– Ah, for the happier days of Paul Heyman’s Little Promotion That Could, when he had the original triple threat, a somewhat happy Sabu, and a fanatical (if small) fanbase. With ECW’s existance threatened daily (so what else is new), I thought it might be a good idea to take a look back at his glory year: 1995. And where to better to start than here
– Taped from the bingo hall.
– Your host is Joey.
– Joey brings out Jason Knight to start. The Pitbulls are gonna be the new champs, blah blah blah. Jason’s “How do you like my new suit?” still holds it’s position as the worst catchphrase in ECW history. Jason (the Terrible one, not the Sexy one) is introduced as Jason’s (the Sexy one, not the Terrible one) newest protÃƒÂ©gÃƒÂ©.
– Jason (the Terrible) & The Pitbulls v. The Young Dragons & Hack Myers. The Dragons are a guy and another guy. The Pitbulls unmask one of them early on Ã¢â‚¬â€œ HEY! HE’S NOT JAPANESE! Come to think of it, has there EVER been a masked Japanese wrestler in North America actually played by something other than a white guy? Don’t answer, that’s a rhetorical question. Hack comes in and takes a beating from Pitbull 2. I guess Hack stiffed them on a drug deal or something and they’re going through withdrawl. Good thing they’ve got plenty of steroids to keep them satiated! Bad kick and punch match follows. Jason (the Terrible) comes in with a spin kick and some hockey-masked headbutts. Hack blades. The Pitbulls drop Jason (the Terrible) onto Hack for the mercy kill at 7:57. Jason (the Terrible) is the one from W*ING, not the original one from Stampede (Karl Moffat), and it shows. Pretty horrible opener. Ã‚Â¼*
– Jason (the Sexy one) and Jason (the Terrible one) celebrate with (what else) a promo. The Pitbulls go into roid rage in the background. I mean, seriously, who was so stupid that they COULDN’T tell these two idiots were an FDA sting operation waiting to happen? Hack Myers attacks Jason (the Sexy one) with a chair, and Angel (wearing a wedding dress and combat boot ensemble) tries to save him. Hack gives her a spanking, which she enjoys a bit too much. So he piledrives her. Whee.
– Steve Richards v. Tommy Dreamer. This is pre-Koochie Kutter era for Stevie, and is only Raven’s second appearance in the Arena. Dreamer is announced at a spry 231 (!!!) pounds, thus putting him only 6 pounds over the cruiserweight limit. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED??? Remember, kids POP-TARTS ARE NOT A TOY! Brawl outside to start, and Richards nails Dreamer with a superkick. Back in, Dreamer hits a spinning neckbreaker and tosses Stevie. Violence follows. Not Canadian Violence, of course, but still a respectable amount. Back in, Tommy uses a frying pan on Richards’ crotch to take over. Stevie keeps fighting back, because Raven has “programmed” him to hate Dreamer, although since there was no Beulah yet, Joey is unsure as to why Raven hates Dreamer so much. Tommy gets a leaping DDT out of nowhere and a side slam. Frog splash (!) gets two. Second attempt results in him getting crotched and the fans do a high-pitched “Dreamer” chant. That’s just about the wittiest thing I’ve heard them do. Tommy comes back with a cross-body off the top for two, and a standing neckbreaker for two. Raven holds Dreamer for a Steviekick, but Dreamer ducks a second one and ballshots Stevie for the pin at 7:36. Bad finish, but Tommy could GO in the old days. **1/4
– “Giant” Paul Lauria v. Mikey Whipwreck. Lauria is a sort-of Mikey clone who ended up turning on him and joining Jason. Big brawl to start, as Mikey tosses Paul into the front row and they throw him back. Into the ring, we go into a sloppy wrestling sequence leading to a suplex by Lauria. Good effort there. Lauria works the arm. Mikey gets a corss body for two. Superlex and a pair of fistdrops get two. Sunset flip gets nothing. Fistdrops get two. Sunset flip gets nothing. Lauria & Jason collide, and Mikey springboards in with a headscissors, and f*cks it up. Both head out, with Mikey missing a pescado. Camera misses it completely. Lauria drops Mikey facefirst onto the floor. Back in, Lauria gets two. Mikey bleeds from the mouth, albeit not very well. He tries the double-arm DDT, but Lauria blocks, so Mikey turns it into a submission move. A suplex follows from that for two. To the top, Mikey bulldogs him off the top for two, and Jason pulls Mikey out. Back in, they do a pinfall reversal sequence and Mikey backslides Lauria for the pin to finish it at 8:49. Sloppy as hell, but both guys tried REALLY hard, and I can appreciate that. ***
– Axl Rotten v. Ian Rotten. Chapter 1 of 9000. Big brawl to start as Ian blades about 10 seconds in. Into the ring, more weak brawling. Hey, blood is one thing, but at least MAKE CONTACT ON THE DAMN PUNCHES. Ian comes back with roundhouse kicks. Axl comes back, so Ian begs off and gets the Ric Flair pin in the corner at 6:30. Sadly, they’d go on to have another 8,999 matches, each equally as bad. DUD
– Al Snow v. Chris Benoit. Hey, who’s the skinny guy with da skillz? Where’s Head? Or the Rocker tights? Or Steve Blackman? Oh well. Wristlock sequence goes Benoit’s way. Into a pinfall sequence for several two-counts. Benoit goes to work, but takes a superkick. Benoit goes into you guessed it CANADIAN VIOLENCE, hitting Snow with chops so loud that they’re picked up by JOEY’S mike. Oh my god! Snow bails to the apron and Benoit clotheslines him to the floor, then baseball slides him. He turns around, and Snow slingshots in with a dropkick, and tries his own baseball slide. It misses. Back in, Snow goes into a wicked series of kicks and Benoit bails. Back in, Benoit drops Snow on the top rope, and then sidesteps a retaliatory missile dropkick. Benoit gets a german suplex for two. Benoit puts the badmouth on Snow (“Is this the best the US can offer?” Ã¢â‚¬â€œ TELL Ã¢â‚¬ËœEM CRIPPLER!) to waste some time. I guess Snow was legit hurt or something. Snow battles back but gets smacked down again. Vicious backdrop suplex gets two. Another one is countered by Al for one. Benoit gets the diving headbutt for two, bouncing about three feet off the mat as he lands. Brutal powerbomb gets two. Benoit hits a snap suplex and stalls some more. German suplex gets two. Jesus Christ, he’s f*cking KILLING Snow in there. I approve. Dragon suplex is reversed into the Snowplex (ocean cyclone), but Snow has been beaten silly so he can’t cover. He gets a release german, still no cover. He mounts the superman comeback and gets a superkick for two. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Benoit gets another german suplex to stop the rally, and a dragon suplex puts Snow out of his pain at 14:33. Good god, what a beating. ****1/4
– ECW World title match: Shane Douglas v. Tully Blanchard. DON’T PANIC! This isn’t the match you’re probably thinking of. Tully gets a quick suplex and hammers away. SLINGSHOT SUPLEX~! (I love that move) gets two. Nasty piledriver gets two. Kneelift gets two. Into the chinlock as the fans start the “Flair is Dead” bullshit. Yeah, dipshits, and if Flair ever walked into your little bingo hall you’d all have a collective orgasm, so SHUT THE FUCK UP. Okay, so I’m 5 years too late, but it still bugs me. Brawl on the floor, and Tully gets an elbow off the top coming in. Slugfest is won by Douglas, and back out we go. Shane takes over in the ring and counters a suplex with a greco-roman falling-on-top manuever for two. God, that was ugly. Back to the floor AGAIN, where Tully gets the advantage. Blanchard suplexes Douglas back in, but Shane once again falls on top (more gracefully this time) and retains the title at 8:02. Well, at least it wasn’t a 30-minute draw. **
– Extreme Death Match: Cactus Jack v. The Sandman. Jack quickly starts pounding Sandman with a chair and drops a leg for two. I later found out that Sandman actually suffered a concussion right there, thus explaining his behavior for the rest of the match. Jack gets the first pin at 0:52, and Sandman beats the count. Same sequence again, another pin at 1:17, Sandman beats the count again. Sandman gets dumped out and they brawl. Jack misses a charge and Sandman dumps him into the railing headfirst. Back in, Sandman hits something not unlike a slingshot dropkick, but can’t cover. Back out, Jack misses a legdrop and hurts his leg. Psychology? In a DEATH MATCH??? Sandman works the knee in the ring, moving VERY slowly and carefully. The match is pretty boring as a result, but then I’ve never actually seen a good Sandman-Jack match to begin with. Sandman grabs a chair, but gets nailed from behind by Cactus. Double-arm DDT on it get two. Sandman recovers with a piledriver for two. Sandman DDTs Jack for the pin at 11:33, Jack beats the count. Crowd is dead. Out to the floor, Jack drops a chair-assisted elbow for two. Another gets a pin at 13:53. Sandman’s up. DDT on the floor gets a pin at 14:50. Another one gets a pin at 15:15, and a third one gets a pin at 15:41, and Sandman decides to thankfully stay down, giving Jack the win at 16:01. Boring match as a result of injuries. *
– Paul Lauria. 911. You do the math.
– ECW World tag title match: The Public Enema v. Sabu & Taz(maniac). This would be the first-ever tables match. Taz was still CAPTAIN CAAAAAAVEMAAAAAAAAAN at this point. Taz gets a german suplex and powerbomb on Rocco, then no-sells a tilt-a-whirl slam and takes him down with a judo throw. Meanwhile, Sabu gets a plancha on Grunge as Taz & Rocco go walking. Grunge bleeds. No, really, he ACTUALLY BLED. Johnny Grunge bleeding? I’m shaking my head with disbelief, too, as my whole foundation of belief crumbles. Sabu & Grunge fight into the ring, where Grunge smacks him around with a frying pan. He comes back with Air Sabu and an Arabian facebuster. Sabu brings the first table in, as does Rocco. Sabu puts Grunge on a table and a chair on the top rope, allowing Grunge time to move. Taz suplexes Sabu onto Rocco in a neat spot. More mindless brawling. Johnny goes upstairs, and Taz suplexes him through a table, meaning both teams have one man out. Rocco hits the Driveby on Sabu through a table, the ref is distracted. A frustrated Grunge chokes out Paul E. on the outside, leaving Rocco alone with Sabu & Taz, and Sabu finishes things with a legdrop through a table to capture the tag titles at 9:50. Time has NOT been kind to this match. *1/2 Maybe it’s just because Public Enemy’s stay in WCW exposed how truly awful they are. Benoit hits the ring after the match and proceeds to powerbomb Sabu off the top, onto Rocco, through a table. Now THAT was a nice spot. That would set up the three-way dance where Benoit & Malenko would win the tag titles. Whee.
The Bottom Line: Lots of people love this show, and with good reason: There’s some darn good shit here. The Double Tables match has acquired it’s own following over the years, but it’s pretty tame compared to stuff today. Still, a really good effort from the undercard makes for an entertaining two hours and an easy recommendation. Try www.cabo-one.com to find a copy Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you won’t regret it.