April 15th 1995
Let me get this out of the way before we even get started, This is one of my personal favorite ECW shows of all time. The main thing going into this show was a fued between a face Cactus Jack against a heel Terry Funk that is one of the absolute best storylines/feuds that ever came out of ECW, or pro wrestling in the 90's for that matter. Quite an underrated feud with some outstanding promos from both men, some of the best ever.
Also going on in the land of Extreme around this time was the departure of the biggest superstar in the company, Sabu. Sabu failed to show up for the big blowoff 3 way dance tag match at the last show I reviewed, and would be out of ECW for a majority of 1995. Sabu went on to wrestle in Japan, and eventually Dubya Cee Dubya for a cup of coffee.
Pretty much all of the major storylines leading up to this show were connected somehow or another. Cactus Jack was fueding with The Sandman, who brought in Terry Funk to help him, which caused Shane Douglas to turn face to save Cactus(because they were old training buddies in Dominic Denucci's wrestling school, and Funk was an old rival of Douglas from a year earlier in ECW). Funk got involved in the early stages of the Tommy Dreamer vs Raven storyline in a guantlet match between Tommy Dreamer and Raven's flock. Dreamer faced Raven's flock(which consisted of Stevie Richards, Tony Stetson, and Johnny Hotbody at the time) in a "Generation X Guantlet Match", where each member of the flock was handcuffed to the ring post on the outside. Dreamer had to defeat each of Raven's lackeys to unlock Raven, but before Dreamer was done with Stevie Richards, Terry Funk came out to unlock Raven from his cuffs. Raven brutally attacked Dreamer, handcuffed him to the ropes on the outside in a crucifix position, and busted his head open in one of the bloodiest moments in pro wrestling history.
After the Generation X guantlet match, Raven quickly fired Stetson & Hotbody, and replaced them with The Pit Bulls. The Pit Bulls told Raven that he was their new master, and that they were going to win the ECW Tag Team titles for him. At the end of the last show, after Public Enemy had won the titles back from Malenko/Benoit in the Three Way Dance, The Pit Bulls violently attacked Public Enemy.
Also at the previous show, Sandman's manager Nancy "Woman" Benoit turned on him to align herself with Shane Douglas. This was kind of a confusing booking call, seeing as how Douglas had just turned face. Now it was as if they did another Double Switch, turning Douglas back heel, while at the same time turning the Sandman face for the first time during his "Barroom Brawler" gimmick.
Mikey Whipwreck vs Stevie Richards
Stevie Richards is accompanied by Raven, who slouches in his corner during introductions from ring announcer Bob Artese. Richards looks so goofy here with his mullett, cut off shirt, combat boots, and cut off daisy duke shorts. I have an uncle that actually used to dress like this back in the day, same haircut and all.
After a brief exchange, Whipreck leaves the ring to go to the back.
Whipreck comes back out with Hack Myers. This guy was pretty worthless, but was so fucking over here(thanks to the way Heyman booked him). This crowd is already fired up big time. Hot crowd.
Really good match early on. Whipreck targets Richard's left arm. Some great selling, and a good pace of action.
The crowd starts a "Daisy Dukes" chant.
Some great selling with the left arm from Richards. Raven gets involved by tripping Mikey up, and the fans on the front row lose it. Hack Myers trips Richards up to even up the score.
Mikey Whipreck's selling in this match is incredible. He makes the bumps look really good in this match. So far they have worked a really good, clean match inside the ring within the standard rules of a wrestling match.
Mikey counters a powerbomb attempt with a hurricanrana for a pinfall, and the victory. Raven attacks Mikey after the match, but Hack Myers fights him off. The Pit Bulls come out to beat up on Whipreck & Hack Myers until all of a sudden Public Enemy comes out. Huge pop. PE cleans house.
After Raven, Richards, and The Pit Bulls retreat, Rocco Rock reaches into Hack Myers pants, and steals his wallet. Rocco makes a joke about how there was only $2 in his wallet.
Pretty good damn match. A little short on time, but for it's length this was a pretty good one. Whipreck got a clean pinfall over Richards, then the run ins came afterwards. Pretty good booking. Raven, Richards, and The Pit Bulls made for a pretty awesome little faction.
Tsubo Genjin vs Tony Stetson
I just don't get this. This is a match that will bring down the overall score of the show, and I just don't get why it was even on the card. The crowd rips it to pieces throughout. Amateur night at the Apollo match between two shitty looking jobbers. Genjin gets the win, and the crowd boos the roof off of the place because of how shitty of a match this was.
Waste of time. Shouldn't have been booked on this card at all, and damn sure shouldn't have found it's way onto the home video tape.
Bad Breed Death Match: Axl Rotten vs Ian Rotten
Axl comes out with a trashcan sitting in the center of the ring. Axl tells the fans that the match type is up to them, and asks them what they want to see. Axl asks if they want an "I Quit Match", "Loser Leaves Town", "Leather Strap Match", "Baseball Bat Match", and the crowd boo's all of them. Axl pulls out a barbed wire baseball bat, and the crowd goes wild for him.
Axl says that he will battle Ian with everything in the arena, and the fans go crazy for him. He actually did cut a pretty nice promo here.
Ian Rotten comes out to attack Axl from behind to start the match.
The two men brawl with each other with all of the weapons in the trash can.
"Looks like Ian Rotten has already been busted open. I guess he wont be booking any flights to Atlanta in the near future."
-Joey Styles taking shots at WCW's No Blood policy at the time
Ian unravels barbed wire from the bat, and wraps in around Axl's face. The barbed wire gets tangled around Axl pretty good, and the match turns into a bloody mess.
Ian Rotten is back body dropped over the guardrailing on the outside of the ring into the crowd. Something about this match is just much better than all of their previous matches, but I can't quite put my thumb down on what it is. Just a wild, bloody, violent, sweeping brawl.
Blood everywhere. No wrestling moves though. Axl starts to strap Ian with a leather strap that was in the trash can. Ian throws an opened chair at Axl's head. These guys get pretty brutal with the barbed wire, wrapping it around each other, then violently ripping it off, which looks painful as hell.
Ian wraps the barbed wire around Axl's face, and hits him with a steel chair to pick up his first win in this rivalry.
This wasn't a wrestling match. First and foremost this WAS NOT a pro wrestling match. What this was, was live action b-horror. It's hard for me to really give this a real high score(see previous reviews), but something about this match was just entertaining as fuck. ECW was more than just Extreme, it was also Championship Wrestling, but the Extreme put them on the map. Ian & Axl Rotten don't get the credit they deserve for putting the Extreme in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Sure, Sabu & PE were breaking tables, but nobody really did that FMW style over the top extreme violence like Ian & Axl did in this fued. People would see pictures of these matches in magazines and go "OH MUH GOD WHAT IS THIS!?! I HAVE TO SEE IT!"
Again, nothing pretty about this match. I'm not a real big fan of ultraviolent, bloodbath wrestling, but dammit if this wasn't a violent ass match. The entertaining kind of violent. Their previous matches were really sloppy, but this one was very well executed for what they were trying to go for.
Raven vs Tommy Dreamer
This is where we finally get some information on this storyline. Before this, Stevie Richards was fueding with Tommy Dreamer. Richards started coming out to matches dressed as Stevie Polo, and Stevie Flamingo(parodying Raven's WCW/WWF characters Scotty Flamingo & Johnny Polo). Richards then debuted Raven in January of 95. Raven would only cut a few vague promos, and attack Dreamer on a couple of occasions. Other than that there wasn't really any story behind it yet. There were vague references to the fact that Raven & Dreamer had a past, but nothing of any real substance yet. At the last show, Richards brought back a girl that went to summer camp with Raven & Dreamer when they were kids. She was supposedly fat, ugly, and nasty, but had turned out to have grown up to be the Uber Grunge Slut Beulah Mcgillicutty. Beulah interfered in Dreamer's match that evening against Raven, costing him the match.
Raven comes out to Offspring's "Come Out and Play". I remember when that was the hottest CD at the time. 1994-95 was owned by Green Day & Offspring. Offspring's Smash was actually my very first ever CD(followed closely by Dookie). Good times.
Raven, Richards, and Beulah(SMOKING HOT!) come out together to talk to Joey Styles for an interview.
Stevie Richards is awesome on the mic here.
Oh my god, did I tell you how hot Beulah was here in this video with her flannel skirt? Jeez.
Stevie goes back over the storyline pretty much, talking about how Dreamer mistreated Beulah(a zitface, fat slob at the time apparently), and Raven at Summer Camp. I got to admit that is pretty stupid. Surely they could have come up with something better. Truth is that the early days of this Raven vs Dreamer fued were just booked on the fly. Heyman didn't actually have any long term plans for Raven, and only planned on a short fued. The character really took off with the fans, and plans changed. Storylines changed, and from the looks of this one, they probably came up with it that day.
Raven immediately does a dive over the top rope onto Tommy Dreamer on the outside of the ring before he even gets a chance to enter. Raven attacks Dreamer on the outside, and beats him all the way up the entrance isle to the back kitchen/concession stand area(yeah, would you eat some nachos from the ECW Arena? I don't think so). They stay in the back behind closed doors for a few seconds before barreling back out to the entrance isle. Dreamer is cut open on the forehead.
They take the fight over to a soundstage area of the ECW Arena. This is why I love how ECW always did shows in this "Bingo Hall", it was such an awesome atmosphere with the way it was laid out. There was a sound stage behind the bleachers, and just above the stage was an elevated "Eagles Nest"(You know, because we are in Philly) balcony type area(probably about 10 feet up from the soundstage). Matches often ended up in this area of the ECW Arena.
Dreamer cracks Raven with chair shots, and a vertical suplex on the soundstage.
Dreamer has a pretty nasty crimson mask going. He hits Raven with a kitchen sink.
Raven hits Dreamer with the sink HARD! IN THE FACE!
Finally in the ring, and Dreamer with a sleeper hold. Both men stumble to the outside. Dreamer cracks Raven with a toy dinosaur(T-Rex) to the nuts, and then busts him with a full dozen eggs.
Back to the ring, and Raven gets Dreamer with 3 consecutive DDT's, but Dreamer kicks out! The match goes back to the outside where Dreamer gets a DDT on the concrete. Dreamer covers Raven, but Richards breaks the pinfall. Dreamer DDT's Richards, and then takes out the referee with a DDT for not calling a DQ.
Beulah attacks Tommy from behind, and then OH MY GOD!
Dreamer puts Beulah into a piledriver position, lifts her legs up, and slowly spins around to give everyone in the arena a shot of her "Mcgillicutty" before spiking her head into the canvas. Dreamer then does his trademark pose screaming ECW as the crowd blows the roof off of the place.
Dreamer then climbs into the crowd, and leads the fans on in an E! C! DUB! chant.
Yeah, nothing real special about the actual match, but Beulah alone is worth tracking this down for. She is amazing. I'm not a real big fan of violence against women, but this was just awesome. Sorry. Classic ECW moment where Dreamer further solidified himself as the Peoples Champion of ECW.
ECW TV Championship: Eddy Guerrero(C) vs Dean Malenko
Oh man, I don't even know where to start with this one. Eddy had just come in at the last show, winning his first singles title in his first ECW match by defeating 2 Cold Scorpio for the TV belt in a fantastic match. The truth is that Eddie and his tag team partner Art Barr were both scheduled to work for ECW as their legendary AAA tag team. Barr passed away shortly before they were set to make their debut's. Malenko was coming off of being a TV champion(lost to Scorpio), and Tag Team champion at the same time as part of Shane Douglas' Triple Threat faction(where Douglas also held the World Title).
I'm not even going to try to cover this match here move by move. I'll just point out the best spots, and give my overall opinion on this match.
Malenko and Guerrero slowly work their way into a great technical mat wrestling exchange. They work together here so fluidly. This is their first match in ECW, but they did have several matches in Japan prior to this. Their chemistry together here in this match is unbelievable. You can't say anybody got carried in this match at all. It was a collaborative effort from both men working together.
Malenko & Guerrero put on an impressive series of exchanges, ending in both of them performing flying head scissor takedowns, and trying to simultaneously dropkick each other. They stand up for a brief staredown, and the crowd goes crazy for them. THE best reaction from the crowd all night in a match. People legit jumping out of their seats here for this wrestling.
The pace slows down, but I love the way they grapple each other on the mat. Instead of merely resting in holds, they both grapple in a very realistic way, going for multiple submissions on each other.
Guerrero works in his Slingshot Somersault Senton in between more grappling exchanges. Malenko gets Guerrero in a legit hammerlock. Guerrero breaks out, and Malenko gets him with a dropkick to the knee.
Malenko gets Guerrero in this wicked ass submission that I don't even know how to explain in words. This is why is easily a top 3 favorite of mine because of shit like this.
Malenko targets Guerrero's knee in a series of moves/strikes. Malenko really works the knee, even going outside to slam it into the ringpost. They both go outside, and Malenko continues to target the knee with strikes. Guerrero sells it beautifully, limping around the ring, screaming out loud when Malenko catches him in submissions.
Malenko continues to target the knee for several minutes. Malenko catches Guerrero in the STF. He's already used probably about 20 different submissions at this point in the match. Guerrero gets out of the hold, and hits Malenko with a Cradle Suplex. Guerrero sells the knee very well. Guerrero gets a powerbomb, and then a Tornado DDT out of the corner that just looks awesome.
Malenko kicks out at 2. Guerrero keeps acting like he's re-adjusting his knee, as if something popped out or something. He props Malenko up on the top rope, and gets a Frankenstiener. He struggles to get the cover, and only gets a 2. Eddy fails to get Malenko up for a surfboard, but he covers it up well by putting him in an interesting looking leg submission before locking him in an STF.
Malenko gets Eddy in the corner to hit him with strikes, but Guerrero knocks him to the outside. Malenko pulls Eddy with him to the outside with his legs in a hurricanrana type of maneuver. They both get back up to the apron, and Malenko vertical suplexes Eddy to the concrete. They fight on the outiside, and Eddy goes up top for a nice looking dive down onto Dean. Eddy gets some pretty good air on the jump, and makes it look good. Dean gets a brainbuster, and slowly pulls Eddy back up. They fight for vertical suplexes, and Eddy gets a brainbuster of his own on Dean. The way Dean sells it is awesome.
Eddie goes up to land one of the greatest frogsplashes of all time. Malenko kicks out. Dean gets a Northern Lights Suplex with a very nice bridge for a 2 count.
Pretty late in the match, and they are both still moving really fast, with no real signs of fatigue. Eddie fights off the Texas Cloverleaf two times, and gets a near fall that brings out the "OH!"'s from the crowd. The fans really start to get into the match, even chanting Eddy's name.
Eddy puts Dean into a fucking awesome looking submission on his back that I can't really explain. They get a series of 3 near falls on each other before just laying on the mat to catch their breath. The fans start chanting E! C! DUB!.
Guerrero gets an amazing looking sunset flip on Malenko off of the top rope for 2, and the bell rings. The match goes the full 30 minutes for a draw. The fans give both men a standing ovation before chanting "FIVE! MORE! MINUTES!".
Eddy celebrates with the crowd in a really great moment with his championship belt.
I've seen all of Malenko & Guerrero's matches in ECW, and this one is their best. This match is in my opinion the greatest match in ECW history. You can say that they had better matches in WCW, but what their WCW matches lacked was the tremendous atmosphere of the ECW Arena. These fans were marking out for this match. Also, Joey Styles actually called the holds on the commentary. Dean & Eddy's matches in WCW never got much of a reaction from the crowds. The commentary for them was always terrible, and they were never really taken seriously like they were here in this match. I'd put this match up against any of Dean & Eddy's matches. I'd put this match up against any match in WWF or WCW in 1995. Better than Bret vs Diesel in my opinion. The thing was that Heyman knew these guys were the best that he had in the building. There never really were any 30 minute matches in ECW up to this point. He knew these guys were the best, so he gave Eddy the TV Title in his first match. He let both of them go for a full 30 minutes here, and the crowd ate it up.
ECW Championship: Sandman vs Shane Douglas (ch)
Sandman is still not drinking beers. He's just a smoker for now. I love the american flag pants. Just screams redneck trailer park brawler.
Shane Douglas comes out with Woman(Nancy Benoit). Nancy played a great heel manager in ECW. One thing I always liked about Douglas was the way he would put the spotlight on his valet during his entrances.
Shane looks pretty good early on with some great looking knee strikes, and a nice snap suplex. Really not a bad match. Sandman does some great, at times funny selling. They take it to the outside where Sandman cracks Douglas in the back with a steel chair. They take it back into the ring where Douglas takes the momentum of the match.
Shane Douglas locks Sandman into the Crossface Chickenwing. Suddenly Woman cracks Shane Douglas in the back of the legs causing him to stumble backwards to the mat on his back. Sandman pins Shane Douglas to win the ECW World Championship.
Woman doublecrossed Shane Douglas.
The crowd starts chanting "YOU! GOT! FUCKED!".
Shane goes outside the ring, and puts on a WWF Monday Night Raw t-shirt.
Shane gets a microphone, and tells the crowd "If I have to go somewhere where I can wrestle, than you can all kiss my ass!". Shane gets some great heat with the crowd, pushes the camera man away from him, and exits the ECW Arena through the front door as the crowd sings "NA-NA-NA-NA, NA-NA-NA-NA, HEY! HEY! HEY!, GOOD! BYE!"
Without Woman's doublecross, and that little outburst from Douglas with the Raw shirt, I'd only give this thing about a 6. Mediocre match, with a pretty cool little swerve, and The Sandman winning the title.
ECW Tag Team Championship: The Public Enemy(ch) vs The Pitbulls
Two fairly underrated tag teams here that I don't think get enough credit for their runs in ECW in 1995.
The Pit Bulls are massive here, and dominate this match early on with power moves. Pitbull #2 picks Rocco Rock up into a military press with ease, and throws him over the top rope through a table ringside. Awesome bump. j
All four men take it outside the ring, and this thing turns into a street fight. Rocco Rock uses a frying pan on one of the Pit Bulls. That is the first and only frying pan in this show surprisingly. That's about 75% less frying pan that the previous 3-4 shows I've reviewed.
The fight between Rocco Rock and Pitbull #1 goes out into the crowd. Johnny Grunge assaults Pitbull #2 with chairs and cookie sheets. 3 out of the 4 men in this match are badly bleeding from the forehead. Pitbull #2 is bleeding worse than any of the others. Johnny Grunge pulls a table into the ring. This is a pretty sloppy brawl without any real wrestling or psychology, but all 4 guys are selling everything really well to make it look like a heated fight.
Grunge moonsaults Pitbull 2 through the table off of the top rope. Rocco Rock goes after Stevie Richards on the outside. Pitbull 2 gives Grunge a piledriver on the outside down onto the concrete.
Pitbull 2 beats up on Rocco Rock around the ring, and the way they are working the crowd is pretty awesome. Pitbull 2 grabs all of Sign Guy's signs, and rips them in half.
The Pit Bulls take the frying pan to both members of PE. They set Rocco Rock up for their Superbomb, but he reverses it with a frankenstiener.
All four men battle in the ring with a series of about 4 near falls on each other. Johnny Grunge grabs the Pit Bulls chain from ringside, and takes it to them. Rocco Rock misses his "Drive By" Somesault Senton off of the top rope. Grunge clears out Pitbull 2 with the chain, and cracks Pitbull 1 in the face. Rocco Rock rolls Pitbull 1 up after the chain to the face, and pins him.
Public Enemy defend their titles with a clean pinfall victory over one of the toughest tag teams in ECW.
This was a really good tag team match. Hard hitting, bloody, and violent. It was sloppy at times, but for the most part there was just a lot of action. Great performances from all 4 men in the selling, and the way they were working the crowd. This was nothing at all like the watered down hardcore matches that PE put on in WCW, this was pretty awesome.
911 vs Ron Simmons
For some reason this match is not shown in it's entirety. Only the finish is shown, which is 911 chokeslamming Simmons off of the top rope for the pinfall.
Cactus Jack vs Terry Funk
Cactus comes out, and challenges Funk to bring the fight outside the ring to get a big pop from the fans. Funk climbs out into the crowd, and Cactus goes after him. They make it up to the soundstage where Funk cracks Cactus in the back with a chair. They climb up to the Eagles Nest balcony where Funk tosses chairs at Cactus' head. They get back down off of the balcony to the soundstage.
Cactus gets Funk with a chair shot, causing him to stumble over to the top of a table. Cactus climbs up to the balcony above the soundstage, and leaps off with his flying elbow. Funk rolls off of the table, and Cactus goes through it.
They brawl their way back ringside using anything that the fans hand to them. Chairs, crutches, cookie sheets. Funk rolls a table into the ring, but Cactus attacks him. Cactus props the table up in the corner, and slams Funk into it several times. The brawl around the outside of the ring again. Cactus goes up to the apron for a dive, but Funk hits him in the knee with a steel chair. Funk slams Cactus off of the apron to his back on the concrete. Sick bump.
Cactus and Funk continue to brawl on the outside. Cactus eventually brings a trashcan to the ring. Cactus blasts Funk in the head with the can. Terry Funk gets a beer bottle out of the can, and nails Cactus in the head HARD with it, but it doesn't break. He hits him hard again, but it still doesn't break. A third shot shatters the bottle. Holy Shit.
Funk takes the broken bottleneck to cut Cactus open on his forehead. Funk just beats on Cactus like a dog until Mikey Whipreck and Hack Myers come out to help him. Funk takes both men out. Cactus counter's Funk's spinning toe hold with a small package rollup, but Funk kicks out. Cactus DDT's Funk down onto a chair, and goes for the pin, but The Sandman comes out.
Sandman takes a shot at Cactus, but he moves off of Funk, Funk gets caned. Cactus quickly covers Funk for the pinfall, and the victory.
Sandman attacks Cactus Jack with the Singapore cane, and douses him in whiskey from a bottle. Terry Funk brings a flaming branding iron to the ring, and blows a MASSIVE fireball into Cactus' face!
Funk pokes and prods at Cactus with the flaming branding iron until he rolls out of the ring. Funk attacks Cactus with the branding iron on the outside of the ring until Cactus finally grabs it from him. Tommy Dreamer and Axl Rotten come out with a fire extinguisher and some wet towels causing Funk to retreat.
All of the faces tend to a beaten and burned Cactus Jack with wet towels as the show comes to an end.
Not a real, real good match, but this is perhaps their best match in North America. Just a classic brawl between two of the greatest legends in the history of pro wrestling. The match had some great moments with some unbelievable bumps, and outstanding selling from both performers.
It's remarkable how much this promotion improved up to this point. This is perhaps the best ECW show of all time. Guerrero vs Malenko is one of the all time greatest wrestling matches in my opinion, and there were several other matches/moments that would help to make this THE ECW show to start your collection with. If you are curious about ECW, or looking to get one of the shows to check it out, I highly recommend this show. Easily one of the best overall wrestling shows of 1995.