Paul Heyman’s big surprise turned out not to be such a surprise at all. After haggling with ECW about his contract, searching out offers elsewhere and shooting an action flick, Rob Van Dam returned to the ECW roster at the Guilty As Charged pay-per-view. Not exactly a happening that will “change the face of ECW”. The troubled promotion still doesn’t have a television deal and as students of the game know without a television presence these days you’re behind the eight ball. I, myself, am finding it harder and harder to gear up for an ECW pay-per-view with their ability to produce the weekly hype and angles gone. The stress the company is under is taking a toll on their product as last night’s broadcast was as hard to follow as an Ahmed Johnson promo and contained more missed spots that you can swing a steel chair at.

The swerve in the three way main event for the ECW World Heavyweight Title between Steve Corino, Justin Credible and The Sandman was telegraphed earlier on when the man-beast Rhino went absolutely berserk on Swinger, Simon Diamond, Balls Mahoney and Chilly Willy. Rhino interfered in the middle of their contest goring everyone in sight including The Blue Boy (now Swinger’s manager) and valet Dawn Marie. Blue Boy’s main squeeze Jasmine St. Claire also felt Rhino’s wrath as he piledrived her off the top rope. As Rhino-vision continued he cut a promo slobbering his usual rage while smashing he head against lockers.

Onward to the main event in which the ECW championship belt was suspended high above the ring. All three men used ladders, chairs, tables and The Sandman’s cane against each other. Everyone took some harsh bumps but it was The Sandman suffering the most being thrown over the top rope twice through a table and falling off the ladder in such an awkward way that he bent it to hell as well as injured his knee during the trip down. Justin Credible was able to fight his way out of the Old School Expulsion to spike Steve Corino (who didn’t blade once during the match) with the That’s Incredible Tombstone Piledriver. Francine even got in on the action giving The Sandman a Hoochie-canrana (ECW’s name not mine) on the concrete floor.

Credible brought in a monster ladder into the ring just as a mysterious someone commandeered the controls and began raising the belt higher. In the commentator’s booth Cyrus denied Joey Styles’ charges that he was somehow behind it all. Corino and Credible slugged it out on top of the ladder until Credible bulldogged Corino off the ladder and through a table. As both men lay wasted, The Sandman climbed up and retrieved the belt winning the championship. ECW never fully explained why the belt was raised for Corino and Credible but not for The Sandman. You can safely rule out Ole Anderson as a suspect though.

Putting their differences aside Corino, Sandman and Credible shook hands just as The Baldies jumped them. Huh? Good sportsmanship in ECW? What’s this world coming to? Corino and Credible brawled with The Baldies to the locker room as Rhino made his big entrance, slipping as he gored Sandman. Rhino howled at Sandman on the house mike saying how could he be a television champion when ECW isn’t on television anymore? Good point. Then, get this, Rhino pointed Sandman’s family out in the crowd threatening to kill them unless he was immediately granted a title shot. Rather than risk seeing his family iced by football tackles, The Sandman agreed. A gore through a table, a piledriver off the ring apron through another table and a piledriver on the remnants of a broken table later and Rhino wins his first ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

Cyrus whooped it up with Rhino claiming ECW’s television and world titles had been unified. Speaking on Rhino’s behalf, Cyrus challenged anyone in the back to face Rhino. Out came…surprise, surprise, Rob Van Dam. Jerry Lynn attacked RVD from behind to start their impromptu match so Rhino could slip away without putting up his newly won title. Meanwhile, Justin Credible and Steve Corino made it known that they have buried the hatchet to form the new Impact Players.

  • The next ECW pay-per-view is Living Dangerously on March 11th.

    ECW Guilty As Charged 2001 Results

    Christian York, Joey Matthews versus Cyrus, Jerry Lynn

  • ECW’s version of the APA, The Baldies, punked out York and Matthews softening them up. Gertner, for some bizarre reason, attacks Angel who then DDTs him on the floor. Lynn hits The Cradle Piledriver and Cyrus makes the slap-dash cover for the victory. Cyrus pays off The Baldies with…cigars. An in-joke? I think so. Lynn announces to the crowd that RVD ain’t on the show which of course means he is.
  • Winners: Jerry Lynn and Cyrus at 1 minute and 31 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 0 / 10.

    Hot Commodity (challengers) versus Danny Doring, Road Kill (champions) (ECW World Tag Team Title Match)

  • Missed spots galore. The high spots look too planned out. Doring and Road Kill hang onto their belts. Hot Commodity beats them silly. Nova without any comic book-themed costume, but looking more like Kid Kash, saves the day.
  • Winners: …and still ECW World Tag Team Champions…Doring and Road Kill at 10 minutes and 8 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 3 / 10.

    Nova versus Chris Hammerick

  • Another sloppy match that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Chris Chetti, who lost a Loser Leaves Town match a few months ago to Nova, steps in wearing ref duds. I guess his deal with the WWF tanked. He counts three for Hammerick. Lou E. Dangerously hits the real ref over the head with his phone. Spike Dudley arrives taking care of Dangerously and Chetti so Nova can Kryptonite Krunch Hammerick. Dudley slaps the three count for Nova. Nova wins instead. Uh. Okay.
  • Winner: Nova at approximately seven minutes.
  • Match Rating: 2 / 10.

    C.W. Anderson versus Tommy Dreamer (I Quit Match)

  • Rough and tumble match with some brawling, scientific wrestling and a comedy spot thrown in for good measure. Dreamer finds a wrench under the ring. He bonks Anderson in the head with it and tears at his forehead with the forked end. Anderson’s head hits the ring bell so hard it actually dings. Coolness.
  • Everyone’s favourite Towel Boy returns for some pay back bringing along a belated Christmas present for Dreamer. It’s razor wire in a box. As Dreamer holds Anderson, Towel Boy hits him about the head with two gift-wrapped cookie sheets. Dreamer is Spinebustered on the razor wire. Towel Boy gets a hanging suplex off the second rope. Dreamer’s head is stuck in a steel chair before Anderson slingshots him into a turnbuckle. Ouch! Dreamer Spicoli Drivers Anderson through a table. Anderson submits when Dreamer takes the cords that held the table together and wraps them around his face numerous times. Dreamer and Anderson shake hands following the match. More good sportsmanship in ECW? Someone better get checking on those infamous “seven signs” because I think the world as we know it is about to end.
  • Winner: Tommy Dreamer at 14 minutes and 11 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 7 / 10.

  • Corino is in search of Justin Credible. Francine tells him he is in the bathroom with Missy Hyatt. Cornio replies sarcastically that John Tatum is waiting for him in the parking lot as well. Credible exits the bathroom with Missy who is wrapped up in a towel. Corino and Victory fawn all over Missy in a hallway.

    F.B.I. versus Kid Kash, Super Crazy versus Tajiri, Mikey Whipwreck (Three Way Elimination Tag Match)

  • The winners receive a shot at the tag straps. Three men are permitted in the ring at a time. Awesome action, though this match-up is getting a little stale. At 6:58, Big Sal splashes Kid Kash in the ring. Mamaluke pins him to boot the team. Tajiri and Whipwreck double Tiger Suplex (German Suplex) the F.B.I. to notch the victory.
  • Winners: Tajiri and Whipwreck at 13 minutes and 29 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 8 / 10.

    Swinger, Simon Diamond versus Balls Mahoney, Chilly Willy

  • Swinger announces Blue Boy Management as his advisors. Rhino creams everyone less than 30 seconds in. The bout is thrown out.
  • Winner: None.
  • Match Rating: 0 / 10.

    Steve Corino (champion) vs The Sandman (challenger) vs Justin Credible (challenger) (ECW World Heavyweight Title Match)

  • Winner: … and new ECW World Heavyweight Champion…The Sandman at 13 minutes and 19 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 4 / 10.

    Rhino (challenger) Vs The Sandman (champion) (ECW World Heavyweight Title Match)

  • Winner: … and new ECW World Heavyweight Champion…Rhino at approximately five minutes.
  • Match Rating: 1 / 10.

    Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn

  • Not nearly as good as their past classic encounters. RVD is very rusty and it shows. Bill Alphonso is nowhere to be found. A fully recovered Gertner helps out by DDTing Cyrus and holding a chair for RVD’s Van-Terminator move.
  • Winner: Rob Van Dam at 19 minutes and 22 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 6 / 10.

  • Total Event Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes
  • Overall Event Rating: 3 / 10.