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Thread: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

  1. #21
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    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Really enjoying your reviews for this so far man. I defo need to check out that Pitbulls/Public enemy bout based on that gif of the botch alone. It made me howl in laughter haha. The greatness of Funk and Foley promos definitely want me to check that out as I've read bits about both men's feuds before and seen a few matches but missed out on a lot of their ECW work. Keep up the good work man

  2. #22

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
    Really enjoying your reviews for this so far man. I defo need to check out that Pitbulls/Public enemy bout based on that gif of the botch alone. It made me howl in laughter haha. The greatness of Funk and Foley promos definitely want me to check that out as I've read bits about both men's feuds before and seen a few matches but missed out on a lot of their ECW work. Keep up the good work man
    Glad you're enjoying the reviews.

    Keep in mind that The Public Enemy/Pitbulls match was shown in highlight form. So there's really not much to the match. Besides the botched finish, the only other spot that seemed noteworthy was The Pitbulls mocking PE and somehow looking like the bigger geeks. Thus far in their ECW run together, The Pitbulls either come across as total monsters or laughable geeks.

  3. #23

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    April 11, 1995

    In the cold opening, we join ECW Commissioner, Tod Gordon for an announcement. I’m sure it’s nothing big. Gordon announces that due to Sabu’s refusal to work Three-Way Dance, he has been suspended indefinitely by ECW.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. In a petty “Fuck you” move towards Sabu, ECW has already edited out every clip of Sabu, minus the Benoit power bomb spot, from the opening. They left Road Warrior Hawk in the opening for nearly a year, but Sabu was removed after missing an event a few days ago! Jesus.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show and to give a general hype to this Saturday’s Hostile City Showdown at the ECW Arena and ECW’s upcoming May trip to Florida. We’re then segued into Chris Benoit’s interview at Three-Way Dance where he challenged The Tazmaniac to a fight only for Taz to be double teamed by Benoit and Dean Malenko. That brought out Rick Steiner to make the save and to replace Sabu in the partnership with Taz later in the event in the three-way dance match.

    Back to Joey Styles to shill the VHS of Three-Way Dance. Order your copy today! This is actually pretty interesting because VHS releases were at the center of a lot of behind the scenes drama for ECW in 1995. Essentially, everyone’s favorite pedophile, Rob Feinstein, of RF Video, had quit working for ECW later in 1995 citing lack of payment and frustrations over ECW advertising video tapes months before RF Video would even get the master tape to begin making copies for fans. In the case of Three-Way Dance, Feinstein claimed that he didn’t get the master tape for two full months. As you can imagine, considering the fact that ECW was not only advertising buying the tape days after the event, but also advertising the advance ordering before the event even took place, RF Video received a lot of hate from fans, wondering why it took so long for their orders to be delivered. Considering the fact that RF Video remained ECW’s video tape distribution company until the company folded, they obviously worked things out, but this was a tense time behind the scenes for Heyman and Feinstein.

    ANYWAYS, Joey again hypes Hostile City Showdown and the May stop in Florida. You literally just mentioned it. WTF.

    (EDIT. I finished the show, but I realized that it was strange that this episode didn’t reveal a single new match for Hostile City Showdown. I know it’s ECW so they don’t advertise everything, but only having one match announced and it’s one that was announced weeks ago? That seems suspicious. Downloading an original copy of the show, I discovered that the WWE Network edited out a title card graphic showing off upcoming events including Hostile City Showdown. In addition to Cactus Jack vs Terry Funk, ECW also advertised Ron Simmons vs 911, The Public Enemy defending the tag titles against The Pitbulls, Tommy Dreamer/Raven II, and Ian Rotten vs Axl Rotten in a Viewer’s Choice match (Where YOU choose the stipulations). Why edit this out? Yeah, it included a phone number to order tickets to the event, but the WWE Network kept in Joey Styles shill for buying Three-Way Dance on VHS and that had a number as well. I understand that the WWE Network has to edit out music from these shows, but DON’T edit out segments that serve a purpose like hyping up the next big show! It’s bad enough that the supershow videos are in such poor quality on the Network, I shouldn’t have to download a file just to see a segment that aired on the original broadcast when I’m paying for a premium streaming service. Stop being a jerk, WWE Network!)

    We’re then shown the 2 Cold Scorpio vs Eddie Guerrero ECW TV Title match from Three-Way Dance. This *** ½ match was the MOTN and saw the debuting Guerrero winning the title.

    We then cut backstage to Cactus Jack for a promo. It starts off lighthearted as Foley reveals his trick to staying awake on long car rides (Sing any song in Bob Dylan’s style), but then it starts to find its direction as he brings up Guns ‘n Roses success and why Izzy Stradlin would choose to leave the group at the height of their popularity. Maybe Stradlin was just tired of Axl Rose being an asshole? Foley connects Rose with Terry Funk and we’re fully into the serious portion of the promo. Funk used to be the man that Foley could always call up whenever he had a problem, but he can’t do that anymore. He tried going to his mom, but all he accomplished was scaring her with how badly he wanted to hurt Funk. We get some hype for the upcoming Hostile City Showdown match and we’re out. It’s a pretty lowkey Cactus promo, but Funk and Foley are incapable of cutting bad promos in this build-up.

    We cut back to the March 18th ECW Arena show to see Funk using a flaming branding iron on Cactus.

    Backstage is Terry Funk for another promo with the branding iron. To rile Cactus up, he essentially calls Foley a coward, his wife a slut, and Foley’s child being a perfect mixture of the two. Funk wants Foley to bring his best because he’s Terry f’n Funk. No one else is like him! Funk even stumbles in his talking, but manages to save it to the point that somehow the promo only gets better because of the error. Hostile City Showdown - Cactus Jack/Terry Funk II.

    We’re then shown the Shane Douglas vs The Sandman match from Three-Way Dance. Alas, just like on the home video release, the match is just shown in highlights form. Woman turns on Sandman and helps Shane win the match. After the match, we’re also shown both post-match promos with Sandman threatening Woman and Woman claiming that Sandman is nothing without her. It’s not official, but it stood out to me this time that Sandman unofficially announced a rematch for Hostile City Showdown.

    Back to Joey Styles to set-up highlights of the three-way dance between Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit vs Tazmaniac/Rick Steiner vs The Public Enemy in a match where The Public Enemy regained the titles in a disappointing * ¾ match. After the match, we’re briefly shown The Pitbulls attacking The Public Enemy while Styles provides some voice over to announce something, but it’s pretty much impossible to understand what Joey is saying because they didn’t mute the Three-Way Dance tape, so you end up hearing Three-Way Dance Joey and Hardcore TV Joey talking at the same time.

    Hopefully Cactus Jack/Terry Funk II won’t be a disappointment like the three-way dance because like that match, ECW has done a great job at adding excitement for it with these series of promos from Funk and Foley. This week was a bit of a lesser week for the promos, but it’s still Funk and Foley. They’re not going to cut bad promos. Since Hardcore TV is shown in better quality than supershows on the Network, this is the copy that you should watch 2 Cold Scorpio vs Eddie Guerrero from. Hell of a match and way better than nearly everything else WWE or WCW had to offer on free TV at this point. Besides that, the other eventful item on this episode of Hardcore TV was the official announcement of Sabu’s suspension. The next time you’d see Sabu on American TV is when he debuts for WCW in the fall. I love trying to pinpoint chapter marks in ECW history and I feel confident that this is the start of a new chapter. Sabu’s gone, the Malenko/Guerrero series is ready to start, Tasmaniac’s transformation into Taz is coming up, Raven/Dreamer are now in matches with their backstory about to be properly revealed, and Chris Benoit’s marque matches are finished up.

    Hostile City Showdown - April 15th
    (Announced Matches)

    Terry Funk vs Cactus Jack

    The Public Enemy © vs The Pitbulls - ECW Tag Titles

    Raven vs Tommy Dreamer

    Axl Rotten vs Ian Rotten - Viewer’s Choice Match

    911 vs Ron Simmons

  4. #24

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    April 18, 1995

    In the cold opening, Joey Styles welcomes us to the show with a brief, yet effective statement - “Hostile City Showdown is over and the world of professional wrestling may never be the same again.” Since this wasn’t Tony Schiavone saying this, I think this actually creates some good intrigue to find out what happened at Hostile City Showdown when even this extreme company is acting as if it was a big deal.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution.

    Back to Joey Styles roughly an hour after the event from Hostile City Showdown. In a weird explanation that I’m still trying to work out, Styles reveals that tonight’s episode was supposed to recap the events of last week, but after what happened at Hostile City Showdown, all that has changed. Then Styles introduces us to what we would have seen from last week anyways. What?

    Back to Three-Way Dance with Joey Styles at ringside. He brings out Raven’s Nest, which at this point included The Broad Street Bullies. Anyways, Richards reveals that The Bullies have to prove themselves again and if they don’t win tonight, they’re out of the group. That sets up Richards’ surprise reveal of The Nest’s newest team - The Pitbulls. Next up is showing the actual squash where The Pitbulls beat The Broad Street Bullies to cement the swap in the group.

    Back to Joey Styles at ringside with Stevie Richards and Raven. Raven seems pleased with Richards for securing The Pitbulls in The Nest. The next surprise that Richards has for Raven is the debut of Raven’s old fat and ugly summer camp buddy, Beulah. She’s now hot and Raven again is impressed with Richards.

    That transitions into Raven vs Tommy Dreamer from Three-Way Dance. So far it’s their best match together. Raven won after Beulah sprayed hairspray into Tommy’s eyes, Stevie nailed a Stevie Kick, and a Raven DDT on the cement in this *** bout.

    Back to Joey Styles to hype Eddie Guerrero’s TV Title win from last week (Also happening at Three-Way Dance). We’re shown highlights of the match that was shown in full on the last Hardcore TV.

    Backstage, Eddie Guerrero cuts his first ECW promo. He’s super energetic, touts being a second generation wrestler, and promises to stay on top. A pretty generic fiery babyface promo, but it’s always nice seeing new guys get a crack at cutting promos when they’re normally reserved for top guys like Cactus, Dangerously, Douglas, Funk, and Sandman.

    Back to Joey Styles to shift gears towards looking at the ECW World Title program between Shane Douglas and The Sandman. We’re shown a highlight package detailing the feud starting with Douglas making the save for Cactus Jack at Return of the Funker, Woman having to be pulled away from watching Douglas at the March 18th ECW Arena show, and Woman assisting Douglas in beating Sandman at Three-Way Dance.

    Next, we’re shown a short promo clip prior to Hostile City Showdown where Woman promises to either leave with the ECW World Champion or she’ll strip her way down to ECW’s upcoming Florida tour.

    The full Sandman vs Douglas match from Hostile City Showdown is shown. For the second time in a week’s time, Woman turned on her man. This time, it was Douglas being hit with a Singapore cane in the back of the leg by Woman to allow Sandman to fall on top of The Franchise to win the match and the belt in this ** ¼ encounter. Douglas’ tantrum after the match by putting on a Monday Night Raw shirt is also shown.

    Up next is a music video entitled, ‘World Heavyweight Title History of The Franchise’. As you can imagine, it goes over everything Douglas did during this 365+ day reign starting with the NWA World Title Tournament when Douglas threw down the NWA Title and proclaimed the NWA-ECW Title as a World Title. In an interesting move, ECW cites the reign as existing from August 27, 1994 to April 15, 1995. Technically, it’s cited as the ECW World’s Heavyweight Championship, but is this an official declaration that all NWA-ECW Titles reigns, of the three belts, no longer count? That also seems doubtful with how often Mikey Whipwreck’s TV and Tag Team Title reigns are brought up. I get what they were going for, but you just took away Douglas’ claim of being a year long champion! I guess on the other hand, when Tod Gordon first announced the change from Eastern to Extreme, he did say that Eastern was being shut down. It’s a bit of a mess with ECW picking and choosing what they want to carry over from their Eastern days.

    Backstage at Hostile City Showdown moments after Sandman’s title win as Sandman and Woman are immediately approached by Joey Styles for initial comments. Sandman’s buddy, Terry Funk, is the first wrestler to congratulate Sandman on the title win, but then quickly asks when he gets a title shot in a fun nod to Wrestle War ‘89. Sandman defers the question to Woman, which already makes him smarter than Ric Flair was in the same situation. Ron Simmons is the next to approach to congratulate Sandman, who also turns his attention to Woman inquiring about a title shot. Again, proving to be so much smarter than The Nature Boy, Woman is all smiles as she confirms that Simmons will get a title shot, but never states when. Sandman then utters a pretty important message, “Shane Douglas, you say that the marque says wrestling, well as you know it right now, WRESTLING IS DEAD. Long live the NEW ECW Heavyweight Champion - The Sandman”. Woman then asks Douglas, “Who has the power now?”

    Back to Joey Styles to shill the ECW Hotline and the future of Shane Douglas in ECW. Next week, we’ll see footage from a Florida press conference where The Sandman will reveal his first challenger to be Cactus Jack on May 5th.

    Most of this episode was your standard post-ECW Arena Hardcore TV show. All matches shown were just taken from the supershows. I do think that the ECW Arena shows are better when they’re spaced out a bit more. We haven’t even had time to finish looking at Three-Way Dance and ECW is already having to start announcing what happened at Hostile City Showdown. I loved the interview at the end of the show with all of the heels BSing each other in playing nice while readying to turn on each other all for the ECW Title. I love The Sandman’s character with Woman because he’s such a thinking man’s wrestler. It’s a small thing and he obviously won’t be able to blow them off forever, but deferring everyone to Woman and her acting like everything is good without naming when the heels will get title shots is brilliant. Watch this segment and then go back to watch the Steamboat/Flair Wrestle War post-match and it’s startling how much smarter Sandman came across, thanks to Woman, than Flair did. Anyways, since the vast majority of this event is just going over what happened at the ECW Arena shows, it’s a skippable episode if you saw Three-Way Dance and Hostile City Showdown. Still, I really dug that heels meeting at the end.

  5. #25

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    April 25, 1995

    Last week on ECW, Woman did the unthinkable in screwing over Shane Douglas to help The Sandman win the ECW World Title for sorta the first time. I don’t know, it’s a bit complicated. He was NWA-ECW Champion, but I guess ECW doesn’t acknowledge that anymore, even though they acknowledge the other titles pre-Extreme transition. After the match, Sandman and Woman reunited and The Franchise put on a Monday Night Raw t-shirt. Has Shane Douglas left ECW forever?!

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. The final image of the video is no longer Shane Douglas holding the ECW Title with “We <3 Doofus” sign in the crowd, but rather a shot of The Sandman and Woman with the ECW Title. Times are changing!

    Joey Styles opens up the show with hype for what’s to come. We’ll find out more about the new ECW Champion, The Sandman. In addition, we hope to learn more about Shane Douglas’ apparent walkout.

    Up next is what looks to be the full Mikey Whipwreck vs Stevie Richards match from Hostile City Showdown. After Raven interfered, Mikey went to the back and came back with Hack Meyers to even the odds. Mikey ended up winning in this pretty solid ** ¾ opening match. A nice boost for Mikey over the endless Jason feud he was involved in.

    Back to Joey Styles to introduce a segment where we hear from various ECW wrestlers to give their thoughts on The Sandman winning the ECW Title. The Pitbulls call Sandman a disgrace, but they want a title shot. Mikey Whipwreck thinks it’s the worst thing to happen to ECW. He wants a title shot as well. He doesn't seem all that confident that he won't be killed though. Poor Mikey. Cactus Jack believes no one deserves the belt less than The Sandman. Cactus even warns Shane Douglas not to get in his way when he goes after the title. Stevie Richards interrupts Beulah flirting with Raven to inform him about Sandman winning the title. That earns Richards a slap for daring to cockblock Raven. Hack Meyers repeats what Mikey said except not as well. The Public Enemy believes Woman is expensive. Paul E. Dangerously states that The Sandman is merely one choke slam or one suplex away from losing the title to 911 or The Tazmaniac. Back to Joey and he sums it up - everyone believes they can beat Sandman because he's not a proper wrestler. As a reminder, the first title shot will be given to Cactus Jack on May 5th in Florida. Joey believes that Cactus’ best buddy, Shane Douglas, won’t be happy with that news.

    We’re cut back to Hostile City Showdown to see what happened after the Terry Funk/Cactus Jack match. Sandman poured lighter fluid on Cactus with Terry Funk trying to light Cactus on fire with a flaming branding iron. Cactus luckily manages to wrestle the flaming branding iron away from Funk.

    After a commercial break, we’re back to Joey Styles to sum up the difficulties that Tommy Dreamer has been going through in trying to win over the fans and now dealing with Raven. We’re shown a clip from last week with Stevie Richards bringing out Beulah for her ECW debut. Then we’re shown the Raven/Dreamer match from Hostile City Showdown. Although not as good as the Three-Way Dance match, this ** ¾ match was another good one. This match was the first time that Dreamer got his hands on Beulah, even if he technically lost via DQ after DDTing the referee.

    Back to Joey Styles as he claims Dreamer will not rest until he pins Raven. Well fuck, he’s going to be waiting for awhile.

    We then head down to Florida for a press conference with The Sandman. Sandman shares a story from his childhood where his drunk father taught him a lesson before shifting gears and gloating about being the first thing to come between Cactus Jack and Shane Douglas’ friendship. Sandman is just so gleeful that I can’t help but to love this promo. Meanwhile, some woman who claims to represent Shane Douglas issues a statement from The Franchise. He’s still under contract to ECW, but he knows that ECW won’t do the right thing and recognize that Sandman submitted during the Crossface Chicken Wing. As a result, Douglas is being encouraged to look elsewhere for employment. We cut back and forth between Cactus and Sandman with Sandman still cheerful over getting between Douglas and Cactus while Foley is upset with Douglas for being upset when Foley was always told that he didn’t deserve a title shot. According to Douglas’ representative, Douglas is upset that Cactus would choose a title shot over their friendship. Sandman wraps up the show by stating that he’s a role model for children and they should aspire to be like him. Seriously, The Sandman was great in this.

    Another episode mostly just showing off footage from recent ECW Arena events. The plot of the show was the entire company wanting to receive a title shot because Sandman isn't a real wrestler, unlike them. There’s a certain degree of tongue in cheek handling of all of this when Shane Douglas legitimately spent a year hyping up the fact that he was bringing back the sport of wrestling (Even if he did typically suck), only for the next champion to be a garbage non-wrestler. However, that creates some intriguing stories as the roster believably thinks that anyone has a great chance at beating Sandman for the title. I’ve watched a lot of 1994-1995 Sandman and the guy doesn’t win often. In a lot of ways, he’s a lot like an early Cactus Jack where being a violent fighter was more important than wins or losses. Meanwhile, Sandman’s character works well because he doesn’t recognize this flaw that he suffers from. To him, he’s the best because he has the belt. The new issue between Cactus Jack and Shane Douglas has been handled entirely without any on screen input from The Franchise, yet I’m getting into the story. Much like the original Summer of Punk, Douglas is clearly on his way out of the company, but we just don’t know when it’s going to happen, which is what makes the storyline work. Considering he just had a year long title reign, Douglas comes across as such an asshole for questioning Foley’s friendship for putting the title shot before his friend. Yet, if you just listen to Douglas’ side, you can somewhat agree with his claims. Enough rambling though. What’s important is that I’m surprisingly liking where the direction is going for Sandman’s first, but not really, ECW Title reign. With a pair of near three star matches, this was a solid episode of Hardcore TV.

    At the conclusion of each month, I will be providing the Match of the Month (Supershow matches can be included) and my monthly updated recommended matches list that will also keep my rankings of the best matches updated on a regular basis.

    April Match of the Month: Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko (Hostile City Showdown)

    Jim’s Recommended ECW 1995 Matches (*** ¼ and higher)

    Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko (Hostile City Showdown) - **** ½

    Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio (Hardcore TV 01.24.95) - *** ¾
    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs The Tazmaniac and Sabu (Return of the Funker) - *** ¾

    2 Cold Scorpio vs Hector Guerrero (Return of the Funker) - *** ½
    Sabu vs Mikey Whipwreck (Hardcore TV 03.28.95) - *** ½
    2 Cold Scorpio vs Eddie Guerrero (Three-Way Dance) - *** ½

    Al Snow vs Osamu Nishimura (Hardcore TV 01.17.95) - *** ¼
    Chris Benoit vs Al Snow (Double Tables) - *** ¼
    2 Cold Scorpio vs Dean Malenko (Hardcore TV 03.21.95) - *** ¼

  6. #26

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    May 2, 1995

    We kick off immediately with the ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. The opening has been completely updated to only show recent clips instead of keeping really old ones in the opening solely because it featured someone still in the company. However, this can’t be accurate. Some of the clips were from events that hadn’t even happened yet. In fact, the one looked as if it was taken from the Taz/Eddie Guerrero vs 2 Cold Scorpio/Dean Malenko match from Heat Wave in July 1995! I don’t feel like downloading the original telecast of the show to see if this could have been an ECW edit or it’s one of the most random WWE Network edits.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show and promises that this will be a tape collector’s dream as we’ll go back to Hostile City Showdown to watch Eddie Guerrero’s TV Title defense against Dean Malenko! Joey Styles then turns his attention towards Shane Douglas and the ECW World Title situation.

    Last week on ECW, The Franchise’s lawyer reads a statement from Douglas. He knows he forced The Sandman to submit during the Crossface Chicken Wing, but doesn’t have faith that ECW will do anything about it. Despite still being under contract to ECW, Douglas is within his legal rights to look elsewhere for employment.

    Styles then shows a recap of the finish to the Sandman/Douglas match at Hostile City Showdown to try and determine whether or not The Sandman gave up. Looking closely at Sandman’s mouth, you can see him saying anything, but without hearing the audio, there’s really no evidence that he was submitting. That’s my opinion at least. Styles seems convinced that this is proof that Douglas was right all along.

    We cut to an all black room with Tommy Dreamer. His one goal is to score a pinfall over Raven. We’re shown clips of their recent matches with how Dreamer keeps being screwed out of victories. Yet, as focused as Dreamer is on Raven, he’s now distracted by the new ECW Champion, Sandman. If Dreamer can’t beat The Sandman, then he prays that someone can because Sandman can’t remain champion of ECW.

    Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition)

    And this has been an edition of Extreme Encyclopedia (Unabridged 1995 Edition). Yay, I’ve missed this. Eddie gets his first one while Malenko’s is very slightly change to reflect the fact that he’s no longer a champion.

    Up next is the full thirty minute time limit draw between Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko from Hostile City Showdown. I’d guess it’s one of the more watched ECW matches of the year. With a **** ½ rating, it’s going to be difficult to beat out as the ECW MOTY.

    Back to Joey Styles holding a master tape that Stevie Richards gave him. It seems Richards is upset that Dreamer received so much TV time earlier, so he demands some now. We’re shown the contents of the tape and it’s just a music video showcasing the Raven/Dreamer feud thus far. Meh. It’s all stuff I’ve seen tons of times so far.

    Well, I started this review discussing a possible WWE Network edit with the opening video that somehow showed footage from a few months in the future and it seems as if that wasn’t the only thing edited. Clocking in at just thirty-seven minutes long, it’s a really short episode. For comparison, each 1995 episode prior to this one was typically between 42-44 minutes long. It seems as if a Sandman music video was edited off the show. I would say it was edited because it featured linscend music (Metallica’s Enter Sandman), but that doesn’t make sense as the Raven music video at the end of the show originally featured Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. The WWE Network just changed the latter’s song to Raven’s WWE Network dubbed theme. I’m hardly quiet about my dislike for Network edits. What frustrates me the most about them is that while it’s noticeable when something big is edited off of a show, it makes me wonder what small things are being edited off and I’m clueless because the time length is reasonable? Whatever. It could be worse. These WWE Network copies of Hardcore TV could be as dreadful quality as the 1995 supershows have been. Anyways, this was an episode that the vast majority of the time was dedicated to a MOTYC. Kinda awesome. Since the video quality is better than the Hostile City Showdown copy on the Network, you’re better off watching this amazing Malenko/Guerrero match on this episode.

  7. #27

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    May 9, 1995

    Seems like a safe bet that this has some sort of WWE Network edit as it’s thirty seconds shorter than the previous episode.

    In the cold opener, Cactus Jack is backstage before his big ECW Title shot. He doesn’t care about whatever Shane Douglas has to say to him, he’s too focused on The Sandman and the ECW World Title. As Cactus goes to leave the room, he’s stopped by Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. The pair step aside to let Douglas confront Cactus. The Franchise demands that Cactus forfeit the title shot over to Douglas, but Cactus refuses. That’s when the audio is muted while you can see Douglas still talking. When the audio returns, Douglas is in the middle of removing his watch to hand to Benoit, seemingly to fight Foley only for The Sandman to blast Cactus in the back of the head before Douglas gets in a sole punch on Sandman. Benoit and Malenko shoved Douglas into the room to hold him back, I spotted Marty Jannetty at the door, and Woman and Sandman are shown leaving while Woman is claiming, “That’s another deal you just broke.” I have no idea what happened at the end or the deal that Woman was referencing.

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution. Same intro from the future as last week, but thanks to the Florida shows now in the books, those clips are now fair to use in the intro.

    Joey Styles welcomes us to the show backstage at the Fort Lauderdale event. Tonight we’ll see a tag team match with Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. In addition, The Sandman’s first title defense will be shown as he battles Cactus Jack.

    Elsewhere, The Public Enemy are enjoying Florida under a gazebo. We get some gazebo jokes that aren’t as funny as It Chapter 1’s gazebo/placebo joke though. There’s some reservations about whether or not they should be drinking before a big title defense, but The Sandman is always drunk before his matches and look at him!

    Back to JoJo to further hype the upcoming title match between The Sandman and Cactus Jack. Styles then brings up ECW’s recent stop at a Florida nightclub and we briefly see a clip of Stevie Richards making a fool of himself on the dance floor.

    Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Mikey Whipwreck and Norman Smiley
    Screaming Norman! This was supposed to be Smiley and 2 Cold Scorpio, but apparently Scorpio’s international commitments caused him to be late. I’m not sure what happened because Scorpio worked NJPW’s Dontaku against Benoit on May 3rd. Meanwhile, this match was taped on the May 5th in Ft. Lauderdale. Why did Benoit make it, but Scorpio didn’t? Anyways, at this point, Smiley isn’t known to American audiences. He had worked Starrcade 1990 in the Pat O’Connor tag tournament and appeared on some USWA events around the same time period. Instead, Smiley’s success was coming in the form of “Black Magic” down in Mexico and had a couple of tours in Japan with UWF and WAR. Sadly, this is joined in progress and only shown in clip form. What we do get is some fun exchanges between Smiley and Benoit before Mikey plays the face-in-peril. It’s pretty easy to follow the story though as the clips increase over time to the point where we’ll see Mikey being hit with a move and then jump to the next spot against Whipwreck. Mikey was super over tonight though while the Florida fans seemed to prefer the heels over Smiley. What we got seemed to be good though as the underdogs mounted a comeback with Smiley getting the hot tag off camera and nearly having Malenko beaten before he’s rolled up by Benoit to score the pinfall. Other than a rematch the next night, Smiley wouldn’t work another ECW show and it’d be another two and a half years before he became a regular on US TV. Meanwhile, Benoit only has a couple of live event matches left with this being his final televised match in ECW. Shame. At the start of the year, Benoit was so clearly the best heel in the company. **

    Last Week on ECW, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko worked an incredible 30 minute time limit draw over Eddie’s TV Title.

    Back at the extreme party at the nightclub in Florida and Tommy Dreamer is jumped by Raven. They had a big pull apart with Cactus Jack, Stevie Richards, and others trying to separate the two. There was A LOT of bleeping in this.

    Back to Styles and it’s a really weird segment as he brings up how there’s been so many fights with ECW wrestlers out in the real world lately including most recently at the nightclub in Florida between Tommy Dreamer and Raven, but luckily ECW cameras managed to capture it. Was this supposed to air BEFORE the previous segment? It sure sounds like Styles is setting up the clip.

    The Sandman © w/Woman vs Cactus Jack - ECW World Title
    Another May 5th match and as noted, The Sandman’s first ever defense of the ECW Title. Styles just won’t shut up about how weird it is seeing Sandman with the title he had previously held. It also occurs to me that had we not been forced to watch Sandman’s long ass entrance, we would have had enough time to see the full Benoit/Malenko vs Whipwreck/Smiley match. It’s another garbage match between the two, but since it’s Foley/Sandman, they retain their odd chemistry. Early on, Cactus pulled out a cheese grater from his boot to rake across Sandman’s forehead to bust him open. Other weapons in the match included a boogie board (Hey, we are in Florida), a steel chain that nearly scores the win for Sandman, a garbage can that Sandman planted Cactus head first into a couple times, and a table to weak that it broke into piece when Cactus just shoved Sandman into it. I got a kick out of the local referee as he seemed to not be familiar with ECW’s policy of being hardcore. I kept catching him finding the most random reasons to avoid looking at the action so that he wouldn’t see a wrestler use a weapon. Bruh, you really don’t need to worry about DQing anyone. Anyways, while Cactus uses Sandman’s chain to slap on a sleeper, the poor clueless referee is knocked out with a Singapore cane shot from Woman to keep him from spotting Sandman’s arm dropping for a third time. While Cactus is trying to sort out what happened, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko run out to attack Cactus while Styles is confident that The Franchise sent out his Triple Threat buddies. After Foley is knocked out, Woman drags Sandman across Cactus’ body and picks up the pinfall once the referee wakes. I have no idea why I dig these Foley/Sandman matches, but they work well for me. ** ½

    Backstage, Cactus Jack bursts into the locker room to confront Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko for costing him the ECW World Title. In a move that sums up Shane Douglas so well, forces himself in an issue that he wasn’t directly and specifically involved in, and made himself the center of the issue. He yells at Cactus that “He” didn’t lay a finger on him! While the babyfaces hold Cactus back, Malenko, Benoit, and some others have to hold The Franchise back even though again, Cactus came into the locker room to confront Benoit and Malenko, not Douglas! Douglas references Saturday and how easy it’s going to be to become ECW Champion again. That brings in a smiling The Sandman to take a drag on his cigarette and end the show with, “Oh gentlemen, it’s not going to be as easy as you think…” Sandman has become so entertaining since winning the ECW Title.

    Mini rambling time.

    With Chris Benoit working his final televised match, it’s caused me to have my first big realization about 1995 ECW that I didn’t know prior to this project. The original Triple Threat was kinda non-existent. Sure, they had a name, but they rarely ever did anything as a faction. I remember one promo with the three of them together and a couple of times that Benoit and Malenko attacked one of The Franchise’s rivals, but that’s it. Not once did Douglas ever team up with either Benoit or Malenko. I knew that this Triple Threat wasn't as big as the Triple Threat with Douglas, Chris Candido, and Bam Bam Bigelow, but man, it’s not even as close to a faction as the Brian Lee precursor to the Bigelow one. This original Triple Threat was all talk and zero action. In fairness, Paul Heyman may have had bigger plans for them, but the exit of all three men cancelled those plans. Even then, we didn’t even get a single fancam event with the three in a six man tag. Interestingly enough, the three of them wouldn’t even team together for a six man tag in WCW as members of Revolution (Although there were some six man tags with Saturn). The sole time that Douglas, Benoit, and Malenko ever teamed up for a six man tag was at a benefit show for referee, Mark Curtis, back in 1999. In summary, The Triple Threat was just another case of Douglas talking something up without backing it up.

    I’m pleased whenever an episode of Hardcore TV features matches that weren’t just recycled from a vhs release of an ECW Arena event. From what I saw of the tag match, it was pretty good, but I wouldn’t know how much of it was cut out. The main event was another fun Cactus/Sandman match that saw Sandman get lucky again. The show long storyline of Cactus and Shane Douglas’ friendship continuing to be torn apart due to both going after the ECW Title was a mixed bag. The basic idea is good, but Douglas keeps interjecting himself in things that doesn’t even concern him. It almost feels as if there’s an ECW script and then Douglas does whatever he wishes to do. I mentioned the fact that the WWE Network clearly edited something off of this show due to the short length and once it was over, the most obvious removal was any mention of the next ECW Arena show. Enter the Sandman is days away and not a single match has been advertised according to the WWE Network. I’m not even entirely sure if the date was listed either. Checking another review of the show, apparently five matches were announced on this episode. Thanks, WWE Network.

  8. #28

    Re: Jim Goes to the Extreme (Again) - Reviewing ECW 1995

    Hardcore TV
    May 16, 1995

    In the cold opening, Joey Styles hypes the VHS release of Hostile City Showdown 1995! Witness Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko for the first time on US soil! Meanwhile, we’re shown clips of their rematch at Enter the Sandman. This weekend in three cities in Florida, witness three(!!!) Guerrero vs Malenko matches!

    ECW opening video. ECW - Join The Revolution.

    Joey Styles officially welcomes us to the show from Tampa, Florida. There’s more hype for this weekend’s two out of three falls match between Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko over the ECW TV Title. Also tonight will feature Raven vs Tommy Dreamer.

    Last week on ECW, Shane Douglas and Cactus Jack had a war of words over Douglas being unhappy about Cactus receiving an ECW Title shot. Later in the night, Cactus seemingly had the title won before Woman knocked the referee out with a Singapore cane shot. That set up Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko attacking Foley. After the referee was revived, Sandman was able to pin Cactus to steal the victory. Naturally, since Benoit and Malenko are members of The Triple Threat with Douglas, it caused the rift to grow even further between Cactus and Douglas.

    Back to Joey Styles and tonight will feature Cactus Jack challenging The Sandman for the ECW World Title with Shane Douglas as the guest referee. WHAT?! Again?! Joey brings in Cactus for an interview where he believes Woman wasn’t the one who broke Douglas’ heart when she turned on him, but rather losing the ECW Title is what did it. He’s obsessed with the belt which causes Douglas to see Cactus challenging for the ECW Title as being Cactus trying to bang his ex girl. Foley wants Douglas to call it down the middle.

    Raven w/Stevie Richards and Beulah vs Tommy Dreamer - Extreme Death Match
    Huh. I fully expected this show to be filled with matches from Enter the Sandman. Instead, this is from the May 6th Tampa event that was the night after the Ft. Lauderdale event that included Sandman/Cactus in a Falls Count Anywhere match and the Benoit/Malenko vs Mikey/Smiley match that was shown last week. An Extreme Death Match just means the only way to win is by pinfall or submission. So’s every other match in ECW. It’s a pretty by the numbers brawl that you’d expect to find at what’s essentially a house show. Brawling on the outside to kick off the fight included various weapons and Raven getting busted open early. A cheese grater was the main weapon. There’s really not much to say about the match other than that as there isn’t any interference and the match ended abruptly as Raven caught Dreamer in a power slam on a chair to pick up the surprise pinfall. The biggest flaw of ECW, at this point in time, are the repeated match-ups flooding every show, and unfortunately you’re not going to get something different on one of these Florida events. ** ¼

    After the match, Richards tries to be a big man and taunt Dreamer, but suffers and DDT for his trouble. The referee receives one as well while Beulah eats a piledriver. Raven blasts Dreamer in the back with a chair only for Dreamer to make his own comeback. Once Richards recovers, the two-on-one battle is too much for him until Luna runs out for the save. Since this was taped before Enter the Sandman, I suppose this is Luna’s official ECW debut. She and Dreamer cleans house before making out in the ring.

    Backstage, Tommy Dreamer and Luna to cut a promo on Raven. Dreamer acts as if Raven and Luna have a prior history together, but I can’t think of anything. Meanwhile, Luna is tired of being in the background and is ready to be side by side with a man.

    This weekend, The Pitbulls are psyched to be able to challenge The Public Enemy in three straight events over the course of two days.

    The Sandman © w/Woman vs Cactus Jack - ECW World Title
    Boy, this sure is a fresh match-up. This was taped from the May 6th Tampa event. The difference between this and their other matches is that Shane Douglas is the special guest referee. I have no idea why this would air after Enter the Sandman event. This match came across as more of an extended angle than an actual match. Douglas played the role of a really strict referee, trying to force both men to follow the traditional rules. This built up to Woman choking Douglas out with the Singapore cane behind Douglas’ back. Eventually, The Franchise caught her and ordered her to the back. Despite being a fair referee up to this point, once Woman is gone, Douglas was allowed to transform into an unfair referee. Cactus had mounted a comeback and nearly had Sandman pinned a handful of times, but each time Douglas would take too long to count. It got to the point where Cactus unloaded punches in the corner while The Franchise counted eventually DQ’ing Foley for not stopping in time. As a result, Sandman once again manages to retain his title through screwy means. Again, this is the sort of angle/match that works before Enter the Sandman. Not only does it add heat to a future Douglas/Cactus singles match, but it shows off Douglas’ desire for fair referees, which goes hand in hand with his introduction of Fonzie. Let this be the end of this Foley/Sandman pairing. **

    Back to Joey Styles to introduce a highlight package showcasing clips from the full Tampa, Florida event. Boy, it would have been nice to see other matches than just the same ones we’ve seen a million times.

    A completely unnecessary episode of Hardcore TV. Both matches have been shown on TV and VHS releases in recent months including the previous night’s Florida event on Hardcore TV. What makes this show especially pointless is that it aired after Enter the Sandman. Not only does it make some of the events here not so relevant anymore, but it delays the customary ~2 episodes showing footage from the latest ECW Arena event. I’ve clearly dragged my feet in reviewing this show as my previous review was way back in April and the lack of creativity in the selection of match-ups shows why. Heyman may have a product that feels entirely different from what the WWE and WCW were offering, but it’s wasted when you show the same match-ups every week for months.

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