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ECWA Super 8 LOOK-BACK Reviews: 1999 & 2000!

by on April 27, 2011

1999:

The opening video package on ’99 shows some of the ECWA-shot footage of ’97 and I really wish RF would’ve gotten those tapes from Kettner. It looked better than some groups even now. It also included Lance Diamond’s awesome fro-mullet that was too wet in the ring to be shown off in ’97.

During the opening photo-op deal, Steve Bradley came out to the Warzone song and Chris Daniels, with hair, looked scarily like Don Callis. Matt and Jeff Hardy came out to “Dead and Bloated” by Stone Temple Pilots, which is the total antithesis of a babyface entrance song. It kind of took me a-back, being someone who came up on the indy wrestling of the 00’s, to see a tournament where only one guy was announced as being under 6′ and 200 pounds.

Bradley (who’s a LOT bigger than I remember him being) against Darling opens the show. It’s incredibly weird to see a guy on the indies come out to the WWF theme song and not try to be an anti-indies heel. This is totally a dark match I could see two guys doing in 1998 before a WWF TV taping. They moved really quick and did one big highspot (an Asai moonsault from Bradley), but a total nondescript match. They did the unknown underdog story with Bradley this year and, at least for this match, so far it doesn’t seem to be getting over. It might sound stupid, but part of the reason is probably because he was too big. In the photo-op, he looked like a monster compared to the rest of the crew. The finish where Bradley failed on two roll-ups and got the third one had no heat to speak of.

Up next is Jeff Peterson (Jim Kettner’s undersized nephew who eventually succumbed to cancer unfortunately) against Chris Daniels. You could really tell a change in the type of people the tournament drew in this match, as you would have the little kids cheer when heel Daniels would take a tumble to the floor, but there was a large portion of the match where the crowd was silent except for grown men catcalling. I expected Peterson to suck a LOT more than he did. I totally expected this little dweeby-looking kid with horrible, frantic offense who couldn’t throw a strike to save his life. His strikes weren’t incredible and he did nothing besides a flip tope that was insane that looked great, but he was perfectly serviceable as a guy that Chris Daniels did moves in-between Peterson getting in his obligatory flying. Daniels worked exactly the same as he does now, but he came off as one of those guys like on a really bad show now, who just because he does more modern offense than his contemporaries, comes off like he’s awesome. I’m not saying the majority of the guys on the show suck, just that he seemed a year or two ahead of a lot of the stalwarts of the Super 8 scene.

Looks like Matt Hardy against Christian York in an OMEGA special is up next. Matt Hardy cuts some obnoxious promo about how the Hardy Boyz are “reppin’ the WWF in the ECWA YEAH!”. Homeboy was a douchebag even then.

Matt Hardy versus Christian York is up…you can hear the “smarts” in the crowd, as a chorus of about 20-30 husky voices chant “OMEGA” for Matt while York gets the heat. I think it’s almost eerie how, for a move that really should’ve fucked up Matt’s tailbone after doing it for SO long, Matt still does the second rope legdrop EXACTLY the same as he did in 1999. Matt has the rep for being the safer, more grounded Hardy, but he did some nutty shit in this match, including a top rope Lionsault-type moonsault that he got INSANE air on, but missed. York looked really rough at times on offense during the heat, but Matt really kept things together. This was very much like one of those heralded Smackdown TV matches he had in ’06 where he got a lot of time to pace the match and hold his opponent’s hand through a good match, only with nuttier bumps (even the simple stuff; at one point, Matt took a short clothesline where he snapped his neck back and forth a good three times before laying still). Also, eff the ECW marks who started the “BORING!” chant during the heat; York’s offense wasn’t the most exciting, but this was still a damn good match and Matt Hardy was fantastic. Matt’s punches during the comeback were AWESOME, but I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen Matt Hardy throw a punch. Matt wins with the top rope Lionsault that connected. Honestly, my favorite match on these discs since Reckless/Kidman from ’97, and it’s ALL because of Matt. It SUCKS Reckless got hurt and couldn’t work the ’99 show, because him against Matt at this stage in their careers would’ve ruled my ballsack off.

Devon Storm, in this weird in-between stage where he has the black hair and goatee and runs around like an idiot yet has his old tights on, is against Jeff Hardy now. Jeff trying to do his little shuffle to “Dead and Bloated” was giggle-worthy. Storm continues to be the disappointment of these tournaments. I knew he would be a guy whose stuff wouldn’t hold up, but it’s almost heartbreaking to see how lost he gets at times and how much extra, awkward motion he takes for all of his highspots. The only compliment I can give the guy is that he had a nice standing tope con hilo, but even then, he really overshot Jeff on it. Jeff’s working heel, despite coming out of the face entrance and being nutted on the middle rope by Storm early in the match. Storm won and it SUCKED, because Jeff tried to drag a match out of Storm EXACTLY in the vein of every Matt Hardy carryjob ever, but Jeff isn’t Matt and Devon Storm sucks a lot
more than most Matt Hardy opponents, and I wanted to see Jeff work again against someone who wasn’t crappy.

Steve Bradley/Devon Storm is the first semi-final match. There was a really bad-looking spot early on where Bradley obviously thought they were doing a Lynn/RVD pose-off after a series of spots, but Storm clumsily dragged Bradley into a hold. They also randomly clipped something out, and I kind of hope it was a big chunk. I don’t really get the RVD tag that Bradley got. He looked like RVD (kinda), but he didn’t do any of the karate stuff Rob busted out and, dare I say, Bradley’s flying looked better than Rob’s. Storm becomes the guy in this year’s tournament to crap all over the illusion of rules by hitting Bradley with a chair on the floor (and then yells at some security guy to set up the chair for a spot later). At one point, Storm cut off Bradley during a hope spot and Bradley ended up taking a KILLER bump into the ropes that looked like an inverted version of when the Big Bossman almost killed himself under the bottom rope in the 1992 Royal Rumble. Bradley starts his comeback by blocking a Storm tope suicida with a chairshot (coincidentally finding the chair that Storm yelled at the security guy to set up in that specific spot…). Bradley won by cutting off what would have been the fourth consecutive top rope moonsault in a row and hitting Splash Mountain. It’s weird, because Bradley and Storm’s rough spots were a lot rougher than Jeff/Storm, but I thought the match was paced a lot better and felt more like a passable match. Some of those rough spots seemed to be because Bradley looked to be not used to working in a smaller ring. I always thought Kettner used a WWF ring, but there were times where Bradley would be off-step running the ropes or jump too far and end up completely out of place.

All joking aside, Matt/Daniels was really rough at the beginning. You could tell it was probably the first-ever meeting, as there was some major miscommunication during the opening spots. It was disappointing, as York/Matt was a lot better just because that was Matt Hardy doing a Matt Hardy match, whereas Matt/Daniels was Matt trying to do a Chris Daniels match with lots of moves and no substance. Matt did get to bust out his underrated slingshot DDT on the floor that more guys should do (I think Ricochet did it to Chuck Taylor at Evolve 2) and a piledriver that would give the oldest of souls a smile. It wasn’t a bad match, it just didn’t blow me away.

Daniels comes out for the finals with a SCROLL that reads “STEVE WHO?”. I love it. Bradley gets to show off some REALLY awesome punches early on; like mindblowingly great for someone that went through WWE developmental (even when it was in Memphis). During the heat, Daniels does a turn-around moonsault where he sold it more than Bradley, which was strange. There’s also been a little kid in the back row during this entire match that’s trying to do the “We’re not worthy” bow to Daniels, but he somehow is screwing it up so bad that it looks like he’s trying to get Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s angels to help out Steve Bradley. We also get a very rudimentary version of the Code Red on accident by Daniels, as he reversed Bradley’s Splash Mountain. This underdog story for Bradley just isn’t working, as they’re having the least dramatic match possible while going through the motions of the correct match for this situation, plus half the crowd’s chanting for Daniels and the other half are silent. Bradley wins by reversing a bodypress from Daniels into a pin for himself and the crowd reacted to an extent, but whatever they were going for failed. But what’s NOT a fail is Matt Hardy’s awesome track pants/fanny-pack combo that he sported when the losers awarded Bradley with the trophy.

2000:

The opening video package is kind of lazy, as they took the previous year’s video package and just tacked one more year onto it (“In 1997, a tradition was born…(clips) In 1998, we did it again…(clips) In 1999, we did it AGAIN! (clips)”. Whoever put together the video package must have had access to guys’ demo tapes, because there’s a LOT of WCW/WWF TV job stuff and .jpeg posed pictures.

Ace Darling comes out in an oversized suit to show off this year’s trophy, and the man aged twenty years from ’97 to 2000. He looks more like Ace Darling’s dad. This year’s ring announcer looks to be all of 12 years old. The guys begin to come out for the photo-op and Chad Collyer is the exact opposite of Darling; he hasn’t aged in ten years. I forgot Powerman 5000 even existed until Jet Jaguar came out to their one hit. It’s a shame they sucked, because that name is awesome. VIC CAPRI! I love Vic Capri; it freakin’ sucked his body gave out before he could reap the benefits of being in that group with Punk and Cabana that’d go everywhere and get big off of that. Trent Acid is LOVED BY THE LADIES. The crowd chants “Curry Man” at Chris Daniels, who looks absurd with his blonde flattop. They obtained a very guitarriffic version of the National Anthem for this year’s show; it sounded like something MTV would play at Rock ‘n’ Jock Baseball.

Acid against Scoot Andrews is up first. I haven’t had much exposure to Trent doing the BSB gimmick as a face, but I was very amused that there was a line of big girls waiting to hug Trent, and the last one in line was Hat Guy from ECW. Within a minute into the bout, they bust out this INSANE reverse suplex to the floor (think the Scott Lost suplex over the top rope spot). For two guys who’d probably never spoken a word to each other before this day, this is far from the worst first-time-ever match on these discs. It’s not an amazing match, but you don’t have guys falling over each other and running into each other like some other matches between guys from different areas. Scoot went over with his pumphandle Owendriver, which he SPIKED Trent with. He wasn’t anything too spectacular, but the people seemed to really get into Andrews after the match.

Shark Boy/Chad Collyer is up next, which should be better since these two had worked each other a ton before the show in Ohio. This was back when Shark Boy was riding a wave of momentum from the magazines and guys like Mick Foley falling in love with the gimmick at the ’99 Pillman show. Collyer’s by far the most crisp-looking chain wrestler so far in these tournaments and Shark Boy, not doing the schtick, looks a ton better working ol’ Chaddo’ than his reputation in recent years would suggest. REALLY good stuff; it’s a shame that Chad never found a personality, because he was GREAT in this match. He was a very underrated base for flying moves too. The finish was Chad reversing a top rope rana into a superbomb (which he made look almost effortless), where I was going “I hope this isn’t a falsie, I hope this isn’t a falsie…” because it was PERFECT. And you know what? Chad didn’t let me down. Darned good stuff, my friends.

Jet Jaguar (who looks just like former TNA referee Mike Posey and Mr. Anderson had a baby who wore a stupid-looking glove) is against Jeff Peterson now. Isn’t Jaguar the dude who tried the cheerleader gimmick in TNA dark matches before WWE stole it for the Spirit Squad? Anyway, I think Peterson used to work Florida indies on weekends he wasn’t at his uncle’s promotion, so these two might know each other. There’s a close-up to a random chair at ringside that says “THIS IS GONNA HURT!”, like this is ECW or something. Whoever’s working the camera (I’m guessing Doug Gentry) has a raging hard-on for Hat Guy, as he panned away from Peterson and Jaguar fighting on the outside to get a close-up of Hat Guy yelling at them for well over thirty seconds.

This is also what’s become the annual tradition of a random match crapping on the rules, as they’re the ones who get to use the chair this year. Peterson’s dives were pretty crazy, but his quasi-lucha left something to be desired. Jaguar, at one point, seemed to get fed up with Peterson botching stuff, so he literally grabbed Jeff’s head and applied the Iron Claw for no reason. I marked out for Peterson busting out Emil Sitoci’s TREMENDOCITY (wheelbarrow stunner). However, I did not mark out for all of Peterson’s testicle-related offense, which seemed to be plentiful. Jaguar went over after reversing a victory roll into one of his own. Worst match on the card, but it’d still be one of the better matches from ’98 or ’99.

Vic Capri against Christopher Daniels is the last quarter-final match, and this should be fun. It seems like Kettner learned his lesson from guys from different regions not clicking in the opening round in prior years, as Scoot/Acid is the only match of that sort this year. Daniels acknowledges the guys with the “He’s Hot! He’s Spicy! He Tastes Great!” signs when going through his personal accolades. This has really been a Chris Daniels showcase, which kind of makes sense since he goes on to win the tournament, but it would’ve been nice for Capri to show off a couple of things to win over a fanbase in that area. He took the Last Rites like a champ, but nothing really stood out from this match for him.

It’s supposed to be Daniels/Jaguar, but Jaguar’s hurt. Ace Darling comes out and, of course since it’s 2000, announces that “for you internet writers and smart marks, this is a shoot” and that Jaguar’s hurt. Darling says he bummed “strap-on pants”, as he called them, and a t-shirt (why he needed a shirt, no idea) to challenge Daniels and change it to the “Super Ace Tournament”. He’s witty.
Really quick match; they did just enough so that the people wouldn’t feel robbed out of a semi-final match, but it was obviously a thrown-together deal because of the injury. Athletically, Ace looked better than he had in previous years, but he also didn’t have to worry about working multiple times and pacing himself. Daniels over with the Last Rites, obviously.

Scoot/Collyer was another short bout, but Collyer was absolutely the glue that held this together. He made most of Scoot’s REALLY bland offense during the heat look really good and the few spurts of offense Chaddo got during the hope spots looked great. I know he had no charisma to speak of, but I still don’t see how the guy, with some of the bland dorks (both big and small) that got signed in that time, didn’t get a developmental deal at the least. He was perfect at everything WWE seems to look for (he even had a body for a guy that small).
….annnnnnnd of course, about two minutes into Scoot/Daniels, my disc messes up. Tried it in the laptop, tried it in the regular DVD player, nothing works. I mean, I wasn’t insanely interested in that battle, but it would’ve been nice to see for completist’s sake.

***********

With that unfortunate ending, we’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the most important year in tournament history (and the one we’re coming up on the ten-year anniversary of) 2001 and the 2002 tournament!

-TOM. 


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