Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History
Best of ECW Vol. 1
Summer of 1992
Original Sports Bar(Philly, PA)
Ok, so this is Tod Gordon's Eastern Championship Wrestling from the Summer of 1992. A compilation tape of the "Best" of the ECW, and for a long time I honestly didn't even know that the ECW was doing shows as far back as 1992. These matches took place in June, and July around the same time as WWF Summerslam(Bret vs Bulldog/Savage vs Warrior), and The WCW's Great American Bash(Vader vs Sting). The ECW was not a part of the NWA yet, and Paul Hayman wasn't even with them at this point, which may be why this era was never acknowledged in the later days of the ECW. This was even before the Eddie Gilbert era. Larry Winters and Todd Gordon were booking the shows at this point in ECW history.
So on this card we have Jim Niedhart, a Tag Team title match between some guys I've never heard of, and the crown jewel of the tape, the ECW Championship with WWF Legend Jimmy "SuperFly" Snuka vs another ECW legend in his own right(Triple crown champion), Johnny Hotbody(The Champion). I'm actually looking forward to the main event so lets get through some of this.
First up we get a highlight clip of some pretty stiff wrestling to some cool early 90's rock guitar. Pretty good opener with Jimmy nailing a nice splash at the beginning.
Tomy Cairo vs Damien Stone(7/14/92)
"Precious" Damien Stone comes out, and he looks a lot like Guido(Nunzio). In fact, it is Little Guido...Wow, and he looks bigger. Definitely got some more shoulder, and back on him than his later days. Guido comes out as "Welcome to the Jungle" plays, and this is in a small bar with people sitting at tables(and the bar of course). Tommy Cairo comes out to Queen's "We Will Rock You", and he is wearing a biker's black leather jacket(with tassles of course), black leather chaps, and orange tights.
there may be 100 people at this bar. If they are lucky.
Guido circles as Cairo removes his chaps. then they tie up. Both guys look to be in good shape. Cairo was a successful bodybuilder before this match, and he went on to do work for the ECW for about another 2 years after this. Both of them are short, but jacked.
Guido breaks the tieup twice to flex for the crowd, and he is indeed jacked. Cairo then throws him around the ring before Guido goes to the outside. Cairo flips him back into the ring, and hits him with a nice shoulder block, and a clean vertical suplex. Both guys look sharp, and on point. Good match so far.
Guido has a mullet.
Pace starts to slow for a while until Guido back drops Cairo, but Cairo does a full front flip to his feet before nailing Guido with a dropkick. Cairo looks good, and Guido is doing some great selling.
The match goes outside at 5:16 Cairo slams Guido down on the floor. The commentators say he should be disqualified for it, but the match continues. Back in the ring Guido gains momentum. Guido is selling really good as a heel here.
Oh Shit! Cairo nails Guido with a pretty sick powerbomb where Guido almost lands on his head/neck. Cairo gets the pin after 6:00
Too short, but not bad at all. Better than I was expecting. Guido does some great selling, and Cairo displays some pretty good athleticism. Both guys were in great shape, and should have been given more time. I was surprised to see Guido here, but he looked good while it lasted. He made a good jobber.
Oh! Guido attacks Cairo after the match on the outside with a nasty hit from behind. Guido runs off, and Cairo celebrates.
Sal Bellomo vs Jim Niedhart(6/23/92)
Sal is huge, and dressed like a Spartan Warrior. He looks goofy, and the way he is working the crowd as a heel is pretty funny. Niedhart was out of the WWF after the 92 Royal Rumble, and wouldn't go back until 94. The Anvil charges the ring!
Anvil gets a pop, and is dressed in pink and black WWF gear. Anvil clears the ring.
I'm seeing a bunch of mullets here.
Anvil takes Bellomo out with punches, and he is leaving the building with his manager that looks like DDP(its not).
Bellomo gets the Anvil from behind as his manager distracts. Bellomo takes a nasty back body drop. Anvil slams Bellomo around like a ragdoll even though he is giving up a bit of weight.
Sal's manager gets involved, and hits Bellomo with a cell phone on accident. Anvil gets the pin after like 4 minutes.
Anvil beats up Sal's manager after the match. Don Morracco attacks Anvil from behind. Morrocco looks to be old, and out of shape.
Whoa, somebody runs in with pink, and black gear on, and a HUGE MULLETT!, and Ultimate Warrior facepaint(Pink, and black). Morroco takes him out immediately, and the guy retreats to the back with Anvil.
I was going to give this a 4 until the scuffle at the end, which was just pathetic. The match was pretty lame too. Very short, with Anvil squashing Sal the big goofy guy in an awkward match.
ECW Tag Team Tournament Championship Final:
Super Destroyers vs Night Breed(Max Thrasher, and Glen Osbourne)
Tod Gordon comes out to show the crowd the belts, and they are nice. The Super Destroyers are huge, and dressed in black tights, and an executioner style mask.
Jim Mullinaux is the ref here. He would go on to be the Earl Hebner of ECW referees.
Man the Destroyers are huge. One of them is at least 6' 7", 280. Night breed look like a pretty wierd team. One guy has red long hair, and a fat gut, and he squares off with the biggest of the Destroyers in a test of strength to open the match.
This is pretty bad, and really sloppy. one of the Night Breed has Ultimate Warrior style makeup on(that's two!). He kind of looks like El Puerto Ricano, but with Warrior makeup on.
Super Destroyers are dominating, but Night Breed isn't doing a very good job of convincing me that they are.
This is terrible. Oh wow, Warrior Ricano has a massive bald spot on his head, with long, long hair all around it. Nice.
Oh, man big guy off the top rope, and its a botch. He nearly falls out of the ring after landing. This is so bad, that it is almost funny, but not quite. It's just mainly bad. Ok it is terrible. I'm ready to change the channel. Make sure you avoid this one.
Continued domination from The Super Destroyers on the Warrior guy.
Warrior guy's partner looks like Sheamus with long hair after about 20 years of donuts, and beer.
Warrior guy just can't make the tag to fat sheamus, and this is still going on.
OH WAIT!! Fat Sheamus gets the tag, and cleans house!
"Man Alive!" says the announcer,(who sounds like Don "CYrus" Callis) as the big man goes back up top. One of the Destroyers botches another dive, and overjumps his target, landing on Warrior guy with his back. Super Destroyers get the win for the ECW Tag belts. Unbelievable.
Real bad match here, and went way too long. Terrible teams, terrible wrestling. I give it a 1 for at least making me laugh a few times, but man they Should have left this one off of the tape.
Jimmy Snuka vs Johnny Hotbody
Snuka had just left the WWF in march of this year, and was the biggest star that the ECW had at the time. He was easily their main draw.
The bar is actually a pretty cool atmoshere here. I'm a sucker for a unique atmosphere. I like the old school Philadelphia Eagles flag hanging on the wall in the background. They had a real good team back in 1992 with Randal Cunningham, and Reggie White. Reggie has said a few times that the Eagles should have won a few Super Bowls during his time with the team.
Announcer says that this is a rematch. He says that Snuka was the original champion, and that Hotbody took the title from him.
Hotbody has a wierd Mohawk/Mullet hybrid, sunglasses, and a pink Ric Flair style robe, with the ECW World Title around his waist. Hotbody looks like a great heel.
Oh man, you have to see this haircut! +1
The ring announcer calls Snuka "The Phenom".
Snuka is jakked up, and has an afro(with his tiger stripe caveman outfit). Excellent.
This is actually a good heel/face matchup believe it or not, as Hotbody is drawing some nice heat from the crowd, and everybody is treating Snuka like a legend.
Snuka looks aged, but his is in great shape here. Both of them work the crowd for a few minutes in the ring with some stalling.
And more stalling. Lets get it going!
Snuka has the crowd in his hands, and a noticable size advantage. Oh man, now Hotbody is leaving.
Tod Gordon stops him in the isle, and sends him back to the ring after an argument. Gordon gets on the ring, and starts a count with the crowd for Johnny to get back into the ring. 5 solid minutes of stalling here now.
Hotbody challenges for a test of strength, then backs away.
Crowd starts chanting "Boring" as Snuka sits down on the top rope.
Test of strength again. Hotbody switches hands, and finally initiates a match. Snuka no sells as Johnny slams him from corner to corner. Hotbody flees the ring.
Another exchange, then Snuka nails him with a super kick. Hotbody back outside. Hotbody complains to the ref, and stalls some more. Johnny gets a headlock on Snuka. Hotbody gets the upper hand, distracts the ref, and his manager works Snuka over.
Hotbody with the legscissors on Snuka. Hotbody with a chop off of the top, and Snuka no sells again as Hotbody acts like his hand is broken. Hotbody continues to dominate the match with his manager interfering. You can hear some kids screaming as Hotbody's manager attacks Snuka with the ref distracted. They are screaming bloody murder "NO!".
Hotbody again with the legscissors hold on Snuka on the mat. Snuka starts to spread Hotbody's legs apart, and this looks real awkward now. Snuka finally starts to gain momentum with some leglock on Hotbody.
Hotbody just continues to dominate Snuka in a boring "Rest Hold" festival. Snuka finally gets some chops in, and the small crowd in still into the boring match. Snuka starts to get the upper hand, and finally gets his hands on the manager. Snuka gives him a headbutt. Both of them exchange near falls, until Snuka gives Johnny two consecutive backbreakers, and then points to the sky.
Snuka does a nice splash, and gets the pin for his second ECW World Title after 20:00.
Not a real bad match, but it was pretty bad. Mostly stalling, and rest holds with Johnny Hotbody dominating until the final second when Snuka gets a double backbreaker, and a splash for the win. Two very interesting characters in a very interesting matchup, but at this point there just wasn't much Snuka could do. Hotbody was a good heel, but he couldn't really wrestle. Not here anyway.
Some nice surprises, and a cool atmosphere don't make up for the crappy wrestling matches. Only a very small handfull of entertaining moments, and the rest is terrible.
The thing that stands out on this tape is that there are a few people here that would go on to stay with the ECW for a long time. One interesting fact about Nunzio/Guido(James Muritato) is that he was on every single ECW PPV(the first two in dark matches). I was surprised to see him here in the oldest ECW event that I have been able to find. I realized that Guido was with the ECW from day 1, all the way up until the doors closed almost a decade later.
He should have gotten a decent push in the late days instead of guys like Justin Credible, and Steve Corino. I always thought they could have done more with Guido, and the FBI than what they did. Especially towards the end(2000/2001).
He looked pretty good in his match on that tape, while it lasted.