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Old 12-13-2012, 05:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

The End of the Eddie Gilbert Era

The interesting thing about Paul Heyman was that he was finished with Pro Wrestling before he came to ECW. After he was fired by the WCW, he landed a radio job, and considered himself done with the business. Rumor has it that Paul even turned down an offer from the WWF in early 1993 to come in as a performer. The one thing that lured him back was the oppurtunity to do something that he had always dreamed about, book the shows. Jim Crockett was on the verge of getting his own wrestling promotion off the ground(The WWN), and he contacted Paul Heyman to come in and book his shows. Heyman agreed, and decided to cut his teeth in booking alongside his good friend in the ECW, Eddie Gilbert, until the WWN was ready to launch later that year.

Eddie Gilbert brought in Heyman in early 1993 to be an on screen performer in return to show him the ropes of booking wrestling shows. Heyman worked alongside Gilbert in the ECW in 1993 as his assistant booker off screen, and as his manager in the "Hot Stuff International" heel faction on screen while awaiting the launch of Jim Crockett's WWN promotion. As the year progressed, it became apparant that the WWN was a pipe dream. As Heyman began to realize that the WWN job wasn't going to happen, he started making moves in the ECW to secure his future.

Through 1993 Paul Heyman and Eddie Gilbert began to have major disagreements about the direction of the ECW, and eventually their friendship dissolved. Paul had developed a relationship with Tod Gordon, and convinced him that he had the ideas to take ECW to the next level. Around this time Eddie Gilbert's relationship with Tod Gordon began to fall apart as well. Rumors are that Gilbert began making bold passes at Gordon's wife, and began to milk him for as much money as he could get from him.



Things got heated, and tense when Gilbert told Gordon that he was offered more money to book shows for Jim Crockett's upcoming WWN promotion. Tod Gordon gave Gilbert a raise in order to keep him from jumping, only to find out from Paul Heyman that it was all a lie, and that the WWN job was supposed to be his. This was the event that seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back. It was also around this time that Eddie Gilbert allegedly began taking credit for a lot of Paul Heyman's ideas. Upon talking with his performers, Tod Gordon would eventually find out that most of the good ideas that he was liking were coming from Heyman.

It all came to an end when Tod Gordon sent Paul Heyman to represent the ECW in a meeting with the NWA. Heyman had a good relationship with Jim Crockett, and worked a deal for the ECW to be the NWA's premier northeastern promotion. This was a decision that drove Eddie Gilbert out of the company. Gilbert had beef with Jim Crocket due to the way Jim Crocket treated him in the UWF when he purchased the promotion in 1987(when Gilbert was the head booker there). Eddie Gilbert wanted nothing to do with Crocket, or the NWA. The last time Gordon and Gilbert spoke to each other was a backstage shouting match over the issue in front of all the performers.

Eddie Gilbert would step down from his position in the ECW, and one week later he would make his final appearance at Ultraclash where he would give a farewell speach to the fans. After his speach, Gilbert made his rounds backstage shaking hands, and thanking the performers for their work. Gilbert never had any negative words to say about Paul Heyman, or Tod Gordon, even though they pretty much squeezed him out of the ECW.

Quote:
I did in fact resign from ECW when I got the information that we would be working together with Jim Crockett. The date of my resignation was September 7th, the same day I got the news about the so called merger. I really felt it wasn't in our best interest at ECW to give away any momentum we had started to someone elsewho didn't have anything to offer us in return. The actions that transpired after that date, especially on the 9/18 card, cost me the closest firendship I've ever maintained in this bussiness. I gave the speech "That no one knew about" because I was worried how my departure would be handled. I reallly just wanted to leave with my head held high.

-Eddie Gilbert
Letter to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter published in October of 1993
So you may be asking why I spent so much time on a man that was only in the picture for six months? It's simple. People like to believe that the ECW invented hardcore, extreme wrestling, but they really didn't. The style of wrestling that the ECW gets so much credit for was born in the southern territories that Eddie Gilbert was raised on. The same Memphis promotions that Paul Heyman worked his way up through in 1987. Paul also got a taste of the wild style in his days prior in the Florida wrestling scene where the blood poured on a nightly basis. ECW was really the spiritual successor to the old southern territory days of pro wrestling. The same hardcore style that was handed down from Dory Funk Jr to Eddie Graham's Florida promotion was where it all really came from. Paul Heyman just repackaged it, and put his own touches to it.

Quote:
Writers notes:

My grandpa(RIP) grew up in Florida. He used to tell me stories when I was a kid about matches that he went to see live back in the day. Matches in Florida with Terry Funk, and Dory Funk JR where they would brawl all through the arena, bleeding all over everything, and legitimately beating the shit out of each other.

He used to laugh at the WWF matches I would watch as a kid.
Anyone who knows anything about old school Memphis and Florida wrestling can see the influences are obvious. Eddie Gilbert doesn't get nearly enough credit for what he did for the ECW, and it goes beyond his six months that he spent as head booker. He competed first hand in the single match(the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl) in the Memphis territories that inspired the Japanese FMW(the place where Sabu got all of his scars). Gilbert played a major role in the way ECW grew up into the Extreme Championship Wrestling that it became, and he also played a major role in the evolution of the "Hardcore" style of wrestling.

Eddie Gilbert passed away on February 18th, 1995. He was 33 years old.



Quote:
Eddie Gilbert was my brother.

-Tod Gordon
NWA 50th anniversary banquet, 1998
Here are the ECW results for the rest of Gilbert's tenure as booker of the ECW courtesy of Obsessed With Wrestling.com:

Quote:
June 19, 1993--Super Summer Sizzler in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Herve Rinestro vs Don E. Allen ended in a NO CONTEST, Jimmy Snuka b J.T. Smith to retain the ECW Television title, Tony Stetson b Larry Winters in a "First Blood" match, Peaches b Tigra, Jimmy Snuka b Tommy Cairo to retain the Television title, Rockin' Rebel b Sandman in a "Philadelphia Street Fight", Dick Murdoch b Dark Patriot II, Sal Bellomo & Stevie Wonderful & Super Destroyer #1 b Johnny Hotbody & Chris Michaels & Hunter Q. Robbins III, Eddie Gilbert b Terry Funk in a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" match (aka Chain Match)..


June 22, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Don Muraco b Tommy Cairo to retain ECW Heavyweight Title(Cairo subed for Hawk who wasn't there), The Dark Patriot b J.T. Smith by Countout(Smith gets thrown off 20 foot balcony and Dark Patriot jumps off 20 foot balcony), The Sandman & Larry Winters defeat Rockin' Rebel & Tony Stetson, The Suicide Blondes vs The Super Destroyers & Sal Bellomo went to a No Contest(Big brawl involving everyone breaks out)


July 13, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Ivan & Vladimir Koloff b Harve Renesto & Glen Osbourne, "King of Philadelphia" Eddie Gilbert visits Delaware Avenue, Tony Stetson vs Larry Winters went to a NO CONTEST, Tommy Cairo b Jimmy Snuka via reverse decision (Terry Funk comes out and tells ref Muraco interfered), Sal Bellomo b Sir Richard Michaels w/Hunter Q. Robins,III (Brawl between Suicide Blondes & Super Destroyers break out, Bellomo breaks Candido's arm)


July 20, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Tod Gordon says anybody that comes out to the ring thats not suppose to be there will be suspended, Suicide Blondes (Michaels & Hotbody) b The Super Destroyers to win ECW Tag Titles (If Suicide Blondes would of lost they would of left ECW forever), ECW Heavyweight Title Contention Match: Larry Winters b "Rockin Rebel w/Tony Stetson, Terry Funk vs Jimmy Snuka went to a NO CONTEST (Brawl involving everyone breaks out, Tod Gordon gets knocked out)


July 27, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Press Conference with ECW board about brawl last week, Gordon says he'll hand out fines and suspension, Gordon strips Suicide Blondes of Tag Titles, Gilbert interupts conference wanting to know who his opponent at UltraClash 1 is, Terry Funk b The Canadian Wolfman (Hotstuff International tries to jump Terry but he goes to the back and gets Road Warrior Hawk), The Sandman w/Miss Peaches b Sir Jonathan Hotbody (Rockin' Rebel and Tigra show up and rip Peaches clothes off), Eddie Gilbert b Glen Osbourne (After the match Gilbert has a confrontation witn Ron Jaworski)


August 3, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: The Dark Patriot & Eddie Gilbert w/ Paul E. Dangerously b Glen Osbourne & J.T. Smith, Footage from Japan's W*ING, Jimmy Snuka b Tommy Cairo to retain ECW TV Title (Taped from Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular)


August 17, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Eddie Gilbert finds someone on the street to host the show better than Jay Sulli, Tag Title Tourny Round 1: Ivan & Vladimir Koloff b The Headhunter to advance, Don Muraco b Metal Maniac to retain ECW Heavyweight Title, Tag Title Tourny Round 1: Sal Bellomo & Sandman b Tony Stetson & Sir Richard Michaels to advance, Tod Gordon announces matches for UltraClash 1 but Stan Hansen comes out and challenges Jimmy Snuka, Stan Hansen b Jimmy Snuka via DQ


August 24, 1993--ECW Television in Phildelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Tag Title Tourny Round 1: Eddie Gilbert & Dark Patriot b J.T. Smith & Tommy Cairo via reverse decision(Sherri Martel shows up and chases Freddie Gilbert to the back), Shane Douglas debuts and joins Hotstuff International and has an open challenge with $10,000 on the line, Shane Douglas b Don E. Allen & Harve Renesto, Tag Title Tourny Round 1: The Super Destroyers b Suicide Blondes(Suicide Blondes forfeit, Hunter Q. Robins, III offers $25,000 to the Super Destroyers to back to him, SDs said no), Terry Funk b The Canadian Wolfman, Tito Santana b Don Muraco to win ECW Heavyweight Title


August 31, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Tag Title Tourny Round 2: Sandman & Sal Bellomo b Ivan & Vladimir Koloff to advance, Tod Gordon announces the participants for the Mixed Gender Battle Royal, Freddie Gilbert tries to give Sherri Martel a rose but Angel pulls him to the back, Tag Title Tourny Round 2: Eddie Gilbert & The Dark Patriot b The Super Destroyers to advance,(SD #2 turns on SD #1 with help from Hunter Q. Robins, III), The Headhunters vs Miguelito Perez & Mr. Danger went to a NO CONTEST, Shane Douglas & Don Muraco vs Tito Santana & Stan Hansen went to a NO CONTEST(After the match Eddie Gilbert hit The Dark Patriot with a fireball instead of Stan Hansen.)


September 7, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Super Destroyers & Sal Bellomo vs Headhunters & Freddy Krueger was a Double DQ(SD #2 attacks SD #1), Sir Richard Michaels, Tony Stetson, Super Destroyer #2 & Hunter Q. Robins, III attack Sal Bellomo & Sherri Martel(Sir Richard Michaels whips Bellomo with a leather strap, J.T. Smith vs Mr. Motagi went to a Time Limit Draw(Motagi retains W*ING Junior Heavyweight Title, After the match Dark Patriot & Shane Douglas attack J.T. Smith but Mr. Motagi makes the save), Tag Team Title Tourny Finals: Eddie Gilbert & The Dark Patriot b Sandman & Sal Bellomo to win the ECW Tag Team Titles


September 14, 1993--ECW Television in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Tony Stetson b Tommy Cairo to win Pennsylvania State Title, Review of past couple shows
Keep in mind when you are reading these results that Tod Gordon filtered many of his booking decisions(with Paul Heyman in his ear), and limited his roster to mostly cheap locals. After Gilbert's resignation, Paul Heyman was given total, and complete control almost immediately. Tod Gordon gave Heyman the keys, and stepped back out of his way.

Our next show is the first show under Heyman's helm, and the first under the affiliation of Jim Crockett's NWA. It was also the last show that Eddie Gilbert appeared in for the ECW. Gilbert sat at a merchandise booth signing autographs for the fans as this show was going on.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
Learning to break kayfabe
 
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Eastern Championship Wrestling
Ultraclash

September 18th 1993
ECW Arena
Philadelphia, PA
Attendance: 1,131
Gate: $16,147


Alright, so this show is a historical one for ECW because it was a transition from Eddie Gilbert to Paul Heyman as the head booker. Paul Heyman was supposed to be the head booker for Jim Crockett's promotion, but was brought into the ECW by Eddie Gilbert until Crockett could get his fed off the ground. Heyman was Gilbert's assistant booker, and a performer in Gilbert's Hot Stuff International heel faction. Through the year in 1993 it was becoming apparent that Crockett's promotion wasn't going to happen, and as it did, Heyman started making moves in the ECW to secure his future. Eddie Gilbert's relationship with Heyman, and ECW owner Todd Gordon soured by the fall of 1993 due to various reasons. The end came when Jim Crockett made a deal with Todd Gordon to make the ECW the NWA's premier northeastern territory. Paul Heyman was the middle man in the deal, and this deal ultimately ended up running Eddie Gilbert out of the ECW. Gilbert had heat with Jim Crockett for the way Crockett handled the UWF, which was being booked by Gilbert at the time of the purchase by Crockett.

Eddie Gilbert refused to be a part of the NWA with the ECW, and resigned as the head booker for Gordon's Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gordon handed to keys over to Paul Heyman who came up alongside Gilbert in the memphis, and florida promotions of the late 80's. The very promotions that the Eastern Championship Wrestling shows were heavily influenced by, and would continue to resemble under Heyman's booking at first. Eddie Gilbert did make one final appearance at this show, and sat at a merchandise booth signing autographs during the event.

So lets get down to Ultraclash. Lets take a look at Heyman's first show as the ringmaster of the circus that was the ECW. It should also be noted that this was the very first show with the ECW being affiliated with the NWA contrary to popular belief.

We start off with a different intro than the one from the older shows. Still the old school blue Eastern Championship Wrestling graphic, but this intro shows some pretty ruanchy stuff that would be more expected of the Extreme than the Eastern. A clip of someone being knocked off of the 20' balcony area of an arena, followed by a woman being restrained with her hands behind her back while someone violently rips her shirt off, exposing her bra. Then it cuts to clips of a young Shane Douglas, and some vintage Paul E. Dangerously, and Terry Funk footage that is just too classic. Great stuff.

Jason Night & Ian Rotten vs The Public Enemy(Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)

Right off the bat we open the show with some new, original characters that were Heyman originals. The Public Enemy, and the Ian Rotten characters were a glimpse of the direction that Heyman wanted to take the ECW, and he let everyone see it right from the start of his very first show.

Public Enemy take it to Rotten and Knight right from the start. Joey Styles is our commentator, and he is flying solo for this one. Ian Rotten goes outside the ring, and appears to be blading himself. Flyboy Rocco Rock stuns the crowd with a nice somersault over the top rope down onto Rotten. Rock later hits a moonsault off of the second rope onto Jason. Jason has apparently cut himself, but he isn't bleeding much.

Rock and Grunge taunt the crowd as the heels here, and they dominate Rotten and Jason here. Rock nails Rotten with a nice moonsault off the top rope, and the PE pick up a nice win after about 5 minutes.

4/10

Squash match with the PE debuting, and looking strong with some nice aerial offense from Rocco Rock. They just pummeled Ian and Jason here, and busted both of them open for a little bit of color. The Public Enemy looked clean, and compared to the other majority of tag teams in the fall of 1993 in WWF and WCW they were defenitely a good looking tag team for their first match.

Tony Stetson vs Tommy Cairo

The ECW Arena looks strange compared to the way I'm used to seeing it in later ECW events. It almost doesn't even look like the same place in this event.

Both of these guys had been around since the Todd Gordon early days of ECW at this point, and were even in ECW before Eddie Gilbert came along. Both of them were Philadelphia locals, and probobly performed for little to no money.

Pretty basic, generic wrestling match at the start. Nothing spectacular, but they seem to be working together pretty well. Joey Styles commentary isn't very good here. He rambles on a lot, and gets pretty annoying. To the point where you want to turn the volume down. A few minutes in, and we have a lot of stalling from both men. Very little action.

When these guys do finally exchange it reminds me of some basic 1950's pro wrestling. Really basic moves, and a really slow pace. Cairo manages to land some impressive belly to belly suplexes. Stetson goes back to the outside, and we have more stalling. Not much to write about in the later minutes. Legendary ECW fan "Straw Hat Guy" is seen in the front row, where he could be found for just about every ECW show after this. John Finnegan is the ref, and would stay with the company until the end.

Stetson gets his nose bloodied somewhere in there. Tony Stetson's manager(Hunter Q. Robinson, a Clarence Mason lookalike) gets up on the apron to distract the referee, and Stetson nails Cairo with his belt for the pin around 9:00 into the match.

4/10

Pretty boring, with quite a bit of stalling to stretch it out for time. Nothing impressive here at all.

Mask vs Mask match
Super Destroyer #1 vs Super Destroyer #2


These two guys are completely worthless from what I've seen so far. Two really big guys that were really slow, and sloppy in the ring as a tag team. This little fued here is the end of their careers in Pro Wrestling. They were regulars in the pre Eddie Gilbert ECW, and I'm assuming they were just a few more cheap local Philly guys to fill up the card for little to no money.

Both of them are in all black with a plain black mask on. They both look to be over 300 pounds to me. They put on a sloppy as hell, slow match that almost puts me to sleep. These guys are just terrible, and the crowd is not into the match at all. One of the guys(hard to tell them apart) jumps up mid air, and crashes down across the other guy with his back in a nasty looking senton splash that looked like it seriously hurt both men.

After the match the winning Super Destroyer unmasks the losing Destroyer, and the Dark Patriot(another masked man) comes running in the ring, and attacks the winner with a chair.

1/10

Terrible, and sloppy. I would be embarrased if anyone ever caught me watching wrestling like this, but there is a good reason why I'm doing it. It's interesting to see how far the ECW would evolve with Paul Heyman after this show.

JT Smith comes out for some reason to make the save. The Dark Patriot heads up the scaffold set up over the ring, and Smith follows him up. Here we go with our next match! This is traditional Heyman booking with the way we flow from the chaos of the ending of one match right into the next match.

Scaffold Match
The Dark Patriot vs J.T. Smith


These two guys meet out in the center of the scaffold over the ring, and the Patriot throws some sort of powder into JT Smith's Eyes. The Patriot nails a DDT on the scaffold, and tries to push JT Smith off. One of Smith's legs dangles over, but he manages to get back onto the scaffold. The Patriot rams Smith's head into one of the hanging ventilation pipes, and Smith goes down. The Patriot then pulls the drawstring out of his pants, and proceeds to choke Smith with it. Smith teases another fall with his body hanging over the edge of the scaffold. Smith gets the string, and chokes The Patriot with it.

One cool spot happens when The Dark Patriot pulls JT Smith up onto the vent pipe over the scaffold, and drops him down to his face on the scaffold. Pretty stiff bump down onto an unforgiving steel scaffold. This scaffold looks to be between 16-18 feet over the ring to me. After a bit of stalling the Patriot finally throws JT Smith over the edge. Smith lands awkwardly on his knee to give the Dark Patriot the win after about 10 minutes. The Patriot teases to jump down on to Smith, and the crowd ags him on, but he chickens out, and climbs down. The Patriot continues to attack JT SMith, and the brawl goes into the crowd. They clear out several rows of chairs, and proceed to brawl through the crowd. Patriot picks up a table, and drops it down on Smith's back. They brawl from one corner of the arena to another, and eventually back to the ringside area.

The Patriot continues to hammer on Smith with chairs before finally making his exit.

5/10

Not bad, but not great. I've seen much worse scaffold matches in my lifetime, but scaffold matches were never really very good. The brawl through the crowd would have made more sense before they went up the scaffold. The brawling atop the scaffold was sloppy, and awkward, but it had some cool moments, and Smith's fall was pretty nasty.

Bunkhouse Match
Terry Funk & Stan Hansen vs Kevin Sullivan & Abdullah the Butcher


You want to talk about two legitimately tough pro wrestlers, and you have to mention Funk and Hanson. The Butcher and Sullivan come out, and this looks like it is going to be a great old school brawl.

Terry Funk throws Hanson a chair to start things off, and they clear the ring together. After a bit of a delay, Funk cracks Sullivan with a few weak chair shots, and it's on. We have a melee. Its Funk vs Sullivan, and Abdullah vs Hansen on the outside of the ring in a wild brawl. 5 minutes in and Funk is already chasing Sullivan up the scaffold. They dont stay up there long before climbing back down.

Its a pretty chaotic brawl, and everything looks sloppy, but these guys made it look sloppy in a good way. Wild brawls are supposed to look sloppy.

It doesn't take long though, and these guys all get pretty fatigued. Then it gets sloppy in a bad way. None of these guys were in any kind of cardiovascular shape.

Kevin Sullivan pulls out a damn Hammer! Abdullah pulls out some sort of knife, and things get boody. Sullivan blasts Funk with the hammer, and the crowd starts to get really into the match. All of a sudden Eddie Gilbert comes running into the match just as Funk goes to put Sullivan into the figure four leglock. Gilbert hits Funk with a chair to give Funk and Hansen the win via DQ after around 12 minutes. the Dark Patior comes out, and begins fighting with Hansen. Hansen chases the Patriot around the ring. Eddie Gilbert brawls with Funk back to the entrance area. Hansen and Funk retreat, and Gilbert makes his way back to the ring.

Back into the ring Sullivan turns on Abdullah, and they begin brawling with knives and hammers. Hansen and Funk come back, and things just get wild. This is a crazy brawl. Blood everywhere. Sullivan and Abdullah brawl through the crowd with blood all over each other. Joey Styles begins pleading for someone to call 9-1-1. The men all continue to brawl near the entrance area, and eventually to the backstage area finally ending it.

6/10

This was just an old school brawl. This was the kind of wrestling that was born in the Florida territories that Kevin Sullivan came from(and worked with both Eddie Gilbert, and Paul Heyman). It was sloppy as hell, but not all of it was necessarily in a bad way. Nothing really notable happened, but it was a very interesting matchup that resulted in a brawl that was almost a little fun. At the end of the day though it was really kind of confusing, and pointless. This was Eddie Gilbert's final appearance in the ECW.

Battle Royal

Here we go with an intergender battle royal. Not really looking forward to this. Sherri Martel, Longtime jobber Don E. Allen, Tigress(hot!), and the former announcer, Jay Sulli are the participants.

This is just a terrible, goofy comedy act waste of time. One of the women's tits almost falls out of her shirt a few times, but other than that this was totally pointless. Sherri Martel eliminates herself to chase after some guy for some reason, and Tigress gets the win after not doing anything, and sitting on the top turnbuckle watching everyone eliminate themselves.

0/10

Awfull waste of time.


Sal Bellomo vs Richard Michaels


Bellomo comes out in a spartan outfit with an empty trashbag in his hands for some reason. Bellomo gets on the mic, and Sherri Martel comes out. Sherri gets in Sal's corner for the match. Sal starts getting toys out of his trashbag, and throwing them to the fans. They finally start the match, and Sal does some pretty good selling with his facial expressions. Sal claws at Michaels face while making some narly faces, and then proceeds to bite him on the face!

Another match that stays pretty boring, and gets stretched out for way too long. Bellomo gets the win after a splash around 8 minutes in.

2/10

I'll give Sal some credit for his great selling at times, but this match was as lame as it gets really. Traditional Heel/Face match with Michaels' manager(Hunter Q Robinson) cheating on his behalf to help him gain the upper hand. Bellomo gets beat down after the match, and Sherri checks on him to see if he is ok.

ECW World Heavyweight Championship
Shane Douglas vs The Sandman


This is way before the drunk barroom brawling Sandman that we all know and love, this is the surfer dude Sandman in his surfing wetsuit. Shane is accompanied to the ring by Paul E. Dangerously.

Paul has his phone, and the crowd starts chanting "Pittsburgh Sucks!" at Shane.

This causes Shane and Paul to act like they are leaving. Go home folks, no match tonight, sorry.

They go to the back, and don't return until the referee threatens to strip Douglas of the title. Douglas sprints back to the ring, and the match is on.

They get it started fast and furious. Seeing the Sandman act like this type of face is just hilarious. Douglas looks much smaller than he did when he was tag champ in the WCW alongside Rick Steamboat. Douglas lost a lot of his mass when he suffered a few injuries prior to his release from the WCW in 1993, and he never really gained it back until after his Dean Douglas days in 1996.

The pace of the match, and the action is on another level compared to the previous matches on this card. Douglas is clearly on another level of wrestling than the Sandman at this point. The two struggle to gain any chemistry early on largely in part because of the Sandman being a few steps behind Douglas.

The action stalls with a few restholds. Sandman then sends Douglas into the corner post, and then to the outside to a table that doesn't break. The referee gets taken out, and the Sandman has Douglas beat. Heyman gets in the ring, and the Sandman gets his hands around his throat, but Dougals cracks him from behind. Douglas covers him, but Sandman kicks out. Sandman goes up top for a cross body press, but Douglas rolls him through for a pin after nearly 10 minutes.

5/10

Defenitely the best actual wrestling match on the card, but that is not saying much at all at this point in the show. Douglas just didn't have good chemistry with Sandman, and they never really managed to get anything going. Nothing really great about this match, but nothing really bad.

Baseball Bat Match
The Headhunters vs Miguelito Perez & Crash the Terminator


This is a wierd main event. It starts out with a countdown to 10. When the countdown ended, the competitors raced into the ring to get a baseball bat that was laying on the center of the mat. The Cuban team got the bat first, and began to brawl with the Headhunters.

This just turns into a sloppy brawl with weak chair/baseball bat shots.

Oh SHIT! Crash the Terminator ends up brawling with one of the Headhunters completely through a wall in the Arena! Pretty cool with the shot of the big massive hole in the wall, and the metal studs hanging all bent up.

I've never really seen much of any of these guys. I've seen the Headhunters in a few FMW matches, and another ECW match later after this event, but I've never seen either of these Cuban Wrestlers. The brawl continues, and eveybody gets busted open bleeding.

The brawl eventaully makes it's way up the scaffold. One of the Headhunters gets kicked, and teases a fall, but only falls down racking himself on one of the ladder bars of the scaffold. Crash misses a moonsault, and the Headhunters take the momentum.

Holy SHit! One of the Headhunters performs a moonsault onto Crash from the top rope! Thats the biggest man I've ever seen do a moonsault. Headhunters get the win after about 10 minutes. The brawl continues after the match.

3/10

Pretty shitty main event. Some interesting spots like the guys going through the wall(which wasn't actually shown, the camera missed it), and the 350lb moonsault don't make up for the sloppiness of the match. Just a pointless brawl with blood everywhere.

Overall Event Rating: 4/10

As a whole this was terrible. Very boring. I do not recommend tracking this down. This was Paul's first show, and that was really the only thing it had going for it. The only reason I took the time to review it was to take a look at what it all came from, because from here, it just continued to get better. None of the things that made the ECW great in later days are really anywhere to be found in this event. Joey Styles commentary is unbearably annoying, and most of the matches are quite boring.

We got a glimpse of the future direction with the Public Enemy in a decent squash match, but everything else like the wild bloody brawls, all of that was going on in ECW when Eddie Gilbert was booking the shows. Heyman didn't change much at first. He didn't invent hardcore like the wild chaotic matches like the ones on this tape. Many of these matches resemble the type of matches that went on in the Memphis/Florida territories, and even the Tri States Wrestling Alliance that proceeded the ECW in Philly.

One thing to note was that Paul taking over the shows meant that we were seeing a lot of these faces on this card for the last time. Guys like the Super Destroyers, Tony Stetson, Tommy Cairo, and Sal Bellomo were cheap local Philly talent that could fill a card out with little to no money, but Heyman knew that the ECW was going to remain a small fry indy promotion if they continued to use that kind of talent. Heyman had big plans for the ECW, and this show was the beginning of them.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Paul Heyman's Eastern Championship Wrestling, and the state of Pro Wrestling in 1993

So in September after the Ultraclash show, ECW was on their way up. Paul Heyman took over the booking, and it was a seamless transition due to Heyman's role as Eddie Gilbert's assistant booker throughout his tenure at the helm. With the exception of the debut of a few new characters that were more in tune with what was going on in pop culture at the time(Public Enemy, Ian Rotten), The Ultraclash show looked a lot like an Eddie Gilbert show. The ECW would continue to resemble Gilbert's Memphis style of booking under Heyman for the rest of 1993, but with a darker, more up to date spin on the tried and true raunchy, bloody, violent style of wrestling shows handed down from the Memphis/Florida territories that Gilbert(and Heyman) were raised on.

Ultraclash was a finacial success for Tod Gordon's ECW, and things looked to be heading in the right direction with his new booker(Heyman), and their new affiliation with the NWA. Eastern Championship Wrestling was being pushed by the NWA as their premier northeast promotion, and their next big show would be the 2 day "Bloodfest" show at the ECW Arena on October 1st & 2nd of 1993.

ECW's two part NWA Bloodfest show was another step in the right direction for the company. The show was marked by the debut's of two wrestlers that would go on to define the ECW in later years.

Sabu made his Eastern Championship Wrestling debut at Bloodfest part 1. Sabu was trained by The Original Shiek(his uncle). The Shiek, and Sabu both competed in the successor to the ECW in Philadelphia, the TSWA years before. Sabu was a veteran of the Japanese FMW promotion in Japan in the early 90's. The FMW took the violence of the Memphis/Florida territories of the southern US to a whole other level. By The NWA Bloodfest show, Sabu had already accumalated many of his trademark scars due to the incredibly violent barbed wire matches he competed in over in FMW.



For his ECW debut at NWA Bloodfest, Sabu was rolled to the ring strapped to a dolly with a mask, and a bunch of chains tieing him up ala Hannibal Lecter. The man he would be wrestling that evening was none other than Taz, also making his ECW Debut. This was way before the bad ass MMA Taz of later years, this was "The Tasmaniac". The Tasmaniac was a similar gimmick to Sabu's. They were both uncontrollable forces of choas. Even though their gimmicks were still quite cartoonish, Sabu and The Tasmaniac were glimpses into the darker, grittier direction that the ECW was headed under Heyman's booking. Gone were the goofy characters, and comedy heavy storylines of Gilbert's booking. Another aspect of Gilbert's booking that was on it's way out was the traditional definition of heels and faces in pro wrestling. The Public Enemy continued their rise up the ranks, and kicked off their first ECW rivalry with two more new characters that were Paul Heyman originals. Ian and Axle Rotten may not look like anything impressive these days watching the old tapes, but they really were quite a bit ahead of what other tag teams were doing for gimmicks. Grunge had swept the nation by 1992, and in 1993 it was everywhere. Ian and Axle Rotten formed the newest tag team in the ECW at Bloodfest, The Bad Breed, and they embodied the grunge look and attitude like nobody else in wrestling at the time.

Here are the results for ECW's NWA Bloodfest shows, and the preceeding episodes of ECW TV:

Quote:
September 21, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Jimmy Snuka b Metal Maniac to retain ECW TV Title, Footage from UltraClash


September 28, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Hunter Q. Robins, III shows footage of Sabu in FMW, Sal Bellomo b The Canadian Wolfman


October 1, 1993--NWA Bloodfest: Part 1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Ian & Axl Rotten b Chad Austin & Todd Shaw, Rockin' Rebel b Don E. Allen, The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) b Silver Jet & Gino Caruso, Malia Hosaka b Molly McShane, Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) b Ian & Axl Rotten, Sandman b Metal Maniac, Abdullah the Butcher & JT Smith & Terry Funk b Jimmy Snuka & Kevin Sullivan & Don Muraco, Sabu b The Tazmaniac, Tony Stetson & Johnny Hot Body b Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) to retain the ECW Tag Team titles, Rockin' Rebel b Richard Michaels, Kevin Sullivan vs Abdullah the Butcher ended in a DOUBLE DISQUALIFICATION, Terry Funk b Jimmy Snuka in a "Steel Cage" match to win the ECW Television title.


October 2, 1993--NWA Bloodfest: Part 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Tony Stetson & Johnny Hot Body b Sandman & JT Smith to retain the ECW Tag Team titles,The Tazmaniac b Tommy Dreamer, Kevin Sullivan b Gino Caruso, Shane Douglas b JT Smith by DQ to retain the ECW Heavyweight title, Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) b The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge), Sir Richards Michaels b Rockin' Rebel by DQ, Ian & Axl Rotten b Don E. Allen & Chad Austin, Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka b The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) by forfiet, Sabu b Shane Douglas to win the ECW Heavyweight title, Jimmy Snuka b Chad Austin, Kevin Sullivan b Abdullah the Butcher in a "Steel Cage" match, The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) b Ian & Axl Rotten and Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) in a "Triangle Steel Cage" match.
Through the end of 1993 Paul not only kept working to establish his new characters, but he kept working to establish a trademark Attitude for the ECW. Heyman gave the violent old Memphis style he inherited from Eddie Gilbert a fresh 90's twist. It was also during this time that Paul established the ECW's Attitude as the scrappy underdogs that were going to stand up to "The Big 2", which would eventually lead to the ECW becoming the #3 promotion in the states by a wide margin. At the 1993 November To Remember event, Paul turned the WWF into an enemy of the ECW in the storylines by telling the fans that Medusa(Alundra Blayze) would not be making her scheduled appearance at the show because she was told not to by the WWF after being signed by the company. Joey Styles would even take shots at the WWF's steriod scandal at the beginning of ECW tv episodes.

By the end of 1993 Paul Heyman's ECW was well on it's way to being the top independant promotion in America. The trademark Attitude was there, the talent was there, and it wouldn't be long before the little hole in the wall Philly promotion would rise to be the #3 fed in states.

Here are the results for the rest of ECW's 1993 year under Paul Heyman's booking:

Quote:
October 5, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Public Enemy b ??? & Silver Jet, Sabu b Tazmaniac(From NWA Bloodfeast), Sandman b Metal Maniac, Terry Funk b Jimmy Snuka to win ECW TV Title in a Steel Cage Match(From NWA Bloodfeast)


October 12, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: J.T. Smith, Terry Funk & Abdullah the Butcher b Don Muraco, Jimmy Snuka & Kevin Sullivan, Malaya Osaka b Molly McShane, Bad Company(Tanaka & Diamond) b Bad Breed, Rockin Rebel b Don E. Allen(After the match Rebel & Chris Michaels brawl), Rockin Rebel b Chris Michaels


October 19, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Bad Company b The Public Enemy, Jimmy Snuka b Cahd Austin, Paul E. Dangerously announces the new members of the Dangerous Alliance which is Shane Douglas, Sherri Martel & Sabu, Shane Douglas didn't like Sabu joining, Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson b The Sandman & J.T. Smith via DQ to retain ECW Tag Team Titles(Terry Funk hit Sandman with a chair), Tazmaniac b Tommy Dreamer(Dreamer's debut)


October 26, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Bad Breed b Don E. Allen & Chad Austin, Rockin Rebel vs Chris Michaels went to a NO CONTEST(Sal Bellomo returned and chased Rockin Rebel out of the building), Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka b Bad Company via forfeit(Before the match Public Enemy attacks Bad Company with Steel Chairs, Bad Breed attacks Public Enemy), Shane Douglas b J.T. Smith to retain the ECW Heavyweight Title(Terry Funk throws in the towel for J.T. Smith, Terry Funk attacked J.T. Smith after the match)


November 2, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Sabu(sub for Sandman) b Shane Douglas to win ECW Heavyweight Title(Before the match Sandman was found knockedout in the dressing room so Paul E. Dangerously announced Sabu as Sandman's replacement), Bad Breed b Chad Austin & Todd Shan


November 13, 1993--November to Remember in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Salvatore Bellomo b Rockin' Rebel by forfeit in a "Chair" match, Sandman vs Jim Niedhart ended in a DOUBLE DQ, The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) b Badd Company (Pat Tanaka & Paul Diamond) in a "South Philly Hood" match, Kevin Sullivan b Tommy Cairo in a "Shoot" match, Malia Hosaka b Sherri Martel by DQ, Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson b Ian & Axl Rotten to retain the ECW Tag Team titles, Johnny Gunn & Tommy Dreamer b Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson in 9-seconds to win the ECW Tag Team titles, The Tazmaniac b Tommy Dreamer, Mr. Hughes b Johnny Gunn, Sabu & Road Warrior Hawk b Terry Funk & King Kong Bundy (Sabu won Terry Funk's ECW Television title)..

November 16, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Jim Niedhart vs The Sandman went to a DRAW(From November to Remember, Mr. Hughes & Jason attack Sandman after the match), Public Enemy attacks Bad Company

November 23, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Footage of Public Enemy being arrested after attacking Bad Company last week, Kevin Sullivan b ???, Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson b Sandman & J.T. Smith, Mr. Hughes b ???, Tommy Cairo b Chris Michaels

November 30, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA: Sabu b Tazmaniac to retain the ECW Heavyweight Title, J.T. Smith, Sandman & Peaches b Johnny Hotbody, Tony Stetson & Hunter Q. Robins, III(After the match Jason & Mr. Hughes attack Sandman)

December 6, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA: Mr. Hughes b "Stormin" Mike Norman, J.T. Smith b Johnny Hotbody(Hunter Q. Robins, III hit Hotbody with his cane), Kevin Sullivan & Tazmaniac b Bad Breed in a #1 Contenders Match(Sullivan attacks J.T. Smith before the match), The Lumberjack w/Hunter Q. Robins, III b, Mr. X, Women asks Shane Douglas if he wanted to join her and Douglas said no

December 13, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Sal Bellomo b Don E. Allen, Tazmaniac & Kevin Sullivan b Tommy Dreamer & Shane Douglas(sub for Johnny Gun) to win the ECW Tag Team Titles(After the match Shane Douglas, Kevin Sullivan & Tazmaniac attack Dreamer), The Sandman b Tony Stetson, Mr. Hughes vs Chad Austin went to a NO CONTEST(Match never started, Lights went out and huge brawl between everyone in ECW breaks out)

December 21, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena:Shane Douglas b Tommy Dreamer via DQ(Douglas knocked out Dreamer with a chain and wrapped it around Dreamer's hand and the ref saw it), Funk's Grill with Sabu: Terry Funk brings out a Sabu impersonator(Chad Austin) and attacks him, Paul E. Dangerously shows up and Funk chases him off, Kevin Sullivan & Tazmaniac b Mike V. & "Stormin" Mike Norman(Mike V threw in the towel), J.T. Smith, Sal Bellomo & Sandman vs Terry Funk & Bad Breed went to a NO CONTEST(Lights went out again and a brawl between everyone in ECW breaks out again)

December 26, 1993--Holiday Hell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Chad Austin b Pitbull #1, Mike Awesome b Randy Starr, Kevin Sullivan & The Tazmaniac b JT Smith & Tommy Cairo to retain the ECW Tag Team titles, Shane Douglas b Tommy Dreamer, Mr. Hughes b Sandman by KNOCK OUT, Rockin' Rebel b Don E. Allen, Terry Funk b Sabu in a "No DQ" match to win the ECW World Heavyweight title, Pat Tanaka b Rocco Rock in a "Body Count" match, Tommy Dreamer won a "Lights Out Battle Royal"..

December 28, 1993--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Chad Austin b The Pitbull(ECW debut, After the match Pitbull attacks Austin, Sandman makes the save, Pitbull attacks Sandman), Mr. Hughes b Sandman, Rockin Rebel b Don E. Allen
You will notice that Paul continued to operate the ECW under traditional wrestling rules at this time. Even though the shows were wildly violent for the time, there was still that structure of DQ's, Coutouts, and traditional rules. To give an idea of what else was going on in Pro Wrestling at the time here are the WWF results for the same time period:

[spoiler]
Quote:
September 20, 1993 - RAW: Scott Steiner def Quebecer Pierre, Bam Bam Bigelow def Lavern McGill, Mr. Perfect def Mike Bell, P.J. Walker def Irwin R. Schyster.

September 27, 1993 - RAW: Tatanka vs Rick Martel ended in a Double Countout, Ludvig Borga def Phil Apollo, Jimmy Snuka def Paul VanDale, The Quebecers def The 1-2-3 Kid & Barry Horowitz.

October 4, 1993 - RAW: Razor Ramon & Rick Martel were Co-winners of a 20-Man Battle Royal to determine the new Intercontinental Champion (Participants: Irwin R. Schyster, 1-2-3 Kid, The M.V.P., Mr. Perfect, Diesel, Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Randy Savage, Pierre & Jacques, Giant Gonzalez, Marty Jannetty, Bastion Booger, Owen Hart, Tatanka, Mabel, Bob Backlund & Jimmy Snuka), The Heavenly Bodies def Mark Taylor & Scott Thomas, Doink def Corey Student.

October 11, 1993 - RAW: Razor Ramon def Rick Martel to win the Intercontinental title, The Headshrinkers def Tommy Morrison & Sid Curtis, Owen Hart def Scott King, Adam Bomb def Russ Greenberg, The RockNRoll Express (Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton) def Duane Gill & Barry Hardy.

October 18, 1993 - RAW: The Steiner Brothers def P.J. Walker & Tony DeVito, Irwin R. Schyster def Scott Taylor, Tatanka def Iron Mike Sharpe, Bam Bam Bigelow def Dennis Diamond.

October 25, 1993 - RAW: Crush def Phil Apollo by submission, The 1-2-3 Kid vs Marty Jannetty ended in a Double Count out. Ludvig Borga def Mike Bucci. Men on a Mission (Mable & Mo) def Todd Mata & Steve Greenman, Diesel def Dan Dubiel.

November 1, 1993 - RAW: Razor Ramon def Bastion Booger, Mr. Perfect def The Executioner, The Smoking Gunns def the team of Well Dunn (Timothy Well & Steven Dunn), Adam Bomb def Virgil.

November 8, 1993 - RAW: Ludvig Borga vs Scott Steiner ended in a Double DQ, Men on a Mission (Mable & Mo) def Corey Student & Steve Smyth, Rick Martel def John Paul, Crush vs Dan Dubiel ended in a No Contest, Bob Backlund vs Barry Horowitz ended in a No Contest..

November 15, 1993 - RAW: Razor Ramon def The Brooklyn Brawler, The Headshrinkers def Mike Bucci & Mike Moraldo, Quebecer Pierre def Lex Luger, Diesel def Sid Garrison.

Survivor Series PPV-
Dark: Billy Gunn d. The Brooklyn Brawler Singles match 07:46
Marty Jannetty, Randy Savage, Razor Ramon and The 1–2–3 Kid defeated Irwin R. Schyster, Diesel, Rick Martel and Adam Bomb (with Harvey Wippleman) Four-on-four Survivor Series elimination match1 26:58
The Hart Family (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Bruce Hart and Keith Hart) (with Stu Hart) defeated Shawn Michaels and His Knights (Shawn Michaels, The Red Knight, The Blue Knight and The Black Knight) Four-on-four Survivor Series elimination match 30:57
The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Prichard) (with Jim Cornette) defeated The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) (c) Tag team match for the SMW Tag Team Championship 13:41
The Four Doinks (The Bushwhackers (Butch Miller and Luke Williams) and Men on a Mission (Mabel and Mo)) (with Oscar) defeated The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu), Bastion Booger and Bam Bam Bigelow (with Luna Vachon and Afa) Four-on-four Survivor Series elimination match 10:58
The All-Americans (Lex Luger, The Undertaker, Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner) (with Paul Bearer) defeated The Foreign Fanatics (Yokozuna, Crush, Ludvig Borga and Quebecer Jacques) (with Jim Cornette, Johnny Polo, and Mr. Fuji) Four-on-four Survivor Series elimination match

November 29, 1993 - RAW: The Steiner Brothers def Mike Bucci & Reno Riggins, Razor Ramon def Diesel by DQ, Bam Bam Bigelow def John Crystal, Owen Hart def Chris Duffy,, Ludvig Borga def Scott Taylor.

December 6, 1993 - RAW: Shawn Michaels vs The 1-2-3 Kid ended in a Double Countout, The Quebecers def Mike Walsh & Bert Centano, Doink def Tony Devito, Crush def Tony Roy.

December 13, 1993 - RAW: Randy Savage def Fatu, The Smoking Gunns def Jim Massenger & Steve Smyth, Irwin R. Schyster def Todd Mata, The Undertaker def J.S. Storm, Rick Martel def Tim McNeany, Bret "Hitman" Hart def The Brooklyn Brawler

December 20, 1993 - RAW: Jeff Jarrett def P.J. Walker. Men on a Mission (Mable & Mo) def Duane Gill & Barry Hardy. Tatanka def Ludvig Borga by DQ. Adam Bomb def Mark Thomas. Owen Hart def Mike Bell by Submission. The Headshrinkers def Phil Apollo & Jerry Seavy.

December 27, 1993 - RAW: Lex Luger def Barry Horowitz, Johnny Polo def Marty Jannetty, Crush def Mike Moraldo, Razor Ramon def Derrick Domino.
[/spoiler]

..And, WCW:

[spoiler]
Quote:
Fall Brawl 1993 - Astro Arena; Houston, TX 9/19/1993
- TV Title: Steven Regal beat Ricky Steamboat to win the title
- Charlie Norris beat Big Sky
- 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell beat Paul Orndorff & The Equalizer
- Ice Train beat Shangai Pierce
- World Tag Team Titles: The Nasty Boys beat Arn Anderson & Paul Roma to win the titles
- Cactus Jack beat Yoshi Kwan
- WCW International Title: Ric Rude beat Ric Flair to win the title
- War Games: Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes & The Shockmaster beat Big Van Vader, Sid Vicious & Harlem Heat

Halloween Havoc 1993 - Lakefront Arena; New Orleans, LA 10/24/1993
- Shockmaster, Ice Train, & Charlie Norris beat Harlem Heat & The Equalizer
- Paul Orndorff beat Ricky Steamboat by count out
- TV Title: Champ Steven Regal fought Davey Boy Smith to a time limit draw
- US Title: Champ Dustin Rhodes beat Steve Austin
- World Tag Team Titles: The Nasty Boys beat 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell to win the titles
- Sting beat Sid Vicious
- WCW International Title: Rick Rude beat Ric Flair by DQ
- Texas Death Match for WCW World Title: Big Van Vader beat Cactus Jack

COC 25 - Bayfront Arena; St. Petersburg, FL 11/10/1993
- WCW International Title: Champ Rick Rude fought Hawk to a double count out
- The Shockmaster beat The Equalizer
- TV Title: Champ Steven Regal beat Johnny B. Badd
- Steve Austin beat Brian Pillman
- US Title: Champ Dustin Rhodes beat Paul Orndorff
- WCW Tag Titles: Champs The Nasty Boys beat Sting & Davey Boy Smith
- WCW Title: Ric Flair beat Champ Big Van Vader by DQ

Battlebowl 1993 - Civic Center; Pensacola, FL 11/20/1993
- Cactus Jack & Big Van Vader beat Charlie Norris & Kane
- Johnny B Badd & Brian Knobs beat Paul Roma & Erik Watts
- Shockmaster & Paul Orndorff beat Ricky Steamboat and Steven Regal
- King Kong & Dustin Rhodes beat Awesome Kong & The Equalizer
- Sting & Jerry Sags beat Ron Simmons & Keith Cole
- Ric Flair & Steve Austin beat 2 Cold Scorpio & Maxx Payne
- Rick Rude & Shanghai Pierce beat Tex Slazenger & Marcus Alexander Bagwell
- Hawk & Rip Rogers beat Davey Boy Smith & Kole
- Big Van Vader won the battle bowl by last eliminating Sting

Starrcade 1993 - Independence Arena; Charlotte, NC 12/27/1993
- Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma beat 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell
- Shockmaster beat Awesome Kong
- TV Title: Champ Steven Regal fought Ricky Steamboat to a time limit draw
- Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne beat Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce
- Best of 3 Falls Match for US Title: Steve Austin beat Dustin Rhodes 2 falls to 1 to win the title
- WCW International Title: Champ Rick Rude pinned The Boss
- Tag Team Title: Sting & Road Warrior Hawk beat Champions The Nasty Boys by DQ
- WCW World Title: Ric Flair beat Big Van Vader to win the title, if Flair lost, he would have been forced to retire.
[/spoiler]
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

1994: The Rise Of Eastern Championship Wrestling

The ECW took off under the NWA banner with Paul Heyman booking shows. 1994 would be a huge year for the company. All of the shows in the promotions history up to this point have been really terrible, but starting in 1994 the ECW would begin a steady rise in quality from show to show. It all started in February's "The Night The Line Was Crossed". The Night The Line Was Crossed was really the night that it all started for Paul Heyman's ECW. The show was an instant success, and would generate a tremendous amount of buzz in the pro wrestling industry for the ECW. All of the newsletter reading smarks of the time had to get their hands on The Night The Line Was Crossed tape. One of the standout matches of the show was a No Rules match between The Public Enemy and the Bruise Brothers. The Public Enemy burst on the scene in the ECW on Paul's first show(Ultraclash) as the booker for the promotion, and he pushed them as the dangerous, violent, thugish east coast hood rats throughout the fall of 1993.

Heyman booked the Public Enemy to be nearly unstoppable. At The Night The Line Was Crossed, The Public Enemy gave a glimpse of things to come for the ECW when they battled the Bruise Brothers in an incredibly stiff, violent "No Rules" match(recieved 4 stars from Wrestling Observer Newsletter). Another future mainstay that took a big step up at The Night The Line Was Crossed was Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer was being pushed down the throats of the fans as the clean babyface. The problem was that nobody liked him the way Paul envisioned. Tommy had a match against Jimmy Snuka at The Night The Line Was Crossed. Snuka played a snarling, villanous heel in an attempt to get Tommy over as "THE" face of the ECW, but it just didn't work. Something about Tommy was just not jiving with the Philly ECW crowd. Future World Champion Mike Awesome would also compete at The Night The Line Was Crossed. Awesome always was a very quick, strong, agile heavywieght that could fly through the air like a cruiserweight. Awesome did what he did best at The Night The Line Was Crossed, and nearly decapitated JT Smith with a dive over the top rope down to Smith on the outside of the ring.

In the main event of The Night The Line Was Crossed, Terry Funk helped out the ECW again by putting over their best two wrestlers in the very first ever 3 Way Dance match(or Triple Threat as it would come to be known in the WWE later). Terry Funk battled the most popular wrestler on the independant scene at the time, Sabu, as well as Shane Douglas. The three men battled to a 60 minute time limit draw that drew a standing ovation from the fans in the ECW Arena. After the match Terry Funk helped establish Shane Douglas as "The Franchise" in one of the all time classic pro wrestling promos. The match would go on to inspire hundreds of three and four way matches throughout the rest of the 90's, and generated the buzz among the Smarks of the "Pre Internet" era that the ECW needed to become #3 in North America.



After the match, the hype around Sabu and Shane Douglas grew to phenomenal proportions amongst the indy wrestling fans of the mid 90's. Sabu's aerial style of suicidal spot wrestling had never been seen before. Shane Douglas looked like "The Next Big Thing", and it was all really thanks to Terry Funk, and the original 3 way dance at The Night The Line Was Crossed. Looking back at the match now, it isn't really anything to get riled up about, but back in 1994, this was the match that put Eastern Championship Wrestling on the radar of the smart indy wrestling fans.

The very next month ECW would continue to push Shane Douglas. Douglas would win the ECW World title from Terry Funk in a War Games match by smothering him with a plastic bag. In April of 94, ECW would take another step up. When WCW used "When Worlds Collide" pay per view name for their AAA show in 1994, the title was already trademarked by ECW. ECW threatened to sue, but were able to reach a settlement out of court. As part of the settlement, WCW agreed to send two wrestlers to compete at the ECW's When Worlds Collide show in April. Paul Heyman originally requested Steve Austin and Bobby Eaton, but Austin was unable to make the show for some reason. Arn Anderson would take his place. Bobby Eaton would partner with Sabu to defeat Terry Funk and Arn Anderson in a tag match for the main event of When Worlds Collide. Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton's presense in the ECW at When Worlds Collide only helped to propel the promotion into the #3 behind WCW, and WWF(multi million dollar companies). The very next show at the ECW Arena in June of 1994, an old Philadelphia favorite would be making his debut in the ECW while still under contract with the WCW.

Cactus Jack became an immediate favorite of the city of Philadelphia when he was a regular in the Tri States Wrestling Alliance(the precursor to the ECW). In TSWA in 1991, Cactus fueded with Eddie "Hot Stuff" Gilbert in one of the most memorable, violent fueds in indy wrestling in the 90's. Cactus would go on to have a successful career in WCW, and would eventually win the Tag Team Titles. While a tag champion in WCW, Cactus was allowed to wrestle in the ECW Hostile City Showdown card in the ECW Arena in June. Cactus Jack was defeated in his ECW debut by Sabu. After the match Cactus cut one of his classic promos by spitting on the WCW tag belt before throwing it to the ground. This would be a move that got Cactus in a lot of hot water with his regular gig in the WCW, but it was a pivitol angle for the ECW. An angle they used to help establish themselves as the top indy promotion in North America.

Also at Hostile City Showdown in June of 1994, Paul Heyman pushed the Public Enemy into their first major headline fued. A fued that would establish them as a serious threat in the ECW. A fued that would put them over as one of the ECW's biggest draws for the next couple of years. The Public Enemy were defeated at Hostile City Showdown by Terry Funk, and his legendary brother Dory Funk Jr.



Here are the results for the ECW from January of 94 to Hostile City Showdown in June:
[spoiler]
Quote:
January 11, 1994--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Tommy Dreamer & Bad Company b Kevin Sullivan, Tazmaniac & Johnny Hotbody(Sullivan & Tazmaniac attack Hotbody after the match), Sabu's Handler(911) b Chad Austin, Shane Douglas vs Terry Funk went to a 45 minute Time Limit Draw(Funk retains ECW Heavyweight Title)


January 18, 1994--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: The Public Enemy b Don E. Allen & Dwayne Gill, Tommy Dreamer b Dr. Disaster, Mr. Hughes b Mikey Wippwreck, Terry Funk b Pat Tanaka to retain ECW Heavyweight Title(Sullivan & Tazmaniac & Bad Company brawl after match), Bad Company b Kevin Sullivan & Tazmaniac in a Non Title Match(Don E. Allen & Dwayne Gill were suppose to face Sullivan & Tazmaniac but Bad Company sent them to the back, Sullivan & Tazmaniac attack Diamond after the match)


Feburary 1, 1994--ECW Television in in Philadelphia, PA at ECW Arena: Kevin Sullivan & Tazmaniac b Mikey Wippwreck & ???, Shane Douglas b Tommy Dreamer, The Public Enemy b Chad Austin & ???, Sabu's Handler(911) b Dwayne Gill


February 5, 1994--The Night the Line was Crossed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: 911 b Chad Austin, Mr. Hughes b Sal Bellomo, Tommy Cairo & Sandman b Pitbull #1 & Rockin' Rebel in a "Double Dog Collar Chain" match, The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) b The Bruise Brothers (Ron & Don Harris) in a "No Rules" match, Jimmy Snuka b Tommy Dreamer, The Sheik & Pat Tanaka b The Tazmaniac & Kevin Sullivan, J.T. Smith b Mike Awesome, Terry Funk vs Sabu vs Shane Douglas in a "Triangle" match ended in a 60 minute time limit draw (Terry Funk retains his ECW World Heavyweight title)..


March 26, 1994--ECW Ultimate Jeopardy in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Crash the Terminator b Pitbull #1, 911 b Don E. Allen & Hack Meyers & ??? in a "Handicap" match, JT Smith b Rockin' Rebel to retain the TV title, The Bruise Brothers (Ron & Don Harris) b Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka), Tommy Cairo b Sandman, Jimmy Snuka b Tommy Dreamer in a "Steel Cage" match, Shane Douglas & Mr. Hughes & Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge b Road Warrior Hawk & Kevin Sullivan & The Tazmaniac & Terry Funk in a "War Games" match (Shane Douglas pinned Terry Funk to win the ECW World Heavywieght title)..


May 14, 1994--When Worlds Collide in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Tommy Dreamer b Rockin' Rebel, Mikey Whipwreck b 911 by DQ to retain the ECW Television title, Jimmy Snuka b Kevin Sullivan, Tommy Cairo & Peaches b Sandman & Woman in a "Singapore Cane" match, Pitbull b The Tazmaniac, J.T. Smith & The Bruise Brothers (Ron & Don Harris) b Shane Douglas & Mr. Hughes & Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) in an "Handicap Elimination Match" (JT Smith was the only survivor), Sabu & Bobby Eaton b Terry Funk & Arn Anderson.

June 24, 1994--Hostile City Showdown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: The Bruise Brothers (Ron & Don Harris) b Mr. Hughes & Shane Douglas, Chad Austin vs Don E. Allen ended in a NO CONTEST, Tommy Dreamer b Hack Meyers, Mikey Whipwreck b Rockin' Rebel by DQ to retain the Television title, The Tazmaniac b Pitbull #1 in a "Dog Collar" match, Tommy Cairo b Sandman by DQ in a "Cane on a Pole" match, Terry & Dory Funk Jr. b The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) by DQ, Sabu b Cactus Jack.
[/spoiler]

It just kept getting better for the ECW through 1994, from show to show, it was a constant improvement. By the summer, ECW Hardcore TV was hot(Best weekly show for 1994 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter), and the buzz for the company was there. The ECW continued to get more and more violent through the year, and by the summer the Eastern Championship Wrestling was already looking like the Extreme Championship Wrestling that it would later become.

Another important note about this time period was the relationship with Paul Heyman and the NWA's Jim Crockett. Crockett had originally planned for Heyman to book his WWN promotion once it got launched. As the ECW grew through 1994, Heyman's desire to run Crockett's promotion started to fade. Crockett was old school, and wasn't going to fly for the types of ideas Heyman was pushing in the ECW. Paul Heyman declined to take the job, and remained in the ECW. Soon after, ECW owner Todd Gordon declined an offer from Crockett for ECW to even further entrench themselves into the NWA by becoming an affliate of his WWN(World Wrestling Network).

The next show we are going to take a look at is another pivitol show, and another where the promotion just seemed to keep improving. Our next review will be Heatwave, from July of 1994. The promotion is still affiliated with the NWA, and they are still Eastern Championship Wrestling, but things are changing big time by now. ECW is starting to outgrow the NWA, and things are starting to get really Extreme.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

This thread is awesome.

It's even more awesome, as it was a time I was exploring wrestling outside the WWF. I would get 2 or 3 different WRestling publications delivered to my door as a youngster and I would relish reading every word.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:55 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Eastern Championship Wrestling(NWA)
Heatwave

July 16th 1994
ECW Arena
Philadelphia, PA


So Eastern Championship Wrestling was blowing up in the pro wrestling world back in 1994. After a critically acclaimed show in February(The Night The Line Was Crossed) The ECW just continued to improve from show to show. ECW grew from their humble indy roots up into a cult underground wrestling promotion that all of the "Smarks" were raving about by the end of 1994(best weekly wrestling show for 1994 from Wrestling Observer Newsletter).

After The Night The Line Was Crossed it was a steady improvement over the course of 3 more shows(Ultimate Jeopardy, When Worlds Collide, and Hostile City Showdown) leading up to this show. This show(and the 3 previously mentioned) were glorified "Supercard" tv tapings. They would usually cut a show like this up for 2-3 weeks worth of weekly "Hardcore TV" episodes with additional promos and ads edited in.

The main thing going on in ECW at this point was the push of Shane Douglas and The Public Enemy. Sabu was the CM Punk of this era, and easily the most popular indy wrestler in the game, which was quite an accomplishment for someone at this time that had not been in either WWF or WCW.

ECW was still under the NWA umbrella here, but not for much longer. You'll notice more with this show than any of the previous ones that even though they were still Eastern, the seeds of Extreme had already been planted.

Axle & Ian Rotten vs Rockin' Rebel & Hack Myers

Hack Myers and Rockin Rebel come out to "Whatta Man" by Salt-N-Peppa, lol.

Hack Myers would go on to be like the Hacksaw Jim Duggan of ECw. Everytime he would throw a punch he would yell out "Shah!", and eventually the fans caught on and started yelling it along with him. Then it got to the point where the fans would yell "Shit!" whenever one of his opponents would throw a punch back. He was called "The Shah! of ECW" for a while, and the fans would go back and forth yelling "SHAH!" and "SHIT!" during his matches when he would exchange punches with his opponent. He wasn't quite that over yet in this video, and was pretty much just a jobber.

Yep, This is just bad. The wrestling is almost as bad as the haircuts on these guys. Ian and Axle Rotten(The Bad Breed) had an interesting look for this era. They were two really tough guys that should have stuck together as a tag team in my opinion. Neither of these guys should have ever tried to be much of a singles wrestler.

This is just a traditionally worked tag match here, no blood, no violence, and no brawling, and it's just strait up boring.

Ian Rotten gets a Bulldog off of the top on Hack Myers for the win after about 12 minutes.

The Rebel turns on Hack Myers after the match, and they have a little scuffle.

1/10

God awful match here. They get a 1 for effort to at least put on a clean worked tag match, but damn.

ECW Television Championship Match
Mikey Whipreck vs Chad Austin


Mikey comes out to "Loser" by Beck, and that just fits his character perfectly for this time.

Mikey was loved by the ECW fans in 94. Something about an underdog that the Philly fans can really get behind for some reason(Rocky, Vince Papalli). He was a crashtest dummy jobber that would set the crowd off whenever he would finally win. He would get a pretty good push due to how over he was, eventually even defeating Steve Austin for the World Title.

Austin comes out to "Whatta Man" by Salt-N-Peppa! I guess this was the designated song for all of the jobbers.

Austin is just a worthless jobber. Totally out of shape, with zero skills. He comes out with Jason Night(The self proclaimed Sexiest Man On Earth), the longtime manager that would stay with ECW up until the end in 2001.

Just a typical Heel/Face match here with Austin & Jason cheating Mikey.

Austin pins Whipreck for the title after a legdrop off of the top rope. Austin wins clean.

Now here is the screwy part.

Austin gets the microphone, and tells the referee that he used Brass Knuckles on Mikey to win the match.

The referee reverses the decision, and gives Mikey the win. Austin and Jason attack Mikey after the match. Austin cuts a terrible promo to make matter worse telling the crowd how much he hates them.

2/10

I just don't get this. Some really screwy booking going on here that I don't get at all. It was like Austin wanted to deny the fans of seeing a title change or something, but why would he screw himself out of a title?

Doesnt' make sense. Pretty crappy match too.

Tommy Dreamer vs Stevie Richards

Stevie Richards looks so weird here. This is before he was a Raven Lackey. He has a rocking Shawn Michaels '94 mullet, and looks like he was about 22 or 23 years old. Stevie actually lived like 2 blocks from the ECW Arena in South Philly.

Tommy Dreamer comes out to Pearl Jam's "Evenflow", and is wearing black pants with suspenders.

Heyman was shoving Dreamer down everyone's throats as The Face of ECW, but people were just not buying into him.

Richards is such a green rookie here, and you can see it in his performance. He's just having a hard time finding any chemistry in this match, and botches several spots.

They take it to the outside for a little bit, and Richards gets slammed into the guardrail.

Tommy Dreamer has to be in the best shape of his career here. Looks like about 230 pounds, and pretty ripped too.

Stevie takes the upper hand in the match with some decent Heel work.

Dreamer's set of moves is so different from what I'm used to seeing in his later days. He's using a lot of traditional moves.

Stevie jumps off of the top rope down towards Tommy, and Tommy catches him in a sleeper hold. Joey calls it "The Dream Weaver".

Stevie goes limp, and the referee drops his arm three times. Tommy picks up the W.

Tommy cuts a promo telling Shane Douglas that he wants a shot at his title, and calls him "A No Good Pittsburgh piece of shit!".

This brings out his next opponent, Shane Douglas' bodygaurd at the time.

4/10

Not bad, but not good. Best match on the tape so far.

Tommy Dreamer vs Mr. Hughes

Mr. Hughes comes out, and the match is on.

Shane comes out to watch Hughes beat the crap out of Dreamer. Dreamer takes the momentum with a low blow.

Hughes overpowers Dreamer to get an easy win after about 5 minutes. Shane Douglas comes out, and cuts a promo.

He calls Hughes his "Offensive Line", and shows off his new "Head Cheerleader", a woman named Angel. Heyman was building Douglas' character up to be this cocky quarterback type of character, or "The Franchise". His promo is pretty damn good. He had some mic skills here, especially for this era.

Douglas finishes by saying that Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Bret Hart are not the future of Pro Wrestling, but The Franchise is.

4/10

Not a real good match, but a nice promo from Douglas kind of makes up for it.

Sabu & The Tazmaniac vs The Pit Bulls

The Pit Bulls are an underrated tag team from this era in my opinion. They come out to White Zombie's "Thunderkiss 65".

The Tazmaniac comes out alone to one of Offspring's songs off of "Smash"(that CD was HUGE about this time).

Taz in the Tazmaniac gimmick was just another thing that wasn't working for Paul Heyman. Just a bit too cartoony.

The Pit Bulls beat on Taz with chains for a while. Taz is just getting destroyed here until 911 comes out. 911 was a huge guy that was incredibly over with the fans at this time. 911 was like the "Enforcer" of extreme. Any time someone did something that the fans disapproved, 911 would come out, and choke slam them into oblivion for some of the biggest pops in ECW for the era.

Mr. Hughes gets involved for some reason, and keeps 911 out of the ring.

5 minutes in and it's still 2 on 1 with Taz getting killed. The fans explode when Sabu finally comes out.

Sabu throws a chair into the face of one of the Pit Bulls, and the bell finally rings.

Taz tosses one of the Pit Bulls out of the ring with an overhead belly to belly suplex, and Sabu slingshots himself outside the ring for a hurricanrana. The fans pop huge for Sabu's move.

Taz gets a suplex on the other Pit Bull for the win in under 10 minutes.

4/10

Another really weird segment with the booking. Not much of a match either.

Dueling Canes Match
The Sandman vs Tommy Cairo


This is the early days of the Sandman's drunken barroom brawling character. Prior to this he was the literal "Sand" man, complete with surfboard, and wetsuit.

He comes out with his singapore cane puffing on cigarettes, and accompanied by the late Nancy Sullivan.

Interesting note, no beers yet, just smokes.

He has one hell of a gut on him, and he looks trashed drunk.

Both guys chase each other around the ring with these canes for quite a while to start things off, neither man really lands anything.

Cairo takes a few shots to the face, and blades himself. He doesn't even try to hide it, just right out in the open slices his forehead open with two slices.

Sandman cracks him a few more times, and gets the pin.

0/10

Total waste of time. These guys were barely hitting each other through most of this. All they did was chase each other around, and trade light shots.

As shitty of a segment as this was, the crowd was really behind The Sandman here. Something about the guy that appealed to these wrestling fans.

ECW World Championship Match
Shane Douglas(C) vs Sabu


This match is billed as "The Battle for the Future of Professional Wrestling".

Sabu makes a sweet ass entrance. He busts through the sheetrock wall like a madman, and sprints to the ring full speed like a maniac.

Paul Heyman comes out with 911(Sabu's handler). Heyman says that Sabu is the future of Pro Wrestling, and the crowd pops loud for him.

Douglas comes out with Mr. Hughes, and his newly acquired valet, Angel.

They work a surprisingly fluid, good technical grappling match early on believe it or not, and it's quite impressive.

The crowd is behind Sabu 100% here. Douglas keeps saying that he is the future of pro wrestling.

Douglas works the crowd, and draws some pretty good heat. Both guys are working together really well here. Nice selling, and a good pace. Shane keeps the momentum early with a few submissions, and some sharp wrestling. Sabu takes the momentum with a sitdown powerbomb, and we go outside the ring.

Sabu hits Douglas with a light chair shot. Sabu goes up to the top rope, and hits a nice dive onto Douglas on the outside.

Sabu brings in a chair, and the match really starts to take a nosedive.

Sabu lands several of his traditional aerial moves, and even attempts a nice slingshot 450 splash that I've never seen anybody do. He misses it, and Douglas goes right back to dominating him on the mat, placing him in several different submissions.

The match goes outside the ring, and Sabu back body drops Shane into the crowd, taking out several fans. They brawl in the crowd for a little while, exchanging chair shots.

Sabu leans a table up against the guardrail, and leans Shane up against it. Sabu does a moonsault into the table, and Shane moves. Sabu crashes into the table, but the table doesn't break. Sabu crashes down into the concrete similar to Shane Mcmahon vs Kurt Angle at King Of The Ring 2001.

They act like Sabu has been ko'd, and Shane forces the referee to count him out. Shane gets the win via countout.

7/10

They had something great going early on, but killed it when they brought in the chair. Would have loved to have seen them keep it clean because they were really working well together.

Really this was one of the better matches of the tapes I've reviewed so far. Nothing epic, but a nice little gem that I have never seen, or heard about before.

Mr. Hughes decks Paul Heyman, and Paul sells it beautifully. 911 comes to the rescue, and drops Shane Douglas with a chokeslam.

911 and Mr. Hughes stare each other down. 911 drops Mr. Hughes with a chokeslam, and the crowd pops louder than they have all night.

They get even louder when he grabs Douglas' valet, Angel, and violently bounces her off of the mat with another chokeslam.

The arena goes apeshit chanting 9! 1! 1!

No Rope Barbed Wire Match
Terry & Dory Funk Jr. vs The Public Enemy


All 4 of these guys come out wearing probably 5 t-shirts. Just a reminder, Terry & Dorry are both WWE Hall Of Famers. Funk a former NWA World Champion for 14 months when the title was the best in the world.

Public Enemy immediately go up to "The Eagles Nest" balcony in the ECW arena, and challenge for The Funk's to come to them.

Some of the fans are still chanting 911!

The Public Enemy were drawing heat before this fued, but this was what really put them over as one of the top draws in ECW's earliest days. Public Enemy finally come to the ring.

Dory Funk Jr. looks like he is 90 years old here, and barely moving around. Public Enemy are being pretty stiff, even with Dory. Public Enemy escape the ring, and the crowd starts chanting "Asswhole" at them.

The Funk's take it outside after them, and we have a wild brawl. Terry Funk and Rocco Rock finally get into the Barbed Wire. Rocco Rock's shirt gets ripped to shreds. It's a sloppy brawl around the ring where they trade chair shots, and shove each other's faces into the wire.

It doesn't take long, and all 4 guys are bleeding.

Things get really sloppy, and it seems like they all forget about what to do or something as they try to communicate.

Terry Funk and Rocco Rock lay in the ring together, and Terry Funk suddenly waves to the fans for someone to throw him a chair.

One fan throws a chair, and then suddenly 50 more fly into the ring.

This isn't the infamous "Chair Throwing Incident", but the one that inspired it. The next time this would happen nearly 300 chairs flew into the ring.

The brawl goes outside to the parking lot of the arena, but the camera stays inside focused on Rocco Rock still out of it in the ring. They come brawling back in, and back to the ring.

Things just get wild from here. They brawl with trash cans, chairs, and a pair of scissors. All 4 men busted wide open bleeding, and steadily getting tangled up in the barbed wire.

Terry Funk gets tangled up in some loose barbed wire until it is all bundled up around his body.

Johnny Grunge cracks Funk with the trash can, and Public Enemy both cover him for the pin, and get put over by the legends.

Terry Funk is just a bloody mess, tossing chairs all around. Public Enemy get taken out after the match, and more chairs get thrown into the ring.

Madness!

6/10

Nothing pretty about this at all. Not one of the better barbed wire matches I've seen, but it was a fun little brawl. It was just so chaotic, wild, and violent.

The Funk's put Public Enemy over here. It's hard to realize what was so great about Public Enemy looking back on them with a 2012 state of mind, but back in 1994 they were pretty edgy compared to what else was going on in tag team wrestling.

They were believable south philly hoodrat mid 90's east coast gangsters, and they were tough as nails.

After this victory they were the top heels in the ECW.

Overall: 4.8/10

The main event was a little fun to watch, and historically important for ECW, but not really worth tracking down and paying for. Sabu vs Shane Douglas was a surprisingly good match, and the best match on the tape, but nothing to really get excited about. Putting over The Public Enemy in this event was one of the hundreds of things that Terry Funk did to help the ECW. Just think of how much more awesome pro wrestling would have been through the years if guys like Hogan and Nash thought more like Terry Funk did.

The future was looking bright for ECW though. Sabu and Shane Douglas didn't turn out to be much, but you can't deny their potential during these earliest of days in the ECW.

Shows are getting better, but they still are not very good. The ECW in Heyman's earliest days of booking really wasn't much better than the Eddie Gilbert era, and with this show you can see him struggling a bit.
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

The Split From NWA, and the Birth Of Extreme Championship Wrestling

Lets go back to August of 1994. Hulk Hogan had taken his talents to WCW, and the company was on their way to a level playing field with the big dogs, WWF. Hogan and Flair finally had their long awaited match in July of 94 at WCW's Bash At The Beach pay per view, and the company seemed to be headed in the right direction with talented performers such as Steve Austin, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, and even a young Triple H on the roster.

Over in the WWF it was the epic Brother vs Brother storyline of Bret Hart vs Owen Hart that had taken center stage, leading up to a 5 star cage match at Summerslam. Even though things were getting better in the WCW/WWF than they were in 1993, they were still pretty stale. Both promotions were still using the tried and true "Good Guys vs Bad Guys" formula that had grown quite stale by this point, and everything still had a thick cartoon feel to it. For instance, take a look at the Undertaker vs Undertaker main event from Summerslam 94, and a majority of the characters in WCW/WWF at the time including Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, Kwang, Doink The Clown, and Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, all of which were prominently featured on Raw throughout the summer of 1994.



Meanwhile in a small bingo hall in Philly an NWA affiliated promotion named Eastern Championship Wrestling was using characters that were drastically more up to date with what was going on in pop culture in 1994.



Throughout 1994 the ECW continued to improve from show to show, and they continued to get more and more extreme and gritty with each show as well. As the buzz grew around Eastern Championship Wrestling, it was becoming evident that ECW didn't need the NWA.

The entire split from the NWA centered around Todd Gordon's(Then ECW Owner) rivalry with cross town Philadelphia promotion named WWA, ran by Dennis Corruluzo.

Dennis Corruluzo's beef with the ECW went all the way back to it's spiritual successor Tri States Wrestling Alliance, ran by Joel Goodhart(see one of the previous posts for more details). Corruluzo and Goodhart had a healthy competitive relationship, but when Tod Gordon took over TSWA, and transformed it into ECW, the rivalry started to get personal.

Corruluzo and Gordon's fued got personal when Gordon stole away the WWA's main draw, Eddie Gilbert. After that, Corruluzo repeatedly tried to sabatoge ECW shows by calling the Philly fire department complaining that the shows exceeded the maximum occupancy of the ECW Arena.

This is where the story gets a bit fuzzy, because all of the books leave out the part where Corruluzo becomes an authority figure for the NWA. I don't know when/where it happened, but somewhere along the ride he became the president of NWA, and continued to try to make life miserable for Todd Gordon's ECW.

Sources have stated that Corruluzo was jealous of the buzz surrounding ECW, mainly because his WWA promotion was much more successful financially, but it didn't recieve half the press that ECW was at the time.

The situation boiled over when Todd Gordon and Paul Heyman decided to kill two birds with one stone.

The plan was set into motion when NWA decided to hold a tournament for their vacant World Title in the ECW(due to the fact that they were the territory with the best television coverage). During one of the matches in the tournament 911(the enforcer of Extreme) defeated Doink the Clown. After the tournament Joey Styles took a swipe at the WWF/WCW:

Quote:
That's one clown down, Bischoff & Mcmahon remain.
Shane Douglas would go on to win the tournament, and the NWA title, and what would happen immediately afterwards kicked off the beginning of a new era in pro wrestling.

Quote:
I stand here before god, and my father in heaven tonight. As I said I would be Worlds Heavywieght champion.

In the tradition of Lou Thesz, in the tradition of Jack Briscoe, of The Briscoe Brothers, of Dory Funk Jr., of Terry Funk the man that will never die....

And the REAL Nature Boy Buddy Rogers up stairs tonight. From the Harley Races, to the Barry Whindams, to the..................

Ric Flairs.

I accept this heavywieght title......

Wait a second...

Wait a second...

Of Kerry Von Erick, of the fat man himself Dusty Rhodes......

This is it tonight dad.

God this belt is beautiful.

...And Rick Steamboat.....



...And they can all KISS MY ASS!!!


BECAUSE, I AM NOT THE MAN THAT ACCEPTS THE TORCH TO BE HANDED DOWN TO ME FROM AN ORGINIZATION THAT DIED, R.I.P, 7 YEARS AGO!

THE FRANCHISE, SHANE DOUGLAS IS THE MAN WHO IGNITES THE NEW FLAME OF THE SPORT OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING.

TONIGHT, BEFORE GOD AND MY FATHER AS WITNESSES I DECLARE MYSELF "THE FRANCHISE", as THE NEW ECW HEAVYWIEGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!

We have set out to change the face of professional wrestling. So tonight, let the new era begin. The era of THE SPORT of professional wrestling, the era of The Franchise, the era of the ECW!
That was the original pipe bomb. May not seem like much now, but it was a big deal back then.

The major consensus is that Paul Heyman, Todd Gordon, and Shane Douglas were the only ones who knew about this shoot. Evidence says otherwise. Ring announce Bob Artese has been quoted that he knew it was coming, and was even told to grab the NWA belt as soon as Shane threw it down. I personally believe all of this was a work, and that Corroluzo was in on it. Dennis Corulluzo's comments after the event are seen in The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary, and what he says is incredibly like a wrestling promo.

I believe that Gordon and Heyman convinced Corroluzo to go along with this in return for an ECW vs NWA storyline. The work came when they never delivered on their promise to Corroluzo.

ECW was officially done with NWA, and the next day they were officailly changed from Eastern Championship Wrestling to Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Many don't know that Paul Heyman actaully considered changing it to Extreme Combat Worldwide, to further distance themselves from traditional wrestling, but at the end of the day he felt like was a bad move.

I'm going to skip through the first couple of shows of Extreme Championship Wrestling, and pick up at their first big show of 1995, Double Tables. You'll notice that the promotion never stopped improving, and that they did in fact do what Shane said they would do.

Here are the results of the shows that I will be skipping:

[spoiler]
Quote:
August 13, 1994--Hardcore Heaven in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Chad Austin b Tommy Cairo, Hack Meyers b Rockin' Rebel, Jason Knight b Mikey Whipwreck to win the ECW Television title, The Tazmaniac & Jimmy Snuka b The Pitbulls (#1 & #2), 911 b Mr. Hughes, Sandman b Tommy Dreamer by DQ in a "Singapore Cane" match, Sabu b Too Cold Scorpio, Cactus Jack vs Terry Funk ended in a NO CONTEST..


August 27, 1994--NWA World Title Tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Too Cold Scorpio b Chris Benoit, 911 b Doink (Matt Borne), Dean Malenko b Osamu Nishimura by Submission, Shane Douglas b The Tazmaniac, Too Cold Scorpio b 911 by Count Out, Shane Douglas b Dean Malenko, Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck b The Public Enemy to win the ECW Tag Team titles, Shane Douglas b Too Cold Scorpio to win the NWA World title (Shane Douglas threw down the NWA title belt after the match and proclaimed himself the EXTREME Championship Wrestling World Champion, kicking off the "Era of Extreme")..
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern Championship Wrestling becomes Extreme Championship Wrestling


November 5, 1994--November to Remember in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: JT Smith b Hack Meyers, The Pitbulls (#1 & #2) b Axl & Ian Rotten, Too Cold Scorpio b Mr. Hughes, Tommy Dreamer b Tommy Cairo by KNOCK OUT, Dean Malenko b The Tazmaniac, Shane Douglas b Ron Simmons to retain the Television title, The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) b Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck to win the ECW Tag Team titles, Chris Benoit vs Sabu ended in a NO CONTEST when Benoit "broke" Sabu's neck, Chris Benoit vs Too Cold Scorpio ended in a DOUBLE COUNT OUT..


December 17, 1994--Holiday Hell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at ECW Arena: Stevie Richards b JT Smith, Dean Malenko b Ray Odyssey, Chris Benoit b Hack Myers, 911 b The Pitbulls (#1 & #2) in a "Handicap" match, Mikey Whipwreck b Don E. Allen, Tommy Dreamer & Cactus Jack b Tommy Cairo & Sandman, Shane Douglas b Ron Simmons to retain the ECW World Heavyweight title, The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) b Sabu & Taz to retain the ECW Tag Team titles.
[/spoiler]

And these are the end of the year awards the ECW won from Wrestling Observer Newsletter for 1994:

Best Technical Wrestler: Chris Benoit(also wrestled in Japan)
Best Brawler: Cactus Jack(also wrestled in WCW)
Best Weekly Television Show: Hardcore TV
Rookie Of The year: Mikey Whipreck
Best Television Announcer: Joey Styles
Best Booker: Paul Heyman
Readers Favorite Wrestler: Sabu(previously won by Ric Flair for 10 years prior)
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Old 12-15-2012, 03:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Raven


In January of 1995, on the very first episode of ECW Hardcore TV, a new character was introduced that would become the center of all the major storylines in ECW for the next two and a half years.

Tommy Dreamer was a wrestler that the ECW was trying to push as their ultra clean, poster boy baby face. Just one problem though. The crowd hated him early on. The fans just didn't like the way the character looked, or his old school baby face antics. It wasn't until Dreamer fueded with The Sandman in 1994 that the crowd finally accepted Dreamer. Dreamer lost a Loser Gets Caned match to The Sandman, and refused to back down when it came time for him to take his licks. The stipulation was that Dreamer could stop the caning at anytime by getting down on his knees, and kissing the feet of The Sandman's manager at the time(the late Nancy "Woman" Benoit). Dreamer refused, and took so many shots from the cane that his back began bleeding from the welts. Dreamer's toughness finally won the crowd over.



After feuding with The Sandman, Dreamer began a feud against the young Stevie Richards. In late 1994 Stevie Richards began calling himself by different knicknames based on the previous characters of one Scot Levy. Richards began calling himself Stevie "The Body", Stevie "Flamingo", and Stevie "Polo" based on Raven's Scotty The Body, Scotty Flamingo, and Johnny Polo characters in Continental Wrestling Association, WCW, and WWF. On the January 7th episode of Hardcore TV Stevie Richards came out to an interview with Joey Styles with a pink Scotty Flamingo jacket like the one Raven used to wear in WCW. Styles told Richards that he had been at the Arena all day, and that he did not see Johnny Polo in the building like Stevie had promised last week. Richards responded by telling Styles that this was the biggest day in the history of Extreme Championship Wrestling, and introduced "The Birth" of Raven.



Raven was a character that was crafted by Scott Levy himself. Levy started wrestling in 1988 in Memphis' Continental Wrestling Association with Eddie Gilbert. He went on to have brief stints in WCW and WWF with really goofy gimmicks. In WCW he was a florida surfer, and in WWF he was a rich spoiled snob that was relegated to managerial duties(was Adam Bomb's manager).

Levy crafted the Raven character after Patrick Swayze's "Bohdi" character in the film Point Break.



Throughout January of 1995 Raven was pushed in ECW through some edgy highlight videos mixed in with the music video for Offspring's "Come Out And Play". Raven would also cut promo's in dark boiler room type settings, and school classrooms vaguely taunting Tommy Dreamer about their childhood.

The ECW continued to improve and break new ground with the introduction of the Raven character at the very beginning of 1995. There weren't any characters in pro wrestling like Raven in WWF or WCW. He was just more down to earth and dare I say....Realistic?

Quote:
The pain and suffering of a childhood lost. An empty swing, an empty promise, a broken dream, a broken home. It's strange how laughter looks like crying......with no sound, and raindrops taste like tears.....without the pain.

Tommy Dreamer, you will relive the turmoil and anguish of an uncertain youth....

Quoth the Raven, nevermore.

-Raven, ECW Hardcore TV January 1995
The next show we will take a look at is the first big supercard for the ECW in 1995, the February 4th "Double Tables" show. The format at this time for ECW is that they would typically take a show like Double Tables, and cut it up for several weeks worth of their weekly Hardcore TV episodes. These supercards were pretty much their pay per views in 1995, but at the same time these would be what you seen on the weekly show(with extra promos and music videos mixed in).
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Extreme Championship Wrestling
Double Tables

February 4th 1995
ECW Arena
Philadelphia, PA


This show is part of a trilogy of shows for the ECW where you can see the progression as a promotion. The company continued to improve starting with The Night The Line Was Crossed up throughout 1994. The first 3 shows of 1995 would see the company transform into a beast, starting with Double Tables.

The month of January 1995 was a busy month for the ECW. One of the major storylines going into this show was Shane Douglas steady trashtalking towards both Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen. Douglas would disrespect Flair every chance he would get. It was always "Flair can kiss my ass", or "Fuck Ric Flair", and he was always holding the four finger Horsemen hand sign upside down as a gesture of disrespect towards the legendary group(which Joey Styles would talk about how much he was a fan of them during the shows). In early January ECW ran an angle on one of the episodes of Hardcore TV where Joey Styles introduced a envelope at the beginning of the show. Within the envelope contained Shane Douglas' next opponent. Styles teased viewers throughout the show saying that the wrestler was not currently employed by ECW. At the end of the show Styles opened up the envelope to reveal former Horseman Tully Blanchard to be Douglas' next opponent. The angle was that Blanchard had come to ECW to get revenge on Douglas for the things he had said about Flair.

In the weeks prior to this show Shane Douglas was coming off of a fued against Ron Simmons over the World Title. Douglas formed the first incarnation of The Triple Threat with Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit as kind of like a newer, better version of The Four Horsemen. Two weeks before Double Tables Tully Blanchard attacked Shane Douglas after a match against Ron Simmons. Blanchard beat Douglas pretty badly until Malenko & Benoit came running to his rescue. Blanchard was beaten down like a dog.



Joey Styles kicks the show off with an interview with "The Self Proclaimed Sexiest Man on Earth" Jason. This is the same guy that managed Justin Credible in later years.

Jason brings out his tag team, The Pit Bulls. The Pit Bulls come out to White Zombie's "Thunderkiss 65", which is just awesome, and it fits them really well.

Jason then brings out Jason The Terrible, a Jason Voorhees gimmick wrestler with a hockey mask.

The Pit Bulls & Jason The Terrible vs The Young Dragons & Hack Myers

The Pit Bulls were really big intense guys, and quite an underrated tag team in my opinion. They were getting a pretty good push in early 1995. Jason The Terrible is a guy that dresses up like Jason Voorhees. I've seen some matches of his in FMW that weren't really that bad. He isn't very good though. As for the Young Dragons I'm pretty sure this is Mikey Whipreck and Paul Lauria in disguise. They are wearing karate gi's with wierd Japanese style masks.

Not much to write about in this one. Myers gets a pretty good reaction from the fans. He would always let out a "Shah!" whenever he would throw a punch or a kick, and the crowd started to go along with it. Myers would go on to be like a Hacksaw Jim Duggan type of babyface, and it kind of started in this match.

Myers partners The Young Dragons disappear later on in the match leaving him to go it alone 3 on 1. Myers gets overwhelmed eventually, and pinned by Jason The Terrible after nearly 8 minutes.

3/10

Nothing special here. Not a bad 6 man tag match, but definitely not a good one. An interesting booking decision because it further elevated Hack Myers even though he lost. The fans got emotionally attached to this character pretty much because he was a loser. The Pit Bulls worked the match pretty stiff, and looked like strong, powerful monsters. This was Jason Voorhees one and only ECW appearance if I'm not mistaken.

The Young Dragons come back out for some reason, and get beaten down by Hack Myers as Jason tries to cut an interview with The Pit Bulls. Myers takes out The Pit Bulls with a steel chair, and then takes Jason into the ring. Myers kicks Jason's ass.

Some woman comes out in a white wedding dress, and pushes Myers around a bit. Suddenly Myers hits the woman in the face with a punch, and bends her over his knee for a spanking.

She gets up off the ground smiling, and starts to kiss Hack Myers. What the fuck?!

Myers kicks her in the stomach, and gives her a piledriver. Wow. I was going to give this segment/match a 5 until I seen this garbage aftermath.

Tommy Dreamer vs Stevie Richards

Stevie comes out in a Scotty Flamingo outfit. Pink Jacket with pink tassles hanging off. Stevie is accompanied to the ring with Raven.

Dreamer comes out to "Evenflow" by Pearl Jam. The crowd absolutely loves Tommy Dreamer here. He looks weird not seeing him in his black pants/ECW shirt outfit. He is wearing a red ECW shirt with cutoff sleaves, and some short tights with knee pads.

The ring announcer announces Raven being from "The Bowery", whatever the hell that is. Most of the fans cheer Dreamer, but there are a small handful of boo's, and even a small chant of "Dreamer Sucks". This is the first time Dreamer & Raven were ever in the ECW Arena together at the same time. Up to this point the fued has only consisted of Raven's brief, vague promos. Stevie knocks Dreamer out of the ring, and nails him with a chair shot, and a Super Kick. Richards pulls Dreamer's ECW shirt off, and puts it on for a Shawn Michaels type of pose in the ring.

Dreamer regains momentum of the match with some devestating moves. He takes his shirt off of Richards, and puts it back on. Dreamer takes it back outside, and gives Richards a chair shot to the back. The match gets fun when Dreamer slams Richards' face first into a chair held up by one of the fans at ringside. The crowd really starts to get into the match.

Somebody in the crowd hands Dreamer one of those candy necklaces to use to strangle Richards with.:

Dreamer gets a frying pan from the crowd, and busts Richards over the head with it. Dreamer then takes the match into the ring, and busts him in the nuts with the frying pan. I'm looking closer into this crowd and seeing all kinds of crazy weapons in everyone's hands. Stop signs, kitchenware, etc.

Dreamer counters a hip toss into a DDT, and the crowd goes crazy for him. Richards kicks out of several pin attempts from Dreamer. Raven eventually gets in the ring, and holds Dreamer from behind for Richards.

Stevie nails Tommy Dreamer in the face with a Super Kick while being held from behind by Raven. Richards pulls Dreamer back up for another Super Kick, but Dreamer ducks underneath it. Tommy hits Richards in the groin, and rolls him up for the pin. Raven gets back in the ring, and takes off his flannel. Richards and the ref hold Raven back as Dreamer stands in the center of the ring telling him to bring it. Raven backs off, and gets out of the ring to make his exit.

The crowd starts a "PUSSY!" chant as Dreamer leads them on.

Dreamer gets a microphone and tells Raven to go back to the WWF, and when he does to tell everyone to kiss our ass! The entire arena pops loud for that. Biggest pop of the night so far.

Dreamer then starts an E! C! DUB! chant, and climbs into the audience to lead them on. Awesome moment.

7/10

Hard to find much wrong with this one. Nothing spectacular in the ring. They botched a few times, and there were times when they weren't sure what to do next. Just a fun little brawl while it lasted. The finish wasn't bad, and we got a tease of our first fight between Raven and Dreamer.

The aftermath was a preview of things to come for Tommy Dreamer, and one of those moments where you could see him well on his way to becoming The Peoples Champion of the ECW.

Mikey Whipreck vs Paul Lauria

The buildup to this match came off of Whipreck's Rookie Of The Year award from 1994 Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Lauria was a former tag team partner of Whipreck's apparently, and appeared at one of the January 95 Hardcore TV shows to congratulate Whipreck on his award. Lauria attacked Whipreck, and announced that he was working for Jason(who had been fueding with Mikey throughout late 94).

Pretty good fast paced cruiserwieght wrestling going on early on. Lauria is a surprisingly good worker here. I've never hear of him outside of this fued. Things get sloppy later on in the match when Mikey botches a head scissor takedown. No protective mats on the floors here, just cold, hard concrete. Whipreck takes pretty stiff bump on the concrete, and Jason gets involved. Jason gives Whipreck a kick to the face on the ouside followed by a back body drop down to the unprotected floor.

Lauria spikes a chair down into Whipreck's face, and accidentally hits him too hard on the chin. Whipreck starts bleeding from his chin. He's lucky he still has all of his teeth. Wow!

Mikey lands a Bulldog off of the top, but Jason pulls him off of the pin to the outside of the ring. Whipreck is bleeding pretty good from his chin. Whipreck floors Jason with a punch.

Whipreck reverses a pin attempt to win the match.

Really not a bad match at all.

6.5/10

It had some sloppy moments, but overall was a nice paced well wrestled match with some good action.

Ian Rotten vs Axle Rotten

The background to this one is that these two were a tag team going back to Paul Heyman's first show(Ultraclash). Behind the scenes Axle Rotten was requesting a chance to wrestle single from Paul Heyman, who granted his wishes. The team was broken up the week prior to this show in a "Loser Splits Up" match against The Pit Bulls.

The two "brothers" began fighting each other after the match, kickstarting arguably the goriest, bloodiest fued in ECW history.

Over the course of the next couple of shows this fued would bring over some of that over the top gore that was commonplace in Japanese FMW shows. Axle and Ian Rotten helped put the Extreme in Extreme Championship Wrestling with this feud.

The match starts off very quickly when Axle storms out of the back, and is met in the isle by Ian. They immediately begin brawling around the ring. Axle beats on Ian with the stop sign I spotted in the crowd earlier. He then busts him in the head with a chair, and Ian doesn't even attempt to hide blading himself. Just right out in the open where everyone can see it. They take the brawl out in the crowd. Its just a real fast paced, violent brawl going on here. Ian is busted open pretty good. The pace finally slows up a bit, and the blood is pouring down Ian's face. Ian takes the momentum of the match, and is doing a good job of putting some emotion into the match.

Ahhh, more frying pans.: I'm hungry for eggs all of a sudden.

They continue to beat the shit out of each other until they finally make their way back into the ring. Ian is a bloody mess. Kind of disgusting really. Axle jabs Ian in the face with the hammer they use to ring the bell. I don't think I've seen a single wrestling move used so far in this match. Just kicks, punches, and weapons. Oh, just when I say something Ian throws a dropkick. Ian is even bleeding from one of his arms somehow. Did he blade his arm? Wow.

More stiff chair shots from Axle as they continue to just beat the shit out of each other. Ian rolls into the ring, and begs for mercy. Axle just continues to bash him in. Ian trips Axle down, and pins him by holding his legs on the ropes. Axle just keeps on beating on him with chairs.

4/10

Oh man this was just bad. The crowd was all into it, but it was pretty much just a bunch of shit. The Axle vs Ian fued was what gave the ECW it's Extreme reputation in the early days, but looking back on the matches now you kind of wonder what was so great about them. I think a lot of it was the unbelievable photographs in the magazines back in the day. One positive I can say about it is the emotions Axle & Ian put into the match. They did give it a heated, emotional brother vs brother type of vibe, which helped it out a lot.

Chris Benoit vs Al Snow

Ah, some real wrestling. This is the gem of the tape right here.

Al Snow had just made his ECW debut in a previous episode of Hardcore TV in January of 95 where he wrestled a pretty good clean technical match. Snow's wrestling abilities are quite underrated in my opinion, especially his early days.

Benoit was coming off of his match with Sabu at November To Remember 94, where Sabu botched a move that injured his neck. ECW pushed the incident as if Benoit broke Sabu's neck on purpose, and gave him his "Crippler" persona. Benoit and Dean Malenko were regular tag partners at this time, and had just been recruited by Shane Douglas into a faction named The Triple Threat.

Joey Styles talks about Al Snow helping Dan Severn train for his performance in UFC 4 which was in December of 1994. Snow was indeed in his corner at that tournament, where Severn dominated his way to the finals where he took then UFC champion Royce Gracie into the longest fight of his career before being tapped out to the very first ever Traingle Choke in UFC history.

Very good opening grappling exchange. Some fluid wrestling here.

They go through the Test Of Strengh before going into a series of rolling pinfall attempts.

Just some really solid sequences so far in this match. A good back and forth match. Joey keeps selling how dangerous Benoit is. Benoit destroys Snow's chest with some nasty chest chops. Really loud.

Quote:
There has been more wrestling...Wrestling in this match in the last 5 minutes than I have seen on pay per view in the last 5 years.

-Joey Styles
The fans are more behind this match than any of the previous ones. Al Snow gets a standing ovation.

Al Snow misses a missile dropkick, and gets a German Suplex for his troubles. The pace has slowed down quite a bit. Benoit nearly takes Snow's head off with a nasty lariat. Snow lays motionless of the mats for a moment as Benoit taunts him. Snow slowly drags himself up only to get slammed back down.

Snow is selling all of Benoit's offense beautifully.

Benoit keeps the pace slow, and continues to beat down on Snow, who sells everything like a real pro. Benoit looks down on Snow trying to recover with pity.

Benoit goes up top, and lands an amazing flying headbutt nearly all the way across the ring.

Snow continues to get dominated, but continues to kick out of pinfalls, even after a powerbomb.

Benoit's snap suplex was always amazing. He does a real good one here in this match, seemingly putting Snow away for good. Benoit lands another nice German Suplex with a bridging pin attempt, and Snow continues to frustrate Benoit by kicking out.

Benoit is the heel in the match, but he gets a lot of respect from most of the crowd just because of how good he is. Snow was getting a lot of love as well. There really wasn't a good guy or bad guy in this match as far as the crowd was concerned. They just wanted to see a good match, and that was one of the things I always really like about ECW. The crowd set a really good atmosphere, comparable to the respectful crowds of Pride Fighting Championships MMA in Japan.

Snow starts to come back with a couple of reversals that look awesome. These two guys had a good chemistry and rythm working together here. Very nice. Both of them get back up at the same time, and Snow takes the momentum after a stiff lariat.

Snow gets a Back Body Drop, Super Kick, and a Fisherman Suplex on Benoit, but can't get the pinfall. Benoit gets a reversal for a release German Suplex. Snow beats him up to the feet, and attempts a move, but gets reversed into a Full Nelson "Dragon" Suplex with a bridge for the pinfall.

Excellent match.

Benoit gives Snow some powerbombs after the match to get some heat. Snow has to be carted out of the ring in a neckbrace and on a stretcher. They were really pushing "The Crippler" angle with Chris Benoit. Something that I forgot to mention was that he also kayfabe injured Hack Myers and Ron Simmons in matches in late 94 after the Sabu incident.

8.3/10

Hands down the best ECW match I've reviewed so far. This is probobly one of the more underrated matches in ECW history.

To me one of the biggest misconceptions about pro wrestling was that ECW was all about blood, guts, violence, and hardcore garbage wrestling. This was just not true. This match is one of the many, many obscure rarely seen matches that proves that notion wrong.

ECW World Heavyweight Championship
Shane Douglas(C) vs Tully Blanchard


Oddly enough Shane Douglas is playing the heel in this storyline, and Blanchard is playing a face.

Blanchard competed in one of my all time favorite matches in his I Quit match against Magnum T.A. Incredible match, but I digress.

Blanchard starts off looking really good. One of the things Blanchard always did really well was make a match look like a fight. He does a really good job of that in this match.

Really good pace here. Solid match right from the start. Blanchard looks really, really good with his offense. Douglas's selling makes it look even better.

The match goes to the outside, and OH SHIT! Douglas vertical suplexes Blanchard through the timekeepers table!

The match turns into a sloppy brawl on the outside.

I don't know if Blanchard just got tired, or if the table bump hurt him, or perhaps the combination of both, but this match goes downhill fast. They just kind of sloppily brawl in and out of the ring at a real slow, boring pace.

Blanchard tries to suplex Douglas into the ring off of the apron, but Douglas reverses it on the way in for a pinfall.

5.5/10

They had something good going on early. They should have just worked a clean match. It probably would have been much better. Just a short, kind of boring match overall.

Texas Death Match
The Sandman vs Cactus Jack


Not much of a backstory to this one. Cactus was settling in after being released from WCW, and pretty much putting The Sandman over in this series of matches.

Standard Texas Death Match rules here. You get 10 seconds to get up after a pinfall.

Sandman comes out with Nancy Benoit. He has a pretty fat gut. Cactus attacks him in the entrance isle, and the brawl is on!

Cactus lands 3 stiff unprotected chair shots on Sandman. Sandman doesn't stick a hand up in the way or nothing. Cactus gets a pin, but Sandman gets back up immediately for 2 more unprotected shots. Cactus gets another pinfall.

The Sandman gets up at 6. Cactus gets a frying pan:. He breaks it over Sandman's head. Sandman is just dazed standing there in la-la land with brain damage. Holy shit.

They send each other into the steel guardrail several times before re-entering the ring. A sloppy brawl ensues until Cactus takes it back outside.

Pretty slow paced, sloppy brawl, but I've seen much worse. Sandman works over Cactus' knee for a while. Nancy even takes a shot at it with the Singapore Cane.

Sandman takes it to Cactus with a piledriver and a DDT on a steel chair to get his first pinfall.

Cactus gets up at 4. This is just a brutal brawl. These guys had this stuff down to an artform. They did a good job of making this look like a brutal, grueling brawl.

Cactus gets the Singapore cane, and cracks The Sandman in the face 5 times.

Cactus knocks Sandman out of the ring to the concrete, and hits him with a diving elbow off of the apron with a chair in his arms. Cactus then gets back up on the apron, and throws the chair down into the Sandman's head as he tries to get up. Cactus follows up with another dive off of the apron down onto the concrete. Jesus.

Cactus gets a pinfall. Sandman gets right back up to keep fighting. Holy shit.

Cactus gets another pinfall after a DDT to the concret, and the Sandman keeps getting back up!

Another DDT on the concete for yet another pinfall. Sandman gets up again.

A third DDT on the concrete for another pinfall. This one does the trick, and the Sandman finally stays down. Cactus gets the win, but damn!

8/10

If you can get past the sloppy brawling and see this for what it is, and for what these guys were trying to make it look like they really did a very good job.

Very brutal match. Both of these guys at their best. Some good selling and psychology believe it or not.

Double Tables Match For The ECW World Tag Team Championship
The Public Enemy(C) vs Sabu & The Tazmaniac


Rocco Rock gets a microphone saying something about computer internet nerds. They had Internet in February of 1995? Wow.

Taz immediately with the beautiful suplexes. Taz is still playing the cartoony Tasmaniac gimmick here, but I'm going to call him Taz.

Sabu brawls with Johnny Grunge on the outside. He lands a suicide plancha through the ropes onto a seated Johnny Grunge. Taz and Rocco Rock brawl to the back of the arena. Taz gets a broomstick to use across Rock's back.

Sabu and Grunge go off into the crowd. Another fucking frying pan! This one is still wrapped in cellophane.:

Two separate brawls going on in the arena, both of them really sloppy.

Taz lands another nice overhead belly to belly suplex as Sabu lands his "Air Sabu" onto the other guy in the corner.

Public Enemy bring in the tables.

Sabu puts a chair up on the top rope, and tries to put Rocco Rock through a table, but the table doesn't break.

Sabu and Taz do something awesome. Taz suplexes Sabu onto Rocco Rock. You don't see that often.

Johnny Grunge tries to Moonsault Taz through a table, but Taz gets up, and suplexes him through it.

Rocco Rock puts Sabu through a table with a somersault off the top.

Pretty interesting concept for a tag match. More interesting than a regular tables match. A double tables match is more like a 2/3 falls match.

Sabu drops a guillatine leg drop off the top rope putting Rocco Rock through the table for the win.

NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!

The Public Enemy fight with Sabu & Taz after the match. Sabu arranges the tables in the ring with one up on the top rope, and one underneath it on the mat. Sabu puts a chair up on top of the table on the top rope!

Chris Benoit comes out.

Benoit powerbombs Sabu off of the table on top through Rocco Rock on the table below.

OH MY GOD!

6.7/10

Not bad, but not great. Could have been much better. Just a bit too sloppy and spread out.

After the match we get a classic Chris Benoit promo. The camera's focus in on his hands as he rubs them together talking about Sabu and Taz. Benoit says that they will learn what pain and humility is all about, and says that he and Dean Malenko are the future tag team champions. Pretty good promo.

Overall: 6.2/10

Really not a bad show. 2 real good matches, and a couple of ok matches. This event had some great moments, but it also had it's fair share of shit. The one thing to consider when judging this tape is what else was going on at this time in WWF and WCW. Also, the constant improvement of the ECW. They never really stopped getting better up to a point. This show was much better than anything I've reviewed yet, and the shows would just continue to get better.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
Learning to break kayfabe
 
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

The Evolution Of A Franchise


The Double Tables show that I last reviewed was cut up and aired in pieces over the next 3 weeks on ECW Hardcore TV leading up to the next show that I will be reviewing, Return of the Funker. On the February 21st episode, the first half of the show consisted of a 25 minute long promo with Shane Douglas entitled "The Evolution of a Franchise". Through the promo Douglas talked about his career as highlights of him played on from his early fued with Terry Funk in 1994 to his tossing of the NWA belt. Douglas got to a point in the promo where he pretty much did a shoot on why he hated Ric Flair.

Quote:
At WWF I was just on the verge of exploding into greatness when my father became terminally ill. When I burst back on the scene in WCW, I became the worlds tag team champion alongside Ricky Steamboat. And it was something that was made possible by the fact that Ric Flair was not in WCW, now let me explain. Has nothing to with me ever backing down from Ric Flair, or that Flair was a better man.

But Ric Flair, for just a minute I'm going to look into the camera. Because I'm tired of talking to the announcer over here, and I'm going to talk to you.

You see Ric Flair, as long as you were in WCW. As long as you were the political force there that you had always been, Shane Douglas was never going to get a fair shake. Everybody told you about it Ric Flair.

From the front office.

From Steamboat.

Even your own Four Horseman, Arn Anderson and JJ Dillon looked at you and said, "This is the kid", "This is the guy that we got to pass the torch to", "He is the next great athlete", "He is the next Nature Boy", "He is the next Bruno Sammartino", and Ric Flair like a coward, you took a pencil from behind your ear, and with that eraser, and that political power that you had because you kissed Ted Turner's rear end, You erased my name off of all the great matches, and instead the world saw Shane Douglas, a great athlete in the making, relegated to opening card matches, relegated to a fiasco in a ring with Jim Cornette, when I should have been wrestling you Ric Flair. When You should have been teaching me exactly how it was to be a worlds heavywieght champion.

You should have been teaching what it took to be a worlds heavywieght champion Ric Flair.

And so now let me answer once and for all the question. The burning, eternal question in this sport. The sheets have asked it. The magazines have asked it, and I know you've thought about it day in and day out.

Is Shane Douglas really talking the truth?

Does he really hate my guts as much as I think he does?

Does he really abhor the things that I've done as much as he says he does?

Well Ric Flair, I can look at you through this camera tonight. I can't look you in the eye man to man, because you ain't man enough to face me, but I'll say it once and for all and for the last time.

Ric Flair, I hate your guts. I hate everything you stand for, and worse than that I hate everything you've done to this sport. You've made my job that much harder as a "Franchise" in this industry to get this sport back to the level it once was. Back into the condition it was handed to you in, as a thriving, invigorated sport capable of putting people in the seats.

And instead Ric Flair, you handed me a dead horse. You didn't hand it to me, I took it from you. A dead horse that we are resurrecting, and I am in the process of doing that, and it ain't easy. Whenever I turn on and see Hulk Hogan stuffing handkerchiefs in your face, an entertainer.

Ric Flair, you don't have to face me, but for the rest of you stinking life. Every single time you look in the mirror, everytime you turn on the tv for a wrestling match, every time you hear a bell, whether it's a doorbell or a bell signifying the start of a match. Your going to think of one thing. Could I have taken Shane Douglas in my prime? Could I have defeated the Franchise?

And Ric Flair, I'll tell you now, for the rest of your life, the answer will always be no. I don't have what it takes to defeat the Franchise.

Ric Flair, stay in retirement, because this sport belongs to me now.
The thing that stands out about this promo, and something that stood out in the last show I reviewed with the beginning of the Raven/Dreamer fued, ECW was using an anti WWF/WCW stance to build and develope their main characters. In the Dreamer vs Stevie Richards match on the last show I reviewed it was like Raven & Richards were invading WWF wrestlers. Stevie Richards ripped Tommy Dreamer's ECW shirt off, put it on, and did an HBK pose in the center of the ring. Tommy Dreamer took the shirt back off, defeated Richards, and told Raven to go back to the WWF to tell them to kiss the ECW's ass. When Dreamer started the ECW chant after saying that It was really the beginning of Tommy Dreamer becoming the ECW peoples champion. It was "That Moment", similar to when DDP became the WCW peoples champion.



Something similar here with this Shane Douglas promo. Something else that I realized was that this promo was eerily similar to Steve Austin's promo's later on in the year when he would come over after being fired from WCW. It was becoming clearer with this promo that at the core of "The Franchise" character was a bitter, disgruntled worker that was sick of being done wrong by the politics in pro wrestling. At the core of the "Stone Cold" character that was really the same thing.

Shane Douglas is coming off of a victory over former Four Horseman Tully Blanchard at the last ECW show, and was in the process of forming his own Horseman type of stable with Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko called The Triple Threat. Douglas was still the ECW World Champion at this time, and was set to defend his title at the next show I will be reviewing against former WWF Intercontinental champion Marty Jannety.

Also something to note. Flair's generation really did hand down a dead horse to the next generation. In 1993-94-95 the sport was really at an all time low as far as ratings/ticket sales are concerned. It wasn't really until the Monday Night Wars/NWO that the business really started to pick back up. Me personally, I think ECW had some influence on what brought pro wrestling out of the sad state that it was in from 93 to 95, so in a way Shane Douglas was really speaking a bit of truth here.
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