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Thread: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

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    ECW Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995


    Over the past eight months, I've been diving head first in binge watching ECW's supershows. That includes the full year of 1996 (17 events), nearly all of 1997 (Two shows left), and all of 1994 (7 shows in total). For my next year, 1995, I'd like to try and expand the idea and attempt my most ambitious project of the last year. This project will be an attempt at covering the full year of 1995. In this thread, I will be reviewing every episode of Hardcore TV in 1995, starting with January 3rd's Shane Douglas/Ron Simmons rematch concluding with Christmas Eve's Rey Mysterio Jr vs Psychosis. Outside of this thread, as I imagine they will generate more hits on their own, I will be covering all twelve of the VHS released supershows. There are some conditions on this thread though in terms of not watching some things:

    - I already reviewed Hardcore Heaven 1995 back in 2016. There's not much of a need to re-do it. I might end up re-reviewing the Hardcore Heaven matches that appear on Hardcore TV though. Despite previously reviewing plenty of 1995 ECW matches in other threads, everything else, other than the full Hardcore Heaven event will be re-reviewed with fresh eyes.

    - As ECW was prone to film a supershow with the intention of releasing it on VHS later on, only to then show some segments and/or matches from it on Hardcore TV, I will be completely skipping over matches on Hardcore TV if I had already covered them in a supershow review. I will state what the match is so anyone reading the review will understand what is featured on that episode though. Keep in mind, this does mean there will be some Hardcore TV reviews that will be very minimal due to featuring a few supershow matches.

    - I'm not creating any customized supershows to review as I've done in the past particularly in 1996. For example, the ECW Arena show, South Philly Jam, was never released on VHS, but you can easily create a partial show with what was shown on Hardcore TV. Since I am covering the actual episodes of Hardcore TV, there isn't any need to force it into a supershow review.

    - I don't have any plans on reviewing any fancam shows, however; I would like to find a couple standout fancam matches such as the other Dean Malenko/Eddie Guerrero matches since there's potential quality to be seen.

    - If there's any match that took place in 1995, but wasn't shown on Hardcore TV or on a supershow, but was later released on some ECW Best Of release, whether by ECW or the WWE, I will be trying to watch that. I'm not sure how many of those actually exists though.

    - It is highly doubtful that this will become the norm for me going forward as I try to continue watching the rest of ECW's years. Part of my interest in covering the full year of 1995 is that I find the year a little bit confusing when it comes to sorting out the different matches. Case in point - Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero. They had a billion matches in 1995, but depending on where you're seeing people discuss them, they're either identified by their supershow name, just the date of the supershow, or the date of when they appeared on Hardcore TV. I'm hoping to have a far better understanding of which matches are which while also making it clear in the reviews.

    Below is a list of the supershows that I will be covering:

    Feb 4 - Double Tables
    Feb 25 - Return of the Funker
    April 8 - The Three-Way Dance
    April 15 - Hostile City Showdown
    May 13 - Enter the Sandman
    June 17- Barbed Wire, Hoodies, and Chokeslams
    June 30 - Mountain Top Madness
    July 1 - Hardcore Heaven (Already reviewed)
    July 15 - Heat Wave
    Sept 16 - Gangsta’s Paradise
    Nov 18 - November to Remember
    Dec 29 - Holiday Hell

    With the exception of Mountain Top Madness, every supershow is currently on the WWE Network. As the WWE Network's organization of ECW shows is a little screwy, Hardcore Heaven and November to Remember can be found in the ECW PPV section while the rest can be found in the ECW supershow section. Every episode of Hardcore TV should be on the Network, so other than Mountain Top Madness and a couple of fancam matches, everything I'll be reviewing should easily be able to be watched if you're subscribed to the Network. In the case of Mountain Top Madness, maybe by time we get there, the Network would have either added it or we'll discover that Hardcore TV features plenty of matches from that event. Looking at the dates of those shows, you should be able to get a decent sense for which months will have full Hardcore TV reviews (January, March, August, October) and which will be very minimal due to the featuring of a lot of supershow matches (February, April, June, July).

    If all goes according to plan, once I'm done with the reviews, I'll be able to create an extensive year in review and awards like I did with 1996.

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    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Awesome. Cant wait for hear your thoughts on Cactus Jacks promo on Dreamer and the USA dropping the A-bomb on japan. its pretty nuts!!!
    The Ultimate Contrarian!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. #3

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    January 3, 1995


    Joey Styles welcomes us to the first ECW TV show of the year. THIS Saturday night at the ECW Arena, The Pitbulls will battle The Bad Breed in a match where the losers must split! Tonight, we’ll see some highlights from Holiday Hell 1994 with both the ECW Tag Team and ECW World Titles on the line.

    Mikey Whipwreck vs Don E. Allen
    Since this is just Whipwreck vs a jobber, Styles interrupts the match to discuss tonight’s episode in more detail. Ron Simmons is currently dealing with a separated shoulder due to an attack from Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. How will that impact him in his match against Shane Douglas? Also, Stevie Richards, currently running a gimmick where he’s dressing up as various gimmicks previously used by Scott Levy will be featured. Back to the action and Whipwreck wins with a bulldog. Barely even saw any of the match, not that it matters. SQUASH.


    We are then shown a music video featuring Mikey Whipwreck’s 1994. Unlike every other music video meant to promote a wrestler, this just shows Whipwreck getting his ass kicked by the ECW roster. And to think, this guy held two of the company’s titles in 1994. Since I am watching this on the WWE Network, all of the copy written music has been replaced, which I imagine does take away from the fun value quite a bit, but it’s not a big deal to me as I never bothered watching these shows when the original music was intact.

    Back to Holiday Hell, Mikey Whipwreck is interviewed by Joey Styles. Mikey apparently came in fourth place in PWI’s Rookie of the Year. Whipwreck celebrates as if he won. In the front row, Styles spots Whipwreck’s original partner, Paul Lauria. Lauria at first acts proud of Whipwreck before attacking Whipwreck. Even blasting Mikey with a chair. Lauria then got on the mic to announce his newest manager - Jason. Jason sure has a hard-on for making Mikey’s life a living hell. In case you’ve never seen Lauria, he’s even smaller than Mikey. Looks a bit like Justin Roberts actually. Joey Styles helps a bloody Whipwreck to the back.

    ECW’s opening video is then played. While it does show some new footage such as Chris Benoit, Road Warrior Hawk still shows up despite not being in the company since April. I know he’s probably the most recognizable star in the opening video, but it’s time to remove him. Anyways, ECW - Join The Revolution.

    Back to Joey Styles backstage. Whipwreck may have a concussion, but he doesn’t know. Thanks for the insight, buddy. Styles is disgusted at Jason’s actions and claims he’s jealous because Mikey’s everything Jason isn’t. He’s a winner and a champion! Joey, Jason was TV Champion in 1994. Jason shows up to elaborate on why he picked THE GIANT, Paul Lauria, as his newest client. Who better to mess with Mikey’s head then using his own best friend against him? Jason denies being jealous of Whipwreck, but does admit that Whipwreck is being punished because he hasn’t paid his dues. This Saturday night, Mikey Whipwreck will battle Paul Lauria!

    We’re shown a brief promo from Woman w/The Sandman. She teases some upcoming Sandman vs Cactus Jack matches later in the month in the state of Florida.

    Back to Joey Styles to hype Shane Douglas’ title defense coming this Saturday night. Although Styles can’t announce who Douglas will be defending the title against yet, he promises that it will be the biggest ECW Title defense in history. The reveal to come before the end of the broadcast!

    Styles then shows us clips of some of the recent happenings in ECW at the end of 1994. We’re shown Chris Benoit breaking Sabu’s neck, The Public Enemy putting Paul E. Dangerously and Sabu through a table while The Malenko Brothers held The Tazmaniac back, and apparently Dean Malenko and The Tazmaniac has been through some wars. This Saturday night, it will be a four-on-three handicap match with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and The Public Enemy vs The Tazmaniac, Sabu, and 911.

    Last week on Hardcore TV, Chris Benoit battled Hack Meyers where Benoit delivered a Dragon Suplex, seemingly breaking Meyer’s neck. The Crippler strikes again! While Meyers was stretchered off, Dean Malenko ran out to toss Meyers off of the stretcher to further attack him while Benoit challenged Sabu to a fight. Although Sabu and The Tazmaniac came out for a fight, they were ambushed by The Public Enemy.

    Outside somewhere, The Public Enemy cut a promo with their ECW Tag Titles. After initially poking fun of The Tazmaniac, they then hype up January 7th’s ECW Arena show with the handicap match.

    The Public Enemy © vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu - ECW Tag Titles
    Another Holiday Hell match. I believe this took place after the assault that saw Sabu put through a table earlier in the night. So both challengers are going into this match already banged up (And in the case of Sabu, breaking his neck a month earlier). Highlights only. Seemed like a pretty wild match. According to Joey Styles, this went over twenty minutes. Both members of The Public Enemy were busted open. For me, the highlight was seeing Sabu mock The Public Enemy by performing the cabbage patch. We don’t get a good sense of the finish, but the end result was Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit running out to preview the January 7th ECW Arena handicap match. The alliance between The Tazmaniac and Sabu was strengthened when Taz sacrificed himself to shield Sabu from being put through a table. 911 would end up coming out to attack all four heels, delivering a pair of double choke slams to Grunge/Malenko and Benoit/Malenko. Twenty minutes seems way too long for the teams involved, but highlights only it was fun. Not Rated.


    Backstage, Paul E. Dangerously puts over the ECW fans, but admits that the company failed to deliver what the fans deserve because the fans didn’t witness The Public Enemy getting their asses kicked. Dangerously then hypes up January 7th’s ECW Arena show and the four-on-three handicap match. Not a wrestling fan? Come to the ECW Arena and you’ll become a fan by the end of the night.

    Elsewhere, Joey Styles again hypes up the future reveal of Shane Douglas’ opponent for January 7th’s ECW Arena event. Also, ECW will be expanding its TV coverage. Yay? Another tease of Douglas’ opponent is that it’s someone who presently does not compete for ECW.

    Two weeks ago on Hardcore TV, Stevie “Flamingo” scored a victory, before winning again, this time as Scotty “The Body” in an upset against JT Smith. Both victories were in ode to the wrestler known as Scott Levy. Sadly, the two match winning streak came to an end after losing to Tommy Dreamer. As revenge, Richards promises to bring the real Johnny Polo to ECW next week. Hmm…

    Shane Douglas © vs Ron Simmons - ECW World Title
    Another match from Holiday Hell. This would be a rematch from November to Remember. Before the match, Douglas gloats over the fact that Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit fractured the shoulder of Simmons. This brought out Simmons in his street clothes and arm in a sling. Despite this fact, Simmons got riled up enough to attack Douglas to kick off the match. The Injury angle actually made this pretty fun as it not only told a different story from their November to Remember match, but easily created this dynamic where you knew it was only a matter of time before Simmons would be fucked because of the shoulder. Still, ECW put Simmons over as a megastar, kicking Douglas’ ass with one arm, figuring out ways to bring the offense without utilizing that power he had always had going for him. At times, that meant Simmons leaping a little to kick at the back of The Franchise’ knee to knock the champion down. More than once, Simmons’ bad shoulder was a target and each time something happened to it, you assumed that was going to be it, yet Simmons remained in the match. The All American would use his belt and cowboy boot to further punish the champion. Ultimately, the bad shoulder played a role in Simmons’ losing as he foolishly decided to go for his running shoulder block, but ended up crashing into the corner shoulder first. That allowed Douglas to roll him up and win with a fistful of Ron’s jeans. And to think, back at November to Remember, Simmons was booked to be the heel. Here, he was treated as the biggest babyface hero. I dug the creativity here. ** ½


    Back to Joey Styles as we only have moments to go before the show ends. Pulling out the envelope to reveal Douglas’ challenger for January 7th’s ECW Arena show, the end credit card pops up and with mere seconds to go, Styles reveals the name. TULLY F’N BLANCHARD is coming to the ECW Arena!

    Overall
    A good start to this project. It was basically what I wanted with a heavy emphasis on the card for the next ECW Arena show, showcasing some of the programs, and setting things up for the future. Although there was only one full match shown, I liked what Douglas vs Simmons had to offer. Perhaps you could argue that your top guy shouldn’t be dominated by an injured wrestler, but with how pissed off Simmons was, The Franchise was at a disadvantage as The All American didn’t need to play by the rules. Looking at the January 7th ECW Arena show, there was a lot of effort made to hype up that handicap match. It certainly didn’t take Heyman look to figure out how to use Sabu’s legitimate broken neck to create storylines and a gimmick for Benoit. The show long angle of the eventual reveal of Tully Blanchard being The Franchise’s opponent is meant to play up the Douglas/Ric Flair heat with Tully being the first of the Horsemen to try and get some revenge for all of the shit talking. I know Barry Windham was supposed to have come in at some time to do the same. Despite being a pretty big match on paper, the match was apparently one of the biggest duds in ECW history. It went to a sixty minute time limit draw (Despite only going forty-three minutes) and was one rest hold after another. Sounds like typical early ECW Douglas to me though. The funny thing is that on a show with two title matches, a show long build-up to reveal the next World Title challenger, a return of a jobber/heel turn, and plenty of hype for the tag team division, what stood out to me as the most important in terms of impact for ECW 1995 was just some little throwaway line about how the inspiration for Stevie Richards’ Scott Levy gimmicks will apparently be showing up next week. To think, Tommy Dreamer’s 1995 was somewhat defined because he ended some geek’s two match winning streak.


    ECW Arena - January 7th
    (Announced Matches)

    Shane Douglas © vs Tully Blanchard - ECW World Title

    Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and The Public Enemy vs The Tazmaniac, Sabu, and 911 w/Paul E. Dangerously

    Mikey Whipwreck vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria w/Jason

    The Pitbulls vs The Bad Breed - Losers Must Split Up

  4. #4

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    January 10, 1995


    The show kicks off with a close-up shot of Tully Blanchard’s robe. One member of the Four Horsemen may be afraid of Shane Douglas, but this one is not. No need to bring up the January 7th match though, totally didn’t happen...


    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the recently redesigned ECW Arena, now accommodating even more fans! Meanwhile the fans chant, “You still suck!” towards Joey. Styles then brings out the man with the identity crisis - Steve Richards. Last week, Richards promised to produce Johnny Polo, but Styles hasn’t spotted the former Scotty Flamingo yet. Richards claims that today is the biggest day in the history of ECW. Richards admits that he’s not going to produce Johnny Polo, Scotty Flamingo, or even Scotty The Body. Instead, Richards introduces the world to...Raven! Raven immediately harasses Richards while cutting some super vague and emo promo. Although it wasn’t really touched on much, prior to Raven coming out, Richards claimed the real reason why Tommy Dreamer is in Japan is because he knew Raven was going to be here tonight. It’s almost as if they have a backstory or something.

    We’re shown a recap video of Richards’ imitation of Raven’s previous gimmicks including his two match winning streak and ultimately the epic winning streak coming to an end against Tommy Dreamer.

    We’re then shown a quick recap of Meyers’ history starting as a jobber before he became a bit of a cult favorite in the company as The Shah.

    Steve Richards w/Raven vs Hack Meyers
    From the January 7th ECW Arena event. Meyers is working this match while working a neck brace due to the injury he recently suffered at the hands of The Crippler, Chris Benoit. Richards is still not going by “Stevie” yet and hasn’t come up with his trademark short shorts and crop top. To try and impress his man, Raven, Richards worked this match with extra aggression. Focusing most of his offense on Meyers’ bad neck, including removing the neck brace, things were working pretty well for Richards until he got too cocky. That allowed The Shah to take over after a low blow. Like Richards, Meyers was fairly aggressive and targeted the neck for revenge. At multiple times throughout the match, Styles made reference to how little Raven looks like he cares about anything. Not saying a word to Richards and barely even moving. Despite this aloof attitude, once Richards was sent to the outside and the referee was distracted, Raven jumped into the ring to attack Meyers and lay him out with a loaded boot to allow Richards to crawl back into the ring and steal the pinfall. Neither Richards nor Meyers was capable of putting on a gem at this stage, but the effort was there while also successfully showing off Raven’s new character. **


    After a commercial break, we’re reshown the events in the previous match to further hype Raven’s debut. Joey Styles announces that the main event tonight will be 2 Cold Scorpio vs The Sandman. Meanwhile, ECW recently debuted in the New York television market thanks to the MSG Channel. A party to kick off this debut at Club Expo was crashed by The Public Enemy. Other guests at the party included Shane Douglas doing his best Ric Flair impression by showing up in a limo, wearing a suit, and escorted by multiple women.

    Last week on Hardcore TV, Mikey Whipwreck and Paul Lauria celebrated their one year anniversary of their debuts. Although Lauria quickly left the business, Whipwreck found some success in ECW in 1994. Due to jealousy, Lauria turned on his childhood bestie before joining up as Jason’s newest client. Is Lauria’s return to ECW the most exciting event? Absolutely not, but I do like the idea of Jason trying to mess with Whipwreck by recruiting Whipwreck’s old best friend.

    Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)




    And this has been an edition of Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)

    Back at Club Expo, The Nature Boy The Franchise continues to celebrate with his women. Later in the night, Joey Styles gets an interview with Douglas as The Franchise just brags out scoring the women as he comes across as a truly second rate Flair.

    In a backstage promo, Ron Simmons gives Shane Douglas credit for being crafty, but once he gets his hands on Douglas on January 14th in Florida, it’s all over for Douglas. After promising to win the title, two nights later he plans on getting revenge on Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit with help from his buddy, 2 Cold Scorpio.

    Back to January 7th’s ECW Arena show, 2 Cold Scorpio challenged Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit to a fight. There’s more hype for the January 16th show that will feature Scorpio/Simmons vs Malenko/Benoit. After Benoit and Malenko come out, a fight with the three men breaks out with Scorpio suffering a Dragon Suplex from Benoit. Malenko and Benoit deliver a double Hot Shot. The punishment continues while the ring fills with referees and Tod Gordon. Benoit and Malenko are on a path of destruction here in ECW! Once the heels bail, The Sandman’s music begins and the next match is ready to start regardless of Scorp’s condition.

    The Sandman w/Woman vs 2 Cold Scorpio
    Another January 7th ECW Arena match. The battle of the future BFFs. Despite Scorpio just sustaining a major attack, The Sandman’s entrance takes fucking forever to the point that even The Undertaker would be telling him to hurry up. Despite having all of that time to recover, Scorpio still took the first half to be completely dominated by The Sandman. For someone who has never been a good worker, sometimes The Sandman’s offense can be really fun. His top rope leg drop? Pretty neat. On the outside, Scorpio finally started fighting back with a chair in hand, only for Sandman to regain the advantage once the action returned to the ring. The longer the match went on, the more opportunities Scorpio received to fly around. After one nearfall thanks to a top rope splash, a second attempt caused Scorpio to crash and burn on the mat. It doesn’t change much though as Scorp quickly follows that up with a moonsault to win the match. Much like their match at High Incident in 1996, something about this felt incomplete. I didn’t notice any obvious cuts, but Scorpio’s win came across as pretty abrupt. After enduring so much interference/distraction based finishes in 1994, perhaps the clean nature of this finish is what threw me off from expecting the pinfall then. ** ¼


    After the match, The Sandman blasts Scorpio in the back of the head with a Singapore cane shot. That allowed Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit to run out and continue their previous attack on Scorp to add heat to the January 16th tag match.

    Overall
    Second episode into this project and we get the first matches taped in 1995. The company feels like it belongs in a long forgotten bygone era. ECW ran three live events in January 1995 and each one has been advertised on Hardcore TV. Last week was the big hype for the ECW Arena event and now this week received some attention for its less important stop in Florida coming next week. For the Florida shows, all of the hype is built around Ron Simmons as he attempts, for the third time, to become ECW Champion, before having to join up with 2 Cold Scorpio to battle the men that had been trying to put them out of action - Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. This went along with last week’s Woman promo hyping the Sandman and Cactus Jack pair of matches once they get to Florida. It may be such a minor thing, but I really dig that everything is getting advertised, even if you’re not able to watch the full shows. This show is historic for featuring the debut of the future ECW World Champion, Raven. While there’s not much in the way of kicking off the Raven/Dreamer feud, there was a little tease that there may be some backstory that we’re not familiar with. Even if neither match was all that good, both were shown in full. So far, the formatting of these shows have been the best part about them. It’s a bit goofy, but I hope Extreme Encyclopedia returns to be a regular addition to hype up the main event of the shows.

  5. #5
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    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Henchwench lol thats pretty good

    when i had the network...i watched all of 95 and those encyclopedias things get annoying after a while.

    theres a good Benoit match coming up soon.
    The Ultimate Contrarian!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    January 17, 1995


    A music video promoting ECW’s newest star, Raven, is shown to kick off the program. Considering Raven hadn’t wrestled yet, he’s stuck just like...walking around in the snow. It’s a little lame if I’m being honest. The music video ends with a quick Raven promo where he quotes Black Sabbath, mentions Kurt Cobain didn’t make it and how he left a generation of tortured souls behind, before mentioning Tommy Dreamer by name for a lowkey threat.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Road Warrior Hawk can still be seen in the opening.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show backstage at the ECW Arena. Going over tonight’s show, Al Snow will make his debut while The Pitbulls and The Bad Breed will collide in a match where the losers must split. All matches will be from the January 7th ECW Arena event.

    Before the opening match, we’re shown a Mikey Whipwreck music video detailing his two title wins in 1994 before showing Paul Lauria’s return a couple of weeks ago.

    Mikey Whipwreck vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria w/Jason
    Although Lauria is in good shape, the guy’s size is comparable to Marko Stunt. As a worker in this match, he seemed pretty decent and better than the still green Whipwreck, but what are you supposed to do with the guy beyond this initial feud with Mikey? My issue with this match is that while technically okay, it didn’t have the heat that such a grudge match should have. Besides Whipwreck starting the bout with some aggression, it then settled down into a traditional match where Lauria tried to impress with his fine moveset. Mikey’s highlights being when he borrowed Cactus Jack’s Cactus Closeline and later dove off of the top rope onto Lauria, who was in the crowd. Still, this needed to be a hate filled grudge match between one man who was jealous of someone who he felt didn’t deserve the success he had achieved while the other wanting to punish the childhood friend who had betrayed him. Thanks to some interference from Jason, Lauria stole Mikey’s own top rope bulldog to score the pinfall. An okay match in theory, but completely wrong for what they should have worked. * ¾


    After the match, Mikey attacked both Lauria and Jason, but ends up receiving some chair shots from Lauria for his trouble.

    Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)



    And this has been an edition of Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition).

    Joey Styles then introduces a highlight video detailing Chris Benoit’s recent spree of causing injuries.

    Al Snow vs Osamu Nishimura
    This would be Snow’s debut on ECW TV. Don’t get used to him though, this stint in ECW is going to be really short. It’s crazy to think that at this point, Snow was a veteran of 12+ years in the business. He’s only just now starting to gain some momentum and talk. Osamu was a graduate of the NJPW Dojo about the same time as Tenzan and Kojima. He’s currently on his excursion. The highlight of the excursion being involved in the infamous NWA World Title Tournament hosted by ECW in 1994 where he lost in the first round. Speaking of men who lost in the first round of a NWA World Title Tournament in 1994, Al Snow did that as well when SMW hosted the second attempt in November. I had to chuckle when Styles praised Snow for being someone who isn’t into colorful ring gear or flashy gimmicks, he’s just a no frills wrestler. Meanwhile, his entire legacy now is forever tied to his future gimmicks. This was pretty darn great and the favorite for the best match of the month. Snow came into the match with a lot of respect from the crowd, so right away the crowd was into everything. Early on, it’s a pretty technical match with Osamu trying to keep up. Osamu seemed average at best, but Snow looked great. What was surprising is that Snow was a bit of a high flyer at this point. The match changed some after Snow attempted a springboard knee drop, which Nishimura moved out of the way from. That allowed Osamu to start concentrating on the knee of Snow, applying a couple Figure Fours to The Snowman. That’s when the match briefly changed again as tensions got heated and the two came to a series of punches. How is it that this random match is coming across as more of a grudge match than the actual grudge match in the opening bout? Snow continued to impress me until the very end when he delivered a Gutbuster across the top rope and then dropped a Sicilian Slice to score the victory. Snow’s look may have been ultra plain in 1995, but I can see why he was being talked about back then. Better than any ECW 1994 match that I saw. *** ¼


    On the mean streets of Philly, we meet up with The Public Enemy as they give out some shoutouts to trash The Tazmaniac/Sabu, crediting Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko as the second best team in ECW (That could be a mistake insulting them…), crediting Shane Douglas for torturing Tully Blanchard for one hour...and the fans as a result (Great insider burn there), and poking fun at Paul E. Dangerously. Rocco and Grunge are great at being obnoxious, yet entertaining characters.

    The Bad Breed vs The Pitbulls - Losers Must Split Up
    These two teams have been feuding over the last few months. Thus far they had collided at three different ECW Arena shows in late 1994 with Pitbulls winning the last two. It’s very possible I’ve missed this fact in the previous Hardcore TV eps of 1995, but ECW now has a cameraman on the floor! Yay! This proved to be helpful as the entire match was split between dueling battles of Axl/Pitbull #2 and Ian/Pitbull #1. Although the cameraman on the floor didn’t get as much screen time as the hard cam, it still helped out in allowing the viewers at home to witness more events in the match. It didn’t take long before all four men are bleeding with the wrestlers grabbing weapons from the crowd to help out in the assault. For a garbage tag match, it’s entertaining since it maintained a quick pace and it didn’t overstay its welcome. The finish is a little hokey though as The Rottens take out Pitbull #2 on the outside to allow Ian to try and Super Bomb Pitbull #1 (Wouldn’t it make more sense to Super Bomb the Pitbull who actually does the Super Bomb?), but Pitbull #1 counters with a Frankensteiner without bothering to lock his legs around Ian’s neck. Ian still takes the bump though and since Axl began celebrating the victory before a Super Bomb was even hit, he had his back turned away from the action missing the fact that Pitbull #1 beat Ian to force Bad Breed to break up. Although the right team did win since there’s more value in The Pitbulls than The Bad Breed, I didn’t mind Ian and Axl as a team. In addition, I know what I must endure because of the split and I’m already dreading it. **


    After the match, the show goes off of the air with Ian attacking his big brother setting up the dreaded Ian vs Axl death feud that lasted for half of 1995.

    Overall
    Without ECW running any live events for the rest of the month, this would be the first Hardcore TV without any hype for additional shows. In fact, this episode wraps up the coverage for the January ECW Arena show with the rest of the shows in January taking a look at what happened on the two night stop in Florida. This episode featured the best match of that ECW Arena event with Al Snow vs Osamu. It seems impossible to believe, but Snow was a major free agent in 1995 with both the WWE and WCW wanting a piece of him, thus explaining why his stint in ECW would be short. I know that a lot of people really praised his upcoming Double Tables match against Chris Benoit, but I never saw it as being too special. Now that I have a good grasp on the sort of quality that ECW could deliver during this period, I’m actually looking forward to re-watching that match soon as it could be exactly what I’m waiting for Chris Benoit to be involved in during his short run with ECW. Check out Snow’s match here tonight if you’ve never been too impressed with The Snowman as a worker. The break-up of The Rottens is pretty bitter sweet. While it allowed for their match against The Pitbulls to feel like a bigger deal than it would have been otherwise, I’m absolutely not looking forward to the endless about of hardcore matches that Ian and Axl will take part in going forward. While Paul Lauria showed a lot of effort in his match against Mikey, the match didn’t work for me which is a bummer since they were given a lot of time. A bit of criticism for the format of the Hardcore TV show is that there’s not much variety. Every week has featured reminders of the Lauria/Whipwreck issue and Chris Benoit injuring people. While it’s great that ECW isn’t just saying something and then never reminding people, so that these events can get over, it would be nice if things were mixed up a little. If Tommy Dreamer is off in Japan for the month of January, how about showing a music video for him? How about reminding people that JT Smith still exists? ECW doesn’t have a large roster, there’s not many options to showcase wrestlers, but you can still vary things a little. Maybe a bit of that Pulp Fiction greatness?

  7. #7

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    January 24, 1995


    The show kicks off at the train yard as The Public Enemy looks to find a cheap way to head down to Florida for ECW’s two night tour. These goofy segments with Rocco and Grunge outside are way more entertaining than their actual matches. We then join The Public Enemy down in Florida in front of a Daily Planet sign with Rocco disappointed that Grunge thinks Superman must live here. This isn’t Metropolis! Elsewhere in Florida, they’re in front of some spray painted art where they claim some clown looking art piece is of Sabu.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Road Warrior Hawk can still be seen in the opening. Fuck it, I’m going to mention Hawk until Heyman finally removes him. While you’re at it, remove Mike Awesome as well.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show backstage at the first Florida event. Tonight will feature a double main event of 2 Cold Scorpio vs Chris Benoit and Ron Simmons challenges for the ECW Title yet again against Shane Douglas. Both of those matches are from the January 14th Florida event. Well, one of those matches really has my hopes up high.

    Last week on ECW, The Pitbulls defeated The Bad Breed to split The Rottens up. After the match, Ian attacked Axl to kick off a feud between the British brothers. Styles then hypes The Hardcore Hotline where you can hear from both men to decide for yourself who was in the right. Huh, this was the first mention of a hotline in these episodes. I was beginning to think that the WWE Network had edited them out.

    2 Cold Scorpio vs Chris Benoit
    Oh man, please be great. If it’s another mess like their understandably so train wreck at November to Remember 94, it’s a shoe in for the biggest disappointment of the year. I’m pleased to announce that these two not only didn’t disappoint, but they had a pretty killer match. I’ve watched a lot of ECW since the start of 1994 and this match offered something you really couldn’t find elsewhere on ECW cards. Well, maybe it was featured in the Dean Malenko/Scorpio Hardcore TV match back in 1994, but I didn’t see that. It’s two great workers putting on a hell of a match to show that ECW can be more than just violence or more mature characters. Early on, the pace was kept pretty quick as Scorpio was finding more success than The Crippler. Once Benoit managed to string together a series of moves, he slowed down the action and potentially tried injuring Scorpio with some high impact moves. Just as Benoit locked in a sleeper, Scorp countered it with a Pele Kick. Probably the earliest I’ve seen such a kick in wrestling. At this point, it’s worth mentioning something somewhat amusing about the match. There’s one drunk guy in the crowd that really wanted to see Scorpio kick Benoit in the balls. Whether it was in the beginning of the match, in the middle, or approaching the finishing stretch, you could sometimes hear this guy shout, “Kick him in the balls, 2 Cold! Kick him in the balls!” Finally, late in the match, Scorpio countered a back body drop attempt by leaping over Benoit and on the way down managed to mule kick Benoit in the balls. Scorpio then dropped a leg drop on Benoit’s balls and even crotched him on the top rope. I’d like to think that this drunk guy with the balls crushing fetish went home happy solely because of 2 Cold. The finish is pretty sweet as Benoit attempted to injure Scorpio’s neck by hitting the Dragon Suplex, the same move he used to hurt Hack Meyers at Holiday Hell, but Scorpio countered it in what was to be a roll-up (Victory roll variation), but Benoit countered that by sitting down and pinning Scorpio as if this was a Hart vs Hart family match and the finish had to be a counter to a roll-up. *** ¾


    We’re shown an instant replay of the last couple minutes of the match.

    Joey Styles hypes up ECW’s return to the ECW Arena on February 4th. Matches already scheduled include Chris Benoit vs Al Snow, Mikey Whipwreck vs Paul Lauria again, The Rottens battling each other, and Tommy Dreamer vs Steve Richards. The match that doesn’t make much sense to me though is that the ECW World Champion, depending on the result of tonight’s main event, either Shane Douglas or Ron Simmons, is scheduled to defend against The NEW Tully Blanchard, but apparently Tod Gordon claimed that Blanchard will no longer compete for ECW. So...is the match happening or not? And what is this randomness with calling him The NEW Tully Blanchard? Strange.

    Next week, we’ll see The Public Enemy defend the ECW Tag Titles against The Tazmaniac and Sabu!

    In the locker room, Paul E. Dangerously talks about the fear in society today and how that fear causes us to change our ways. We don’t fear safe wearing expensive items or leaving our cars parked out on the streets because of hoodies stealing them. It’s also why programs like America’s Most Wanted and 911 are so popular today because people like seeing these hoodies face punishment for their actions. Next week on ECW, we’ll see a version of that as The Tazmaniac and Sabu punish The Public Enemy for their crimes. I wonder when exactly the split between Dangerously and The Public Enemy happened. Last summer, Grunge and Rocco were Dangerously’s hired goons, but now they’re his bitter enemies.

    Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)





    And this has been an edition of Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition). Considering The Sandman and Woman were just featured in this segment two weeks ago, seeing them again so soon makes this the weakest Extreme Encyclopedia yet. I liked that they added the proper match card at the end though.

    The goofy Raven walking around in the snow music video is played again. It’s still goofy. Maybe it’d be a little more entertaining if the original music was still in tact, but it’s ultimately just a music video of Raven in the snow since literally his only footage of him in an arena was his debut when Stevie Richards wrestled Hack Meyers. Maybe ECW should have taken a WWE approach and have Raven work a couple of house shows in order to film footage of him actually doing...something.

    Joey Styles proves he’s hip and with it by saying what a mosh pit means. Anyways, Styles reveals that The NEW Tully Blanchard has decided to leave wrestling. What does this mean for his Double Tables title match?

    Off in a playground, Raven cuts a weird promo regarding Tommy Dreamer without actually saying anything. There’s a little alluding to something about youths though.

    Shane Douglas © vs Ron Simmons - ECW World Title
    Their third and final (?) match together. Again, it’s different from their previous ones. Simmons is back to wearing ring gear and his arm isn’t in a sling. This allowed him to initially dominate by using his usual power based moves. That is until he accidentally wrapped his arm around the ring post thanks to Douglas avoiding the charge. I think this match actually did a better job of playing up the injury than their previous sling based match. Once this injury angle kicked off, everything Douglas did was built around further injuring the shoulder. Meanwhile, Simmons tried to keep doing his usual moves, but suddenly he now drops The Franchise during a press slam and it’s clear that he’s fucked. The finish is initially disappointing as it does prematurely end the match, but for the angle and what’s happening in the company going forward, it’s a good form of booking. Once again, Simmons attempted a press slam, but this time after catching Douglas climbing the top rope, meaning Simmons doesn’t need to worry about lifting Douglas off of the mat, he just needs enough strength to toss him off of the top rope. However, the bad shoulder gave Douglas just enough time to fight out of it, grabbing The All American’s bad arm and drop down off the top rope to the floor below. This completely kills Simmons’ arm to the point that when the referee raises his arm to test the state of it, the arm immediately drops back down. Simmons’ buddy, 2 Cold Scorpio entered the ring to join in on the referee’s urging to stop the match. Eventually, both Scorp and the referee get their way as the referee stops the match, ruling that Simmons’ can’t continue. I imagine Scorpio’s role in costing Simmons his third crack at the ECW Title is what led to their feud. This feud is how you’d want a series of matches to go. Each one was better than the last. Not great matches, but this one accomplished a lot in terms of booking. ** ¾


    After the match, Douglas challenges anyone to try and test him. Eventually, that brings out Tully Blanchard, who Joey Styles claims is The OLD Tully Blanchard. What is this nonsense? Tully initially beats down on The Franchise, laying him out with his slingshot suplex. That brings out Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko with the future Horsemen laying out a founding member of the Horsemen. The show goes off of the air as The Shooter and The Crippler hold Blanchard down as Douglas locks in the Figure Four.

    Overall
    From a wrestling standpoint, this was easily the best edition of Hardcore TV thus far in 1995. Both matches delivered with Benoit/Scorpio producing the current ECW MOTY. The biggest negative on the show was the confusing narrative built around Tully Blanchard. Keep in mind, I’ve watched literally every show in 1995 thus far. There’s not any B shows, I haven’t skipped any ECW Arena shows that were released, ect. If it’s available to be watched, I’ve seen it. So where is this nonsense of The NEW Tully Blanchard vs The OLD Tully Blanchard coming from? What’s going on with Tully apparently leaving the business and won’t be wrestling anymore for ECW, but he’s still scheduled for a title shot at Double Tables? When I was watching ECW on TNN 1999, I understood that I was missing pieces of the story by not also watching Hardcore TV, even though that shouldn’t be the case since everything important should have been presented on your basic cable television show, however; what’s the excuse for not presenting the full story here? It’s needlessly confusing. Just tell us what’s happening instead of only vaguely giving us portions of what’s happening. It’s a shame too because this is my lasting memory of the episode and not the fact that ECW produced their current MOTY.

    Double Tables - February 4th
    (Announced Matches)

    Shane Douglas © vs The NEW Tully Blanchard - ECW World Title

    Chris Benoit vs Al Snow

    Mikey Whipwreck vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria w/Jason

    Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten

    Tommy Dreamer vs Steve Richards w/Raven


  8. #8
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    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Yeah that was the match i was referencing. Id imagine its easily the best match in ECW up until that point in its history.
    The Ultimate Contrarian!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Quote Originally Posted by indyfan View Post
    Yeah that was the match i was referencing. Id imagine its easily the best match in ECW up until that point in its history.
    It really doesn't have much competition. Snow vs Osamu from the same month is almost definitely in the top 5 in the company's history based on what I've seen in 1994 and assuming it's the norm. The NWA-ECW days were brutal from a workrate perspective. 1995 should be a lot better though even if someone like Benoit wasn't given many opportunities as Malenko was.

  10. #10

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    January 31, 1995


    Just to see what I’m missing, instead of watching this on the WWE Network, I downloaded a file that someone created where it took the video footage from the Network, but added in the original audio for the original music to be paired with the best looking video footage of the episode.

    Last week on ECW, The NEW Tully Blanchard announced that he’s no longer going to be wrestling. In the main event, Shane Douglas defeated Ron Simmons to retain his ECW Title thanks to Simmons’ shoulder injury forcing the referee to stop the match. After the match, Tully came out to kickstart a fight with Douglas, but ended up being jumped by Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit to end the show with a three-on-one assault on Blanchard.

    Backstage, Joey Styles is going over what he needs to do tonight in an unscripted moment only for Joey to be alerted that something is happening in the ring.

    Cut back to the ring on January 14th and the crowd is throwing chairs into the ring as they’re leaving the building.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Road Warrior Hawk is still featured, but White Zombie’s ‘Thunderkiss 65’ makes up for it.

    Joey Styles properly opens up the show with a rundown of what’s to air tonight. Both matches are from the January 16th Florida event. It will be The Public Enemy defending the ECW Tag Titles against The Tazmaniac and Sabu and The Sandman battling Cactus Jack.

    At a cheap motel somewhere in Florida, the ECW World Champion, Shane Douglas, cuts a promo on Tully Blanchard. His interpretation of what happened last week is that Tully Pearl Harbor’d him. He makes mentions of comments Tully has been making lately about being a preacher and admitting to his past vices. IT SURE WOULD BE NICE IF WE COULD ACTUALLY SEE SOME OF THESE THINGS. For the first time on ECW TV, Douglas names The Triple Threat with himself, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit. Douglas is ready for the next match with Tully Blanchard and that The Triple Threat will be forever more dangerous than The Four Horsemen ever were.

    Back to Joey Styles backstage to hype the return of The OLD Tully Blanchard. FUCK OFF WITH THESE OLD/NEW Tully Blanchard mentions. Unless you elaborate on what you’re talking about, these mentions are stupid. Suddenly, the Jaws theme is playing and our first match is kicking off.

    The Public Enemy © vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu w/Paul E. Dangerously and 911 - ECW Tag Titles
    Apparently, Sabu is working this match with a fractured ankle. OF COURSE Sabu is working with an injury. It’d be more newsworthy to report when he’s working a match at 100%. This was a program built heavily around tables with the issues getting hotter after Grunge and Rocco put Dangerously through a table. For a Public Enemy match, this wasn’t too bad. Sabu’s bad ankle provided some story as he kept trying to go for crazy spots, but would then grab his ankle, seriously putting concern into how long he can keep the match going when his spots are already being affected by the injury at the start of the match. The vast majority of the bout was a pair of brawls with Grunge obviously getting busted open, which seems to happen in all of his matches. Various weapons are used including a small snow shovel, which seems to humor Joey Styles quite a bit seeing as we’re in Florida. Sabu is briefly taken out of the match after he’s caught diving onto both of the champions on the outside where he was then sent back first into the ring post. That set off a new story of Taz having to go at it alone and I’m still surprisingly into the match. That lasted a while until the finishing stretch could kick off with Sabu re-entering the ring and the theme of the feud - tables, returns. Inside of the ring, Taz sets up a table while Sabu does the same on the outside. Although Sabu is successful at diving over the top rope through the table to Grunge, Taz is shoved off of the ropes, crashing through the tables by Rocco. The camera failed to capture the pin since it was too concerned with filming Sabu’s dive, but I presume Rocco just pinned Taz after the table bump. In some ways, I feel as if this win did more for The Public Enemy than when they beat The Funk Brothers. Felt like less of a fluke win with a lot of randomness and more that Public Enemy was the better team even if they did get lucky at the end. I could just be speaking out of my ass and this was more of an indication that I liked this match more than the Hardcore Heaven one with The Funks. ** ½

    After the match, 911 delivers choke slams to Rocco and the referee.


    Backstage, Paul E. Dangerously cuts a promo on The Public Enemy, talking up how big and bad his trio with Sabu and The Tazmaniac are together. Dangerously makes it seem as if he grew up on the mean streets. Dude, your dad was a lawyer and you were born in a pretty richy neighborhood in New York. You’re about as street wise as John Cena. Anyways, he promises that the feud will come full circle and that the tables will return. A big stressing of tables in this program, which does make sense since Sabu is hailed as the man who brought tables into ECW while The Public Enemy has popularized them as of late.

    In some random classroom in the middle of nowhere, Raven cuts a promo about childhood, being a misfit, and the trauma that childhood brought him. Again, more vague references to Tommy Dreamer and their childhood. The promo ends with a shot of the chalkboard with “I Hate Tommy Dreamer” written all over it. I do wonder how smarks initially reacted to this back in early 1995. While this gloomy character is what everyone thinks of when Raven is brought up, it’s such a departure from what he had been under his previous gimmicks.

    Cactus Jack vs The Sandman w/Woman - Falls Count Anywhere
    I missed the start of this feud as it began sometime in late 1994, but I’m pretty sure it’s an offshoot of the Dreamer/Sandman program with Foley sticking up for Dreamer. Much like the first match, it’s a garbage brawl, which is a bit of a downer since there’s not much variety on this show. Still, these two practically killed each other and there were a few wacky weapons used such as a small rubber snake. However, the main weapon used was a garbage can. This poor garbage can is completely flattened from multiple spots. It’s not just Foley blasted Sandman in the head or Sandman delivering a piledriver on it, but Foley ends up breaking his hand by trying to punch Sandman, but Sandman shielded his face with the flattened garbage can. The result is Foley’s hand bleeding and Sandman being knocked out. Once he woke up, Sandman would work over the broken hand a bit. More on the messed up hand later though. Despite killing Foley with the garbage can, Sandman was ultimately dumped to the outside and pinned following Jack’s Cactus Elbow. For a Sandman match, this wasn’t bad. ** ¼


    After the match, Woman tries to lay Foley out with a Singapore cane shot, he no sells it. The distraction allowed Sandman to knock Cactus out with the same Singapore cane after Woman dropped it. The attack continued until Foley was barely conscious and Sandman got the bright idea to try sticking a lit cigarette into Cactus’ eye to blind him. Before Sandman could permanently injure his rival, Mikey Whipwreck ran out, nailed Sandman with a Singapore cane shot, and caused the heels to bail.

    Backstage, The Sandman and Woman cut a promo on Cactus Jack. Woman promises to turn Cactus into The Sandman. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I guess it’s bad?

    Elsewhere, Foley has his forehead wrapped up and cuts a promo while holding his mangled hand up for the camera to always see. Despite technically winning, he feels like a failure tonight. He’s had his eye on The Sandman for the last five years and sees Sandman as himself those years ago. The Sandman doesn’t care about winning or losing, but Cactus, since becoming weak, does care. Well now Sandman has awakened a sleeping giant and Foley no longer cares about winning. He wants another match with Sandman, but not just some ordinary match. He wants the definitive match - the Texas Death Match. If he can’t beat Sandman, maybe it’s time he goes home and just becomes a full time father and husband. While this may have not been one of Cactus’ most well known ECW promos, this is the reason why I decided to expand on this ECW project to include 1995 Hardcore TV. This is something I would be missing out on if I only stuck to the supershows. Even though this is only building up another Sandman match, which means it’s only going to be average at best, this promo sold me on the match. Check out the promo even if you’re not interested in watching this era ECW.



    Overall
    First things first, this seemed to be an awful episode to test out what I’m missing from watching these episodes on the WWE Network. Without any music videos, all I got that I wouldn’t have heard on the WWE Network was the Thunderkiss opening, a brief portion of the Jaws theme, and Cactus’ “Born to be Wild” theme. Having the original music meant nothing on this episode. As I mentioned in the review, there wasn’t much variety to the episode. In fact, I’d say that it’s the most one dimensional episode thus far with two matches that were just weapon based melees. Both were important though and were highlighting the biggest grudge feuds. The highlights of the episode were Shane Douglas name dropping The Triple Threat for the first time and Foley’s great promo. The latter, as I said, is exactly why I had interest in watching these Hardcore TV in the first place. I imagine this will just be Foley’s first of many great promos featured on Hardcore TV throughout 1995.

    Double Tables - February 4th
    (Announced Matches)

    Shane Douglas © vs The NEW Tully Blanchard - ECW World Title

    Chris Benoit vs Al Snow

    Mikey Whipwreck vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria w/Jason

    Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten

    Tommy Dreamer vs Steve Richards w/Raven
    ---

    At the conclusion of each month, I will be providing the Match of the Month (Supershow matches can be included) and my monthly updated recommended matches list that will also keep my rankings of the best matches updated on a regular basis.

    January Match of the Month: Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio (Hardcore TV 01.24.95)

    Jim’s Recommended ECW 1995 Matches (*** ¼ and higher)

    Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio (Hardcore TV 01.24.95) - *** ¾

    Al Snow vs Osamu Nishimura (Hardcore TV 01.17.95) - *** ¼
    Last edited by Jim; 04-07-2020 at 05:06 AM.

  11. #11

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    February 7, 1995


    As a reminder, I will not be re-reviewing supershow matches when they appear on Hardcore TV. This will be an example of how quick and short Hardcore TV reviews will be when practically all of the footage was shown on a supershow.

    All matches from tonight’s Hardcore TV is from Double Tables. You can find my full review of that event here.

    Hardcore TV kicks off with The Public Enemy’s entrance at Double Tables. The crowd are really into waving their arms to the theme song.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Road Warrior Hawk is still present in the video. Just imagine my excitement the first time it comes up without Hawk. It may be the biggest ECW moment of 1995!

    Joey Styles welcomes the fans to the ECW Arena for Double Tables. We’re shown the full segment of Jason introducing his Pitbulls and announcing his newest client - Jason the Terrible.

    After that, the awful Pitbulls and Jason the Terrible vs Hack Meyers and Young Dragons match is shown. Jason’s team won in a ½ * match.

    After the match, we’re shown the post-match event with Jason’s promo followed by Hack Meyers running while before Angel, wearing a wedding dress came out to first stand up for Jason before failing to lure The Shah into her love. No idea why Heyman felt the need to include this on Hardcore TV.

    It looks like the full Al Snow vs Chris Benoit match is shown next. This *** ¼ match was the MOTN at Double Tables. If you’re interested in watching the match, watch it on this episode of Hardcore TV to see it in the best quality.

    In an odd move, Joey Styles presents a photo recap of the tables match between The Public Enemy vs Sabu and Tazmaniac where Sabu and Taz won the ECW Tag Titles in a ** match. It reminds me a lot of how the WWE would show PPV recaps the next night on Raw back in the day when they weren’t able to show the full footage.

    After the photo montage, we’re shown a video clip of Chris Benoit’s power bomb to Sabu from the top rope through a table that had Rocco Rock draped across it. Just because it’s a rad spot and the video quality is better, enjoy a brand new gif of that spot.


    Finally, the episode wraps up with Chris Benoit’s rubbing hands promo where he continues his feud with Sabu, threatens Taz, and officially announces that he and Dean Malenko are gunning for the ECW Tag Titles.

    Overall
    Well, that was certainly an easy review. This episode of Hardcore TV focused primarily on getting over all that Chris Benoit accomplished at Double Tables. Another good showing to make Benoit come across like a new star that mattered. Avoid the six man tag, but the Snow/Benoit match is worth watching with it being my third favorite ECW match of the year. I imagine next week’s Hardcore TV will be very similar to this one in length, but we should be getting some original matches later on in the month.

  12. #12
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    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    I haven't given a shit about anything pro wrestling related for a few years now. If there was anything that could possibly reignite my interest it is definitely this. 1995 ECW is my favorite

  13. #13

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    February 14, 1995


    Last week on ECW, The Public Enemy battled The Tazmaniac and Sabu in a tables match with The Public Enemy losing their tag titles to their challengers. Same photo montage from last week which makes the match feel way more legendary than it actually was. It then again switches to video to show Chris Benoit’s top rope power bomb to Sabu onto Rocco Rock lying on a table.

    From there, we’re shown a music video for Chris Benoit. Various clips of his matches are interspersed with close up shots of Benoit rubbing his hands. The music video finishes with the “Disagree” rubbing hands promo. Rather than focus entirely on his program with Sabu, this one is instead in favor of The Triple Threat, listing off rivals of not only himself and Malenko, but also Shane Douglas’. Good stuff.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Road Warrior Hawk is shown. I shit you not, Heyman has already added Benoit's power bomb spot into the opening, yet Hawk remains. Heyman is totally fucking with me at this point. I don’t know how it’s possible that he’s messing with me twenty-five years in advance, but I know he’s doing it!

    Joey Styles welcomes us to tonight’s episode. We have NEW ECW Tag Team Champions in the form of the Paul E. Dangerously led team of Sabu and Taz. Although his name and gimmick is still The Tazmaniac, I have noticed that ECW is moving away from the gimmick and referring to The Tazmaniac as “Taz” more and more. However, the big news in the company these days is Chris Benoit’s crazy power bomb to Sabu through Rocco Rock’s table. It’s officially announced that Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko will be challenging for the ECW Tag Titles on February 25th at the ECW Arena. You can now buy ECW Double Tables on home video!

    After a commercial break, we’re back to JoJo to address The Public Enemy. He admits that they’re no good, but after Rocco Rock was stretched out of the arena at Double Tables, it’s quite bizarre that we haven’t heard any comments from the team since then. ECW really needs to do a better job at explaining events because this is the first we’ve been told that Rocco Rock is in the hospital after the power bomb spot. This is “The NEW Tully Blanchard” all over again with ECW referring to something that they act as if it’s general information while it’s the first we’ve heard about it. It was annoying enough when this would happen in 1999 with ECW on TNN, but ECW has no excuse because it’s not as if I’m missing shows here.

    Back from another commercial break, Styles brings in Paul E. Dangerously to cut a promo on Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. After initially referencing Benoit drawing the attention of The Public Enemy, Dangerously threatens the challengers that if they want the ECW Tag Titles, “They have to freaking take it from us”. Not one of Heyman’s better promos, but it’s adding attention to the next ECW Arena show.

    We’re then shown the Mikey Whipwreck vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria match from Double Tables. Mikey would win with a backslide in this ** ¼ match.

    Back to Joey as he hypes one of the bloodiest feuds ever in pro wrestling with the The Sandman vs Cactus Jack program. Styles references Double Tables where Sandman sustained a concussion from his match with Foley. I do have to disagree with Styles. While the feud has been pretty wild, there hasn’t been much blood. Look at The Public Enemy, Johnny Grunge bleeds in every match.

    Cactus Jack vs The Sandman w/Woman - Death Match
    Apparently, even Paul Heyman thought that their Double Tables match sucked because instead of showing that, like I thought that they were going to, they instead show the other Florida match from ECW’s January stop. We already were shown their January 16th Falls Count Anywhere match on the January 31st episode of Hardcore TV, that means this match must be the January 15th one from the same show as Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio and Shane Douglas vs Ron Simmons. As it turns out, this was their better of their two Florida matches. I’m really surprised with how much I’ve been digging The Sandman/Foley matches, but if there’s anyone that can produce quality with a weak opponent, it’s Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy. It’s a pretty wild match with fighting in and out of the ring. Foley is relentless in beating Sandman down with shots to the head, something that seems especially concerning when you think about Sandman’s concussion he sustained at Double Tables. What made this match memorable though was the other factors. For starters, the fans. There’s a handful of fans that stick out for one reason or another. There’s the guy in the front row that is openly pirating the show, recording it on his early 90s video camera. At first, I figured he was working for ECW, but it makes little sense that he’d be in the crowd inside of between the railing and ring. Then maybe three rows back is a guy who is a dead ringer for Mick Foley watching the real Cactus get bloodied by The Sandman. Lastly, there’s the Dad of the Week, who is shown holding his young child up right behind Cactus as Sandman blasted Cactus over the head with a Singapore cane shot. The kid was legitimately lucky that he wasn’t hit. The other appeal of the bout is that this is the first match from this event that exposes what building they’re in. Rather than compete in a normal arena, this show is hosted at a rodeo. It created some uniqueness once Sandman and Foley battled into the crowd, both getting dirty as they fought to the railing that separated the bull fighting from the crowd. That railing would be the same railing that Sandman clumsily fell off of when attempting to climb over it. In the end, the pair fought on the ring apron with Foley knocking Sandman off with a low blow and then won the match with a sunset flip to score the pinfall on the floor below. I am a little unsure of the gimmick of the match. At one point, a title card did pop up stating that it was a Death Match, but it was never mentioned. If I were to guess, I’d say it was a last man standing match. Fun match though. ** ¾


    Backstage, Joey Styles reveals that due to Sandman’s recent concussion, a rematch originally scheduled for the February 25th ECW Arena Show will now be unable to happen. That brings in The Sandman, all cheerful and downplaying his injuries. Sandman stressed the fact that wins aren’t what matters to him, it’s the punishments that are dished out. Considering the fact that Sandman was injured badly enough that he couldn’t work the next match, I’d say that besides winning all of the matches, Foley also wins the “Dishing out the most punishment” contest as well. The big news though is that Sandman reveals that Woman has found a replacement for Cactus Jack on February 25th. Foley will have to wait until the show to learn who Woman has found. Besides playing to the feud, this promo also had some fun comedy with Sandman claiming that he’s the picture of great health while coughing with his cigarette in his mouth and then denying that he’s feeling any effects of the concussion anymore before referring to Styles as Todd Pettengill.

    Back from a commercial break and Styles is here to run down some upcoming shows. The big one is on February 25th at the ECW Arena. Matches include The Tazmaniac and Sabu defending the ECW Tag Titles against Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko and Cactus Jack vs a mystery opponent selected by Woman. There’s a few other house shows going into March, with the March 3rd event containing Tully Blanchard’s final match, but the March 4th show was ultimately cancelled.

    Last week on ECW, Hack Meyers snapped and attacked Jason and The Pitbulls before going after a deranged Angel as well. Thank GOD I’m seeing all of this for now a third time.

    Up next is what I believe is an unaired segment from Double Tables. ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria is in the ring to verbally attack Hack Meyers for what he did to Jason, before briefly mentioning Mikey Whipwreck, and then making a critical mistake of stating that “911 isn’t a giant compared to myself”. Naturally, that brings out 911 and Paul E. Dangerously. 911 killed Mikey’s childhood friend with a monster choke slam, but the blood thirsty fans want another one. Happy to oblige, 911 hits another choke slam, but that just causes the fans to chant, “One more time!” That caused Dangerously to get on the mic to claim that they have a forgiving side and that two choke slams were enough. The fans aren’t happy, so Dangerously gives 911 the signal to hit one last one to end the show.


    Overall
    I went into this show expecting a mostly repeat of last week where it’s 95% just recycled footage from Double Tables, but was pleased to see that a good portion of the show was new. The Sandman and Cactus Jack continued their fun series of wild brawls while there was a big emphasis on the initial advertising for the next ECW Arena show. Due to the fact that the name of the show references an event on the show, ECW was forced to only refer to the next show by the date. Chris Benoit continues to be Heyman’s new favorite project, receiving so much attention to the point that I’d say he’s the hottest star at this very moment. Watching all of this ECW over the last several months, I’ve come to realize that some of my previous assumptions were not entirely accurate. I originally began watching ECW in 1999, near the end of Taz’s run. At the time, I thought it was a rarity that ECW’s World Champion was overshadowed by others in the company. In the case of Taz, his title reign was completely dwarfed by RVD’s ECW TV Title. Obviously though, this wouldn’t be true for other periods in ECW, right? In reality, it seemed like it was often the case that Heyman failed to make his World Champion stand out as the most interesting or top face or heel, depending on their alignment. In 1996, heel Raven wasn’t as big or memorable of a heel as Shane Douglas or arguably RVD and Taz. In 1994, Shane Douglas couldn’t complete with all of the big angles that The Sandman was engaged in. Now in 1995, Benoit is stealing attention away from Douglas and the competition is only going to get stiffer once Foley turns heel and Raven’s role increases. So I guess basically, if you want to be a star in ECW, aim high, but not high enough that you’re in the ECW Title picture.


    ECW Arena - February 25th
    (Announced Matches)

    The Tazmaniac and Sabu © vs Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko - ECW Tag Titles

    Cactus Jack vs ??? w/Woman

    ---

  14. #14

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    February 21, 1995


    The show kicks off with ‘Evolution of a Franchise’, a special look at the ECW World Champion, Shane Douglas. It begins with a five minute promo where Douglas puts over ECW and how the company completely defied his low expectations when he first arrived. He then brings up how every great in sports eventually needs to leave. The likes of Bruno Sammartino and Ricky Steamboat have done that, but others like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan refuse despite not longer being the best. What Douglas has been doing over the last eighteen months has been improving ECW and removing the gimmicks from the sport of wrestling. This isn’t a very good promo. At points The Franchise was stumbling over his words and lacked the charisma that the men he insulted still had in 1995.

    We’re shown a brief clip of the legendary, yet awful three-way dance with Douglas, Sabu, and Terry Funk before kicking off the second stage in this long promo. This allows The Franchise a segue to bring up Funk and how Funk was once in Sammartino’s spot elsewhere in America, but unlike Bruno, Funk refused to leave wrestling. Funk has been a representation of everything Douglas has fought against. We’re then shown a clip of the end promo from The Night the Line was Crossed with Funk giving Douglas the NWA-ECW Title. Douglas believed he proved his point when Douglas beat Funk for the title inside of a cage match. Douglas fails to bring up how it wasn’t a single match, but rather an Ultimate Jeopardy match with loads of other men.

    We’re now ten minutes into the show and it’s time for Douglas to discuss his ECW life since winning the ECW Title. First Douglas rattles off a list of men he defended the title against before a music video is played showing highlights. These look to all be from NWA-ECW. This is proven to be true as Douglas then discusses the NWA World Title tournament. You know, this long promo would be a lot more ideal for fans who hadn’t already been watching ECW prior to this point. Between the dull delivery and lack of new knowledge is making this a chore to sit through.

    It continues after the fifteen minute mark and we’ve just reached Douglas throwing down the NWA World Title. Apparently, there’s been an increase in popularity in pro wrestling, but it’s not because of the WWE or WCW, it’s because of Douglas and ECW. We’re then shown Douglas’ embarrassing Slick Ric performance at the nightclub from back in January 1995. The Franchise claims that with every move from company to company, he’s gotten a little bit better with every step. Yeah, because he’s so great right now.

    Now at the twenty minute mark, Douglas turns his attention back to Ric Flair claiming that Douglas left WCW because of Flair’s return. Emo Douglas believes Flair should have been teaching him how to be a World Champion instead of forcing him to jerk the curtain. Douglas then gets serious as he finally looks at the camera to speak directly to The Nature Boy. Yes, he truly hates Flair and states that even in Flair’s prime, he never had what it takes to beat The Franchise. The sport of wrestling now belongs to Douglas.

    Twenty-five minutes in and we’re then shown the finish to Douglas/Blanchard match from Double Tables. Douglas finally adds a little bit of heat to his promo as he directs a threat to Tully to hype up their final match. Supposedly, Douglas has proved every critic that has ever doubted him wrong. If the critic claimed Douglas couldn’t cut an entertaining long promo, you sure didn’t prove them wrong here. Out of nowhere, Douglas turns his focus on Marty f’n Jannetty to hype up their match this weekend at the ECW Arena. Even though I knew Marty came into ECW, this still comes across as the most random shit ever. FINALLY, at twenty-eight and a half minutes, the promo ends. It may only be February, but this is already a shoe-in for worst ECW segment of 1995. It was a boring, rambling mess that went over the same shit we’ve heard a million times and then barely devoted any time towards hyping up an ECW Title match that hadn’t even been announced prior to tonight. Shane Douglas failed and he failed HARD here. Yeah, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan should really pass the torch to this fucking geek.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Hi there, Road Warrior Hawk.

    Joey Styles officially welcomes us to the show, even though we’re well past the halfway point. It’s ECW Arena hype time. This Saturday will feature Shane Douglas defending the ECW Title against Marty Jannetty, Cactus Jack against a mystery opponent chosen by Woman, Mikey Whipwreck and Hack Meyers vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria and Jason, Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten in a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire on a pole match (Bit of a mouthful there, guys), and of course The Tazmanaic and Sabu defending the ECW Tag Titles against Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. In addition, The Public Enemy will be in the house!

    We’re then shown the full Tommy Dreamer vs Stevie Richards ** ¼ match from Double Tables. That match is best known for the first interaction between Tommy and Raven.

    Back to Joey Styles to announce the death of Hotstuff, Eddie Gilbert. A short montage of Gilbert’s time in ECW is shown. I haven’t got around to watching it, but I imagine Gilbert’s matches with Terry Funk may be practically the only good NWA-ECW matches that the company put on. Despite the falling out with Tod Gordon that led to Gilbert’s exit from ECW as a wrestler and booker, which allowed for Paul Heyman to join the company, I imagine that had he lived, eventually he would have popped back up into ECW. Gilbert was a screw up, but he generally received multiple chances before fully burning a bridge. I suppose that’s an advantage of being highly creative and a real asset to wrestling. Don’t do drugs, kids.

    Last week on ECW, ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria, opened his mouth and made the mistake of talking trash towards 911. Lauria paid for it with a trio of choke slams.

    Yet again, we’re shown Chris Benoit’s top rope power bomb to Sabu through the table that Rocco Rock was lying across. The third rubbing hands promo is played that’s mostly just a shortened version of the “I disagree” one, except this time it’s “We disagree”. Benoit plugs the big tag match this Saturday night at the ECW Arena.

    Back to Styles to interview Paul E. Dangerously. It’s a quick one as he brings up the insanity of Malenko and Benoit as The Public Enemy are out for blood at the same time as The Triple Threat are gunning for the tag titles. “This Saturday night, the shit hits the fan.” Even at this point, you could tell that ECW was setting up a triangle tag match with the three teams.

    We’re then shown highlights of the Cactus Jack/Sandman match from Double Tables, focusing on all of the brutal shots Sandman received to the head to give him a concussion. As a reminder, due to the concussion, Sandman isn’t allowed to wrestle this Saturday, but Woman has found a new opponent for Cactus Jack. Who will it be?!

    Styles hypes the ECW Tag Titles match even more with a reminder that The Public Enemy will be at the ECW Arena!

    Overall
    Well, this was a different episode. On the surface, it’s a lot like the February 7th episode that is all recycled material from Double Tables, but that’s just the assumption you make when you see a listing of the show. Over half the show is dedicated towards Shane Douglas’ promo. Nearly thirty minutes. It sucked. It sucked so badly. It was just in the last review that I brought up how ECW seems to put in little effort to make their World Champion stand out as the top heel or face and this episode only further backed that argument. Douglas had nearly a half hour to talk about whatever he wished to talk about, but barely said anything about his next ECW Title challenger. Going into the Douglas/Jannetty title match, there’s zero heat for it. The only interest anyone could possibly have in it is if they’re already a Jannetty fan. At this point in time, what is Douglas actually accomplishing? This promo was dogshit, at times he’s coming across as a poor man’s Ric Flair, while acting as if Flair is some old relic, and despite all of his claims, Douglas has stunk up the joint more than he’s delivered good matches. It’s not to say that The Franchise isn’t capable of good things, he more than showed how great of an asset he could be in the second half of 1996. Right now he’s just coming across as a guy who thinks he’s mid 80s Ric Flair, but in reality, he’s nothing more than main eventer Jeff Jarrett. In a perfect world, Chris Benoit would have been ECW Champion at this time, crippling bitches in title defenses, building up to a babyface finally giving Benoit some of his own medicine in losing the title after sustaining an injury. Instead, we have to endure The Franchise. The only reason to watch this episode is if you’re a devoted Douglas hater and you need new material to hate on him.

    ECW Arena - February 25th
    (Announced Matches)

    Shane Douglas © vs Marty Jannetty - ECW World Title

    The Tazmaniac and Sabu © vs Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko - ECW Tag Titles

    Cactus Jack vs ??? w/Woman

    Hack Meyers and Mikey Whipwreck vs Jason and ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria

    Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten - Barbed Wire Baseball Bat on a Pole

    Last edited by Jim; 03-20-2020 at 03:34 PM.

  15. #15

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    February 28, 1995


    The show kicks off with a MTV-like look as we’re shown highlights of ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria’s foolish mistake to call out 911 and the choke slams he sustained. From there, we get a promo with Lauria and Jason discussing the jealousy they’ve been facing lately due to Lauria’s giant status. Up next is a similar MTV-like look at the Tommy Dreamer vs Raven/Stevie Richards program complete with highlights thus far. It then switches to a similar style look at the Cactus Jack/Sandman program. Although it does feel like ECW is putting more money into production, these MTV-style effects feel a few years dated. Clocking in at nine minutes, this segment was just sorta...something to endure. Luckily, last week’s Shane Douglas 30 minute promo makes all other time waster segments feel like a breeze.


    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Ugh. ECW spent all of that time creating those new shitty graphics, yet Road Warrior Hawk is still in the opener.

    Joey Styles officially opens the episode from the ringside at the ECW Arena. I imagine this was taped at Return of the Funker. Styles brings out Raven and Stevie Richards. Now it’s clear that this is from Return of the Funker, it’s just that the tape of the event removed Styles’ introduction. Anyways, Raven cuts a vague promo, Richards introduces Johnny Hotbody and Tony Stetson as Raven’s new goons to beat up Tommy Dreamer, and a big pull apart between Raven and Dreamer occurred. This is basically the start of Raven’s Nest, even though I don’t believe The Broad Street Bullies remained in The Nest for long.

    Backstage with Joey Styles, even with the remodeling of the ECW Arena to accommodate additional fans, ECW still has to turn away fans! Be sure to join Club ECW to gain easier access to securing tickets.

    In a clip from Return of the Funker, a masked man interfered in the Hack Meyers/Mikey Whipwreck vs Jason/Lauria match to help the heels win. Who is the masked man?! Oh, good. ECW seems committed to turning this into an angle.

    Tonight though, the mystery of who Woman selected to be Cactus Jack’s opponent at Return of the Funker will be revealed. Be sure to buy the home video of Return of the Funker to see all of the matches fully uncut!

    Backstage, The Triple Threat finally gets a chance to cut a promo together. Everyone in The Triple Threat has a role in the promo. Malenko, the guy who never talks, just stood there silently staring off in space trying to remain awake, Benoit, the hands rubber, spent the majority of the promo rubbing his hands before getting a chance to cut a promo on Taz and Sabu, and Douglas, the talker, cut a below average promo about burying The Four Horsemen, giving rise to the Triple Threat, and how The Triple Threat is in control of all of the titles. The highlight of this promo is when Douglas jokes with Malenko and The Iceman looks as if he’s resisting the urge to snap Douglas’ neck.

    Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)



    And this has been an edition of Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition). Okay, ECW, you earned a little chuckle out of me with that one.

    Up next is back to Return of the Funker with the reveal of Cactus Jack’s opponent being the old TWA/NWA-ECW wrestler, DC Drake. He and Cactus would work a short * ¼ match. After the match, Terry Funk made his ECW return to join forces with The Sandman in beating up Cactus. Eventually, an unlikely source in Shane Douglas made the save for his old buddy, Foley. With that, the show is wrapped up.

    Overall
    I didn’t go into this episode expecting much new footage since Return of the Funker just took place last week, but I did expect more action to be shown. In total, there was one match shown and it was just the short Foley/Drake match. I wasn’t a fan of the opening with the funky MTV-style effects because it’s the same shit we’ve been seeing for weeks. I don’t know when ECW officially introduced Pulp Fiction, but the show could really use it in place of re-showing the same clips or turning the same clips into music videos. I get that you need to keep showing off a feud to keep it hot, but allowing wrestlers to cut new promos will really benefit the watchability of these shows. This also wraps up February, a month that contained a grand total of one new match for Hardcore TV. While it was an easy month to review, I’ll be looking forward to the months without multiple ECW Arena shows to allow Hardcore TV to serve more of a purpose.
    ---

    At the conclusion of each month, I will be providing the Match of the Month (Supershow matches can be included) and my monthly updated recommended matches list that will also keep my rankings of the best matches updated on a regular basis.

    February Match of the Month: Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu (Return of the Funker)

    Jim’s Recommended ECW 1995 Matches (*** ¼ and higher)

    Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio (Hardcore TV 01.24.95) - *** ¾
    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu (Return of the Funker) - *** ¾

    2 Cold Scorpio vs Hector Guerrero (Return of the Funker) - *** ½

    Al Snow vs Osamu Nishimura (Hardcore TV 01.17.95) - *** ¼
    Chris Benoit vs Al Snow (Double Tables) - *** ¼
    Last edited by Jim; 04-07-2020 at 05:05 AM.

  16. #16

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    March 7, 1995


    In a cold opening, we’re shown The Pitbulls vs Chad Austin and Joel Goodhart (Aka Joel Hartgood) in a SQUASH from Return of the Funker.

    Last week on ECW, Cactus Jack battled a mystery wrestler selected by Woman back at Return of the Funker. The mystery man ended up being DC Drake, who Cactus quickly beat. Cactus and Sandman brawled for awhile until Terry Funk made his return to turn heel on Cactus. A two-on-one beat down on Cactus continued until Shane Douglas became the unlikely hero for his old buddy, Foley.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Of course, Hawk is still there. Since I didn’t watch 1994 Hardcore TV, I’m not 100% sure about this, but I believe Hawk’s last appearance on this show was on the April 12, 1994 edition. Will Hawk make it a full year of being shown in the opening despite not being anywhere near the company?

    Backstage, Joey Styles welcomes us to the show. The big news in the company is the return of the former ECW Champion, Terry Funk. To make this program even more complicated, can Cactus Jack truly trust Shane Douglas? JoJo then introduces a segment with promos from that night after the incident.

    Elsewhere in the building are Woman and ECW’s version of Stars & Stripes - Sandman and Terry Funk. Ignore Woman and Sandman though because the quality comes from Funk. We get what I believe is the very first mention of Dewey Foley, where Funk name drops Foley’s son, saying that the kid can’t have any brains because look at who his father is and clearly his mother isn’t smart either for marrying such a fool. To explain his heel turn, Funk reminds everyone that Foley has always cited wanting to follow in Funk’s footsteps and become the new Funk. Therein lies the problem though. If Foley becomes the new Funk, then what purpose does Funk have anymore? Funk then criticizes Foley further, claiming that he’s just a charlatan in wrestling and isn’t good enough to fill anyone’s shoes, but the ECW fans still fall for the act.

    Elsewhere, Shane Douglas is with Cactus Jack. Douglas, for the first time in ages, actually cuts a good promo as he brings up his past with Cactus and how they trained together. Way back in the day, Shane’s dad (Who is an established vital character in Shane’s life due to his previous mentions in referencing his dad’s death) once told his son that while Foley is a little wonky, he's going to make it in this business. The Franchise seemed to be surprised by this and brought up Foley’s cheap way of living to try and prove his dad wrong. His dad’s advice was to, “If that’s the way he’s going to live his life, that’s fine, but then let him feel what it’s like to be a man when he’s around you.” Onto Foley and he brings up how a lot of people have told him that he can’t trust Douglas, but all he knows is that Douglas has fed him and given him a place to stay before, so essentially, fuck the haters. Shane has earned his trust already regardless of the sort of shit Douglas does now. Switching subjects, Foley turns his attention towards Funk. To sum it all up, Foley knows he can never actually replace Funk. It’d be crazy to think that he could. That kind of pisses him off too. Since he can’t replace Funk or take away all of what Funk has accomplished, Foley instead will just end his career. Great segment.

    We then switch over to Tommy Dreamer to get his opinion on whether or not Cactus Jack can trust Shane Douglas. Initially, I thought Dreamer was an odd choice to shoe-horn into this especially when he has a new program with Raven, but Dreamer is placed in quite a messy position. For Dreamer, The Sandman is his greatest nemesis, Douglas was often his opponent, Cactus was his partner and new buddy, and Funk was his mentor. Dreamer knows from personal experience that Douglas can’t be trusted. We’re then shown a quick clip from 1993 where Dreamer and Johnny Gunn were the NWA-ECW Tag Champions, but after Gunn got hurt, Douglas replaced him. Then in a title defense against Woman’s Kevin Sullivan and The Tazmaniac, Douglas turned on Dreamer, undoubtedly because Woman had seduced him. Cut back to Dreamer and he insists that regardless of what Douglas did at Return of the Funker, Woman can still offer Douglas everything he could possibly want. After all, she used to manage the Four Horsemen! Back to old NWA-ECW clips to a series of matches with Dreamer vs Douglas where Douglas kept screwing over Dreamer. The important thing is that the Dreamer/Douglas feud had never been truly settled. Switching over to Funk, Dreamer claims his greatest honor was when Funk called him his son. Meanwhile, after Funk left ECW in 1994, Dreamer joined forces with Cactus Jack to finish his feud with The Sandman and Tommy Cairo. Clips of a match at Holiday Hell 1994 between Dreamer/Cactus vs Sandman/Cairo are shown. Back at Return of the Funker, Dreamer insists that when he ran out, he wasn’t even sure what he was running out to, he just heard the screams of, “They’re killing Cactus!” The last thing Dreamer expected was to see Funk. Like a good victim, Dreamer defends Funk, citing that if Funk felt the need to slap him, he must have had his reasons. Oh, and Raven, Dreamer hasn’t forgotten about you! Dreamer criticizes Raven for selling out by going to the WWE and WCW in the first place. Everyone knows that if Raven got the call, he’d be back immediately, but if Dreamer got that same offer, he’d turn them down. Well fuck, Dreamer sure predicted the future there.

    Back to Joey Styles to introduce again harp on the question of whether or not Cactus Jack can trust Shane Douglas. However, in other Franchise matters, he’s been on a quest to prove that The Triple Threat is superior to The Four Horsemen, which leads into…

    We’re shown Shane Douglas’ ECW Title defense against Tully Blanchard from back at Double Tables. Why are we seeing this? This is now a month old and there’s already been another ECW Arena show since. Show something from Return of the Funker. Anyways, these two worked a fine ** ¾ match with Douglas winning.

    Back to Joey Styles and the big rumors going around on the ECW Hotline is the possibility of a future three-way dance with Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko vs The Public Enemy vs The Tazmaniac/Sabu. Could it actually happen?! Well...I suppose technically no.

    Over on the mean streets of Philly are the former ECW Tag Team Champions, The Public Enemy. They cut a promo on Chris Benoit with a clip of Benoit’s power bomb shown again. Grunge confides that when he was eight years old, his older brother was killed, but Grunge didn’t shed a tear. His brother chose to live the life of a hoodie and die as a hoodie. When someone close to The Public Enemy was killed in a drive-by and died in Grunge’s arms, Grunge still didn’t shed a tear because that person chose to live the life of a hoodie and die as a hoodie. That night when Grunge brought Rocco Rock into the hospital, the impossible happened...The Public Enemy shed a tear. The Public Enemy also admits that they like to party before getting serious again and we’re shown a clip from Return of the Funker with Benoit and Malenko’s attack on Rocco while he was in his wheelchair. Turning their attention towards Sabu and Taz, they’re still not happy that Sabu and Taz stole their tag titles only to lose the belts. The show is wrapped up with The Public Enemy voicing their desire to sign the contract to make the three-way dance official. When Grunge is serious, he can actually cut a quality promo.

    Overall
    Huh, I actually really liked this episode. It’s as if ECW heard what I said about the previous episode and followed my advice. While this was a very match lite show, especially in my case since I had already watched them both, the show was dominated by long promos that offered new insight on current issues. I tend not to be a big fan of clips because the majority of them are ones I would have just watched with this project, but the Dreamer promo especially offered plenty of clips I hadn’t seen before. I was enjoying the Cactus/Sandman feud before when it was just the two of them, but now that Douglas, Dreamer, and Funk are all involved, it’s even better. It’s kind of done the impossible and made me care about The Franchise again. It reminds me of my 1996 project where I struggled to care about Douglas in the first half of the year, but once he showed signs of being a heel again, everything started to click because he was playing to his strengths and had an interesting program. Same thing applies here. I’m thinking this episode is also the very early start for Cactus Jack’s heel turn. Not only is he aligning with Shane Douglas, but Dreamer also claimed that under no condition would he ever sign with the WWE or WCW, which I know is a trigger for Foley. In addition, it’s the first mention of Dewey, who will be the subject of one of the most iconic promos ever at some point. At this point in time, ECW has two hot angles in the stuff with Cactus and then the tag team division battle with the three main teams. This episode obviously didn’t focus too much on the Triple Threat/Public Enemy/Sabu & Taz program, so at the moment I am a little more invested in the Cactus angle, but that could change next week. I am surprised at how slow going the Raven/Dreamer program is. For an angle that dominated 1995, it’s taking its time getting hot. Overall, a good episode and I hope that ECW sticks to this formula if they wish to focus heavily on talking based episodes.

  17. #17

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    March 14, 1995


    In the cold opening, we’re backstage with The Public Enemy. The goofballs seem to have some sort of contract. Could it be for the three-way dance?!

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show and he’s joined by Paul E. Dangerously. Tonight, we’ll see a series of incidents that occurred at Return of the Funker. During all of this, Dangerously is mocking Styles until he gets his chance to talk. We get some rare Malenko hype, as he tends to be forgotten or just included as “Benoit and __”, with Dangerously admitting that on this program, you’ll witness Malenko do something to Taz that had never been done before. Of course, he’s referring to the leg injury that Taz suffered at Return of the Funker, even though that was caused by Malenko and Benoit, but meh. Malenko needs some solo praise. Dangerously then threatens the champions, proclaiming that they will have to defend the tag titles against Sabu and Taz at some point, regardless of how much they’re avoiding it.

    The Public Enemy interrupt with 911 shielding Dangerously. Grunge and Rocco aren’t looking for a fight though, they’re instead looking to get Dangerously to sign the contract for his tag team. Dangerously does, since it means Taz and Sabu getting their hands on both Public Enemy and The Triple Threat. The three-way dance is one step closer to happening…

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Hawk? Yep.

    Back to Styles and The Public Enemy. Styles hypes Grunge and Rocco’s mission to make the three-way dance happen, but informs us that Dean Malenko has bigger problems than just this tag team feud. 2 Cold Scorpio is back, wanting his old TV Title. A TV Title he originally beat Jason for in 1994, only for Jason to bring in Dean Malenko to bring it back to Jason’s army. During all of this, The Public Enemy are sharing, behind Joey’s back, what they’ve been snatching off of Styles’ person, including his wallet and watch. Thus far in 1995, the ECW TV Title has practically been non-existent, so it’s nice to see them start to bring attention back onto the division and tease a future match between Malenko and Scorp.

    We’re then shown highlights of a *** ½ match between 2 Cold Scorpio and Hector Guerrero back at Return of the Funker. I think it’s legitimately a serious contender for most underrated ECW match of the year.

    Back to Styles and The Public Enemy and Joey has noticed that his possessions are missing, but The Public Enemy changes the topic back to the three-way dance. To find out where The Triple Threat are to get them to sign the contract, Grunge pulls out Dangerously’s phone to further the gag of pick pocketing.

    We cut to the inside of a car with Shane Douglas on his way to New York. What is The Franchise doing in The Big Apple? Call the ECW Hotline to find out! A title card of “Is The Franchise Leaving ECW??” is shown. I thought it’d be too early for Douglas to be starting his exit angle, but he did leave in the summer, so now would be the time when the talks with the WWE likely were taking place.

    Back to Joey Styles, apparently a camera is following The Public Enemy so that if they meet up with The Triple Threat, we will see the interaction.

    Elsewhere, Ian Rotten gets a chance to cut a promo. Ian drops a bombshell family secret - Axl was a bastard child that his mother never wanted. Oh, and apparently his mother lived by the mantra of, “Blood, sweat, and tears”. We’re shown a clip of their match back at Return of the Funker before hearing from Axl. AXL CUTS A SCREAMING PROMO ABOUT HOW ECW IS THE ONLY PLACE THAT WOULD ALLOW SUCH A FEUD TO TAKE PLACE. THE JUSTICE IS ALL WOOD AND STEEL. JUST BECAUSE A BARBED WIRE BASEBALL BAT DIDN’T SETTLE THE ISSUE, SOMETHING ELSE WILL! Loud noises~! Neither promo was good and hell, Axl didn’t even address the bastard claims, but I like that ECW finally gave promo time to this feud.

    We’re then shown footage from Return of the Funker, starting with Joey Styles’ interview with The Public Enemy. They were interrupted by Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, who attacked both Grunge and a wheelchair bound Rocco. From there, the ECW Tag Titles match between The Tazmaniac and Sabu vs The Triple Threat is shown. Benoit and Malenko won the titles after Taz was injured and carried off by 911. With a *** ¾ performance, this is my current ECW MOTY.

    Backstage, The Public Enemy has found Jason! He’s not Benoit or Malenko, but he does control their contracts. In a nice slight gag, Grunge stole Jason’s pen out of his jacket, only to hand it over to Jason when he was looking for his pen. Instead of signing the contract, Jason instead refuses. Since Jason still refused after being roughed up by The Public Enemy, he’s forced to eat the contract until The Pitbulls come to his rescue to attack The Public Enemy.

    After a commercial break that saw security toss The Public Enemy out of the building, we return to Jason and his Pitbulls. The trio cut a promo on The Public Enemy with Jason giving in and promising to sign the contract for Benoit and Malenko if Grunge and Rocco can beat The Pitbulls March 18th at the ECW Arena. Jason’s overconfidence is instantly crushed as Pitbull #1 announces that after The Pitbulls take care of The Public Enemy to kill off any chance of the three-way dance happening, The Pitbulls want Benoit and Malenko’s tag titles.

    Back to Styles to make the match official. The Pitbulls vs The Public Enemy on March 18th with the three-way dance contract up as a prize if Grunge and Rocco can win.

    Backstage to Shane Douglas and Cactus Jack. Douglas brings up the NWA World Title tournament and how Terry Funk no-showed the event. I imagine he was supposed to be Mick Foley’s partner against The Public Enemy? Douglas then loses his cool over Funk being a hanger on and one of those old relics that try to hold back the new stars. Foley interjects and shares his memory of the NWA World Title tournament as that was the night that he and Mikey Whipwreck won the NWA-ECW Tag Titles from The Public Enemy. More importantly, that was the night that Funk made the mistake of not bothering to show up. He again threatens to end Funk’s career. The big difference from this promo compared to last week’s is that Foley seems 100% in now. The focus isn’t the hurt that Funk caused, but now the anger that is driving Cactus.

    Elsewhere, Woman, Terry Funk, and The Sandman are here to focus on Shane Douglas. Woman believes Douglas made a mistake in not accepting Woman’s offer to help carry The Triple Threat to greater heights. Meanwhile, the guys question whether or not Cactus can really trust Douglas or not. Funk promises some ass whoopings are coming...

    Overall
    Last week, the big focus was on the Cactus saga, but this week was all about the tag team division feud. I’m starting to feel really bad for ECW that the planned three-way dance was ruined because they’re putting so much effort into really hyping it up. The only officially announced match for the next ECW Arena show, an unreleased event, is the Pitbulls vs The Public Enemy match that will either make the three-way dance official or kill it off for good. I don’t know why it wasn’t announced, but the main event for the March 18th event was a tag match with Shane Douglas and Cactus Jack vs The Sandman and Terry Funk. Seems like something you should hype especially when a big focus on the program is whether or not Cactus can trust Douglas. This episode also offered a tiny amount of promo time for The Bad Breed program. Neither man capitalized on this opportunity though as it still feels like a random feud that is happening for the hell of it. The two matches shown are the best matches from Return of the Funker. I believe the tag titles match is shown in full, so that’s the best place to watch that match on the WWE Network due to Return of the Funker being in below average video quality, but the Scorp/Guerrero match was only shown in highlights form. Speaking of Scorpio, we’re finally seeing a little attention thrown towards the ECW TV Title division. Again, I’m not sure why it’s not announced that the March 18th ECW Arena show will feature Scorpio vs Malenko for the belt. ECW has really downplayed this next ECW Arena show. In ECW’s defense, all you have to do is look at the line-up for Three-Way Dance in April and that show feels pretty huge. Similarly to the WWE, this next ECW Arena show feels like the last PPV before a Wrestlemania. It’s just something to get through until the big one. Again, a good episode that focused on providing new interviews to hype up previously existing issues. This formula is so much more enjoyable than just long video packages replaying the same events we’ve been shown multiple times already.


    ECW Arena - March 18th
    (Announced Matches)

    The Pitbulls vs The Public Enemy


  18. #18

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    March 21, 1995


    For the first time in ages, I get to actually watch Hardcore TV matches!

    The show kicks off with a black screen and a photo of OJ Simpson with a red cross covering his face. A voice over comes on to announce that the following presentation is OJ-free. I’m guessing the joke was made because the OJ trial had recently begun? Or maybe the last episode of Raw talked too much about it? Who knows.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. The show may be OJ-free, but the opening certainly isn’t Road Warrior Hawk free.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show from the floor of the ECW Arena. Styles immediately calls out The All American Ron Simmons. Simmons ends up throwing a tantrum at Styles’ lackluster introduction with all of his accomplishments. Apparently, everyone is scared of Simmons, but he intends to kick everyone’s ass including whoever comes out next. While Simmons in ECW had been going back and forth between being a heel and a face, he seems to be completely moved into the heel alignment. All matches tonight will be from the March 18th ECW Arena show.

    Ron Simmons vs Hack Meyers
    Quickly, there’s a “Piece of shit, Simmons, piece of shit” chant from the crowd. Yep. he sure is a heel here. This was a pretty one sided match with Simmons eating up Meyers and Meyers only getting in some strike based offense. Generally, most of The Shah’s offense looked particularly weak here with a boot in the corner when Simmons charged at him being a foot away from Simmons’ head. Hack was never the greatest, but this was an especially poor performance from him. Simmons was okay though and I liked that he played towards the heat from the crowd. Simmons would win after catching Hack bouncing off the ropes with a spinebuster, which Joey Styles referred to as the “Seminole Slam”. Solid booking to build Simmons back up after a string of losses to The Franchise. **


    After the match, a still pissed off Simmons got on the mic to call out Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and when they didn’t come out - 911.

    Not one to avoid a call out, 911 and Paul E. Dangerously does come out. Before 911 can even enter the ring, Simmons is shoulder blocking him off the apron. Huge “911” chant from the crowd. Simmons seemingly laid 911 out for good with the Seminole Slam, but Simmons made the mistake to pick 911 up to attempt a closeline, but 911 ducked and finished Simmons off with the choke slam. Like usual, 911 would hit another choke slam for good measure. That’s one way to set-up a potential future ECW Arena match.

    Backstage with Joey Styles as he announces a huge April as there’s back-to-back weekends at the ECW Arena. On April 8th, The Bad Breed will wrestle for hopefully the last time (Joey’s words, not my own, but I concur) in a hair vs hair match. Shane Douglas will defend the ECW Title against The Sandman. The main event is official though. It will be a three-way dance between The Triple Threat vs The Public Enemy vs Taz and Sabu for the ECW Tag Titles! Uhh...shouldn’t you have shown The Public Enemy vs The Pitbulls match before announcing the three-way dance? Then on April 15th, it’s Hostile City Showdown 1995 with a main event of Terry Funk vs Cactus Jack! April should be an awesome month for ECW.

    We then joined Terry Funk for a promo regarding his Hostile City Showdown match against Cactus. There’s no subtly in Funk’s promo as he flat out states that he plans on killing Cactus. The only thing Funk is unsure about is in which order should Funk inflict punishment towards Foley.. Funk finally decides that first he’ll castrate Cactus, then kill him, then torture, and then finally strap Cactus to the back of his car and drag him down the main street of Philly. If Funk had a face like Cactus, he’d have it circumcised! The Funker was in quite a mood for this promo, but god was it entertaining.

    Switching over to Cactus Jack, he has two topics that he’s sensitive about. His family and his legitimacy and Terry Funk had crossed the line with both topics. I wouldn’t say it’s breaking kayfabe, but he comes across as real as he admits that Cactus Jack isn’t his actual name, it’s Mick Foley, and he doesn’t even know what New Mexico looks like. With what he plans on doing to Funk, The Funker will see Mick’s face until he’s on his deathbed. Terry’s last thought on his deathbed will be, “I shouldn’t have messed with Cactus Jack. I shouldn’t have messed with Cactus Jack”.

    This is gold, Jerry! In a pair of promos, ECW had outdone everything the WWE did on their build to Wrestlemania 11.

    Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)



    And this has been an edition of Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition).

    Dean Malenko © w/Jason vs 2 Cold Scorpio - ECW TV Title
    This is a rematch from the November 29, 1994 edition of Hardcore TV that saw Malenko defeat Scorpio for the title. Truthfully, Malenko’s title reign has kind of sucked. He’s only defended it a few times, went on a NJPW tour in January/February causing him to miss Double Tables, and then when has been in America he’s mostly spent 1995 teaming with Chris Benoit. In fact, this is only the second time he’s defended the belt on TV. With this being a bit of a quiet month, I went into this match expecting it to be the best of the month and after watching it, there’s a good chance that it will be. Apparently, Scorpio injured his leg/ankle the previous night at a house show (Which would have been a tag team match with Ron Simmons vs The Public Enemy), which considering that he’s now battling a guy that has been partially responsible for injuries as of late, this is bad news for Scorp. The story was built around Scorp’s bad leg where he dominated the early going, but besides clearly being slowed down and not able to be as flashy as he normally is, Scorpio was also forced to change his style. Rarely would Scorpio ever let Malenko physically get away from him, where if Scorpio ever loses control, it could be over. Of course, that’s what ends up happening as Malenko began working over the bad leg to further make things bad for the challenger. There’s a nice piece of selling by Scorpio when he countered a Malenko Tombstone attempt into one of his own, but right before Scorpio delivered it, he had to lift his bad leg up because he couldn’t support Malenko’s weight with that leg. Joey Styles played up the idea that perhaps the referee should stop the match for Scorpio’s own good. Yet, Scorpio still managed to mount a comeback, but Malenko, being the POS heel that he is, found the opportunity to pull the referee in harm’s way when Scorpio was attempting a rare flying cross body from the top. The referee bump allowed Taz to come out to the ring to interfere to add more heat to the three-way dance match coming up next month. What made Taz’s appearance more noteworthy was the fact that Taz, for the first time since joining ECW, was shown wearing street clothes. It’s worth remembering that like Scorpio, Taz is selling a leg injury, although in his case it was sustained in the Return of the Funker tag match against The Triple Threat. Taz kills Malenko with a sick T-Bone suplex and throws Scorpio on top of The Shooter. Malenko ends up kicking out though, causing Taz to return to deliver a Samoan Drop to Malenko. This time, Scorpio talks Taz out of manhandling him to throw him back onto Malenko. This gives Scorpio a bit of a babyface rub to show that he’s at least trying to win the title fairly. The finish then quickly kicks off with Malenko countering a suplex by falling behind Scorpio and attempting to roll him up, but Scorpio counters that by grabbing a handful of Malenko’s trunks to get Malenko into pinning position and to steal the pinfall to become the NEW ECW TV Champion. I didn’t notice this the first time around, but Scorpio only grabbed Malenko’s trunks after The Shooter did the same to Scorpio during Malenko’s roll-up attempt. I guess you can say it’s an honorable sort of cheating. A really enjoyable storyline based match even if I wasn’t completely on board with the Taz run-in. Despite not being pleased with the run-in, it at least served the purpose of adding more heat on the upcoming three-way dance and ultimately, that’s the match that really matters, not this title switch. Besides producing a good match, this match also signifies the kick off of a hot period for the TV Title over the course of the next few months. *** ¼


    After the match, Jason tries to get a word with Malenko, but The Iceman stares daggers at his manager. To Jason’s credit, he smartly takes a step back and doesn’t try to rush anything as Malenko looked as if he was looking for any excuse to turn on Jason. Although the match wouldn’t happen, I think, this could have been a nice piece of booking towards the build-up for The Triple Threat vs The Pitbulls in an ECW Tag Titles match where Jason would have to choose sides.

    After a commercial break, we’re re-shown the finish to the previous match to hype it up even more.

    Back to Joey Styles to remind everyone what they saw on tonight’s episode including Ron Simmons calling out 911 and Scorpio winning the TV Title. Next week on Hardcore TV, we will learn who will be the first man to challenge Scorpio for the title. We know it won’t be Dean Malenko as he’s too busy with the ECW Tag Team Titles. Whoever is the first to challenge Scorpio is sure going to need a lot of heat to win the belt. One could even say that they require...Latino heat…

    Somewhere on the mean streets of Philly are The Public Enemy. Grunge and Rocco joke about trying to score a job with WCW and to do so, they’re wearing wigs and dresses as a play on Ric Flair recently showing up at Uncensored dressed as a woman. Just before the show goes off of the air, The Public Enemy gets serious as they remove the dresses and threaten The Triple Threat and Sabu/Taz as the three-way dance nears.

    Overall
    I don’t know what happened, but the quality of these Hardcore TV shows have really improved since the start of March. It feels as if ECW is hitting their stride where not only are you getting a quality weekly show, but there’s so much advertising for the big April events. Both April events are looking to be major shows and I’m becoming more and more enthusiastic to watch them. The star attraction on this episode were the pair of promos from Terry Funk and Mick Foley to build-up to their Hostile City Showdown match. Funk was an absolute lunatic while Foley blurred the lines between kayfabe and shoot comments. I mentioned in the last Hardcore TV review that I was starting to feel bad for the company since their plans for the three-way dance would end up becoming ruined and I’m only feeling worse. ECW is putting so much effort into the build-up to that match that it currently feels like the biggest match of the year. As I mentioned earlier, the Scorpio/Malenko TV Title switch was the match that helped steer the TV Title back in the right direction. This is a huge thing because at least in America, the ECW TV Title was likely the best belt/division in 1995 beating out even what the WWE or WCW had to offer with their titles. Go out of your way to watch the Foley/Funk promos and stick around for the Scorpio/Malenko match.

    Three-Way Dance - April 8th
    (Announced Matches)

    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko © vs Taz and Sabu vs The Public Enemy - ECW Tag Titles

    Shane Douglas © vs The Sandman - ECW World Title

    Axl Rotten vs Ian Rotten - Hair vs Hair

    Hostile City Showdown - April 15th
    (Announced Matches)

    Terry Funk vs Cactus Jack

  19. #19

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    March 28, 1995


    A music video is shown promoting the six wrestlers set to wrestle in the three-way dance. Clips over the last few months are played. Watching these on the WWE Network, music videos are the one way that I feel like I’m really getting shortchanged by not watching the original versions with the non-licensed songs. These music videos are always kind of dull, but with the original versions having some great songs, it feels like less of a time waster.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Road Warrior Hawk is gone! So is Mike Awesome! I don’t believe it. This is truly one of the most historic moments in ECW history. Leave the memories alone. I can finally retire this bit.

    All matches tonight are from the March 18th ECW Arena show.

    Mikey Whipwreck vs Jason
    Billed as their FINAL match. Awesome. I’m all in favor of allowing Mikey to move on from this never ending feud. This one took awhile to finally get going because of all of the early stalling from Jason. The first half was entirely Whipwreck getting revenge for all that Jason had done to him. There was a fun little spot on the outside where the referee pulled a chair out of Mikey’s hands, but when Jason tried to capitalize on it by charging at Whipwreck, Mikey sidestepped causing Jason to collide head first into the chair held by the ref. Jason would eventually get lucky by countering a Mikey charge in the corner with a boot to kick off Jason’s half assed offense. Jason isn’t taking Mikey seriously at all and some of his spots are pretty bizarre such as when he kissed Whipwreck. For some odd reason, rather than climb to the top rope in the corner, Jason spammed out top rope leg drops by climbing the middle of the ropes as if he was attempting a springboard without actually...you know spring boarding. The second one would be missed allowing Mikey to hit a top rope head scissors to win the match and the feud. Mikey’s offense had improved just enough that he was beyond Jason’s weak ass matches and it really was time for Mikey to do something better than waste time wrestling a practical non-wrestler in Jason. First half with Mikey in control was okay, but it wasn’t really good once Jason took over. * ¾


    Last week on ECW, 2 Cold Scorpio challenged for Dean Malenko’s ECW TV Title. Taz, in street clothes, ended up interfering with Scorpio ultimately winning the belt. After the match, tensions between Malenko and his manager, Jason, rose.

    After last week’s show, Joey Styles caught up with The Iceman. Since Malenko’s gimmick is that he never speaks, he obviously isn't here either. Instead, he intimidates Styles while making it clear that he intends on releasing his frustrations out at the three-way dance. A good promo for an exercise where it was up to Styles backtracking and Malenko projecting emotions without uttering a word.

    Last week on ECW, Ron Simmons challenged 911 to a fight. Although The All American initially got the best of 911, he still suffered the predictable choke slam.

    Backstage with Paul E. Dangerously, with a quick threat towards Ron Simmons. If you ever make Dangerously dial 911 again, Simmons will pay for it.

    Back to Joey Styles to announce who 2 Cold Scorpio will defend the TV Title against at Three-Way Dance. To avenge the loss of his brother, EDDIE GUERRERO will be making his ECW debut!

    Tommy Dreamer vs Raven’s Nest - Gauntlet Match
    If Dreamer wants a piece of Raven, he first needs to beat Tony Stetson, then Johnny Hotbody, and then Stevie Richards again. To ensure that Dreamer receives fair matches, the rest of The Nest are handcuffed to the ring post and are only uncuffed when it’s time for them to enter the match. Dreamer made quick work of Stetson without any problem, winning with that spinning DDT he would do as a counter. Hotbody had a brief moment of offense, but he too was made quick work of being pinned with a backslide. As Richards is the biggest star of Raven’s goons, he’s able to get in the most offense to also play off the idea that Dreamer is getting exhausted. A Stevie Kick even managed to knock Dreamer off of his feet for a while. While this is happening in the ring, Terry Funk is shown sneaking out to the ringside with a pair of bolt cutters, freeing Raven. Meanwhile, Dreamer pinned Stevie after an enziguri kick. With Dreamer still thinking that Raven is handcuffed to the post, Dreamer came to the outside, but was sucker punched by Raven with the hand that had been handcuffed. Raven then delivered a DDT on the cement before rolling Dreamer into the ring and immediately pinning him. This would mark Dreamer’s first loss to Raven. Get used to it, pal. This sort of match is more of an angle than an actual match, but it’s always effective as the babyface looks good in winning three-straight matches, but the heel leader ultimately stands tall with the unfair victory. **

    After the match, Raven further punished Dreamer with Dreamer now a bloody mess. When Richards tried to join in on the beat down, Raven shoved him down. On the outside, Raven handcuffed Dreamer to the middle rope to deliver a chair shot to Dreamer’s head. It’s a pretty gnarly crimson mask. This was such a hot angle exactly what this program needed to really get going.


    When we return from a commercial break, Dreamer is stretchered off by Damage Control.

    A series of match cards are shown on the screen to promote ECW’s next ECW Arena show on April 8th for Three-Way Dance. Scheduled is the three-way dance match with The Triple Threat vs Taz/Sabu vs The Public Enemy for the tag titles, Shane Douglas defending the ECW Title against The Sandman, 2 Cold Scorpio vs Eddie Guerrero for the TV Title, and Axl Rotten vs Ian Rotten in a hair vs hair match. Meanwhile on April 15th at the ECW Arena will be the second annual Hostile City Showdown with Cactus Jack vs Terry Funk being the main event. Ah damn, I was hoping some new matches would have been announced.

    Back to the ring with Tod Gordon and apparently there’s some confusion going around as Marty Jannetty missed his plane and won’t be able to wrestle Sabu tonight. Backstage, Joey Styles as he’s on the phone with Jannetty. The audio call is so poor that I can’t hear much of what Jannetty had to say. Frankly, I’m shocked, absolutely shocked that Jannetty wasn’t reliable. Meanwhile, Paul E. Dangerously sent 911 to the back to find an opponent for Sabu. The poor victim ends up being Mikey Whipwreck, being dragged out against his will.

    Sabu w/Paul E. Dangerously and 911 vs Mikey Whipwreck
    For the second straight month, Scorpio had the MOTN stolen from him at the last moment by Sabu. These two worked a pair of really good matches in 1996 and I’m really pleased to see that their chemistry was there a year earlier. Despite being a previous ECW TV and ECW Tag Team Champion, this felt like Mikey’s coming out party. Previously, Mikey was the weak link in a match or someone who just got lucky. Yet, the story here is that this was shockingly a competitive match with Whipwreck hanging in there with the bigger star. Multiple times in the match Mikey was able to counter whatever big spot Sabu was attempting to allow Whipwreck the advantage. Whipwreck also proved that Sabu wasn’t the only one that could attempt suicidal spots to the outside. If there’s one word to describe this match, it was “Energy”. It’s ten minutes of balls to the wall action with one man becoming a star in front of our eyes. The crowd reacted perfectly, initially being very pro-Sabu, but the more Mikey fought back and amazed by hanging in there, the more the crowd showed support towards him. The finish saw Sabu nail a beautiful moonsault through a table on the outside before tossing Mikey back into the ring. Sabu would slingshot himself into a botched Arabrian press moonsault that saw him hit Mikey, but also land on his head. Of course, since this is Sabu, he didn’t stay down, instead locking an unconscious Mikey in a camel clutch to force the referee to call for the bell. Technically, Whipwreck lost this match, but he came out of this the real winner. The only real negative I had for the match was the video quality. For some odd reason, while the camera on the floor was the normal HD quality found on the WWE Network, the hard cam had muted colors and resembled a good VHS copy. It was pretty jarring cutting back and forth between the two qualities. This would be it for Sabu in ECW until November, but what a way to go out. *** ½


    Overall
    I’ll just keep repeating myself. Up to this point, ECW had never been as entertaining as they were here in March 1995. In contrast to the last few weeks, this episode was a wrestling heavy show with three matches shown in total. The main event of Sabu vs Mikey Whipwreck was a real delight as Sabu’s final match for months. One of my biggest let downs since starting ECW 1994 has been the lack of quality matches from Mikey since he was the worker of the year for my 1996 project. The Mikey that we saw tonight is the Whipwreck I was used to seeing in 1996. I really hope that this is just what it’s going to be like from this point forward. The post-match angle between Raven and Dreamer was great stuff and just what the feud needed to suddenly feel hot. It wasn’t a good match, but I’m pleased to see that Mikey/Jason program appears to finally be finished. Lastly, this episode was all about advertising the two big April ECW Arena shows with Eddie Guerrero now set to finally join ECW.

    Three-Way Dance - April 8th
    (Announced Matches)

    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko © vs Taz and Sabu vs The Public Enemy - ECW Tag Titles

    Shane Douglas © vs The Sandman - ECW World Title

    2 Cold Scorpio © vs Eddie Guerrero - ECW TV Title

    Axl Rotten vs Ian Rotten - Hair vs Hair

    Hostile City Showdown - April 15th
    (Announced Matches)

    Terry Funk vs Cactus Jack

    ---

    At the conclusion of each month, I will be providing the Match of the Month (Supershow matches can be included) and my monthly updated recommended matches list that will also keep my rankings of the best matches updated on a regular basis.

    March Match of the Month: Sabu vs Mikey Whipwreck (Hardcore TV 03.28.95)

    Jim’s Recommended ECW 1995 Matches (*** ¼ and higher)

    Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio (Hardcore TV 01.24.95) - *** ¾
    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu (Return of the Funker) - *** ¾

    2 Cold Scorpio vs Hector Guerrero (Return of the Funker) - *** ½
    Sabu vs Mikey Whipwreck (Hardcore TV 03.28.95) - *** ½

    Al Snow vs Osamu Nishimura (Hardcore TV 01.17.95) - *** ¼
    Chris Benoit vs Al Snow (Double Tables) - *** ¼
    2 Cold Scorpio vs Dean Malenko (Hardcore TV 03.21.95) - *** ¼
    Last edited by Jim; 04-07-2020 at 05:03 AM.

  20. #20

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    April 4, 1995


    In the cold opening, we’re shown a clip from the NWA World Title Tournament where Rocco Rock hits the Drive-By on Tommy Dreamer, putting Dreamer through a table. I didn’t even realize that had happened. Joey Styles screams that it’s Sabu’s move. On the same night, Rocco put Cactus Jack through a table with a moonsault. Again, Styles makes reference to that being a Sabu spot. Now it becomes clear as to why they’re showing this. Back at November to Remember, Rocco tried to deliver a Drive-By to Mikey Whipwreck through a table, but Sabu interfered, preventing the spot. Now that spot makes perfect sense to me. The Public Enemy had been stealing the table spot gimmick from Sabu and eventually Sabu had enough of it. That then kicked off their feud. Also at November to Remember, Chris Benoit broke Sabu’s neck. Meanwhile, the issues between Jason and The Tazmaniac brought Jason’s newest client, Dean Malenko, into the program as Taz’s new rival. Later in November, The Public Enemy got revenge on Sabu for ruining their N2R table spot by putting his manager, Paul E. Dangerously, through a table when Sabu had a random tag match with Taz vs The Malenko Brothers. At Holiday Hell, having common enemies in Taz and Sabu brought Benoit and Malenko together and temporarily aligned them with The Public Enemy due to the same common enemies. At Double Tables, The Public Enemy defeated Sabu and Taz in a tables match, but the referee didn’t see Rocco put Sabu through a table, instead only seeing Sabu subsequently putting Rocco through the table to crown Taz and Sabu as champions. On the same night, the iconic power bomb spot with Benoit, Sabu, and Rocco Rock occurs with Rocco being forced to be confined to a wheelchair for a bit in the aftermath, thus severing the partnership between The Triple Threat and The Public Enemy. At Return of the Funker, Benoit roughed up Rocco while Rock was still in a wheelchair. The same night, Benoit/Malenko won the ECW Tag Titles from Taz/Sabu after Taz was removed from the match due to a knee injury. We’re then shown highlights of The Public Enemy’s hijinx in getting the contracts signed for the three-way dance. This long opening finally comes to an end by showing the entrances for the March 18th ECW Arena match between The Pitbulls and The Public Enemy where if PE won, Jason would sign the three-way dance contract for Benoit and Malenko. This segment lasted a full eighteen minutes. I liked seeing the clips from 1994 since most were new for me, but I started to zone out once they replayed the 1995 clips that I’ve seen a million times.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Now that Road Warrior Hawk has been removed, I don’t know what to even say about these anymore. There’s a couple of clips from former ECW wrestlers (Tommy Cairo and Matt Borne) still in the opening, but the clips focus on 911 or Tommy Dreamer hitting moves on them. Oh god...did Road Warrior Hawk actually give me purpose?

    Joey Styles introduces the show backstage at the ECW Arena. It’s going to be another show detailing some events from the March 18th ECW Arena event. We are officially days away from the most anticipated match in ECW history - the three-way dance with The Triple Threat vs The Public Enemy vs Taz/Sabu for the ECW Tag Titles! It’s a big claim, but I can actually believe it. It feels like a huge deal. To see how we got there, we jump back to March 18th to see highlights of The Public Enemy vs The Pitbulls.

    The Public Enemy vs The Pitbulls
    It’s only highlights shown, but this looked to be a wild plunder-based brawl. Grunge even used a coconut! Pitbull #2 nailed the Super Bomb on Rocco, but Pitbull #2 lift Rocco up to break up his own cover. According to Joey Styles, it was Jason who called for Pitbull to keep the match going, but I don’t see him at ringside. The finish is horrifically botched as it was supposed to be The Pitbulls attempting a Doomsday Device on Rocco, but Grunge delivered a chair shot to Pitbull #2, allowing Rocco to victory roll him to victory, but the timing is all screwed up. Pitbull #1 was forced to just...miss Rocco with the top rope closeline, Rocco was already in mid-victory roll when Grunge attempted the chair swing, but since Pitbull #2 and Rocco were already in motion, Grunge completely missed Pitbull #2. This was flat out embarrassing with how badly this was performed. EVERYONE’S timing was off! The important thing is that The Public Enemy won, so the three-way dance is officially on, even though we knew that weeks ago. With that botch finish, maybe ECW would have been better off just never showing this match. Not Rated.


    We cut to a sauna with The Pitbulls. They cut a sweaty, shouty promo directed at The Public Enemy, hoping that they win so that they can go after them to win the belts. The segment is a little homoerotic with all of the grunting, sweating, and screaming of Grunge and Rocco’s names. They blame their loss on March 18th on Jason. The Pitbulls are coming for the belts! The segment ends with Pitbull #1 running and leaping onto a punching bag, biting at it. This segment should have aired next week because how can you watch this and assume that The Public Enemy are not leaving Three-Way Dance with the belts?

    Last week on ECW, Tommy Dreamer worked a gauntlet match against Raven’s Nest. Although Dreamer won three stages of the gauntlet match, Raven ended up pinning Dreamer, and left Dreamer a bloody mess.

    We cut to a Tommy Dreamer promo shortly after that match. Dreamer admits that Raven proved that he’s hardcore, but he’s going to show Raven that he’s always been extreme. I guess that’s a threat? Dreamer hasn’t always been the best at threatening his rivals.

    Back to Joey Styles to further hype up the three-way dance for the ECW Tag Titles on April 8th. In addition, we will see 2 Cold Scorpio vs Eddie Guerrero for the ECW TV Title. Ron Simmons will have a confrontation with 911. The Bad Breed will wrestle again in a hair vs hair match. If you call the ECW Hotline, you can order an ADVANCE copy of Three-Way Dance on VHS!

    After a commercial break, The Sandman and Woman join Joey Styles to cut a promo on the ECW Champion, Shane Douglas. For The Sandman, he draws inspiration from world history by comparing The Franchise to once successful leaders as Napoleon and Hitler. Like Douglas has done with the world of wrestling, Napoleon and Hitler conquered the world, but in doing so, they opened themselves up to a second front. That was their downfall and The Franchise has opened a second front for himself, that second front being The Sandman. Woman flirts with Styles, suggestively repeating that she wanted Douglas to come with her to help The Triple Threat rise to new heights, but he was a fool.

    Terry Funk and The Sandman w/Woman vs Shane Douglas and Cactus Jack
    If you’re watching this on Hardcore TV, you’re only able to catch highlights. The match was later released in full on the home video, Extreme Warfare #1. Since I still have that video thanks to my ECW 1996 binge, I’m choosing to watch the full match instead of the highlights. This was a wild one and I’m glad I watched the full match. At no point were there ever any tags, instead it was a Texas Tornado style brawl with plenty of weapons. The weapons was a big part of what made the match interesting to me. Early on, The Franchise got his hands on Sandman’s Singapore cane, nailing everyone in sight, including Foley by accident. Even though they didn’t have time to work out that disagreement before Funk threw in a chair at Foley, I feel like that cane shot will be brought up in the future. Later, a section of the steel railing is removed and brought into the ring. It is difficult to be sure because I have been watching so much 1996-1997 ECW not long ago, but I feel as if this may have been the first time that railing was brought into the ring. I could be wrong though. Douglas ends up receiving the brunt end of the punishment with the railing, both having the railing dropped on him and also being closelined off of the railing after being crotched on it. Foley was a madman who spammed out Cactus Closelines and dropped a Cactus Elbow from the middle rope. Terry Funk, bless him, pulled out a toolbox from under the ring, but in doing so opened the lid. It’s a great comedy moment as Funk is walking from the ring to the entrance way to try and use the toolbox, but you keep hearing individual tools fall out and clatter on the cement floor. By time Funk reaches Foley and Douglas, he lifts the toolbox over his head with the intention of hitting them, but the remaining tools fall out over The Funker’s head. While Sandman, Foley, and Douglas head back to the ring, Funk disappears for a bit before returning with a FLAMING BRANDING IRON. Funk goes straight after Foley with the flaming branding iron and a tussle ensues. In kayfabe, I’m not entirely sure what we’re supposed to believe actually happened. Obviously, in reality, Funk and Foley are trying to be careful to not actually maim Foley by actually pressing the branding iron against Foley’s skin. It’s not a gimmick’d weapon, you can’t work it. My assumption is that Funk pressed it against Foley’s chest and then delivered a piledriver on top of the branding iron. The piledriver was clearly inches away from actually hitting the branding iron, but again, you can’t actually be crazy enough to hit the branding iron so I’ll forgive the weak spot. The piledriver “On” the branding iron is enough for Funk to pin Foley. The other noteworthy piece on this match is that the ECW sign guy fan in the front row had his infamous, “Cane Dewey!” sign. That, of course, is going to be important in the future. For a tag team match in ECW, this was good. ***


    Backstage, Terry Funk, still with the flaming branding iron, cuts a maniacal promo hyping up the April 15th Hostile City Showdown match with Cactus Jack. The Funker promises that it’s going to be a...hot one. Plenty of evil laughter in this one. Short, but sweet.

    Elsewhere is the ECW Champion, Shane Douglas. It’s not brought up, but since last week, Douglas had officially surpassed one full year as ECW Champion. He’s the first and only man to ever do that. He’d end up doing it again when he held the title for the entire calendar year of 1998. Anyways, he cuts a promo in response to Sandman’s history lesson. The Franchise denies fighting a two front war, it’s just one front - Douglas defending the title against the best wrestlers. Douglas takes credit for ECW’s success, makes a suggestive comment towards Woman, and promises victory in April. Although his delivery was better than it had been in his other solo promos, it was still a lot of nonsense with the occasional fuck up. “If you look it up in Webster’s Webster”. Douglas is such a mixed bag when it comes to promos.

    Back to the March 18th ECW Arena show to the aftermath of the Douglas/Cactus vs Sandman/Funk match. Woman has to be dragged away by Sandman and Funk as she’s far too invested in watching Douglas. Could Woman be wanting to leave Sandman for The Franchise?!

    Back to Joey Styles to again hype up the three-way dance happening this weekend at Three-Way Dance. That leads into a montage featuring the final words for those involved in the three-way dance. And by that, I just mean The Public Enemy, Benoit, and Dangerously because half the men in the match never talk.

    Overall
    If Three-Way Dance was a Wrestlemania, than this episode of Hardcore TV was pretty clearly a go home edition of Smackdown. It’s a promo heavy episode with little wrestling. Keep in mind, the second tag match was only shown in highlight form on the actual episode. If you are interested in watching Three-Way Dance, but don’t want to watch all of the build-up, this individual episode would be a good way to bring you up to speed to what was happening in the company. I’m really curious to watch the three-way dance match. ECW has done a wonderful job at building it up, but I can’t recall anyone really talking about the match in the aftermath. Even with a disappointment like Sabu vs Taz from Barely Legal, people still talk about that match, with the admission that the build-up was better than the actual encounter. Could the removal of Sabu from the three-way dance be the cause for why no one ever talks about it? The difference in quality and enjoyment between what ECW was doing at this point and what they were doing a year ago is astounding. Everything is so much better now.


    Three-Way Dance - April 8th
    (Announced Matches)

    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko © vs Taz and Sabu vs The Public Enemy - ECW Tag Titles

    Shane Douglas © vs The Sandman - ECW World Title

    2 Cold Scorpio © vs Eddie Guerrero - ECW TV Title

    Axl Rotten vs Ian Rotten - Hair vs Hair

    Ron Simmons confronts 911

    Hostile City Showdown - April 15th
    (Announced Matches)

    Terry Funk vs Cactus Jack


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