bass, Chastity and Jason with him. These two wrestled twenty one times over the summer so they’re certainly familiar with each other. This is billed as the final match in their series so whoever wins here wins the feud. The referees are back to the half red and half black shirts instead of the stripes.
Jerry grabs a quick armdrag to start and the fans are all over Justin. A second armdrag puts Credible down before Jerry lands some loud chops in the corner. Jerry nails a cross body for two and clotheslines Justin out to the floor for a big dive onto the concrete. We hit the headlock but Justin spins out of a slam into a reverse DDT to take over. Credible stomps away in the corner, setting up a running knee to drive a chair into Jerry’s face.
A powerbomb onto the chair gets two and they head outside again with Jerry being sent into the barricade. Back in and Justin poses after every move as he is known to do. Credible goes up top but dives into a flapjack to get us back to even. Justin grabs a swinging Boss Man Slam for two and we hit the chinlock. The camera looks to be laying on its side to film the hold.
Back up and Lynn gets two of his own off a sitout powerbomb and a hurricanrana. Jery goes up top but dives into a powerbomb to give Credible a near fall of his own. We get a chair brought in by Chastity, though it’s Jerry DDTing Justin onto the steel for two. Justin is sent to the apron and Jerry loads up a table at ringside. He puts Credible on the ropes for a top rope hurricanrana off the top and down through the table for the big spot of the match.
Back in again and Jerry has to fight off the entourage, including kicking Bass low and hitting her in the back with a chair. Chastity kicks Justin low by mistake so Jerry tombstones her, much to Joey’s delight. Lynn takes Justin up top for a hurricanrana, only to have Justin counter into That’s Incredible off the ropes for the pin and the win in the series.
Rating: B-. This was the best opener at an ECW pay per view since Hardcore Heaven. They kept the insanity under control here and let the guys wrestle until the big finish. It’s also nice to see someone sell a move or two and do some basic wrestling in between all the high spots. Good match here and the interference actually made sense for a change. Justin getting a pin off his own move rather than someone helping him directly made things better too.
We recap Storm vs. Candido. We’ve covered this one several times already but once more: Storm was a Triple Threat prospect but Sunny had a crush on him, sending Candido into some insane paranoid jealousy. They were Tag Team Champions that hated each other but held the belts nearly seven months. Now that they’ve lost the titles, they can fight in peace.
Lance Storm vs. Chris Candido
Candido brings out Tammy (Sunny) as they’re completely reunited as well after having issues while Storm and Candido were champions. Candido also has to wear headgear after nearly having his ear ripped off in a match against Sabu and Van Dam. Feeling out process to start until Storm nails some forearms to the jaw and a spinwheel kick puts Chris down. They chop it out with Storm getting the better of it and nailing a running clothesline and dropkick in the corner.
Storm rips the headgear off to go after the ear but Chris pulls him into the buckle for a breather. Chris knocks him off the apron and down to the floor for a big ax handle off the top. Back in and we hit a surfboard hold on Storm but he fights up and kicks Chris in the chest. He goes after Tammy though, allowing Candido to nail a running powerbomb back inside. A delayed vertical suplex plants Storm and a top rope legdrop gets two. Storm comes back with a superkick for two but walks into a swinging neckbreaker.
Candido gets two off a powerslam and sends Storm to the apron, only to get suplexed over the top and out to the floor. A big dive knocks Candido into the crowd and they slug it out on the floor. Back in and the slug it out even more with Candido getting the better of it. He takes too much time going up top though and Storm brings him back down with a superplex. Lance’s top rope spinwheel kick gets two but he springboards into a powerslam. Storm is sent into the corner but he climbs the ropes for a back elbow to the jaw.
Tammy hands Chris some powder but Storm throws it into Candido’s eyes. Chris nails the referee by mistake, right before Storm superkicks Candido down. Tammy crotches Storm on the top but Candido rolls up the apron by mistake. This results in the referee accidentally pulling Tammy’s top off. The fans boo as she’s covered up and Candido nails the Blonde Bombshell for the pin.
Rating: B. Again, this match is a good example of why ECW’s usual booking gets on my nerves. The story made sense and then they let the wrestlers wrestle. They were smart to not turn this into a weapons match as Storm and Candido are much better off without all that stuff clogging up the match. It’s no masterpiece but it was a solid wrestling match that made sense after the story leading up to it. Good stuff.
Earlier today New Jack was in the parking lot with fans and promised to beat up Jack Victory tonight. Victory shows up and they’re about to fight but a bunch of other wrestlers come out for a huge brawl. Jack is rammed into a car and is busted open. Axl Rotten screams for a doctor. New Jack vs. Jack Victory won’t be happening tonight.
Alfonso says his boys are ready for Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki. Van Dam says everyone is here tonight to see him. Oh and Sabu too. Sabu is clearly getting annoyed at Van Dam’s vanity.
Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka
Awesome has been in ECW for a few months now and is 6’6, 280lbs and flies around like a guy half his size. Tanaka is one of the few guys that can keep up with him and they feuded in Japan for years. Awesome runs him over to start and they slug it out until Awesome catches a leapfrog and suplexes Tanaka down. A slingshot shoulder drops Tanaka again and a splash gets two. Awesome clotheslines Tanaka to the floor for a BIG dive and both guys are down.
Back in and Awesome hits a release German suplex but gets sent out to the apron. This isn’t going to be a match with a ton of selling. Tanaka brings in a chair and puts Awesome on the ramp with his back to the ropes. He gets a running start and nails Awesome in the head with a loud running chair shot. Tanaka gets two off a missile dropkick but Awesome dumps him out to the floor. They duel with chairs until Tanaka nails Awesome in the back to take over again.
Awesome easily sends Tanaka into the crowd and hits a HUGE dive off the top onto Tanaka. Back in and a sitout powerbomb (very popular move in ECW) gets two for Mike. A top rope splash gets the same and he cracks Tanaka over the head with a chair twice in a row. Tanaka yells for more so a third shot to the head gets a near fall. Awesome hits a running release powerbomb before heading outside to set up a table.
Douglas wants to know why Mike isn’t covering. Another chair to the head drops Tanaka but Mike still won’t cover. Instead he tries to powerbomb Masato through the table but Tanaka escapes and puts Awesome through the table and on his head in a huge crash. That only gets two so Tanaka hits the Roaring Elbow. Awesome kicks out again but a tornado DDT onto some chairs is enough to give Tanaka the pin.
Rating: B-. This was a harder one to grade as it had no psychology or anything like that, but man alive was it fun to watch these two beat each other up. I can live with matches like this when they’re designed to be hardcore brawls instead of a traditional match. The high spots looked really good too. Also the weapons were limited to just a table and chairs, though Tanaka yelling after getting hit in the head with the chairs was annoying.
Taz talks about having goosebumps as he waits for the match with Bigelow tonight. He’s the hottest thing in wrestling today and is ready to avenge his loss to Bigelow.
Back at the announcers’ table, Shane says he has the real World Heavyweight Championship.
All of the Dudleys say they’re ready for the fight tonight. Bubba goes into a religious promo about how the ring is their church and 3D will be Dreamer’s cross to bear.
Rhyno says he did that because he felt like it.
Tag Team Titles: Jinsei Shinzaki/Hayabusa vs. Rob Van Dam/Sabu
Van Dam and Sabu are defending. Shinzaki is better known as Hakushi in the WWF. Jinsei is known for having Japanese symbols drawn all over his torso, back and face. Neither team can agree on who is going to start. It’s finally down to Van Dam vs. Hayabusa. They circle each other for a minute to start until Rob leg trips him. That goes nowhere so Alfonso gets up on the apron and blows his whistle a lot. Van Dam takes Hayabusa down with a Japanese armdrag and poses.
Back up and Hayabusa kicks Rob in the leg, draws in Sabu and tags in Jinsei for a Vader Bomb and two. Van Dam comes back with a kick to the face but walks into an enziguri to the back of the head. Jinsei walks across the top rope (think Undertaker’s Old School though he walks around a corner and keeps going) and chops Rob in the head but misses a knee drop.
Sabu comes in with a slingshot legdrop for two and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Hayabusa comes in off a tag but gets dropkicked in the knee. A slingshot splash gets two for Sabu but he walks into a nice dropkick, sending him running to the floor. He comes back in and takes out Hayabusa’s knee again before putting on something like an ankle lock. Hayabusa gets to the ropes so Sabu puts on a camel clutch.
Van Dam comes in and dropkicks Hayabusa while he’s still in the clutch, so Shinzaki hits a springboard missile dropkick to take Van Dam down. Sabu is sent to the floor as well so Hayabusa nails a big springboard moonsault to take them out. Van Dam and the challengers fight into the crowd so Sabu hits a big dive to take all three out. Hayabusa is draped over the barricade for a spinning kick to the back.
In the ring, Sabu dropkicks Jinsei’s knee, setting up a surfboard from Van Dam. Sabu adds a top rope chair shot to the ribs for two. Hayabusa comes back in for a double bulldog on Van Dam followed by a springboard swanton bomb from Hayabusa and a springboard knee drop from Shinzaki. Sabu makes a save and Van Dam kicks Hayabusa’s head off for two. Everything breaks down and Sabu is superkicked into a German suplex for two. Rob’s top rope spinning splash gets another near fall on Jinsei as the guys are getting tired.
Jinsei powerbombs Van Dam down and Hayabusa nails a 450 but Sabu dives in for a save. A rolling splash/legdrop combination gets two on Hayabusa and a Boston crab/legdrop combination gets the same on Shinzaki. Sabu brings in a table but gets taken down by a top rope shoulder, giving Jinsei two. Van Dam’s knee gets twisted but is still able to go up top for a Van Daminator to a crotched Hayabusa.
Jinsei twists Van Dam’s knee again but the table collapses under Van Dam’s weight. Hayabusa’s top rope splash gets two and two more tables are sent in. Sabu hits an Arabian facebuster on Hayabusa and Jinsei takes a Van Daminator. The challengers are put on a table and a top rope splash from Van Dam/a top rope legdrop from Sabu at the same time give Sabu the pin on Shinzaki.
Rating: B-. The tables at the end drag this down. They’re just not needed to make the match work as everything was clicking without them. The chairs weren’t too bad but the rest of it didn’t work. I liked the wrestling stuff a lot better than the brawling but that’s the general rule of thumb for ECW. The problem was after the tagging ends, it’s your standard ECW brawl. This show has been very good so far though and the match was definitely good.
We recap Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Taz. This is more a story about Taz wanting to avenge his TV Title loss to Bigelow but Bam Bam lost the title to Van Dam. Instead Taz set his sights on Shane Douglas but injured Shane’s arm, meaning he was left with nothing to go after. He created the FTW World Title but continued to go after Shane’s arm. Bigelow saved Shane and got in a fight with Taz, setting up the showdown here.
FTW Title: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Taz
The title is unofficial but there’s an orange belt. This is falls count anywhere. Shane says he’s going to call this down the middle. Joey is amazed that a commentator would call a match fairly. That makes sense as Joey has openly cheered for ECW whenever they’re up against someone from the WWF. Taz hammers away to start and nails a nice Samoan drop before knocking Bigelow onto the ramp. A boot to the head knocks Bigelow into the crowd and Taz dives off the ramp, only to get caught in mid air.
They fight into the crowd with Taz getting the better of it at first but Bigelow sends him hard into a bunch of chairs. They fight by the entrance and Bigelow throws Taz into a piece of barricade then throws the piece of barricade at Taz in a nice change of pace. Taz comes back with a kind of suplex onto the concrete for two. Back near the fans and Taz puts on a loose cross armbreaker but Bigelow quickly gets out. A Tazmission attempt goes about the same and they head back to ringside with a chair to Taz’s back. The champion is busted open.
Back in and Taz is thrown face first through a table in the corner. Bigelow puts the broken table in the corner but Taz clotheslines him down and nails a t-bone Tazplex through the pieces of the table. Bam Bam nails him with a clothesline and takes him to the ramp for Greetings From Asbury Park, but Taz counters into a DDT to drive him through the ramp. Bigelow comes out first but a ticked off Taz follows him and puts on the Tazmission for the submission on the ramp. Shane: “NOOOOOOO!”
Rating: D+. This was nowhere near as good as it was made out to be as it was basically a rehash of their previous match and every ECW brawl. We’re still building towards Douglas vs. Taz but by this point it’s getting hard to care. That story has taken so long and will take even longer due to Shane’s injuries that the interest just won’t be there anymore. The match was a decent brawl but nothing great.
Taz calls out Douglas, saying he’s coming for the title. Shane freaks out and leaves commentary.
We recap the Dudleys vs. Sandman/Tommy Dreamer/Spike Dudley. The feud has escalated since last time as the Dudleys gave Beaulah a 3D and broke her neck. This was used to write her out of wrestling as she didn’t want to do it anymore.
After the video, Joey goes on a long rant against the Dudleys for being street trash that injures so many people. He won’t be able to be objective in the following match, which makes him being shocked that Shane tried to be objective in the previous match all the more amusing.
Dudley Boys vs. Spike Dudley/Tommy Dreamer/Sandman
The match is billed as a street fight, which usually applies to most ECW matches. The Dudleys take their sweet time getting to the ring. They now have Jeff Jones in their camp as well. This is Bubba Ray/D-Von/Big Dick if that wasn’t clear. Bubba challenges anyone in the WWF or WCW to a fight before moving on to challenge fans. Joel gets the mic and describes himself as hotter than a heat wave and harder than Chinese algebra.
Jones is announced as a referee with hair and is carrying a doll made to look up like Beaulah. Sign Guy has a knee injury but is introduced as the Innovator of Silence (as opposed to Dreamer being the Innovator of Violence). The Dudleys are the Intergalactic Six Man Champions. The entrances are funny but take nearly fifteen minutes. Their opponents all come out carrying ladders which are set up on the ramp. Sandman’s entrance is shorter at only about four minutes.
There will be tags, at least to start, with D-Von trading slaps with Dreamer. A few pinfalls attempts get two each but the fans get distracted by something in the crowd. Bubba comes in and the fans want Spike, who gets the tag and is promptly thrown all over the place. He’s able to get out of a gorilla press and nails Bubba with some forearms followed by right hands in the corner. Bubba responds with a running layout powerbomb to crush Spike.
A hard lariat drops Spike so Dreamer tries to start a Spike chant. Bubba misses a splash and Spike counters a powerbomb with a hurricanrana. The tag brings in Big Dick and he gets to face Sandman so the brawl can get started. They quickly get to the floor and everything breaks down. All six pair off and they fight into the crowd with Spike hammering away on D-Von and Dreamer sending Big Dick into the barricade.
Bubba crotches Dreamer on the barricade as Sandman brings a ladder into the ring. A bloody Spike climbs the ladder and dives on all three Dudleys. D-Von is thrown back inside and crushed under a swanton from Sandman. Bubba’s middle rope backsplash onto the ladder onto Dreamer has Tommy rolling around in agony. Spike comes back with an Acid Drop for two as the fans don’t seem to care all that much. Everyone but Dreamer is bleeding now.
The Dudleys all get tied into Trees of Woe and Dreamer puts Sign Guy’s bad leg in a Figure Four. Jeff Jones makes the save and piledrives the doll, earning him a piledriver from Dreamer. Gertner gets tied in a Tree of Woe as well and all four get chairs put in front of the face. Referee John Finnegan helps the good guys as they all hit dropkicks to drive the chairs into a Dudley’s face. Big Dick is up and chokebombs Dreamer before throwing Spike over the top and through a table. Sandman takes Big Dick down but Bubba lays him out. Bubba misses a splash to Dreamer and gets DDTed on the ladder for the pin.
Rating: D. This was the usual ECW brawl but the wrestling at the beginning brought it down. The problem with guys like Sandman and Big Dick is that they’re only good at brawling, making it almost painful to watch them try to do a technical sequence. The other issue is no one believes this isn’t going to break down into a brawl, so why waste time on the wrestling stuff, especially when it’s supposed to be a street fight?
Jack Victory runs in with a guitar to nail Dreamer and puts the boots to him but New Jack comes in with a shopping cart full of weapons to clean house. The Dudleys are all destroyed as Sandman gets back into it. The good guys pose on ladders to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. The first hour and a half of this is as good as ECW has done since they’ve been on pay per view. After that though the show goes downhill in a hurry. The Bigelow vs. Taz match wasn’t so much bad as much as it was forgettable and like so much other stuff ECW has done. The main event was your usual garbage brawl and really didn’t feel like a way to end the show. Having Taz stand tall and challenging Douglas is a better way to end things. This is definitely the best show so far, but it’s nothing mind blowing.
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