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Old 01-27-2013, 10:42 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Extreme Championship Wrestling
Holiday Hell

December 29th 1995
Lost Battalion Hall
Queens, NY


Well, here we are. The final ECW show of 1995. It's interesting to note that the last show of 95 is the first Extreme show we will be looking at that was not taped in the ECW Arena. This show was part of the ECW "Holiday Hell Tour" where they packed up like a carnival and took ECW on the road around the Tri States area. Steve Austin was scheduled to appear on this show wrestling The Sandman in a rematch for the World Title, but he was signed by the WWE just a week or two prior. Austin would go on to debut in the WWE as The Ringmaster a few weeks after this show at WWF Royal Rumble 96.

So at this show we get the debut of the new heel Taz, the next chapter of the Dreamer vs Raven saga, one of Public Enemy's final ECW matches, and a dream matchup main event between Sabu(who had just come back to ECW a month prior) and Cactus Jack. Lets take a look at how ECW does outside of the friendly confines of the ECW Arena.

Just a quick note before we get started. This is one of the Delta Region 0 DVD's that has all of the orginal music edited out.:verysad:

We open the show with a skyline shot of New York City with the Twin Towers and all. This is ECW's official New York City debut.

The show cuts to the fans standing out in line to get into the show chanting E! C! DUB!.

We get the Hardcore TV intro to kick it off. No White Zombie, we get the original ECW theme by Harry Slash & The Slashtones, which is cool I guess. I prefer White Zombie though.

Joey Styles opens the show in the middle of the ring, saying that New York City is ready to take it to the extreme. Pretty cruddy looking venue. I see basketball boards in the background.

Out comes Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie.

Stevie tells his lackey to stay out of his way so he can get the TV time. Stevie tells Joey that everybody in NYC is there to see "Dancin" Stevie Richards "The Original King of Swing". :

Stevie starts insulting the fans in the crowd when suddenly he finds......Missy Hyatt!?:stalker:



Stevie and Joey go down to the ringside area to talk to Missy. Stevie tries to take Missy to the backstage, but he gets turned down. Stevie tells Missy that he can take her to meet Raven. Missy gives Stevie a big ole wet kiss, and tells him to take that to Raven.

Taz vs Yuji Nakagawa

The wonderful Mr. Joel Gertner is the ring announcer for tonight's event.

Nakagawa is apparently from FMW. Mid size Japanese guy in fairly decent shape. Taz made his return from the neck injury at a show prior to this one in December of 95 in a brutal squash match against El Puerto Ricano. One of the suplexes in that match would live on in the intro videos to Hardcore TV for years. This is his hometown though, Queens Ny.

Taz comes out with Bill Alphonso. This venue is a shit hole, but it sets a pretty cool little atmosphere. You can see a window in the background with a busy NY street outside lit up with headlights speeding by. The crowd is just as rowdy as the ECW Arena bunch. I don't see any of the Philly regulars in the crowd. Gertner introduces Taz as the Human Suplex Machine. Bill Alphonso goes up to Nakagawa and slaps him on the face. Fonzie quickly gets out of the ring like a little bitch:. His antics crack me up to no end. Nakagawa smacks Taz in the face and they immediately lock up in a collar and elbow to get it started.

They go through a pretty smooth looking grappling exchange when all of a sudden Taz throws the guy over his head with a sweet German. Taz no sells the guys punches and a dropkick. Belly to Belly Tazplex. Head and Arm Tazplex looks like it kills the guy. Really dangerous looking move. I don't think we ever got to see him do that move in the WWE.

Taz throws the guy like a ragdoll with a Half Nelson Tazplex. Oh the brutality!

Tazmission for the win after about 3 minutes. Nakagawa taps out. The Tazmission looks like something Royce Gracie would lock you in. He locks his legs around his opponent in what I call a Body Triangle, then he chokes them with a weird hold, using their own arm to apply pressure to their throat. Really cool looking submission.

Taz refuses to break the hold until Bill Alphonso comes into the ring to say it's ok. That is some strait up Gracie shit right there.: I love it.

Was anybody else "Tapping Out" their opponents in 1996? I certainly don't remember it happening in North America during my time as a fan. Guys were tapping out left and right in MMA during this time. Guys like Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock were tapping their opponents out on a consistent basis in the UFC in 1995. Ken Shamrock was on top of the UFC at this time. Dan Severn won a tournament of champions at the UFC Ultimate Ultimate '95 pay per view just two weeks prior to this show. Severn tapped out Paul Varelans in the first round of the tournament with an Arm Triangle Choke. Severn would go on to defeat Tank Abbott and Oleg Taktarov in the same evening to win the tournament. Not a lot of people remember, but UFC was actually doing pretty well at this time in 1995. They had built guys like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn into bonafide PPV draws. This was just before the US government would crack down on MMA, practically outlawing it for a short period of time, so the UFC was actually doing pretty well. We were starting to see it's influence on pro wrestling for the first time really in North America with Taz tapping his opponents out. His overall character and personality just screamed "Shoot Fighter", especially with his coach Bill Alphonso by his side. This was something they would continue to push further with Taz through 1996.

Bill Alphonso gets the microphone after the match. Fonzie says that Taz is a wrestling machine that nobody can beat. Nobody in Queens, nobody in the WWF, nobody in WCW. Nobody! Something about Fonzie on the microphone that I really like. The dude just cracks me up for some reason.

Taz gets the microphone.

The crowd begins chanting Sabu.

Taz tells everyone to shut their mouths. He tells the crowd that Sabu is scared of him because he knows he will fold him in half as the segment comes to an end.

7/10

The was a pretty damn good squash match. Taz was still developing this character, so it was a bit rough around the edges, but the attitude was there. Some brutal suplexes. The Head and Arm Suplex has got to be one of the more dangerous pro wrestling moves you can do. You could see that Taz had a lot of real power due to his short, stocky stature. Guys with that type of build just always have freakish power due to that low center of gravity. The interesting thing here was that Taz vs Sabu was what the ECW fans wanted from day 1, ever since Taz turned heel and Sabu returned from WCW(on the same show), it's what they've been calling for. Taz and Sabu have given them no reason to chant like they do, they just start chanting Sabu whenever Taz is out doing his thing so far at both of these shows I've looked at. Heyman would build it up really slowly over the next year and a half leading up to ECW's first pay per view.

Hack Meyers vs JT Smith

Alright so we immediately get a shot of JT Smith with his leather jacket on, calling himself the Italian Stallion. Hack Myers comes out and gets a pretty good reaction from the NYC fans.

Joel Gertner looks like he is 16 years old here. :

They do quite a bit of stalling before trading punches with the classic "SHAH!", "SHIT!" chants from the fans. They are pretty loud with them. They scream "SHAH!" at each of Myer's strikes, and "SHIT!" at each of JT's strikes. They take it to the outside and we have blue mats on the floor around the ring. Smith bodyslams Hack Myers down to the floor and hits him with a dive off of the top rope. JT continues to dominate Hack in the ring with power moves. Smith gets a powerbomb for 2 and 7/8ths. JT Smith goes up top for another splash off of the top and slips and busts his ass.

:rofl:

That was a pretty damn funny spot. He tried to springboard his way up to the top rope and totally wipes out. The crowd starts chanting "YOU! FUCKED! UP!".

Hack gets up and drives Smith's face into the canvas with his knees. Hack Myers hooks a leg and gets the win after about 5 minutes.

6.7/10

Not a bad short match at all. JT's goofball spot got a good laugh out of me, so I had to give it props for that. Nothing really special about it otherwise.

ECW TV & Tag Team Championship: Mikey Whipwreck vs 2 Cold Scorpio (ch)

Alright here we go with the Tag Titles on the line in a singles match. :@

The crowd chants for Mikey to kick Scorpio's ass, and the look on Scorpio's face is hilarious. Scorpio dominates Mikey early on, making it look as if Mikey just doesn't have a chance in hell in this matchup. Mikey catches Scorpio off guard with a headscissor takedown followed by a dropkick. Mikey sends Scorpio to the outside and follows him with a Somersault Plancha. Scorpio sends Mikey into the steel on the outside before they both get into the ring. Scorpio attempts a powerbomb, but Mikey hits him with a Hurricanrana. Scorpio gets up and kicks Mikey in the groin.

Scorpio beats on Mikey and covers him for the pinfall a few times only to get up and taunt the crowd at 2. Scorpio teases the crowd for a high spot, and continues to dominate Mikey with power moves. Scorpio hits Mikey with another Power Bomb, a Tombstone, and a Super Kick. Scorpio keeps giving up the pinfall. Scorpio finally goes up top, but Mikey catches him and knocks him off balance. Mikey goes up top and hits him with a Hurricanrana off the top. Mikey covers Scorpio for the pinfall, but he only gets 2.

Mikey attempts a slam and the referee goes down. Scorpio hits the referee while he's down and takes Mikey out. Scorpio goes up to the top rope, and jumps off with a weird looking splash. It looked like he was going to do the Tumbleweed Legdrop, but maybe he changed his mind in the middle of the move. Scorpio starts looking pretty sloppy when he delivers a Backbreaker on Mikey, followed by another powerbomb. Scorpio keeps twirling his fingers around to the crowd like he's about to go up to for his Tumbleweed.

All of a sudden Cactus Jack comes running out. Cactus drops Scorpio with a Double Arm DDT, and pulls Mikey over him. Cactus pulls the referee up and throws him over towards Mikey to count the 1, 2, 3. Mikey wins.

Cactus Jack celebrates with Mikey after handing him the belts. Mikey looks up at the crowd confused as Cactus celebrates with the other tag team belt. Mikey holds the TV and Tag Team title.

4/10

Man, Scorpio just really dogged it here. This was a pretty bad match. I expected it to be much better. Not sure I agree with taking all of those belts off of Scorpio to put on Mikey either. It was a rather interesting turn in the story with Cactus helping Mikey out, but the match was just bad. One of the worse Scorpio matches I've seen. Maybe he wasn't happy about dropping the belts and just phoned it in, I don't know. The thing with a lot of ECW matches was that they would go out there and call the match as it went on. Sometimes it would work out ok, but a lot of times it just made for a really sloppy match. That was the case here. They didn't have anything planned out except for the ending, and it was obvious.

The Pitbulls vs The Eliminators

Here we go with Jason's Eliminators. Still rocking the long hair. Both teams get down into their Stiener like pose and face off in the center of the ring. Francine is my favorite in this leather outfit. She is a knockout here.

Saturn is in great shape here. Kronus is a bit on the chunky side. Francine is absolutely at her best in this leather outfit, jesus almighty. You got to see this.

Pitbull 1 and Saturn get it started off. Saturn with a nice Northern Lights Suplex. Pitbull 1 hits a lariat followed by a snap suplex. So far so good. Here we go with a bit of stalling before Saturn tags out to Kronus. Pitbull 1 tags out to Pitbull 2. Pitbull 2 drops Kronus with a powerslam. Saturn interferes and this thing turns into amateur hour. Botchamania. Saturn lands a nice plancha, and then the Eliminators do their awesome looking assisted springboard Moonsault over the top rope. Pitbull 2 no sells it. Jason attacks him. Saturn goes for a splash off the top, but Pitbull 2 moves. Saturn hits Jason. The Pitbulls go to town with steel chairs on the outside of the ring.

Pitbull 1 brings in a cookie sheet and hits Kronus, Saturn, and Jason. Pitbull 2 brings in a toilet brush from the crowd, and sticks it in Kronus' face.

The Pitbulls hit Saturn with a drop toe hold/knee drop combo move. Kronus hits Pitbull 2, and lands a really nice looking handspring moonsault splash. Both teams take turns isolating one another and dominating the match. Pitbull 2 drops Saturn with a Tombstone. Jason trips Pitbull 2 up, and Saturn hits him with a superkick. The Eliminators beat on Pitbull 2 for a while. Kronus lands a nice Moonsault off of the top rope. Kronus goes up top again, and lands a Jimmy Snuka splash.

Tag in to Saturn. Saturn lands a fucking beautiful splash off of the top rope. He got a lot of height right there. Jason comes in and does the Public Enemy assisted somersault senton onto Pitbull 2 as the referee is distracted.

The Eliminators drop Pitbull 2 with a Vertical Suplex/Splash combo move.

The crowd starts a "Jason takes it up the ass!" camptown races chant. :

The Eliminators land several more moves, but Pitbull 2 no sells it. He gets up beating on his chest. He's soon overwhelmed by the Eliminators. Kronus gets tagged in as Francine rallies the crowd. Pitbull 1 finally gets the hot tag, but the crowd doesn't really respond to it. Pitbull 1 comes in cleaning house. Pitbull 1 gets Kronus pinned, but the referee is distracted.

The Pitbulls kick ass together in the ring, working both Eliminators over. The Pitbulls drop Saturn with a pretty hard Superbomb. Pitbull 2 covers for the win, but Jason distracts the referee. Kronus attacks both Pitbulls from behind as the referee is distracted.

Eliminators pick up the win after about 15 minutes due to Jason's interference.

6.9/10

I want to rate this match higher, but I can't really. There was just a few too many botches. It got rather sloppy relatively quick even though it started off pretty decent. Kronus and Saturn landed some phenomenal high flying moves. Saturn had his own distinct style of flying through the air, and Kronus was rather dynamic for a man his size. You could see the Eliminators improving here, getting better at working together, and better at wrestling in general. They were still really green, and this match was just too sloppy, even though I loved the high flying and the overall speed and amount of action in the match. The crowd really wasn't into this thing either.

Raven vs Tommy Dreamer

We immediately cut away to Tommy Dreamer walking out to the ring. The way he looks here all young and babyfaced with his hair all prettied up and his ECW t-shirt on the comparison that immediately pops into my mind is that Tommy Dreamer was ECW's Sting. That's the perfect analogy. Tommy Dreamer was to ECW what Sting was to WCW. Raven played a big part in how he got there.

Stevie Richards leads Raven out to the ring with Beulah and The Blue Meanie. Beulah is the hottest woman of all time.

Correction, no Raven.

Joel Gertner says that the winner of this match will get a shot at the Sandman's belt later on in this show.

Stevie gets the microphone and says that his man Raven won't be able to wrestle tonight because he broke his....

*Blue Meanie wispers in Stevie's ear*

Leg.

Stevie tells Tommy that he will have to face the Blue Meanie instead. Dreamer tells him to shut the fuck up. Dreamer calls Raven a pussy, and tells Stevie to go to the back and get Raven.

The Blue Meanie attacks Dreamer from behind.

Dreamer drops him with a DDT. Dreamer pins The Blue Meanie.

Stevie comes in and attacks Dreamer. Dreamer drops Stevie with a DDT. Dreamer pins Stevie.

Dreamer pulls Beulah into the ring and sets her up for the piledriver again. Raven hits Dreamer in the back with a shelf. Raven beats the dog shit out of Dreamer. Really stiff beating here around the ring. Raven sets Dreamer up on a table and puts him through it with his sloppy ass plancha over the top rope.

Raven pulls Dreamer into the ring and poses over his lifeless body with his classic crucifix pose. Pretty awesome visual.

Raven chokes the life out of Dreamer until Dreamer fires back all of a sudden with some awesome looking punches. Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT. Stevie comes in and gets DDT'd. 2 more DDT's a piece on Raven and Richards. Dreamer throws Raven out of the ring and busts him with a chair.

All of the fans in the crowd are holding various weapons. :

Dreamer grabs a cheese grater and takes it to Raven's head. Dreamer licks the cheese grater.

Dreamer drags Raven around the ring grabbing weapons from the fans to beat him with. Dreamer throws Raven into the first row of the crowd and hits him again with the chair. Raven is bleeding. Dreamer drags Raven towards the back door of the building.

They go outside. Snow everywhere.

Raven whips Dreamer into a door. They go back inside. Raven beats Dreamer from pillar to post.

The crowd starts chanting "CAN'T SEE SHIT!".

Dreamer and Raven both wander back towards the ring. Dreamer is busted open bleeding pretty badly. Dreamer drops Raven with a low blow in the ring. The referee gets hit and goes down.

Raven holds Dreamer for Beulah to spray him with hairspray. Dreamer moves, Raven gets sprayed. Dreamer falls down as Raven stumbles around the ring blinded.

Raven drops Stevie with a DDT.

Dreamer drops Raven with a DDT. Dreamer pins Raven and the referee starts stirring around. Dreamer almost pins Raven. Really awesome near fall. Dreamer was this close to going on and getting a shot at the belt later tonight.

Raven gets hung upside down in the corner in a Tree Of Woe. Dreamer climbs up the ropes and punches down on Raven's groin with multiple punches. Dreamer goes to the outside and brings in a piece of the broken table. Dreamer piledrives Raven down into the table.

Another great near fall. Raven barely kicks out.

Dreamer gets a fan to throw him a chair, but he accidentally takes out the referee with it.

Richards comes in and lands a fucking excellent Thrust Kick. Loud snap on impact.

Blue Meanie lands a moonsault on Dreamer. Raven DDT's Dreamer down into a chair and pins him for the win.

Raven goes on to get the title shot later tonight. Motherfucker. The way the character was booked you just couldn't help but want to see this dude get his ass kicked. I seen a lot of this similar booking with the WWE when they turned CM Punk heel earlier this year.



7/10

This wasn't any prettier than any of the other matches, but what separates it from the rest, and really what separates it from most other feuds in pro wrestling history, was the intense amount of emotion in the rivalry. There was just a lot of hatred that you could feel between these two characters. Even if you weren't paying attention to how their storyline got them to this point, you could still feel the intensity of their rivalry, and this match/segment was no different. This was classic heel booking, but Heyman doesn't deserve all of the credit for it. Raven himself actually had a lot of creative control over his character in ECW. There was just really some brilliant psychology involved in this Raven/Dreamer feud. They were perfect for each other, and the way Raven would just always get things to go his way made you naturally pull for Dreamer to get his ass.

Bruiser Mastino vs El Puerto Ricano

Oh wow, Bruiser Mastino was Mantaur. This should be fun.

Bruiser comes out wearing a slick Italian suit with a Violin case. I kind of like it.

Mastino is 450. Ricano is the jobber of ECW here.

Ricano gets some love from the fans.

Ricano avoids the bigger man early on with speed. Ricano lands some dropkicks keeping his distance. Ricano goes up top and lands dropkicks off of the top rope from all 4 corners, but Mastino stays up. Ricano goes to jump off of the fourth turnbuckle with a flying cross body press, but Mastino catches him.

Mastino squashes him with a splash and finishes it rather quickly. Mastino continues to beat on Ricano until all of a sudden 911 comes out!

911 almost chokeslams this dude through the ring.

Out comes Bill Alphonso blowing the whistle on him. Apparently Fonzie is still playing his "enforcer of the rules" role here, and the chokeslam is outlawed in ECW. Fonzie gets up in 911's face and smacks him around.

ECW Commissioner Todd Gordon comes out. Todd decks Fonzie over the head and proceeds to beat his ass. Fonzie and Gordon roll around until Taz comes out. Taz pulls Gordon up and holds him for Fonzie. Fonzie throws a punch, but 911 grabs his hand. 911 teases to chokeslam Fonzie again until Taz gets up in his face.

Taz and 911 stare each other down until Bruiser hits 911. One more chokeslam on Bruiser.:

911 puts his hand around Taz's neck, but Taz smacks it away. Taz stands up to 911. Pretty awesome.

All of the wrestlers come out of the back. Several jobbers, JT Smith, Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie, The Dudleys. Taz and 911 are pulled apart. 911 chokeslams the fuck out of JT Smith. Smith sells it like Dolph Ziggler would sell it. :rofl:

The more I see JT Smith the more I fall in love with him.

7/10

See this is the kind of shit you don't see when you read through the results for ECW shows. Such a great segment after this below average squash match. The deal with the squash match was that it was drawn out too long. Mastino should have just taken care of business, but Ricano got to do his thing, and I guess he deserved it, but not a good squash match. The mayhem that ensued after the match was classic ECW. I loved it. The Gordon vs Fonzie saga continues now with 911 and Taz barking at each other. Loved the JT Smith chokeslam. 911 was pretty awesome.

Buh Buh Ray Dudley vs The Blue Meanie

The ring clears out from the last segment and it's just Stevie, the Blue Meanie, and the Dudleyz in the ring. The Blue Meanie starts dancing. The Dudleyz dance. Buh Buh is not out here yet. It's DW Dudley and Sign Guy.

Oh here comes Buh Buh. He's pretty over here as the stuttering hero.

The fans are all stuttering "BUH BUH!".

Buh Buh Ray Dudley and The Blue Meanie have a dance off.

Buh Buh's got some moves. He does his dance and smacks the Blue Meanie in the face. The crowd loves it.

Buh Buh thinks he won the dance off. Stevie argues with him in the center of the ring. Stevie smacks Buh Buh in the face. Big Dick Dudley comes out to the ring. Big Dick is mad. The crowd chants "FUCK'EM UP BUH BUH!, FUCK'EM UP!"

Stevie tells Buh Buh that if he can't beat the Meanie that Raven will fire him. Buh Buh says "Fuck you and your Blue Meanie!"

The Blue Meanie attacks Buh Buh from behind. Meanie does a moonsault. Buh Buh kicks out, and fights back. Buh Buh hits his stuttering Buh Buh bomb, and lands a splash for the victory after about 2 minutes.

Big Dick comes in and chokeslams Blue Meanie. DW drops an elbow on the Meanie. Buh Buh goes back up top and lands another splash. Stevie tells Buh Buh that he knew he could do it.

Stevie tells The Dudley's that they are great. Stevie tells The Dudleyz that they are #1 in Raven's stable, and that Meanie ain't shit. The Dudleyz walk out on Stevie. The crowd cheers them.

3/10

Not good. Really to be honest by this point I had kind of forgotten that the Dudleyz were still associated with Raven. This was them starting to break away from him I guess. Pretty shitty match.

ECW World Championship: The Sandman (ch) vs Raven

Sandman comes out first. This should be good. Raven comes out with Stevie Richards and Beulah. Raven sits down in the corner. Sandman smokes a cigarette and drinks a beer. Sandman stands over Ravne drinking beer. Sandman spits beer on Richards. Raven sits emotionless in the corner. Sandman and Woman pose together in the ring. Stevie gets in the ring with a beer. Stevie pops it open and tries to drink it, he spits it up. Sandman holds a can high above his head and pours the entire thing down his throat without spilling a single drop. Raven blindsides him from behind.

Raven takes Sandman to the outside and violently whips him into the steel railing around the ring. Sandman whips Raven over the railing into the second row. Raven comes back over the railing and tries to DDT Sandman. Sandman slips out, sending Raven into the floor.

Sandman drops a legdrop on Raven. Raven with a low blow. Raven takes him back into the ring. The fans are cheering for Sandman here. Raven goes for two pinfalls, but Sandman kicks out. Sandman goes into the ropes and hits Raven with a back elbow. Sandman dominates Raven in the ring with stiff punches and kicks.

Sandman dumps Raven out of the ring and over the railing into the crowd. Sandman dives over the top with his cane to hit Raven on the way down. Raven is bleeding again. It's inception.

Sandman just looks like a drunk. Sandman misses a slingshot somersault splash. Raven gets out of the ring and Slingshots himself out on top of him. Sandman suplexes a table down onto Raven. Raven goes low with a kick to the groin followed by a few kicks to the side of the head. Raven sets the table up propped up on the rail. Sandman reverses a whip, sending Raven into the table. Sandman crunches the broken table half down on top of Raven and kicks down on him.

Sandman gets up on the apron to drop an elbow on top of Raven foled up in the broken table. Raven moves out of the way. Sandman stays in control, and takes Raven into the ring.

Sandman and Raven both collide with the referee. Stevie comes in and jumps on Sandman's back. Woman comes in and cane's Stevie's ass down. Woman hits Raven with the cane, but it has no effect. Raven takes the cane from Woman, but Sandman attacks him. Stevie Richards attacks The Sandman from behind with a plastic sign.

Raven and Stevie work Sandman over with the Singapore cane. Multiple shots on Sandman.

Tommy Dreamer comes in and gets the cane. Dreamer drops Stevie, Sandman, and Raven with the cane. Beulah comes running across the ring trying to escape and Tommy snatches her up.

Time to see that ass shot. :

Dreamer lifts Beulah up and spins her around to show everyone her panties before spiking her into the canvas. This spot never gets old.

Dreamer leaves and Sandman and Raven are right back at it. They go up to the top rope as the referee begins recovering. Sandman bulldogs Raven off the top rope and scores the pinfall for a successful title defense.

Sandman pulls a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lights one up. Woman comes in and poses with Sandman with the belt.

6.3/10

Pretty sloppy brawl. Not much to write about other than Beulah. Never get tired of seeing Tommy turn her upside down and expose that "Mcgillicutty". Violence against Women is wrong, but wrestling is fake. Get over it.

The Gangstas vs Public Enemy

Alright so this is one of Public Enemy's final matches in ECW before moving on to WCW. It was only fitting that they battled their greatest foes in their final ECW matches, The Gangstas. The Gangstas and Public Enemy were perfect for each other in a 1995 tag team pro wrestling feud. The matches haven't been too impressive, but seeing the two teams beat the shit out of each other just had a certain harmony to that perhaps hasn't aged well through the last 17 years.

All of the fans wave their arms about during PE's entrance. NYC loves PE.

The Gangstas come out and New Jack is wearing a noose around his neck. All four men begin fighting in and around the ring. Rocco Rock lands a springboard moonsault onto Mustapha in the ring. New Jack and Grunge fight on the outside. Interesting to note that the Gangstas are getting quite a few cheers here. They aren't really getting heat. The crowd is taking a liking to them.

Here comes the blood and the weapons. Mustapha bodyslams Rocco Rock through a table. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge are both bleeding badly. Mustapha does a nice looking powerslam on Rocco Rock. Grunge and New Jack brawl with weapons around the ring.

New Jack lands a "Stun Gun" on Johnny Grunge. PE pulls out a table from under the ring and sets it up on the inside. Mustapha gets setup on the table. Rocco Rock does a great moonsault off of the top, but the table doesn't break.

Mustapha slams Rocco Rock through the table as Johhny Grunge fight's New Jack on the outside.

Rocco Rock hits Mustapha with his Drive By Somersualt Senton and hooks the leg, but the referee is distracted by New Jack. Rocco Rock gets up to get the ref's attention, and New Jack blasts him with a steel chair. Mustapha rolls Rocco Rock up for the pinfall.

6/10

This was another typical Gangstas vs PE ECW brawl. Sloppy and bloody with lots of weapons, most introduced into the match from the crowd. The thing about these Gangstas vs PE matches was that they had a grit to them that the other pseudo hardcore matches that tried to emulate this style in the WWF & WCW lacked. With that said there wasn't anything that stands out about this match. Nothing really memorable, just all of these guys going through the motions to put on their typical brawl. With this match, and a few of the others on this show, we see Heyman's booking still trying to adhere to some sort of structure even though there were no rules. Referee's were being distracted or knocked out in order for the heels to build up some sort of heat from the crowd by screwing the faces. Most of the heels in ECW were getting cheered. Unless you were Bill Alphonso or Raven, guys like Sandman and The Gangstas were getting cheered for their attitudes and toughness, and with this booking it seems like maybe perhaps Heyman considered that a problem that needed to be solved. The unique Philly/NY ECW crowd forced Heyman to do different things with his heels and faces. The way Alphonso drew heat for enforcing rules as an authority figure, and the innovative "Chicken Shit Heel" booking with Raven(which was a collaboration with Heyman and Raven behind the scenes) are prime examples of the lengths that Heyman went to in order to keep that Heel/Face psychology intact. I think that all of these ref bumps/distractions in this show are a big part of that. Heyman wanted his heels to draw heat in order to build the faces up and make them look good.

It is interesting how Public Enemy were still being booked as faces even though everyone knew they were gone by this point.

Sabu vs Cactus Jack

This is just a strait up ECW dream match on paper. They had a fantastic match in 1994 in Cactus' ECW debut, the match where Cactus got in trouble with WCW for spitting on the tag team title and throwing it to the ground in a promo afterwards. Cactus would go on to make ECW his home, and Sabu would be on his way out earlier on this year. Cactus really took over ECW in Sabu's absence during 1995. Cactus turned heel in the months before Sabu's return, but it kind of looks like they are trying to turn him face again maybe with the way he helped Mikey win the tag team belts. This is Sabu's second match after returning at November to Remember 95. Lets see if this match is as good as their first ECW match.

Cactus comes out first wearing an ECW shirt and the tag team title belt, and says that WCW Sucks!

Cactus says that he is sorry for all of the things he said about ECW, and that he never meant any of it towards the NY fans, because he is from NY, and he would never dis his homeboys.

Cactus says he wants to tell one quick story before we get on with the action. Cactus goes on talking about an ECW fan in a wheelchair that comes to all of the shows. I've touched on this guy in previous reviews. He's the mentally disabled guy that often hands one of his crutches in to the wrestlers during matches.

Cactus tells the crowd that he asked John if he would be coming to the show, but John looked at him with tears in his eyes saying that he didn't have a ride. The crowd chants for Sabu, and Foley gets serious on them saying that Sabu will be out in a second if they would just listen to him for a second. Foley says that he gave John a ride to the show, and that on the way back John told him that it was a dream come true to ride with him.

Cactus says that in honor of John he is going to bring Sabu out here and have an Olympic Wrestling rules match instead of breaking tables and using chairs. The crowd boo's.

Cactus brings out the man that has refereed more amateur wrestling matches than anyone in the building, John "Pee Wee" Moore. Moore gets on the mic and gives the rules for the match.

2 points for each takedown.

1 point for each escape.

Stalling will result in a warning. More stalling results in a point deduction.

The match is to remain in the ring. All forms of striking are strictly prohibited, including the use of pots and pans. :

Crowd goes crazy with boo's until Sabu comes running out. The ref orders Sabu to get down on all fours Olympic style. Sabu looks at him like he's crazy.

Out comes 911.

911 chokeslams the ref.

Two times.

911 appoints himself special guest referee. Sabu attacks Cactus and here we go.

Sabu does a springboard somersault plancha out of the ring onto Cactus from a chair in the ring. Joey keeps score with the rules given by the referee. Both guys are in the negative with points due to all of the rules infractions so far.

Cactus drops Sabu with a chair shot and a double arm DDT for a 2 count. Cactus hits the double arm DDT on the chair for another 2 count. Cactus with a classic elbow drop with a chair from the apron.

Joey says both men are in the negative double digits with the points. :rofl:

Sabu hammers Cactus in the back with the chair on the outside. This is a pretty fun brawl this far into the match. No botches, and no lag in the action. Pro wrestling brawls are like Friday the 13th movies, just mindless fun, when done properly. They don't need a lot of psychology or selling to be good, don't get me wrong, that stuff helps, but as long as the action and chaos is there a good brawl can still be entertaining.

Cactus gets his head tangled up in the ropes. Sabu sets a chair up in the center of the ring and hits him with Air Sabu while he's hung up in the ropes. Awesome spot.

We start to slow down a bit as they fight on the outside. Foley looks as if that rope spot actually hurt him for real.

Foley goes up to the top rope, but Sabu hits him with a chair. Sabu throws Cactus down to the floor with a sickening thud. Sabu is looking pretty sharp here. Sabu lands a nice plancha through the ropes.

Sabu lands his springboard leg lariat with a chair onto the side of Cactus' head. They take it back to the outside. Cactus Jack is wearing some awesome cowboy boots that I'm just now noticing. Sabu gets back in the ring and does a cross body press onto Cactus from the apron through the table setup ringside. Awesome table spot. Cactus gets an inside cradle for a 2 count. Sabu lands an awesome little springboard moonsault where he just bouces off of the ropes with his thighs.

Cactus picks up the intensity, and really goes after Sabu with strikes. Cactus misses a legdrop. Sabu goes up top with a chair in his hands. Cactus follows him up from behind. Sabu hits Cactus in the head 3 times with the chair, coming down off of the top with the third shot. Sabu goes back up with the chair and gives Cactus an Atomic Arabian Facebuster Somersault ledgrop. Cactus kicks out. Cactus gets up and scoops Sabu up, Cactus fall back and Sabu hooks a leg for the pinfall.

Sabu pins Cactus after 12:39. Sabu limps away and that's a wrap.

7.7/10

Really that was a solid little hardcore brawl between two of the best ever. Sabu was pretty sharp, and did not have any botches. The action and the pace of the match was great. They only slowed down a few times, but overall it was a pretty violent, fast paced, physical hardcore match. The whole Olympic angle they did before the match cracked me up, and to be honest I really enjoyed this match. It doesn't really fall into your typical Pro Wrestling category, but there was just something about it that I can't quite put my finger down on that I enjoyed about it. There wasn't great story telling or selling or psychology, but it was two really tough guys competing against each other in a war to find out who was tougher. You could even go as far as calling both of these guys "Glorified Stuntmen", and that would really be a fitting title for the roles they played in this match, but I'll be damned if it wasn't awesome to watch. Pro Wrestling may not be about hitting each other in the head with objects or falling off of high things, but what it is about is entertainment. These little brawls like this were entertaining in the same way a fight in an action movie would be entertaining if they were executed properly.

Overall: 7/10

Well, this is just another one of those ECW shows that doesn't stand up well if watched out of context, but it was pivitol for the main storylines that were running. Taz took his first steps towards total domination of the entire ECW roster. Dreamer and Raven's feud continued to heat up with Raven screwing him out of another head to head match only for Dreamer to come out and cost him the world title later on in the evening. There really weren't any real good wrestling matches on this show, and there is just no way around that. With that said this was another fun ECW show with some cool moments for someone who was up to date on the stories and characters in ECW at this time. Sabu vs Cactus is for sure the highlight of the tape, and was a fun hardcore brawl between two legends.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:26 AM   #52 (permalink)
Learning to break kayfabe
 
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

1995: Final Thoughts


I'm going to go ahead and make what may be somewhat of a controversial, unpopular declaration that ECW was the best pro wrestling promotion in North America in 1995. That's not so much because ECW was just kicking so much more ass than WCW & WWF. A big part of it was just how terrible WCW & WWF was in 1995. WCW and WWF were both at all time lows as far as quality. Quick, list me 20 great WCW matches from 1995.......

I didn't think so.

Pro Wrestling was in a weird state in 1995. I'll be completely honest with you and admit that I'm actually quite partial to this era, both WWF & WCW. Mostly due to the nostalgia. I grew up during this time, and I don't think I ever missed an episode of Raw, Nitro, Saturday Night, Superstars, or Action Zone during 1995. I loved everything they did with the Undertaker in the WWF(except for jobbing him out to Mabel). Loved all of the goofy cartoon characters, Hakushi, 1-2-3 Kid, Smoking Gunns, Adam Bomb, hell I even loved Diesel. I thought he was cool. I still enjoy looking back at those tapes as bad as they were. Same for WCW. Absolutely loved watching Saturday Night during 1995 for some ungodly reason. I was a huge Harlem Heat mark, and I loved Flair and Savage as well.

I didn't catch on to ECW until late 1996, so the nostalgia isn't there for these tapes like some of the later ECW stuff is(Anarchy Rulz 99 for example). I watched Gangstas Paradise and one of the Extreme Warfare tapes back in the day, but that was all I had seen of 1995 ECW. I had always heard about Foley's legendary promos and the birth of Stone Cold, but I had never seen it. I never really sat down and watched through 1995 ECW until this year, and I've come to the conclusion that ECW was the best wrestling show of 1995. ECW had it's fair share of shit in 1995, and it's real, real hard to find ECW matches that stand up to the best WCW/WWF matches of 1995, but everything altogether, "The Product" in ECW was just better. It was shooty and down to earth, but it was done in a very clever style. The characters and the storylines were years ahead of what was going on in WCW/WWF. You can see this style in ECW in 1995 that was heavily imitated by WCW in 1996. That shooty down to earth realistic "Product" was what gave the entire NWO angle so much appeal. While WWF was still pushing thick kayfabe, WCW was putting out a product that was heavily inspired by ECW as far as the overall down to earth tone of everything.

The ECW influence on the WWF usually doesn't get talked about much until you bring up the Attitude Era, but as early as the last half of 1995 you could start to see that someone was paying attention. After the booming ECW chants at King of the Ring 95, all of a sudden WWF threw together a last minute, face vs face ladder match for Summerslam(with no real storyline attached to it), then a full on ECW style brawl for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series(with a table spot that was admittedly inspired by ECW), and then a bloodbath main event between Bret and Bulldog in late 95. We weren't really seeing this level of violence in the WWF on such a frequent basis until after the infamous E! C! DUB! chants at King of the Ring 95.

Characters and storylines notwithstanding, the actual wrestling in the ring was much better on average in ECW than it was in either WCW or the WWF in my humble opinion. WCW brought in all of those talented guys like Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero before WWF could, and as a result they put together a Monday night show that could go toe to toe with Raw due to the better product in the ring from bell to bell. Without a doubt in my mind the best promos, storylines, and matches in pro wrestling in 1995 took place in ECW. I mean who was cutting better promos in WCW & WWF in 1995 than Mic Foley and Steve Austin were in ECW? What storyline was better than the Bill Alphonso State Athletic Commissioner storyline that ECW ran through the year? What rivalry in pro wrestling was as intense and emotional as Raven vs Dreamer? Best of all what pro wrestling pay per view was better than either Hostile City Showdown or November to Remember in 1995?

It was a real pleasure to watch through these ECW 1995 shows in chronological order over the past couple of months. I hear the "Hasn't aged well" argument a lot for ECW, and that is more true about the '95 tapes than any other year in ECW history, but I will still say that 1995 was ECW's best year. The Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko series of matches(9 singles altogether) was fantastic. The automatic assumption is that their WCW matches were better, but they rarely ever got more than 10 minutes in WCW. The commentary and the crowds were always terrible, and during the later years there was usually an NWO run in/segment involved more often than not. Their chemistry with each other improved for sure, but for my money they never topped their ECW series of matches in WCW.



On top of Guerrero vs Malenko, ECW also had a fantastic heel turn by Cactus Jack with truly some of the best promos in the history of the game. Then they had Steve Austin come in for 3 months where he cut about a dozen promos and wrestled a grand total of 2 matches, but he still really found that Stone Cold character that would help push pro wrestling into the mainstream over the course of the next 4 years. Austin found his trademark style in ECW, not only on the microphone, but also in the ring.

In closing, I really believe ECW had a real small little window here in 1995 where they could have been even bigger than WWF or WCW had the right people came in and bought it out ala Zuffa/UFC. With the right financial management, you can't tell me they didn't have that chance with guys like Austin and Foley right there in their laps. The thing about this time is that this is just before the shit hit the fan with their finances. By mid 1995 ECW's debt was still pretty small. By October of 95 the first of the check bouncing started to happen. Through 96 ECW's finances spiraled so far out of control that they needed to go to PPV in order to make it past the spring of 1997 without filing for bankruptcy. The reason why ECW's debt got so out of control from late 95 through 96 was the kind of cards they were putting together. For example take a look at the November To Remember 95 show. The gate for the 1,200 seat ECW Arena was somewhere around $15-20,000 depending on what they were charging for tickets($16,000+ for Ultraclash in 93). For the November to Remember show they probably paid half of that just for the Dreamer/Funk vs Raven/Cactus main event. Then you had Steve Austin, the luchadores from Mexico(Rey, Psicosis, Konnan), Sabu back from WCW, I mean that's a lot of hands in the pie. There couldn't have been much left over after paying the performers for that show. You got to think about all the matches on the undercard, referees, ring announcers, the "Damage Control" "EMT"'s they had, I mean they probably lost money on November to Remember 95. I don't know for sure, but I do know they couldn't have made much profit. The house shows ECW was running at this time were barely making anything, and on top of that they had to pay to keep their Hardcore TV show airing on the syndicated networks that it was airing on.

1996 is a fun year for ECW, and perhaps even a bit better than 95 was in some aspects. I'm going to enjoy taking a closer look at the 10 shows that I will be reviewing for this thread. Before we do move on lets take a look at the awards that ECW won from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter end of the year awards for 1995.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter End of the year awards for ECW in 1995:

Feud of the Year: Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko(Also wrestled in WCW)
Best on Interviews: Cactus Jack
Best Technical Wrestler: Chris Benoit(Also wrestled in WCW)
Best Brawler: Cactus Jack
Best High Flyer: Rey Mysterio
Best Weekly Television Show: Hardcore TV
Best Television Announcer: Joey Styles
Best Move: Rey Mysterio: West Coast Pop
Best Booker: Paul Heyman

And my pick for the MVP of ECW for 1995:

[spoiler]

Cactus had a hell of a year in ECW in 1995, and seriously came a long way as an entertainer. He started out in ECW feuding with The Sandman in a brutal series of matches. He fought with his arch rival Terry Funk in a little feud that produced a little glimmer of his excellent mic work to come later on in the year. Funk and Foley's match at Hostile City Showdown is essential ECW. I'd say their promos leading up to the match are equally as essential. People throw the "Glorified Stuntman" argument out there with Foley because of his ECW hardcore style that he kept throughout his career, and be that as it may, there is no denying that Foley was one of the finest actors in the history of pro wrestling. Foley developed a lot of confidence on the microphone in ECW, and by March of 1996 he would be ready for the big time. Foley's early promos as Mankind in the WWF in 96 are my personal favorite Foley promos. I think he was the best actor on television during that time. He should have been given an Emmy.

Second place would be Bill Alphonso. His performances are excellent, and the heat he was drawing was ridiculous. That storyline in general was just fantastic.

[/spoiler]

ShinobiMusashi's Top 25 Matches of 1995

1. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon WWF Summerslam 95: Ladder Match II
2. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko ECW Hostile City Showdown
3. Bret Hart vs Diesel WWF Survivor Series 95
4. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko 2/3 Falls ECW 8/26/95
5. Bret Hart vs British Bulldog WWF IYH 5
6. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Psicosis 2/3 Falls Match ECW 10/28/95
7. Steve Austin vs The Sandman vs Mikey Whipreck ECW December to Dismember
8. Eddie Guerrero & The Stiener Brothers vs Dean Malenko, 2 Cold Scorpio, & Cactus Jack ECW Wrestlepalooza
9. Brian Pillman vs Johnny B. Badd WCW Fall Brawl
10. Diesel vs Shawn Michaels WWF Wrestlemania XI
11. Chris Benoit vs Jushin Liger WCW Starrcade 95
12. Rey Mysterio vs Psicosis ECW November to Remember 95
13. Shawn Michaels vs Jeff Jerrett WWF IYH 2
14. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko ECW 7/21/95 Tampa Fl.
15. Eddie Guerrero vs Shinjaro Otani WCW Starrcade 95
16. Rey Mysterio vs Psicosis ECW Gangstas Paradise
17. Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit WCW Nitro 10/16/95
18. Eddie Guerrero vs 2 Cold Scorpio ECW Three Way Dance
19. Chris Benoit vs Al Snow ECW Double Tables
20. Razor Ramon vs Dean Douglas WWF IYH 3
21. Rey Mysterio vs Mikey Whipreck ECW 11/17/95
22. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko WCW Nitro 10/7/95
23. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko ECW 5/20/95, Langhorne, PA
24. Sandman vs Mikey Whipreck Ladder Match ECW 10/28/95
25. Sabu vs Mikey Whipreck ECW 3/28/95


This will be edited into the OP. A table of contents with links and this match/event rating system:

10: Giving a show/match/segment a 10 doesn't make it perfect in this thread. The perfect show doesn't exist, but I'll still be handing out the occassional 10 in this thread. This score means that this is the best of the best that ECW has to offer, and worthy of a spot in your collection. Track this down and buy it. Show it to all of your wrestling friends, maybe even some of your non wrestling friends depending on the occassion.

9-9.9: This was so good that you need to find it and watch it. Look it up on youtube or something, but you need to see it. Essential viewing for wrestling nerds.

8-8.9: This was really good. It had a flaw or two that kept it from being great, but overall this rating is reserved for the higher quality stuff. Worthy of checking into perhaps, based on your tastes and interests.

7-7.9: This was good. It wasn't great, it wasn't really good, but there wasn't really anything majorly wrong with it. Perhaps a few minor flaws holding it down, but still good. Could have perhaps been a bit better, but still pretty decent.

6-6.9: Slightly above mediocre. Maybe it just had one awesome little moment in it, or something interesting, but it just didn't have enough going for it. Nothing special.

5-5.9: Average, mediocre, run of the mill, not good, but nothing really to make it bad either. No real big major criticisms, but still nothing real good either.

4-4.9: This was bad, but it had something in it that at least kept me from wanting to change the channell or fast forward. Maybe it was so bad that it was good, like Total Recall.

3-3.9: This score is getting into waste of time territory. Maybe it had a few things going for it, but altogether this was time wasted.

2-2.9: We're getting into bad bad wrestlecrap territory here.

1-1.9: Downright terrible even though there was one aspect that they maybe did half ass. Something that saves it from not getting a rating at all. Maybe it had a really funny botch that made me laugh, or maybe somebody did some decent selling, or performed a nice move or two, so I'll give it a point.

0: Completely wasted my fucking time.


Best of ECW Vol. 1(1992) 3/10
Sports Channel America Pilot(Spring 1993) 4/10
ECW TV(6-15-93) 4/10
Ultraclash(9-18-93) 4/10
Heatwave 94(7-16-94) 4.8/10
Double Tables(2-4-95) 6.2/10
Return of the Funker(2-25-95) 6.8/10
Three Way Dance(4-8-95) 6.6/10
Hostile City Showdown 95(4-15-95) 10/10
Enter Sandman(5-13-95) 7/10
Barbed Wire, Hoodies, and Chokeslams(6-17-95) 6/10
Hardcore Heaven 95(7-1-95) 7.7/10
Heatwave 95(7-15-95) 6/10
Gangstas Paradise(9-16-95) 8/10
Hardcore TV #131(10-24-95) 9/10
Hardcore TV #132(10-31-95) 9.3/10
Hardcore TV #133(11-7-95) 6.8/10
Hardcore TV #134(11-14-95) 9.5/10
November To Remember 95(11-18-95) 10/10
Hardcore TV #138(12-12-95) 8.8/10
Holiday Hell(12-29-95) 7/10
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:20 PM   #53 (permalink)
Learning to break kayfabe
 
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Extreme Championship Wrestling
House Party

January 5th, 1996
ECW Arena
Philly, PA


Well here we are again. Back in the house of hardcore. The land of extreme. Time to gather round the cool-aide troth and get those frying pans ready. Time to to hit people in the head with various random objects, and fall off of high things, you know....Wrestling!

At least that's what it says on the marquee anyway.

None of pro wrestling looks anything like wrestling to me. It makes me laugh sometimes when I think about it. Nothing makes me laugh like pro wrestling though. It's just so goofy, I love it. :

Greco Roman and Freestyle wrestling gets tagged as "amateur", and these are the "pro's". Kurt Angle was just a couple of months away from proving he was the best "amateur" wrestler in the world at this time in 1996. Meanwhile, over in the pro's, Hulk Hogan was strait up dominating WCW Nitro to the point of it being downright ridiculous. Hogan was in the early stages of feuding with the Alliance To End Hulkamania(The Horseman & Dungeon Of Doom). The fans in WCW were so sick of having Hogan shoved down their throats that the Hulkster was beginning to get 60/40 crowd reactions. Some times worse. With that said nobody can deny that WCW had the occasional solid gold gem, with some of the all time greats in their prime on their roster. Gradually over the course of 1996 WCW accumulated, at least in my opinion, the greatest roster in pro wrestling history.

Meanwhile over in WWF they were getting ready to give HBK the top spot, with Bret getting ready to take the year off. Diesel's character started showing flashes of that dynamic heel/face "Tweener" personality that became one of the calling cards of the "Attitude Era". Diesel was booked as a strait up heel, but he would show different sides of his personality at times that would get cheers from the crowd. Something about the character really had a down to earth edge to it ever since he dropped his belt to Bret Hart at Survivor Series. There were still a lot of the cartoony characters, and Raw was still a lot of filler/squash matches, but you could see things changing. Another sign of the changes coming was the Goldust character that debuted in late 95. I still vividly remember some of those old debut Goldust promos, particularly the one where he talks about the original Night of the Living Dead film. Goldust was a character that was a couple of years before his time. Perhaps the most important debut in the WWF in January of 96 was that of Steve Austin. Austin debuted at the Royal Rumble as the Ringmaster, lasting 11 minutes before being eliminated.

Something that I recently discovered about the last show I reviewed(Holiday Hell 95 in Queens NY) is that it set an ECW record for the time with over 1,200 in attendance and over $27,000 for the live gate. Some of the things that were going on behind the scenes in ECW at this time in 1996 was the signing of Mick Foley to the WWF. This was a crucial loss for ECW, but Foley deserved the shot at the big show. His early 96 debut as Mankind is my personal favorite "Face of Foley".

Even though Foley would soon be gone, Shane Douglas was trying to make his way back to ECW. Shane would call Paul Heyman all day long during the day of this show, asking him to do something to get him out of the WWF. Douglas would appear at the show, and during a course of events backstage would eventually get what he wanted. We'll get to some of that later.

This ECW show holds some sentimental value for ECW fans. This is the debut of Rob Van Dam, and the farewell of Public Enemy, who were off to WCW. This is also where the Raven vs Dreamer feud goes into overdrive(as if it weren't there already). This was about 3 weeks prior to the Royal Rumble, and about a month before WCW Superbrawl VI, so lets check it out shall we?

Something about this opening "House Party" graphic screen just screams Windows 95.

Joey Styles opens the show standing in the center of the ring. Bill Alphonso comes out talking about how badly he hates Joey Styles, ECW, and the fans. Alphonso is just not drawing the heat that he was a couple of shows back, and he's coming off like he's trying too hard here. Alphonso asks why Taz doesn't get more interviews. Joey snaps on him and tells him to shut up. Styles screams at Alphonso until Taz comes out. Taz gets up in Joey's face and bullies him around for screaming at Fonzie. The crowd immediately begins chanting for Sabu to come out and save Joey as Taz has him cowered down in the corner. Taz is the exact same height as Joey Styles. Possibly a half inch or so shorter.

Alphonso reaches over Taz's shoulder to smack Joey. What a bitch.: I love it though.

Out comes 911.

Bill Alphonso gets up in 911's face smacking him. ECW Comish Todd Gordon comes out and drops Fonzie with a punch. Taz pulls Gordon up off of Alphonso and goes for a punch, but 911 stops his hand. 911 and Taz get up face to face as referees storm the ring to separate them. The crowd starts chanting "Let Them GO!" as more wrestlers come out of the back to keep them apart. 911 is forced to the back as Taz stands in the ring with El Puerto Ricano, who is left in the ring all by his lonesome after the pull apart.

Ricano is wearing a t-shirt with Fonzie's face with a circle crossout over it. Bill Alphonso slaps Ricano and rips his shirt off. Taz sneaks up on Ricano from behind and dumps him on his head, literally:stalker:. Joey tries to save Ricano, but Taz gets up in his face.

911 comes back out. Jason and The Eliminators(Perry Saturn, still rocking the long black hair, & John Kronus) come out and floor 911 with Total Elimination. The Eliminators beat up on 911 until Rey Mysterio comes out.

Think about it for a second. 911 of all people(7', 300lbs) actually needs help from someone else, and he gets it from a little guy that weighs about 130 pounds soaking wet. I love it. Really interesting team that had a lot of potential.

911 & Rey Misterio vs The Eliminators

The Eliminators miss double moonsaults aimed at Rey, then Rey lands about 3 really awesome Lucha moves in about 7 seconds, capping it all off with a beautiful Moonsault splash from the top to the outside for the "OH MY GOD!".

+1

Rey's black outfit here is awesome. Rey hits Saturn with several springboard maneuvers. Everything is so fast it's quite remarkable. Rey and Saturn go toe to toe for a while with Rey catching him with several headscissors takedowns. Saturn finally takes Rey down. Kronus comes in as 911 finally recovers. The Eliminators work 911's knee over.

Taz comes out and chokes on 911 with a towel.

The crowd chants for "SABU!"

Rey fights with Saturn on the outside as Kronus beats up on 911. Taz is gone. Did he really need to come back out?!

Eliminators start dominating Rey. Kronus lands his flips, which are quite impressive for a man his size. 911 suplexes Saturn. Kronus powerbombs Rey. Total Elimination on 911.

Taz is back again choking 911 with the towel. Taz pulls 911 out of the ring choking him.

The Eliminators continue beating on Rey. Another really stiff powerbomb.

Rey surprises The Eliminators with double DDT's. Rey helps 911 back into the ring and climbs up on his shoulders. Rey challenges Saturn to get up on Kronus' shoulders, and he does. Rey leaps off of 911's shoulders onto Saturn with a hurricanrana for the win.



911 and Rey Mysterio win.

Eliminators punish Rey with the Total Elimination.

The Pit Bulls and Francine come out kicking ass. Francine kicks Jason's ass. The Eliminators clear the Pit Bulls out of the ring and drop Francine's smoking hot ass with the Total Elimination. Francine was a trained wrestler, but this move was just way too stiff on her. They hit her really hard with it. She looks legit hurt holding her chest. Good god almighty.

The Eliminators escape. The Pit Bulls toss Jason out of the ring.

EMT's come out and carry Francine to the back on a stretcher.

8/10

Rey Mysterio is just an absolute athletic phenom here even though he's too young to even buy alcohol probably. He's so fast and on point it's just amazing at times. I like him and 911 working together. That's a really good pair. I don't know who's idea it was to pair them together but I think it was a beautiful match of two guys that complimented each other perfectly. Too bad we didn't get to see the duo get fleshed out in a proper storyline. 911 would have a falling out with Paul Heyman after punking out the entire ring crew in one incident not too long after this show.

One issue I've noticed with Heyman's booking in 95 and this first segment of 96 was the way guys would leave and come back(and sometimes repeat the process in the same segment). Where are these guys going and why?

With all of that said this was a traditional, wild, chaotic, unpredictable ECW match. None of it was advertised or announced, it just happened. One thing after another. The way Puerto Ricano came out to pull Taz & 911 apart only to be insulted and made a fool of, that was just so spontaneous feeling compared to the average booked wrestling segment. I could see how some could be turned off by booking like this. Rey Mysterio coming out to help 911 in the first place is about as random as it gets. Saturn going up to Kronus' shoulders and just sitting there looked pretty goofy too even though it was still an awesome spot. With that said though it was just so unpredictable that I loved it. It all started with one thing(Alphonso coming out to confront Joey Styles, who was opening the show), and it just snowballs into this wild, chaotic incident where storylines progress and intertwine at the pace of a Royal Rumble. This was something that we first really seen Heyman do effectively with the Raven/Richards vs Pit Bulls dog collar match a few reviews back(with Bill Alphonso finally getting his comeuppance via 911 chokeslam). Here with this segment/match we see him continue to use this style of booking, and it eventually became a trademark of ECW. You could usually count on some shit like this unfolding at an ECW show, but you never really knew how it was going to go down. There were times where this style of booking came off as sloppy and clusterfucked, but Heyman would hit the occasional home run with it. I think this was one of them.

Lots of action in this segment, some good storyline progression with The Eliminators drawing heat by busting up The Pitbull's "Beastmaster", and a really great gritty, grimey "Cops" feel to everything.

I don't know how to explain this look with any other term than "Cops", as in the reality television show. This was something that ECW producers Charlie Brucsesse and Ron Buffone worked to achieve from the time they started producing Hardcore TV, and they really perfected it by this point in 96. The way they would move the cameras when they would get up close to the action, the lighting, it all looks like Cops to me. Like a grimey reality show. One of the things I've read about the overall production style of ECW that I really liked was on another forum. Someone said that ECW had a distinct look to it that made you feel like you were watching something that you weren't supposed to be watching. I don't know if that makes sense. Probably not, but that's the best I can do. ECW was indeed low budget, but they did some interesting things to capitalize on that to create a unique style of wrestling show that was heavily imitated in the Attitude Era, and also during the NWO storyline in WCW in 1996. Subtle things that gave it a certain style that closely resembled the first generation of reality tv shows that started popping up in the 90's.

Rob Van Dam vs Axl Rotten

Alright, so this is the ECW debut of a future WWE & TNA World Champion.



Robbie V was trained by Sabu and his uncle The Shiek. He cut his teeth in Japan and in WCW, and I've heard in one of his shoot interviews that he was being considered to be brought back to WCW to play the Glacier character later on in this year. Interesting.

The thing about this match is that while it was going on Shane Douglas was backstage pleading for Paul Heyman to put him on the show somehow. Heyman refused, telling Shane that he would be sued by the WWF since he was still under contract. Paul Heyman would make a phone call to Bruce Pritchard, who would put him in touch with Vince Mcmahon while this match was going down.

Heyman asked Vince to let him have Shane back, and Vince obliged. It was done. The Franchise was back. Just like that. It was basically a "You want him? You got him!" type of deal.

It's important to realize that Axl was coming off of his blood feud against Ian(who had been released around this time), so these fans had a lot of respect for him right here(you know, since he was tough enough to bleed all over the place).

Van Dam comes in wearing the top of a Gi and a red singlet on underneath. He's got a real nervous look on his face, and the crowd really doesn't know what to make of him. He just doesn't really fit the mold of what they were used to seeing up to this point. The thing that stuck out to me when I first saw Rob Van Dam was his resemblance to Jean Claude Van Dam. I was a big JCVD fan when I was a kid, but gradually I grew up to be more of a Bruce Lee/Samo Hung man. Through the years I swore up and down this dude was JCVD's little brother. I was shocked to find out that they weren't even related. Somewhere down the line these guys have the same ancestors or something, they just look too alike. It's crazy.

I've just noticed that Joel Gertner is not the ring announcer for this show. Bob Artese isn't ring announcing either. This is another Italian guy that pops up in some of the future shows, but I don't know his name.

RVD doesn't get much of a reaction from the fans during introductions. My how that would change over the next three years.

Van Dam throws some nice spinkicks that miss. The crowd cheers him. Axl mocks RVD's kicks before they tie up.

RVD sends Axl into the ropes. Van Dam does the splits to drop under Axl, then hits him with an arm drag takedown followed by a springboard high cross body. RVD then lands a couple of weird karate chop types of moves that look like something Glacier would do in WCW. : The way he over does the facial expressions is funny. Cheesy, but funny.

RVD shines early with some nice moves, kicks etc. Axl slows him down with punches and headbutts. The fans start chanting "KICK HIS ASS AXL! KICK HIS ASS! clap-clap"

It's interesting that Axl is playing the heel as far as the psychology of the match(making the face look good, slowing the match down etc.), yet he's the face with the crowd. He keeps working the crowd by mocking RVD, even yelling out that he was going to show RVD an "ECW ASS WHOOPIN!"

Van Dam works his way back into the match. He lands his somersault over the top rope to the outside followed by his kick off the top rope.

Van Dam finishes it with the split legged moonsault with very little reaction from the fans. Even a couple of boo's. Wow.

6.8/10

It's interesting how the crowd just wasn't digging this young guy coming in and beating such a grizzled hardcore ECW vet in his first match with a move like the split legged moonsault. Van Dam did look sharp with his moves, but his selling was pretty awful. The cheesy way he was doing the karate chops cracks me up. Overall though, there really wasn't any big problems with the match. It wasn't anything great, but it wasn't anything unwatchable. RVD did have a unique style here, and you could see that he had a lot of potential.

ECW TV Championship: Too Cold Scorpio vs Mikey Whipwreck (ch)

Man I hope this isn't anything like their previous match where Scorpio completely phoned it in(possibly upset about dropping both the tag title and TV title to Mikey, and losing his 2 Gold Scorpio gimmick that he was running with at the time. Just a possibility, not a fact). These are two of the best workers in ECW at this time, so this should be good. Emphasis on should.

I'm loving this entrance setup they have here in the Arena for this show. It's a black tarp draped over some sort of apparatus placed in front of the backstage access door. It doesn't get much more redneck than that. :

Scorpio comes out first with Woman. Woman looks very intelligent and classy as always. Scorpio works the crowd on his way to the ring when he suddenly sees a sign that says "No Gold Scorpio". His reaction to the sign is pretty hilarious. He just overdoes it like it hurt his feelings. Pretty funny stuff. Scorpio never made a good heel because he always had a hard time hiding the fact that he was really enjoying himself. He holds back a smile as he works the crowd over and tries to look tough, but you can tell he's just having a lot of fun.

A lot of stalling here before Mikey even gets in the ring. Scorpio and Woman's entrance was rather drawn out. Scorpio slaps Mikey, then Mikey slaps Scorpio back. Scorpio breaks out in a full on smile as he snaps back at Mikey threatening him. He can't help himself. : That was pretty hilarious actually.

Scorpio gets the microphone and says that Cactus won't be able to save him tonight. He's going to kick Mikey's ass like it's never been kicked before. Mikey says he's just going to give the belt to Scorpio, then hits him in the face with it.

Scorpio recovers and puts the belt in Mikey's face with a big boot. Scorpio backdrops Mikey 12 feet into the air, and Mikey sells it beautifully. Scorpio hits Mikey with a big boot to the head as he's downed. Mikey's selling in this match is phenomenal so far. I always thought that was something he did really well, and this match is a good example of it.

Scorpio slams Mikey's head into the turnbuckles, and the way Mikey bounces his head back makes it look really, really devastating.

Mikey overtakes Scorpio and throws him out of the ring. Mikey lands a Suicide Splash and whips Scorpio into the steel. The two men fight around the ring with Mikey landing some kicks to Scorpio's midsection.

The camera gets in close on the action and I overhear one of the fans scream out "GO HOME AND DO THE DISHES!" at Woman.

:rofl:

I have a lot of respect for women. I know a couple of female MMA fighters that are better than most male MMA fighters I've ever known, but damn that was just hilarious to me. I've stepped up and defended ECW before about the anti-woman argument, but damn this show makes it hard.

Scorpio regains the momentum. Mikey reverses a powerbomb with a hurricanrana, then goes up top to do the exact same kick that RVD does. He botches it, and it looks like shit.

Scorpio regains the momentum again with a low blow. He takes Mikey to the outside and hits him with a running chair shot. Scorpio takes Mikey back into the ring and lands a really nice looking powerbomb. Looks more like Taker's "Last Ride" variation.

Scorpio sets a chair up in the ring and slams Mikey's face into it.

When I see 2 Cold Scorpio vs Mikey Whireck on paper this is just not the match I hope to see. These guys could do much better than this.

Scorpio hits Mikey with a legdrop and goes for the pinfall, but he pulls up like he did in their previous match. He rearranges the chair and tries to slam Mikey's face into it, but Mikey reverses it. Mikey busts Scorpio with the chair. Mikey hits Scorpio with several chair shots, then goes for a........

Surfboard?

Correction, Bow and Arrow.

Yeah, this match is sucking some serious ass right now. Not as bad as their last match though.

Scorpio reverses Mikey, and drops him with a Tombstone followed by his moonsault off of the top rope. Scorpio goes for the pin, and again pulls up at 2. Mikey gets dropped with a Superplex, but Scorpio bullshits around with the pinfall again. Scorpio lands his change of direction splash, and again fucks around with the pinfall. Mikey surprises Scorpio with a Tornado DDT out of the corner.

Mikey hits a Super Rana off of the top. Scorpio rolls out of the ring.

Mikey backs Scorpio off into the crowd with a baseball slide and follows him with a dive off of the top rope. I spot a guy in the crowd wearing a really awesome White Zombie hockey jersey.

They make their way back into the ring and Scorpio lands a crisp thrust kick. Scorpio gives Mikey a belly to back superplex off the top rope and the referee goes down.

Out comes Raven.

Raven drops Mikey with a DDT. Scorpio lands a moonsault into a legdrop off of the top rope to win the match and the TV title. His 4th ECW TV championship.

5.9/10

These two guys could have put their minds together to come up with a way better match than this. I don't understand why they felt it necessary to brawl with the chair and out around the outside of the ring the way they did. They should have just worked a clean match that remained primarily in the ring, and it would have been a lot better.

Either I'm missing something, or there's something coming up to explain it, but I'm not getting the Raven involvement in the match just yet either. Overall really this match had a few cool spots, but I feel like I'm giving it too high of a score just because of who's in the match. It was really not good at all. I've come up with a term for matches like this. This was definitely a sloppy ass "Call it as you go" match. They just winged it, and made sure to stretch it out as long as they possibly could, which really hurt it.

Taz vs Hack Myers

Hack Myers comes out first. Sign Guy in the front row holds up a sing that says "1996: The Year of the Shaw!". Love it.

Bill Alphonso comes out wearing an Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys jersey. This event took place about two days prior to the Philadelphia Eagles divisional playoff game against their arch rival Cowboys in the 95 NFL playoffs. Dallas would win the game 30-11 en route to their third Super Bowl victory in four years. Eagles, Redskins, Giants, and Oilers fans were about sick an tired of hearing the word Cowboys by this time in 1995, so the jersey was a good call to draw some good heat.

No way Hack Myers is 22 years old here. The dude looks 40. :

Taz gets in the ring and crouches down in that stance of his that just looks fucking awesome.

Taz is packing on a noticeable amount of muscle compared to how he looked in the past couple of reviews.

The crowd begins chanting a "FUCK YOU TAZ!" chant as the bell rings. They lock up and Taz reverses an arm lock to toss Myers to the ground. Joey Styles then says one of my favorite lines in ECW history:

Quote:
That's what makes Taz so dangerous.

He's not just a pro wrestler, he's one of these new hybrid warriors, made popular by these "Ultimate Fighting" pay per views.
Ladies and gentleman the future has arrived.

10 years too soon. :

Joey Styles goes through Taz' legit amateur background, talking about his Judo background, even going as far as stating that he has won shoot fighting tournaments in Japan. Good one.

Taz slips around Myers' "Shah!" punches and tosses him with a Judo throw. Joey Styles calls all of Taz's Judo tosses by their actual Japanese names, then says that he was instructed to by Taz or he would, quote, "Break your fucking neck!", end quote. I love this shit.

Taz dumps Myers with a T-Bone Tazplex followed by a head and arm Tazplex, then a German Tazplex.

Taz locks in the tazmission to end it. Myers gives up.

Bill Alphonso hits Myers when he's down and the crowd fucking hates it.

Taz tells the fans that Sabu is scared of him, and that this was only the beginning.

8/10

Keep in mind this is a year, year and a half before Ken Shamrock and Goldberg in WWF/WCW. Loved every bit of this. I've always been a big MMA fan. The direction they took Taz's character here with this show is just awesome to me. The way he was using Judo moves, choking his opponent out. The character was a decade ahead of it's time, plain and simple. One of my favorite pro wrestling characters ever, and if I may steal a line from my man Baker223, one of my favorite fictional characters ever, period.

Buh Buh Ray Dudley vs Jimmy Del Ray

Here we go with the goof ball Dudleys. We got Chubby Dudley(some fat guy eating), DW Dudley(the Spanish Indian), Sign Guy Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, and Buh Buh Ray Dudley. The fans immediately shower Buh Buh with the stuttering "BUH-BUH" chants, followed by the "WHATS YOUR NAME?!" chants. He's pretty over.

The Dudley's are all decked out in tie die of course. Tie die made a comeback in the 90's.

Jimmy Del Ray is kind of old looking here with a fat, pasty white belly, a mullet, and Mr. Hughes of all people watching his back. Del Ray does a weird little jiggle dance that is rather hilarious.

Buh Buh tries to speak into the microphone, but he starts stuttering. Del Ray hits him in the back with a dropkick.

Buh Buh gets the upper hand early on, knocking Del Ray out of the ring.

Ah, this match is clipped on this DVD. Thank god.

We cut ahead to Del Ray dominating Buh Buh with punches. Del Rey hits a tornado DDT out of the corner and we cut ahead again.

We cut ahead to a point in the match where Mr. Hughes gets up on the apron. Buh Buh runs into him, but one of the Dudleys grab him by the leg. Del Rey gets distracted by the mayhem, and Buh Buh plants him with a DDT for the win.

We cut ahead again to Mr. Hughes telling Buh Buh that they found someone that could teach him some proper English. Mr. Hughes brings out Shane Douglas. Joey Styles makes a joke about his Dean Douglas powder blue outfit.

Shane goes on a tirade as the fans start chanting "DEAN IS DEAD!"

Shane slaps Buh Buh in the mouth and says "The Franchise is BACK!" followed by his trademark evil laugh.

4/10

Nothing good about this segment as far as the match. It was pretty bad, and I'm grateful that it was only some highlights of the whole mess instead of the entire 20+ minute fiasco. Shane Douglas' return is the high note here. The clique was too much for him to handle, and he wanted out. This was actually the beginning of perhaps the best era of his career outside of his tag team with Steamboat. Starting here, Douglas started packing on a lot of muscle, eventually getting bigger than he had ever been. He also went on to have the best singles matches of his career over the next year. He would also go on to become the most hated villain in ECW by the end of the year.

Stevie Richards interview

Joey stands in the center of the ring and brings out "Dancin" Stevie Richards. Stevie comes out in a fucking classic Headbangers Ball t-shirt. I love it.

Stevie is accompanied by Beulah and The Blue Meanie.

Joey brings up the incident from the last show where Stevie kissed Missy Hyatt. Stevie tells Joey and all of the fans that he is no longer "Dancin" Stevie Richards, he is now "Studly" Stevie Richards, the "Original King Of Swing".

Stevie tells Joey that he's the only American Male because he's better built than Bagwell, and he's way better looking than Riggs. :

Stevie then tells Joey that Raven has been on a 4 week drinking binge, and that he's been neglecting Beulah. He says he's going to give Beulah a kiss, but Beulah rejects him. Beulah tells Stevie that she doesn't want to be touched. Stevie grabs Beulah and tries to force himself on her, but she pushes him away and screams "STOP IT!".

Stevie asks her what's the matter, "Is it because you're Raven's girl?".

Beulah tells Stevie that she's pregnant.

The crowd immediately all lets out a loud "OH!" like it's Maury Povich or something. :rofl:

Raven comes running out and pushes Beulah around calling her stupid for not taking her birth control pills. Raven keeps calling her an idiot and moron until she builds up the courage to tell him that it's not even his baby.

Raven immediately turns around and starts beating the shit out of Stevie Richards.

She pulls Raven off of him screaming for him to stop because it wasn't Stevie's either. At this point the daytime talk show style crowd reactions have me rolling on the floor. This crowd is so into this right now. Everybody's on the edge of their seat hanging on to every word.

The fans on the front row all stand up and start pointing at each other. :

She tells Raven that it's Tommy's baby. Cue the Guille them song from Street Fighter......



Raven immediately, violently snatches her by the throat. Raven proceeds to choke Beulah until Tommy comes running out. Dreamer drops Raven, Stevie, and The Blue Meanie with punches before clotheslining Raven over the top to the outside. Beulah drops Stevie and the Blue Meanie with a frying pan. Dreamer whips Raven into the steel on the outside and busts him with a chair. Dreamer rolls Raven back into the ring and grabs a sign from one of the ringside fans. He busts Raven with the sign, then unwraps the paper around it to reveal a hidden stop sign.

Dreamer DDT's Raven down into the stop sign, and then grabs a.......

Blueberry Pie!?!:

Dreamer takes a big bite of the pie and then piledrives Raven down into it. Beulah comes into the ring and hugs it out with her new man.

Classic ECW moment. Dreamer never got wins over Raven, but he did get small victories here and there to keep the feud hot. This was one of them. He took Raven's girl. It doesn't make sense, since Dreamer gave the poor girl "Panties Up" piledrivers at each of the past few shows, but who cares. Maybe she liked it?

ECW Championship: Sandman (ch) vs Konnan

I like Woman, but Sandman's entrances got a lot cooler once she left him. They really drag it out and milk it for all of the time they can as they work the crowd and pose for the camera.

What makes it worse is that this is another one of those Delta region 0 DVD's with the music edited out. It's just some generic music along with a constant loop of crowd noise. Fucking with the music and audio like this really takes a lot of the charm out of these old shows. Definitely avoid these discs if you ever go shopping for ECW DVDs. RF Video.com and Heartbreak Kid here at these forums sell the real deal if you're ever interested.

Coming into this show Sandman was the heel and Konnan was the face. That's just not what the crowd wants. They break out in a "SANDMAN'S GOING TO KILL YOU!" chant. This is the oldest tape I've ever heard that chant on. These fans had grown to love the guy by now.

Sandman does a bunch of stalling to start it off. Something interesting is that the crowd is really getting on Konnan's case about something Eric Bischoff related. This was Konnan's last match in ECW before going to WCW, so I'm assuming these fans already knew about it somehow. They are really digging into him. The cool thing is that Konnan goes along with it, and flips his role into a heel just like that. He starts heckling them right back, getting them really pissed off.

These guys tie up in the single worst chain wrestling sequence I've ever seen in my entire life. This is like two drunk college kids trying to put on a backyard wrestling match. Bad, bad, bad stuff.

Konnan goes for some leg submission, but it's like he's not sure of how to do it. He keeps switching Sandman's legs around trying to find a hold. He eventually gets him into a leg grapevine type of submission, which Sandman reverses. Just picture that and imagine it in your head. Yeah. Ugly stuff.

Konnan wraps Sandman up in another submission. Sandman counters and wrestles around with Konnan. More sloppy shit.

The crowd breaks out in a camptown races chant that I can't quite make out. Something to do with Konnan being Bischoff's bitch. Good lord they are seriously laying into him here.

Sandman escapes to the outside and stalls some more. The crowd starts another different camptown races chant saying something about Konnan taking it up the ass.

Sandman gains the upper hand and the crowd starts going crazy.

Huge E! C! DUB! chant breaks out.

Konnan drops Sandman with an Enziguiri and a Hiptoss. Sandman backdrops him over the ropes to the outside, and follows him up with a suicide plancha. Konnan sends him into the steel and hits him with a steel chair. One of the fans tries to give Konnan one of those "The Club" anti-theft devices. If you don't know what I'm talking about you're probably too young to be reading this thread. :

Sandman whips Konnan into the crowd, then suplexes him down ribs first across the railing. They brawl in the crowd for a bit before Sandman takes it back to the ring. Sandman opens up a cut on Konnan's forehead with some punches before knocking him back to the outside. He picks up a table and drops it down on Konnan's back. Sandman pushes the table back into the ring and sets it up.

The crowd starts chanting "BYE BYE KONNAN! clap, clap, clap-clap-clap"

Sandman tries to superplex Konnan through the table, but Konnan pushes him down. Really painfull looking table spot as Sandman lands awkwardly on his side.

Woman gets up on the apron and throws the cane to the Sandman as she distracts Konnan. Sandman lays into him with the cane. Konnan recovers to his hands and knees. Sandman tears into him with the cane.

Rey Mysterio comes running out and tosses Konnan a cane. Konnan blasts Sandman in the head with the stick. Both men beat the shit out of each other with the canes until they both collapse.

The referee does his 10 count as both men lay down and out. Woman gets up on the apron and pulls The Sandman up to his feet with two handfuls of his hair. Konnan is counted down. Sandman wins by KO. Woman releases his hair and he collapses down into the canvas.

Woman celebrates with the belt. Sandman staggers up to his feet and Woman drags him away to the back.

6/10

This started off as one of the ugliest wrestling matches of all time, but it kind of turned into a cool little brawl. It was interesting how Konnan adapted to the crowd on the fly, and starting playing the role of the heel. It was also interesting how passionately the crowd was ripping on him for going to WCW. Konnan openly admitted that he was recruited to WCW by Nancy "Woman" Sullivan, who was married to Kevin Sullivan at the time(WCW's booker). Some interesting stuff here considering how things played out, but overall this match was not very good at all.

One of the chants during the match was "U.S. CHUMP!". How did they know he would go on to win that belt? Talk about Smarks, good lord. Konnan was never really accepted by the ECW fans. It's interesting how guys like Eddie and Malenko got the "Please Don't Go" chants when they were leaving to WCW, but Konnan got an entirely different treatment. With the ECW fans you were either one of their guys or you just weren't. I find it interesting how they accepted guys like Hack Myers and Buh Buh Ray Dudley at this point, but something about a guy like Konnan just wasn't jiving with them.

One big standout negative with the booking of this match was Rey Mysterio's involvement. Heyman fucked up by booking Konnan to play the face in the match, and it wasn't good to throw Rey(who was being pushed as a top face) in there helping him. Not to mention pretty much every single match on the show has ended with some sort of run in.

Sabu vs Stevie Richards

Man I want Stevie's Headbangers Ball t-shirt. Headbangers Ball was a show that used to come on MTV from the mid 80's up until 1994. The show would play heavy metal music videos as well as interviews with the bands. Really awesome show.

Sabu goes after Stevie as soon as the bell rings. Stevie stays away from him, eventually escaping to the outside. Stevie throws Sabu a chair.

Sabu sets the chair up and does a double jump Air Sabu plancha that looks awesome. He overshoots Stevie and the Meanie a bit and flies into the crowd. Really cool looking spot. They take it back into the ring and Sabu hits Stevie with a spinkick, springboard leg lariat. Everything Sabu has done so far looks really sharp and on point. No botches yet, he's really in the zone here. When Sabu's in the zone he's one of my favorite wrestlers to ever step into a wrestling ring.

Stevie works his way back into the match with some rakes to the back. Richards lands a powerbomb, then mocks Sabu with the point to the sky. Sabu drops him with a punch and lands his slingshot somersault legdrop.

This match has had quite a few rest holds. Sabu has grinded the clock away with a sleeper and now a cross armbreaker armbar type of hold.

Sabu sets Stevie up on the top turnbuckle and hits him with a real nice looking Air Sabu from the chair. He gets some good height, and knocks Stevie out of the ring. Stevie gets back up to the apron and Sabu does a Sunset Flip, slamming Stevie down into the concrete floor.

The Blue Meanie attacks Sabu as he sets a table up ringside. Stevie tells the crowd to shut the fuck up and proceeds to beat on Sabu in the ring.

Sabu leaps up to Stevie's shoulders and pulls him down over the ropes with an inverted hurricanrana type of move. Stevie gets setup on the table, and Sabu goes into the ring with a chair.

Stevie moves out of the way of a dive, sending Sabu crashing through the table. Blue Meanie attacks Sabu and rolls him back in the ring. Stevie Richards lands another powerbomb and goes up top for a fistdrop. Sabu regains the momentum after a hurricanrana and another slingshot somersault leg drop(with Stevie teetering on the ropes). Sabu flies out of the ring onto Blue Meanie's shoulders with a rana. Blue Meanie and Stevie get their asses handed to them on the outside by Sabu. Stevie gets set up on a table. Meanie gets blasted with a chair shot.

Paul Heyman comes out and beats on the Blue Meanie with his phone. Sabu slingshots himself out of the ring onto Stevie, putting him through the table with a leg drop.

OH MY GAWD!

The crowd loves it.

E! C! DUB! E! C! DUB! E! C! DUB!

Heyman rolls Stevie back into the ring. Sabu goes for the cover, but Stevie gets his foot up on the bottom rope. Stevie gets a small package for 2 and half. Heyman gets a Sabu chant going.

Sabu lands a sick Lariat. Part of it was the way Stevie sold it. Jeez!

OH SHIT! Stevie with one of the best superkicks's I've ever seen!:

That was really nice. Heyman screams in at Sabu to shake it off. Sabu kicks out of a cover. Sabu leaps up on Stevie's shoulders, and spins down around him to hit a DDT. Heyman throws Sabu a chair.

Sabu lands the Atomic Arabian Facebuster(Somersault Legdrop off the top with a chair) for the 1, 2, 3, and remains unbeaten since his return to ECW.

Blue Meanie carries Stevie to the back as the crowd gives him a standing ovation.

7.9/10

This was actually a pretty good match. It had it's sloppy moments, but Sabu looked pretty good. Stevie also worked his ass off, and that superkick was fucking nice. You could see them calling the spots as they went through the match, but they actually did a pretty decent job of it here. This wasn't a real good match, but it had it's moments. The action was there and the pace of the match was nice considering how long it was.

The Gangstas vs Public Enemy

Well this is it. PE's final ECW appearance for a long time. They would come back about 4 years later, but ECW was a totally different animal by that time, so things didn't quite work out.

The crowd is cheering them on already. These were their guys, unlike Konnan. Rocco Rock paces the ring with an emotional look on his face as Johnny Grunge gets the microphone and tells the fans:

Quote:
HEY! Hold on before you start that shit!

Hold on one minute.

Hold on one motherfucking minute!

Now that you've seen the rest, are you ready FOR THE MOTHERFUCKING BEST!?

Cus lets get one thing fucking strait right now.

This house that sits on the corner of Swanson and Rittner is the HOUSE THAT MOTHERFUCKING PUBLIC ENEMY BUILT!
The crowd starts chanting "YOU'LL BE BACK!". Rocco Rock gets the mic and says:

Quote:
You may take us out of ECW, but you won't ever take the fucking ECW OUT OF US!
Pretty emotional little moment. These were their fans, and there was a lot of passion and truth in everything they said. out comes their arch rivals, the west coast thugs, The Gangstas(New Jack and Mustapha).

Quote:
If you're expecting any drop toe holds, flying headscissors, and armbars being exchanged, you've got the wrong matchup. This one's going to get ugly, and fast.

-Joey Styles prior to the match
New Jack comes out wearing an Oakland Raiders trench coat, holding a noose in his hand. Classic New Jack. He gets on the mic and says:

Quote:
I got one question.

Did you motherfuckers think I was gonna be gone long? Hell no!

So now that you gettin ready to take the easy way out, the WCW, go down there and "Hay" this and "Ho" that. You know who created this shit boy!

But one thing I want you to do. I'll never aks you for another favor.

When you see them pussy bitches Harlem Heat, tell 'em, I invented this.

I invented this.

I invented this.

As a matter of fact, I called Santa Claus the other night. I said "Santa Claus, what do you think about Sensational Sherri?".

He said uh, "A ho, ho, ho".
Here we go. Rocco Rock fights Mustapha, New Jack on Johnny Grunge.

Grunge is bleeding 5 seconds into the match.

Rocco Rock blasts New Jack with a pie. Joey says he's warming up for WCW. :

The rings a fucking mess with pie everywhere. All four men beat the shit out of each other in the ring. Grunge lands a DDT on Mustapha.

Grunge and Mustapha take it to the outside of the ring. Rocco Rock does a nice somersault out of the ring putting Mustapha through a table.

The 4 men continue brawling in and out of the ring with cookie sheets, chairs, cheese graters, and an iron.

New Jack is bleeding all over the place as he brawls through the crowd with Johnny Grunge. Blood everywhere. New Jack gouges Grunge's eyes. The two men brawl their way over to the soundstage area near the Eagles Nest balcony. New Jack does a splash off of the balcony down onto Johnny Grunge on the soundstage. Rocco Rock beats the shit out of Mustapha with a frying pan.

Johnny Grunge and New Jack take their fight over to the entrance area brawling with chairs. Mustapha pushes a table into the ring. Grunge and New Jack brawl their way back to the ringside area. Johnny Grunge gets a pie from someone in the crowd. What's with all the fucking pies in this show!?!?

One of the funnier moments of the show happens when Grunge goes to hit New Jack with the pie. New Jack moves out of the way, and makes his way around to the other side of the ring with an "I don't do pies motherfucker" attitude. :rofl:

Mustapha puts Rocco Rock through the table with a Vader splash. They hit a moment where everybody's tired and trying to figure out what to do next.

Rocco Rock does a really nice moonsault off the top rope putting Mustapha through a table.

Rocco Rock finishes it with his Somersault "Drive By" Senton off the top onto Mustapha. PE get the clean win over The Gangstas in their farewell match. They deserved it imo.

The Gangstas flee the scene and things get sentimental.

Quote:
First I want you to know, you're the greatest wrestling fans in the world.

Whether you know it or not, and you probably don't know it.

Just the energy you people create, makes us guys able to do things we normally wouldn't be able to do.

Ain't no fucking way, I'm going to dive off a 12 foot ledge, going through 2 tables, unless you make me do it.

And not only me. Every one of those wrestlers in the back feels the same way.

We love you, and we want to invite not only you, but some of the guys who danced in this ring with us. Whether they danced with us, or they danced against us, I want to bring'em all out for one last dance.

-Rocco Rock
The show cuts away to a highlight clip of PE's entire ECW career starting with their very first promo when they declared that they represented a generation that was more afraid of living than it was of dying. Really, really nice highlight clip of them doing home invasions, getting arrested, goofing off with a stolen golf cart at Terry Funk's double cross ranch, their barbed wire match against Terry & Dorry Jr., stealing Heyman's car from the valet parking of a NY night club, fighting The Gangstas, moonsaulting fools through tables, celebrating with the crowd, Rocco Rock's amazing moonsault splash through two tables from the top of a cage.

The camera shot pauses on Rocco at the apex of the moonsault hanging upside down in mid-air. Awesome.

The clip continues showing clips of various promos they cut, acting goofy. It cuts away to one of their entrances where the crowd just starts going crazy with the hand's waving back and forth. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge are shown coming out to the ring and celebrating with the fans, dancing around etc.

Two ECW pioneers. RIP.



That's a wrap. I'm sure they didn't want to show the farewell dance with the boys because it was a lot of them breaking kayfabe and going against all of the storylines running at this time saying goodbye to their friends. Too bad we didn't get to see that. I can understand why they probably cut the cameras, but I'd like to see it.

8/10

Can't say much for the match itself, other than the fact that it had a couple of cool moments(and funny ones), but there's a lot more here than just the match. I've said it before in past reviews, Public Enemy in ECW was like 80's glam hair rock. It's just something you would have had to have been around to experience at the time to really understand it's appeal. he PE stuff hasn't aged well, and one could argue that their legacy as an ECW tag team is overshadowed by the Dudley Boyz, but you can't argue the fact that PE did a lot to help ECW become what it did. They put the asses in the seats and the money in the bank from 1993 to 1995, the years where ECW developed its fanbase and it's trademark style.

The highlight video of their ECW careers was perhaps the best part of the entire show. Really well put together piece with all of their very best ECW moments. Pretty awesome tribute considering the fact that neither Rocco Rock or Johnny Grunge is with us anymore.

Overall: 8.4 /10

This was a really, really long show. It took me a good 3-4 sessions to cover everything that happened within this show. First I'll start with the bad. Some of the major complaints I've read about ECW around the internet are all here. Pretty much every match had some sort of run in or interference that determined the outcome. A lot of really stiff violence towards women as well.

With that said though, I really feel like the good outweighs the bad with this show. The whole pregnancy angle with Raven and Dreamer was pretty cutting edge twist to their storyline. Taz's MMA character is one of my favorite things about ECW(or pro wrestling for that matter). This show was just a really pivitol show for ECW's entire history. You had the return of Shane Douglas, the debut of Rob Van Dam, the farewell of Public Enemy, the classic pregnancy segment with Raven/Dreamer/Beulah, a beautifully booked Rey Mysterio/911 vs Eliminators segment, a solid Sabu vs Stevie Richards match, and a really awesome crowd that made for a great atmosphere even through the not too good matches like Sandman vs Konnan. You could tell all of these fans in the ECW Arena had grown to know each other well, and they would have a blast at these shows.

Whipreck and Scorpio stunk the joint up with their match, as did Buh Buh and Jimmy Del, but this is just an excellent, classic ECW show. Some good laughs, and some of the best moments in ECW history make this one worth checking out for sure.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:31 PM   #54 (permalink)
Learning to break kayfabe
 
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Default Re: American Hardcore Theater: ECW's Real History

Pro Wrestling In Early 1996


February of 1996 was almost like the calm before the storm for pro wrestling. WCW was a couple of months away from kickstarting a storyline that would push the entire industry into one of the biggest booms that it ever had. The NWO storyline had a lot of elements that were inspired by ECW. One of those aspects that gave the storyline its appeal was the shooty nature of it. The worked shoot was something that WCW started doing more and more once ECW made it work in their storylines in 1995. They first dabbled in worked shoots with Brian Pillman in early 1996.



Pillman had become a Four Horseman, but his character started displaying increasingly erratic and unpredictable behavior. He started wearing edgier clothing and doing things that even his Horseman stable mates had a hard time controlling. During this time Brian Pillman's WCW contract was coming to an end. One of Eric Bischoff's trademark management moves during this era was to book a wrestler off of television or job him out to decrease his value and keep the price down come resign time. This was what Eric Bischoff was doing to Brian Pillman during this time. Pillman desperately thought of a way to gain some leverage to get a high paying new deal. One of his ideas was to crash Superbowl XXX in Arizona by streaking across the field and handcuffing himself to the goal post. His friend and former trainer in the Cincinnati Bengals gained wind of his idea and refused to get him tickets to the game. Pillman came up with his next idea and put it into motion when he decided to make an appearance at a special television convention where the WWF was set up at a booth selling their programming. Vince Mcmahon was personally at the event, and Brian Pillman was able to snap a picture of himself with his arm draped over him shaking his hand.

The photo leaked and all of a sudden the rumors began to swirl. Pillman used this as leverage and went to Eric Bischoff with an idea that Bischoff couldn't resist. Bischoff cooked up a storyline that was designed to work the same types of wrestling fans that watched ECW. The smart marks. The types of fans that already knew Konnan was going to wind up as US Champion(or US Chump as they chanted at him during his last ECW match). The kind of fans who knew what a "Booker" was, and knew that Kevin Sullivan was WCW's booker at the time.

Pillman would get into a shoot style scuffle with Kevin Sullivan on WCW TV leading up to the Superbrawl VI show in February. The two men brawled with each other and tried to make it look like it was a real fight by going for each other's eyes. Both Wade Keller and Dave Meltzer reported it as a work right from the get go(because Kevin Sullivan cut a wrestling promo about it soon after), but the wrestlers and staff of WCW all were convinced by Bischoff that it was all indeed shoot. The storyline progressed at the Superbrawl VI PPV where Pillman was scheduled to face Kevin Sullivan in an "I Respect You" Strap Match. Pillman came out and brawled with Sullivan again in a realistic looking scuffle. Brian stopped fighting with Sullivan soon after the match started and told him "I respect you booker man!" before storming out of the ring. This was all worked as part of the storyline, but nobody in the WCW locker room knew this. Arn Anderson came out immediately after Pillman stormed off and wrestled a legit impromptu match against Sullivan to fill in.

The worked shoot continued when Pillman convinced Bischoff to push it to the next level and make it look as if he had been fired, and to make arrangements for him to appear in ECW to make it look legit. Bischoff informed everyone at WCW that Pillman had been released, and sent a check to Paul Heyman for Brian Pillman to make an appearance at the next show we will be taking a look at, ECW Cyberslam 96, which took place about 6 days after Superbrawl VI.

The thing about it all was that when WCW executives seen Pillman in ECW, they went ahead and really released Pillman from his WCW contract. His "Booker Man" line was censored out of the home video release of Superbrawl, and he was now a hot commodity free agent.

Also at Superbrawl 96 was the WCW PPV debut's of Public Enemy and Konnan(who was indeed US Champ). Public Enemy were defeated in a street fight by the Nasty Boyz. Konnan defended his US title against One Man Gang. Superbrawl VI was main evented by two cage matches, the first being a pretty good title match with Flair and Savage, and a downright stinker in Hogan vs The Giant.

Over in the WWF Steve Austin was just a couple of months away from his career making "Austin 3:16" promo, and was still in the heyday of his "Ringmaster" gimmick with Ted Dibiase. Bret and Shawn were on a collision course for WrestleMania, and Taker was feuding with Diesel. WWF had gotten much better through the later parts of 1995 and this continued in the early parts of 1996 as the promotion was gradually changing before everyone's eyes. This next ECW show we take a look at, Cyberslam, took place a week after WCW Superbrawl VI and a day prior to WWF In Your House: Rage in a Cage.


Before we dig into this mega super card internet wrestling festival extravaganza it's important to go over the events of two key shows that happened in the weeks prior. The January 27th show in the ECW Arena and the February 3rd show in the Lost Battalion Hall in Queens NY.

The angle developing on Hardcore TV in January was Raven's "Nest" growing to include Mikey Whipreck, who had become brainwashed by Raven's mind games. Raven had a David Koresh like mind control over Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie(Stevie's lackey. A lackey for a lackey), Cactus Jack, Mikey Whipreck, and his new valet, the vivacious Kimona Wanalaya.



Kimona was Raven's replacement for Beulah, who left him for Tommy Dreamer("pregnant" with his baby). She was a former dancer at a gentleman's club that Raven would frequent. On the January 27th show Raven was able to win the ECW World Title from The Sandman with help from all of his lackeys. Cactus delivered the fatal blow, putting a cap on his epic '95 feud with the Sandman(my pick for Feud of the Year in ECW 1995). Mick Foley was on his way to the WWF and everybody knew it. He would often wear t-shirt out to the ring saying WW "F'N" F. Cactus and a semi reluctant Mikey were both Tag Team champions during this time, but Tommy Dreamer would find a mystery tag team partner to help him take them on......The Franchise.

That's right. Heyman pushed Shane Douglas as a face after returning from the WWF. Shane Douglas as a face just doesn't work for me. We'll have to see if it worked for the rest of the ECW fans at this show. Douglas agreed to help Tommy Dreamer take on Mikey and Cactus, but Cactus would get the upper hand on his old training partner(at Domenic Denucci's school) for the victory. So they were using the fact that everybody knew about Foley going to the WWF to draw heat, with Shane cutting promos about how much he hated the WWF. Raven's "Nest" made it out of the January 27th show with the tag team titles and the ECW World title.

The next stop was the February 2nd show in Reading, Pennsylvania(in front of 550). Shane Douglas and Tommy Dreamer defeated Raven and Stevie Richards in tag team action. Also that night, the Eliminators continued their rise when they took out the team of Rob Van Dam & Chris Jericho(in his ECW debut) in a 15 minute match that I would love to see.

Then we had the infamous return to New York City for the second time since their record making debut(Holiday Hell '95). The Lost Battalion Hall in Queens was like a dingy old high school basketball gym, but they managed to break attendance records and make nearly $30,000 off of the gate so what do you do for the big comeback? BOOK THE SHIT OUT OF IT! Profit?! Who needs profit!?

I would love to see this entire show uncut, but I don't think it exists anywhere. The February 3rd show in Queens had Paul Heyman introduce a film crew from "A Current Affair"(as seen starting at 16:42 of the video).



The February 3rd show was a wild one. The Eliminators continued their climb when they managed to win the tag team titles from Mikey and Cactus. Raven came out and helped Cactus beat up Mikey after the match. Later on Francine came out(with her neck brace on) while Joey was interviewing The Eliminators. The Pitbulls jumped them while Francine distracted them. They held Saturn down with a chain and Francine shaved all of his pretty, long, black hair off. The February 3rd show was also Nancy "Woman" Sullivan's last show in ECW. I really enjoyed the depth that her character added to the Sandman as his manager. She was the brains behind all of his success. Woman came out to the February 3rd show for an interview with Joey Styles as the crowd chanted "You Sold OUT!". The interview snow balled into one of those classic ECW Heyman booked segments where all kinds of shit happened. First of all Woman made a remark about wresting on Monday Night, hinting at her departure to WCW. Then the Sandman came out and told her that he wouldn't go to WCW with her, calling her a bitch. This was kind of a face turn for the Sandman, but as we'll discover, he would be booked as a tweener for a little while. Woman responded to The Sandman's remarks by telling him that nobody could physically remove her from the building. 2 Cold Scorpio came out, put Woman over his shoulder, carried her out to the parking lot, and threw her into a limo. Scorpio slammed the door and told the driver "Take this bitch to Atlanta!".:

Later during the same segment The Blue Meanie and Stevie Richards came out to confront the Sandman. They told him that he should back out of his upcoming rematch with Raven for the ECW World Title. Sandman refused, caned both men down, and proclaimed that he was coming for his title. Later in the same show Stevie Richards revealed to Raven that he was going to sue Missy Hyatt for sexual harassment for the way she violated him at the last show. Missy came out and insulted both Stevie and Raven before The Sandman came out and caned both of them down. The Sandman had a new valet, "The Walking Riot", Missy Hyatt.



Taz came out later on that evening and called out 911, but Todd Gordon would come out and bury him, saying that 911 was not in the building because he was scared of Taz. 911's heyday as one of the most over acts in ECW was officially over. Sometimes I think Heyman would bury guys on purpose because they were getting too over. As over as 911 was he should have been pushed to the moon, but he suddenly found himself off of television and being made to look like a pussy by Taz. I have read rumors that 911 got into a scuffle with a couple of the guys from the ring crew at a house show around this time. Heyman scolded him for it, and 911 gave him attitude in return. Heyman just kind of got rid of him. He would return at some of the future shows, but it was mostly to make someone else look good.

Taz attacked Todd Gordon until Bam Bam Bigelow made his ECW debut to make the save. Bigelow would make only a couple of appearances in ECW in 1996 before coming over full time in 97. Juventud Guerrera also made his ECW debut at the show, wrestling a classic 10 minute match against Rey Mysterio. Chris Jericho also defeated Rob Van Dam at the February 3rd show. So add up all of those names and imagine how much they were probably getting paid for that show, and you can start to see where ECW's profits were going through these years. Heyman was just overbooking shows, plain and simple. One thing about it though, a card like that was sure to bring all of those fans back to the next ECW show in New York for sure. The overbooked cards generated a lot of excitement for ECW's fans, but they kept the company from ever making any serious profit. Rather than use home grown talent that was cheap(and over) like Hack Myers and 911, Heyman would rather bring in some big money players. These were the same mistakes that Joel Goodhart made that killed ECW's predecessor, Tri States Wrestling Alliance. He would just get caught up in his own hype and book cards that he knew he wouldn't be able to afford.

So there we have it. We're cought up.
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