Extreme Championship Wrestling
July 13th 1996
July 13th 1996
On the keyboard of my laptop there are three letters that are completely worn off to the point where it's just a blank key. I'll give you three guesses as to which letters they are.
I know there are probably members of this forum that are about sick and tired of hearing about it, but unfortunately for them we're just getting started up in this bitch. Whenever I need motivation to review a show, all I need to do anymore is just take a stroll through that awesome scan of the merchandise catalog that my man Kilgore posted. I'm immediately taken back to the authentic experience of being an original ECW fan. The thrill of seeing those commercials for the events on ECW TV. The thrill of scanning through that catalog, mapping out a tournament to decide which tape you were going to spend that $35.99 + $4.99 S&H. The thrill of sending the money order in, waiting for six weeks, checking the mailbox every day until that one glorious moment when you finally catch a glimpse of that vanilla envelope. You rush that motherfucker into the VCR after hyping it up in your head for the entire six weeks that you waited for it to come in the mail, and you just watch it with a different romanticism than Youtube could ever do justice.
Before we dig into this extravaganza of extreme proportions, lets touch up on the stories going into this show, as well as the happenings on the three episodes of Hardcore TV that we skipped in between this show and the last. I'm going to try to streamline my reviews a bit for the sake of time and ease of reading.
First thing up is the Sabu vs RVD/Taz storyline. The main course of the meal is Sabu vs Taz, a rivalry that has been very slowly building as Taz gets pushed to the top of the roster. Taz keeps calling out Sabu for a match, but it's as if Paul Heyman is protecting him or something. Heyman is Sabu's mouthpiece and biggest fanboy, and it drives Taz crazy with rage and jealousy. Taz tipped off the young RVD on Sabu's neck injury. Van Dam scored an upset pinfall by attacking Sabu's neck. Next thing we knew, Taz was being challenged by shoot fighters, Muay Thai kickboxers, and even UFC veteran Paul Varelans came in and went after Taz's previously injured neck. Taz proved to be unstoppable after laying waste to all of them, remaining undefeated. Sabu got his revenge on Van Dam in their third meeting at the last show and took the lead in the series 2-1. Both men were stretchered out of the Arena after the match. One of the episodes of Hardcore TV that aired after Hardcore Heaven showed clips of a fan cam match at a house show between Sabu and Shane Douglas. The clips looked like a really good match with Shane Douglas aggressively going after Sabu's neck until Paul Heyman himself came out to stop the match for the sake of Sabu's career. Matches rarely get stopped in ECW, so when Heyman himself comes out to stop it, you know it's serious business.
Speaking of Shane Douglas, he gradually transformed from an ECW flag bearing babyface to a classic tweener into a full fledged nasty heel through these shows and it's been kind of fun to watch. He's definitely a complex character with a range of emotions. Douglas won the TV title from 2 Cold Scorpio, then lost it to Pitbull 2. After losing the belt Douglas went crazy and pretty much transformed into one of the best heels of all of wrestling in 1996. Pitbull 2 would go on to lose the TV title to Chris Jericho at the last show with some interference from Douglas. Here on this show all 4 men hook it up in what is in my opinion, the greatest 4 way match of all time, and absolutely one of the greatest matches in ECW history bar none.
One of the most compelling storylines going right now in my opinion just got started at the last show, the infamous Raven vs Sandman feud. Raven has been trying to find a way to get into Sandman's head, but he can't. He tried bringing in Sandman's ex wife, but it didn't work. During a match at the last show Raven brought out The Sandman's son Tyler who was like 8 years old. Raven used Tyler as a shield. The Sandman was horrified and heartbroken when his son told him "Daddy, you're a drunk, now I worship Raven". We didn't miss much on Hardcore TV over the last 3 shows(wich consisted mostly of footage from Hardcore Heaven, which was why I skipped them). Raven cut a pretty good promo on a playground with Tyler talking about how "He who controls the children controls the future".
Meanwhile as Raven had his hands full with Sandman, he was still busy tormenting Dreamer along with his enforcer Brian Lee. Brian Lee chokeslammed Dreamer off of the Eagles Nest balcony though 3 tables on the last show in one of the classic ECW spots. WCCW legend Terry Gordy made his ECW debut to one of the warmest crowd receptions in ECW history at this same show, beating Raven to a bloody pulp before losing due to interference from Brian Lee & Stevie Richards. Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie, and Nova are in their Pre BWO stage where they are parodying classic pro wrestling acts such as The Fabulous Ones, The American Males, and Baron Von Rashke in some hilarious skits.
Then as we go on down the roster things don't look so pretty. The Gangstas and Eliminators feud was awesome in the spring of 1996 with some brutal beat downs and some great promos from both teams. Here in the Summer they've prolonged their match by bringing in The Samoan Gangsta Party as fodder for The Gangstas(New Jack & Mustapha). The tag team division has degenerated into some really overbooked, clusterfuck, trash brawls. The Gangstas vs Eliminators feud has pretty much dropped off of the radar with little to no air time on Hardcore TV during this time as well. The Bruise Brothers were also hanging in there still with nothing going on for them storyline wise. They've kind of been moved out of the Dreamer/Raven storyline where they were kind of like enforcers for Raven earlier, now they're just another pair of faces in the tag division. Also going on is the Dudley Boyz storyline where D-Von is trying to take over the family with violence, but Big Dick Dudley stands in his way. Buh Buh finally dropped the stuttering and is starting to get more violent with the arrival of D-Von, but they still aren't totally on the same page. Other underlings on the roster consist of Axl Rotten, The FBI(JT Smith & Guido), and the ultimate jobber El Puerto Ricano. We'll see a few new faces come in during this show.
Over in the WWF during this time we're in the New Generation era with The Peoples Posse(HBK, Ahmed Johnson, and Sid) feuding with Camp Cornette(Vader, Owen, and Bulldog). The Ultimate Warrior's final WWE run came to an abrupt end after he was planned to be a member of the Peoples Posse. Taker had his hands full with Goldust and Mankind. The Tag division was centered around The Smoking Guns & The Body Donnas. The main thing broiling in the WWE during this time though was Austin 3:16, which was in it's infancy. Austin was getting pushed hard and heavy as a foul mouthed, dangerous heel feuding with Marc Mero leading up to a match at the In Your House International Incident PPV, which took place about a week after this ECW show. Meanwhile over where The Big Boys Play, WCW was about 2 weeks removed from Hogan's epic heel turn at Bash at the Beach, officially pushing the NWO angle into overdrive. Other talent that filled up the card at Bash at the Beach was ECW Alumni such as Rey Mysterio, Psicosis, Public Enemy, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Nancy Benoit. The whole concept behind Hogan's heel turn, the worked shoot promo, was originated in ECW. As we go through this project(probably moreso as we get into 1997) we'll take a closer look at both WCW and WWF to examine just how profound the ECW influence really was on both products.
Got all that? So much for streamlining. Lets dig into this Extreme classic. Shall we?
The Gangstas vs The Samoan Gangsta Party
The Samoan Gangsta Party, man these guys are terrible in these ECW tapes. One of the guys went on to have a WWE career(Rosey) much to my total fucking shock and awe. The Gangstas storm the ring with a trashcan and immediately beat the total dogshit out of the Samoans. New Jack smashes a magnetic football table over one of the fat guy's heads. Just a bloody, violent beat down that goes down as "Natural Born Killaz" plays in the background. The Samoans don't get any offense in, just total annihilation. Both guys are left laying in a pool of their own blood.
The referee calls for the bell due to the fact that neither Samoan can continue after being beat up. Joey says that The Gangstas are planning on running through the ECW Tag Team division one by one until they take out The Bruise Brothers and The Eliminators. New Jack cuts a promo after the match calling for a Four Way Dance tag match. The crowd loved every bit of it, chanting E! C! DUB!, NEW! JACK!, and making the Gangstas "X" symbol with their forearms. The Gangstas, specifically New Jack, was very over here.
No real way to rate this, just a squash that wasn't really even a match. I hope this was the last we see of the Samoan Gangsta Party in ECW. Beyond worthless.
Mikey Whipreck vs Paul Lauria
Shit, Damian Kane is back. Why? He disappeared several shows back and now he's back with another guy that is even more random. Paul Lauria was a guy that Jason(the manager) brought in for a match against Mikey in early 1995. The match was ok, but Lauria disappeared afterwards and was never heard of again until now. This is all beyond random. Paul E. really had nothing for Mikey is what I really think it comes down to.
Lauria was supposedly Whipreck's tag team partner on the indy circuit before he came to ECW. They used to work together setting up the ring.
Mikey takes Lauria outside and hits him with a sloppy plancha very early in the match. They brawl on the outside for a bit before taking it up to the top rope where Mikey hits a really painful looking hurricanrana from the top, spiking Lauria's head into the canvas. Mikey pins Lauria after just 1:32.
The Eliminators jump Mikey and Paul Lauria. Paul Lauria takes the Total Elimination before disappearing with Damien Kane & his valet. Wow. I wonder how much they got paid for that.
Saturn calls out The Gangstas and accepts their challenge for the Four Way Dance. They throw Mikey out of the ring and call out Sabu. Sabu comes out and helps Mikey fight for the titles. Pretty good. Just when I criticize the booking of Whipreck he gets thrown into a title match with Sabu. I love how shit like this would just happen out of thin air like this in ECW.
Another quick squash match that wasn't really a match at all, but it segued into this nicely:
ECW World Tag Team Championship: The Eliminators(C) vs Mikey Whipreck & Sabu
I've always been a really big fan of Perry Saturn. The Eliminators were one of the first ECW acts that caught my eye when reading the pro wrestling mags back in the day. Seeing Saturn go one on one with guys like New Jack and Sabu is just an awesome sight. He goes through a pretty decent battle one on one with Sabu here for a bit. The crowd is all about it. We see some good grappling believe it or not, with Sabu going after Saturn's legs.
Sabu lands a really nice Moonsault Press. Saturn works his way back into it with an amazing splash off the top rope with some incredible hang time. Saturn's splashes and elbow drops were always really nice.
Kronus comes in and lands some awesome moves. His Handspring Backflip Elbow looked really good here. Both Saturn and Kronus were just really dynamic athletes that could have put something really good together with just a little bit of work. Their move set to this day is still one of my all time favorite for a tag team. They just seemed to always have a hard time getting their chemistry right in these ECW matches. They have improved a lot from tape to tape going back to their 95 shows where Saturn had long black hair(and Jason was their manager).
Mikey shines for a bit with a series of moves on both Eliminators, including the Double Japanese Armdrags. The early goings of the match are pretty solid with Sabu and Mikey working together at times with a few cool moves. Sabu springboards off of Mikey's back and lands a flying bulldog at one point in the match.
Saturn works his way back into it and lands a Brainbuster on Mikey that completely turns the tide. The Eliminators completely dominate Mikey for a few minutes. Mikey lands a badly botched hurricanrana from the top before getting the hot tag to Sabu. Sabu comes in and completely botches what looked like was going to be a triple jump moonsault onto both Eliminators. He slips on the ropes and totally falls over.
They brawl with each other in a bit of a sloppy mess before Sabu arranges a table on the outside. He goes for the Triple Jump DDT on Saturn, but Saturn knocks him off balance and causes him to fall through the table. Pretty good looking spot. The Eliminators land the Total Elimination on Mikey for the pinfall victory at 12:02.
It started off as a cool tag match, but quickly degenerated into a sloppy botch fest. The Total Elimination on Mikey at the end was pretty sweet, and I liked the booking with how the match just sprang upon us at random. Sabu vs Saturn and Kronus was pretty cool at times, but really they failed to put it together in this one. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it wasn't really good either. It did have some awesome moments.
Buh Buh Ray & Big Dick Dudley vs The FBI(JT Smith & Guido)
Man we get some elaborate shenanigans before this match that I'm really kind of tired of seeing at this point. Guido and JT come out and goof off for quite a while and the crowd isn't feeling it either. I'm sensing that this crowd has grown just as tired with this whole storyline as I have. Guido brings out Sal E. Bellomo from the old Eastern days. They also bring out a guy called "Big Guido". A big mamaluke looking motherfucker.
After a long delay the Dudleyz finally come out, but D-Von isn't with them yet. The crowd isn't really hyped up about all of this it seems. This same matchup has ended in nonfinishes in each of the last 3 shows. It's about time to do something else with these guys.
The Dudleyz get boo'd during the intro's. The crowd has seen enough of this.
This is just such a motley crue sight of guys in the ring right now. Chubby Dudley, Sign Guy Dudley, DW Dudley, Big Guido, Sal E. Graziano.
D-Von appears up on the stage. D-Von says "This is my FUCKING family!". He threatens Big Dick Dudley and calls him up to the sound stage area. Big Dick heads that way. This thing turns into a HUGE mess! Fuck.
D-Von avoids Big Dick and makes his way to the ring. He smashes everybody with a chair and runs back through the crowd to avoid Big Dick who's like Jaws through this segment. The crowd boo's and chants boring through some of this. Not pretty at all. A lot of chair shots. A random jobber comes out and gets hit with a chair from D-Von. Just a big huge mess. I don't know what else to say about this. D-Von and Buh Buh have a decent face off. D-Von smashes the chair over the non Dudleyz heads.
Hack Myers runs out for no reason. Random Shawness!
Big Guido powerbombs Hack Myers and the crowd all screams SHIT on impact. That was pretty funny.
Big Dick busts Big Guido with the chair and pins him after the longest, most painful 6:38 of my life. Yeah, that's right. I used the words Big Dick, long, and painful in the same sentence. Cue the Beavis & Butthead laughs.
I'll give it a 1 because of Highway to Hell and the "SHIT!" powerbomb. Other than that this was a clusterfuck beyond all clusterfucks. The crowd was digging it about as much as I was. Total shitfest.
Tarzan Goto vs Axl Rotten
Goto is an FMW mainstay. Axl hasn't been up to much in ECW in recent shows, other than the random tag match with guys like Hack Myers and the FBI. Tarzan comes out to the weirdest adult contemporary song. He's a pretty weird looking dude. Honestly I don't know much about Goto. I'm sure I've seen a match or two on the small handful of FMW tapes I've seen, but nothing comes to mind immediately.
Goto gets a nice response from fans.
Some decent grappling early on degenerates into a sloppy chair brawl. Pretty sleepy match. They beat each other in the back and head with a chair for a while in and out of the ring. Goto lands a brainbuster on a chair to win it after 7:01.
This was just a really slow, dull, uneventful match that almost put me to sleep at times. Nothing really bad but nothing to write home about either.
Halfway into the show and now we get the Joey Styles "Welcome to ECW!" opening that I'm sure was used for a Hardcore TV episode. Joey brings out a man that can't find anymore Ultimate Fighters to choke out, Taz!
Fonzie and Team Taz lead the man to the ring. Where was Team Taz/manager for Taz in WWE? Team Taz vs Team Angle has a nice ring to it.
Taz comes out to the original Kiss "War Machine".
The crowd sings along with the music as Taz comes out to the ring. Fonzie jumps around like a speed freak maniac screaming about how Taz is fucking UNDEFEATED!
Taz just looks awesome.
Taz gets the mic and cuts a good promo talking about how he choked out Bam Bam Bigelow from the WWF, Devon Storm from WCW, and Paul Varelans from the UFC. The crowd chants FUCK! YOU! TAZ!
Taz tells Joey that there's going to be some changes around here. He says that he and Fonzie are going to take over this miserable promotion.
"This company is run like SHIT!"
Taz says that Bill Alphonso is in charge from now on. Fonzie says that his first order of business is that Joey Styles is fired. Joey argues at first, but Taz muscles him around. Bill Alphonso starts bringing back flashes of that classic, hilarious heel from the 95 ECW with some classic taunting of Joey. He tells Joey that he's fired, history, unemployed, WELFARE! Just the way he says this shit cracks me up big time.
Fonzie tells Joey that he's in good with Vince and that if he was good with him he would have gotten him a job in the WWF, but now he's not. Again, its just Fonzie's delivery that is fucking roll on the floor hilarious to me. One of my favorite heels when he's on and in the proper storyline.
Fonzie brings out Joel Gertner as the new voice of ECW.
Taz and Fonzie get some good heat with this. Taz singles out one of the fans in the crowd calling him a filthy son of a bitch, telling him to shut his mouth. Taz talks about The Sandman for a moment saying that if Tyler was his son he'd take him to the basement and bust him out to teach him some respect. The crowd immediately tears into the FUCK YOU TAZ chants.
Taz calls out Dreamer and tells him to worry about wrestling instead of chasing two fucking lesbian rats around. Some great mic work from Taz with a lot of intensity and emotion in his voice. Joey tries to interrupt him and gets choked down to the canvas until...
911 returns to ECW for the first time since March of 96. A woman screams at the top of her lungs when 911 chokeslams the shit out of Joel Gertner. 911 then gets his hands on Bill Alphonso!
THE CHOKESLAM II!
NO! Taz breaks it up. 911 chokeslams Taz, but he no sells it. Taz dumps 911 on his head with a German before choking him out with the Tazmission. Fonzie runs arund acting crazy in the ring as he blows the whistle as Taz chokes out 911. The crowd chants SABU! SABU! SABU!
Pretty good segment. Taz was great on the mic and they managed to get some good heat here with the whole Joel Gertner angle. Fonzie was also hilarious.
ECW World Television Championship Four Way Dance: Chris Jericho(C) vs Shane Douglas vs 2 Cold Scorpio vs Pitbull 2
So just a heads up this is definitely a top 10 ECW match of all time. It's one of those rare ECW matches that you can just pop in at random and enjoy without missing out on a big story. The premise is simple, 4 guys fighting for a title. It's about an hour long and it has some pretty crazy trademark ECW booking. Lets dig into it.
Chris Jericho is the champ here, and he had just been signed away to WCW maybe a week or two before this.
Shane is shown backstage before his entrance talking to someone off camera, saying he'll see them in a few minutes as he tapes his hand. Pretty good shot.
Interesting thing that Joey brings up, Shane wasn't fired or released from the WWE, he left while still under contract and chose to come back to ECW. To the casual smark(or anybody with any common business sense) that would seem like one of the dumbest moves ever, but to a diehard ECW fan that's a pretty big deal.
Douglas is just a classic conniving heel here. One of my personal favorite ever. Pitbull 2 comes out with his "Beastmaster" Francine.
Pitbull 2 and Francine seem to not be getting along too well here and at the last show. They kind of argue a bit on the way to the ring. Shane attacks Pitbull on the outside the kick it off. Chris Jericho goes one on one with 2 Cold Scorpio to start it off in the ring. They go through some nice sequences while Shane Douglas heel's it up on the apron. Jericho ties Scorpio up in a really good looking leg grapevine/full nelson style submission that I'm not quite sure what to call. Joey calls it a "Mr. Salty" since Jericho has Scorpio tied up like a pretzel. If that is where Mr. Salty got his username from I'm going to rep that man every day for a year.
Jericho and Scorpio exchange some nice chest chops early on. Chris Jericho gets overwhelmed by Scorpio and Shane Douglas gets tagged in like a chicken shit coward. He goes after Jericho as he's down, but Jericho puts up a good fight. Jericho beats the shit out of Shane for a bit before trying to tag Scorpio. Scorpio won't take the tag. Jericho just goes back to hammering on Douglas with vicious chops that get some loud "WHOOO!"'s from the crowd.
Jericho smacks the shit out of Shane Douglas in the face.
They go back and forth with a stiff, awesome exchange of chest chops. Jericho drops Shane and hits him on the back with the Lionsault. Pitbull 2 gets the hot tag at the 6:30 mark. Shane runs like a pussy, tagging out to Scorpio. The crowd all chants "PUSSY!".
Scorpio goes one on one with Pitbull 2 who's already bleeding all over the place I'm guessing from Douglas' attack in the beginning of the match. Pitbull 2 shines a bit by slamming Scorpio around the ring with press slams and powerbombs, but Scorpio maintains the upper hand for the most part. Scorpio takes it outside and slams Pitbull's head into a steel chair. He takes it back into the ring and continues to work Pitbull 2 over with knees.
Pitbull is down and out. Shane Douglas comes in and works him over as we approach the 10 minute mark. Shane's chicken shit heel tactics in this match are enough to draw heat from even the smartest of fans.
Shane takes a moment in between the beatings to taunt the crowd with a Ric Flair style hip thrust in their direction. The crowd replies by chanting "PILLMAN! PILLMAN!"
Shane lands a Belly to Back Suplex before taking a cheap shot at Chris Jericho for the surprise tag. Jericho comes in and goes one on one with Pitbull 2. Their last match at the previous show was fantastic.
Jericho goes for a leapfrog and gets slammed into oblivion. Jericho fights his way back into it to land a nice German Suplex for 2. Pitbull 2 is the definitive babyface of the match. The crowd is fully behind him, chanting "PIT! BULLS! clap-clap PIT! BULLS!" often through the entire match.
Jericho goes for a rana and gets powerbombed for his troubles. Pitbull tags out to bring in Scorpio around the 13 minute mark.
Scorpio goes all the way up top, standing on the top turnbuckle. Jericho follows him all the way up and hits a nice Super Rana for the "OH MY GOD!". Jericho hurts his knee on the way down, and wouldn't you know it Shane Douglas jumps on the opportunity to come in. Strait up scumbag bitch move.
Douglas goes after Scorpio at the 14 minute mark, but Scorpio surprises him with a Spinning Heel kick. The random woman in the crowd screaming throughout the match really cracks me up sometimes. Scorpio brawls with Shane in and out of the ring, slamming his head into a chair as we hit the 15 minute mark.
Scorpio gets the tag out to Pitbull 2, but Shane runs like a bitch, cleverly maneuvering his way back into the ring to quickly tag back out to Jericho.
Jericho takes a beating from all 3 competitors over the next couple of minutes, but he looks tough as nails in the process. Shane takes a cheap shot at Jericho when he falls out of the ring. Man, somebody chokeslam this dude for crying out loud. Scorpio goes after Jericho's ribs, but the young Lionheart fights back, catching Scorpio with a DDT. Jericho tries to get the desperation tag to Shane Douglas, but Shane won't do it. MOTHERFUCKER!
Pitbull 2 and Scorpio square off at the 18 minute mark. Pitbull looks like a total beast. He starts to tire out when Shane Douglas tags himself in to take advantage of it. Loving the heel psychology with Shane Douglas in this match. It's only getting started really.
The pace picks up when Pitbull 2 and Shane go outside the ring. Chris Jericho hits them with his classic springboard splash to the outside. Scorpio follows it up with a splash of his own. All 4 guys brawl on the outside of the ring for a bit, with Jericho fighting Scorpio through the crowd in a pretty good little scrap. They take it all through the audience up to the bleachers towards the back of the building. We get some pretty good E! C! DUB! chants. The crowd is loving it.
We approach the 20 minute mark with Shane Douglas fighting Pitbull 2 near the ring as Jericho fights Scorpio through the crowd back to the ringside area. All 4 guys are dead tired and doing some decent selling. They take it back to the ring where Shane keeps fighting with Pitbull 2. Shane tries to tag out to Scorpio, but Scorpio won't do it. Pitbull 2 hulks up to hype the crowd up. Shane cowers down ala Ric Flair.
Pitbull kicks Shane's ass all over the ring with press slams. Chris Jericho flies into the ring with a STIFF dropkick to the face of Shane Douglas. Jericho and Pitbull fight over who pins Shane Douglas. I like the psychology. Shane has drawn so much hatred from both Jericho and Pitbull through the match that it actually saved his ass here.
Chris Jericho comes in and goes one on one with Shane for a while with some great selling from Shane as the Lionheart works him over. Jericho locks Shane in the Figure Four, chopping his chest occasionally. Shane begging Jericho for mercy while telling the crowd to shut up is classic.
Jericho gives up the hold and Douglas manages to tag out to Scorpio around the 25 minute mark. Jericho goes for the Lionsault, but SCORPIO DROPKICKS HIM IN MID AIR! Damn that was awesome.
Scorpio dominates Jericho for a while, taunting Douglas as he does it. Scorpio eliminates Jericho after a Tombstone, and his "Tumbleweed"(Corkscrew Somersault Legdrop) at the 27 minute mark.
The champ is eliminated first. We're guaranteed to see a new champion. OH THE DRAMA!
It's down to Shane Douglas, Pitbull 2, and 2 Cold Scorpio.
Shane manipulates Scorpio into helping him eliminate Pitbull 2.....or so it seems.
Scorpio double crosses Shane Douglas and kicks his ass all over the place. Scorpio and Shane Douglas are going one on one as we hit the 30 minute mark.
Scorpio locks Douglas in the Abdominal Stretch. The crowd starts tearing into Shane with the "PUSSY!" chants again. Shane reverses a whip into the ropes and catches Scorpio with the Belly to Belly. Scorpio's done, but NO! Shane can't go for the cover. Shane inexplicably goes up the ropes. Scorpio quickly follows him up and hits him with the sickest Sunset Flip/powerbomb I've ever seen. Man that was nice.
Scorpio drops both Douglas and Pitbull 2 with strikes. He stacks them on top of each other for a moonsault from the top, but they both move out of the way. Shane drops Scorpio with a DDT.
Shane manipulates Pitbull 2 into helping him eliminate 2 Cold Scorpio. Pitbull goes up top and helps Shane Superbomb 2 Cold Scorpio. Scorpio is pinned and eliminated after 31:49.
It's down to Shane Douglas and Pitbull 2. Francine is on the outside rallying the fans behind Pitbull, leading them on in the chants. Both guys are completely exhausted. They brawl around the outside of the ring for a bit. They take it back to the ring with two chairs set up side by side. Pitbull 2 powerbombs Shane through the 2 chairs, completely obliterating them. The crowd explodes with chants of E! C! DUB!
Pitbull 2 then goes to the outside and pulls a table into the ring, propping it up in the corner. Shane recovers and drops Pitbull with the Belly to Belly. He goes for the pin, but Francine breaks up the pinfall from the apron. Shane pulls Franny into the ring and gives her a kiss. Pitbull charges after Shane, but he moves, causing Pitbull to take out the referee. The ref is out cold.
Pitbull lifts Shane up over his head with a press slam, but Francine throws powder in his eyes. THAT BITCH!
Classic moment. Francine pulls her skirt off and reveals her panties that say "Franchise" across the ass. He stole Pitbull's girl. THAT MOTHERFUCKER!
Pitbull 1 comes out to help Pitbull 2, rallying the hot crowd behind him. Pitbull hulks up and drops Shane with two Lariats. Shane goes to the outside, leaving poor little Franny in the ring by herself with both Pitbulls. The crowd goes APE SHIT! The Pitbulls set up the most gimmicked table I've ever seen(almost breaks under it's own weight, looks like some cardboard thin panel board).
Francine gets Superbombed off the top rope through the table and the crowd pops huge. Joey Styles says "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! WHAT THE HELL! E! CEEEE! DUBBLEYOUUUUU!" Classic ECW moment.
The crowd explodes with some of the loudest E! C! DUB! chants ever.
Shane returns to the ring and drops Pitbull 1 with a strait arm DDT(Is this the one that broke his neck?). Pitbull 2 gets hit between the eyes with the belt. Shane goes for the pin, but Pitbull 2 kicks out.
Shane smashes a piece of the table over Pitbull 2's head, going for the pinfall again, but Pitbull 2 kicks out AGAIN!
Shane pulls out a pair of Brass Knuckles from his trunks. He blasts Pitbull 2 in the head and goes for the pin again. PITBULL 2 KICKS OUT AGAIN!
Shane pulls a chain out of his boot and clocks Pitbull 2 in the head again, that's got to be it. PITBULL 2 KICKS OUT AGAIN FUCK!!
Pitbull 2 hulks up and the crowd goes bananas. I'm running out of adjectives to describe how crazy the crowd goes in this match.
They bring it home with Pitbull missing a spinkick and falling to the outside to smack the concrete. He stumbles back into the ring and takes another Belly to Belly to finish it off with a pinfall at 39:41.
Shane escapes with Francine in his arms and the gold draped over his shoulder. The slimy son of a bitch got the gold and the girl. You got to love it.
This was definitely one of the best matches I've reviewed in AHT up to this point. I don't know if it really stands up to the all time great WCW or WWF matches, but for ECW it's one of the all time greats. It pretty much had it all. A perfect blend of 4 wrestlers with different styles that all complemented each other. Jericho the technical Lionheart, Scorpio the brash high flyer, Pitbull the unstoppable powerhouse, and Shane Douglas the brilliant pussy fuckhead. There was some good clean technical wrestling, some great psychology with all the characters being involved and coming off looking great even in defeat. The match built Shane Douglas up masterfully. His heel run is officially in full swing. This is the version of Shane Douglas I would have loved to have seen feud with HBK during this point in 1996. This was a long, complex 40 minute match that unfolded much like a really good Royal Rumble would. Just full of surprises, twists, and turns, like a rollercoaster ride. A classic Paul Heyman 8 step finish that is ECW booking at it's best. The stuff with Francine at the end could turn some of the more sensitive fans off, but every time I see Francine take a bump in these shows I got to throw out the fact that she was indeed a trained wrestler(trained with many of the old Eastern originals). It wasn't just some gratuitous violence towards women either, it was very important in the evolution of all of these characters. Really good match. One of the best in ECW history. Highly recommended.
Louie Spicolli vs El Puerto Ricano
The tape cuts to Louie cutting a promo as if he wasn't impressed with his opponent. He blindsides Ricano. Joey begins calling El Puerto Ricano Pablo Marquez in this tape. Not much to talk about here. Traditional squash. Louie looks tough with a couple of stiff Lariats, a Death Valley Driver, and a Chair shot for the 1, 2, 3 after maybe 1:30. Just a squash, and not a particularly good one at that. I won't bother grading it because it was just a setup for this:
Louie Spicolli vs Sabu
Sabu comes out to rescue Pablo Marquez. I love how Sabu's just the hero of ECW here coming out to save the weaker guys. He's wearing his neckbrace still.
Spicolli dominates Sabu early on, targeting his neck with chokes, and neckbreakers. Sabu rolls out of a Slingshot Belly to Back in mid air and nails Louie with a spinkick that takes him outside. Sabu follows him and does his springboard table running spot, but this time he lands a high cross body press that takes Louie into the crowd. Really good looking spot.
One really good looking spot happens a bit later after some more ugly brawling. Sabu sets Louie up on a table bridged from ring to rail. He goes up to the top rope and hits Louie with a Moonsault Splash. SHIT! Must see Sabu table spot. Talk about a human highlight reel.
That awesome spot gets the crowd going. Sabu tosses a chair into Louie's face HARD! He then lands a sick Triple Jump Moonsault.
Things get a little sloppy after that, with no real chemistry or rhythm to the match at all. Sabu finishes it off clean at 11 minutes with an Arabian Facebuster with a chair.
As usual, Sabu lands some spots in this match that are must see. There wasn't really anything else going for it overall though. Spicolli wasn't very good here with any of his offense or selling. He was pretty slow as well. They failed to really get any kind of story or psychology going, but Sabu at least made it interesting with some really cool moves. Not a bad match really, just nothing special.
Rage In A Cage: Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy, Tommy Dreamer, & The Sandman vs Raven, Stevie Richards, & Brian Lee
This match had some really weird rules. It was pretty much booked as three separate matches going on at once, each with a different stipulation, but anyone was free to pin anyone at anytime, with one fall ending it. If Stevie gets pinned, Raven loses his title. Dreamer vs Brian Lee is falls count anywhere in Philly. Raven and The Sandman start it out in the cage. Raven tells The Sandman that if he spares him, he will give him his son Tyler back. This stops Sandman dead in his tracks. Raven kneels before Sandman before springing up and blindsiding him.
Raven fucks The Sandman up in the cage until Terry Gordy comes out, he doesn't get anywhere near as loud of a pop as the last show. Gordy goes up to the Sound Stage where Stevie is and proceeds to beat the shit out of him.
Stevie's already bleeding everywhere. Gordy takes him to the cage, but Brian Lee takes him down. Brian Lee beats on Gordy until Man In The Box hits. Dreamer comes out like a madman fighting with Brian Lee.
Nova and The Blue Meanie are taken out with a garbage can. Brian Lee is bleeding. Dreamer kicks his ass through the crowd up through the bleachers. Terry Gordy goes into the cage and beats the shit out of Raven, slamming him into the cage wall. Raven is busted open and bleeding like a stuck fucking pig. Good god almighty, I don't know if anybody can beat these Raven crimson masks in these recent ECW shows. It certainly adds to the drama.
Man in the Box continues to play on through the violence and kind of adds to the moment. It doesn't feel like a wrestling match, it's more like a big violent, bloody street fight from a low budget, strait to DVD/VHS action film. There's something about that that I actually like for some strange reason.
This is just some bloody mayhem. Stevie's bleeding out. Dreamer's bleeding. Brian Lee's bleeding. Raven's bleeding. EVERYBODY IS BLEEDING!
Blood everywhere. Terry Gordy is kicking ass in the cage with piledrivers, throwing everyone into the steel.
The music finally dies and it kind of kills the moment.
Terry Gordy fucks up and hits The Sandman.
Brian Lee lures Terry Gordy out of the cage in a bloody fight. Raven locks Sandman back into the Figure Four in the cage as Stevie beats on him. Dreamer comes in and drops Stevie with a thrust kick of his own. Tommy hits Raven with the cane as Beulah and Kimona come out to the cage. Beulah and Kimona hand Dreamer a set of handcuffs. He sets Raven up for The Chair Shot Heard Round The World II!
Out comes Sandman's 8 year old son Tyler, dressed up like Raven with a little leather jacket and all. He stands in front of Raven and shields him from The Sandman and Dreamer. Dreamer screams at the kid the get the fuck out of the way, but Sandman pushes him back. Sandman and Dreamer argue with each other as Nova leans into the cage and cuts Raven free.
Raven drops The Sandman with a DDT. The Blood! The Drama! The HORROR! THE HORROR!
It's just Raven, Stevie, Sandman, and Dreamer in the cage. Raven just randomly beats Stevie up, throwing him into the cage. Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT. Both Sandman and Dreamer cover him, but Raven still kicks out. Meanwhile on the outside Nova and The Meanie set up three tables stacked up on top of each other.
Dreamer and Brian Lee just randomly start climbing up near the tables to get into the position for the spot. Some awkward re positioning that just looks goofy fake goes on before Dreamer gets chokeslammed through the three tables from the top of the cage(1 table doesn't break). Poorly executed, but still looked painful as fuck. Probably because it was. Still just something about tables being broken. So violent.
Sandman pins Raven. Brian Lee attacks all of the valets on the outside of the cage, grabbing them by their throats and "choking" them to sleep. Kimona, Beulah, Dreamer, and Missy Hyatt are all left laying in the mess.
Raven retains his title because it wasn't Stevie that was pinned in the match. WHAT!? No sir.
Raven's crew escapes after a brief tussle between Lee and Bam Bam. Sandman got the pinfall, but Raven's crew wins the battle again. Total fucking chaos.
This match was a real big mess, and a far cry from a "wrestling match" by some standards, but still had a level of violence to it that gave it a guilty level of entertainment value. Just so much blood, and the angle with Sandman's son coming in and helping Raven, that shit goes pretty deep in a lot of ways in this storyline. We're seeing problems between Sandman and Dreamer, and it's all in Raven's master plan. Raven is a brilliant heel. I really don't like all the goofy stipulations of the match though, and Raven retaining his title after being pinned in the match is a dumb call.
This show had one of the best ECW matches ever, but other than that not much else. Overall I really feel like this has been the weakest show of 96 up to this point. I liked the Gangstas squash. The Sabu stuff was cool, but nothing to get excited about. Taz's angle here was a real highlight of the tape along with the Four Way Dance. The main event was a crazy hardcore brawl that probably isn't for everyone, but it was still a little fun with some great storyline progression. The whole segment with the FBI and Dudleyz was one of the worst I've seen in a while in AHT, and Axl vs Goto was highly forgettable. Altogether this wasn't a bad ECW show really, it just wasn't as good as the past couple of 96 shows. The Four Way Dance is must see ECW and is at least worthy of a youtubing, otherwise I don't think this is one worth tracking down really. At the end of the day we were probably better off watching through this stuff on Hardcore TV with all of the enhancement promos and hype. I really wanted to review the un-edited version of the Four Way Dance, but with the rest of this show you can really see how these big supercards were primarily used for TV taping. Another interesting note is that Sabu worked is ass off on this show and pulled double duty in two pretty physical matches. One tough son of a bitch.
For some reason I couldn't get disc 2 of this event to load in my laptop, so I wasn't able to snag any pics. I'll capture some as I watch through the next couple of episodes of Hardcore TV, which primarily consist of these matches(which is why I'll skip through reviewing them).
Next up on deck is The Doctor Is In from August of 1996, then Natural Born Killaz from that same month.