This episode of ECW TV was filmed just 2 days after the WWF King of the Ring PPV. I've never seen this perticular episode, so I'm not real sure what/who to expect. I do know there is an appearance by Road Warrior Hawk, so I'm pretty excited to see what kind of show this is.
Eddie Gilbert was still the booker, but by this time he had brought up Paul Heyman as his assistant booker. Tod Gordon was the owner, and really kind of kept a cap on Gilbert's booking. Most of Gilbert's ideas were being filtered through Gordon, who had Paul Heyman in his ear behind the scenes. All of this was going down as Paul was steadily trying to work his way up to have some creative say in the ECW. Gilbert and Paul Heyman's relationship had fallen apart by this time.
Something else that was going on behind the scenes at this time was Paul Heyman's relationship with Jim Crocket. Heyman was set to be the booker for Crocket's promotion that never came to be(the reason why he was playing an apprentice role to Gilbert in the ECW's booking). When the two men finally realized that Crocket's promotion would never get up off the ground, Heyman started to make moves behind the scenes in ECW that would secure his future as head booker. Heyman negotiated with Crocket to get the ECW a membership in the NWA. These moves(and the rising tension between Gilbert and Heyman, whom Gordon had begun to side with) would eventually drive Eddie Gilbert out of the ECW.
So this is the last ECW show with Eddie Gilbert's booking that we are going to look at. Lets see how it compares to what else was going on at this time, and how it compares to the older ECW with Gordon at the helm(someone who didn't know anything about booking Pro Wrestling).
Here is our opening with the same old announcers from the earlier ECW shows, Jay Sulli, and Stevie Wonderfull(total goon). They give us a rundown of tonights card, and tell us that Hawk gets a tv title shot against Jimmy Snuka.
Road Warrior Hawk walks into the picture, and all the kids in attendance swarm him. Funny shot as the camera man shoves them out of the shot!
Hawk cuts a very crappy promo, and he looks like he may be screwed up on drugs here.
The announcers also announce that Terry Funk is on the card, so this should be pretty good.
Oh man, here is a pre recorded promo with Jimmy Snuka, and his manager....Paul E. Dangerously(Paul Heyman).
Paul E. shows them how to cut a promo! Paul cuts a pretty entertaining promo as Snuka's heel manager. Snuka looks to be in very good shape here. Much better than the last show we seen him in. Paul and Snuka make their way to the ring, and Paul has a mullet from HELL!
Here we go with our opening match
ECW TV Championship
Jimmy Snuka(with Paul E. Dangerously) vs Road Warrior Hawk
Hawk has the standard Road Warriors attire on, shoulder pads and all.
Snuka is ripped! Hawk is pretty jacked up here as well, both guys are in excellent shape. They tie up in the middle, and Hawk shoves Snuka through the ropes and out of the ring.
Snuka is just in excellent shape here, even better than his 91/92 WWF run. They tie up again, and Snuka breaks. Headlock by Snuka, Hawk pushes him into the ropes, and they collide in the middle for a brief staredown. Hawk throws Snuka out of the ring over the top rope. Both men stall a bit as Snuka is on the outside talking with Heyman. Snuka gets back in, and Hawk challenges for a test of strengh. They tie up after a delay. Hawk powers Snuka down to his knees, but he starts to rally himself back up to his feet very slowly. Hawk kicks him in the gut to send him back down.
Heyman stops the ringside photographer from taking pictures while Snuka is down on his knees. Paul was such a great manager back in his "Paul E. Dangerously" heel days.
Snuka moves out of the way of a shoulder ram from Hawk, and sends him crashing into the post, and to the outside. Heyman distracts the ref, and Snuka gives Hawk a chairshot to his back.
Heyman guides the photographer over to take a shot of Snuka beating on Hawk, nice.
Snuka gets Hawk back in the ring, and works him over in the corner. Hawk does a pretty good job of selling me on the fact that Snuka is kicking his ass right now.
Hawk begins to no sell Snuka's shots. Punches himself in the face a few times, and then blows up on Snuka. Gives Snuka a neckbreaker, and then a flying clothesline off the top. Hawk goes for the pin, and Paul smashes him on the back with his cell phone. Hawk rises to his feet, and picks Heyman up by the throat. All of a sudden the rest of Paul's heel faction comes out(Hot Stuff International). Eddie Gilbert gets taken out by Hawk, then Don Moracco & The Dark Patriot(Eddie's brother Doug Gilbert) come out, and get double clotheslined by Hawk. Moracco attacks Hawk from behind, and gives him a piledriver. Hawk no sells, but Gilbert runs in with a chair and cracks him on the back. Hawk finally begins to act hurt. Morocco and Snuka hold Hawk up by the arms, and Eddie Gilbert throws a fireball into his face!!!
Wow, I wasn't expecting that. Hawk rolls around in agony as the face wrestlers come out to give him some help to end the segment after nearly 10:00.
Short segment that wasn't that great of a match, but seeing these two in the ring together was pretty cool. Both men looked to be in great shape. Nothing notable about the match itself, but the ending segment was pretty good. Hawk was clearly the most popular wrestler in the building, and they used him to make the top heel faction in the ECW look good. The fireball was a nice surprise too. The segment did what it was supposed to do, and that was to build up Hot Stuff International as the top, sinister heel's in the ECW.
Suicide Blondes(Chris Candido & Johnny Hotbody) vs Super Destroyers
We join our next match already in progress. First shot of the match is a shot of a man that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. Chris Candido was highly underrated. He passed away due to complications from injuries suffered in a match in TNA in 2005. I almost cried when the crowd started chanting his name at ECW One Night Stand 2005 in the match between Lance Storm vs Chris Jericho. I thought that was pretty awesome.
Candido is parnered up with Johnny Hotbody. They are taking on the Super Destroyers. The Super Destroyers had zero talent, and were just two really big guys. Hotbody & Candido have the tag belts here, and made a nice heel tag team.
Candido steals the show with a nice cross body press dive off of the top turnbuckle down onto the "Super D's" on the outside. The Destroyers chase them back in the ring with a chair. Candido does another impressive slingshot dive over the top rope down onto the Destroyers.
Hotbody takes out the ref.
Sal Bellomo walks out with a plate of cake. Chris Michaels(the third member of the Suicide Blondes, a team that worked similarly to the Freebirds) comes out as well, and this turns into a confusing brawl. Ref rings the bell for a DQ. Michaels, Candido, and Hotbody come in to attack the Super Destroyers, and Sal Bellomo. The D's, and Bellomo give the Suicide Blondes simultaneous atomic drops in the ring to clear them out.
Sal calls out Tod Gordon. Sal asks to be partnered up with the Super D's in a 6 man tag match against the Suicide Blondes at the next ECW event. Tod plugs the next show, and asks the crowd if they want to see the match. Tod sets the match.
Chris Candido was the highlight of this segment. He was clearly the most talented person in the ring, and he did a couple of pretty nice aerial dives in the match. The ending was really goofy, and was all put together to set up the next match in the fued. Couldn't really give this much of a rating because it wasn't shown in it's entirety, but you could tell there was something special about the young Candido here.
Eddie Gilbert cuts a heel promo talking trash about Terry Funk. Gilbert defenitely had some great mic skills, and cuts a great promo here telling everyone that after he defeats Funk, everyone is going to have to bow down to the real king of Philadelphia.
Texas Chain Match
Eddie "Hot Stuff" Gilbert vs Herve' Renesto
Gilbert comes out with Paul Heyman wearing a big king's crown. It was obvious that Gilbert was trying build up the ECW as the "Memphis of the North" with himself as the "King of Philadelphia", similar to Jerry Lawler's epic heel days in the southern territory.
Heyman takes the microphone from Bob Artese, and announces Gilbert as "The King of Philadelphia". Gilbert takes a bow.
Renesto is the typical jobber here. Really frail, skinny guy. Both men are tied together at the wrist with a chain. The announcer says that the the rules are very similar to a leather strap match.
Gilbert just works this guy over with the chain around his neck, and repeated clotheslines and kicks while he is down. Gilbert touches all 4 corners for the win after about 3 minutes.
After the match Gilbert screams for Terry Funk. Gilbert then grabs the jobber by the face, and forces him to tell everyone who the "King of Philadelphia" is.
Nothing but a squash match here. Not a very good one either. It did what it was supposed to do, which was build up the chain match between Gilbert vs Funk, and that was about it. Gilbert had skills on the mic, and came off as a great heel, so I gave it a 2.
Terry Funk cuts a promo after the match, and he looks surprisingly young. Full head of hair, and no grey to be found yet. He cuts the promo without a shirt on, and a chain draped over his shoulders.
Funk just looks like a tough as nails ole Texas dude that you serously would not want to get into a real fight with.
Funk cuts a down to earth promo about his Texas Chain Match Massacre vs Eddie Gilbert at the next show. Funk says that he plans on being on top of Philly for a long time because they are different than other wrestling fans around the country.
Ya'll are something near and dear to my heart. You fans out there. Because what you are, is you are hardcore fans. Because Wrestling here in Philly is different. You've seen it all. You've seen the best, and you've seen the worst of it, and now your going to have the chance to see the most violent of wrestling matches in myself vs Eddie Gilbert in a Texas Chain Match.
The show then cuts to a video package highlighting the fued between the Sandman vs The Rockin Rebel. The announcer says that unless you have been watching reruns of "Who's The Boss" instead of ECW on Sports Channel Philadelphia, than you already know about these two mens history. The clip takes us through their long running fued with clips of the Rebel breaking the Sandman's surfboard over his head.
Rockin Rebel cuts a promo building up his match against the Sandman. Rebel's valet Tigra is also set to take on the Sandman's valet Peaches in a catfight(only way to win is to strip your opponent naked). Sandman and Peaches answer with a promo of their own. Sandman is dressed in his surfing wetsuit.
Paul Heyman cuts a promo with the Dark Patriot(Doug Gilbert). Heyman gets pretty juicy telling Funk what the Patriot is going to do to him.
The Dark Patriot(with Paul E. Dangerously) vs Terry Funk
Funk comes out, and the crowd loves him. He is dressed in his old school cowboy gear on his way to the ring.
Funk lights up the Patriot's chest with a vicious chop to the chest. Funk goes after Paul, and the crowd goes wild. Patriot attacks Funk from behind, and rams him into the ringside timekeepers table. Patriot pulls out a wire clotheshanger out of the back of Paul's pants. Paul distracts the ref as the Patriot strangles Funk with the clothesline. Patriot knocks Funk out of the ring, and he bumps the concrete head first. Paul chokes at Funk as the Patriot distracts the ref in the ring.
Patriot slams Funk into the guardrail, and gives him some nasty chops on the chest. Patriot rolls Funk in the ring for a piledriver. Patriot throws Funk back outside, and Paul attacks Funk with his cell phone. Funk gets back in the ring, and nails the Patriot with a series of headbutts. The Patriot goes down, and Funk acts like he is out on his feet right now with double vision. I've always loved the way he would stumble around the ring like this.
Funk stumbles over to the ref, and takes a wild swing at him like he can't see what is going on. Pretty funny stuff.
Funk gives Patriot his trademark punching combo, and then throws him to the outside. The Patriot goes over the guardrail. The action goes back into the ring. Funk gives the Patriot 2 DDT's, and then Paul jumps into the ring. Funk stands up, and Paul stops dead in his tracks. Funk backs him into a corner, and follows him to the outside.
Funk gets back in the ring, and gives the Patriot another DDT. Funk starts to tear away at the Patriot's mask, and then Eddie Gilbert runs in with a chair shot to Funk. Funk and Gilbert brawl away at each other as we run out of time.
Funk did some decent work here that made it at least fairly entertaining. The Patriot wasn't very good at all. Not much to write about, but it wasn't really bad at all. Heyman was excellent as a heel manager, and his involvement in this match helped it out a bit. Much like the rest of the show, it was just helping build up the next show where Funk would meet Gilbert in a Texas Chain Massacre Match.
Not a bad show at all compared to the previous Eastern Championship Wrestling shows I've reviewed. You can see the improvement with Gilbert in charge of booking, and in this show you can start to see some of Heyman's influence just starting to shine through. Overall there were a small handfull of cool moments(Snuka vs Hawk, Chris Candido, Funk's promo), but I would recomend passing on this show.
The whole thing was pretty much a commercial for their "Super Summer Sizzler" supercard show that was to take place within days of the airing of this episode.
We move on to the end of the Eddie Gilbert era of the ECW, and the beginning of the Paul Heyman era. With the next post I'll examine Gilbert's exit before we move on the Paul's first show as the Booker: Ultraclash 93.[/spoiler]