Extreme Retro Review #001: ECW/WWA Battle Of The Belts 01.23.93

You know who I be… The Fuj.

Let’s get into it. 01/23/93

Located in Philly, definitely a Smokey-filled bar room. I believe this card was featured on the “Barbed Wire City” Documentary.


Jr Heavyweight Title: Chris Evans v. “Surfer” Ray Odyssey

Geek vs. Goof. Philly crowd is kinda hot for this (I don’t know why.) The audio is terrible, so I’m basically watching a house show. Stalling to begin. Back and forth. Ray gets a dive outside. The venue looks like a hotel Ballroom honestly. Ray plays to the crowd while Evans stalls… More stalling… This is your standard local comedy opener. Evans gets the heats with a double ax-handle off the top. The ceiling has a low clearance, so Evans had to crouch to get this off. Typical heel outside stuff. Every time Ray gets something going, Evans stalls as a cut-off… Ugh… Its cheap, but me likey… Terrible Sweet Chin Music (SCM) in the corner by Evans. Odyssey finishes with a sunset flip out the corner. Acceptable sloppy opener. (*)

-Little geek announcer (Not Gary Michael Capetta. Not Dave Penzer.) BOB ARTESE intros Dennis Corraluzzo, who co-promoted the show. He cuts a heel promo about his license being on the line in the next match. I’m guessing the show was an inter-promotional deal, but without commentary it’s hard to figure out. He introduces Pain & Agony: The Lords of Darkness of the WWA (World Wrestling Alliance, Later NWA New Jersey) but the camera is focused on the entrance. The manager is just standing at Gorilla position like a goof, wondering if its his queue… Fucking amateur.

-The Lords come out looking like Undertaker’s druid extras, carrying axes. Their manager’s name is “Tricky Nicky.” Tricky cuts a promo (Philly:” YOU SUCK!!!”) Geek Artese then introduces Tod Gordon and the crowd goes apeshit! Tod cuts a babyface promo and introduces the Super Destroyers. They come out to their awesome “Halloween” theme music and Hunter Q. Robbins III as their manager. Super Destroyers are the babyfaces, seriously slapping hands and everything.

Inter-promotional Tag Team Title Match: Pain & Agony vs. The Super Destroyers

Babyface shine early… Another stall job… Lovely… This time Dennis and Tod go at it on the mic. The Lords are midgets compared to the Super D’s, who are tossing the other guys around like ragdolls. The Super D’s are appropriately named #1 & #2 and draped in masks (They look like 2 Banes.) More stalling… I’m about to roll-up. I have no clue who’s in the ring #1 or #2… Pain… Agony… I don’t care. Hunter Q. has always been a heel, so seeing him as a babyface is weird. He has no purpose in this match. The match is an extended squash #1 gets Geek #1 for a vertical something, because the clearance is so low it comes off terribly. The match sucks, both managers interfere. Double pin and the D’s get the W. Who the fuck cares? (-**) Tricky Nicky looks like he’s about to suck dick for a draw. Tod does the Miss Elizabeth exit for the D’s, holding the rope as they exit. #pause The D’s have 2 belts now; both ECW & WWA… The camera goes back to Gorilla position (Hint: Don’t do that.)

-HOLY FUCK Sal Bellemo with a Grand Wizard knock-off. Sal looks like King Robert Baratheon. Philly buries Sal (<3 Philly) Nancy (Woman) walks from Gorilla and from the neck down, she can get it. Woman introduces a limping masked wrestler who coincidentally has on a ring jacket that is bedazzled with “Kerry” on the back… Guys… I think this might be Chris Von Erich. 10 years ago, Kerry was drawing 20k with his brothers at the Cotton Bowl. Ten years later, Kerry is working 3rd from the bottom in a Philly bar in front of 200 people ready to bury EVERYTHING. Don’t do drugs, THIS BUSINESS will chew you up.

Wildman Sal Baratheon vs. Kerry Von Erich

Kerry does the reveal and hits a Discus Punch to the “Grand Blizzard.” Quick stall job by Sal to jump-start the heat. I’m figuring we’re going double DQ, because they are going at a goodish pace. Kerry fighting underneath is a good thing, but this rear sleeper-hold is DEATH. They have the crowd and I am convinced that the venue is a banquet hall or ballroom. They’re holding each other closely, calling the match in the ring. Disqus Punch #2 gets a 2 count and Kerry goes for the sleeper. They both fall out of the ring, DOUBLE DQ (Called it. DUD) Grand Dragon gets ANOTHER DISQUS PUNCH for good measure. Kerry babbles on the mic, does the Rockers exit out the ring and dies 4 months later. RIP Kerry.

Brass Knuckles/Bull Rope Match: Tony “The Hitman” Stetson vs. Johnny Hotbody

Local Goofus vs. Local Goofus. I hit you, you hit me around the ring. Referee Jim Finnegan, looking very svelte as the Philly crowd chants “WE WANT BLOOD!” Both guys have tremendous mullets, especially Stetson. Back in the ring, Hotbody gigged. More Cowbell, Finnegan counted 2, Hotbody goes over for the W. Crowd boos the finish. (-**)

-They actually showed the 15-minute intermission. 1993 fans just looking like troglodytes walking through the hard camera. (Note: It’s the only shot of the show.) I’m Rollin’ another. It’s schwaggle, so it whatevz.

British Bulldog vs. Masked Superstar

Squash. No way that’s Bill Eadie bumping like that in 1993. No way in hell Bill Eadie is taking bumps in 1993. Whatever, it was under a minute. (*) (Note: Holy Shit!!! Eadie took bumps and jobbed in 1993.) Both guys are gone after the powerslam.

-The crowd chants “HURRY UP!” “COME ON!!!” Dennis cuts a promo on Finnegan, calling him a cheater. Tod rebuts, saying to use 2 referees, guaranteeing a ref bump.

WWA/ECW Heavyweight Title Unification Match: The Spider (WWA) vs. (ECW) The Sandman (w/Lori)

Crowd buries the Spider: “YOU SUCK!!!” Sandman in 1992 was the ECW champ with a surfing gimmick. “Surfin’ USA” is his theme. He is wearing a bodysuit and carrying a surfboard. He is gargantuan. In various shoots, he said that he can work LOLet’s See. Spider has a mask like Spider-Man. “SANDMAN SUCKS!!!” from the crowd, proving that Philly isn’t completely autistic. Spider with the shine, Sandman powders early. (Note: Spider is Glen Roth of Headbanger’s infamy. He was Thrasher, not Beaver Cleavage.) They’re actually working a nice match, so by the time he got the WWF, he must’ve had a lobotomy. Match isn’t bad, just boring. Hard Camera shot on Lori’s non-existent ass. Speaking of bad camera work, its focused-on Dennis Corraluzzo as Spider misses a cross body. More back and forth to a double-down. A fan yells: “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” 2 Ref bumps. Tod & Dennis start fighting like broads for the Double DQ. (-*) Big Schmoz and the crowd is not too happy with that.

-In walks THE LIVING LEGEND, TERRY FUNK, who is a spry 49 years old and looking to be in great shape. ECW took DECADES off of his life and coming from my favorite hometown of all-time: “Every girl’s fantasy” is “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert.

“I Quit” Match: Terry Funk vs. “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert

Eddie does the Memphis stall with his music “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer. You should be noticing a theme by now: STALLING… Funk with the shine early. None of these matches have play-by-play, so as much as I like both guys as wrestlers, the match is just too slow without a guy filling in the gaps. It can only be so good. Gilbert with the heat. Its an “I Quit” match, so punches are a plenty and it spills into the crowd. This was probably revolutionary to the crowd in 1993 but 25 years later… meh… but I get it. Basically, Eddie is bringing the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl to Philly. Nothing to see here, but you have to understand that Wayne Ferris and Moondog Spot created Hardcore Wrestling, let Honky Tonk Man tell it. The first table introduced on the show and it’s Japanese. A fan yelled: “This is worth the 25$ here!!!” Is it though?! 25 x 200… I’m sure Spider and Sandman made 25 bucks that night. Bad camera work continues as Gilbert yells for the fans to get out of the way. Funk is in minute 10 of his goofy-selling and he’s gigged up. Funk with a sloppy DDT on a un-set table and now Gilbert is gigged-up. The Microphone is called in for Funk trash-talk Gilbert. More stuff happens until Funk starts bashing Gilbert’s knee with the wooden steps. Gilbert quits, then denies it like a true heel. Funk sells the beating like DEATH, even in victory. (**) Funk refuses help as he gets to his feet. Gilbert is on the house mic: “I HATE PROMOTERS!!!”

-Dennis follows Funk to the back, and yells for people to get out as the show fades to black.

OVERALL: This show sucked, but I’m here for the long haul. 1994 needs to hurry up. FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES ONLY should you watch this show. Thumbs Down

Our first podcast was this show and it shows.

Check out the full “Extreme Retro Review” Podcast on YouTube. I’ll try to post weekly until I catch up with the show.


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