September 18th 1993
September 18th 1993
Alright, so this show is a historical one for ECW because it was a transition from Eddie Gilbert to Paul Heyman as the head booker. Paul Heyman was supposed to be the head booker for Jim Crockett's promotion, but was brought into the ECW by Eddie Gilbert until Crockett could get his fed off the ground. Heyman was Gilbert's assistant booker, and a performer in Gilbert's Hot Stuff International heel faction. Through the year in 1993 it was becoming apparent that Crockett's promotion wasn't going to happen, and as it did, Heyman started making moves in the ECW to secure his future. Eddie Gilbert's relationship with Heyman, and ECW owner Todd Gordon soured by the fall of 1993 due to various reasons. The end came when Jim Crockett made a deal with Todd Gordon to make the ECW the NWA's premier northeastern territory. Paul Heyman was the middle man in the deal, and this deal ultimately ended up running Eddie Gilbert out of the ECW. Gilbert had heat with Jim Crockett for the way Crockett handled the UWF, which was being booked by Gilbert at the time of the purchase by Crockett.
Eddie Gilbert refused to be a part of the NWA with the ECW, and resigned as the head booker for Gordon's Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gordon handed to keys over to Paul Heyman who came up alongside Gilbert in the Memphis, and Florida promotions of the late 80's. The very promotions that the Eastern Championship Wrestling shows were heavily influenced by, and would continue to resemble under Heyman's booking at first. Eddie Gilbert did make one final appearance at this show, and sat at a merchandise booth signing autographs during the event.
So lets get down to Ultraclash. Lets take a look at Heyman's first show as the ringmaster of the circus that was the ECW. It should also be noted that this was the very first show with the ECW being affiliated with the NWA contrary to popular belief.
We start off with a different intro than the one from the older shows. Still the old school blue Eastern Championship Wrestling graphic, but this intro shows some pretty ruanchy stuff that would be more expected of the Extreme than the Eastern. A clip of someone being knocked off of the 20' balcony area of an arena, followed by a woman being restrained with her hands behind her back while someone violently rips her shirt off, exposing her bra. Then it cuts to clips of a young Shane Douglas, and some vintage Paul E. Dangerously, and Terry Funk footage that is just too classic. Great stuff.
Jason Night & Ian Rotten vs The Public Enemy(Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)
Right off the bat we open the show with some new, original characters that were Heyman originals. The Public Enemy, and the Ian Rotten characters were a glimpse of the direction that Heyman wanted to take the ECW, and he let everyone see it right from the start of his very first show.
Public Enemy take it to Rotten and Knight right from the start. Joey Styles is our commentator, and he is flying solo for this one. Ian Rotten goes outside the ring, and appears to be blading himself. Flyboy Rocco Rock stuns the crowd with a nice somersault over the top rope down onto Rotten. Rock later hits a moonsault off of the second rope onto Jason. Jason has apparently cut himself, but he isn't bleeding much.
Rock and Grunge taunt the crowd as the heels here, and they dominate Rotten and Jason here. Rock nails Rotten with a nice moonsault off the top rope, and the PE pick up a nice win after about 5 minutes.
Squash match with the PE debuting, and looking strong with some nice aerial offense from Rocco Rock. They just pummeled Ian and Jason here, and busted both of them open for a little bit of color. The Public Enemy looked clean, and compared to the other majority of tag teams in the fall of 1993 in WWF and WCW they were defenitely a good looking tag team for their first match.
Tony Stetson vs Tommy Cairo
The ECW Arena looks strange compared to the way I'm used to seeing it in later ECW events. It almost doesn't even look like the same place in this event.
Both of these guys had been around since the Todd Gordon early days of ECW at this point, and were even in ECW before Eddie Gilbert came along. Both of them were Philadelphia locals, and probably performed for little to no money.
Pretty basic, generic wrestling match at the start. Nothing spectacular, but they seem to be working together pretty well. Joey Styles commentary isn't very good here. He rambles on a lot, and gets pretty annoying. To the point where you want to turn the volume down. A few minutes in, and we have a lot of stalling from both men. Very little action.
When these guys do finally exchange it reminds me of some basic 1950's pro wrestling. Really basic moves, and a really slow pace. Cairo manages to land some impressive belly to belly suplexes. Stetson goes back to the outside, and we have more stalling. Not much to write about in the later minutes. Legendary ECW fan "Straw Hat Guy" is seen in the front row, where he could be found for just about every ECW show after this. John Finnegan is the ref, and would stay with the company until the end.
Stetson gets his nose bloodied somewhere in there. Tony Stetson's manager(Hunter Q. Robinson, a Clarence Mason lookalike) gets up on the apron to distract the referee, and Stetson nails Cairo with his belt for the pin around 9:00 into the match.
Pretty boring, with quite a bit of stalling to stretch it out for time. Nothing impressive here at all.
Mask vs Mask match
Super Destroyer #1 vs Super Destroyer #2
These two guys are completely worthless from what I've seen so far. Two really big guys that were really slow, and sloppy in the ring as a tag team. This little feud here is the end of their careers in Pro Wrestling. They were regulars in the pre Eddie Gilbert ECW, and I'm assuming they were just a few more cheap local Philly guys to fill up the card for little to no money.
Both of them are in all black with a plain black mask on. They both look to be over 300 pounds to me. They put on a sloppy as hell, slow match that almost puts me to sleep. These guys are just terrible, and the crowd is not into the match at all. One of the guys(hard to tell them apart) jumps up mid air, and crashes down across the other guy with his back in a nasty looking senton splash that looked like it seriously hurt both men.
After the match the winning Super Destroyer unmasks the losing Destroyer, and the Dark Patriot(another masked man) comes running in the ring, and attacks the winner with a chair.
Terrible, and sloppy. I would be embarrassed if anyone ever caught me watching wrestling like this, but there is a good reason why I'm doing it. It's interesting to see how far the ECW would evolve with Paul Heyman after this show.
JT Smith comes out for some reason to make the save. The Dark Patriot heads up the scaffold set up over the ring, and Smith follows him up. Here we go with our next match! This is traditional Heyman booking with the way we flow from the chaos of the ending of one match right into the next match.
The Dark Patriot vs J.T. Smith
These two guys meet out in the center of the scaffold over the ring, and the Patriot throws some sort of powder into JT Smith's Eyes. The Patriot nails a DDT on the scaffold, and tries to push JT Smith off. One of Smith's legs dangles over, but he manages to get back onto the scaffold. The Patriot rams Smith's head into one of the hanging ventilation pipes, and Smith goes down. The Patriot then pulls the drawstring out of his pants, and proceeds to choke Smith with it. Smith teases another fall with his body hanging over the edge of the scaffold. Smith gets the string, and chokes The Patriot with it.
One cool spot happens when The Dark Patriot pulls JT Smith up onto the vent pipe over the scaffold, and drops him down to his face on the scaffold. Pretty stiff bump down onto an unforgiving steel scaffold. This scaffold looks to be between 16-18 feet over the ring to me. After a bit of stalling the Patriot finally throws JT Smith over the edge. Smith lands awkwardly on his knee to give the Dark Patriot the win after about 10 minutes. The Patriot teases to jump down on to Smith, and the crowd eggs him on, but he chickens out, and climbs down. The Patriot continues to attack JT Smith, and the brawl goes into the crowd. They clear out several rows of chairs, and proceed to brawl through the crowd. Patriot picks up a table, and drops it down on Smith's back. They brawl from one corner of the arena to another, and eventually back to the ringside area.
The Patriot continues to hammer on Smith with chairs before finally making his exit.
Not bad, but not great. I've seen much worse scaffold matches in my lifetime, but scaffold matches were never really very good. The brawl through the crowd would have made more sense before they went up the scaffold. The brawling atop the scaffold was sloppy, and awkward, but it had some cool moments, and Smith's fall was pretty nasty.
Terry Funk & Stan Hansen vs Kevin Sullivan & Abdullah the Butcher
You want to talk about two legitimately tough pro wrestlers, and you have to mention Funk and Hanson. The Butcher and Sullivan come out, and this looks like it is going to be a great old school brawl.
Terry Funk throws Hanson a chair to start things off, and they clear the ring together. After a bit of a delay, Funk cracks Sullivan with a few weak chair shots, and it's on. We have a melee. Its Funk vs Sullivan, and Abdullah vs Hansen on the outside of the ring in a wild brawl. 5 minutes in and Funk is already chasing Sullivan up the scaffold. They dont stay up there long before climbing back down.
Its a pretty chaotic brawl, and everything looks sloppy, but these guys made it look sloppy in a good way. Wild brawls are supposed to look sloppy.
It doesn't take long though, and these guys all get pretty fatigued. Then it gets sloppy in a bad way. None of these guys were in any kind of cardiovascular shape.
Kevin Sullivan pulls out a damn Hammer! Abdullah pulls out some sort of knife, and things get boody. Sullivan blasts Funk with the hammer, and the crowd starts to get really into the match. All of a sudden Eddie Gilbert comes running into the match just as Funk goes to put Sullivan into the figure four leglock. Gilbert hits Funk with a chair to give Funk and Hansen the win via DQ after around 12 minutes. the Dark Patior comes out, and begins fighting with Hansen. Hansen chases the Patriot around the ring. Eddie Gilbert brawls with Funk back to the entrance area. Hansen and Funk retreat, and Gilbert makes his way back to the ring.
Back into the ring Sullivan turns on Abdullah, and they begin brawling with knives and hammers. Hansen and Funk come back, and things just get wild. This is a crazy brawl. Blood everywhere. Sullivan and Abdullah brawl through the crowd with blood all over each other. Joey Styles begins pleading for someone to call 9-1-1. The men all continue to brawl near the entrance area, and eventually to the backstage area finally ending it.
This was just an old school brawl. This was the kind of wrestling that was born in the Florida territories that Kevin Sullivan came from(and worked with both Eddie Gilbert, and Paul Heyman). It was sloppy as hell, but not all of it was necessarily in a bad way. Nothing really notable happened, but it was a very interesting matchup that resulted in a brawl that was almost a little fun. At the end of the day though it was really kind of confusing, and pointless. This was Eddie Gilbert's final appearance in the ECW.
Here we go with an intergender battle royal. Not really looking forward to this. Sherri Martel, Longtime jobber Don E. Allen, Tigress(hot!), and the former announcer, Jay Sulli are the participants.
This is just a terrible, goofy comedy act waste of time. One of the women's tits almost falls out of her shirt a few times, but other than that this was totally pointless. Sherri Martel eliminates herself to chase after some guy for some reason, and Tigress gets the win after not doing anything, and sitting on the top turnbuckle watching everyone eliminate themselves.
Awful waste of time.
Sal Bellomo vs Richard Michaels
Bellomo comes out in a spartan outfit with an empty trashbag in his hands for some reason. Bellomo gets on the mic, and Sherri Martel comes out. Sherri gets in Sal's corner for the match. Sal starts getting toys out of his trashbag, and throwing them to the fans. They finally start the match, and Sal does some pretty good selling with his facial expressions. Sal claws at Michaels face while making some narly faces, and then proceeds to bite him on the face!
Another match that stays pretty boring, and gets stretched out for way too long. Bellomo gets the win after a splash around 8 minutes in.
I'll give Sal some credit for his great selling at times, but this match was as lame as it gets really. Traditional Heel/Face match with Michaels' manager(Hunter Q Robinson) cheating on his behalf to help him gain the upper hand. Bellomo gets beat down after the match, and Sherri checks on him to see if he is ok.
ECW World Heavyweight Championship
Shane Douglas vs The Sandman
This is way before the drunk barroom brawling Sandman that we all know and love, this is the surfer dude Sandman in his surfing wetsuit. Shane is accompanied to the ring by Paul E. Dangerously.
Paul has his phone, and the crowd starts chanting "Pittsburgh Sucks!" at Shane.
This causes Shane and Paul to act like they are leaving. Go home folks, no match tonight, sorry.
They go to the back, and don't return until the referee threatens to strip Douglas of the title. Douglas sprints back to the ring, and the match is on.
They get it started fast and furious. Seeing the Sandman act like this type of face is just hilarious. Douglas looks much smaller than he did when he was tag champ in the WCW alongside Rick Steamboat. Douglas lost a lot of his mass when he suffered a few injuries prior to his release from the WCW in 1993, and he never really gained it back until after his Dean Douglas days in 1996.
The pace of the match, and the action is on another level compared to the previous matches on this card. Douglas is clearly on another level of wrestling than the Sandman at this point. The two struggle to gain any chemistry early on largely in part because of the Sandman being a few steps behind Douglas.
The action stalls with a few restholds. Sandman then sends Douglas into the corner post, and then to the outside to a table that doesn't break. The referee gets taken out, and the Sandman has Douglas beat. Heyman gets in the ring, and the Sandman gets his hands around his throat, but Dougals cracks him from behind. Douglas covers him, but Sandman kicks out. Sandman goes up top for a cross body press, but Douglas rolls him through for a pin after nearly 10 minutes.
Definitely the best actual wrestling match on the card, but that is not saying much at all at this point in the show. Douglas just didn't have good chemistry with Sandman, and they never really managed to get anything going. Nothing really great about this match, but nothing really bad.
Baseball Bat Match
The Headhunters vs Miguelito Perez & Crash the Terminator
This is a weird main event. It starts out with a countdown to 10. When the countdown ended, the competitors raced into the ring to get a baseball bat that was laying on the center of the mat. The Cuban team got the bat first, and began to brawl with the Headhunters.
This just turns into a sloppy brawl with weak chair/baseball bat shots.
Oh SHIT! Crash the Terminator ends up brawling with one of the Headhunters completely through a wall in the Arena! Pretty cool with the shot of the big massive hole in the wall, and the metal studs hanging all bent up.
I've never really seen much of any of these guys. I've seen the Headhunters in a few FMW matches, and another ECW match later after this event, but I've never seen either of these Cuban Wrestlers. The brawl continues, and eveybody gets busted open bleeding.
The brawl eventaully makes it's way up the scaffold. One of the Headhunters gets kicked, and teases a fall, but only falls down racking himself on one of the ladder bars of the scaffold. Crash misses a moonsault, and the Headhunters take the momentum.
Holy Shit! One of the Headhunters performs a moonsault onto Crash from the top rope! Thats the biggest man I've ever seen do a moonsault. Headhunters get the win after about 10 minutes. The brawl continues after the match.
Pretty shitty main event. Some interesting spots like the guys going through the wall(which wasn't actually shown, the camera missed it), and the 350lb moonsault don't make up for the sloppiness of the match. Just a pointless brawl with blood everywhere.
Overall Event Rating: 4/10
As a whole this was terrible. Very boring. I do not recommend tracking this down. This was Paul's first show, and that was really the only thing it had going for it. The only reason I took the time to review it was to take a look at what it all came from, because from here, it just continued to get better. None of the things that made the ECW great in later days are really anywhere to be found in this event. Joey Styles commentary is unbearably annoying, and most of the matches are quite boring.
We got a glimpse of the future direction with the Public Enemy in a decent squash match, but everything else like the wild bloody brawls, all of that was going on in ECW when Eddie Gilbert was booking the shows. Heyman didn't change much at first. He didn't invent hardcore like the wild chaotic matches like the ones on this tape. Many of these matches resemble the type of matches that went on in the Memphis/Florida territories, and even the Tri States Wrestling Alliance that proceeded the ECW in Philly.
One thing to note was that Paul taking over the shows meant that we were seeing a lot of these faces on this card for the last time. Guys like the Super Destroyers, Tony Stetson, Tommy Cairo, and Sal Bellomo were cheap local Philly talent that could fill a card out with little to no money, but Heyman knew that the ECW was going to remain a small fry indy promotion if they continued to use that kind of talent. Heyman had big plans for the ECW, and this show was the beginning of them.