The Netcop Retro Rant for November 2 Remember 1995
– Well, it was either start the N2R Concept Rant or start the Survivor Series one, so I flipped a coin and ECW won. Which is good, because, believe it or not, I enjoyed 1995 ECW very much, and this show is no exception. Read on
– Taped from the Bingo Hall.
– Your host is Joey Styles
– Opening match: Don E. Allen v. The Broad Street Bully. Well, sort of. Ring announcer Joel Gertner (now where have I heard that name before ) introduces Buh Buh Ray Dudley for guest announcing duties. Buh Buh declares himself cured, then goes into a Michael Buffer riff, but he gets hung up on “Let’s get ready to ruh-ruh-ruh Ã¢â‚¬Â and takes out his frustrations on the poor jobbers, powerbombing and pinning both. Dumb but cute.
– Paul E. is out to dim the lights and reintroduce Sabu, back from a weak run in WCW where he was hampered by politics and inability to get over outside of a garbage wrestling atmosphere. The crowd is happy, but someone else is not read on.
– Jason v. Konnan. The repackaged Taz, who was injured by Malenko and Scorpio a little while before, comes out as special referee here because ECW won’t clear him to wrestle. Jason gets in his face, which establishes Taz as a clear babyface referee. This becomes important later. Taz nails Jason and Konnan hits a crucifix powerbomb for the pin at 0:15. That’s how I like my Konnan matches — 15 seconds long. DUD
– Stevie Richards v. Pablo Marquez. Two historic moments here: Stevie wears an “RSPW SucksÃ¢â‚¬Â half-shirt, and then meets a new friend in the audience: The Blue Meanie. He trades up to a “Flock of SeagullsÃ¢â‚¬Â half-shirt, and Pablo attacks with a pescado to start. Stevie hits a powerbomb to take over, then sends the Meanie to the top for his first ever moonsault. And it’s his first ever miss. Superkick finishes it anyway at 2:45. Comedy match, but that’s what Stevie and Meanie are best at. *
– The Eliminators v. The Pitbulls. This would be match #1 in a series of 349,194. Elims have Jason managing and the Pitbulls have Francine. Oddly, both Pitbulls and Kronus are basically done for in wrestling, while Saturn flourishes in WCW. Standard back-and-forth power guy stuff for the first little bit. Pitbull #2 eventually gets caught in the corner and dominated, and a brawl erupts. They were obviously still ironing out the kinks in the formula at this point. Pitbull #1 gets the hot tag and another brawl erupts. Saturn gets a Tiger Bomb for two. He gets dumped and the Pitbulls finish with a Guillotine and a Superbomb on Kronus at 10:42. Decent stuff. **
– Mexican death match: Psychosis v. Rey Mysterio Jr. Both guys have masks and everything. Joel does the intros (and the 10 counts) en espanol. Rules are the usual: Pinfall, then 10 seconds to answer the bell. Fast start sees Rey snapping off a rana for the pin at 0:26. Psychosis gets up easily. More flying and they both tumble out. Rey badly blows a spot on the railing and messes up his knee, so Psychosis improvises and beats on the knee. A moonsault gets the pin moments later at 2:28. Rey answers the bell. Psychosis powerbombs him for the pin at 3:45. Rey is up at 9. Twisting senton gets another pin at 5:25, and again Rey waits until 9 and gets up. That’s actually really smart, because taking a pinfall gives you 10 seconds to rest untouched. Joey points that out later. A moonsault on the chair gets another pin at 6:50. Rey makes it up at 9. What a beating. Psychosis kills the knee, but Rey was goldbricking. Greco-roman chair to the face cues the comeback. They go brawling into the crowd, and Rey nails a quebrada. They fight to and fro in the crowd, and out to the Eagle’s Nest, where Rey hits a rana from the Nest, down to where Psychosis is on the floor. That gets the pin at 11:04, and this time there’s no getting up. Great match. ****
– Jason now offers to manage Rey, who promptly answers by punking him out. So the Elims hit the ring and punk Rey out, and then 911 hits the ring and punks them out. 911 and Rey Rey do the X-Pac & Kane contrast thing.
– ECW World tag title match: 2 Cold Scorpio & Sandman v. The Public Enema. Winner of the pinfall gets the shot at Mikey Whipwreck for the ECW World title later in the show. Just for fun, they decide to have a dance off before they start. Scorpio seems the clear winner. Rocco is pretty good. Honorable mention to Sandman for his “fearless drunken white guyÃ¢â‚¬Â dance that would get 8.5 from the Russian judges for artistic merit in the White Guy Dancing Olympics. And as for Johnny, well, as a dancer he makes a good wrestler. No, wait, he sucks as a wrestler, too. Anyway, TPE stalls for a bit as he promises not to take Woman down to Atlanta when they jump. She would of course show up soon after them. Chair fight goes nowhere. It occurs to me that Public Enemy should have done Heroes of Wrestling. They could have done a “Robot v. HongieÃ¢â‚¬Â dance-off with the Bushwhackers. For those newer readers who have no clue what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky. Big brawl (what a shock) and Johnny Grunge blades (what an even bigger shock). It’s six minutes in, which is an all-time longevity record without bleeding for him, I think. Sandman dominates Rocco with his usual “If I do a springboard before everything people might not think I suckÃ¢â‚¬Â offense. Scorpio looks lazy tonight as he adds his two cents. Brawl outside again, with Grunge going through his usual table and everyone else soon following. This is pretty uninspired stuff. Back in, and Rock accidentally hits Grunge with the Drive-By, and Sandman falls on top for the pin at 15:58. He gets the title shot later in the show well, sort of. 1/2*
– Turmoil nearly erupts between the champs as Scorpio SPILLS THE BEER. Luckily, Sandman saves the rest and they make up. Well, that’s nice to see.
– Tod Gordon v. Bill Alphonso. Beulah is the guest referee. At least in theory. This is basically the big blowoff for all the storylines running for the months leading up to this show. Fonzie is basically the most hated guy in ECW *ever*, and that covers a lot of ground. He jumps Gordon in the aisle, then takes out Beulah to show his sensitive side. Hey, now we need a new ref. Wasn’t there someone else available from earlier in the show? Gordon starts POUNDING on Fonzie with stiff shots (well, for a couple of non-wrestlers). Fonzie turns the tide with a ballshot. Bill is obviously calling the match on the fly to walk Gordon through it. Tod gets a baking sheet from the crowd and gives Fonzie some shots with it, then rams him headfirst into the timekeeper’s seat a few times. Alphonso does a “Hey ma, look at meÃ¢â‚¬Â over-the-top bladejob right on camera and starts gushing all over the place. Back in the ring as Gordon grabs a frying pan, but Fonzie gets it. Tod blocks with a ballshot and cracks Fonzie with the pan, and that should be it. No ref, so special troubleshooting ref Taz comes in to do the honors and destroys Tod Gordon. Unbelievable heel heat for that. Fonzie gets put on top for the pin at 7:11. That would fall into my personal category: Entertaining crap. **1/2
– And now the Path of Rage begins, as Taz just lets it all hang out and shoots on everyone, telling the fans to go f*ck themselves for not caring about him during his layoff, and begging for Sabu instead. He then goes off on Paul E, accusing him of being the “son of a fat jew lawyerÃ¢â‚¬Â who just got his position because his parents bought it all for him. Oooooh, hitting pretty close to home there, Taz. Oh yeah, and everyone in the crowd can go to hell, thank you very much. Bill Alphonso begins his tenure as Taz’ manager, all of which would eventually (and I mean EVENTUALLY) lead to Taz v. Sabu headlining ECW’s first PPV in 1997: Barely Legal. This was such a classic interview, which got so much heel heat that fans in the front row were literally trying to rush the ring at the end.
– ECW World title match: Mikey Whipwreck v. The Sandma oh, hold up. Sandman gets taken out by a certain bitter ex WCW employee before he can enter, and since Darwinian law applies in ECW, that other guy gets the shot instead. You may have heard of him.
– ECW World title match: Mikey Whipwreck v. “SuperstarÃ¢â‚¬Â Steve Austin. Austin absolutely murders Mikey, kicking his ass all over the ring. Sign Guy’s sign: “Austin — The Future Has ArrivedÃ¢â‚¬Â. You don’t know the half of it, dude. Fans chant “HoganÃ¢â‚¬Â at Austin to piss him off, so he hits the BIG BOOT OF DOOM and the STINKY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP OF DEATH for a two-count. Too funny. Mikey fights back, but gets hit with a stun-gun. Austin showboats, and Mikey gets a fluke rollup for the pin to retain, at 4:39. * This match, however was HUGE, historically speaking, as Austin went over the edge and started cutting ultra-bitter shoot interviews for the remainder of his ECW tenure, and signed with the WWF soon after.
– Sabu v. Hack Myers. Sabu has his way for the first while. Hack makes a brief comeback and even hits his finisher for two. Sabu decimates him for another 10 minutes, hitting a series of very loosely connected spots of varying degree, building to the usual big table spot. This match is WAY too long and way too high on the card to boot. Atomic Arabian Facebuster finishes it at 12:51. Lots and lots of spots, but nothing else. *1/2
– Main event: Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk v. Raven & Cactus Jack. You think this’ll be a big brawl? This was one of the first times Terry was promising to retire “soonÃ¢â‚¬Â. We’re still waiting. Mick is wearing a Dungeon of Doom t-shirt, just because he’s Mick. Funk tosses a chair at Raven with pinpoint accuracy, landing a shot from outside the ring to the back of Raven’s head in the ring. Things drag a bit, so Stevie wheels out a shopping cart full of plunder, which fills the ring nicely. Tommy and Terry thank him by dumping him in the cart and ramming him into the post. Famous spot next as Tommy grabs a VCR from the crowd and BOUNCES it off Raven’s head. I still cringe at that spot. And the cheese grater gets involved, of course. It’s all weapons shots and blood and violence, but they’re stiff as hell here and the intensity is through the roof. Everyone bleeds. Cactus removes his DoD shirt to reveal the infamous “Forgive Me, Uncle EricÃ¢â‚¬Â one with Bischoff’s picture on the front. Dreamer pulls the picture over Jack’s face and hits him with a chair. Raven pulls out a pescado on Dreamer, just for fun. They have Funk pinned, but the ref was KO’d a long time ago. So Fonzie & Taz volunteer, and deliver some punishment on Funk to boot, until Jim Molyneux FINALLY revives. Tommy hits two DDTs and a piledriver on Raven, but Cactus distracts him, and Funk gets the pin on Raven instead, thus continuing the “Tommy has never pinned RavenÃ¢â‚¬Â thing. A violent, bloody brawl lasting 13:39. Done right, these can be good, and this was done right. ****
The Bottom Line: What can I say? Best ECW show ever, and it stacks up against the best shows the Big Two put out in the same timeframe, and pretty much kills them in fact. For those who wondered why people used to swear by ECW so much, this is the show to get to see why. The perfect blend of “sports entertainmentÃ¢â‚¬Â, senseless brawling, high-flying lucha and some decent wrestling to fill in the other spots. This was the show that got me re-introduced to ECW after I lost my satellite dish in early 1995, and it’s still great to watch today.