Throwback Thursday: ECW Hardcore TV (March 11, 2000), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock

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This week Throwback Thursday heads back to the land of the “extreme” for the Living Dangerously 2000 go-home edition of ECW’s Hardcore TV, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 23 years ago this month!

 

While professional wrestling remained a popular topic in the wider American culture in the spring of 2000, what with Monday Night RAW still dominating cable ratings, constant coverage in mainstream press, the launch of the XFL, the release of Jim Carey’s Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon, and the national theatrical release of the seminal documentary Beyond the Mat, the industry itself was in the early phases of another severe contraction.

World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the one-time number one wrestling company in the world, was falling apart.

Among a myriad of other woes, their once dominant Monday NITRO program was now pulling record low ratings, occasionally being tripled by the World Wrestling Federation’s (WWF) Monday Night RAW.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), meanwhile, looked to be showing signs of growth in March 2000. However, despite their TNN show drawing record ratings, their pay-per-view numbers ticking upwards, and their live attendance growing, the promotion’s continued financial problems threatened to undo everything.

Sabu, one of ECW’s biggest stars, had all but quit the promotion in February 2000 over back pay, as Shane Dougals had done the prior year.

Though rumors suggested that Sabu was headed to WCW the star instead went West, joining a slew of former ECW stars like Shane Douglas, John Kronus, and Chris Candido in Rob Zicari’s Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW).

Sabu was far from alone. A long line of ECW talent—from top stars to mid-card talent to announcers—were working for a mere fraction of what was actually owed them. By the end of March even the ECW Magazine would fold.

As all of this was going on, TNN had begun quiet negotiations with Vince McMahon and the WWF to bring their flagship Monday Night RAW program to TNN, a move that would spell the end of ECW on TNN.

A more pressing matter was at hand, however. With just hours to go before their next PPV event, Living Dangerously 2000, Paul Heyman was in need of a talent who could fill the massive shoes (at least for a time) of ECW’s top drawing card, Rob Van Dam.

Expected to out for 12 weeks following an ankle/fibula injury, Van Dam was hoping to return sooner and, hopefully, move into the World Heavyweight title picture as the true “face” of ECW.

But, as is so often the case, outside pressures, including finances and the WWF/TNN negotiations, would not only throw RVD’s future with ECW into doubt, but the future of ECW itself.

 

 

The top story in ECW the week this edition of Hardcore TV aired was the upcoming Living Dangerously 2000 and the ongoing tournament to crown a new World Television Champion.

Other top stories included Mike Awesome’s path of destruction as ECW World Heavyweight Champion and the ongoing war between Rhino and the Sandman.

Now let’s head on over to the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this Living Dangerously 2000 go-home edition of ECW Hardcore TV holds up 24 years later!

Edits are not a concern with this edition of ECW HCTV on the WWE Network and Peacock. Though unlicensed music and any and all ECW Home Video promos have been removed their absence does not alter the enjoyment of the show. Context, meanwhile, is excellent. All past editions of both Hardcore TV and ECW on TNN, as well as all past ECW pay-per-views and an ever-growing list of supercard events, are available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network on Peacock!

 

ECW Hardcore TV #359 (WATCH)
Date: March 11, 2000 (TAPED: March 4, 2000) – Location: ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 1,500 – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Joey Styles & Joel Gertner – Interviews: N/A

IN POP CULTURE:
Number One Song: “Amazed” (Lonestar)
Number One Album: Supernatural (Santana)
Number One on Television: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Tuesday night edition) (ABC)
Number One on Cable Television: Raising the Mammoth (Discovery Channel)
Number One Film in Theaters: Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, & Aaron Eckhart)
U.S. President & Vice President: Bill Clinton & Al Gore

CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
ECW World Heavyweight Champion: Mike Awesome (December 31, 1999, ECW on TNN, taped December 23, 1999, from Masato Tanaka)
ECW World Television Championship: VACANT (March 10, 2000, ECW on TNN, taped March 4, 2000; the TV title was vacated after then-Champion Rob Van Dam suffered a broken ankle; after a speech RVD relinquished the TV title belt to Cyrus, officially vacating the title)
ECW World Tag Team Champions: ECW World Heavyweight Champion Mike Awesome & Raven (March 10, 2000, ECW on TNN, taped March 4, 2000, from Tommy Dreamer & Masato Tanaka)

 

This week’s edition of ECW Hardcore TV begins with a cold open that takes us to the closing moments of the Television Championship quarter-final round match between Little Guido and Kid Kash.

The winners of the quarter-final matches would move on to this Sunday’s Living Dangerously 2000 PPV where they would complete the semi-final and final rounds of the tournament to crown a new Champion.

 

—Quarter-Final Match in ECW World Television Championship Tournament – JIP (0:00)
Little Guido w/Big Sal E. Graziano vs. Kid Kash

As we join the match Little Guido delivers a diving elbow from the shoulders of Big Sal on Kid Kash before Big Sal drops one of his own on Kash. Kash, of course, kicks out.

Little Guido & Big Sal argue with the official until Jazz arrives. Jazz goes low on Big Sal and cinches in the Crossface before Guido, ever the gentleman, dropkicks Jazz in the face.

As Jazz slinks to the floor Kash blocks Guido’s Maritato finish (Unprettier), goes low, and drops Guido face first on a steel chair for a near-fall. While Guido sells the near-fall Kash goes after Sal, dropping Sal with a swinging DDT from the ring apron.

Kash then heads to the top rope, crushing Guido with a beautiful missile dropkick. Kash goes up top again, looking to put Guido away, but Guido evades the diving leg drop.

As Kash stumbles to his feet Guido pounces, cinching in the Fujiwara armbar for the submission to advance to tomorrow night’s semi-final round at Living Dangerously 2000, facing the winner of the C.W. Anderson/Super Crazy quarter-final bout later in this hour.

WINNER is Little Guido w/Big Sal E. Graziano (Submission, 2:10, JIP time)

 

After the match, as Guido celebrates, we head into the Eagle’s Nest where Joey Styles talks about Guido advancing in the tournament. Joey notes that it was 23 months ago, to the day, that RVD won the TV title that RVD is now being forced to relinquish.

 

Next we cut to footage of RVD relinquishing the TV title to Cyrus from last night’s edition of ECW on TNN (March 10, 2000). To start we see Bill Alfonso, in the ring, being chastised by Cyrus, head of “The Network”, for coming out in RVD’s place.

As Cyrus rants about RVD being a “coward” RVD’s (overdubbed) music hits and the TV Champion makes his way to the ring on the shoulders of “best friend” Scotty Anton, the former “Scotty Riggs” in WCW.

As RVD basks in the adoration of ECW faithful we cut to the standard (awesome) ECW open of the era, after which we head to our first Peacock ad-break of the the hour.

 

Coming out of the break we return to the ring where Rob Van Dam, with Scotty Anton, prepares to relinquish the World Television Championship to Cyrus and the Network.

Cyrus starts by yelling about canceling ECW on TNN and mocking RVD for having Scotty Anton defend the TV title in RVD’s place.

RVD says that Anton is one of his oldest and best friends, something Cyrus would know about since he’s a “pr*ck”. Scotty was the first to call RVD after RVD won the TV title 23 months ago and was the first to call after RVD broke his leg.

The RVD fans, Van Dam says, were on top of it too, emailing RVD to wish a speedy recovery and check on his progress. Well, RVD says, he’s here to give Cyrus a “progress report”.

RVD says he’s feeling “pretty good”. He may have a broken leg, RVD says, but he’s not David Letterman trying to make the comeback after triple bypass surgery. He’s everybody’s favorite wrestler, “Rob Van Dam”!

We then cut ahead to RVD telling Cyrus that everyone knows that RVD has turned down offers to go to other promotions because he believes in ECW. Others may have left for greener pastures but fans knew they could count on getting their money’s worth from RVD, the “whole f**kin’ show!”

This is “the path” that RVD says he’s been carrying the company on and RVD says he’ll “be damned” if he’s going to let Cyrus “put a stop to that.”

We then cut to RVD slowly unsnapping the World TV title belt from around his waist. As RVD looks down at the title belt in his hand he tells Cyrus that ECW will carry on on TNN. Good luck, RVD says, finding someone to fill “the standard” that RVD has set as ECW World Television Champion.

RVD drops the belt at Cyrus’ feet, telling a skittish Cyrus that RVD, when he’s healthy, is going to beat the ass of whomever Cyrus thinks can carry the World TV title in his absence and it’ll happen on Cyrus’ network, TNN!

 

As Joey & Gertner put over the “selflessness” of RVD, the former Champion prepares to leave the ring while Cyrus starts yelling at Bill Alfonso, challenging Fonzie to fight.

Cyrus and Fonzie look about ready to fight when Rhino hits the ring and spears Alfonso to the mat. RVD reenters the ring and, on one foot, crutch in hand, tries to go after Rhino.

 

We then cut ahead to Cyrus shouting about starting the World Television title tournament right here and now as Rhino, with Jack Victory and Steve Corino, is subdued by ECW security.

Since Rhino is already in the ring, Cyrus shouts, ECW needs to send the “best” they’ve got to the ring to face Rhino in the first quarter-final round match of the tournament.

Suddenly Spike Dudley’s (overdubbed) music hits and the “Giant Killer” Spike Dudley makes his way to the ring for an impromptu tournament match with Rhino.

 

—Quarter-Final Match in ECW World Television Championship Tournament – HIGHLIGHTS (6:45)
Rhino w/Steve Corino & Jack Victory vs. Spike Dudley

This match originally aired on the prior night’s edition of ECW on TNN, the only quarter-final tournament match to do so. We don’t see enough of this match, with it being highlights, to judge the entirety of the bout.

What we do see, though, is a hardcore war that proves just why Spike Dudley was one of the most beloved stars in all of ECW history.

Spike hits the ring a ball of fire, going for the Acid Drop early. Spike, using his speed and small size, scores a slew of near-falls before evading a Rhino gore that sends Rhino to the floor where Spike follows.

We then cut to later in the match where Rhino is tossing Spike out of the Eagle’s Nest through tables below before dragging Spike back to the ringside.

As Rhino goes to work we cut ahead to Spike hitting the Acid Drop on Rhino for a near-fall broken up by Steve Corino. Spike fights off Corino and drops an interfering Jack Victory with the Acid Drop before going back after Corino.

But, as Dudley fights with Corino, Spike steps in front of the table set up in the corner. Rhino, from out of nowhere, come flying across the ring, goring Spike through the table.

As Spike writhes on the mat, grabbing his knee, Corino implores Rhino to “finish” Spike. Spike lands a desperate punch but Rhino lowers the boom.

After landing a number of kicks Rhino pulls Spike to his feet and delivers a brutal piledriver for the 1-2-3 to advance to the semi-final round tomorrow night at Living Dangerously 2000, facing the winner of the Sandman/Tajiri quarter-final match later in this hour.

WINNER is Rhino w/Steve Corino & Jack Victory (Pin, 4:09, Highlight time)

 

Following the match, as Rhino celebrates his win, we again head to Eagle’s Nest where Joey Styles recaps the TV title tournament thus far and hypes the upcoming Sandman/Tajiri quarter-final to come.

Joey then runs down some of the big matches to come at Living Dangerously ’00 tomorrow night, including the “bullrope” match between Steve Corino and “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Joey then sets up and tosses to a promo from Dusty Rhodes.

We find Dusty at his ranch, winding a riata with his back to the boards.

Dusty is quick to remind Cyrus that this isn’t the “Network” crew but Dusty’s “psychedelic camera crew”, as the ECW boys are in town.

Dusty says that he has forgotten more about television production, networking, and drawing money than Cyrus will ever know, something that could be said for Paul E. as well.

But one thing Cyrus does better in respect to “networking in public, if you will,” Dusty says, “is kissin’ ass!” The network isn’t going to stop Dusty from his “next foray, if you will.”

They come down to Dusty’s ranch and talk about bull ropes and Steve Corino and the way Corino has run down Dusty’s family and made threats, Dusty says. Even causing a “bloodlettin’” on TV, all for the sake of Dusty Rhodes.

Dusty says he didn’t come to ECW to “get over” or be World Champion (“Hell, I already done that!”), that he was drawn into a bad situation with Jack Victory, Rhino, and Steve Corino, all just trying to touch the lightning bolt called “Dusty Rhodes”.

So what Dusty decided to do was get a rope, a shiny new cow bell, and accept Corino’s invitation for a fight on pay-per-view.

Dusty says he invented “hardcore”, doing bunkhouse, bull rope, Texas death, barbed wire, and “burn somebody’s ass up” matches long before Corino was even born.

Corino got himself into this, Dusty says, and all Corino needs to think about is how Corino is going to get himself out of it at Living Dangerously 2000.

Dusty tells Corino to think of the blood that has been spilled on Dusty’s cow bells. Blood from Harley Race, Ric Flair, Joe LeDuc, Prince Curtis Iaukea, Bill Watts, and Billy Graham, the latter in the first “hardcore” bull rope match in Madison Square Garden.

Dusty talks about the legacies of the Funks, and says they’ve all felt the “steel of the mighty bull rope”. But Dusty has a brand new bell waiting for Corino at Living Dangerously.

The “Dream” hasn’t forgotten about Rhino, who has beat on Dusty a number of times by now. When it’s all over on Sunday, Dusty warns Rhino, he’s “in the ball game to stay”.

This Sunday night, at Living Dangerously 2000, it’s Dusty Rhodes and Steve Corino in a “bull rope” match. With a sly smile Dusty tips his head: “It ain’t gonna get no better than that!” With that the promo fades and we head to the next Peacock ad-break.

 

After the break, as Joey hypes the Dusty/Corino bull rope match at Living Dangerously, we catch a glimpse of Dusty walking through the stables, an aging gunfighter or outlaw, deep in thought.

 

We then head to the ring where C.W. Anderson, with Billy Wiles and manager Lou E. Dangerously, awaits the arrival of Super Crazy for our next quarter-final round match-up in the TV title tournament.

Before Crazy arrives, however, Lou E. tells the fans that they’re just “jealous” that Lou E. has become the greatest manger in wrestling today. Lou E. tries to say his name but the fans drown Lou E. out with an “a**hole” chant.

After several false starts, and threats to send Anderson after them, Lou E. finally gets his name out and introduces Wiles and Anderson, Lou E.’s “Dangerous Alliance”.

 

—Quarter-Final Match in ECW World Television Championship Tournament (21:33)
C.W. Anderson w/Lou E. Dangerously & Billy Wiles vs. Super Crazy

The winner of this match heads to Living Dangerously ’00 to face Little Guido in the semi-final round of the TV title tournament.

Before the bell can even ring Wiles & Anderson jump Super Crazy. The two attempt a double back body drop but end up on the receiving end of double DDT before Super Crazy lands a diving moonsault to the pair in the third row of ringside!

Despite being tripped by Lou E., Super Crazy continues to control the action, busting Anderson open after slamming a steel chair into Anderson’s face as we head to a mid-match Peacock ad-break.

Super Crazy is still in control as we return from break. That is until Anderson blocks a Super Crazy head scissors and powerbombs Crazy through a table in the ring.

Anderson, with the help of Wiles distractions and Lou E.’s phone, controls a now-bleeding Super Crazy. Anderson pounds on Crazy, scoring a few near-falls, as he cuts off a Crazy hope spot and we head to a second mid-match Peacock ad-break.

We return from the break to see Super Crazy drive Lou E. through a table in the ring before Anderson catches Crazy with a spinebuster for a long two-count.

Anderson & Wiles set up a table at ringside before Anderson drags Crazy to the apron with the idea of finishing Crazy off with a big move through the table.

Crazy blocks, however, driving Anderson through the ringside table with a top rope head scissors! Crazy tosses Anderson back in the ring and, after hitting the springboard moonsault, scores the 1-2-3 at 6:41 to advance to the semi-final round at Living Dangerously where Crazy will face Little Guido.

WINNER is Super Crazy (Pin, 6:41)

 

After the match Super Crazy celebrates his win as Joey sets up tosses to highlights of the ECW World Tag Team title change that aired on last night’s edition of ECW on TNN.

We pick up the match, in which Tommy Dreamer & Masato Tanaka defended the titles against the team of Raven & ECW World Champion Mike Awesome, in the closing moments, with Raven saving Awesome from Dreamer’s top rope Death Valley Driver.

Raven puts Dreamer’s face through the corner of a table before Awesome hits the Awesome Splash for a near-fall. As Raven and Tanaka brawl on the floor Awesome powerbombs Dreamer through another table for a near-fall broken up by Tanaka.

Raven then eats Tanaka’s Roaring Elbow for a near-fall that Awesome breaks up before the two head to the floor. In the ring Dreamer hits his DDT on Raven only for Awesome to barely break up the pin attempt.

Awesome then drives Dreamer through a corner table with an Awesome Bomb. As Tanaka goes after Awesome, Raven pulls Dreamer from the wreckage of the table to score the 1-2-3 and the World Tag Team titles for he and Mike Awesome. Following the three-count we head straight to the next Peacock ad-break.

 

Coming out of the break we get a clip of New Jack diving out of the Eagle’s Nest on to Vic Grimes, driving Grimes through a table. This comes from a tag team war between Da Baldies and New Jack & Ball Mahoney.

Back at the announce position Joey Styles hypes New Jack watching Balls’ back in Mahoney’s showdown with WING Kanemura tomorrow at Living Dangerously night before hyping Rhino facing either Sandman or Tajiri in the semi-finals of the TV title tournament.

 

Joey then tosses to the ring for Sandman’s entrance, after which we head to our next Peacock ad-break.

 

—Quarter-Final Match in ECW World Television Championship Tournament – JIP (35:31)
Tajiri w/Steve Corino & Jack Victory vs. The Sandman

We join this match in progress, making it impossible to judge this bout in its entirety. The winner of this match faces Rhino in the semi-final round tomorrow night at Living Dangerously 2000.

We join this one as Sandman drives Tajiri through a table with a senton from the top. Sandman goes after Tajiri, controlling the action, and keeping Corino & Victory away from him, until Tajiri lands a stiff looking head kick.

Trapped in the Tree of Woe Sandman eats a dropkick in the face as Tajiri clears the ring of everything but a table. Tajiri lays Sandman out on the table and drives Sandman through it with a double stomp for a near-fall.

Tajiri mocks Sandman as Jack Victory helps get another table into the ring. Tajiri places the table in the corner but Sandman meets him, dropping Tajiri with a back elbow.

A groggy Sandman trades shots with a game Tajiri before landing the top rope Heineken-rana.

But before Sandman can make the cover Steve Corino wallops the referee with a cowbell before Victory tries (and fails) to hit Sandman with a cane.

Sandman disposes of Victory with a White Russian leg sweep before ducking the cowbell and blasting Corino in the head with a cane. As Sandman looks to finish of Corino, though, Rhino arrives, viciously attacking Sandman.

Rhino holds Sandman as Tajiri delivers a number of cane shots. As Tajiri loads up the green mist, however, Sandman ducks, blinding Rhino instead!

Sandman floors Tajiri and leads Tajiri to the table set up in the corner. Sandman then baits Rhino who, believing he’s goring Sandman, gores Tajiri through the corner table by mistake!

Sandman drops Rhino with a trio of cane shots before covering Tajiri for the slow 1-2-3 to advance to semi-finals of the Television title tournament at Living Dangerously where Sandman will have to face Rhino.

WINNER is The Sandman (Pin, 6:17, JIP time)

 

Following the match, after Sandman catches his breath, Sandman puts on Jack Victory’s cowboy hat and celebrates with the fans as Joey hypes tomorrow night’s Living Dangerously 2000 PPV event and brings this week’s exciting edition of ECW Hardcore TV to a close!

 

Final Thoughts

This is an exciting, fast-paced edition of ECW’s Hardcore TV that illustrates both the strengths of ECW at this time and (despite the editing) their glaring weaknesses.

The action, or at least what action we see, is typical ECW for the era. That being said, the C.W. Anderson/Super Crazy match is the most complete in respect to footage and story, making it the clear match of the card.

The story told throughout the hour about the TV title tournament, including RVD forfeiting the title, is told expertly, with a slew of ECW talent stepping up and delivering just when ECW needed it the most.

The other star of the show is Dusty Rhodes’ promo regarding his upcoming “bull rope” match with Steve Corino. Fans of old school Dusty will enjoy hearing Dusty riff on old ideas while trying to create a few new ones.

All told, this is a great hour of ECW action! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself checking out Living Dangerously 2000 after watching this show.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the WWE Network on Peacock today and give this edition of ECW HCTV a try. Who knows, you might actually like it, and that’s never a bad thing!

Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive this classic edition of the Living Dangerously 2000 go-home edition of ECW Hardcore TV right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here!

 

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