Gangstas Paradise

Gangstas Paradise
September, 16th 1995
ECW Arena
Philadelphia, PA

Ok, so we have already missed a show. Wrestlepalooza 95 was never released commercially by ECW, but it took place in early August. Cactus Jack broke the hearts of the ECW fans when he turned on Tommy Dreamer in a six man tag team match to align himself with the diabolical referee Bill Alphonso. Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko had been called up to WCW by the end of August, and they kind of worked that into this Cactus Jack heel turn. Cactus was obsessed with going back to "Uncle" Eric Bischoff's WCW, and he wanted to take Tommy Dreamer with him. Cactus starts wearing t-shirts with Eric's face on them. He denounces all hardcore wrestling, and goes on this trip where he tries to do everything within his power to not give the fans their moneys worth. So long before Eric Bischoff was this reviled character in WCW he was the most hated heel in the ECW Arena.

Also in August, Taz broke his neck in a tag match with Eddie Guerrero against Dean Malenko and 2 Cold Scorpio. He's out of the ring until December, but he would make non-wrestling appearances. So already up to this point in 1995 the ECW had already lost Sabu, Shane Douglas, Terry Funk, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko. The Public Enemy were being recruited by both WCW and WWF, and would be gone in a few months. The two main feuds were still going strong at this point. Raven vs Dreamer had grown into a storyline that branched off with different feuds going on. Raven's flock now includes Stevie Richards, Beulah, and The Dudley Family. The Dudleys weren't quite the Dudleys that everybody knows and love. Buh Buh Ray and D-Von weren't in the scene just yet. They were just a slapstick comedy act, and consisted of Dudley Dudley, Dances With Dudley(the Indian who speaks fluent spanish), Sign Guy Dudley(not to be confused with the front row ringside regular fan Sign Guy), and Big Dick Dudley. Raven's flock were feuding with Tommy Dreamer and the Pit Bulls(who had recently split away from the Flock(the group wasn't actually called this in ECW, but that's what I like to refer to them as). The Public Enemy vs Gangstas feud was also still running at this time. The Gangstas defeated Public Enemy in a Stretcher Match at Wrestlepalooza 95.

For all you youngsters out there, back around this time in 1995 there was a wildly popular movie called "Dangerous Minds". A song off of that film's soundtrack called "Gangsta's Paradise" had blown up on the radio, and was everywhere.

I have seen this show before, and it is one of the better ECW shows out there, but lets pull out our micro-analytic magnifying glass to see how it stacks up to what we have reviewed so far. Can it stand up to Hostile City Showdown? A show that I feel represents everything that ECW was all about? Lets dig in and find out.

Bull Pain vs Tony Stetson.

Here we go with the jobber vs jobber match. Stetson is decked out in his "Broadstreet Bully" Philadelphia Flyers gear. Bull Pain is just a nobody. Stetson was a regular that I'm assuming lived pretty close to the ECW Arena, and would work for peanuts. Bull Pain is one of these guys like Big Val Puccio that Heyman was bringing in just to fill the card up as cheap as he could. I mean, he only had so much payout to work with for each show. A 1,200 seat bingo hall only has so much money coming in, and a lot of that went out to some of the acts later on in the card I'm sure.

Or maybe they were just smoking all the cash up in crack, who knows. All I know is that Bull Pain just looks like the type of dude that only belongs in a wrestling ring if he's laying flat on his back looking up at the lights. No way this dude made more than maybe 50$. If that.

Oh lord, I was hoping this would be another one of those 911 chokeslam festivals, but no, they were serious about this match.

These guys are getting some time. Bull Pain works Stetson over for a bit. Stetson drops the gloves, and goes to work on Pain. They go to the outside where Stetson uses a hockey stick. Bull nails Stetson in the head with a steel chair. For $50?! Fuck that shit.

Bull ddt's Stetson down onto a table that is leaned up. Joey Styles gives us a pretty funny math equation. "The number of broken tables in an ECW show usually equals the number of screwball finishes in a WCW show". So true. I've been watching a bunch of old stuff and it's absolutely mind blowing how many bullshit finishes there were. Not only in WCW, but also the WWF. There was almost never a clear cut winner and loser in pro wrestling from 1995 to 1997. People criticize ECW's run in heavy, twelve step finish booking style, but I'll take that shit any day of the week over nothing but schmozz finishes week in and week out. There was usually always a clear cut winner and loser in ECW, and that was one of my favorite things about ECW.

Oh lord, these two guys are still going at it. They go back to the outside and fight each other with a chair. Yawn.

The selling in this match is horrendous. I'm so tempted to hit the fast forward button.

Sign Guy at ringside is holding a sign that says "WCW War Games: No Violence, No Talent" I think this was 1 day before WCW War Games 95.

Pain finally ends it with a fairly devastating looking move. It was kind of like a DDT, but Stetson's legs were propped up on the ropes...Oh fuck, does it really fucking matter? This match sucked.


I honestly don't know why I'm not giving this thing a 0. I guess I'm feeling generous tonight. This was horrible, and received way too much time. Bull Pain did a nice superplex, and his finisher was nice, but everything else sucked bad.

Dudley Dudley & Dances With Dudley vs Chad Austin & Don E. Allen

Alright, this aught to be good. The comedy act against the definitive jobbers in ECW history.

Sign Guy in the crowd holds up a sign that says "Condoms Prevent Dudleys".

"Devious" Don E. Allen still wrestles on the northeast indy scene believe it or not.

Austin runs from DW Dudley at the start of the match. Dudley hits him with a lariat, Austin sells it well. The only thing funny about this match is the commentary from Joey Styles. He constantly makes little jokes about how these guys are inbred, and how easy it is to call one of their matches. Joey takes a shot at the WCW commentary team, saying they would still have a hard time calling one of their matches.

What starts out as a traditional tag match breaks down into chaos. Dudley Dudley beats Austin around the ring on the outside as DW beats on Don E. in the ring. Dudley Dudley puts Austin through a table with a vertical suplex. Dudley Dudley hits a sloppy ass splash on Don E. for the 1, 2, 3.


Ewww. Yeah, this wasn't good. The comedy guys didn't do a good job at being funny, and the jobbers failed at making their opponents look good. This was just a senseless wreck. Could have been better if it were just a strait up squash, but it wasn't. It's like they had no real plan at all for this match, and just went out and improvised everything. That just wasn't a good idea here. Bad match.

Hack Myers vs JT Smith

Alright, so around the time of this show was the birth of the Full Blooded Italians gimmick. JT Smith was a Philly regular who had wrestled quite a bit for the TSWA(ECW's predecessor). He had a run with ECW in 93-94, but just kind of fell of the map. The story goes that Smith took a nasty concrete bump where he legitimately suffered a concussion. He came back, and the storyline was that he knocked himself goofy, and actually thought he was a natural born Italian(he was black).

He tells the crowd right off the bat that he doesn't want to hear them scream "SHIT!" for all his moves like they usually do for all of the rest of Hack Myers opponents.

These guys tie up at the beginning, and actually surprise the shit out of me with some really good wrestling exchanges. JT lands some punches and kicks, and the crowd screams "SHIT!" with each strike. Myers goes to the outside where JT Smith misses a suicide plancha. They brawl through the crowd up to the stands, and back to the ring.

Smith goes up top, and slips on his way up. Smith falls off of the top rope through the timekeeper's table ringside. JT Smith is counted out.


Quite the goofy finish, but damn it to hell if this wasn't a fairly decent match. They worked together rather nicely early on with some clean looking wrestling. The brawling looked pretty good too. I was shocked that this match wasn't total shit.

Jason & The Eliminators vs Taz, Rick & Scott Steiner

So Jason(Justin Credible's manager in the later years) brought in Perry Saturn and John Kronus in August as the Eliminators, one of my all time favorite tag teams. This tape cuts to Taz confronting Jason, 2 Cold Scorpio, and The Eliminators by himself for some unexplained reason. All of a sudden he's backed up by The Stiener Brothers.

Taz had been repackaged into a shoot wrestler just a couple of shows prior to this one, but he wasn't quite the MMA style shoot wrestler that he became just yet. He was more of a Stiener type of shoot wrestler, almost a third Stiener Brother if you will.

Scorpio cheap shots Taz. Jason targets Taz's neck, and takes him out of the picture. All hell breaks loose with a huge brawl. The Steiners clear the ring, and hit the Eliminators with some nasty stiff lariats. Scot Stiener is pretty big here. Scot puts Jason into the position for a suplex, and pulls his tights up into his ass with a hardcore wedgie before violently folding him up with a suplex.

Steiner bros are just stiff as hell here. Nasty Belly to Belly suplexes on Saturn by both Scot and Rick. Jason comes into the ring, and Taz comes in to take him out with punches. The ref tries to pull Taz off, but he thows him into the corner. Scorpio kicks Taz in the back of the neck, and pulls Jason over his body as The Stieners and Eliminators battle on the outside.

Jason pins Taz. The Eliminators carry Jason to the back bloodied from Taz's punches.


Not bad, but nothing special. Its cool seeing the Stieners and Eliminators working together, but they didn't really do anything great. The Stieners dominated and looked great.

ECW Tag Team Championship, Three Falls Double Dog Collar Match: The Pitbulls vs Raven & Stevie Richards (ch)

Raven comes out with Beulah. Beulah gets the microphone, and says that Stevie wont be wrestling. She asks for a 2/3 falls match due to the 2 on 1 advantage. Pitbull 2 goes right after Raven as Pitbull 1 goes to the back to get Stevie. Pitbull 2 hangs Raven over the ropes by the chain.

Pitbull 1 drags Stevie Richards out of the back. Stevie's already got a crimson mask going. Pitbull 2 sets up a table. Raven attacks Pitbull 2, and piledrives him through the table in the ring. Pretty awesome table spot. Just the way it breaks looks pretty cool. Raven pins Pitbull 2 for the first fall.

All four men get into the ring for a 2 on 2 brawl. Raven and Richards get double DDT's followed by the Superkick by Stevie on Pitbull 1. Pitbull 2 rolls out of the ring, and pushes another table into the ring. The Pitbulls take the momentum by using the chains.

Stevie is Superbombed through the table by the Pitbulls. Pitbull 2 pins Stevie for the 2nd fall, evening it up 1-1.

Pitbull 1 and Stevie go to the outside for a little frying pan action. Pitbull 1 beats the shit out of Stevie around the ring, and he's bleeding profusely from his forehead. They take it into the crowd where Richards gets Pitbull 1 with a chair. Pitbull 2 and Raven fight out in the entrance isle, then back into the ring. Pitbull 2 goes to the outside, and gets a guy from the ringcrew to help him pull out a third table. The fans in the front row pat the guy on the back for helping pull the table out. Pitbull 2 sets the table up in the ring. Raven pulls him into the ref, knocking him out.

The Dudleys come out. Crowd boo's loudly.

Raven, Richards, and the Dudleys beat on the Pitbulls. Richards and Raven simultaneously Superbomb both Pitbulls. The Pitbulls no sell the Superbombs. Double DDTs on Raven, Richards and the Dudleys.

Superbomb on Dudley Dudley.

Superbomb on Dances With Dudley.

Raven and Richards are a bloody, beaten mess. Pitbull 2 arranges the table, and....


The Pitbulls attempt to Superbomb Raven through the table, but he lands on it awkwardly. The back of his head/neck crash into the edge of the table on his way down, and it doesn't break. The table just falls over, Raven kicks out at 2. Very painful, dangerous looking spot right there.

Pitbull 2 pushes another table into the ring. Raven pulls out a chloroform rag. Raven smothers Pitbull 2 with the ether rag until he falls out unconscious on top of a double stack of tables. Raven goes up to the top rope, and drops a leg down across Pitbull 2, putting him through the first table. The second table doesn't break. Raven goes back up to the apron, and just jumps on top of Pitbull 2 to put him through the second table. Pitbull 1 continues to beat the shit out of Stevie Richards in the ring. Pitbull 1 suplexes Stevie through the table in the ring, and gets a 2 count.

Beulah comes into the ring looking sexy as all get out.

Stevie Richards super fan(Francine) comes into the ring, and attacks Beulah. Catfight. Raven pulls Francine up, and DDT's her. Out comes Tommy Dreamer. Tommy unhooks the dog collar from Pitbull 2. Dreamer hooks the collar up to his neck, and proceeds to beat the shit out of Raven. Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT, and pins him.

Tommy Dreamer and Pitbull 1 are the new tag team champions, but wait a minute......

Out comes Bill Alphonso. Fonzie gets up in Dreamers face, and reverses the decision. Fonzie says that the pinfall will not go down in the record books, he never pinned Raven. Out comes ECW Commissioner Todd Gordon. Gordon gets up in Fonzie's face, and tells him that the match is not over. Alphonso drops Gordon with a punch, and keeps rubbing it in that Dreamers never pinned Raven.

Out comes 911!

Crowd goes absolute ape shit. Biggest pop of the show so far.

911 gets his hand around Fonzie's throat, and the crowd goes even crazier. 911 pushes Fonzie around the ring by the throat as all the fans stand up with their hands up in the air with huge smiles on their faces. 911 chokeslams Fonzie down into the canvas. Crowd eats it up. Massive "E! C! DUB!" chant.

The Pitbulls recover, and pull Raven and Stevie up to thier feet by the chains. Tommy Dreamer and 911 help get both Raven and Stevie up on Pitbull 2's shoulders. Pitbull 2 drops both Raven and Stevie at the same time with a double Superbomb. The Pitbulls get the pinfall, and win the tag team titles. Awesome emotional moment here with the new tag champs celebrating with Dreamer and 911.


This my friends is a classic 12 step ECW finish. Not to be confused with the clusterfucked run in festivals that Vince Russo killed WCW with. Russo tried to emulate this type of booking, but he just didn't really get it. Heyman did it with style. It created such a chaotic, unpredictable, wild, rollercoaster ride of a match, and this was a prime example of it right here in this one. Every run in served a purpose, and did something to further develop the storylines.

As for the match, this is one is held in high regards among ECW fans today. I think it may be a bit overrated. Its very sloppy at times. Lots of tables. A frying pan, lots of run ins. But to me all that stuff made this just a fun match to watch. I'd be lying through my teeth if I was to say I wasn't thoroughly entertained by this match even though nothing about it resembled anything close to a "Wrestling" match. Dreamer hooking up the dog collar to fight with Raven, and 911 finally getting his hands on Bill Alphonso also really made this an awesome segment/match. The crowd reaction to Fonzie getting his comeuppance was priceless.

Rey Misterio Jr. vs Psicosis

So, WCW takes your stud wrestlers. What do you do?

Lucha Libre.

Heyman booked these guys on suggestion from Konnan, and they really ended up stealing this show with this match. Its a common misconception that Heyman brought these guys to America for the first time, but that is not true. Both Mysterio and Psicosis wrestled on the AAA When Worlds Collide pay per view in LA in 1994(in the Six Man Tag Match).

Rey Mysterio is only 20 years old here, and lets get one thing strait. The Rey Mysterio from ECW and WCW was nothing at all like the Rey Mysterio the youngsters are used to seeing on WWE these days. Trust me kiddo's, it's like night and day. Rey was amazing in his younger days. Look it up.

Both men begin circling each other very quickly in the ring. They tie up, and Rey whips Psicosis out of the ring with an arm drag. Psicosis gets back into the ring. Psicosis quickly twists Rey's arm up into a hammerlock. Psicosis takes Rey down with the hammerlock. He pulls him back up to their feet......


They go through a nice little chain sequence that moved way to fast for me to follow. Just incredible speed that these guys are moving around at. Psicosis gets a powerbomb. Psicosis whips Rey into the ropes, and does back body drop of sorts that sends Rey about 15 feet up into the air before crashing down into the canvas face first. Psicosis slows the pace down, and methodically works Rey over with several power moves.

Psicosis lights Rey up with brutal chest chops in the corner. Psicosis hits Rey with a nice "Air Sabu" type splash in the corner. He goes for it again, but Rey moves. Rey gets a springboard hurricanrana with a pinfall at the end. Psicosis barely kicks out. Rey gets a nice tilt a whirl headscissor takedown. Rey charges Psicosis with incredible speed, and gets backbody dropped over the ropes onto the apron. Psicosis turns around, and blasts Rey in the chest.

Psicosis gets out of the ring to the apron, and Rey gets him with a chest chop of his own. They exchange chops on the apron until Psicosis knocks Rey down. Psicosis catapults Psicosis into the ringpost with his legs, and works the crowd as they go crazy for the fast paced action in the match. Psicosis comes back into the ring. Rey misses a splash in the corner. Psicosis slams Rey, and goes for his trademark legdrop off the top rope. Rey kicks out. Another powerbomb by Psicosis for another 2 count. Psicosis floors Rey with a Spinning Heel kick. Rey goes to the outside.

Psicosis goes for a Suicide Plancha, but Rey gets him with a chair. Joey screams "DIOS MIO"(Oh My God in Spanish).

Psicosis takes the momentum by targeting Rey's legs, trying to keep him grounded. Psicosis goes up to the top rope for nice corkscrew somersault senton splash.

Psicosis pulls Rey up, and whips him into the corner. Psicosis goes for a flying knee, but misses, and flies over the top rope to the outside. Rey attempts his 619(Tiger Feint Kick), and no, he did not call it the 619 back then. Psicosis evades the kick by leaping over the guardrail into the crowd. Rey springs himself up to the top rope, and leaps out into the crowd with a splash on Psicosis. Awesome. The crowd screams "OH!" very loudly. Everyone is going crazy as these two youngsters steal the show.

Awesome shot of both men sprawled out in a pile of chairs as the crowd cheers around them.

They take it back to the ring. Psicosis goes up to the top rope. Rey springs up to bring him down with a hurricanrana off the top for the pinfall.


At almost 11 minutes, this was just too short for me to give any higher of a score. There was a lot of action in this match, and action is what I like. It didn't tell any stories, and the selling wasn't that great, but it was just an awesome visual seeing these two guys go after each other with the speed and aerial attacks that they did. I can't remember if this match was better than their Mexican Death Match(with takes place about 2 months after this show) or not. We'll have to wait and see when we review that show.

The story goes that Heyman loved what he seen in this match, and he made plans to bring them back at future shows, along with several other Luchadores that would end up on WCW Nitro shortly after. Guys like La Parka, Konnan, and Juventud Guerrero would come to ECW shortly after this match.

Gangstas Paradise Steel Cage Match: Mikey Whipwreck & Public Enemy vs Sandman, Too Cold Scorpio & New Jack

Alright, so I'm just now realizing that this is ECW's knock towards WCW's War Games match which took place the very next day on pay per view. It was like a "We can do it better" type of match I guess. Let's see if they did.

PE & Mikey come out first. Mikey is dressed up just like PE. Mikey gives the ring announcer a hug, then turns around and gives his pick-pocketed wallet over to PE.

Sandman and Woman come out next. Crowd loves Sandman. They are going crazy for him here. Joey announces that New Jack's partner Mustapha was arrested last night, so Scorpio replaced him at the last minute. Sandman stands atop the cage cracking beers open.

I count three beers he downs while the introductions are announced. He's visibly drunk.

The match starts with all 6 men just brawling, throwing each other into the fence. Scorpio powerslams Whipreck. Sandman is smoking.

Rocco Rock sends him face first into the cage, yet he manages to keep his cigarette in his mouth.

OH SHIT! Rocco Rock does a fucking nice springboard moonsault into a Russian Legsweep on the Sandman. That was nice. Johnny Grunge is already bleeding. The thing about this match so far is that there is no real meaning or emotion in all of this brawling. Its just sloppy and unorganized as if they were all just improvising everything. Grunge and New Jack take the fight outside the cage. Sandman and Mikey fight atop the cage. New Jack and Johnny Grunge take it into the crowd. Mikey has the Sandman hanging upside down from the fence.

Grunge and New Jack make their way over to the soundstage under the balcony. Grunge climbs up to the balcony. Grunge gives New Jack a flying elbow off of the balcony. New Jack is bleeding all over the place. Mikey and Rocco Rock beat up Scorpio and The Sandman in the cage.

Pretty much everyone in the match is bleeding now. This thing has degenerated into a really sloppy mess.

Johnny Grunge strangles New Jack with a phone cord. Somebody pulls a table into the cage. Sandman drops it across Mikey's body. 2 Cold Scorpio pulls another table into the cage. Sandman takes turns dropping tables down across Rocco Rock and Whipreck. New Jack makes his way back into the cage. Johnny Grunge pushes a third table into the ring. Somebody brings a frying pan into the match. Sandman and New Jack get knocked out of the cage. PE stack all 3 tables on top of each other. Scorpio and Rocco Rock fight there way up to the top rope, and then up to the top of the cage.

-Joey Styles

Both men fall off the top of the cage through all three tables. Sandman brings another table into the cage. Rocco Rock dropkicks The Sandman from behind, sending him falling forward through the table he holds in his hands. PE gets The Sandman with a double suplex. Whipreck gives the Sandman a Super Rana. PE brawl with New Jack and Scorpio around the cage and in the crowd.

Whipreck lands a Jimmy Snuka splash off of the top of the cage to pin the ECW World Champion Sandman.

The Sandman recovers as Mikey Whipreck celebrates. The cage door is locked. Woman gets the cane to The Sandman, and he proceeds to beat Mikey down like a dog. Sandman fires up another smoke before PE enter the cage and chase him away. Woman drags a beaten and bloodied Sandman to the back as PE and Whipreck celebrate in the cage.

Sandman, New Jack, and Scorpio come back out, and crash the celebration. Huge brawl ends the show.


This was not good. The triple table spot was awesome, but nothing else sticks out here. It was just too sloppy. No psychology or emotion to it, just mindless brawling with blood and weapons. I can say that this was better than the War Games match that WCW put together the next night at Fall Brawl 95.

Overall: 8/10

Man, this is a tough show to grade. A lot of shit. The undercard was downright terrible. Rey vs Psicosis was awesome. The double dog collar match was awesome. The main event was ok. The Stieners/Eliminators segment was cool, but man, the rest of this was just worthless. I'm going ahead with a pretty good score because I feel like the good outweighs the bad with this show. The show did have a cool overall feel to it. There were like 11 total tables used, which is some kind of a record at this point in wrestling history when nobody else was using tables. Table usage is stupid as far as psychology goes in wrestling matches, but there's just something about a good table spot that I love. Some good ones in this show. This is just a tough show to grade really. I want to give it a really high score for a few of the matches alone, but the terrible undercard really drags this show down. Overall though I'd say this is one of the better shows I've reviewed so far.


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