Extreme Championship Wrestling
Hardcore TV(episode #165)
June 18th, 1996
Hardcore TV(episode #165)
June 18th, 1996
Alright, so this is the go home show for the Hardcore Heaven 96 supercard in the ECW Arena. Hardcore Heaven wasn't broadcast on PPV, but it damn sure was built up like it was going to be. This show opens up with a video montage of all the major storylines going into Hardcore Heaven. It starts with Taz calling out 6'8, 300 pound UFC fighter Paul Varelans(4-3 in the UFC at this point, a finalist in the UFC VII tournament). Taz screams at Varelans to bring his ass into the ring as a crew of jobbers and refs hold the big man back. Taz screams at him "I'M THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER!, YOU DON'T BELONG HERE! I'm not Ken Shamrock, I'll stretch his ass out!". I've spent enough time frothing at the mouth over this storyline and Taz's character in general at this point, so I'll spare you. If I could just have one thing from all of pro wrestling on video, nothing else, just one angle from start to finish on tape, I would have to take the Taz ECW character. Yeah, even over the NWO and Austin vs Mcmahon. Just give me the Human Suplex Machine and I'll be happy for the rest of my life. Step up and get your ass hooked in the Kata-Hajime! That's a shoot bitch! This is my FUCKING RING! MY HOUSE!
The montage opening the show plays on to the Mission Impossible Theme song. Why? I think this was around the time that the first Tom Cruise Mission Impossible film came out if I remember correctly. Also, Van Dam completed the Impossible Mission of defeating Sabu clean in ECW at the last major show. That's why. Usually there was always a good reason for a certain song being played during a segment in ECW. An inside joke or a reference to a lyric or something that plays into what's going on. Rage against The Machine's "Bulls on Parade" was run during a recap video of the Beulah/Kimona lesbian angle in a recent show for example.
The video shows Tommy Dreamer's rivalry with Raven's henchmen Brian Lee. Lee and Dreamer beat the shit out of each other for weeks until the show two weeks ago when Lee chokeslammed Dreamer off the Eagles Nest balcony through 2 tables.
The Dudley Boyz storyline is recapped next with D-Von being a total dick to the goofy slapstick Dudley family, beating the shit out of them with chairs at the last show until Big Dick Dudley made his return as the savior of the family.
Shane Douglas' attack on Mikey from last week is shown next. Douglas locked Whipreck into the Cloverleaf and refused to break the hold even after Mikey tapped out. After that they show Shane Douglas dropping Francine with a wicked ass Belly to Belly. Pitbull 2 handled up on him and took his TV title later on.
Finally we get a recap of the RVD vs Sabu feud going on. Sabu beat RVD first, then offered a respectful handshake. RVD disrespected Sabu by turning his back on him and walking away. RVD used inside information passed on to him from Taz & Bill Alphonso to beat Sabu in a rematch, targeting his previously injured neck and ending his 5 month long unbeaten streak with two Super Fisherman Busters. Sabu was carted out of the Arena on a stretcher as Van Dam revealed his partnership with Bill Alphonso/Taz.
Pretty good stuff, but what the fuck happened to the Gangstas vs Eliminators rivalry? That was a really good tag team feud, but I really feel like it's been placed on the backburner here for the past couple of shows. They finally had a match at the Fight The Power show, but it hasn't been shown on HCTV yet. Maybe it was too brutal? Too Bloody? Too violent for TV? Maybe it was illegal to show the Eliminators vs Gangstas on TV? God damn I love this promotion.
Joey runs down tonight's card and hypes up Hardcore Heaven. Ah, he goes on to talk about the Gangstas vs Eliminators, saying the Gangstas will get one final shot at the Tag Team titles at Hardcore Heaven. Also a new tag team will make their debut, the Samoan Gangsta Party. Who the fuck is that?
Styles closes his opening talking about Brian Pillman's recent signing with the WWF. He says that Pillman will continue to express himself on ECW TV even while under contract with WWF. Joey says bring it on!(I don't think it ever happened).
Commercial time with Lance Wright selling the Hardcore Heaven history package VHS set for $40. Hardcore Heaven 94 & 95. I haven't seen Hardcore Heaven 94 in a while. I watched it on Youtube about a year ago. Not a bad show. I think that was the show where Funk vs Foley ended in the Chair throwing incident.
Joey plugs a house show in Plymoth Meeting, PA. Death match for the TV title with Saturn vs Pitbull 2. Sandman & Todd Gordon vs Taz & Fonzie. Shane Dougals vs Sabu. Damn, sounds like a good show.
Fan Cam highlights: Dreamer vs Brian Lee
We get some highlight clips of a house show match between these two guys. They take it out to the street where Dreamer gets literally body slammed out in the road as cars drive by. All of the fans huddle around these guys like a damn bar fight.
The Bruise Brothers come out of a nearby alley. Dreamer is getting mugged by all 3 men. Oh Shit! Dreamer gets chokeslammed into a dumpster and pinned. Brian Lee wins. The camera shot looks up to show a shot of Raven perched up on one of the nearby buildings. Joey says "Where will he strike next!". Pretty cool shot. This match looked more like a fight scene in a movie than a wrestling match. I liked it. Real short though. This was probably about a minute and a half worth of highlights, so I'm not going to bother rating it.
Extreme Warfare Vol. 1 commercial. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY MAAAAAAAAAAN! Filter was a really good band from the 90's that is maybe a bit underrated. They had a lot of other good songs, but this is the one that got hammered into the ground by radio, MTV, movies, TV shows, commercials, shit, this song was pretty much everywhere in the 90's. Even in ECW.
More ads for the Plymouth Meeting, PA house show, RVD vs Chris Jericho, damn. That's a stacked card. I may have to see if I can find a fancam tape of this.
Ad for a ECW All Stars vs NPEF UAW All Stars charity softball game. What the fuck is NPEF UAW!?
More ads, and match card screens flash up as a song by Method Man or the WU Tang Clan plays on. What is the name of this song? ECW used this song during these ads for years, but I can't find out what song exactly it is. Anybody know? One of the lyrics says "I was burried on the battlefield". Just a slow, chill, grooving hip hop song.
Sandman vs. Stevie Richards
Stevie Richards comes out with the Blue Meanie dressed up like William Regal. Lord Stevie Richards and Sir Meanie. This was an ongoing gimmick for Stevie and the Meanie where they are parodying other wrestling characters. They were calling themselves "The Fabulous Ones", and "The American Males" at previous shows, but now they are taking it further with costumes. The Sandman and Missy Hyatt are already in the ring.
Stevie calls himself Lord Stevie Regal as he talks to Missy Hyatt in a British accent, trying to be as prim and proper as he possibly can. Stevie makes a comment about Missy's breast implants. He says that tonight he announces that Missy has been served. He pulls out an envelope and stuffs it down her bra in between her tits. Stevie is suing Missy Hyatt for sexual harassment for the incident a few shows back when Missy kissed him.
All of a sudden a doctor comes out. WTF? How random. This is the same doctor that came to the ring with Raven was doing the gout in the foot angle. The doctor tells Stevie and The Meanie that he is the only reason why they have a job right now because he cleared Raven to wrestle and fixed his foot. The doctor then turns to the Sandman and calls him by his real name, James Fullington. He says that James brought him in to fix his injured knee, but Sandman was not cleared to wrestle for several weeks. Sandman put his reputation on the line by defying his orders.
The Sandman injured his knee a few shows back, but the way they are executing this angle here just feels random and weird for some reason that I can't quite put my thumb down on. The Sandman interrupts the doctor by snatching the mic out of his hands and screaming YO!
Sandman tells The Doc that maybe his professional opinion can change the doctors professional opinion. He pushes Missy over to the Doc and she gives him a big wet kiss. The Sandman is a pimp? Missy is his whore. I get it now.
All of a sudden The Sandman takes a swing at the Doc with the cane, but he misses and knocks Stevie out. Stevie gets up and drops The Sandman with a Superkick and it's on. Stevie puts Sandman in the Figure Four, but Missy hands him a cane. The Sandman blasts Stevie with a HARD cane shot to the head. God almighty. I think that would be the part of the job that I would dread the most if I were an ECW wrestler back in the day. I'm sure that got old to hear that in the meetings in the back, "Alright man, he's going to blast you in the face with the cane 3 times, then you do this...".
The Blue Meanie comes in and The Sandman goes back and forth nailing both men with the cane as Stevie keeps him locked in the Figure Four. The Meanie crawls on top of The Sandman, but Missy comes in and takes him out with the cane. The match suddenly clips ahead, and probably for good reason.
Sandman gets dropped with another Superkick from Stevie. Stevie goes for the figure four again, but Sandman rolls him up in the Small Package for the win. Raven comes out completely covered in blood as if he'd been in a total fucking war earlier in this show. Raven drops Sandman and locks him in the figure four. Really dramatic scene here as Sandman reaches for the Cane, just inches away as he screams in agony in the hold. Raven gets the cane and finishes Sandman off. He gets up and strikes a pose. Pretty awesome shot. Awesome heel.
This was the beginning of one hell of a feud. The execution of getting it started I can't say was very pretty though. The whole deal with the doctor coming in was just poorly done. They already had a good place to start with Stevie and Missy Hyatt's incident from a few shows back, but they barely played off of that, instead choosing to bring in the Doc for some nonsense. You can tell whoever put this together didn't put much thought into it, but we'll discover that the angle evolves into one of the deeper storylines in ECW, and pro wrestling in the 90's for that matter. This is more of that splintering that I previously mentioned in my past review. There are main, core storylines running(Dreamer vs Raven, Sabu vs Taz), but other side stories broken off of those with other characters being involved and becoming much more important overall.
This match had some cool moments but overall wasn't anything to get excited about. The Sandman vs Raven rivalry begins.
Commercial time,"Ah, the leading brand".
Pillman t-shirt ad.
Back from the break with Joey Styles talking about how RVD pulled off Mission Impossible with his upset victory over Sabu at A Matter of Respect. He says that Sabu was out for weeks due to his neck injury suffered in the match. This is his return match. Sabu vs RVD III set for Hardcore Heaven! THE TRILOGY!
Mikey Whipwreck vs. Sabu
This is from a house show in Allentown Pennsylvania. Crowd and venue looks awfully similar to the ECW Arena though.
Mikey has an awesome shirt on. Sabu is wearing a neck brace. He looks to be in really good physical shape. I'd say the prime of Sabu's career was 94-96.
Sabu and Mikey have put on some of the better ECW matches that I've reviewed here. Their match from Hardcore TV in the Spring of 95 was a really good, fast paced, botchless, action packed 12 minute TV match where they managed to get some really good chemistry going. They had a match earlier in 96 that I reviewed that was also very good and actually told a story. Sabu injured his hip in the match and Mikey chose not to use a steel chair on him after noticing the injury. It cost Mikey the win, but he won Sabu's respect, with a handshake after the match. Let's see if this one lives up to those two.
This one starts off with some actually decent mat wrestling. Sabu lunges in and backs Mikey into the corner. Ref orders a break and Sabu gives him a clean break. They take it to the ground for some actually semi realistic looking grappling, with Sabu going for an ankle lock, but Mikey transitioning into an armbar. Pretty cool. Sabu breaks free and hits Mikey with kicks before lifting him up, whipping him into the ropes, and dropping him with a Lariat.
They take it back to the mat with Sabu locking Mikey into a front facelock. A common misconception is that ECW was just totally lawless and without any rules whatsoever. Not true. You would get DQ'd if you attacked a ref. You could get counted out(unless both wrestlers are on the outside together). The referee enforced rope breaks, and checked holds for chokes. More often than not the referee's were usually distracted whenever a heel would interfere or run into a match, so there was still that element of cheating the faces. It wasn't just strait up lawlessness with a referee just there to count pinfalls. The major deal with rules in ECW was that it was primarily set up so that there were very, very rarely ever any bullshit finishes to matches. Nobody wanted to see guys get DQ'd because of a run in, or a double count out. That shit was cheap and had gotten really, really old by the mid 90's.
Sabu hits Mikey with a Super Rana before going to the outside for a wooden chair. He sets the chair up as Mikey is propped up in the corner. Sabu goes for his "Air Sabu" chairvault Leg Lariat, but Mikey quickly escapes the ring to avoid it. Sabu hits Mikey into the crowd and lands a nice looking Triple Jump Suicide Splash into the audience. Crowd chants E! C! DUB!. We get a shot of "That Dude"(what I've always called him). A guy that I've seen in the crowds of pretty much every single major WWF & WCW pay per view in the 90's. Whats the story on this guy? I'm assuming this guy was like a hired roadie or something that WWF, WCW, and ECW hired to set up chairs, clean up trash etc before and after shows. Otherwise, how the FUCK DID HE AFFORD TO GO TO ALL OF THESE SHOWS! I'm talking about shows all over the country all throughout the 90's. The one that immediately stands out in my memory was the 96 King of the Ring. He was the only person in the crowd that marked out and cheered when Stone Cold won the King of the Ring finals match if you watch it closely. This dude made his rounds in 96. I seen him in the crowd of Wrestlemania XII, which was in California, now here he is at a ECW house show in Allentown Pennsylvania. Crazy.
Sabu takes it back to the ring and lands his Slingshot Moonsault for a 2 count. Sabu locks Mikey into a sleeper, but Mikey transitions through into a hammerlock. I really like the mat wrestling in this match so far. Sabu escapes, lands a few kicks, and then locks Mikey in the Camel Clutch. So far this is not a bad match at all. Sabu goes for a Superplex, but Mikey pushes him down to the mat. Sabu gets up and quickly goes back into the corner where Mikey drops him with a Tornado DDT off the top. Sabu sells his neck very well. He rolls out of the ring and collapses to the floor in pain.
Mikey misses a baseball slide and gets whipped into the steel railing by Sabu. Sabu pulls a chair over and slides it across the concrete floor over towards Mikey before running and flying off of it with the Air Sabu splash. Really awesome how he slid the chair over to set it up. That was pretty damn boss.
Mikey knocks Sabu into the audience and hits a Somersault Splash from the ropes. Looks awesome. So far this is a really good damn match. It's a bit on the slow side with the pacing, but everything is looking good and the chemistry is there.
Mikey sets up a table from rail to ring apron. He sets Sabu up on the table and climbs up to the top rope, but Sabu recovers and hits him with punches. Sabu gets back down and throws a chair into the ring very quickly. He gets into the ring, sets the chair up, and goes for a Triple Jump up to the top for a Rana down to the table. Mikey causes Sabu to lose his balance once he reaches the top rope, causing him to drop down and rack himself. Mikey quickly gets down and hits Sabu with the chair, knocking him down from the floor to the apron.
Mikey sets Sabu up on the table and rips his neck brace off. No more bullshit, Mikey's desperate for a win god dammit. He goes up top and lands a good looking Elbow Drop through the table. Nice table spot. This match is a clean 8 so far. Pretty damn good match.
Mikey gets back in the ring and orders the ref to count Sabu out. He needs a victory and it doesn't matter how. I'll be damned if there isn't a little story unfolding here. I like it.
Sabu rolls into the ring at 5. Mikey swarms him, going for a choke. Sabu breaks free and whips him into the ropes. They collide awkwardly with what looks like a Lariat attempt, but Mikey's selling saves the spot completely. Pretty good improv there. Sabu tosses a chair into Mikey's back before targeting his leg that was hurt at the last show. He goes after Mikey's leg with Funk's Spinning Toe Hold. Hell yeah.
They bring it back up and run the ropes. Sabu lands his trademark back spin pivot backdrop counter, landing on his legs behind Mikey. Mikey quickly knocks Sabu down with a crisp Enziguiri. Mikey goes up top for a Jimmy Snuka style splash for a 2 count. He goes back up and goes for a Somersault Senton, but Sabu moves out of the way. Sabu sets Mikey up teetering on the second rope with a chair under his head. He lands his flying Guillatine Legdrop, knocking Mikey's head won into the chair. Some pretty good camera work here showing Mikey's face in a dramatic shot. Brutal move.
Sabu covers him for the win, but Mikey kicks out at 2. The crowd is a little dead, but this is really a good ECW match. Mikey tries to catch Sabu with the FrankenMikey(Hurricanrana/Frankenstiener). Sabu counters it with a Tiger Bomb. Sabu goes up top for a splash, but Mikey recovers and follows him up, tossing him to the canvas with a takover throw. Mikey goes for his FrankenMikey again, and gets it this time for a damn close 2 count. Shit! C'MON MIKEY!
Mikey goes back up top and Sabu drops him to the outside with a dropkick. God DAMN WE CUT TO COMMERCIALS! FUCK!
Whoa! It's time for a new Leading Brand!
Jungle Boogy plays as the Plymouth Meeting house show and Hardcore Heaven screens advertise the matchups. Mikey Whipreck vs Kronus.
Hoop it Up 3 on 3 basketball tourny ad.
Midas break pads
More ads for Hardcore Heaven and Plymouth Meeting set to Mad Season's "I don't Know anything".
Back to the match with Sabu setting up a table from the rail to the apron of the ring. He sets Mikey up on the table and goes back into the ring to arrange the chair. Mikey stands up just in time to get dropped through the table to the floor with Sabu's Triple Jump DDT. Awesome spot. Looks good. E! C! DUB! chants followed by OH! MY! GOD! chants.
Sabu goes back to the ring as the referee begins counting. Mikey just won't give up. I love it. Sabu helps him into the ring and puts him away with the pinfall after 15:45. A good match with a bit of storytelling. Imagine that.
After the match Sabu helps Mikey up to his feet smacking him in the face telling him "Good job kid". Mikey is doing some fucking phenomenal selling, acting as if he can barely fucking stand up on his own two feet. Sabu gives Mikey a handshake as the crowd applauds. I love it. Cool match.
Damn good match. Not much else for me to say that I haven't already in the review, but this is a pleasant little ECW gem. The commercial break sucked, but meh. Pretty good TV match I'll tell ya what. One parting thought here is that I can't help but feel a bit sympathetic for Mikey here. Two guys that he had worked with just a few months prior, Rey Mysterio and Steve Austin, were fucking exploding in WCW and WWF at this time. Mikey was booked to pin both of those guys in ECW in 95 as the ECW champ. Rey and Austin were off making the big bucks breaking it huge on cable TV while Mikey's here busting his ass in front of 900 fans, giving it everything he's got. He never really would get his shot is what's kind of sad.
Commercial time again. Lance Wright's Hype central plugs the Plymouth Meeting and Hardcore Heaven shows again. Another really good hip hop song plays with a great beat. I can't recognize who it is, but it's a cool song.
Whoa!, it's time for a new leading brand! God damn. You could make a drinking game out of this commercial.
EC F'N W t-shirt, Sabu t-shirt with Paul Heyman. THE MOST DEATH DEFYING ATHLETE IN THE HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING!
Raven/Stevie Richards/Bluedust Interview
Raven and Stevie are shown outdoors somewhere at night. Apparently Stevie brought Raven out here to show him something. Raven goes on talking about how Stevie brought back Beulah last year. Raven smacks Stevie as he talks about how she left him for Tommy. Then he goes on talking about how Stevie brought him Kimona. He says that he never cared for Kimona, but nevertheless she left him for Beulah. Then he talks about he he sent Stevie forth on a quest to go find the trashiest, skankiest, nastiest, sluttiest, (censored) that he could possibly find. Stevie brought him Devine Brown, a famed prostitue busted sucking Hugh Grant's dick in his BMW. Raven said that Devine wasn't trashy enough. She hasn't been with enough people.
So what did you bring me here to show me tonight? It better be good!
Stevie takes Raven around the corner a..nd....No....
The Blue Meanie is laying naked with blue stuff smeared all over him and a troll doll covering his genitals.....
He quotes a Ron Jeremy film telling Raven "Won't you slide down my pole?" Ron Jeremy, "The Vacuum Salesman", 1978. Similar to how Goldust would quote old movies when he debuted in the WWF. But really though? This is pretty....Gay. Raven tells Stevie that she's not feminine enough. Hmmm. I don't know man. This gets change the channel heat from me.
If I were to post a picture of this scene it would possibly get me banned. A warning at the very least. Not good stuff. This takes us into this week's Pulp Fiction promos.
Pulp Fiction Promos
D-Von is shown slamming Sign Guy Dudley's head up against a wall telling him that this is his family.
Dreamer promotes his upcoming Weapons Match with Brian Lee with a really short, but pretty crazy little promo. He's fired up.
We get a short replay snippett of Shane Douglas' rant to Joey Styles in the booth after he lost his TV title last week to Pitbull 2.
The Gangstas promo with New Jack giving the Eliminators props for kicking their ass at Fight The Power. He says the Gangstas got they asses kicked.
The Eliminators are shown all beaten and bloodied, probably after the aforementioned match. Saturn says that the Gangstas are going to be Eliminated.
Back to the Gangstas, New Jack says "This time, we gonna getch'ya ass son!"
Back to the Eliminators, Saturn says "We're finishing this war". Nice.
Back to the Gangstas, New Jack says "'We're going to tear yo ass apart! The Gangstas are in the house sucka's! *poses with their X symbol with Mustapha laughing in the background*
We get about a half second shot of the Samoan Gangsta Party. I didn't even understand what they said and I'm not going to bother going back to see either. These guys look like clowns all dressed up with slick 300$ suits and flashy hats & jewelry, and dreadlocked hair. More than likely just fodder for the real Gangstas.
D-Von asks Sign Guy Dudley "Who's family is it!" Sign guy holds up a sign that says Big Dick. D-Von slams his head against the wall before asking him again. Sing Guy flips the sign around and it says D-Von. Bleh. So cartoony.
Paul Varelans cuts a promo that's the typical MMA guy promo with him trying as hard as he possibly can to look as tough and cool as he can, saying the same cliched bullshit, "We're going to Rock n' Roll!".
Taz says he's going to shove Varelans big head up his big ass. Fonzie screams in the background "And it'll probably fit TOO!".
Gay bluedust again. Stevie sprays him down with a hose as he does the Maniac Chris Farley dance from Tommy Boy. -1.
Indian Dudley gets scared of D-von, so cartoonish. corny.
Raven is shown saying that he is going to show The Sandman how much pain he has to offer.
Replay of the end of Heyman's epic quasi shoot promo from last week. "Rob Van Dam, You are going to EXPERENCE..SA-BU!"
Sandman is shown sitting on a stool in a corner popping open a cold brewski. He says that he's running out of friends to drink with. "Dick Murdoch, this buds for you". Dick Murdoch was a legendary old school Texas wrestler that passed away on June 15th 1996. Pretty cool little tribute. Good way to end the show.
Overall Show Rating: 8.4/10
Man, this show has me really hyped to watch Hardcore Heaven. This was a fantastic go home show really. It felt like a big infomercial for Hardcore Heaven. Sabu vs Mikey was a great match. The Raven heel character is really awesome, and we see the start of the Sandman rivalry which is one of the best in ECW history. Some good stuff here. I'm not a big fan of the Blue Meanie stuff, but it was all to get heat so I guess it kind of worked. Maybe a bit too much though. The Sandman's little nod to Dick Murdoch was awesome too. Some good stuff on this one for sure. Absolutely can't wait to get into Hardcore Heaven and may try to get it up this weekend.