Each and every Thursday I will look back at a different pay-per-view event from the past via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last time, I covered the ECW One Night Stand 2005
ECW Living Dangerously 1998
Date: March 1, 1998
Venue: Asbury Park Convention Hall, Asbury Park, N.J.
Some random notes
The timing of reviewing this event was nearly impeccable on my part, as Wednesday marked the 19th anniversary of the very first Living Dangerously.
It is also a couple of weeks after the 19th anniversary of the death of Louie Spicolli, who passed away at age of 27 on Feb. 15, 1998. Multiple wrestlers on the show did the Death Valley driver in homage to Spicolli, who had used the move as his finisher.
Although it was not the main event, the show was mostly built around the first encounter between ECW World Television champion Taz and Asbury Park, N.J. native Bam Bam Bigelow.
The show opened with a clip of Taz walking into an empty Asbury Park Convention Hall the night before the show with his title on his shoulder.
After taking a look around, he simply said, "I'm ready," before the telecast cut to a live shot of a now packed Asbury Park Convention Hall for the opening of the show.
Joey Styles, who handled the commentary on this night, was in the ring and welcomed everyone to the pay-per-view by saying that they were all living dangerously. Get it? He said that because that was the name of the pay-per-view.
Styles re-recorded almost all of his commentary for the WWE Network version of this show. I'm not sure why this was done, as it his new commentary wasn't all that much different from his original commentary, but it pretty obvious.
The video package hyping the Masato Tanaka-Wing Kanemura featured Paul Heyman talking over it, but his audio was not on the WWE Network version.
With that said, let's get to the matches:
Jerry Lynn & Chris Chetti def. Little Guido & Tracey Smothers
Former NWA World Heavyweight champion "Wildfire" Tommy Rich accompanied Guido and Smothers to the ring. Although the trio was known as the Full Blooded Italians, only Guido was actually of Italian descent. Styles even said as much on commentary.
Chetti was the first graduate of ECW's wrestling academy, House of Hardcore, which is also the name of Tommy Dreamer's wrestling promotion today.
The match itself was pretty standard when it comes to tag team contests. The good guys held the advantage early on until Guido and Smother isolated the less experienced Chetti to control the majority of the match.
Chetti finally made his way over to Lynn who took over the match with a whirlwind of offense.
Rich attempted to interfere by hitting Lynn with the Italian flag, but Lynn ducked out of the way, which caused Rich to hit Smothers instead. Lynn then rolled up Smothers to pick up the win.
After the match, Smother shoved Rich, forcing Guido to play the role of peacemaker.
Masato Tanaka def. Doug Furnas
Tanaka was supposed to face Wing Kanemura, but Furnas' manager Lance Wright said that he and his associates from the WWE bought out Kanemura's contract because he wanted to put Furnas in the match instead.
I have no idea of the real reason why Kanemura was not on the show.
While this was Tanaka's first ECW pay-per-view appearance, this was apparently Furnas' last. They were essentially two ships passing in the night.
Unfortunately, that didn't amount to good chemistry with each other in the ring, as they seemed out of sync at multiple points of the match.
At one point, Furnas picked up Tanaka for what looked like to be the Styles clash. Instead of doing something fancy, Furnas simply dropped Tanaka right on the back of his head. It looked brutal as it sounds.
When Furnas and Tanaka weren't working out the kinks, Furnas would attempt to pin Tanaka. Every time Furnas did this, Wright would tell him to let Tanaka up so that he could do more damage to his opponent.
That proved to be Furnas' undoing, as Tanaka eventually won the match in a very abrupt manner.
After the match, Wright scolded Furnas for coming up short. Furnas had heard enough of Wright's mouth and clotheslined him. Furnas then left the ring and picked up an ECW shirt.
He got back in the ring with a microphone in hand and told Wright to tell Vince McMahon to kiss his behind. He then put the shirt on and left the ring, much to the fans' delight.
Rob Van Dam def. 2 Cold Scorpio
I am a fan of both Van Dam and Scorpio, but this match felt like it went way longer than it should have.
It was easily the longest match on the show. The only problem was that there was no real story behind it to warrant it going nearly 30 minutes.
I feel like that if the match was cut in half, it would have been a lot better because the pacing would have been different.
Instead of Van Dam and Scorpio working at their usual break-neck pace, they almost had to slow each other down to fill the time, which I think was counterproductive.
Even the fans felt this way and grew restless at various points of the match.
Things only picked up once Van Dam's tag team partner, Sabu, ran to the ring to interfere on his partner's behalf after the referee had been knocked down.
The Sandman then ran out to chase Sabu away. While that was happening, Van Dam rolled up Scorpio to finally pick up the win.
Van Dam took the microphone and arrogantly offered Scorpio a chance to shake his hand. Scorpio stuck his hand out, but Van Dam pulled it away in a sign of disrespect.
Scorpio and Van Dam eventually shook hands, but Scorpio attacked Van Dam. Sabu came flying out of nowhere and attacked Scorpio again. They brought a table into the ring and put Scorpio on top of it.
But before they could any damage to Scorpio, The Sandman returned and thwarted them. He then attempted — and I use that term loosely — to put Sabu through the table with a frankensteiner, but Sabu only clipped the edge of the table and The Sandman looked like he hurt himself than he did to his adversary.
Scorpio got on the microphone again and thanked the fans for all of their support. The former ECW tag champs then shared a couple of beers and danced together in the ring.
New Jack & Spike Dudley def. The Dudley Boyz & Balls Mahoney/Axl Rotten
As much as the Van Dam-Scoprio match was all about wrestling, this was the opposite. This was total chaos from beginning to end.
The entire Dudley Boyz contingent — sans Spike Dudley — was in the ring prior to the match while the quintessential stud muffin, Joel Gertner, handled the long but entertaining introductions.
I would quote some of the things he said, but it was not the most PG rhetoric in the world. He did say that D-Von Dudley was only 169 pounds and was the "ECW super cruiserweight champion of the world."
As soon as Mahoney and Rotten got to the ring they were throwing punches with the Dudley Boyz.
However, the entire mood changed once New Jack and Spike Dudley hit the ring a couple of minutes later. The fans came unglued, as New Jack ran down swinging a wooden crutch and a computer keyboard.
The only problem was that the WWE Network version does not have New Jack's theme song, Natural Born Killaz, by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube.
Instead, we are stuck with some generic and awful rap song. Why is that so crucial? It was crucial because New Jack's song would play throughout his matches. It was like the soundtrack to his violence.
It was like watching a montage play out in real time. Every time New Jack crashed an object over someone's head, it was only enhanced by hearing the dark tones and lyrics of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube in the background. New Jack was even wearing a Master P shirt. There was never a wrestler that was more "'Bout it" than New Jack.
It sounds crazy, but this was art. Hardcore art, but art nonetheless. I can't believe I just waxed poetic about New Jack.
Regardless of the song, whenever New Jack was in the ring all hell broke loose and that was no different here.
The brawl eventually made it way into the crowd, which forced security to form a human chain to keep the fans away.
A pair of tables was eventually set up and the Dudley Boyz were placed on them. New Jack and Spike Dudley ascended to a nearby balcony and jumped off. Before they hit the ground, they went crashing through the Dudley Boyz below.
New Jack's head looked like it bounced right off the unpadded floor and the fans couldn't have loved it any more.
New Jack could barely make it back to his feet and looked like he had no idea where he was. Everyone eventually fought their way back to the ring.
Mahoney set up a table in the ring and put Spike Dudley on it, but Spike Dudley countered and landed a tornado DDT through the table.
Bubba Ray Dudley then tossed Spike Dudley out of the ring, which left he and his brother D-Von in the ring with Mahoney. The Dudley Boyz quickly took advantage of the situation by delivering the 3-D to Mahoney to eliminate him and Rotten.
Before the Dudley Boyz could celebrate for too long, New Jack and Spike Dudley hit them with a pair of guitars. They each hit their finishing move on D-Von Dudley to pick up the win.
Tommy Dreamer def. Justin Credible
Adult film star Jenna Jameson was introduced before the match as ECW's newest reporter. She attempted to interview Credible, but he was having none of it.
Jameson said she didn't want to interview Credible anyway because she really wanted to talk to Dreamer. Dreamer said less than Credible. Instead of talking, he just laid a big kiss on Jameson.
He then went to the ring and immediately got into it with Credible.
It didn't take long for Dreamer and Credible to fight amongst the fans with Dreamer controlled the pace.
Credible eventually fought his way back into the match and hit the jumping tombstone. That was when Beulah McGillicutty walked out and made it look like she was siding with Credible.
McGillicutty quickly turned the tables on Credible by hitting him with a low blow and then hitting Jason with a DDT. Credible's other heavy, Nicole Bass, jumped into the ring and bear hugged McGillicutty, who was sporting a neck brace.
That brought out an injured Mikey Whipwreck, who hit Bass with the stunner.
Credible got rid of Whipwreck by bashing his injured leg with a crutch. Dreamer had recovered by this point and hit Credible with a DDT to pick up the win.
ECW World Television championship – Bam Bam Bigelow def. Taz
Although the match was in Bigelow's hometown, the crowd was split. There were a lot of Bigelow fans in the crowd, but there were just as many Taz fans as well. It was testament to how popular Taz was at the time.
Taz set the tone early by using a judo-style throw on Bigelow and knocking him out of the ring.
When out of the ring, Bigelow immediately used his size and strength of his advantage to gain the upper hand.
Taz got back into the match, but then did one of the most dangerous spots I've ever seen. ECW used an elevated walkway that led all the way up to the ring.
Taz and Bigelow fought their way onto it, which led to Taz setting up Bigelow for a suplex. Instead of just doing the suplex onto the walkway, Taz tossed Bigelow in the crowd. Bigelow took a pretty big fall, as he fell a good five or six feet to the ground, but the back of Taz's head cracked the steel guardrail in the process.
How Taz finished the match from this point is beyond me, but somehow he did and fought with Bigelow all over the arena.
Taz eventually locked in his chokehold maneuver and jumped on Bigelow's back so that he could keep the choke locked on.
Bigelow, unable to buck the champion, simply jumped and fell backward onto the canvas. Instead of just landing on the canvas, Bigelow and Taz went right through it in what is still one of the best moments in ECW history.
As expected, a large "E-C-W!" broke out, as both men lied in the ring. Bigelow was the first to crawl out and looked like he had just survived a car wreck.
He then dragged Taz's broken body out of the hole and covered him to win the title.
After the match, Bigelow's running mates in the Triple Threat celebrated with him in the ring. At the same time, doctors ran down to check on Taz.
Dueling Canes match – Sabu def. The Sandman
After the craziness of the previous match, Paul Heyman ran up to Styles and urged him to buy some time. Heyman told Styles to cut to the Sabu-Sandman match, which was not supposed to air.
Styles apologized to fans earlier in the night that the Sabu-Sandman match, which had been taped earlier in the night, was not allowed to air due to its graphic nature at the behest of the pay-per-view provider.
Because of this, Styles yelled at Heyman that if the match aired, ECW would get thrown off pay-per-view. Heyman didn't care and wanted it to air anyway to bide some time.
Styles reluctantly obliged.
The telecast abruptly cut to the end of Sandman's entrance. Sabu ran down to the ring and immediately pummeled Sandman with a cane.
After Sandman began to fight back, it was revealed that Sandman's opponent was not Sabu. Instead, it was Van Dam dressed as Sabu.
The real Sabu then ran in and attacked The Sandman from behind. It's crazy how similar Van Dam and Sabu look when they're both wearing Sabu's gear.
With Sabu firmly in control, Van Dam left the ring so that he could get ready for his match later in the night.
Van Dam returned later in the match to help Sabu set up a table on the walkway. They put Sandman on the table and hit dueling leg drops on him though the table.
Styles' response to all of this: "Are you kidding me? Holy s***!"
The match wasn't as bas as Styles made it out to be, but that didn't stop him from on an angry rant on Heyman for airing the match that shouldn't have aired.
Al Snow & Lance Storm def. Shane Douglas & Chris Candido
The entire arena had mannequin heads in their hands in preparation for Al Snow's entrance. Snow was supposed to Kronus, but the match had apparently been canceled.
In the ring, the hole that Bigelow and Taz went through was now surrounded by caution tape.
Candido and Storm were ECW World Tag Team champions, by were sworn enemies by this point. Candido found his dream partner in Douglas, the current ECW World Heavyweight champion, but Storm had a mystery partner, which turned out to be Candido's fiancée, Sunny.
Storm then leaped into the ring began fighting Candido and Douglas by himself.
Styles said that having Sunny as Storm's partner was a brilliant idea because neither of their opponents would fight her.
Storm tagged her in, but she began arguing with Francine. Sunny then teased hitting Candido, but immediately turned on Storm and hit him before falling into the hole in the ring.
With Storm subdued, Candido grabbed a microphone and asked where Storm's mystery partner was. Storm then revealed that it was Snow.
Snow then made his psychedelic entrance and fought side-by-side with Storm. There were upside down camera shots and everything.
Snow tossed Douglas into the hole in the ring. Douglas got out of the hole, but walked right into the Snow plow to end the match.