(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
February 17, 1996
News & Notes: Not much changed since Big Apple Blizzard Blast. I will keep the introduction brief. The Public Enemy left, and Cactus Jack would soon leave. Guys like Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis also headed to WCW. ECW was a company in almost constant transition. But, they made do with who they had and brought in new talent to fill the gaps. There aren’t many new faces on this show. (At least, not anyone that sticks around.) A rematch between Raven and The Sandman headlines this event.
Before I begin, I want to give you the Affiliate of the Week. They help keep this crazy project going:
The Bad Crew & Judge Dredd vs. Dino Sendoff, Don E. Allen, & The Dirt Bike Kid
Notes: They go straight into the first match. There is no intro. This is a six-man tag match with a bunch of jobbers. You expect 911 to interrupt, but he’s not in the company anymore. The Bad Crew is Damien Kane’s former tag team. He ditched them when the Headhunters attacked the Bad Crew. I don’t know much about Judge Dredd. How did they get permission to use that name and why is it wasted on this guy?
The Match: Everyone brawls, but the fans tell the participants they suck. Dredd gives the Dirt Bike Kid a wheel kick and a pressing gutbuster. They fight in and out of the ring. Then, the Bad Crew hit Allen with a Tiger Bomb. They follow that with a flying Hart Attack for the win.
Thoughts: This was nothing but filler. It got the crowd hot, but for all the wrong reasons. They spent the match yelling at the wrestlers for being terrible. To be fair, the action wasn’t bad. No one botched any moves. The fans didn’t care about the people in the ring.
Winners: Bad Crew & Judge Dredd (2:03)
After the bell, The Sandman enters the ring and canes everyone. The crowd loves it. He grabs a mic and yells YO while caning each person in turn. The fans chant Sandman’s name. He then says, “Now, let’s get extreme!”
Spiros Greco vs. El Puerto Riqueño
Notes: So much for getting extreme. Here is another jobber match. I couldn’t find any information on Spiros Greco. This is his debut. He seems like someone Vince McMahon would have loved. He looks like Salvatore Sincere if he was from Greece. His tights say The Greek God. He also does a pose that reminds me of Randy Orton but not as good.
The Match: They trade holds and reversals until Greco misses a knee-lift. El Puerto sells it anyway. The fans heckle them for it. Greco follows with a jumping clothesline. He also uses more takeovers, holds, and double-chops. Greco tries making it interesting by fighting to the floor. He rams El Puerto into the post and returns him to the ring. Then, Greco focuses his attack on Puerto’s throat. Next, Greco uses a shoulder tackle and ends the match with a pumphandle side slam.
Thoughts: This was boring and pointless. The fans were as brutal on this match as the first one. Are they trying to ignite the crowd by angering them? It’s working. The fans are vocal and rowdy.
Winner: Spiros Greco (4:27)
Taz (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs. Joel Hartgood
Notes: Joel Hartgood’s name is a play on Joel Goodhart, who ran the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance. TWA was the precursor to ECW. Having Taz squash him is a not-so-subtle nod to the past. Fonzie takes a mic before the match and asks if the fans remember him. Styles says they’re trying to forget. He also makes fun of Alfonso’s shirt. Meanwhile, the fans chant Taz is going to kill you at poor Joel.
The Match: Taz takes Joel to the mat and hits him with a hard clothesline. Then, he fakes out Hartgood and gives him a Tazplex. Joel uses a sunset flip, but Taz answers with a half-nelson suplex. He then locks Joel in the Tazmission for the victory.
Thoughts: It was another Taz squash match. At least the bout built a star as opposed to the first two matches. I understand why this one happened.
Winner: Taz (1:54)
Taz takes a mic after the match and calls Joel another victim. Damage Control enters the ring to help Hartgood, but Taz dumps Joel off the stretcher. Fonzie says he likes that. The fans chant for him to do it again. Wrestlers enter the ring to help Joel, so Taz suplexes all of them. Then, Mikey Whipwreck punches Fonzie. He also surprises Taz with a dropkick and a Frankenmikey. But, Taz catches him and hits a Tazplex. He puts Mikey in the Tazmission, so the fans chant for Sabu.
Joey Styles welcomes everyone to ECW. (Was the previous twenty minutes a preshow?) He welcomes everyone to the ECW internet convention. He claims fans came from all over the country to be there. Joey continues, but the arena goes dark. Someone enters the ring while the lights are out, so Joey says, “Who the hell are you?” The lights come back and reveal—
—Brian Pillman! The crowd goes crazy. Joey asks why he’s there while the fans chant about Bischoff. Pillman claims Bischoff took away his constitutional rights and fired him. He calls Bischoff a coffee gofer and a whiz-kid. But, he also calls him a piece of shit. Joey tries going to a break. Pillman tells him he’s running the interview because he’s Brian fuckin’ Pillman. Brian then compares Bischoff to the smart marks in the crowd. He explains the concept of smart marks and mocks the fans. He says marks are people who spend their last twenty dollars on crack. He says marks are those who think OJ didn’t do it. Most importantly, marks are all the sons of bitches in the crowd. Then, Brian calls the ECW Arena a hellhole and threatens to whip out his johnson and piss in the ring. He reaches for his fly, but Heyman and Gordon arrive to stop him. Heyman says it wasn’t part of the deal, but Pillman doesn’t care. Security escorts Brian away from the ring while Heyman and Shane Douglas yell at Pillman. The fans chant, “Let him piss!” One fan tries swinging at Brian, so he pulls him over the rail and attacks him with a fork. Douglas chases Pillman away from the ring. Shane takes a mic and tells security to throw him out, or Douglas will beat his ass. He won’t leave the ring until he’s sure Pillman is gone. Security has to drag Pillman out the door. (This was great stuff. It made Pillman look like a madman.)
Buh-Buh Ray Dudley (w/ The Dudleys) vs. Mr. Hughes
Notes: Hughes argues with some fans dressed like the Dudleys. Joey says Hughes isn’t happy with Buh-Buh’s popularity. Joey also jokes about Big Daddy Dudley having more wives than Larry King. Buh-Buh takes his time coming to the ring, so Hughes complains to the ref. Other than Big Dick, the Dudleys seem in a good mood. Chubby carries some snacks to the ring and D.W. rides a hobby horse. Buh-Buh also dances, but Hughes attacks Sign Guy to stop the festivities.
The Match: Hughes then attacks Buh-Buh, so Big Dick confronts him. Hughes punches Big Dick and turns his attention back to Buh-Buh. The ref focuses on their fight and doesn’t see Big Dick break his crutch over Hughes’ back. Buh-Buh capitalizes with a flying splash to end the match.
Thoughts: These short matches with Buh-Buh do a good job of endearing him to the crowd. But, they’re not much to watch. The first half of this show is light on action. It could use something more substantial. The event feels like an episode of the TV show.
Winner: Buh-Buh Ray Dudley (0:36)
Mustafa Saed enters the arena. They booked The Gangstas to face the Headhunters, but New Jack is in jail. Mustafa laughs like a weirdo and says he will take care of things himself. The ring announcer introduces him, but Saed chases him away. Damien Kane and Lady Alexandra arrive. Kane and mocks New Jack for his trouble. He offers Mustafa a job shining his shoes. Saed grabs the mic and says he needs a job—a handjob. Kane mocks the Gangstas more, so Mustafa attacks him. They brawl on the floor until the Headhunters stop it. They give Saed a superplex and a flying splash and send him packing. Kane takes the microphone again and says there isn’t a team in ECW that can face the Headhunters. However, someone answers that challenge. It’s—The Bruise Brothers (Blu Twins). Oh, joy!
The Bruise Brothers vs. The Headhunters (w/ Damien Kane & Lady Alexandra)
The Match: They brawl in and around the ring with chairs. The fight spills into the crowd and the camera loses sight of the action. Joey compares the bout to a Double-Mint commercial gone hardcore. Both teams throw punches and chair shots. Then, they return to the ring. One Headhunter lands a moonsault. But, a Bruise Brother also uses a big boot. There are two covers. The ref only counts the Bruise Brother’s pin and awards them the match.
Thoughts: You couldn’t see half this match because of the camera work. It was mostly punches and chair attacks. Plus, that finish didn’t make much sense. This was a mess. Was anyone clamoring for the return of the Bruise Brothers?
Winners: The Bruise Brothers (3:54)
Joey Styles introduces Tommy Dreamer for an interview. He injured his shoulder at the Blizzard Blast. Tommy is there to give an update on his condition. Beulah is with him. Tommy apologizes for being injured, but Raven interrupts him. He’s joined by Stevie, Meanie, and Kimona. Raven says injuring Dreamer wasn’t the payback. Raven talks about how other countries cut off your hands for stealing. They cut off your feet for evading police. And, they cut out your tongue for lying. Raven’s threats are getting violent. Shane Douglas and the Bruise Brothers arrive to back up Tommy. He sends Beulah with Douglas for her safety. Raven tells her to get out of the ring with Dreamer’s demon spawn. Tommy says he’s ready to fight, so Raven tells him to get ready to die. However, Raven doesn’t attack—The Bruise Brothers do it. They kick Tommy and run him balls-first into the post. Raven then mocks him and leaves. (I have to apologize. In my preview for this review, I thought this was a different segment that comes later in the year. That’s my bad.)
JT Smith vs. Axl Rotten
Notes: JT teamed with Axl Rotten to face the Dudleys, but he attacked Axl with a microphone. They show a recap of the moment during the entrances. While JT approaches the ring, a fan hands him a pizza. He throws it into the crowd. He also places an Italian flag in Rocco Musciano’s pocket, which annoys him. JT then jumps Axl while he talks with some fans.
The Match: Smith attacks Axl with the timekeeper’s hammer, but Axl whips JT into the railing. Axl then hits JT with weapons the fans hand him. He uses a chair, bottles, and some rope. They brawl on the floor until JT gives Axl a DDT. When they return to the ring, Axl counters with a backdrop. Rotten then hits a corner splash. He attempts another one, but he misses. Smith lands a diving splash, but he doesn’t cover. He collects a chair and tries a moonsault. He pretends to botch it. Axl looks at the ref with confusion. Smith uses the opening to clock Axl with the chair. He then pins him for the victory.
Thoughts: This was a decent brawl and JT’s antics amused me. I didn’t mind this. It wasn’t great, but it was entertaining. Having Smith use his clumsiness to trick his opponent was a nice touch. They turned JT’s usual trope on its head.
Winner: JT Smith (6:12)
Smith spits on Axl and gives him a chair-assisted moonsault. Joey calls it disgusting. He then grabs a mic, but Hack Meyers confronts him. Smith says he wants to dance with Hack, but he hits him with the microphone. JT throws punches while the fans chant shit. Hack fires back and the fans chant shah. Smith attacks Axl again, so Hack brawls with JT.
Dog Collar Match: The Pitbulls & Francine vs. The Eliminators & Stevie Richards
Notes: Stevie Richards apologized to Francine for kicking her to the curb. He sounded sincere and she almost forgave him. However, Stevie stuck his foot in his mouth by asking if she was pregnant. Everything broke down and the Pitbulls attacked Stevie. The Eliminators then attacked the Pitbulls. Now, they booked a six-person Dog Collar Match to settle these differences. Stevie wears a Superman t-shirt. A sarcastic Joey Styles calls him Super Stevie Richards. The ring announcer even introduces him as such after Stevie instructs him to do so. But, Super Stevie shows fear of the Pitbulls. They chain everyone together, but Stevie takes out Francine with a Stevie Kick.
The Match: The Pitbulls try taking out Stevie, but the Eliminators save his hide. Stevie mocks and slaps the Pitbulls while the Eliminators double-team them. Richards even stomps on their balls and uses Stevie Kicks. But, #2 fights back and rams Saturn into chairs held by the fans. He also nails Saturn with anything he finds. Both teams then fight to the eagle’s nest. Kronus assists Saturn in a moonsault off the nest. However, #1 suplexes Kronus through a table. When they return to the ring, Stevie finds a frying pan. He tries using it on Francine, but the Pitbulls stop him. #1 uses a super Frankensteiner, but Stevie breaks up the pin. Then, The Eliminators hit stereo powerbombs. They go after Francine, but the Pitbulls stop it. They use Superbombs on both Eliminators and turn their focus on Richards. He begs for mercy. They ignore him and do a Superbomb/Neckbreaker combo. Both teams brawl again, so Francine covers Richards for the win.
Thoughts: Most of this match was walking and brawling. There were a few good spots, but I thought it dragged. I liked the finish. It was nice seeing Francine get the pin on Richards. But, it didn’t save it.
Winners: The Pitbulls & Francine (14:03)
After the bell, the Eliminators go after Francine. #2 stops them, so he gets Total Elimination. They grab Francine again, but #1 prevents it. He too gets Total Elimination. Francine is alone, but she slaps Saturn. He responds with a clothesline and they hit Total Elimination on Francine. Then, they collect their Tag Titles and leave.
TV Title Match: 2 Cold Scorpio (c) vs. Sabu
The Match: There are no introductions. They go straight into the match. Sabu gets the advantage early and uses a chair to bounce around and dive onto Scorpio. He flies into the crowd. Scorpio reverses a powerbomb and returns the favor with the chair. But, Sabu counters with a victory roll and slows the pace with some submissions. Both men hurt themselves with high-flying moves. Scorpio uses a moonsault, while Sabu does an Arabian Facebuster and some springboards. Then, both men trade top-rope maneuvers. Scorpio does a sunset bomb. Sabu hits a super victory roll. They fight to the floor, but Sabu clips his legs on the rail during an Asai Moonsault. Scorpio hits Sabu with everything. Sabu either kicks out or gets a foot on the ropes. A moonsault leg drop, a flying leg drop, and a super Frankensteiner all fail to get the job done. Three minutes remain. Scorpio hits the Scorpio Splash, but he doesn’t cover him. He grabs a chair instead and dives off the top. He misses. Sabu answers with slingshot moves, but the time expires.
Thoughts: I like how they escalated the craziness as the match progressed. They told a good story with Sabu battling through the pain. I’m even okay with the time-limit draw. It can set up another match between them. This did a great job making both men look strong. The crowd loved it and applauded the match when it ended.
Winner: Time-Limit Draw (30:00)
Shane Douglas vs. Cactus Jack
Notes: Douglas warned his old friend Cactus not to go to the WWF. He told Jack he would have to kiss Vince McMahon’s ass to keep his job. Cactus said he’d rather do that than remain in ECW. Then, Dreamer & Douglas faced Jack & Mikey. Cactus won after hitting Douglas with a chair. Shane claimed he allowed it to happen because he wanted to bring out the old Cactus Jack. Also, Brian Hildebrand referees this match. He trained with both Cactus and Shane but was too small to endure the rigors of wrestling. He became a referee instead. Some of you may remember him as Mark Curtis in WCW.
The Match: Cactus wears a suit, but Shane rips it off and whips Jack around by the tie. Cactus uses a fan’s crutch, but Shane counters with low-blows. Douglas then surprises me. He does a flying axehandle to the floor. He even lands a flying crossbody into the crowd! Then, Shane tries breaking Jack’s ankle with a chair. Cactus fires back with chair shots. He also attacks Shane’s recently injured throat. Next, Cactus returns the favor by focusing on Shane’s leg. They brawl to the floor where Jack breaks a table on Douglas. He follows that with a pulling piledriver. Then, they trade punches until Hildebrand separates them. Brian uses the opening to hand Douglas some handcuffs. Shane knocks out Cactus and cuffs his hands behind his back. He then gives Jack numerous chair shots. (Hey! This looks familiar!) Shane grabs a mic and tells Jack to quit. Cactus calls out to Vince McMahon for help. He also calls for Mikey. Shane uses more chair shots and puts Jack in a Figure Four. Whipwreck arrives, but he clobbers Jack with a chair. Jack’s shoulders are down, so Hildebrand counts the pin.
Thoughts: I loved the intensity of this match. Plus, that finish was great. Mikey walloped him with that chair. I wasn’t aware Cactus used the handcuffs and chair shots spot before Rumble ’99. It surprised me to see it here. It wasn’t as brutal as the Rock match, but it is still uncomfortable. This is still a great match, despite that spot.
Winner: Shane Douglas (15:37)
ECW Title Match: Raven (c) (w/ Kimona Wanalaya, Stevie Richards, & The Blue Meanie) vs. The Sandman (w/ Missy Hyatt)
Notes: Raven enters first with his entourage. They show a closeup of Kimona, which Joey likes. But, they cut to a shot of the Meanie. Joey says he almost lost his lunch. The Sandman takes his time arriving, so Meanie and Richards mock him. They’re looking in the wrong direction. Sandman is standing in the balcony with Missy Hyatt. They share a cigarette before Sandman heads to the ring. Raven is unfazed. He doesn’t look in Sandman’s direction. Stevie keeps taunting Sandman, so he spits beer at Richards and chases him from the ring.
The Match: Raven attacks during the introductions and they spill to the floor. They take turns whipping each other into the rail before returning to the ring. Sandman uses a delayed brainbuster and some slingshot moves. Then, Sandman tosses chairs into the ring. He sits Raven on one, but the Meanie distracts Sandman. Raven surprises Sandman with a DDT, so Missy distracts the ref. Kimona has enough and starts a catfight with Missy. The ref makes both women leave. Stevie uses the opening to nail a Stevie Kick. Sandman kicks out of the pin. Then, the ref gets bumped a couple of times. Richards and Meanie take advantage, but Sandman fends them off with his cane. However, the Bruise Brothers give Sandman a double-chokeslam. He still kicks out. Raven follows that with a sloppy brainbuster. But, Sandman blocks a superplex. Raven counters by dropping Sandman onto a chair. He then uses the DDT for a victory.
Thoughts: It was a fun brawl. They slightly overbooked it, but that helps in a Sandman match. It did a great job hiding Sandman’s flaws. It never grew boring. Plus, it was the right length. I enjoyed it. Raven cheated enough to not make Sandman look weak. He kept kicking out. Now, they can continue the feud from here.
Winner: Raven (8:21)
Raven celebrates while the fans chant bullshit. They throw trash at him, but Raven doesn’t care. Raven leaves, but Meanie remains in the ring. He grabs Sandman’s cane. (No, that’s not a euphemism.) He also drinks a beer, but he spits it out. It lands on Sandman and revives him. Meanie hits him with a cane, but Sandman grabs it. He beats Meanie until Raven and the Bruise Brothers return. Sandman fights off all of them. He grabs a mic and calls for—his mommy? (That’s odd. Oh, he meant Missy. That’s really odd!) Missy brings him another cigarette.
Douglas/Cactus had good storytelling.
The main event was fun.
Sabu/Scorpio was great.
The Pillman stuff was entertaining.
The first few matches were pointless.
The Bruise Brothers are back.
The Dog Collar match dragged.
Performer of the Night:
I’m giving it to two people. First, I want to give Sabu credit. His match was great and it told a good story. Second, I’m giving it to Cactus Jack. I loved his performance. He honed his character work in this ECW run.
Other than the Pillman stuff, the first hour was forgettable. The final three matches ranged from good to great, but they didn’t save the show. It was an overall mixed bag. It ended strong, so I didn’t hate it. But, I didn’t love it either.
Thank you for reading. My next review is WWF In Your House 6. Look for it next Sunday!