Extreme Championship Wrestling
Big Ass Extreme Bash
March 9th, 1996
Big Ass Extreme Bash
March 9th, 1996
Well, we have finally arrived to one of my all time favorite ECW shows. This was really a two night deal held on March 8th and 9th. ECW had really started to take off in New York City after debuting in December 1995 at their record breaking Holiday Hell show. The grimey "Lost Battalion Hall" in Queens was starting to become ECW's home away from home(the ECW Arena in Philly). The March 8th part of this show was filmed at the Lost Battalion Hall in Queens, but unfortunately that part of the show was heavily clipped on this tape.
I'll post a brief review of the New York part of this show since all of the footage is incomplete. The second part(Philly) of this show is one of my personal favorite ECW shows for multiple different reasons. The major story going into this show is Mick Foley heading out to the WWE. Foley had an incredible 1995 in ECW(my pick for MVP), and the Cactus Jack character had really grown and evolved to develop incredible depth. This is Foley's final ECW show before moving on up to the big time to play Mankind in one of my absolute all time favorite feuds in wrestling history against the Undertaker through the rest of this year. Lets dig into this thing and find out whey I love it so much. Keep in mind this show was about 3 weeks prior to Wrestlemania XII, and about 2 weeks prior to WCW's horrendous "Tower of Doom" Uncensored 96 show.
March 8th Queens NY Highlights
The show immediately starts off with The Sandman coming out and caning the shit out of a bunch of jobbers that look strait out of WCW Saturday Night. Hard, vicious cane shots, even the referee! Sandman strikes his trademark pose in the center of the ring with his cane up and the crowd blows the roof off of the place. Got to love the E! C! DUB! chants during moments like this. You can just hear the passion in the tone of the fans' voices. Baker223 pointed it out previously in this thread, but Heyman often recycled gimmicks and angles. We're seeing the Sandman be pushed as a face here the same way 911 was for about a year prior to this. 911 was massively over because of booking like this. Heyman would book some shit match on purpose just to send 911 out there to end it with brutal chokeslams, and the fans fell in love with the guy. We're seeing that exact same strategy here with the Sandman with the exact same results.
We cut ahead to Joey Styles doing the introduction. Brian Pillman is sitting ringside looking like a fucking boss:
Styles brings out the Franchise, Shane Douglas. The first thing out of Shane's mouth: "Shawn Michaels, KISS MY ASS! HAHAHA!". Shane comes out and gets taunted by Pillman while trying to cut a promo. Styles tries to keep Shane from fighting Pillman but it's no use. Pillman pulls a woman holding a baby in front of him just as Shane tries to throw a punch. Brian Pillman then tells Shane:
"Shane, why don't you just quit, like you did everything else.
You quit WCW.
You quit The Dynamic Dudes.
You quit WWF.
I'M A REAL MAN, I DON'T QUIT, I GET THROWN OUT OF TOWN! C'MON!!"
Pillman's mannerisms and facial expressions are just fucking classic here as he taunts Shane Douglas. He was just such a great character. Just an observation here from these early 96 tapes, Shane Douglas started getting fucking jacked up huge. Him and Taz both put on a lot of muscle compared to the previous tapes I reviewed. Steroids? Maybe. They certainly looked quite a bit smaller in those 95 tapes.
Pillman reaches over and smacks Shane Douglas in the face. Shane goes after him. A few huge, black security guards swarm the scene and manhandle Pillman. Really crazy scene with the way the camera is moving around. Pillman is forcibly thrown out of the building. Shane Douglas calls for security to bring him back. Todd Gordon comes out and tries to help Joey Styles calm Shane Douglas down. Shane is fired up. Shane screams at Joey "Ted Turner calls no shots here, I call the shots here, I want that piece of shit back out here NOW!". Pretty good stuff. Douglas gets up in the camera and threatens Ted Turner for sending his pieces of shit to ECW.
As Shane's walking to the back, Bill Alphonso walks out to the ring where Todd Gordon is still standing after helping break up the previous melee. Keep that in mind, this is all one big segment.
Fonzie gets the mic and cuts a motherfucking out of this world, incredible sleezeball fuckwad heel promo telling Todd Gordon that he's a shit promoter that doesn't know what he's doing. Fonzie slaps Gordon. Gordon snaps and beats the shit out of Fonzie. Taz comes out with a steel chair and helps beat down on Todd Gordon. All of a sudden out comes........
BAM BAM BIGELOW!
I completely forgot he was even on this tape. Bigelow no sells a chair shot from Taz, and Taz retreats like a bitch. Hmmm.
We skip ahead to a 20 second clip of what is supposed to be a pretty awesome match between Cactus Jack and Chris Jericho. Cactus has tape all over his face. Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie are with Cactus. Jericho pins Cactus with a German Suplex with a bridge. Pretty good booking. Put over the up and coming youngster with Foley before sending him to the WWF.
We skip ahead again to a clip of Taz vs Mikey Whipreck. Taz dumps Mikey on his head with a beautiful head and arm suplex. This is the one that made the highlight reels in ECW for several years to come. Taz locks on the Tazmission and chokes Mikey out for the win. He keeps the hold on long after the match as Fonzie jumps around the ring. Bam Bam comes back out. Taz escapes the ring again, but Fonzie doesn't see Bigelow. Bam Bam lifts Fonzie up into the air, but Taz gets back in the ring and clips him behind the knee. Taz locks Bigelow in the Tazmission and chokes him out. Jobbers come out to pull Taz off of Bigelow, but Fonzie hits them with a chair. Taz stands tall over Bigelow.
We cut ahead yet again to a clip of the Dudley goofball family defeating Damien Kane's Headhunters with a rollup pinfall. The Headhunters beat the shit out of the Dudleys after the match. Damien Kane issues an open challenge for anyone in ECW to "COME AND GET IT!". The Gangstas come out and beat the shit out of the Headhunters with a bunch of garbage weapons.
We get to see a brief clip of Rey and Juvy's 2/3 falls match. These two guys were just on fire here. They trained together as youths in Mexico, so they had some fantastic chemistry. The clips of this match here are just awesome. Non stop action and some graceful high flying. Rey lands a somersault out into the crowd. Rey got the first pinfall, but Juvy won the match with the second and final.
Cutting ahead again with Sandman and Raven. Looks to be a pretty fun brawl. Sandman has Missy Hyatt, but Raven has Stevie, The Meanie, Kimona, and later Cactus Jack coming in to help him. Missy and Kimona get into a catfight that distracts the referee. Shane Douglas comes out and cracks Raven with a chair before rolling The Sandman over on top of him. The Blue Meanie and Stevie get involved with the match. Sandman brings in a piece of steel gaurdrailing from the back, but Raven gets the upper hand on him to get out of NY with his title.
That's all they show on this tape of the NY show. In all maybe about 30 minutes worth of highlights. Not much. Looked like a fun show though from the little we did see. Now lets get into the Philly show that took place the very next night.
Joey Styles opens the show from the center of the ring and brings out The Gangstas, who he says are fresh out of jail in Atlanta Georgia. The crowd gives The Gangstas a really big pop. They were starting to get pretty over around this time. New Jack and Mustapha come out and a young black woman goes berzerk like some sort of rock band groupie. She jumps the rail and throws herself on New Jack, dry humping him. Security come and escort the young woman out of the arena.
The crowd starts chanting "BRING HER BACK!".
New Jack tells Joey Styles:
"I never thought that I would miss nobody in my life, but you know to be honest, I missed these crazy, retarded motherfuckers from ECW.(Huge pop)
Maybe I'm losing my god damn mind. I don't know, but for some reason sitting in a motherfucking Atlanta city jail for damn near 5 weeks, I was like "Right about now I could be in the Arena beat'n the fuck out of somebody", but I'm sitting here looking at this motherfucking TV.
They made me watch that bullshit WCW.
I'm gonna tell ya'll for real.
I jacked off that night.....
I'm about tired of these motherfuckers coming out here and talking about Eric Bischoff. Fuck Eric Bischoff because I don't know him, I don't know Vince Mcmahon, I don't give a fuck if you rep WWF or WCW, that ain't ECW.
Sure enough, that may be where the big boys play...
This is where the real motherfuckers get down at!
I don't give a damn about the WWF, I don't give a damn about WCW cus' you see this is where the real deal is going down.
True enough, they got motherfuckers that's 6'9", 6'10", so fucking what, they don't know a headlock from a lip lock, so fuck'em all!"
You got to admit that is at least funny.
New Jack was always pretty good on the mic. He totally won this crowd over here. Huge pops.
Damien Kane comes out and starts running his mouth to New Jack. New Jack busts him over the head with a punch that is sold beautifully. They set up the Three Way Dance main event with Kane's Headhunters and Scorpio and Sandman for some odd reason thrown in there for good measure. I liked the New Jack promo, and the whole skit with the woman running in was pretty funny. Pretty good opening segment. The crowd is already very fired up. I'm also noticing a lot of the same people that were in the crowd for the previous night in NY. That must have just been awesome to go to these ECW shows back in the day. One of my favorite things about these old tapes is the looks on the peoples faces, the reactions, and the overall family type atmosphere where everyone seemingly knows everyone. I like watching the crowd during the shows. It makes me laugh to see these people just going crazy, acting goofy, and just having a good time. It sets a great atmosphere for these shows.
JT Smith def. Axl Rotten
We get a 2 minute clip of this match. Smith was a really good undercard wrestler. He's really grown on me during these tapes. He could work surprisingly well, and his goofy gimmick was actually pretty funny. I love how he came out to the Rocky theme song.
Smith lands a moonsault and a powerbomb along with a couple of other slams. Axl gets a reversal, but Smith hits him with a low blow and pins him with his feet on the ropes. Didn't look like a bad match. I've noticed that Axl Rotten has pretty much just been a jobber ever since his fued with Ian(who left in the late fall of 95, eventually starting IWA Midsouth). I think Axl would have been better off in the long run just staying with Ian as a tag team. Meh, overall not a bad little clip. I'm not going to bother grading it because it was so short, clocking in at just over 2 minutes.
El Puerto Ricano & Damien Stone vs The Bad Crew
Damien Stone is Little Guido, James Maritato. Guido actually wrestled as Damien Stone in the very first ECW show that I reviewed in this thread(from 1992). He left, eventually training with Billy Robinson before wresting in Japan's UWFI promotion(where Robinson's other pupil, Kazushi Sakuraba, also wrestled. The owners of UWFI eventually launched the legendary Pride FC MMA promotion). This is his return to ECW. Having trained with Robinson, I'm assuming Guido can hold his own as a shoot wrestler. I don't really know though.
This match starts off with one of the sickest bumps I've ever seen in my life. Bad Crew make their way to the ring and Ricano does a face first suicide plancha over the top rope, but he misses and crashes into the concrete floor. FACE FIRST!
Bad Crew work over Guido and Ricano both until all of a sudden out comes Brian Pillman with two old men in suits along with Harry Boatswain of the Philadelphia Eagles football team as his bodyguard. Pillman beats up all 4 men in the ring and clears them out. He then calls for Joey Styles to come out. Joey comes out and Pillman sends a message to Shane Douglas, telling him that the Rogue Horseman is in ECW. Shane Douglas suddenly appears on the sound stage with a microphone talking about how the ECW doesn't need a piece of shit redneck from Atlanta. Shane tells Boatswain that he left Kevin Green in Pittsburgh. Shane storms the ring looking for a fight, but Pillman and his entourage escape and flee the scene.
Shane Douglas becomes infuriated as he demands that Pillman come back out to the ring. He starts screaming at the top of his lungs as his face turns red, challenging him to an ECW vs WCW match, and starting an E! C! DUB! chant. He rips his EC F'N W shirt off before saying "FUCK YOU HOGAN, THAT WAS EASY AS SHIT!". He's just fired up. Several referees and Todd Gordon come out to calm him down and get him out of the ring.
This wasn't really a match, just a segment to continue this Douglas vs Pillman feud. Pretty good stuff. Both of them were good on the mic. It was a shame that the match never materialized. Pillman would get into a really bad car accident about a month after this, shattering his ankle. Vince would still go on to offer Pillman a high paying contract, bringing him to the WWF during the Summer of 96.
ECW Tag Championship: The Eliminators (ch) vs Buh Buh Ray Dudley & Hack Myers
Eliminators are in the middle of their first Tag Team title run. They come out first, and Saturn is noticeably more muscular here as well. A lot of guys in ECW were getting jacked up during this time.
Buh Buh comes out next and is over as fuck. He gets out into the crowd and leads them on with a "BUH! BUH! BUH!" stuttering chant.
The Eliminators gang up on Buh Buh early on until Big Dick comes in with a crutch across Kronus' back. Referees come out and try to get Big Dick out of the ring. The tape cuts ahead to Hack Myers dropping Saturn and Kronus with his "SHAH" punches. The Eliminators gain the upper hand and knock Buh Buh out into the crowd.
Total Elimination on Hack Myers for the win. Pretty short clip.
I'm not going to try to give this a score since it was just a short highlight clip of the match. I wasn't very impressed by what little I saw. Hack Myers overness seems to have faded quite a bit compared to the 95 tapes. All in all this was pretty much just a squash match as the Eliminators were being built up as the greatest tag team in wrestling. They were still pretty green here, so I didn't see anything to get excited about in this clip.
Chris Jericho vs Taz
Jericho makes his way out first to a White Zombie song. He had already wrestled Rob Van Dam(as well as teamed with him for a tag match) prior to this event, and he was being pushed as a young, technical whiz-kid, and the "Last Survivor of the Hart Family Dungeon". Taz comes out next to his "War Machine" music, accompanied by Fonzie.
Taz locks Jericho in a cross armbreaker type armbar as Fonzie taunts Jericho from the outside. The crowd gets behind Jericho here and starts chanting "LIONHEART!". Jericho looks pretty good against Taz, reversing a standing switch and dropping him with a German Suplex followed by his springboard dropkick(while Taz is on the apron). Jericho follows it up with a nice springboard plancha to the outside.
Jericho looks pretty good for the first several minutes. He lands the Lionsualt, and gets a 2 count. The fans in the front row scream at the referee for a slow count, cussing him, and calling him a "STUPID MOTHERFUCKER". Taz locks Jericho up from behind. Jericho tries to hit him with a backwards elbow, but Taz ducks, causing Jericho to spin around. Taz dumps him over with a really nice Norther Lights Suplex with an awesome bridge for a 2 count. Taz tries to throw Jericho with a belly to back suplex, but Jericho does a moonsault and lands on his feet. Jericho drops Taz with a thrustkick and the crowd goes wild.
Jericho attempts a lariat, but Taz counters and turns it into a head and arm overhead suplex. Jericho gets dumped on his head. Chris Jericho acts like his neck is hurt and the referee stops the match. Jericho protests the decision with the referee, and gets him to restart the match.
Taz ducks under a kick and tosses Jericho with a German Suplex before locking him into the Tazmission. Taz chokes Jericho out and keeps the hold on well after the bell rings. Guido comes out to try to get Taz to release the hold, but it's no use. The Eliminators come out and try to talk Taz into releasing the hold, but it doesn't work. Brian Pillman comes running out to the ring to help his fellow Hart Dungeon alumni. Pillman jumps around the ring acting crazy challenging Taz. Taz dumps Guido on his head and Pillman changes his mind. Pillman retreats to the isle. El Puerto Ricano comes out and gets dropped on his way to the ring by Pillman. Pillman dumps Ricano on the concrete with a suplex before fleeing the scene. Shane Douglas comes running out with a chair chasing after him.
Pillman leaps into the arms of the Eagles football player that is bodyguarding him. The guy carries Pillman out the front door of the Arena as Shane is held back by a group of face wrestlers. Taz and Fonzie retreat victorious over the last survivor of the Dungeon as Shane and the face wrestlers check on Jericho.
This wasn't a bad match at all. It wasn't really good though. They did a pretty good job of elevating Jericho over the course of this 2 day show. He wasn't really anybody to be taken seriously until he got the clean pin over Cactus Jack. Then he actually manages to hold his own against the terminator that is Taz. There were a couple of cool moves in the match, but overall there just wasn't anything there to get excited about. Taz's ascension continues. As a big fan of MMA, I highly recommend any other fans of the sport to check out the Taz fictional MMA character in ECW, even if pro wrestling isn't your thing. My little brother is a no frills, no nonsense type of dude that doesn't care for pro wrestling, but he really likes what I've shown him of the character so far. Absolutely one of my favorite things about ECW.
The chaos that ensued at the end of the match was nice too. This was the third time in this show that we had a Pillman/Douglas incident, so you can kind of see how they would use these big shows for several weeks of television shows, all filmed in one shot. They probably spread the events of this feud at this show over 3 different episodes of Hardcore TV. I don't have any of the Hardcore TV shows from 1996, but I'm starting to think that I need to get them. I've been told that 96 was the absolute peak of Hardcore TV. One thing that I'm missing from the spring 96 episodes are all of the pre-recorded Pillman promos that were being aired during this time. Ad's for his personal 1-900 number, all kinds of shit. I really need to pick this set up, but I want to keep this thread rolling along(I already have all of the major shows from 96). I may review through the 96 season of Hardcore TV another time in a dedicated thread.
2 Out of 3 Falls: Rey Misterio vs Juventud Guerrera
I'm going to go ahead and spoil it for you now, this is one of my favorite wrestling matches ever.
Mysterio offers a handshake, but Juvy spits in Rey's face. Rey returns the favor. They exchange in a nice, fast technical grappling sequence where Juvy targets Rey's legs with holds. Rey locks Juvy in a bridging leg grapevine move. Juvy lands a northern lights suplex. Rey gets Juvy up to the top rope and gets a Hurricanrana for a 2 count. Juvy sends Rey into the ropes. Rey comes back and lands a sunset flip that is reversed by Juvy for 2.
All of that in the opening 30 seconds of this match. Awesome.
The crowd gives both men a nice standing ovation for their opening sequence. They tie back up in a test of strength with Juvy getting the upper hand on Mysterio. Rey monkey flips Juvy over and....
Fuck it. They are just moving way too fast.
Incredible pace of action here with these rollup attempts. They reverse each other with several near falls before rising to their feet. Juvy blasts Rey with brutal chops. They take it outside the ring where Rey does a nice moonsault off of the ropes, bouncing his thighs off ala Sabu.
The crowd really starts getting into the match. E! C! DUB! chants.
They go back into the ring where Rey goes up top. Juvy follows him up and lifts him up on his shoulders from behind. Rey rolls down his back for a rollup attempt. Juvy kicks out and drops Rey with a nice brainbuster. The crowd reactions are just awesome. Everyone screams "OH!" with every move. Juvy hits Rey with a flip kick, a spinning back kick to the midsection, and then a dragon suplex for the first pinfall.
Juvy goes up 1-0.
Rey retreats to the outside to recover for a moment. He gets back in the ring and the crowd cheers them on as they go right back at it. Rey bounces off the ropes and hits Juvy with a shoulder block, sending both of them down to the mat. They both simultaneously kip up to their feet. Rey hits Juvy with a quick hurricanrana and the crowd goes crazy.
Rey backs Juvy into the corner and blasts his chest with chops. Juvy reverses a whip into the opposite corner, but Rey moves out of the way of his splash. Juvy crashes into the corner before falling into the canvas upside down. Rey knocks Juvy to the outside and lands a nice hurricanrana off of the top rope, knocking him down to the floor.
Rey then does an awesome somersualt over the top rope down onto Juvy on the outside. These guys are totally stealing the show here, hot crowd.
Juvy kicks out of a powerbomb and a springboard moonsault off of the second rope. Juvy catches Rey with a clothesline, followed by several nice kicks. Juvy runs to the corner and attempts to springboard off of the turnbuckles for a press, but Rey drills him with a beautiful dropkick to the ribs in mid air. I love this shit.
Rey drops Juvy with a sit out doctor bomb for the pinfall, evening it up 1-1.
They take a brief break before reengaging. Juvy lands a stiff dropkick to Rey before propping him up on the top rope. Juvy knocks Rey to the floor with a dropkick and follows him out to throw him over the railing into the crowd. Juvy adjusts the railing and lands a fucking awesome asai moonsault out into the crowd.
Juvy rolls Rey into the ring and hits him with a springboard spinning heel kick for 2. Juvy motions to the crowd for one more, but he goes for a springboard somersault legdrop. Rey moves out of the way, sending Juvy crashing into the canvas. Rey props Juvy up on the top and goes for a hurricanrana, but Juvy pushes him off. Rey does a backflip down to his feet on the canvas. Juvy leaps off for a hurricanrana, but Rey counters it with a powerbomb for 2.
The speed of the match is just fucking amazing. It's hard to keep up with really. I love it. The crowd is just really into this match, gasping and screaming "OH!" with every move.
Rey lands a northern lights suplex, followed by a springboard moonsault attempt. Juvy moves out of the way but Rey lands on his feet. Juvy lifts him up for a press into a fall away slam. Really awesome move. Rey then spinkicks Juvy to the outside and headscissors him from a baseball slide out of the ring. Rey takes it out into the crowd and hits Juvy with a chair shot to the head. He goes back up to the ring and hits Juvy with another nice somersault plancha into the second row of the crowd.
Rey drags Juvy through the crowd to the front door of the arena, slamming him into the steel door. They take it out to the corner of Swanson and Rittner streets where Juvy powerbombs Rey down onto the hood of a nearby car followed by a splash, but Rey kicks him as he runs in. Rey stands up and leaps off of the hood of the car onto Juvy with a hurricanrana to the concrete!
One of my favorite spots. Lovely.
Rey drags Juvy back inside to the ring and smashes a steel chair over his head. The crowd chants for a table and Rey sets one up. Juvy gets back in the ring and Rey tries to hit him with a splash in the corner. Juvy moves out of the way and Rey hits the post. Juvy sets Rey up on the top rope for a splash mountain, but Rey counters it with a hurricanrana for the final pinfall.
Rey wins it after nearly 17 minutes. He takes Juvy to the outside and powerbombs him through the table after the match. The fucking crowd goes apeshit with the E! C! DUB! chants. Awesome fucking match.
Yeah this isn't the Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair kind of 10/10, this is just an all out action fest with some crazy shit. I loved every single second of it. It didnt' really tell any stories, and the selling wasn't anything to brag about, but the speed, athleticism, and agility of these two men was incredible. I loved everything about this. Absolutely one of the best matches in ECW history, and in 1996 pro wresting in general in my opinion.
Cactus Jack vs Mikey Whipwreck
This is one of the more emotional moments in ECW history as it is Foley's final appearance in ECW. He comes out with a wad of tape on his cheek for some reason. This is really a fitting end to his career considering the storyline with Mikey. The two won the tag titles in 94, and even after Cactus' heel turn in 95, he would come out and try to celebrate Mikey's title victory over the Sandman. Raven's mind games turned Cactus against Mikey, but Mikey would get some revenge on him at the last show with quite possibly the sickest chair shot I've ever seen(while Foley was handcuffed and in Shane Douglas' figure four).
Foley comes out and gets a really emotional standing ovation from all of the fans in the Arena. He gets the mic before the match and tells Mikey that he'll be able to tell his kids one day that he wrestled Cactus Jack's last match, but he'll be damned if he thinks he's going to beat him.
Mikey is wearing a neckbrace for some reason.
They engage in a slow paced, boring brawl early on. Cactus lands a stiff as hell elbow to Mikey's head and Mikey returns the favor by brutally slamming his head into the steel railing on the outside. They take it back into the ring with a steel chair where Mikey lands a side russian leg sweep. Cactus dumps Mikey over the top rope down onto the table, but the table doesn't break. Pretty nasty landing there.
Cactus goes outside and suplexes Mikey into the table, but it still doesn't break. Cactus goes up to the second rope and drops his fucking classic elbow drop to the concrete. Very nice. Cactus gets the crutch from his friend at ringside and hits Mikey with it. Mikey gets up and thrustkicks a steel chair into Cactus' face. Mikey then knocks him out into the crowd and proceeds to brawl with him, whipping him into the rail, and hitting him with a plancha from the ring. They brawl back towards the ring and eventually back inside where Cactus locks Mikey in the mandible claw. Interesting.
Cactus drops Mikey with the double arm DDT, but Mikey kicks out of a cover at 2. Cactus continues to dominate Mikey, taking him back outside the ring and brawling some more. They take it back into the ring where Mikey lands 5 chair shots to the head, but Cactus kicks out of a cover. They brawl back out to the outside of the ring and eventually through the crowd up towards the sound stage/balcony. Mikey does a nice dive off of the balcony onto Cactus.
They take it back to the ring where Mikey tries to land a splash off the top, but Cactus lands an elbow on his way down. Cactus gets the chair and beats on Mikey before piledriving him down into it for the pinfall. Cactus wins.
Really awesome standing ovation for Mick Foley here after the match. Everyone in the arena is standing and cheering for him. They start chanting CACTUS!. Really cool moment. Cactus pulls Mikey up and embraces him as the crowd cheers. Foley looks around at the crowd with the mic in his hand as they cheer him on. This song plays in the background:
Foley then bids farewell to ECW:
"This is one screwed up place.(Loud E! C! DUB! chants)
Leaving this arena is almost as hard, as having to sue my uncle Eric.
I've said some pretty outrageous things, and to have 99% of you give me this kind of reception, makes it all seem worth it. (loud cheers)
And you know, there were times when I really hated getting out into this ring in front of you people.
These 4 hour shows that ECW puts on, I got to tell you I sat in the back in front of the monitor, and had the time of my life for about 3 hours and 45 minutes of it, until it came time to come out here.
But I'll tell you what I seen when I was watching those shows, that's never been in any other organization I've been in, and that's a group of people that give a damn!
A group of people that root for their fellow wrestlers, and don't sit back there waiting for them to screw up.
So listen, if this organization can last without Terry Funk, it sure as hell can make it without Cactus Jack.....
Hey, it's true.
There's a whole lot of talent in the back there that's just dying to be seen here, this is the highlight for them, and I can tell you with a fact that the people in New York City are a bunch of scum bags(huge pop, followed by emotional "FUCK NEW YORK!" chants in response to them booing Cactus the previous night).
So, from guys like Hack Myers who had to go to the hospital tonight for a shoulder injury, to guys that just want to come in and show what they can do like the Eliminators, to somebody like Sabu that's risked his life week in and week out here, I'm pretty sure this place can get by without Cactus Jack.
But I'd like to thank....I'd like to thank....
Hey, if me and sign guy can remain friends, and he started this whole thing....(reaches out of the ring and shakes hands with Sign Guy in the front row, who is visibly emotional. He then takes his shirt off and throws it out to his handicapped friend that always hands him his crutch, John, who immediately starts tearing up).
Lets hear it for John!
*crowd emotionally applauds as Cactus gets out of the ring and gives John a hug. Foley cut a promo at a previous show talking about how he would pick this guy up and drop him off before and after ECW shows. He's a mentally handicapped gentleman, and he clings to Foley in tears here as the crowd applauds them. Incredibly emotional moment with fans in the background crying.*
He's afraid to let go of me because he thinks you'll see him crying.
*At this point you can see Cactus tearing up and trying to keep from crying*
This is my show man.
There's two guys back there, who need some special mention. Two guys sitting in the chairs right now that really are ECW. Lets face it, without them there wouldn't be an ECW. One of them is a creative genius, and the other one is a visionary who put it all together.
The heartbreak kid Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie!
*Stevie and the Meanie come out and dance in the ring as Sanatra's "New York New York" plays in the background.*
I'd like to see Paul Heyman and Todd Gordon out here!
Let's get Paul E. out here.
Paul if you're being shy, I'm right here, and all bullshit aside, we all appreciate everything you've done here, every one of us.
And what I'd like to do right now, I'd like to strut out of the ECW Arena. HIT THE MUSIC!"
Foley salutes the crowd one final time and makes his exit with Stevie and the Meanie.
This is just another one of those real heartfelt, emotional ECW moments. It's only fitting that Foley be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. I'd say he deserved a spot in the hall for his ECW work alone, let alone what he did in the WWE over the next 4 years after this. This was just a really awesome ECW moment even though it was a tremendous loss. Foley deserved the shot at the big time, and he played a HUGE roll in them becoming a much better promotion through 1996 on into the Attitude Era. Foley was a key factor in the way the WWF overcame WCW in the Monday Night Wars.
One interesting thing that I just now realized, is that this whole time in 1996 that Foley was wrestling in ECW, they were airing the early vignette videos for Mankind.
They would air these disturbing, short promos all through February and March of 96(this show is on March 9th) up until his debut on Raw on April 1st(when he immediately kickstarted his feud with Taker). A few months later he would wrestle the epic match against HBK. It's interesting that the WWE was allowing Foley to wrestle in ECW even after they started airing vignettes for his character. Foley also wrestled a deathmatch in FMW around this time before finally making his WWF debut.
So think about it for a second. ECW had Brian Pillman(a contracted WCW wrestler) and Mick Foley(a contracted WWF wrestler) under the same roof on the same show. That's pretty cool. I always say that ECW, WWF, and WCW altogether made pro wrestling very awesome from 1996 to mid 98, and that if you were missing either one of the 3, you weren't really getting the bigger picture of what was going on in the industry. This single show is a pretty good example of what I meant by that. It was like both WWF and WCW were using ECW as a farm league at the same time. Such a crazy era that will never be duplicated or equaled in wrestling again. It was an atmosphere that will never again be recreated.
The Bruise Brothers vs The Pitbulls
It seems to me that the Pitbulls have really just faded out over the past couple of shows. They were in a pretty heated feud with The Eliminators, but they kind of wound up on the weak end of it after losing to them multiple times. Francine is with the Pitbulls and she's smoking hot as always. The Bruise Brothers are Ron and Don Harris, or Jacob and Eli Blu, or Skull & 8-Ball.
This match is clipped, and that's probably a good thing. Pretty sloppy brawl so far. Typical ECW crowd brawling tag team match. The thing about that is that this shit isn't much to see on a tv screen, but it's probably a lot of fun to experience if you were actually in that crowd. The fans in the crowd are just having a blast in this match as the wrestlers beat the shit out of each other all through the crowd and up through the bleachers. With that said though this kind of shit is just kind of boring to watch on TV.
The Pitbulls superbomb one of the Bruise brothers, but The Fabulous Ones, Stevie & The Meanie come out to interfere. Francine fights the Blue Meanie until she gets dropped by Stevie Richards.
Tommy Dreamer comes out and beats the shit out of Stevie and the Blue Meanie, still nursing an injured shoulder from a previous show. The crowd eats it up as he kicks Stevie and the Meanie's asses with the Pit Bulls. This thing just degenerates into a wild, chaotic brawl and the crowd is absolutely going fucking crazy eating it up.
Dreamer and the Pitbulls stand tall. The Bruise Brothers escape Dreamer's revenge from the previous show. I like how they've transformed this Dreamer/Raven feud into a Sandman vs Raven feud with Dreamer being tormented by Raven's lackeys for most of this year. They managed to keep Raven vs Dreamer interesting for a real long time, and that's why it was so great.
Can't say much for the clips of the actual tag match, or anything about this segment to be honest. Nothing special here at all. The storyline continues though with Dreamer seeking revenge for the Bruise Brothers attack at the last show.
Sabu vs Big Titan
Who the fuck is Big Titan?!
He's a pretty big guy in decent shape, but I've never seen him anywhere outside of this show. Joey says that he's from FMW. The match clips ahead to a shot of Titan doing a dive through a table after Sabu rolls off of it. Titan dominats Sabu with power moves until Sabu counters a move with a DDT into a chair.
Sabu picks up another win, and remains undefeated since returning from WCW in November of 95.
I honestly don't know how to score a match like this because it's been cut. I wasn't impressed at all with the action that they did show, and I can only imagine what kind of shit they edited out of the match. If I had a gun to my head I'd probably give this thing a 4 or 5 out of 10. Nothing to see here at all.
ECW Championship: Raven (ch) vs Shane Douglas
Raven is on crutches due to Gout in his foot. He is accompanied by Kimona, Stevie, and the Blue Meanie.
Stevie gets the mic before the match taunts Shane Douglas. Shane gets blindsided by Raven as he's distracted with his goons. Raven works Shane over while selling the gout in his foot. They mostly brawl in and out of the ring, but it isn't really a bad match. They manage to make it look good, and Raven's injured foot keeps it interesting. Not much for good "wrestling", but it's developed into an interesting matchup nonetheless. The thing I've realized over this show and the previous one I reviewed, is that while Shane was being booked as a strait up face(Feuding with the top heels in ECW), he still had that mean streak in him that he had as a heel. He's still got that calculated, ruthless side to him. He made deals with both The Sandman and Tommy Dreamer at the previous ECW shows, getting both of them to agree to give each other a title shot first if they manage to get the belt from Raven. Pretty cool angle with all 3 men wanting Raven, with Shane Douglas manipulating both Dreamer and the Sandman in the middle of it all.
Shane eventually drops Raven with a DDT on a steel chair and goes for the pinfall, but Kimona Wanalaya's sexy ass comes into the ring and breaks up the pinfall. Shane pulls her over his knee and gives her a spanking.
Kimona does some really sexy moves on the ground signaling to Shane that she liked it. Very hot woman with some really good moves(former exotic dancer). JEEZUS!
The mutants in the crowd are going crazy.
Kimona slowly gets back up to her feet and distracts Shane. Shane feels her tits up and gives her a kiss before pushing her to the ground by her face. Joey's commentary during all of this is pretty hilarious. Shane pulls Raven up and beats his ass. Raven drops him with a low blow.
Raven still doing a pretty good job of selling his injured foot. Shane pulls the referee in front of him to absorb a chair shot from Raven. The ref goes down. Douglas drops Raven with his own crutch. The Meanie and Stevie come into the ring and attack Shane. Douglas moves out of the way of a moonsault from the Meanie and cleans house with Belly to Belly Suplexes for everyone, including Raven.
Douglas goes for the pin, but the ref is still down. The Bruise Brothers come out and attack Shane. They leave the scene.
Douglas and Raven go back at it 1 on 1. They fight it out pretty fiercely over a chair, but Raven eventually gets the clean win with a DDT on the chair. The Fabulous Ones celebrate the victory as Raven calls the Bruise Brothers to come back out. The Bruise Brothers prepare to post Douglas' crotch, but Tommy Dreamer comes running out. Dreamer attacks the Bruise Brothers, but he's soon overwhelmed. The Bruise Brothers beat up Tommy and Shane as Raven sits in the corner calling shots. The Bruise Brothers prepare to post Dreamer's crotch, but Sandman comes running out.
Sandman canes everyone down.
Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT on the chair and puts his bad foot in the chair. Sandman and Dreamer argue about who gets to take the shot at Raven, but Shane Douglas hits him with a dive as they argue. Raven rolls out of the ring in pain as Shane laughs and watches Dreamer and the Sandman arguing. Tommy retreats from the ring and leaves. Douglas laughs everytime Sandman turns his back on him. Sandman threatens to cane Douglas down, but Shane screams at him to remember the deal.
2 Cold Scorpio comes running out and tries to get Sandman to focus on the tag team match in the main event as the segment comes to an end.
I really like how they have this setup in ECW right now with Raven as the top heel feuding with Shane Douglas, Tommy Dreamer, and the Sandman, who are starting to fight with each other over who gets the shots at Raven. Shane Douglas' slimy, manipulative heelish ways turning everything upside down adds an interesting element to it all. I really like it. The match really wasn't bad at all. One of the better Raven brawls for sure. I like the way he sold the gout through the match, and as always drawing heat by getting others to do most of his dirty work with his David Coresh style mental influence. Really awesome character with some really awesome feuds going on. Definitely ahead of it's time for what else was going on during this time in 1996.
Three Way Dance: The Gangstas vs Sandman & Too Cold Scorpio vs The Headhunters
Sandman and Scorpio come out with Missy Hyatt, who is another hottie. Sandman smokes and guzzles beer as Enter Sandman plays on. The Headhunters come out next with Damien Kane and his Valet(Lady Alexander?). They come out to "March of the Trooper" by Stormtroopers of Death.
Scorpio and Sandman immediately go to town with the canes on the two Headhunters, eventually even laying into Damien Kane. Damien Kane and The Headhunters get the canes from Scorpio and Sandman and beat the shit out of them with them. Lady Alexander and Missy Hyatt have the obligatory cat fight with a pull apart by a bunch of security guards.
Really sloppy, bad match so far. Nothing but cane shots pretty much. One of the Headhunter twins hits a moonsault on Scorpio. The Headhunters continue to beat on Sandman and Scorpio until The Gangstas come out to a massive pop.
Man, this is seriously a clusterfucked mess. The crowd is not even really into it. All 6 men just brawl around the ring in a sloppy ass mess. 2 Cold Scorpio drops the 450 Splash on one of the Headhunters, eliminating them first. The Headhunters remain in the match even after being eliminated. They fight with Sandman on the outside while The Gangstas double team Scorpio in the ring. Mustapha drives Scorpio into the mat with a powerslam, followed by a pretty nice flying headbutt from New Jack.
The Gangstas win it. The crowd cheers them on as they celebrate. They are pretty over here.
New Jack and Mustapha celebrate the win and that's a wrap.
Pretty goofy for this to be the main event over the Shane Douglas vs Raven match, but I'm not a real big nitpicker on match placing on cards. It started out as a really sloppy brawl, but it was kind of short and sweet as the eliminations started happening pretty quickly. There just wasn't really any substance to this brawl. No real emotion or backstory. No fury. No real violence either. It may be due to the backlash from the networks that were airing ECW at this time, but I've noticed a huge cut back in blood during the past few shows. I'm not saying blood makes matches like these better, just an interesting observation about these past two shows.
One positive from this match was that the Gangstas came out of it looking like a premier tag team in ECW, as well as one of the most over acts in ECW.
Even though a majority of the matches were clipped(mostly just the bad ones, Sabu vs Titan, JT vs Axl, Pitbulls vs Bruise Bros), and indeed far from perfect, I still really feel like this is one of the best ECW shows. There wasn't a Malenko vs Guerrero caliber match like Hostile City Showdown, and it wasn't as monumental for ECW as November to Remember 95, but it just felt like an overall better show than both of those. You had one of the best ECW matches of all time in Rey vs Juvy, Foley's emotional farewell, Brian F'N Pillman in the absolute prime of his "Loose Canon" character, some nice storyline progression with the whole Raven vs Sandman vs Dreamer vs Shane Douglas angle, and a decent Taz vs Jericho match(with a nice Taz vs Bigelow confrontation). On top of all that you had a really awesome crowd for this show. The emotions in everyone's faces during Cactus' farewell was just kind of tear jerking. A really cool atmosphere here and one of the absolute best ECW shows you could possibly get your hands on. If you're looking for ECW shows to check out to get an idea of what it was all about, I'd definitely recommend this one.