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Rob Van Dam v Bam Bam Bigelow


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Rob Van Dam v Bam Bam Bigelow - 04/04/98 (ECW)


Joey Styles does a nice job of catching me up on the storyline here, which is that RVD has largely been in a position to do dirty work for Sabu, and what's expected of him here is to soften up Bam Bam Bigelow so Sabu can get the win at the upcoming pay-per-view. I'm thinking this match is going to be really good early on, since they seem like the types who would click well, and often, they do -- Bam Bam's stiff, high impact style is a nice contrast to RVD's high flying, and there are hints of chemistry. The problems start when they're lost between big moves. Early on, Van Dam tries a huracanrana, but Bigelow reverses it into a powerbomb, which causes Rob to roll outside. I'd normally consider that a nice touch, but he only sells that for a short time, and the rest of the time, he's just chillin' with Fonzie and talking to the camera. He also does very little to sell the storyline of softening up Bam Bam but seeming reluctant about it deep down, which could have been communicated in several ways.


This match is more of a spotfest than anything, with RVD's somersault plancha into the crowd being one for the ages. It's one of the most dangerous, yet graceful spots I've ever seen, and it gets an insane reaction from the mutants. My philosophy on spotfests has always been the same though, which is if you're going to do it, do it! There's so much stalling here that the match never quite establishes a rhythm, as they pretty much lay around between big moments. Bigelow has a nasty cut reopened above his eye, and I don't understand why he is the one being positioned as the underdog here, given the size difference of the two, the fact that he's the champion and the fact that Van Dam is more of a hired goon at this point than anything. Bigelow has also held the company's top title, and Rob hasn't come anywhere close to hitting that level. So the layout just doesn't feel right and when the ref bump happens, the problems just compound. There's not really a reason to do a ref bump in an ECW match anyway, since they don't do DQs. It's Sabu's cue to come out and assist his partner, but Bigelow makes his own save before getting hit with the Van Daminator for the win. Rob would hold the title until nearly the end of the company, but he'd always seem pigeonholed into a role where he was too over not to be on top. Sound familiar?

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