Alright, so we take our first look at the show that won Best Weekly Show of the year for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for 1994, 95, and 96. Lets jump right in to see if it really was better than what was going on over on Nitro and Raw during this time in 1995.
ECW World Tag Team Championship Three Way Dance: The Gangstas vs Public Enemy vs Raven & Stevie Richards
This is a clip of the match from the South Philly Jam on October 7th where Public Enemy wins the titles back. We are immediately thrust into a shot of the ECW Arena with all of the fans waving their arms from side to side along to the Public Enemy's music. PE comes out, and the crowd loves them. They dance around for a bit before The Gangstas attack them from behind. The Gangstas beat on Public Enemy in and out of the ring.
Interesting thing is that this match has been clipped up, so this is really just kind of a highlight reel of the match. This was something that was done quite frequently on Hardcore TV.
Mustapha brawls with Rocco Rock up to the Eagles Nest balcony. New Jack lands a beautiful flying headbutt on Johnny Grunge in the ring, very nicely executed. New Jack always had a nice flying headbutt. Mustapha sets up two tables on top of each other under the balcony. Rocco Rock is body slammed off of the balcony through one of the tables(one doesn't break). Really painful, dangerous looking spot. Raven and Richards are nowhere to be found in the match yet. New Jack mocks the Public Enemy's dancing in the ring as be beats on Johnny Grunge.
Raven and Stevie Richards come out finally. Richards fucking daisy dukes are so short and tight it is fucking hilarious. They are literally wedged up his ass. Raven and New Jack square off face to face in a pretty cool little stand off. Raven sits down in the corner as Richards and The Gangstas beat on Public Enemy. Johnny Grunge is busted open bleeding. Whats new? Raven sits and watches as The Gangstas and Stevie continue to beat the shit out of PE.
Rocco Rock catches New Jack in a surprise rollup for the 1, 2, 3. The Gangstas have been eliminated.
The match skips ahead to Public Enemy in the ring with Stevie Richards on top of two tables stacked on top of each other. One table is on top of the ropes in the corner with a chair on top of it. This is just fucking crazy. Johnny Grunge lights the bottom table on fire, Rocco Rock does a moonsault off of the chair that is on the table in the corner on the top rope. Rocco Rock's knees crash down onto Stevie really hard, putting him through both of the tables.
That was a pretty crazy fucking spot. If I was a pro wrestler, and somebody asked me to be a part of a spot like this, I'd tell them to kiss my fucking ass. This was just wild, and dangerous.
I kind of liked it though. Not something you see in your everyday wrestling match. A level of violence that just wasn't being done anywhere at this time except for Japan's FMW.
Johnny Grunge pulls Stevie out of the smoking table wreckage for the 1, 2, 3, and the tag team titles.
Crowd goes ape shit. Arms waving side to side all through the arena. As much as I sing the praises of all the technical wrestling, and advanced storylines/characters that were in ECW, there is no denying that this stuff was what put asses in the seats of the ECW Arena. The ECW Arena really was the house that Public Enemy built. This crowd loved the shit out of them. Just about all the fans pile into the ring with Public Enemy, and start chanting E! C! DUB!. Pretty cool little sight. Just looks like a good time. Everybody's happy and having fun. Party on.
Keep in mind that this was not the complete match. They probably cut a lot of shit out. With that in mind, this wasn't a bad little segment. It was violent in a pretty fun way. The double flaming table moonsault was a pretty sick spot. It was just a stunt, but hey, stunts are entertaining sometimes. Stunts are cool in the movies, and sometimes they can be cool in wrestling, take the Foley HIAC bumps for instance. This stunt in this match was pretty cool I guess. Nothing spectacular, just one of those "Holy Shit" moments.
After the match we get the awesome intro highlight set to the tune of White Zombie's "Thunderkiss 65". Awesome.
Back before Rob Zombie made mediocre movies, and even more mediocre music as a solo act, White Zombie was a pretty awesome little band. Everything about White Zombie just screams 90's.
Jason/Stevie Richards Interview/Commercials
We cut from the intro to an interview with Joey Styles and Stevie Richards. They cut the interview in front of some ECW flags, and they claim to be at the ECW Arena, but these segments were all filmed at Ron Buffone's parent's house. Ron Buffone and Charlie Bruzesse were the unsung heroes of ECW. These two guys were the ones that would put this TV show together, and make it look as edgy and up to date as it did. They would put together some really, really awesome, way ahead of their time highlight music videos(like the Intro), and put the show together on some small, cheap computers in Ron Buffone's parent's basement. These flags behind Joey Styles and Stevie Richards in this segment are covering up the Buffone's washer and dryer. Ron Buffone's parents were probably in the middle of doing laundry as they cut this segment, much like the scene in the film "Beyond The Mat".
So they would take one of those 3 hour long shows like the ones I have reviewed here up to this point, and they would cut them up for 2-3 weeks of Hardcore TV episodes like this one. All of the music videos and promos would be filmed later and edited in at Ron's parent's basement at a later date.
Stevie talks about how Public Enemy lit a fire under his ass at the last show. Stevie challenges Rocco Rock to a "Ragedy Ass Ho" match, where the loser has to wear a dress. The segment cuts over to Johnny Grunge saying he was going to treat Stevie like the guy he shared a cell with in prison. They cut back to Stevie and Joey, and they are joined by Jason. Joey Styles acting like he's allergic to Jason(euro trash gimmick) is almost funny. Almost. Jason asks Stevie if he can wear the dress if he loses the "Ragedy Ass Ho" match.
Yeah, pretty much, these Hardcore TV shows were just a big one hour long ECW infomercial. They would use a lot of the TV time to plug upcoming shows, advertise T-shirts, and home videos. The first commercial block kicks off with Lance Wright in a segment he apparently called "Hype Central", ok. He plugs the upcoming live shows. Lance Wright wound up getting a job in the WWF somehow as an interviewer by late 96/early 97, but he was never even a speck on the ass of the great Todd Pettingail or Sean Mooney. Seriously I don't know how he got the WWF gig, the guy was terrible. Vince probably hired him because he was juiced in with Heyman. Maybe the guy was dating his sister or something, who knows.
A pretty cool song plays that I can't recognize as the card for the October 28th ECW Arena show flashes by the screen match by match. Sandman vs Mikey Whipreck's ladder match is advertised. Terry Funk is advertised to be in the corner of Tommy Dreamer in a match against Cactus Jack.
Gangstas Paradise home video commercial set to the actual Gangstas Paradise song.
Fucking awesome highlight video of that show. Makes me want to watch it again. I loved these old commercials for the old tapes.
ECW 1-900 Hotline Commercial
Back to Lance Wright, who plugs the Original Three Way Dance April 8th show available on Home Video. Merchandise hotline plug.
Back to Joey Styles and Stevie Richards. Jason brings a dress into the scene, and asks if Johnny Grunge would be able to fit in it. Stevie makes fun of Grunge's weight. Corny.
Joey goes off into a video chronicling 2 Cold Scorpio's feud with Public Enemy. They show the awesome triple table spot from the Gangstas Paradise steel cage match. They show highlights of a six man tag match at a house show in Chicago where Public Enemy put Scorpio through a flaming table. Scorpio is show confronting Public Enemy backstage, telling them that they are clowns who can't fly like him. Scorpio's upcoming match against Rocco Rock is plugged, and advertised to be for the Tag Team titles. I never liked it when anyone put the tag team titles on the line in a singles match. Stevie comes back into the scene, and talks about his upcoming "Ragedy Ass Ho" match against Johnny Grunge. Jason comes walking into the scene with another dress, asking Stevie's opinion of the color & texture of it. These are probably Ron Buffone's Mom's dresses.
Really corny stuff. I'd be embarrassed to watch that last segment with anybody.
Back to Lance Wright in an "EC F'N W" t-shirt commercial. Wright makes a sarcastic joke:
"As you can tell by the very nature of our program, ECW is governed by a very conservative, right wing, politically correct establishment."
Pretty cool shirt for only $20(postage paid).
Another ECW Hardcore Phone line commercial.
ECW Title Match: Mikey Whipwreck vs. Sandman
Ah, finally another match. We cut back to The Sandman and Woman about halfway through their long ass entrance already. They would usually take up the entire "Enter Sandman" song during the Sandman's entrances. Woman holds and flaunts the belt around. Sandman has a cigarette in his mouth, cane in his right hand, and a beer in his left hand.
This is the match from The South Philly Jam on October 7th, which was Steve Austin's second ECW Appearance.
There is a stack of tables folded up near the ring, maybe about 5 or 6 of them. Mikey Whipreck comes out to Beck's "Loser"
The ring announer goes through the motions introducing Whipreck and Sandman, and then all of a sudden Steve Austin comes out with his flowing golden locks of hair, and his EC F'N W t-shirt. Austin romps his way to the ring looking like Stone Cold.
Austin violently grabs the microphone from the ring announcer, and shoves Mikey Whipreck's face backwards with his hand. Hilarious. He is just really intense.
"Now listen here you son of a bitch, last time I was out here, I came out here to say good luck to the both of you bastards.
It pisses me off to see a piece of crap like you, defending a damn world heavyweight belt. The doctor tells me that in six weeks son, I'll be ready to walk all over your ass, because your name ain't Hulk Hogan.
But naw, oh, we ain't got to wait six weeks, we ain't got to wait six weeks. You can throw his ass out of the ring, and you and me can get it on RIGHT NOW!"
Austin violently shoves Sandman, and turns his back on him to taunt the crowd. Sandman canes the dogshit out of Austin in the back of the head. Sandman gets a microphone.
Yo STEVE AUSTIN!
This ain't Atlanta. THIS AIN'T THE WCW!
This is Philadelphia, and I am the extreme HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!
*Canes him in the head as he tries to get up, knocking him back down*
YOU, are just another jabroni!
*Canes him again*
YOU, are just another HULK HOGAN WANNA BE!"
This is just hilarious going from one of the all time best on the microphone to one of the all time worst all in one segment. Austin loses it on Sandman after being called a Hulk Hogan wanna be. Austin bum rushes Sandman, and tackles him to the ground. Austin beats on Sandman with punches until all of the other wrestlers come out to separate them.
Konnan tries to keep The Sandman back as the other wrestlers keep Austin back. Konnan and Sandman begin staring each other down for no apparent reason.
Random chest smacking contest. OH MY FUCKING GOD I LOVE IT.
Sandman and Konnan just start tearing into each other's chests with chops out of nowhere as a haggleload of wrestlers hold Steve Austin back. Konnan drops Sandman, and the wrestlers separate them. Austin rushes the Sandman again. All of the wrestlers separate them. Austin rips Sandman's shirt off. Order is eventually restored, and the match begins. Whipreck hits Sandman with a hurricanrana and a leg drop for a 2 count.
We cut away to more commercials.
Advertisement for the October 27th New York show set to Mad Season's "I Don't Know Anything"
Cactus vs Konnan, Sandman & Scorpio vs Public Enemy, and Dreamer vs Raven falls count anywhere are advertised for the event. More plugs for the October 28th event.
Back to the match, and they are fighting in the crowd. Mikey whips Sandman into the steel gaurd rail. Mikey hits Sandman with a somersault plancha out of the ring down to the floor. Mikey hits Sandman with 3 hard, unprotected chair shots to the head. Sandman drops Mikey ribs first across the guard rail, and follows up with a leg drop across the back of his head from the apron. Sandman attacks Mikey with the steel gaurdrailing.
These guys are being really fucking stiff with each other.
Sandman hits Mikey in the head with the railing multiple times. Mikey sends Sandman into the railing with sickening force. Sandman separates one of the pieces of railing, and suplexes it down onto Mikey. Mikey's shirt is torn up, and he looks like he's been in a damn dogfight. Sandman hits his top rope legdrop, rises back up to his feet, and fires up a mid-match smoke.
Steve Austin comes back out with a ladder. Austin hits Sandman in the gut with the ladder. Austin throws the ladder into the ring before making his exit again. Sandman back body drops Whipreck out of the ring, and follows him down with a leg drop. They throw each other into the ladder multiple times. Whipreck teeter-totter's the ladder into Sandman's face. I've seen people try this spot a lot, and this was the best I've ever seen it done. They made it look good here.
Sandman drops a legdrop onto Mikey from the top rope for the 3 count after 15 minutes of brutal brawling.
Sandman brutally attacks the referee with the ladder before storming off with Woman and his belt. The crowd chants "MIKEY! MIKEY! MIKEY!".
Austin bumps this up alot. He gave everybody a preview of Stone Cold here with his attitude and demeanor. Loved everything about all of the pre-match drama, the random chest smacking contest that broke out with Sandman and Konnan had me rolling on the floor. Just the way they started looking at each other out of nowhere before blasting each other's chest was hilarious. The actual match was surprisingly good too. Really physical and stiff. Not that that is a good thing, but you can't deny that this was an intense war. Sandman was really rough with Mikey. These two would go on to have a pretty brutal series of matches that get overlooked quite a bit. I really enjoyed this segment, and would advise everyone to track it down. Awesome stuff.
Another ECW Hardcore Hotline commercial.
Gangstas Paradise home video ad again, still fucking awesome. Really nice little highlight video set to some old school jams.
More plugs for the October 28th show. Lance Wright's "Hype Central" running down the card.
We cut to a Sandman promo. Sandman says he's the king of extreme, and that he hasn't been extreme yet with him. Sandman says he will be so extreme with Whipreck that not even Johnny Cochran will be able to get him out of trouble.
Woman takes the center stage of the promo, and damn. This woman, Nancy Benoit, had a lot of talent in front of the camera from what I've seen of her in ECW so far in 1995. She talks about how much she lives for the title as she holds it across her shoulder. She says that she breathes for the belt, she owns the belt, and that her and The Sandman will own Mikey on Oct. 28th. I love it. I touched on this earlier in this thread, but there was a lot of depth and substance to this Woman character. She was a strong, intelligent, powerful woman, and she was the real ECW World Champion during this reign of the Sandman's during 1995. Anyone that thinks ECW was just always about degrading and beating women, I present exhibit A.
Commercial for the "Enter Sandman" show on ECW Home Video set to the tune of the Metallica song. Another really nice little highlight of the event with the double suplex on the two jobbers by Taz. I love these short little jamming highlight videos that they would air to sell the tapes.
Another ECW Hardcore Hotline commercial. Like no other hotline in professional wrestling. I could only imagine.
Styles plugs the next ECW show when all of a sudden JT Smith walks into the scene. Smith is in the "Knocked himself Stupid" gimmick here, and thinks he's Italian(he's black). He's actually pretty funny the way he's acting. He keeps calling himself the big don, and doing stereotypical Italian hand gestures and whatnot. He says that this saturday night he is not going to mess up in his match as he begins shadow boxing around Joey Styles. Smith accidentally knocks Styles in the face with a punch, knocking him backwards out of the scene.
Pulp Fiction Promos
I liked the Pulp Fiction promos. They would just roll through a series of promos set to the tune of "Miserlou", from Pulp Fiction.
The song would play on in the background as one by one characters would cut promos from various locations. I thought this was a cool way to give the characters a bit of depth, and flesh out the storylines. Pulp Fiction promos were an ECW tradition.
This one on this episode is just all over the place. It goes back and forth from the Dudley family(now with Buh Buh Ray), JT Smith heckling Joey Styles, The Eliminators(Perry Saturn and John Kronus) taunting the Pit Bulls, Tommy Dreamer talking about how he's going to bring Terry Funk back to ECW, and Cactus Jack cutting some excellent promos like this one:
"I guess it's true isn't it Tommy?
I guess it's all true.
I tried to believe in my heart that it wasn't, but I guess down in my heart I knew it was true.
Your really going to bring him here.
The one man that you know, that can step in the way of my path to righteousness in my final resting place.
You threw a big obstacle at me Tommy, and I'm going to have to hope that I have enough love for the both of us, because apparently you've got no love or respect for yourself.
Because the fact is that Terry Funk makes me do things, that I don't want to do. He makes me the kind of man.....THAT I DON'T WANT TO BE ANYMORE!"
Tommy reveals Terry during the promos. Terry sends a message saying "I'M BACK CACTUS!"
Steve Austin is shown in the promo saying that ECW is about to find out what Steve Austin can do. You got that shit right.
Woman is shown caressing the ECW World championship saying that it means more to her than anything or anyone as she looks directly at the Sandman.
Tommy Dreamer is shown screaming at the camera that he was going to drag the hardcore back out of Cactus.
Beulah Mcgillicutty is shown on the beach in a bikini. The perfect woman.
Terry Funk is shown blowing the flames out on his branding iron from an older ECW event.
Cactus is shown again saying this:
"Dory Funk Sr.....I spit on your memory!
I spit on your family!
And when you bring that pathetic son of yours, that gutless coward, I guarantee to you I'll spit on him in the face. Because Terry Funk, you can't stop me on the road to my kingdom.
You can't stop the wheels that have already been set in motion.
The only thing that you're going to do, is guarantee that your protege Tommy Dreamer, suffers a horrible fate.
Forget about the WCW Tommy!
Because you've gone too far!
and now YOU'VE GOT TO PAY!
God dammit Terry Funk.
*Raven walks into scene*
We were on the verge of something very important."
Cactus breaks down in tears when Raven gets the microphone and says:
"Look at his pain. Look at his torment. Tommy why must you do this?
After what you put me through years ago, I finally find, someone that would stand beside me.
*Cactus clings to Raven's waist crying*
And look at the anguish, you've caused him. This man will not desert me like you. Why do you do this to me Tommy Dreamer?
Why can't you just let it alone?
Then maybe Raven has found a little solace.
And Terry Funk, you're a decrepid old fossil. However, your legendary status is also meaningless, because I am Raven, and I'll put you through a table, and bash your brains in.
But it really doesn't matter. Cactus Jack does not need my help. Cactus Jack will annihilate you Tommy Dreamer.
He will annihilate you.
HE WILL ANNIHILATE YOU!
And all of the pain I've suffered all these years, when you left me, when you should have stood beside me, will be vindicated. Cactus Jack, you will do for me, what I should have done a long time ago. Vanquish Tommy Dreamer.
Quoth the Raven, Nevermore."
Raven poses as Cactus Jack hugs his waist laughing and crying at the same time.
Dreamer says that he will sacrifice Raven at the alter to bring an end to the show.
Overall Show Rating: 9/10
Well shit, that was awesome. The Raven/Cactus vs Dreamer feud is really fucking awesome. I never realized how awesome this storyline was. The Raven character was playing mind games with Cactus, and turned him against Dreamer to do his dirty work for him. That was the root of this heel turn from Cactus Jack. Raven's mind games. Beautiful. People who claim that ECW lacked substance, and was just all about shock television, I present to you exhibit B.
Also take into consideration what was going on over in Raw and Nitro during this time in 1995. I mean, damn. This was just so far ahead of it's time it was scary. Stone Cold being Stone Cold. A brutal match between The Sandman and Mikey Whipreck, some outstanding promos, and some awesome 90's music. The show was just chocked full of awesome jams. Every commercial, every segment, everything had an awesome song playing through in the background. There were multiple classic 90's grunge tunes that I recognized during various moment of this show, but I couldn't think of the names of them.
The show did have some shit on it. Lance Wright is a tool that just did not fit in ECW. This show had about 90% too much Lance Wright on my television, and nowhere near enough Beulah Mcgillicutty. The segments with Public Enemy/Stevie Richards/Jason, and Joey Styles were really corny too. Some of the stuff on this tape hasn't aged well, but for the most part there was a lot of really interesting stuff in this one single hour long show. I enjoyed it a lot. Check it out.