What The World Was Watching: ECW Hardcore TV – March 28, 1995

A lengthy video package hypes the three-way dance that is booked for the ECW Arena on April 8.

Joey Styles provides commentary for this broadcast, which features matches from the March 18 ECW Arena show.

Opening Contest: Mikey Whipwreck (1-1) beats Jason after a flying hurricanrana at 8:32:

This is hyped as the final confrontation between these two, who have been feuding since August. After Jason complains to fans that jeering him would never be tolerated in the WWF, humorous since Jason was a jobber there in the early 1990s, Whipwreck tears into him with chops and chair shots. Jason uses a mix of suplexes and a gutwrench powerbomb but Whipwreck keeps kicking out. Jason kisses Whipwreck during one of those pinfalls to illicit a homophobic crowd reaction and then gets too cocky trying to do two springboard leg drops. When the last one misses, Whipwreck flies off the top and catches Jason with a hurricanrana to win the feud. The crowd facing the hard camera loves the finishing move since they were not used to seeing something like that on a regular basis in this period. Rating: **

A recap of how Taz helped 2 Cold Scorpio beat Dean Malenko for the Television Championship on last week’s show airs.

Styles interviews Malenko, with Styles incredibly nervous when he brings up Malenko losing his title. Malenko just cracks his fingers and walks off without saying a word.

Ron Simmons calling out 911 on last week’s episode is shown.

Paul E. Dangerously calls Simmons a “has been football player” and warns him against dialing 911 again.

Styles announces that on April 8 2 Cold Scorpio will defend the Television Championship against Eddie Guerrero at the ECW Arena. The story of the match is that Eddie is going to avenge the loss his brother Hector took at Scorpio’s hands on February 25.

Gauntlet Match #1: Tommy Dreamer (1-0) pins Tony Stetson after a DDT at 1:37:

For this gauntlet match, Johnny Hotbody, Steve Richards, and Raven are handcuffed to a ring post and will be released in turn when/if Dreamer defeats the person before them in turn. Stetson was a Larry Sharpe trainee who first achieved a level of success in the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He carried that into the newly founded Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1992, which positioned itself as the TWA’s successor, winning the tag team championship with Larry Winters and Johnny Hotbody. He also won the promotion’s short-lived Pennsylvania Heavyweight Championship. Little happens in this match except for some token brawling on the floor before Dreamer hits DDT off the ropes for the pin.

Gauntlet Match #2: Tommy Dreamer (2-0) beats Johnny Hotbody after a neckbreaker at 1:03:

Like Steteson, Hotbody was trained by Sharpe. He feuded with Stetson in the TWA and was prominently featured in early ECW, becoming the promotion’s second-ever heavyweight champion after beating Jimmy Snuka and then becoming the first television titleholder. Hotbody also formed a tag team called the Suicide Blondes with Chris Candido and they eventually won the tag team titles. His fortunes went down when Paul Heyman took over the company’s booking by late 1993, though. Hotbody does little to help his case here as Dreamer struggles to get him up for a slam and Hotbody takes a sad bump from a Rocker Dropper. Like Stetson, Hotbody jobs quickly to a neckbreaker, showing that the Broad Street Bullies are not going to be getting a big push from their recent return to the promotion.

Gauntlet Match #3: Tommy Dreamer (3-0) beats Steve Richards (1-1) after an enzuigiri at 3:04:

Most of this match happens on the arena floor, where Dreamer uses a myriad of weapons to pummel Richards. When they go inside, Richards eats a piledriver and gets caught with an enzuigiri shortly thereafter. And right before the finish, Terry Funk runs down to ringside and cuts Raven’s handcuffs so he is no longer tied to the ring post. Rating: ½*

Gauntlet Match #4: Raven pins Tommy Dreamer (4-0) after a DDT on the concrete in four seconds:

Dreamer, who has no idea that Raven has been freed from his chains, confronts his nemesis, only to be sucker punched and given a DDT on the arena floor. This was great heel work by Raven as he lured Dreamer in by asking to get punched and then unloaded when Dreamer let his guard down.

After the bell, Richards tries to join Raven in a two-on-one attack on Dreamer but is pushed aside. Raven makes Dreamer a bloody mess with the handcuffs, blasts him with a loaded boot, and then handcuffs Dreamer’s hands to the middle rope so he can smash his face in with a chair. Afterward, Dreamer is uncuffed and does a stretcher job. The gauntlet match was kept to the right length for putting over Raven as a big-time act.

The card for the April 8 ECW Arena show is as follows: ECW Tag Team Champions Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko defending their titles against the Public Enemy and Sabu & Taz in a three-way dance, ECW Champion Shane Douglas defending his title against the Sandman, 2 Cold Scorpio defending the Television Championship against Eddie Guerrero, and a hair-versus-hair match between Axl and Ian Rotten.

Sabu (w/Paul E. Dangerously & 911) beats Mikey Whipwreck (2-1) via submission with an Arabian Clutch at 9:02:

This was supposed to be Sabu against Marty Jannetty but Jannetty had travel issues. Jannetty tries to call in about it, but ECW mixes in crowd noise and it is hard to hear what Jannetty is trying to say. What we can make out is that Jannetty wants a piece of Sabu when he can make it to the next ECW show. Even though Tod Gordon wanted to make Sabu the winner via default, Dangerously sent 911 to the locker room to find a substitute and 911 grabbed Whipwreck to wrestle. Both men work the crowd into a frenzy with a myriad of high spots and the crowd switches its allegiance to Whipwreck by the middle of the contest. One fun sequence sees Sabu miss Air Sabu and Whipwreck try to follow up with his own version, which also fails. Not content with merely using a chair, Sabu sets up a table in the crowd, puts Whipwreck on it, and then Asai moonsaults his opponent through it. Whipwreck is dead to rights after that, with Sabu earning a submission win after applying an Arabian Clutch. This match was amazing, with Sabu hitting almost all his spots. It also had a great story of Whipwreck being forced into a match and trying to bust out all the stops to survive, coming up just shy of beating ECW’s resident aerial master at his own game. Rating: ***½

After the match, 911 has to pull Sabu out of Whipwreck. The crowd gives the match a standing ovation as the show ends.

The Last Word: This was the best broadcast ECW has had this year, showcasing an amazing spotfest in the main event slot that would have blown the minds of American wrestling fans in early 1995. The show also put over the Raven character in a big way. ECW has done such a good job showcasing Raven that many fans would have already forgotten that he was Johnny Polo just a few months prior in the WWF. And the best part of the show is that it was carried by people who were not in the top slots of the company, giving a breather for the three-way dance and Cactus Jack-Terry Funk match builds that dominated previous broadcasts.

Backstage News*: Several ECW talents appeared on a March 26 show for Japan’s W*ING promotion. The Sandman defeated Ryo Myake, J.T. Smith (wrestling as Halloween Boogie Man) defeated Jason, and the Public Enemy beat the Pitbulls. On the March 29 W*ING show, the Sandman squashed Jason, with both men bleeding. The Enemy defeated the Pitbulls again after the Sandman interfered and after the match the Pitbulls and Jason beatdown the Sandman. The ECW talent was well received, and fans brought laptops, baseball bats with spikes, and other objects for the wrestlers to use.

*Backstage news provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for April 10.

Up Next: ECW Hardcore TV for April 4!

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