Extreme Archive: ECW Television Episode 019

Not that anyone really would care, but this episode of ECW Television is the first episode on the fourth ECW DVD: ECW Hardcore TV 019-024. More specifically, this is the first DVD outside of my initial investment of the first three DVDs.

What does that mean, well it certainly means that I have at least five more columns in me1. Also it should mean that we are rounding the corner from small indy federation with a combination of WWF veterans and local Philly wrestling talent to a federation that actually had talent that could put on solid matches on their own.

This week adds one of the most important architects of ECW to the roster. 2

ECW Television – Episode 019

Taped: August 07, 1993
Broadcast: August 24, 1993
Taping Location: The ECW Arena in South Philadelphia, PA
Announcing Team: Jay Sulli and Paul E. Dangerously or Don Muraco

Previously:

  • Both the Koloffs and the team of The Sandman and Sal Bellomo advanced in the ECW Tag Team Title Tournament.
  • Don Muraco defeats the Metal Maniac, but is challenged for an ECW Title match by Tito Santana
  • Stan Hansen faces Jimmy Snuka for the ECW Television Title gaining a disqualification victory.

Synopsis

Pre-Segment

Back in the ECW Studios, Jay Sulli sets the table for tonight’s show. Eddie Gilbert shows up and tells really bad playground jokes to Sulli. Tonight we will see:

  • The final matches in the ECW Tag Team Title Tournament
  • ECW World Heavyweight Title Match: Don Muraco vs Tito Santana
  • The ECW debut of Shane Douglas
  • And Terry Funk will be in action.3

Here’s the current rundown of the ECW Tag Team Title Tournament:

ECW Television Title Tournament
Bellomo & Sandman The Sandman &
Sal Bellomo
Tournament Semi Finalist Tournament Winner
Stetson & Michaels
The Headhunters The Koloffs (Ivan & Vladimir)
The Koloffs
Gilbert & Patriot Tournament Quarter Finalist Tournament Semi Finalist
JT Smith & Cairo
Super Destroyers Tournament Quarter Finalist
The Suicide Blondes

Segment 1: ECW Tag Team Tournament Match: Dark Patriot & Eddie Gilbert w/ Freddie Gilbert vs JT Smith & Tommy Cairo

We get a pre-interview segment with Gilbert and the Dark Patriot. Amazingly, the Dark Patriot speaks! And he has a southern accent! Shocking developments here on ECW Television. Somehow the Dark Patriot is mad that he splashed JT Smith from the Eagle’s Nest a few weeks ago.4 Patriot then goes over the top claiming that he wants to take JT Smiths’ soul.

Muraco has joined Jay Sulli to do commentary. According to Muraco, he and the Dark Patriot recently hit the Egypt nightclub5 on Delaware Avenue, that’s a rather strange visual.

Patriot starts off with Cairo who arm drags him several times. Spinning heel kick sends Cairo out to the floor. When Patriot comes back in, Cairo grabs his wrist and tags in JT. Patriot being a cowardly heel, he takes JT’s eyes and tags in Eddie, but JT stays in control. Cairo and JT sneak in the ring without tagging while Freddie distracts the referee. Eddie throws Cairo off the ropes and Freddie Gilbert grabs his foot sending him to the mat allowing Eddie to attack.

And out comes Sensational Sherri Martel to make the save, cause she is apparently personally affronted by the cheating of Hot Stuff International?6 She chases Freddie back to the locker room. 7

Patriot and Cairo mixing it up, and out comes Paul E. Patriot throws out Cairo and does rather poor high spots to damage Cairo. Back in the ring, tag to Eddie who misses an elbow drop. Tag into JT who starts to fight off both, but is overwhelmed. Eddie with a chain but misses JT and hits Patriot. JT for the cover and the victory, but Eddie puts the chain in JT’s tights so it is hanging out. The ref reverses the decision and Gilbert and Dark Patriot advance, but Dark Patriot scuffles with Eddie for hitting him with the chain as Paul tries to smooth things over.

Dissension in the ranks?

Segment #2: Introduction of Shane Douglas

Tod Gordon introduces the latest addition to the ECW roster, Shane Douglas, wearing his traditional yellow trunks.8 However, out comes Hot Stuff International, which is a little rushed, especially as Shane isn’t THAT well known. Yes he was a WCW tag team champion, but it’s not like it’s Road Warrior Hawk out there.

Paul E. Dangerously hypes up Douglas’s UWF roots and his recent tag team championship. Douglas becomes the newest member of Hot Stuff International as Gordon audibly shows his frustration. Douglas offers a $10,000 challenge to any wrestler who can pin him. 9

Out come Don E. Allen and Herve Renesto to try and take the money. I’m sure you’ve all seen handicap squash matches before, and this is no different. Allen is thrown out of the ring, and Douglas hits the belly-to-belly suplex to finish off Renesto.10

Segment #3: ECW Tag Team Tournament Match: The Super Destroyers vs The Suicide Blondes

An interview with the Super Destroyers before the match, and Super Destroyer #2 actually speaks, though you quickly learn why they’ve had a manager for most of their careers.

The Super Destroyers come to the ring to new theme music. And out comes Hunter Q. Robbins III without Candido or Hotbody. Hunter claims that he made a mistake in ditching the Destroyers, and he has told the Blondes to stay home as he is forfeiting the match to the Super Destroyers.11 He then offers the Super Destroyers $25,000 to resign with him, which they refuse. Well, more specifically, Super Destroyer #1 refuses for both of them.

Segment #4: Terry Funk vs Canadian Wolfman 12

The bell rings, and Funk pushes Wolfman back into the corner, and slaps his fat belly. Gee thanks Terry. Funk works on the shoulder for a while. Eventually Wolfman runs against the ropes and delivers a weak shoulder block. Muraco is on commentary running down Funk for the Dangerous Alliance. Terry Funk with a series of elbows on Wolfman in the corner. Funk slams the fat Wolfman three times, but only gets a two count. A few chops followed by a spinning toe hold and Funk gets the submission victory.

After the match, we get a backstage interview with Stan Hansen who suggests that this was the only time you have and maybe will ever see Terry Funk and him wrestle as a tag team. He hypes up Abdullah, but says that the Texas boys will take care of business at Ultra Clash I.

Segment #5: ECW Heavyweight Championship Match: Don Muraco w/ Freddie Gilbert vs Tito Santana

We get pre-match interviews with Tito Santana and Don Muraco, but not much of note is really said. Tito comes out to La Bamba by Richie Valens.13

Fists by Santana to start. He throws Freddie into Muraco and they go outside the ring. Back in the ring, Muraco pushes Santana into the corner, and Tito starts to fight out of it but Muraco dominates. Muraco works on Santana’s arm with a full arm drag and twist and nails it with the elbow for good measure. Muraco takes him down which allows Freddie to distract the referee so Muraco can choke out Santana.

In a very nice move, Santana nails Muraco with some forearms, but Muraco rolls through and holds onto the elbow. Back on their feet, and Santana tries to come back, but Muraco stays in control. Muraco with a shoulder breaker and drives the thumb to the throat of Santana. Muraco tries to finish off Santana with a piledriver, but it is reversed. Both men on their feet and a double-clothesline takes both men down. Inside cradle gives Santana a near fall.

Muraco takes control and nails the piledriver, but Freddie is on the ring apron distracting the referee. Paul E. is having a coronary on commentary. Muraco gets up to argue with Freddie, and Santana pushes Muraco into Freddie. Muraco then pulls Freddie up onto the ring apron and slaps him down. Tito comes off the ropes and nails him with a flying forearm. Cover for the pinfall victory! Freddie runs away to the locker room, and Muraco gives chase.

New ECW Heavyweight Champion: Tito Santana

Closing Segment: Interview with Eddie Gilbert and Paul E.

The segment isn’t that exciting, as both of them promise to deliver on the blood and guts that is already hyped. Eddie promises to take on Funk and Hansen all on his own.

The really weird thing is that Paul E. is wearing a baseball cap that says “Public Enemy” on it. But it’s not the logo for the rap group. Foreshadowing, perhaps?

Analysis

Debuts:

  • Hardcore HOF: Shane Douglas
  • Tito Santana
  • Sensational Sherri Martel R.I.P.

Historic Significance

  • Tito Santana is the new ECW Heavyweight Champion, becoming the seventh man to hold that title.
  • Shane Douglas joined the ECW roster as well as Hot Stuff International.
  • Shane Douglas has an open challenge: he will give $10,000 to anyone who can pin him in the ring.
  • Hunter Q. Robbins III offered the Super Destroyers $25,000 to let him manage them again.
  • The first round of the ECW Tag Team Tournament is complete, and two more teams have advanced: Eddie Gilbert & Dark Patriot and The Super Destroyers

ECW Television Title Tournament
Bellomo & Sandman The Sandman &
Sal Bellomo
Tournament Semi Finalist Tournament Winner
Stetson & Michaels
The Headhunters The Koloffs (Ivan & Vladimir)
The Koloffs
Gilbert & Patriot Gilbert & Patriot Tournament Semi Finalist
JT Smith & Cairo
Super Destroyers Super Destroyers
The Suicide Blondes

Titles:

ECW Heavyweight Champion Tito Santana Since 08/07/1993
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: Ranking the ECW Wrestlers

I don’t know about you, but I like ranking things. Not just in top 10 lists. I mean anyone can rank their top 10 favorite movies, but I mean seriously ranking all of the movies I’ve ever seen. Ranking the best Philadelphia Phillies. This is really fun in wrestling, as it is a fake sport where promoters and bookers not only determine winners but how long matches are allowed to go. If Vince McMahon said that the Steamboat vs Savage match could only go 6 minutes, then it would not be the classic we all remember.

However, with wrestling lists there is a problem: you haven’t seen all of the greats wrestle. Even if I’m going to limit my wrestling list to north america, my exposure to wrestlers like Lou Thesz, Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr. Buddy Rogers, Georgeous George, Freddie Blassie, Bob Backlund, Verne Gagne, Nick Bockwinkle, and even Bruno Sammartino is limited. And even if I see matches on YouTube or somewhere else, it still is not the same as living through that time and having an opinion.

But with ECW, is is much easier. I lived through the entire time, and I was a fan of the federation from the summer of 94 through its demise in 2001.

So for me, the ECW wrestlers fall into the following categories:

  • Hardcore Hall of Famers – Hall of Fame wrestlers and personalities who are primarily known for being on the ECW roster 14
  • Team Extreme< – Wrestlers and personalities who are important to the history of ECW, but not quite Hall of Fame worthy. (I think of these like professional athletes who are recognized by their team, but not necessarily by the league at large)
  • Extreme Journeymen – Wrestlers and personalities who spent time in several federations, but had significant contributions to ECW.
  • Hardcore First Class – Wrestlers and personalities who helped start Eastern Championship Wrestling (local indy federation), but who didn’t necessarily fit the model of Extreme Championship Wrestling.

So as I continue these recaps of ECW, I will try and place the wrestlers into their respective categories. I would say that most of the (non former WWF) roster fit the Hardcore First Class category.

The exceptions are JT Smith and Chris Candido who are both members of Team Extreme. Additionally, Miss Peaches and Tommy Cairo are certainly candidates.

I think that Jimmy Snuka would definitely be a member of the Extreme Journeymen group. You could make the case for Eddie Gilbert and Don Muraco as well.

And we have five members of the Hardcore Hall of Fame: Tod Gordon, The Sandman, Terry Funk, Paul E. Dangerously, and now Shane Douglas.

Going forward, I will let you know where debuting wrestlers fit, if anywhere.

Verdict

Hey, Shane Douglas arrived in the ECW Arena for the first time, how bad can it be? Not that Shane Douglas is my favorite wrestler, but he ushered in a new age in ECW of the new type of wrestler that was going to become available to include on the roster. And while I wouldn’t go on to say that the Santana vs Muraco match was great, it was a solid television match that resulted in the ECW Heavyweight Championship to change hands. So, a very eventful episode indeed. I’d say a solid B- for 1993, and a C for modern viewing.

Footnotes

1 – I have to say it that way to myself, otherwise it sounds like I’m doing a year long prison sentence of bad 90s indy wrestling television.
2 – He is not much of a surprise as his name has already been mentioned in recent Extreme Archive columns.
3 – When you hear two weeks out that Terry Funk will be in action, that means they haven’t finalized the card. But when they tell you prior to a show, that means that Wrestler X is going to face a jobber, and an uninteresting one at that.
4 – Someone needs to work on their heel interviews. Patriot should have chided Smith for not quitting when he should rather than be angry at challenging him.
5 – They reference Delaware Avenue an awful lot. I know it’s close to the Arena, and the hot place in the early 90s, but it makes it seem like Philly only has bars and clubs on one street.
6 – That seems rather hypocritical, especially as she has no reason to be involved. We’re supposed to believe that Sherri’s conscience told her to help out Smith and Cairo?
7 – If this was Russo booking, Sherri would then attack Cairo and join Hot Stuff International on the spot.
8 – I’m guessing the yellow is cause of his Pittsburgh roots? Does anyone know?
9 – Douglas has good voice here, but hadn’t learned yet how to slow down and allow for pauses in his delivery. Weird because he has 10+ years in the business in 1993.
10 – For you young people out there who maybe think that 1993 was such a long time ago that a belly-to-belly suplex was considered a finishing move, rest assured that it was not. It was lame even for 1993, and always made Douglas look weak as a result.
11 – Or more specifically, Chris Candido was now in Smokey Mountain Wrestling.
12 – Who is Canadian Wolfman blowing to remain on ECW television? Why not give the jobbing duties to Renesto, Allen, Thrasher or Hotbody who at least look like wrestlers. Wolfman looks fatter and less athletic than I do!
13 – Was that the only Hispanic appropriate music they had in the building?
14 – Terry Funk is most assuredly a Hardcore Hall of Famer, but he is known for so many places and territories and accomplishments, you can’t define him by that.

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