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[2000-01-09-ECW-Guilty as Charged] Sabu vs Rob Van Dam

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Here is a feud where I have never really enjoyed the output of any of the matches. The execution of this match was better than in any of their previous efforts. They do some insane moves and hit almost all of them cleanly which was shocking. The crowd reacts by being pretty rabid throughout the whole ordeal. Much like the FMW and Blade vs. Low Ki match, these matches of ultimate one upmanship will never be my favorite style of wrestling but I think these two at least had a match here that was worthy of the pre hype their matches would concoct up in the minds of diehard ECW fans. ***

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It's Sabu vs RVD, so you sort of know there are certain things you'll get and certain things you definitely won't. This doesn't break expectations, but I do think it gives us a good version of the expected matchup between these two. It's hard to fault them too much for stuff I may fault others for just because they are giving people what they'd expect to see in a match like this instead of dictating a specific type of "right" match to the crowd, so for that, I'll give them credit. It's not my preferred type of match, but it works. Their fundamentals are just so awful though. Bad strikes and non-existent transitions between moves, and at one point, Sabu has RVD in the ropes while the ref counts for him to break at five. Moments before that, RVD went through a table and we're supposed to care about breaking at five? That's one reason I always found ECW booking so impossible -- nothing really meant anything, so there were no conventions to really break that would matter other than just saying "fuck" repeatedly and bleeding a lot. I am being negative, but this wasn't a bad effort from two guys that I usually see as needing a less flashy base as an opponent to have a good match. I wouldn't call this good, but I would call it better than expected.

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The one big positive in here is that they don't botch anything bad enough to derail it. It is tough to get into a match like this because of any lack of build or structure. They just hit their stuff and move to the next spot. The Fonzie stuff around the finish sucked.

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RVD vs Sabu is what you would expect from those guys in ECW.

 

But I noticed at least 2 spots where Sabu goes top rope to hard floor - landing on his feet.

 

How do his knees not explode into a puff of dust? Later in the match, he does wrap one of his knees and limps around. I think he legit hurt himself.

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This match brought me back to my love of ECW. In high school I was a huge RVD fan, and Sabu vs. RVD will always have a soft spot for me. Since then my taste in wrestling has changed but watching old ECW is just a lot of fun for me.

 

***

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Decent match because it cuts down (to a degree) on the really bad tendencies both have, mainly showboating for RVD and botching/lying around for Sabu. At age 12, I ate this stuff up. As it is, I still had fun watching it. Right before he puts RVD through the table on the guard rail, I swear I could see Sabu tell himself this was a bad idea, one of the only times I've noticed that.

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It still shcoks me that Sabu was able to do some of these things in 2000. Nearly a decade of damage on his body already. This wasn't going to be the greatest wrestling match in the world, but I think it delivered on what you expect out of Sabu v. RVD. 

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I'll stand up for this match and say it was great. I'll echo everyone's positive points. There was minimal stalling or setup time. No one botched anything and this was not longer than it needed to be. It was perhaps their best single match with one another.

In that regard, this match was superior to many similar move centric hardcore matches a few years later in ROH and certainly beyond. They did not go for overkill & empty their tanks. Both guys had TONS more offense they could have done. This was one of Sabu's final (if not final) matches in ECW. They would have been justified in taking each other to the limit but, they showed restraint. Something that can't be said of some of the RVD vs Lynn matches.

Another key point from a story standpoint is Bill Alfonso representing Sabu and RVD equally. He really does try to "call it right down the middle, baby!" but, RVD doesn't have time for that ...he's gotta beat Sabu. In a way this match cements RVD as not only the heir to Sabu's legacy as the most insane, dangerous wrestler in the company but, also positions him as a true contender for the World title and a star in his own right. 

Two things, well three...they probably could've been a little more definitive in RVD's win. The setup to the finish could have been maybe 1 move more. Second thing is this was all a very good setup to a dream match of RVD vs Awesome for the big belt...which never happens. That's the true shame (although he got to excel in WWE). And well lastly...the company was sinking. So even if the match took place, I don't think it would have saved the company.

If you like these two then definitely watch this match. Understand that the spots and sequences have gotten much crazier (not for the better in many cases) so, don't let nostalgia convince you that these guys were the Young Bucks. But, perhaps you'll enjoy that they're NOT the Bucks. This might not be Flair vs Steamboat but, they certainly have more a sense of the fundamentals than most of the generation they influenced. Anyhow, I thought this was a great match.

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