Double Tables
February 4, 1995



It’s worth noting that the video quality for this event is pretty awful. I’m not even sure why the quality is so poor when the Chris Benoit/Al Snow match that appeared on Benoit’s 2004 DVD was a lot better lighting wise. Even more frustrating is checking out the next Hardcore TV episode that contained footage from the show, the video quality is much better than even the Benoit DVD footage. Checking the pirated version you can find on torrent sites, while there is a lot of static on the screen, the lighting is still better than the WWE Network. Did the WWE purposely choose the absolute worst copy of this show to add to the Network? Before I finally shut up about this, an example of what I’m seeing with the various copies.

Spoiler:



WWE Network’s Double Tables


WWE Network’s Hardcore TV


Pirated copy’s Double Tables


Have I bitched enough yet? Since the WWE Network’s version is so poor, I’m just going to watch this event on the pirated version.

Anyways, Joey Styles brings out Jason to kick off the show. Jason brings out The Pitbulls, a partnership that hadn’t been played up much, from the shows that I’ve seen, for months. From there, Jason introduces his newest client - Jason The Terrible. Terrible is a guy who mostly worked in Japan, most notably for the W*ING promotion. The gimmick was originally started up by Canadian wrestler, Karl Moffat, but after Moffat was involved in a serious car accident in 1989 that also involved Davey Boy Smith and Chris Benoit, his career got pretty messed up. That gave way to this new Jason The Terrible to take over the hockey mask gimmick in the early 90s.

For some reason, the WWE Network doesn’t have this next video package, but it appears on the VHS release. The Pitbulls were originally invincible (Uhh...they were Taz’s bitch ) until they encountered 911, where they were promptly given a double choke slam by Dangerously’s bodyguard. After they, they became the laughing stock of the locker room. It was Bad Breed’s laughing of The Pitbulls that kicked off their feud that was ultimately won by The Pitbulls in a loser must split up match.

The Pitbulls and Jason The Terrible w/Jason vs Hack Meyers and The Young Dragons
The Young Dragons were a pair of masked jobbers originally portrayed by Mikey Whipwreck and Paul Lauria. I’m guessing it’s not them tonight though since they’re wrestling a singles match later. In fact, very early in the match, the first Young Dragon is unmasked and it’s some guy I don’t recognize. Sites like cagematch still credits Whipwreck and Lauria though. Terrible is a lot like Mike Awesome where he truly lives up to his name. Not only was Terrible’s offense limited to mostly just headbutts with the hockey mask, but he looked entirely lost. Every time he’s in the ring, he’s constantly looking for his cues from The Pitbulls. The finish thankfully came with The Pitbulls instructing Terrible to hit the ropes where they pressed him into the air and had him crash down onto Meyers for the victory. Would you be shocked if I tell you that this was Terrible’s debut and last match in ECW? ½ *

After the match, Styles gets a word with Jason and his army. Since the match is over, Jason sends Terrible back to the back. During the entire promo, you can see Meyers in the background beating up his partners in the ring for some lite comedy. Eventually, Meyers attacked The Pitbulls and Jason with a steel chair. That brought out Angel (She’s STILL with the company?!) wearing camo boots and a wedding dress. Initially, she tries to defend Jason by slapping Meyers, but that causes Meyers to attack her and spank her. Apparently, that’s her kink as she’s now suddenly interested in Meyers, even forcefully kissing him. Meyers kills her with a piledriver so deny the advances.

Steve Richards w/Raven vs Tommy Dreamer
Richards still hasn’t adapted his Raven-like look. In something that initially threw me off, Dreamer came out to the ring with Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” instead of his trademark “The Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains. However, that’s nothing compared to what Dreamer is wearing. Sporting spandex shorts and a red t-shirt, sleeves removed, that’s tucked into his shorts. He looks like such a geek. Did he lose his ring gear or something? This guy can’t find a decent ring gear if this life depended on it. Anyways, this is the first time that Dreamer and Raven are in the same building in ECW. The biggest thing that stood out about this match is how comfortable Dreamer now looks in ECW. He’s all smiles, is receiving a mostly good reaction, and seems to really relish in this sort of garbage wrestling style. It’s nice to see Dreamer finally working out in ECW. As for Richards, he already has the charismatic personality down, but as a worker, he’s still a little limited. I’d say that’s the drawback of the match as it just went on for too long. It doesn’t help matters that it’s difficult to believe that Richards would win unless there’s some shenanigans involved in the finish. Multiple times in the match, Dreamer and Raven would lock eyes. Finally, at the end, Raven climbed into the ring to grab Dreamer and hold him for Richards to hit the Stevie Kick. Rather than immediately for the cover, Richards wastes time. Then when Richards attempted a second Stevie Kick, this time all on his own, Dreamer countered with a punch in the balls and then rolled Richards up for the pinfall. Match could have been shorter, but Richards failed to avenge his loss last year to ruin his epic two match winning streak. ** ¼

After the match, Raven teases going after Dreamer, but when the referee and Richards lightly holds Raven back, Raven opts to not fight it. Seems as if it’s more mind games rather than an actual attempt to go after Dreamer.


Mikey Whipwreck vs ‘The Giant’ Paul Lauria w/Jason
A rematch from the January ECW Arena show, which Lauria won thanks to Jason’s distraction. While their first match was a disappointment, I found this one to be better. It came across as more of a grudge match with the pair immediately getting in a slug fest and poor Mikey ended up bleeding from the chin because Lauria wasn’t being careful while jabbing Whipwreck with a chair. That sums up Lauria in a nutshell. He tries to do something nice looking, such as his Chris Benoit-imitation, but he can be really sloppy. Granted, Mikey isn’t perfect either when it comes to trying to be botch free, but it’s literally every time Lauria tries to get fancy. Mikey would score a nearfall after a top rope bulldog, but Jason would pull him out of the ring. That allowed Whipwreck to punch out his bitter rival before Lauria brought the fight back to him. The biggest downer of the match would be the finish as this heated grudge match was ultimately ended with...a backslide from Mikey. By now it should be clear that you’re not going to be able to go anywhere with Lauria. Whipwreck is your star. Put him over stronger. An entertaining match for an early Whipwreck showing. ** ¼


Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten
The first of the bloody matches between the fake Brits who portray fake brothers. Axl completely massacred his brother, pummelling a bloody Ian in and out of the ring. Ian would work the majority of the match with one of the best crimson masks thus far in ECW. Using the timekeeper’s bell ringer, Axl even began driving it into Ian’s arm to try and produce blood from there as well. Naturally, after such a bloody match, it’s only fitting that the finish would be Axl being tripped up in the corner and Ian lazily covering him with his feet on the bottom rope to steal the victory. There’s really never much to say about these Rotten vs Rotten matches. * ¾

After the match, Axl blasts Ian with a chair to continue the fight that no one cares about.

Chris Benoit vs Al Snow
Following the emerging success of UFC and one of its original stars, Dan Severn, Joey Styles is quick to mention that Snow trained Severn. This would be the battle of two of the hottest free agents in 1995 and a match that generally receives a lot of praise. Back in the day, I never fully understood the love, although I did rate it *** ½ when I reviewed the Chris Benoit DVD in 2009. Good match, but not the MOTYC that people made it out to be. This time around, I was hopeful to finally view it as that MOTYC, but my opinion was largely left unchanged. It began in a great manner with both men working over the arm and showing off their Malenko/Guerrero-like back and forth action while the crowd ate everything up. The downfall of the match was once Benoit took over and the match began so one sided. Benoit’s offense looked great and Snow had some good looking selling including a bump in the corner that even Bret Hart would be proud of, but at this stage of his career, Snow’s strength is his offense. When Snow did make a bit of a comeback at the end, it’s a little sloppy such as a super kick that barely brushed Benoit’s chin and a variation of a Fisherman’s Suplex that Snow struggled to keep the bridge up for the nearfall. Snow’s good in 1995, he just isn’t always crisp. The finish seemed to sorta come out of nowhere as Benoit finished Snow off with the Dragon Suplex, without Snow ever looking as if he had a chance at winning. Despite being a little negative in this review, it is still a good match. At this stage in ECW history, workrate is still such a new and rare concept. It’s easily a top five match thus far in the company. Good match, just not a MOTYC that Joey Styles so desperately tried claiming that it was. *** ¼


After the match, Benoit delivered a power bomb to Snow to continue his streak of injuring wrestlers. Damage Control came out to stretcher Snow out of the building and the company. This would be Snow’s last appearance in ECW before signing with the WWE. The next time we’ll see Snow in ECW would be Born to be Wired in 1997. Coincidentally, that’s the next show I’m to watch whenever I get around to continuing ECW 1997.

Shane Douglas © vs Tully Blanchard - ECW World Title
A rematch of the infamous hour draw January 1995 ECW Arena match that was so bad that footage of the match has never seen the light of day. I don’t see what’s the big deal though. Sounds like typical early ECW Douglas to me. This time around, the match is more compact and pure action. It only lasted ten minutes and was predominantly Blanchard kicking The Franchise’s ass. Apparently, this was The OLD Blanchard tonight and not The NEW Blanchard, whatever that is supposed to mean. Every once in a while, Douglas would get in a flurry of offense, but make no mistake about it, this was Blanchard’s match. They got over the grudge aspect of the match as it really felt like Blanchard wanted to punish Douglas. The downside for Tully is that time after time, Douglas would either kick out or get lucky such as getting his foot on the bottom rope, which the referee only saw after initially counting to three. Meanwhile, Douglas is also pretty successful as nearfalls that seem to come out of nowhere. Naturally, that involved the finish as Blanchard attempted to suplex Douglas back into the ring from the apron, but The Franchise grabbed onto the top rope to cause his body to fall on top of Blanchard to score the surprise pinfall. Hardly great, but considering Douglas’ tendency to put on poor matches, this was better than average. Ultimately, the big downside to this program is that Tully is a natural heel. Blanchard having to work a babyface role to combat Douglas was never going to work towards either men’s strengths. Tully would have worked better with someone like Al Snow or even Tommy Dreamer. Other than house show, this would be it for Tully in ECW. ** ¾


Cactus Jack vs The Sandman w/Woman - Texas Death Match
A rematch from the Falls Count Anywhere match during ECW’s recent stop in Florida. In that match, Foley broke his hand in victory, but in doing so, seemed to lose his mojo. In general, this seemed to be Foley’s story as a babyface in ECW. This already legendary hardcore wrestler was now competing in a company filled with younger, fresher hardcore wrestlers and it was difficult for Cactus to keep up with the likes of Sabu, The Sandman, and The Public Enemy. As a result, Cactus kept having to prove himself towards often his greatest critic - himself. If the previous match was a rematch to an infamous match, this one would be an infamous match on its own. On Foley’s WWE DVD, ‘Mick Foley - Greatest Hits & Misses’, he described this match as being a “Trainwreck”. The core problem is that very early into the match, Foley blasted Sandman over the head with a chair. Sandman ended up being legitimately concussed and worked the rest of the match completely dazed and “The lights are on, but no one is home”. Normally, that’s bad enough, but this was a Texas Death Match, so each time there’s a pinfall, the loser had a ten count to return to his feet to keep the match going. Naturally, since Sandman was so out of it, he kept getting up when it was time to go home. At the very end, it got to the point where Foley was spamming Cactus DDTs on the outside, hoping that this latest one would finally be the one to clue Sandman in that he’s supposed to stay down. Yet, despite this match being practically universally panned, including by those in the match, I kinda liked it? It ended up being a strong story based match. Foley brought the hate with all of the painful looking shots to the head while Sandman was with it mentally enough to focus on the knee. There’s actually some really good limb work in the middle of the work while Foley sold it well. The whole fiasco at the end with Sandman not staying down works for kayfabe as well. How are you supposed to beat a guy that isn’t all there mentally and pure instinct is causing him to keep getting back to his feet? Joey Styles was even able to draw comparisons between Sandman refusing to stay down to Cactus’ past performances. Sometimes a bad match can actually work for select viewers because it creates a story that wasn’t meant to be there. Eventually though, whether Sandman realized he was supposed to stay down or the concussion caused him to fail to muster up the strength to get back to his feet, he ends up remaining down for a full ten count following one of the Cactus DDTs on the cement to give Cactus the victory. Just so that you don’t think that Cactus evaded any injuries from this one, a Sandman piledriver on a chair ended up messing up Foley’s neck to leave both men a battered mess. A guilty pleasure for me? Perhaps, but enjoyable nonetheless. If you choose to watch this one, remember that most considers this to be a disaster. ***


The Public Enemy © vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu w/Paul E. Dangerously and 911 - Tables Match - ECW Tag Titles
It’s a safe bet that this is the very first tables match in pro wrestling history. Not that it really matters though as it’s worked similarly to every other hardcore tag match that ECW had been putting on. The four men paired off with Sabu and Grunge fighting on the outside with Grunge predictably bleeding while Rocco and Taz had a surprisingly good showcase in the ring with some fun counters. Once the tables were brought into the match, there were plenty of nearfalls with attempts at using tables, but either the spot not connecting or the table not breaking. At one point, a table is leaned in the corner and Sabu drove Rocco head first into the table, but apparently it wasn’t good enough to warrant counting. There’s a double elimination with Taz and Grunge falling off of the middle rope together through a table. That’s when the screwiness of the finish kicks in as Grunge goes after Dangerously and the referee seemed to be distracted, failing to spot Rocco hitting the Drive By on Sabu through a table. At this point, Public Enemy should be retaining their titles, but obviously they don’t. Meanwhile, since Grunge is busy with Grunge, he fails to notice Taz forcing Rocco on a table on the outside allowing Sabu to dive on top of him, driving him through a table to win the match and become the NEW ECW Tag Team Champions. On one hand, Public Enemy were screwed, but on the other hand, Rocco’s head already was put through a table, so the match should have ended when Taz and Grunge went through a table together. Luckily, the match was too short to drag, but I struggle so much to care about ECW’s tag team division. On the plus side, at least ECW’s tag team division mattered. Can you imagine the likes of Harlem Heat, The Nasty Boys, Pretty Wonderful, or Stars & Stripes main eventing a WCW supershow around the same time? **

After the match, while Taz and Grunge disappear, 911 helps Sabu set up a table in the ring and another one on the top rope. Poor Rocco is dragged back into the ring and laid across the table in the ring. While Sabu climbs on top of the second table for an attempt of some sort of dive, he’s instead attacked by The Crippler, Chris Benoit. Benoit ends up power bombing Sabu off of the table and onto Rocco, putting both men through a table. That would be your spot of the show.


This is where the WWE Network version ends, but as I’m watching the original version due to the Network’s poor quality, this copy wraps up with Chris Benoit’s legendary rubbing hands promo. During the entire promo, Benoit the picture in picture shows Benoit rubbing his hands together as Benoit talks about sending Sabu to the hospital twice already, how Taz deserves to experience it as well, and how the tag team division has a new threat - ‘The Shooter’ Dean Malenko and ‘The Crippler' Chris Benoit. And that’s your set up for the next ECW Arena show. For Benoit, this was a good promo. It may have been on Benoit’s DVD, but I remember a segment from 1995 where Paul Heyman was instructing Benoit how he should present the promo and the significance of the hand rubbing. Benoit may have not been able to cut the promos that the likes of Cactus Jack, Paul E. Dangerously, or even Shane Douglas could, but Benoit came across like a star here.

Overall
If there’s any one ECW event that best showcased Chris Benoit, it’s Double Tables. Benoit worked the MOTN against Al Snow, the spot of the night with the power bomb at the end, and even scored the sole produced promo of the show. As I said, Benoit came across like a star and had he remained in ECW longer to have greater success, you could point at this show as being the show that kicked off Benoit’s rise up the company. Thus far in 1995, Benoit has been the MVP for the company and is the biggest difference from the rough NWA-ECW of 1994 and the superior quality in 1995. Speaking of rough matches, there’s The Sandman vs Cactus Jack. Most people tend to hate it, but I find there’s an odd charm about the match. At this stage in ECW, producing a three star match is an accomplishment. Tully Blanchard’s bizarre ECW run has basically come to an end here with his match against The Franchise being better than most Shane Douglas matches. Mikey Whipwreck and Paul Lauria managed to have a better match than their previous ECW Arena bout. The Tommy Dreamer/Stevie Richards match wasn’t anything special, but it is notable for being the first time that Raven and Dreamer were involved in a spot together. The true duds of the show was the ECW debut and final match of Jason the Terrible, who nicely lived up to his name and the expected poor match between The Bad Breed. Overall, I was left pleased enough with Double Tables. Two matches at 3 stars or higher is a step up from what I was getting with the 1994 shows. As a reminder, the copy on the WWE Network is absolutely horrible. You can catch the Benoit/Snow match on the next episode of Hardcore TV in much better quality.