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Thread: ECW A Matter of Respect 1996 Review

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    ECW ECW A Matter of Respect 1996 Review

    A Matter of Respect
    May 11, 1996



    The show kicked off with the closing minutes of Damien666 vs El Puerto Ricano in a match that Joey Styles describes as an ode to Sabu. The two imitators end up being attacked by the real Sabu who puts them through a table with a dive.

    The Dudley Boyz w/The Dudleys vs Devon Storm and Damien Kane w/Lady Alexandra
    The Dudleys are represented by Sign Guy, Chubby, and Dances with Dudley. DW no longer has his ribs taped, but heís still shown to be in pain and heís in a wheelchair. Lady Alexandra has been Kaneís valet and has appeared on nearly every show that Kane managed someone, but seeing as she never does anything important, Iíve never felt the need to mention her until now. The match wasnít good and apparently Heyman agreed as itís edited a bit, removing some of the filler in the middle. Storm is just not a good worker with most of what he does looking sloppy. Kane isnít much better either. Yet, the biggest issue with Storm is that Joey Styles still feels compelled to bring up WCW despite the fact that Storm worked two mesley matches for the company. Despite the match not being good, there were a couple of fun spots. The first being when Bubba back body dropped Storm over the top rope, causing him to crash down onto DW in his wheelchair. Later, a chair is brought into the ring with it ending up in the middle of the ring. All four men were in corners, spotting the chair, and then all four leapt to be the one to reach it first. Thatís a clever slightly comedy spot. The finish saw D-Von blasting everyone with chair shots including Bubba Ray and the referee. That causes the referee to DQ D-Von for the flat finish. I suppose the match served its purpose of showing again how D-Von isnít fitting in too well with The Dudleys. *


    After the match, Chubby, Sign Guy, and DW (Who selling his injury, is only on his knees), has to pull Bubba Ray and D-Von apart. Joey Styles questions what will happen once Big Dick Dudley returns. I do like this piece of storytelling where D-Von is being more of a dick solely because Big Dick isnít there to get in the way.

    The FBI vs Axl Rotten and Hack Meyers
    For a team that wasnít officially a team, Rotten and Meyers fits together so well. Meyers and Rotten also have the connection of playing the biggest role in JT Smithís new gimmick with Meyers being the one Smith was wrestling in 1995 when he received the concussion that prompted Smith to think that he was Italian with Rotten now, thus far, Smithís biggest rival while working this gimmick. This is another match that had a chunk of it edited out, I presume for its broadcast on Hardcore TV. Unlike with the first match, we only get to see about three minutes of the announced ten minute match. Thereís hijinx before the match with Smith singing and then FBI stole the victory with Guido covering Meyers after a sunset flip with Smith holding onto Guidoís hands for the unfair advantage. Considering what a fun addition Guido has been to ECW in 1996, itís a shame we didnít get to see much of him here. The feud must continue! Not Rated.

    Before the next match, Raven, Stevie Richards, and The Blue Meanie came out for their match. Richards and Meanie perform a HBK-like striptease. Itís worth noting that the fan who loves The Blue Meanie that Raven has slapped before came out with the trio. According to Joey Styles, sheís known as The Meanie Babe.

    Raven © vs The Sandman vs Pitbull #2 - ECW World Title
    Thereís a ton of people at ringside. With Sandman are Missy Hyatt and 2 Cold Scorpio. With Pitbull #2 are Francine and an injured Pitbull #1 (Just a shoulder injury). With Raven are Richards, Meanie, and The Meanie Babe. Apparently, this match is the result of a fan poll to decide Ravenís next challenger. Since Sandman and Pitbull #2 tied, it was decided that theyíd both challenge Raven. The best thing about this match is that it felt different. The addition of Pitbull #2 allowed it to come across as something different from the norm that Iíve been seeing in ECW Title matches in 1996. Not only is there a third man in the ring, but he easily over powers both Sandman and Raven. This forced the rivals to work together in a handful of spots to try and get the best of the monster Pitbull. One such fun spot saw Sandman wielding his Singapore Cane while Raven had a chair. They took turns bashing their weapons over the head of Pitbull before attempting to hit each other. The early going was legitimately fun stuff. Unfortunately, it took a nasty turn once thereís a ref bump and everything gets really messy. A planned Super Bomb spot with Pitbull and Sandman is badly botched as Sandman being placed on top of a table on the top rope ends up sliding off of the top rope. Sandman attempted his top rope leg drop, but botches it, seemingly injuring his leg. Itís an utter mess. Eventually Pitbull #1 and Scorpio ends up getting into it as they have opposing views on who should pin who. The first fall is finally put out of its misery as Pitbull is pinned. The match does start to redeem itself at the start of the second fall when Sandman creates excitement with numerous pin attempts with roll ups and a DDT. Even when Richards tries to interfere to knock Sandman out with a Stevie Kick, he ends up missing, nailing Raven instead. That set up yet another nearfall for Sandman. A piece of the steel railing gets brought in and despite the fact that Sandman is initially the one who found the most success with it, it ultimately backfires as Raven drops him with a DDT on the railing for the victory. At times, this was really, really fun. However, at other times, this was one of the bigger messes of 1996. The ECW Title is just not having any luck in 1996. ** ľ


    After the match, The Pitbulls and The Sandman destroy The Blue Meanie. The Pitbulls present The Sandman with a beer to earn his respect. To show The Pitbulls a bit of appreciation, Sandman forces Missy Hyatt to make out with Pitbull #2. That brought in Francine to pull off Missy, creating a cat fight. The segment ends with Sandman not pleased that his sign of appreciation was treated like this. What a weird segment. Based on what happened in the match, I figured ECW was setting up a future Sandman/Scorpio vs Pitbulls tag match, but then it seemed like Sandman and Pitbulls could be used as a trio, only theyíre not? Not that it matters though considering whatís about to happen to Pitbull #1.

    Chris Jericho vs Mikey Whipwreck
    On paper, this looks as if it has potential to be one of the best ECW matches of the year. Initially, this was looking to be a disappointment though. The early going was a little sloppy with Jericho not having his best performance. The story was strong though with Jericho not quite playing the role of a heel, but upping the aggression and not interested in showing much respect to the former triple crown winner. Since Jericho is still new to the company, he hadnít fully earned the crowdís respect. Due to this and Jericho not showing respect to someone that the Philly crowd loves, it caused the fans to give Jericho a tough time. Especially the longer the match on, the more I heard fans bringing up the Dungeon when heckling Jericho. Jericho demanding the referee to, ďAsk him!Ē really made it feel as if it was a post-1998 Y2J here. The quality of the match picked up a good deal once Mikey upped his own aggression. This is one of Mikeyís strongest traits. Heís typically not an aggressive wrestler, but if heís against a bitter rival (Cactus Jack) or someone that forces him to up his game to hang in there (Sabu), Mikey steps up big. With Jericho heeling it up, the crowd all over him, and Mikey diving into the crowd and hitting Frankenmikeys, Iím suddenly really into the match. Since Jericho is the hot new star and Mikey is the most successful loser in the company, it only makes sense that Jericho is the one to go over. In this case, he brought Mikey to the top rope for a superplex, only to re-think it and hit a top rope butterfly suplex instead to get the pinfall. This is the sort of rematch where Iíd like to see a rematch just to see if they could improve on the weaknesses of the match to make an already good match great. *** ľ


    2 Cold Scorpio © Shane Douglas - ECW TV Title
    This match was set up back at Hostile City Showdown when Douglas put the ECW World Title on such a pedestal that he essentially insulted every other title. When Scorpio tried to talk Douglas into a match for the TV Title to try and earn some respect, Douglas made it clear that he didnít care about the title, but still decided to attack Scorpio from behind. This is also a rematch from the finals of the NWA World Title Tournament back in 1994. While the match itself is hardly memorable, the post-match event is one of the more infamous moments in ECW history as Shane Douglas threw down the NWA World Title and instead opted to usher in the extreme era of ECW. The first half of this match is frankly shocking as Douglas just dominates. Multiple times Scorpio finds himself on the outside, struggling to figure out what to do. Whether itís the few TV Title defenses or all of the garbage tag matches, I havenít seen Scorpio struggle like he does in this match. Itís quite a bizarre match as Douglas is the heel in the program, but heís getting his way. Douglas also continues to show how little he actually cares about winning the TV Title as he encourages the referee to count any time Scorpio is on the outside. According to Joey Styles, Douglas doesnít care about winning the TV Title, but a win, in any fashion, means heís one step closer to securing another ECW World Title shot. Finally, Scorpio manages to get in some offense after landing a low blow. That kicks off a short period when Scorpio is in control. With things starting to go really well for Scorpio after a rough first half, Scorpio unfortunately allows himself to get cocky. He lands a beautiful moonsault, but breaks up his own cover after a two count. He then lands 450 Splash, but does the same to essentially prove that he can pin Douglas, but refusing to let the match end. This cocky behavior allows Douglas to get in a couple of shots, but for the most part, this period is still firmly dominated by Scorpio. That is until thereís less than five minutes left in the match and both men find themselves on the top rope with Scorpio planning another flashy spot, but Douglas counters with a top rope Belly-to-Belly Suplex for the pinfall to become the NEW ECW TV Champion. I really canít get over how weird this match was. It is a great character piece match. Both men are entirely in character even if that means Douglas never showing much care at winning the title or Scorpio, the babyface of the match, is too cocky for his own good. Considering how little the ECW TV Title has been spotlighted thus far in 1996, this match did a lot to bring attention back to the workrate title. *** Ĺ


    After the match, Douglas gets on the mic to cut a promo eerily similar to the promo he cut after winning the NWA World Title Tournament back in 1994. He brings up all of the great names that have held the ECW TV Title, puts over ECW, and then begins putting over 2 Cold Scorpio as the best in the world, even better than himself. After a couple of handshakes, Douglas really emphasizes the name of the show by asking Scorpio to show respect by strapping the TV Title around Douglasí waist. Scorpio grabs and belt and looks to do it only to slam the title in the back of Douglasí head. Draping the title across Douglasí face, Scorpio nails a top rope leg drop. I loved this segment. The main thing that weíve been taught about Douglas from Douglas is that he his words canít be trusted. He lied his ass off at the NWA World Title Tournament, he lied to Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman earlier in the year, and he lied to Scorpio back at Hostile City Showdown. He is a guy who only cares about himself and his massive ego. As a result, heís willing to say absolutely anything in order to stroke that ego. Chances are, all of that sucking up to Scorpio would have led to Douglas boasting about Scorpio being a little bitch and strapping the title around the waist of the true best ever TV Champion. Unlike so many other men, Scorpio was unwilling to deal with Douglasí mind games.

    Sabu vs Rob Van Dam - Respect Match
    A rematch from Hostile City Showdown, a match where Sabu ultimately won, but he respected RVDís effort in the match. Despite this, RVD refused to shake Sabuís rare handshake offer post match. Despite being a big fan of that previous match, this match didnít do a whole lot for me. I imagine my problem was the lack of story emphasis. Whether it was the intention or not, the previous match had a great story with both men being injured. Now that this match is taking place three weeks later, both are back to ďNormalĒ. Although, itís fair to assume that Sabu is forever coping with some sort of injury due to his style. What this means though is that itís just a spotfest. We get a bit of character showcase by RVD continuing to go to the effort of setting up chairs in the ring simply to dive over them and the top rope in order to gain even more attention due to his massive show off attitude, but thatís about it story wise. The irony in that complaining that this match doesnít have much of a story is that the finish is heavily built around a story, but we just donít know it yet. After both men take turns hitting incredible spots, but Iím ultimately bored, RVD busts out a move heís never performed before - a middle rope Fishermanís Buster. Sabu lands painfully on his head and although he manages to kick out of a pin attempt, itís clear that heís fucked. RVD follows it up with a Split Legged Moonsault to score the shocking victory. Not only is RVD so very new, so beating someone who matters like Sabu is a surprise, but Sabu had yet to be beaten since returning to ECW at November to Remember 1995. In those six months, the only times Sabu didnít win were the time limit draws with 2 Cold Scorpio and a tag team loss to The Gangstas while teaming with Scorpio. Iím willing to bet that Scorpio took the pinfall though. Still, despite A Matter of Respect being the show in which RVD pinned Sabu, I feel like Hostile City Showdown did more for RVD. Iím truthfully a little disappointed by this. ** ĺ


    After the match, RVD sells all of the punishment by remaining on the mat for a bit, but he ultimately leaves. Meanwhile, Sabu, the craziest and most fearless wrestler of all time, canít even get to his feet. This brings out Paul Heyman to check on Sabu. Heyman calls RVD back out to receive his ďRewardĒ for winning - a handshake from Sabu. My impression is that the stipulation for the match is that the loser had to shake the hand of the winner, even though Joey Styles never made it clear. RVD comes back out, but despite Sabu somehow getting back to his feet in incredible pain and offers his hand, RVD still refuses. He insults Sabu and bails. That brings out Fonzie and Taz. While Taz and RVD do not interact at all, RVD and Fonzie shake hands. At some point, itís going to come out that Taz, through Fonzie, told RVD about the details about Sabuís previously broken neck, allowing RVD to figure out the perfect move to exploit that injury. Thus, the random usage of the middle rope Fishermanís Buster. Thatís a great storyline touch.

    Tommy Dreamer and The Gangstas vs Brian Lee and The Eliminators
    This was supposed to be Dreamer and The Pitbulls vs Lee and The Bruise Brothers, but Pitbull #1 sustained a shoulder injury and The Bruise Brothers were suspended. Iím pretty sure that The Bruise Brothers were responsible for Pitbull #1ís injury. Onto the match and Iím just suffering. Itís only twenty minutes long, but it feels twice as long. Itís a total garbage match with all six men battling in the ring, outside, in the crowd, and battling on the Eagleís Nest. Itís nonstop brawling and no matter how much effort Dreamer and The Eliminators put into some big spots, I hate it. I hate every moment of it. The only time itís decent to me is near the end when Dreamer teases a piledriver to Lee, but Stevie Richards runs out to nail a Stevie Kick to the back of Dreamerís head. Before Stevie can do anything else, Beulah and Kimona come out to drag Richards to the back by his groin. That little sequence is the most entertaining position of the episode since itís at least different. The babyfaces end up winning after New Jack delivers 187 on Saturn (Or at least I think itís Saturn, since weíre just seeing it from the hard cam and thereís so much garbage in the ring, itís difficult to tell) to win. These matches will just never be my jam and Iím often left frustrated when good workers, like Perry Saturn, are used in them. *

    Overall
    If you ignore the first and last match, A Matter of Respect was a pretty solid ECW event. Despite giving those two matches the same rating, theyíre two very different matches. The opening match featured two poor workers in a rather poor match, but itís also a match that didnít drag. The main event was really over with the crowd, but it dragged terribly for me. The highlights of the show features 2 Cold Scorpio showcasing that he can deliver some really good matches if heís not forced teaming with The Sandman in garbage tag matches. Shane Douglas is another guy who can be a good worker, but the booking awful gets in the way. To no surprise, Mikey Whipwreck produces yet another good bout, this time against Chris Jericho. RVD vs Sabu wasnít nearly as entertaining to me as their last match, but it was still fine. The ECW World Title match was a mess at points, but Iím still thrilled that it was something different from all of the other 1996 title defenses thus far. The Dudleys may not be producing good matches, but D-Von Dudley continues to keep them far more interesting than they were prior to his debut. Lastly, thereís The FBI. Just one time, can they be booked against a good team so that I can enjoy watching Guido put on a workrate match? Overall, A Matter of Respect was a reliable ECW event with a couple of good matches to make watching it worthwhile.

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    Re: ECW A Matter of Respect 1996 Review

    So when I said this show had my favourite ECW match, it was Scorp vs Douglas. Shockingly great match and I loved the story. Douglas spent 99% of his career filling time in his matches but here he actually works and awesome heat section on Scorp, and Scorp's big run after feels so much more earned because of it. Details in my brain are sketchy but I loved the post-match you described and that .gif is awesome. I also enjoyed Jericho vs Mikey would would agree with you on it. If you say to some people Mikey was clearly the better worker than Jericho their heads would explode, but thats how it was.

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