By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
Justin Credible © vs Jerry Lynn 10/1/00
ECW World Heavyweight Title Match
If the recorded numbers are correct, Justin Credible is Jerry Lynn’s most fought opponent in his twenty five year plus career (Lynn being beaten by Tommy Dreamer in Credible’s list). At a time when ECW was leeching stars to WWF and WCW, it would become Credible and Lynn who were used as the two men whose job it was to shore up the promotion in the main event whilst Paul Heyman tried to build new stars around them. However, the two men had been fighting each other from 1997, back in the heyday of the promotion. These two were destined to feud for the next decade, in and out of ECW.
Credible was in the middle of an almost half year long ECW World Heavyweight Title reign which had divided critics. Credible’s sneering partnership with Lance Storm as the Impact Players (alongside a veritable dog and pony show of valets and bodyguards) guaranteed him heel heat, but he wasn’t a worker that inspired much engagement when between the ropes. He was perfectly acceptable, but not necessarily the guy who could carry a fifteen minute main event during a time when the ECW fans were programmed to expect high intensity and impact from the guys in the marquee matches.
Lynn had lost to Credible – sans title – in pay-per-view matches before, with the general singles record between the two not really working in Lynn’s favour. What Lynn had done over the past couple of years was to make himself a cornerstone of what ECW could still offer the fans, working his way into the fan’s hearts as one of the roster members who felt legitimately able to fill some of the gaps left by the big departures. With the promotion struggling behind the scenes, the decision to give Lynn a short run with the title felt like a thank you as much as anything else; it definitely was going to be a feelgood moment to see Lynn oust Credible for the gold.
With Credible in the main event came an initial period of stalling, the champion leaving the ring at one time to jaw with a fan in the front row. Early reversals of Credible’s Tombstone and Lynn’s Cradle piledriver teased an early finish, before an Irish whip into the corner sent Credible up and over the top. A baseball slide and a top rope plancha saw Lynn pulling out the high risk moves, with the latter move seeing him smash his arm into the guardrail as well as take out Credible. This didn’t seem to affect him, but a spinning side slam finally halted Lynn’s offense, compounded by a face first slam into an open metal chair.
It wouldn’t be an ECW main event without some ring wide brawling, ending up with Lynn getting his face raked across the wire fence at the top of the entrance way. As the match returned to the ring, Credible seemed to be firmly in control, only to be planted with a DDT on the steel chair. Credible slipped out of the back of a slam attempt, landing a reverse DDT of his own. The decision by Credible to lambast Lynn with the mic, as well as the crowd, mid-match saw both men showered with beer from launched missiles. The DDT felt like it was the offensive staple of the match as two swinging DDTs would be landed, including one by Lynn onto the chair. Not content with just the chair, Lynn would introduce a table, only for Francine to block his attempts to jump off of the top onto Credible. A throw by Credible saw the table break in half, but would only earn the champ a two count.
Nearfalls became the order of the day as Lynn would get one from his cradle piledriver and Credible from his tombstone piledriver, whilst shenanigans also had to follow. A ref bump led to the arrival of a crooked referee, fast counts and further interference from Francine. Just as it seemed Credible was going to regain the gold after a kendo stick shot from the referee and one more That’s Incredible, Natural Born Killaz hit the PA system and New Jack headed down to the ring! After New Jack helped to clear out the crooked official, Lynn would drop Credible with a cradle tombstone piledriver for the win and the huge pop.
Lynn would only hold the belt up until the next pay-per-view; he was never really designed to be a champion, more the guy who is chasing the belt. He had had his moment in the sun and very few people deserved that more than him. It was arguably the last big moment in the history of the original ECW run and rewarded Lynn for his stellar work in the company over the past four years. As for Credible and Lynn’s feud, they’d even get some matches in TNA out of it as it never truly went away.