December 29th 1995
Lost Battalion Hall
Lost Battalion Hall
Well, here we are. The final ECW show of 1995. It's interesting to note that the last show of 95 is the first Extreme show we will be looking at that was not taped in the ECW Arena. This show was part of the ECW "Holiday Hell Tour" where they packed up like a carnival and took ECW on the road around the Tri States area. Steve Austin was scheduled to appear on this show wrestling The Sandman in a rematch for the World Title, but he was signed by the WWE just a week or two prior. Austin would go on to debut in the WWE as The Ringmaster a few weeks after this show at WWF Royal Rumble 96.
So at this show we get the debut of the new heel Taz, the next chapter of the Dreamer vs Raven saga, one of Public Enemy's final ECW matches, and a dream matchup main event between Sabu(who had just come back to ECW a month prior) and Cactus Jack. Lets take a look at how ECW does outside of the friendly confines of the ECW Arena.
Just a quick note before we get started. This is one of the Delta Region 0 DVD's that has all of the original music edited out.
We open the show with a skyline shot of New York City with the Twin Towers and all. This is ECW's official New York City debut.
The show cuts to the fans standing out in line to get into the show chanting E! C! DUB!.
We get the Hardcore TV intro to kick it off. No White Zombie, we get the original ECW theme by Harry Slash & The Slashtones, which is cool I guess. I prefer White Zombie though.
Joey Styles opens the show in the middle of the ring, saying that New York City is ready to take it to the extreme. Pretty cruddy looking venue. I see basketball boards in the background.
Out comes Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie.
Stevie tells his lackey to stay out of his way so he can get the TV time. Stevie tells Joey that everybody in NYC is there to see "Dancin" Stevie Richards "The Original King of Swing".
Stevie starts insulting the fans in the crowd when suddenly he finds......Missy Hyatt!?
Stevie and Joey go down to the ringside area to talk to Missy. Stevie tries to take Missy to the backstage, but he gets turned down. Stevie tells Missy that he can take her to meet Raven. Missy gives Stevie a big ole wet kiss, and tells him to take that to Raven.
Taz vs Yuji Nakagawa
The wonderful Mr. Joel Gertner is the ring announcer for tonight's event.
Nakagawa is apparently from FMW. Mid size Japanese guy in fairly decent shape. Taz made his return from the neck injury at a show prior to this one in December of 95 in a brutal squash match against El Puerto Ricano. One of the suplexes in that match would live on in the intro videos to Hardcore TV for years. This is his hometown though, Queens Ny.
Taz comes out with Bill Alphonso. This venue is a shit hole, but it sets a pretty cool little atmosphere. You can see a window in the background with a busy NY street outside lit up with headlights speeding by. The crowd is just as rowdy as the ECW Arena bunch. I don't see any of the Philly regulars in the crowd. Gertner introduces Taz as the Human Suplex Machine. Bill Alphonso goes up to Nakagawa and slaps him on the face. Fonzie quickly gets out of the ring like a little bitch. His antics crack me up to no end. Nakagawa smacks Taz in the face and they immediately lock up in a collar and elbow to get it started.
They go through a pretty smooth looking grappling exchange when all of a sudden Taz throws the guy over his head with a sweet German. Taz no sells the guys punches and a dropkick. Belly to Belly Tazplex. Head and Arm Tazplex looks like it kills the guy. Really dangerous looking move. I don't think we ever got to see him do that move in the WWE.
Taz throws the guy like a ragdoll with a Half Nelson Tazplex. Oh the brutality!
Tazmission for the win after about 3 minutes. Nakagawa taps out. The Tazmission looks like something Royce Gracie would lock you in. He locks his legs around his opponent in what I call a Body Triangle, then he chokes them with a weird hold, using their own arm to apply pressure to their throat. Really cool looking submission.
Taz refuses to break the hold until Bill Alphonso comes into the ring to say it's ok. That is some strait up Gracie shit right there. I love it.
Was anybody else "Tapping Out" their opponents in 1996? I certainly don't remember it happening in North America during my time as a fan. Guys were tapping out left and right in MMA during this time. Guys like Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock were tapping their opponents out on a consistent basis in the UFC in 1995. Ken Shamrock was on top of the UFC at this time. Dan Severn won a tournament of champions at the UFC Ultimate Ultimate '95 pay per view just two weeks prior to this show. Severn tapped out Paul Varelans in the first round of the tournament with an Arm Triangle Choke. Severn would go on to defeat Tank Abbott and Oleg Taktarov in the same evening to win the tournament. Not a lot of people remember, but UFC was actually doing pretty well at this time in 1995. They had built guys like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn into bonafide PPV draws. This was just before the US government would crack down on MMA, practically outlawing it for a short period of time, so the UFC was actually doing pretty well. We were starting to see it's influence on pro wrestling for the first time really in North America with Taz tapping his opponents out. His overall character and personality just screamed "Shoot Fighter", especially with his coach Bill Alphonso by his side. This was something they would continue to push further with Taz through 1996.
Bill Alphonso gets the microphone after the match. Fonzie says that Taz is a wrestling machine that nobody can beat. Nobody in Queens, nobody in the WWF, nobody in WCW. Nobody! Something about Fonzie on the microphone that I really like. The dude just cracks me up for some reason.
Taz gets the microphone.
The crowd begins chanting Sabu.
Taz tells everyone to shut their mouths. He tells the crowd that Sabu is scared of him because he knows he will fold him in half as the segment comes to an end.
The was a pretty damn good squash match. Taz was still developing this character, so it was a bit rough around the edges, but the attitude was there. Some brutal suplexes. The Head and Arm Suplex has got to be one of the more dangerous pro wrestling moves you can do. You could see that Taz had a lot of real power due to his short, stocky stature. Guys with that type of build just always have freakish power due to that low center of gravity. The interesting thing here was that Taz vs Sabu was what the ECW fans wanted from day 1, ever since Taz turned heel and Sabu returned from WCW(on the same show), it's what they've been calling for. Taz and Sabu have given them no reason to chant like they do, they just start chanting Sabu whenever Taz is out doing his thing so far at both of these shows I've looked at. Heyman would build it up really slowly over the next year and a half leading up to ECW's first pay per view.
Hack Meyers vs JT Smith
Alright so we immediately get a shot of JT Smith with his leather jacket on, calling himself the Italian Stallion. Hack Myers comes out and gets a pretty good reaction from the NYC fans.
Joel Gertner looks like he is 16 years old here.
They do quite a bit of stalling before trading punches with the classic "SHAH!", "SHIT!" chants from the fans. They are pretty loud with them. They scream "SHAH!" at each of Myer's strikes, and "SHIT!" at each of JT's strikes. They take it to the outside and we have blue mats on the floor around the ring. Smith bodyslams Hack Myers down to the floor and hits him with a dive off of the top rope. JT continues to dominate Hack in the ring with power moves. Smith gets a powerbomb for 2 and 7/8ths. JT Smith goes up top for another splash off of the top and slips and busts his ass.
That was a pretty damn funny spot. He tried to springboard his way up to the top rope and totally wipes out. The crowd starts chanting "YOU! FUCKED! UP!".
Hack gets up and drives Smith's face into the canvas with his knees. Hack Myers hooks a leg and gets the win after about 5 minutes.
Not a bad short match at all. JT's goofball spot got a good laugh out of me, so I had to give it props for that. Nothing really special about it otherwise.
ECW TV & Tag Team Championship: Mikey Whipwreck vs 2 Cold Scorpio (ch)
Alright here we go with the Tag Titles on the line in a singles match.
The crowd chants for Mikey to kick Scorpio's ass, and the look on Scorpio's face is hilarious. Scorpio dominates Mikey early on, making it look as if Mikey just doesn't have a chance in hell in this matchup. Mikey catches Scorpio off guard with a headscissor takedown followed by a dropkick. Mikey sends Scorpio to the outside and follows him with a Somersault Plancha. Scorpio sends Mikey into the steel on the outside before they both get into the ring. Scorpio attempts a powerbomb, but Mikey hits him with a Hurricanrana. Scorpio gets up and kicks Mikey in the groin.
Scorpio beats on Mikey and covers him for the pinfall a few times only to get up and taunt the crowd at 2. Scorpio teases the crowd for a high spot, and continues to dominate Mikey with power moves. Scorpio hits Mikey with another Power Bomb, a Tombstone, and a Super Kick. Scorpio keeps giving up the pinfall. Scorpio finally goes up top, but Mikey catches him and knocks him off balance. Mikey goes up top and hits him with a Hurricanrana off the top. Mikey covers Scorpio for the pinfall, but he only gets 2.
Mikey attempts a slam and the referee goes down. Scorpio hits the referee while he's down and takes Mikey out. Scorpio goes up to the top rope, and jumps off with a weird looking splash. It looked like he was going to do the Tumbleweed Legdrop, but maybe he changed his mind in the middle of the move. Scorpio starts looking pretty sloppy when he delivers a Backbreaker on Mikey, followed by another powerbomb. Scorpio keeps twirling his fingers around to the crowd like he's about to go up to for his Tumbleweed.
All of a sudden Cactus Jack comes running out. Cactus drops Scorpio with a Double Arm DDT, and pulls Mikey over him. Cactus pulls the referee up and throws him over towards Mikey to count the 1, 2, 3. Mikey wins.
Cactus Jack celebrates with Mikey after handing him the belts. Mikey looks up at the crowd confused as Cactus celebrates with the other tag team belt. Mikey holds the TV and Tag Team title.
Man, Scorpio just really dogged it here. This was a pretty bad match. I expected it to be much better. Not sure I agree with taking all of those belts off of Scorpio to put on Mikey either. It was a rather interesting turn in the story with Cactus helping Mikey out, but the match was just bad. One of the worse Scorpio matches I've seen. Maybe he wasn't happy about dropping the belts and just phoned it in, I don't know. The thing with a lot of ECW matches was that they would go out there and call the match as it went on. Sometimes it would work out ok, but a lot of times it just made for a really sloppy match. That was the case here. They didn't have anything planned out except for the ending, and it was obvious.
The Pitbulls vs The Eliminators
Here we go with Jason's Eliminators. Still rocking the long hair. Both teams get down into their Stiener like pose and face off in the center of the ring. Francine is my favorite in this leather outfit. She is a knockout here.
Saturn is in great shape here. Kronus is a bit on the chunky side. Francine is absolutely at her best in this leather outfit, jesus almighty. You got to see this.
Pitbull 1 and Saturn get it started off. Saturn with a nice Northern Lights Suplex. Pitbull 1 hits a lariat followed by a snap suplex. So far so good. Here we go with a bit of stalling before Saturn tags out to Kronus. Pitbull 1 tags out to Pitbull 2. Pitbull 2 drops Kronus with a powerslam. Saturn interferes and this thing turns into amateur hour. Botchamania. Saturn lands a nice plancha, and then the Eliminators do their awesome looking assisted springboard Moonsault over the top rope. Pitbull 2 no sells it. Jason attacks him. Saturn goes for a splash off the top, but Pitbull 2 moves. Saturn hits Jason. The Pitbulls go to town with steel chairs on the outside of the ring.
Pitbull 1 brings in a cookie sheet and hits Kronus, Saturn, and Jason. Pitbull 2 brings in a toilet brush from the crowd, and sticks it in Kronus' face.
The Pitbulls hit Saturn with a drop toe hold/knee drop combo move. Kronus hits Pitbull 2, and lands a really nice looking handspring moonsault splash. Both teams take turns isolating one another and dominating the match. Pitbull 2 drops Saturn with a Tombstone. Jason trips Pitbull 2 up, and Saturn hits him with a superkick. The Eliminators beat on Pitbull 2 for a while. Kronus lands a nice Moonsault off of the top rope. Kronus goes up top again, and lands a Jimmy Snuka splash.
Tag in to Saturn. Saturn lands a fucking beautiful splash off of the top rope. He got a lot of height right there. Jason comes in and does the Public Enemy assisted somersault senton onto Pitbull 2 as the referee is distracted.
The Eliminators drop Pitbull 2 with a Vertical Suplex/Splash combo move.
The crowd starts a "Jason takes it up the ass!" camptown races chant.
The Eliminators land several more moves, but Pitbull 2 no sells it. He gets up beating on his chest. He's soon overwhelmed by the Eliminators. Kronus gets tagged in as Francine rallies the crowd. Pitbull 1 finally gets the hot tag, but the crowd doesn't really respond to it. Pitbull 1 comes in cleaning house. Pitbull 1 gets Kronus pinned, but the referee is distracted.
The Pitbulls kick ass together in the ring, working both Eliminators over. The Pitbulls drop Saturn with a pretty hard Superbomb. Pitbull 2 covers for the win, but Jason distracts the referee. Kronus attacks both Pitbulls from behind as the referee is distracted.
Eliminators pick up the win after about 15 minutes due to Jason's interference.
I want to rate this match higher, but I can't really. There was just a few too many botches. It got rather sloppy relatively quick even though it started off pretty decent. Kronus and Saturn landed some phenomenal high flying moves. Saturn had his own distinct style of flying through the air, and Kronus was rather dynamic for a man his size. You could see the Eliminators improving here, getting better at working together, and better at wrestling in general. They were still really green, and this match was just too sloppy, even though I loved the high flying and the overall speed and amount of action in the match. The crowd really wasn't into this thing either.
Raven vs Tommy Dreamer
We immediately cut away to Tommy Dreamer walking out to the ring. The way he looks here all young and babyfaced with his hair all prettied up and his ECW t-shirt on the comparison that immediately pops into my mind is that Tommy Dreamer was ECW's Sting. That's the perfect analogy. Tommy Dreamer was to ECW what Sting was to WCW. Raven played a big part in how he got there.
Stevie Richards leads Raven out to the ring with Beulah and The Blue Meanie. Beulah is the hottest woman of all time.
Correction, no Raven.
Joel Gertner says that the winner of this match will get a shot at the Sandman's belt later on in this show.
Stevie gets the microphone and says that his man Raven won't be able to wrestle tonight because he broke his....
*Blue Meanie wispers in Stevie's ear*
Stevie tells Tommy that he will have to face the Blue Meanie instead. Dreamer tells him to shut the fuck up. Dreamer calls Raven a pussy, and tells Stevie to go to the back and get Raven.
The Blue Meanie attacks Dreamer from behind.
Dreamer drops him with a DDT. Dreamer pins The Blue Meanie.
Stevie comes in and attacks Dreamer. Dreamer drops Stevie with a DDT. Dreamer pins Stevie.
Dreamer pulls Beulah into the ring and sets her up for the piledriver again. Raven hits Dreamer in the back with a shelf. Raven beats the dog shit out of Dreamer. Really stiff beating here around the ring. Raven sets Dreamer up on a table and puts him through it with his sloppy ass plancha over the top rope.
Raven pulls Dreamer into the ring and poses over his lifeless body with his classic crucifix pose. Pretty awesome visual.
Raven chokes the life out of Dreamer until Dreamer fires back all of a sudden with some awesome looking punches. Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT. Stevie comes in and gets DDT'd. 2 more DDT's a piece on Raven and Richards. Dreamer throws Raven out of the ring and busts him with a chair.
All of the fans in the crowd are holding various weapons.
Dreamer grabs a cheese grater and takes it to Raven's head. Dreamer licks the cheese grater.
Dreamer drags Raven around the ring grabbing weapons from the fans to beat him with. Dreamer throws Raven into the first row of the crowd and hits him again with the chair. Raven is bleeding. Dreamer drags Raven towards the back door of the building.
They go outside. Snow everywhere.
Raven whips Dreamer into a door. They go back inside. Raven beats Dreamer from pillar to post.
The crowd starts chanting "CAN'T SEE SHIT!".
Dreamer and Raven both wander back towards the ring. Dreamer is busted open bleeding pretty badly. Dreamer drops Raven with a low blow in the ring. The referee gets hit and goes down.
Raven holds Dreamer for Beulah to spray him with hairspray. Dreamer moves, Raven gets sprayed. Dreamer falls down as Raven stumbles around the ring blinded.
Raven drops Stevie with a DDT.
Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT. Dreamer pins Raven and the referee starts stirring around. Dreamer almost pins Raven. Really awesome near fall. Dreamer was this close to going on and getting a shot at the belt later tonight.
Raven gets hung upside down in the corner in a Tree Of Woe. Dreamer climbs up the ropes and punches down on Raven's groin with multiple punches. Dreamer goes to the outside and brings in a piece of the broken table. Dreamer piledrives Raven down into the table.
Another great near fall. Raven barely kicks out.
Dreamer gets a fan to throw him a chair, but he accidentally takes out the referee with it.
Richards comes in and lands a fucking excellent Thrust Kick. Loud snap on impact.
Blue Meanie lands a moonsault on Dreamer. Raven DDT's Dreamer down into a chair and pins him for the win.
Raven goes on to get the title shot later tonight. Motherfucker. The way the character was booked you just couldn't help but want to see this dude get his ass kicked. I seen a lot of this similar booking with the WWE when they turned CM Punk heel earlier this year.
This wasn't any prettier than any of the other matches, but what separates it from the rest, and really what separates it from most other feuds in pro wrestling history, was the intense amount of emotion in the rivalry. There was just a lot of hatred that you could feel between these two characters. Even if you weren't paying attention to how their storyline got them to this point, you could still feel the intensity of their rivalry, and this match/segment was no different. This was classic heel booking, but Heyman doesn't deserve all of the credit for it. Raven himself actually had a lot of creative control over his character in ECW. There was just really some brilliant psychology involved in this Raven/Dreamer feud. They were perfect for each other, and the way Raven would just always get things to go his way made you naturally pull for Dreamer to get his ass.
Bruiser Mastino vs El Puerto Ricano
Oh wow, Bruiser Mastino was Mantaur. This should be fun.
Bruiser comes out wearing a slick Italian suit with a Violin case. I kind of like it.
Mastino is 450. Ricano is the jobber of ECW here.
Ricano gets some love from the fans.
Ricano avoids the bigger man early on with speed. Ricano lands some dropkicks keeping his distance. Ricano goes up top and lands dropkicks off of the top rope from all 4 corners, but Mastino stays up. Ricano goes to jump off of the fourth turnbuckle with a flying cross body press, but Mastino catches him.
Mastino squashes him with a splash and finishes it rather quickly. Mastino continues to beat on Ricano until all of a sudden 911 comes out!
911 almost chokeslams this dude through the ring.
Out comes Bill Alphonso blowing the whistle on him. Apparently Fonzie is still playing his "enforcer of the rules" role here, and the chokeslam is outlawed in ECW. Fonzie gets up in 911's face and smacks him around.
ECW Commissioner Todd Gordon comes out. Todd decks Fonzie over the head and proceeds to beat his ass. Fonzie and Gordon roll around until Taz comes out. Taz pulls Gordon up and holds him for Fonzie. Fonzie throws a punch, but 911 grabs his hand. 911 teases to chokeslam Fonzie again until Taz gets up in his face.
Taz and 911 stare each other down until Bruiser hits 911. One more chokeslam on Bruiser.
911 puts his hand around Taz's neck, but Taz smacks it away. Taz stands up to 911. Pretty awesome.
All of the wrestlers come out of the back. Several jobbers, JT Smith, Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie, The Dudleys. Taz and 911 are pulled apart. 911 chokeslams the fuck out of JT Smith. Smith sells it like Dolph Ziggler would sell it.
The more I see JT Smith the more I fall in love with him.
See this is the kind of shit you don't see when you read through the results for ECW shows. Such a great segment after this below average squash match. The deal with the squash match was that it was drawn out too long. Mastino should have just taken care of business, but Ricano got to do his thing, and I guess he deserved it, but not a good squash match. The mayhem that ensued after the match was classic ECW. I loved it. The Gordon vs Fonzie saga continues now with 911 and Taz barking at each other. Loved the JT Smith chokeslam. 911 was pretty awesome.
Buh Buh Ray Dudley vs The Blue Meanie
The ring clears out from the last segment and it's just Stevie, the Blue Meanie, and the Dudleyz in the ring. The Blue Meanie starts dancing. The Dudleyz dance. Buh Buh is not out here yet. It's DW Dudley and Sign Guy.
Oh here comes Buh Buh. He's pretty over here as the stuttering hero.
The fans are all stuttering "BUH BUH!".
Buh Buh Ray Dudley and The Blue Meanie have a dance off.
Buh Buh's got some moves. He does his dance and smacks the Blue Meanie in the face. The crowd loves it.
Buh Buh thinks he won the dance off. Stevie argues with him in the center of the ring. Stevie smacks Buh Buh in the face. Big Dick Dudley comes out to the ring. Big Dick is mad. The crowd chants "FUCK'EM UP BUH BUH!, FUCK'EM UP!"
Stevie tells Buh Buh that if he can't beat the Meanie that Raven will fire him. Buh Buh says "Fuck you and your Blue Meanie!"
The Blue Meanie attacks Buh Buh from behind. Meanie does a moonsault. Buh Buh kicks out, and fights back. Buh Buh hits his stuttering Buh Buh bomb, and lands a splash for the victory after about 2 minutes.
Big Dick comes in and chokeslams Blue Meanie. DW drops an elbow on the Meanie. Buh Buh goes back up top and lands another splash. Stevie tells Buh Buh that he knew he could do it.
Stevie tells The Dudley's that they are great. Stevie tells The Dudleyz that they are #1 in Raven's stable, and that Meanie ain't shit. The Dudleyz walk out on Stevie. The crowd cheers them.
Not good. Really to be honest by this point I had kind of forgotten that the Dudleyz were still associated with Raven. This was them starting to break away from him I guess. Pretty shitty match.
ECW World Championship: The Sandman (ch) vs Raven
Sandman comes out first. This should be good. Raven comes out with Stevie Richards and Beulah. Raven sits down in the corner. Sandman smokes a cigarette and drinks a beer. Sandman stands over Ravne drinking beer. Sandman spits beer on Richards. Raven sits emotionless in the corner. Sandman and Woman pose together in the ring. Stevie gets in the ring with a beer. Stevie pops it open and tries to drink it, he spits it up. Sandman holds a can high above his head and pours the entire thing down his throat without spilling a single drop. Raven blindsides him from behind.
Raven takes Sandman to the outside and violently whips him into the steel railing around the ring. Sandman whips Raven over the railing into the second row. Raven comes back over the railing and tries to DDT Sandman. Sandman slips out, sending Raven into the floor.
Sandman drops a legdrop on Raven. Raven with a low blow. Raven takes him back into the ring. The fans are cheering for Sandman here. Raven goes for two pinfalls, but Sandman kicks out. Sandman goes into the ropes and hits Raven with a back elbow. Sandman dominates Raven in the ring with stiff punches and kicks.
Sandman dumps Raven out of the ring and over the railing into the crowd. Sandman dives over the top with his cane to hit Raven on the way down. Raven is bleeding again. It's inception.
Sandman just looks like a drunk. Sandman misses a slingshot somersault splash. Raven gets out of the ring and Slingshots himself out on top of him. Sandman suplexes a table down onto Raven. Raven goes low with a kick to the groin followed by a few kicks to the side of the head. Raven sets the table up propped up on the rail. Sandman reverses a whip, sending Raven into the table. Sandman crunches the broken table half down on top of Raven and kicks down on him.
Sandman gets up on the apron to drop an elbow on top of Raven foled up in the broken table. Raven moves out of the way. Sandman stays in control, and takes Raven into the ring.
Sandman and Raven both collide with the referee. Stevie comes in and jumps on Sandman's back. Woman comes in and cane's Stevie's ass down. Woman hits Raven with the cane, but it has no effect. Raven takes the cane from Woman, but Sandman attacks him. Stevie Richards attacks The Sandman from behind with a plastic sign.
Raven and Stevie work Sandman over with the Singapore cane. Multiple shots on Sandman.
Tommy Dreamer comes in and gets the cane. Dreamer drops Stevie, Sandman, and Raven with the cane. Beulah comes running across the ring trying to escape and Tommy snatches her up.
Time to see that ass shot.
Dreamer lifts Beulah up and spins her around to show everyone her panties before spiking her into the canvas. This spot never gets old.
Dreamer leaves and Sandman and Raven are right back at it. They go up to the top rope as the referee begins recovering. Sandman bulldogs Raven off the top rope and scores the pinfall for a successful title defense.
Sandman pulls a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lights one up. Woman comes in and poses with Sandman with the belt.
Pretty sloppy brawl. Not much to write about other than Beulah. Never get tired of seeing Tommy turn her upside down and expose that "Mcgillicutty". Violence against Women is wrong, but wrestling is fake. Get over it.
The Gangstas vs Public Enemy
Alright so this is one of Public Enemy's final matches in ECW before moving on to WCW. It was only fitting that they battled their greatest foes in their final ECW matches, The Gangstas. The Gangstas and Public Enemy were perfect for each other in a 1995 tag team pro wrestling feud. The matches haven't been too impressive, but seeing the two teams beat the shit out of each other just had a certain harmony to that perhaps hasn't aged well through the last 17 years.
All of the fans wave their arms about during PE's entrance. NYC loves PE.
The Gangstas come out and New Jack is wearing a noose around his neck. All four men begin fighting in and around the ring. Rocco Rock lands a springboard moonsault onto Mustapha in the ring. New Jack and Grunge fight on the outside. Interesting to note that the Gangstas are getting quite a few cheers here. They aren't really getting heat. The crowd is taking a liking to them.
Here comes the blood and the weapons. Mustapha bodyslams Rocco Rock through a table. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge are both bleeding badly. Mustapha does a nice looking powerslam on Rocco Rock. Grunge and New Jack brawl with weapons around the ring.
New Jack lands a "Stun Gun" on Johnny Grunge. PE pulls out a table from under the ring and sets it up on the inside. Mustapha gets setup on the table. Rocco Rock does a great moonsault off of the top, but the table doesn't break.
Mustapha slams Rocco Rock through the table as Johhny Grunge fight's New Jack on the outside.
Rocco Rock hits Mustapha with his Drive By Somersualt Senton and hooks the leg, but the referee is distracted by New Jack. Rocco Rock gets up to get the ref's attention, and New Jack blasts him with a steel chair. Mustapha rolls Rocco Rock up for the pinfall.
This was another typical Gangstas vs PE ECW brawl. Sloppy and bloody with lots of weapons, most introduced into the match from the crowd. The thing about these Gangstas vs PE matches was that they had a grit to them that the other pseudo hardcore matches that tried to emulate this style in the WWF & WCW lacked. With that said there wasn't anything that stands out about this match. Nothing really memorable, just all of these guys going through the motions to put on their typical brawl. With this match, and a few of the others on this show, we see Heyman's booking still trying to adhere to some sort of structure even though there were no rules. Referee's were being distracted or knocked out in order for the heels to build up some sort of heat from the crowd by screwing the faces. Most of the heels in ECW were getting cheered. Unless you were Bill Alphonso or Raven, guys like Sandman and The Gangstas were getting cheered for their attitudes and toughness, and with this booking it seems like maybe perhaps Heyman considered that a problem that needed to be solved. The unique Philly/NY ECW crowd forced Heyman to do different things with his heels and faces. The way Alphonso drew heat for enforcing rules as an authority figure, and the innovative "Chicken Shit Heel" booking with Raven(which was a collaboration with Heyman and Raven behind the scenes) are prime examples of the lengths that Heyman went to in order to keep that Heel/Face psychology intact. I think that all of these ref bumps/distractions in this show are a big part of that. Heyman wanted his heels to draw heat in order to build the faces up and make them look good.
It is interesting how Public Enemy were still being booked as faces even though everyone knew they were gone by this point.
Sabu vs Cactus Jack
This is just a strait up ECW dream match on paper. They had a fantastic match in 1994 in Cactus' ECW debut, the match where Cactus got in trouble with WCW for spitting on the tag team title and throwing it to the ground in a promo afterwards. Cactus would go on to make ECW his home, and Sabu would be on his way out earlier on this year. Cactus really took over ECW in Sabu's absence during 1995. Cactus turned heel in the months before Sabu's return, but it kind of looks like they are trying to turn him face again maybe with the way he helped Mikey win the tag team belts. This is Sabu's second match after returning at November to Remember 95. Lets see if this match is as good as their first ECW match.
Cactus comes out first wearing an ECW shirt and the tag team title belt, and says that WCW Sucks!
Cactus says that he is sorry for all of the things he said about ECW, and that he never meant any of it towards the NY fans, because he is from NY, and he would never dis his homeboys.
Cactus says he wants to tell one quick story before we get on with the action. Cactus goes on talking about an ECW fan in a wheelchair that comes to all of the shows. I've touched on this guy in previous reviews. He's the mentally disabled guy that often hands one of his crutches in to the wrestlers during matches.
Cactus tells the crowd that he asked John if he would be coming to the show, but John looked at him with tears in his eyes saying that he didn't have a ride. The crowd chants for Sabu, and Foley gets serious on them saying that Sabu will be out in a second if they would just listen to him for a second. Foley says that he gave John a ride to the show, and that on the way back John told him that it was a dream come true to ride with him.
Cactus says that in honor of John he is going to bring Sabu out here and have an Olympic Wrestling rules match instead of breaking tables and using chairs. The crowd boo's.
Cactus brings out the man that has refereed more amateur wrestling matches than anyone in the building, John "Pee Wee" Moore. Moore gets on the mic and gives the rules for the match.
2 points for each takedown.
1 point for each escape.
Stalling will result in a warning. More stalling results in a point deduction.
The match is to remain in the ring. All forms of striking are strictly prohibited, including the use of pots and pans.
Crowd goes crazy with boo's until Sabu comes running out. The ref orders Sabu to get down on all fours Olympic style. Sabu looks at him like he's crazy.
Out comes 911.
911 chokeslams the ref.
911 appoints himself special guest referee. Sabu attacks Cactus and here we go.
Sabu does a springboard somersault plancha out of the ring onto Cactus from a chair in the ring. Joey keeps score with the rules given by the referee. Both guys are in the negative with points due to all of the rules infractions so far.
Cactus drops Sabu with a chair shot and a double arm DDT for a 2 count. Cactus hits the double arm DDT on the chair for another 2 count. Cactus with a classic elbow drop with a chair from the apron.
Joey says both men are in the negative double digits with the points.
Sabu hammers Cactus in the back with the chair on the outside. This is a pretty fun brawl this far into the match. No botches, and no lag in the action. Pro wrestling brawls are like Friday the 13th movies, just mindless fun, when done properly. They don't need a lot of psychology or selling to be good, don't get me wrong, that stuff helps, but as long as the action and chaos is there a good brawl can still be entertaining.
Cactus gets his head tangled up in the ropes. Sabu sets a chair up in the center of the ring and hits him with Air Sabu while he's hung up in the ropes. Awesome spot.
We start to slow down a bit as they fight on the outside. Foley looks as if that rope spot actually hurt him for real.
Foley goes up to the top rope, but Sabu hits him with a chair. Sabu throws Cactus down to the floor with a sickening thud. Sabu is looking pretty sharp here. Sabu lands a nice plancha through the ropes.
Sabu lands his springboard leg lariat with a chair onto the side of Cactus' head. They take it back to the outside. Cactus Jack is wearing some awesome cowboy boots that I'm just now noticing. Sabu gets back in the ring and does a cross body press onto Cactus from the apron through the table setup ringside. Awesome table spot. Cactus gets an inside cradle for a 2 count. Sabu lands an awesome little springboard moonsault where he just bouces off of the ropes with his thighs.
Cactus picks up the intensity, and really goes after Sabu with strikes. Cactus misses a legdrop. Sabu goes up top with a chair in his hands. Cactus follows him up from behind. Sabu hits Cactus in the head 3 times with the chair, coming down off of the top with the third shot. Sabu goes back up with the chair and gives Cactus an Atomic Arabian Facebuster Somersault ledgrop. Cactus kicks out. Cactus gets up and scoops Sabu up, Cactus fall back and Sabu hooks a leg for the pinfall.
Sabu pins Cactus after 12:39. Sabu limps away and that's a wrap.
Really that was a solid little hardcore brawl between two of the best ever. Sabu was pretty sharp, and did not have any botches. The action and the pace of the match was great. They only slowed down a few times, but overall it was a pretty violent, fast paced, physical hardcore match. The whole Olympic angle they did before the match cracked me up, and to be honest I really enjoyed this match. It doesn't really fall into your typical Pro Wrestling category, but there was just something about it that I can't quite put my finger down on that I enjoyed about it. There wasn't great story telling or selling or psychology, but it was two really tough guys competing against each other in a war to find out who was tougher. You could even go as far as calling both of these guys "Glorified Stuntmen", and that would really be a fitting title for the roles they played in this match, but I'll be damned if it wasn't awesome to watch. Pro Wrestling may not be about hitting each other in the head with objects or falling off of high things, but what it is about is entertainment. These little brawls like this were entertaining in the same way a fight in an action movie would be entertaining if they were executed properly.
Well, this is just another one of those ECW shows that doesn't stand up well if watched out of context, but it was pivitol for the main storylines that were running. Taz took his first steps towards total domination of the entire ECW roster. Dreamer and Raven's feud continued to heat up with Raven screwing him out of another head to head match only for Dreamer to come out and cost him the world title later on in the evening. There really weren't any real good wrestling matches on this show, and there is just no way around that. With that said this was another fun ECW show with some cool moments for someone who was up to date on the stories and characters in ECW at this time. Sabu vs Cactus is for sure the highlight of the tape, and was a fun hardcore brawl between two legends.