Extreme Archive: ECW Television Episode 015

As I am such a big ECW fan, and (still) living in the Philadelphia region, maybe some of you are wondering if I am attending the Extreme Reunion event this weekend? Well, I will not be in attendance, and here’s why: As we all know, the real ECW ended it’s run in 2001. In the following years, I was unable to find a wrestling replacement for that federation that I loved so much 1. In those years, I sat there, and wished that I could go back in time, just once, to feel what I used to feel… if only one more time.

Well, in 2005 I got that opportunity. I happily dropped $100 to see the first Hardcore Homecoming show with my buddy Michael 2, who had gone to a few ECW events with me. I watched the show. I cheered, laughed, and shouted my ass off. And as all of us in the ECW Arena that night sang “Enter Sandman” during The Sandman’s entrance, I thanked the wrestling gods for letting me step back in time one more time. The card was average at best, but was pure nostalgia, and I loved every minute of it. Essentially I made my peace and said goodbye to the ECW I knew and loved. All things have an ending.

It’s now seven years later. And while my heart still aches for a wrestling promotion that makes me feel like ECW used to, this just doesn’t feel right. The wrestling wasn’t great seven years ago, and I doubt anyone on the roster has increased their skills since then. This feels like a Shane Douglas cash/attention grab. This doesn’t feel like the old ECW crew giving something back to the fans. This feels like the old ECW crew trying to bilk a few extra bucks before they return to their day job working at Olive Garden. 3 I wish them well, and if it gets good reviews, then maybe I’ll check it (the show and the ‘promotion’) out one day.

Plus, “My Boy” 4 won’t be there due to prior wrestling commitments. He’s the one guy who I haven’t said ‘good bye’ to. And if he comes around the next time, I may have to go.

One other note, I’m trying a new footnote scheme. Hover over the footnote number, and you should get my thoughts in a little tip window. But, I’ve kept the footnotes at the bottom of the column as well. We’ll see if I (or the fans) like it or not.

ECW Television – Episode 015

Taped: unknown 5
Broadcast: July 27, 1993
Taping Location: ECW Arena in South Philadelphia, PA
Announcing Team: Jay Sulli & Paul E. Dangerously

Previously

  • The Suicide Blondes regained the ECW Tag Team Championship.
  • Eddie Gilbert continued his visit to his “kingdom” of Philadelphia.
  • Larry Winters gets a victory over Rockin’ Rebel after botched interference from Tony Stetson.
  • A match between Jimmy Snuka and Terry Funk breaks down, and most of the ECW locker room brawls in the ring and at ringside.
  • During the fracas, Sal Bellomo accidentally bumps President Tod Gordon, knocking him unconscious.

Synopsis

Segment #1: Post Match Highlights from the Gilbert vs Funk Match

Seems like a pre-segment, but they never run the title sequence, so I guess it’s segment #1. Tod Gordon is confronting referee Kevin Christian (aka Freddie Gilbert/Kevin Lawler) after he ruled that Eddie Gilbert wont he match. Gordon fired Kevin on the spot. Kevin pushes Gordon, who pushes back but gets nailed by the huge mobile phone by Paul E. Dangerously. Kevin and Paul celebrate.

Segment #2: Ultra Clash Press Conference

Tod Gordon is sitting with a board of directors to make announcements regarding the future of ECW and their upcoming supercard, Ultra Clash I 6. The announcements are as follows:

  • All wrestlers who left the locker room to get involved in the previous week’s altercation will get a fine.
  • ECW is considering suspending Sal Bellomo, but “hundreds of younger fans” 7 have written into ECW saying that Sal striking Tod Gordon was an accident.
  • As ECW does not respect the Freebird Rule, the Suicide Blondes have been stripped of the tag team belts.
  • In the coming weeks 8, ECW will hold a tag team tournament to determine the new champions.

In a real cheesy gesture, Gordon mentioned both “Mr. Apter” and “Mr. Metzer” as being at the press conference. Of course “King” Eddie Gilbert enters the board meeting, demanding that as the king, he should be included in all board decisions. Gordon cancels the rest of the press conference, due to Eddie.

TV Taping Update

Two new names added: Tito Santana and Sensational Sherry Martell9 added to the tapings.

Segment #3: Terry Funk vs The Canadian Wolfman

Before the match begins, Eddie Gilbert is shown inside the ECW production studio. Of course he puts himself over as the king of Philadelphia, before introducing the next match.

This match was from the TV taping on May 15th, that was never broadcast. The most interesting thing is that Muraco joins Jay Sulli for color commentary duties. Funk comes down to ringside, and enters the ring, and slaps at the huge fat belly of the Canadian Wolfman. Funk starts to work on the left arm of the Wolfman, but the Wolfman cheats to put a stop to that. Delivers three body slams on the Wolfman, before landing a huge leg drop. 10 Funk finishes it off with the spinning toe hold for the submission victory.

After the match, Paul E., Dark Patriot, and Jimmy Snuka come down to start something with Funk. But Road Warrior Hawk comes down for the save, with bandages on his face and dark glasses. Hot Stuff Intl. runs off.

Segment #4: Eddie Gilbert in Philadelphia

More antics of Eddie Gilbert being around town in Philly, and harassing people on the streets (or people planted by ECW, who knows). The Memphis crap is really getting annoying here, as Gilbert goes out of his way to insult someone who has “coke bottle classes”11. This segment was repetitive, insulting, and BORING, which is a triumph all of its own.

Segment #5: Johnny Hotbody vs The Sandman

You know it’s a bad episode, when you are happy that they are getting back to two average workers fighting. Sandman actually shows more athleticism. Paul E. is back on color, and actually describes Miss Peaches as a tramp, and Jay Sulli defends her honor, saying she’s a “lady”. 12.

Sandman takes control and stops to pose and look for approval from the fans, before Hotbody throws him to the side of the ring. Nice running elbow from the apron to the floor by Hotbody. Back in the ring, Hotbody gets a sleeper hold on Sandman who fight out of the old at 2. Hotbody nails Sandman with Hunter’s cane, but when he goes for the arrogant cover, The Sandman reverses it, and gets the pinfall victory, while Hunter Q. Robbins III arrogantly turns his back and assumes that Hotbody won.

As Sandman tries to attack Hunter, but Rockin’ Rebel comes down to ringside, where he an Tigra rip the dress off of Miss Peaches.13.

Segment #6: Eddie Gilbert vs Glen Osborne

Eddie Gilbert introduces this segment. Gilbert shows a copy of the (Philadelphia) Daily News where local columnist, Stu Bykofsky, wrote something regarding Gilbert and Ron Jaworski.14 Of course Gilbert says he taught “Jaws” a lesson, but they don’t have footage of it.

So of course, the video goes up and it is footage of an event of some kind that took place at a golf course. 15. Hunter Q. Robbins is the temporary manager of Eddie Gilbert, and is facing off against Glen Osborne in an outdoor ring. And there’s maybe 50 people watching.

Long story short, Osborne turns his back, and Gilbert hits him with a golf club getting the three count. Gilbert then challenges Jaworski. Jaworski, who is conveniently hanging out with Tod Gordon, looks amused and enters the ring. 16 Jaws pushes Gilbert slightly, and Gilbert goes falling out of the ring and running for his life. Jaworski celebrates in the ring with Sandman, JT Smith, Cairo, and Stevie Wonderful.

Closing Segment

Eddie Gilbert is embarrassed that the production staff aren’t following his orders. He is suddenly joined by Jay Sulli who got tricked by the old “I got a message from President Tod Gordon, that this had been moved until 3:00” routine. Sulli looks like someone whose puppy is missing when he learns that Gilbert was running the show. Sulli promises to be in control next week. End of show.

Analysis

Historical Significance

  • The Suicide Blondes have been stripped of their tag team titles, and a tournament will be held to determine the new champions.
  • Eddie Gilbert challenged former Philadelphia Eagle, Ron Jaworski.

Debuts

None

Titles

ECW Heavyweight Champion Don Muraco Since 04/03/1993
ECW Television Champion Jimmy Snuka Since 03/13/1993
ECW Tag Team Champions --vacated-- Since 07/27/1993
ECW Pennsylvania Champion Tommy Cairo Since 05/14/1993

ECW Spotlight: Chris Candido

Well, according to wikipedia, the main reason that the Suicide Blondes vacated the tag team titles is that Chris Candido left ECW to go to Smokey Mountain Wrestling. I guess that means that I should do a spotlight on the boy, as we won’t see Candido back in ECW until 1996.17

Chris Candido came from a wrestling family, as his grandfather was “Popeye” Chuck Richards a wrestler in Vince McMahon Sr’s World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). Candido was born March 21, 1972 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He started training at age 14 with Larry Sharpe. Larry Sharpe opened up a wrestling school with local New Jersey Legend, the original “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers. And it was Sharpe who trained his ECW tag team partner, Johnny Hotbody.

Chris’s first success in the ring came with Larry’s Sharpe’s promotion, the WWA (World Wrestling Association) 18, where he won both the Junior Heavyweight Title and the Tag Team Titles.

His first stint in ECW was very brief, but he was well regarded. And he was welcomed back with open arms when he returned in the fall of 1996, after leaving the WWF and the character of “Body Donna Skip” behind.

Chris would go down to Jim Cornette’s Smokey Mountain Wrestling and make a solid name for himself. His tenure in Smokey Mountain Wrestling is best known for two things. First, he became tag team champions with Brian Lee, who would later enter the WWF as the Fake Undertaker in 1994. Secondly, in SMW he introduced the world to his girlfriend and valet, Tammy Lynn Sytch, who would later be known as Sunny in the WWF.

Chris Candido died in April of 2005, which was 2 months prior to Hardcore Homecoming. He died due to complications following surgery to repair a broken leg and ankle which he suffered in a match wrestling for TNA. He (and Tammy as well) had a long history of substance abuse problems. I have no clue whether that contributed to his death, or if it was a complete accident. But losing Candido was a real blow to those of us who followed ECW. He was a good wrestler and a solid hand, who was able to blend humor and finesse in the ring.

My favorite memory of Chris comes at his return to ECW in 1996. I was watching ECW television, and heard the entrance music of “Back in Black” by AC/DC. From behind the curtain walked Chris Candido in black trunks. The look of relief and pleasure on his face as he made his way to the ring was undeniable. I’m sure being back “home” in the Philadelphia region was nice, but you could see that he relished the opportunity to be “Chris Candido” again and not some WWF cartoon character. Candido had ditched Skip and the Neon Blue trunks and truly was “Back in Black!”

Verdict

Ummmm, how can I sugarcoat this. Well, there’s no way. This was god-awful. This was the worst episode of ECW yet. Too much Memphis crap! Small doses of Eddie Gilbert are tolerable, but this was over the top. I thought we would see footage from the Super Summer Sizzler, but instead I got to see Gilbert introduce bad matches that are out of context with the current status of the promotion. Let’s hope next week is better.

Footnotes

1. I tried ECWA, NJPW, CZW, PWU, and ROH, and none of them have felt the same…. sorry, I wish they did.
2. Shoutout to ‘Mojo Hands’ Mitchell… Keep it on the 1!
3. Total undeserved cheap shot at Justin Credible there. It was only because it made the joke better, and not personal about Justin. I would tease the Meanie if I knew what his profession was.
4. My Boy is my favorite ECW wrestler. He hasn’t debuted yet on my review of ECW television, so we’ll discuss him then. (Even though it’s probably obvious who it is, if you pay attention)
5. This episode is a hodge podge of clips and non in-ring footage, so I can’t give it a real taping date.
6. Back in the day when wrestling promotions always felt the need to number at least one of their supercards each year.
7. I’m setting the over/under on number of letters received from fans regarding Sal Bellomo at 2.
8. Later revealed to the the TV Tapings on August 7th and 8th.
9. Their spelling not mine. They also listed Shane Douglass (and not Shane Douglas) as being at the tapings, which was announced last week.
10. Really good elevation from Terry Funk.
11. WTF. Not only is it ridiculous to insult someone for wearing glasses in 1993, to use the term “coke bottles” makes Eddie Gilbert look older than my grandfather, who was probably 89 at the time this was taped.
12. I think I have to go with Paul E. here. I mean on the Missy Hyatte – Miss Elizabeth scale, I’d probably put her on Missy’s side of the scale, f only barely.
13. Launching the stipulation between Tigra and Peaches, which is now 4 weeks prior.
14. Ron “Jaws” Jaworski is the former quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, and currently an ESPN personality.
15. Jaworski is or was a part-owner of a golf course in New Jersey, where the clubhouse/bar area was called The Eagles Nest.
16. Jaworski, who according to wikipiedia is 4 inches taller than Gilbert, really towers over him in height and general stature.
17. So at my current speed that means I’ll see him again in the summer of 2015.
18. Not to be confused with the lucha libre promotion that uses the same acronym.

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