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ECW Hardcore History

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This week’s review is the second in our series of reviews on ECW’s ‘Best Of’ collection, and this week it’s Hardcore History. Your host is Joey Styles.


[1] Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko defeated Taz & Sabu to win the ECW Tag titles at 10:26 when Benoit pinned Sabu. This match is dated 2/25/95. Malenko and Benoit come to the ring and brawl with Johnny Grunge of Public Enemy, and they attack Rocco Rock, who is in a wheelchair. Tazz and Sabu charge to the ring and brawl with Benoit & Malenko, but Benoit and Malenko take the advantage. Malenko brainbusters Sabu twice for a two count, and then Benoit and Malenko hit him with a Doomsday Device. Tazz makes a comeback and hits lots of suplexes, and Styles accidentally calls Benoit Sabu when Taz germans him. Sabu gets knocked to ringside and Taz gets double-teamed in the ring. 911 takes Tazz away because he’s “injured” by a leglock from Malenko, and Benoit & Malenko proceed to double team Sabu. Sabu makes a comeback with a double dropkick, and then a somersault plancha on Malenko and a tope on Benoit, and then follows up with an asai moonsault on Benoit. Sabu then comes off with a cross bodyblock off the top rope to the floor on both Malenko AND Benoit. Sabu brings a table into the ring, and then sentons off a chair and onto Malenko & Benoit at ringside. Sabu sets the table on top of the turnbuckle and then brings Malenko into the ring. Sabu sets a chair on top of the table and positions Malenko to dive on him or whatever, but when he climbs up on top of the chair, Benoit shoves him off. Benoit brings him up top and then powerbombs him off for three, giving Benoit and Malenko the ECW Tag titles. Public Enemy and Taz come back into the ring after the match and they all brawl. 911 tosses Taz to ringside on top of everyone else, and then Sabu comes off the top with a cross bodyblock. 911 chokeslams the referee twice and everyone brawls to the back. Decent match. (***)


[2] The Gangstas defeated The Eliminators to retain the ECW Tag titles in a cage match when New Jack pinned Kronus at 14:44. The match is dated 8/24/96. Saturn and New Jack brawl into the crowd to start the match as The Gangstas’ music continues to play throughout the opening part of the match. Kronus and Mustafa follow them out. Saturn climbs to the top of the cage and dives to the outside onto The Gangstas while Kronus holds them. Kronus and Mustafa brawl into the cage. New Jack uses a garbage can on Saturn and then climbs over the top and flops into the ring. Saturn follows him in by hitting him with a diving clothesline from off the top of the cage. All four men bleed. Saturn climbs back up the cage and splashes Mustafa from there. New Jack dives off the top with a garbage can and connects it with Kronus. Saturn dives off the top with an elbow onto New Jack. There’s a theme going here, see if you can figure it out. Saturn dives off the top and New Jack hits him with a garbage can on his way down. Shane Douglas comes down to ringside and smashes a guitar over New Jack as he climbs up to the top of the cage. Saturn delivers a splash from the top of the cage onto New Jack. Saturn dives off the cage and runs into a garbage can from New Jack. Again. Saturn climbs back up but New Jack throws a garbage can at him and it hits Saturn and knocks him off the top and through a table at ringside which had been setup earlier. That’s a helluva fall. New Jack grabs a chair and uses it to splash Kronus from the top rope for the three count. After the match The Eliminators and Shane Douglas argue. Can you say ECW garbage spot-fest? (**1/2)


[3] The Pitbulls defeated Raven & Stevie Richards in a double dog collar best two-of-three falls match to win the ECW Tag titles when Pitbull #1 pinned both Raven and Richards at 19:42. This match is dated 9/16/95. Raven starts by himself and Pitbull #1 goes to the back and drags Richards out there and beats him up while doing so. Raven piledrives Pitbull #2 through the table for the first fall. All four men are now in the ring. Richards gets superbombed through a table for the second fall in favor of The Pitbulls, so they’re tied at one fall apiece. The ref gets bumped, then Dudley Dudley and Dances with Dudley come out to the ring and attack the The Pitbulls. Raven and Richards then superbomb each of The Pitbulls, but The Pitbulls hulk up and DDT everyone. They deliver they’re own superbombs to The Dudleys. Raven then gets superbombed through a table, but since the ref was bumped he comes in late for the count and it’s only a two. Two tables are stacked on each other outside and Raven lays Pitbull #2 out on the stack and legdrops him from off the top rope to break the first table, and then splashes him from off the top to break the second table. Stevie Richards then gets put through another table. Richards’ ex-girlfriend comes out and attacks Beulah, but Raven DDTs her. Medics now come out and they stretcher off Pitbull #2. Tommy Dreamer comes out and attacks Raven and pins him to seemingly give The Pitbulls the win and the tag titles at 14:36. Heel ref Bill Alfonso, however, comes out and removes the pinfall, saying that it doesn’t count and Dreamer still has never pinned Raven (that was the angle at the time). Todd Gordon comes out and restarts the match, but Alfonso reinstates the chokeslam (which was suspended in the story at the time) and Big Dick Dudley comes out and chokeslams Gordon. Problem for Alfonso is that 911, who’s trademark is the chokeslam, has been waiting to chokeslam Alfonso for ages, and comes out and does so to a huge pop. Pitbull #1 then superbombs Raven and Richards at the same time and pins them to win the ECW Tag titles. The match itself was maybe ***1/4, but combined with the booking and the finish it gets much higher. (****)


[4] Shane Douglas pinned Pitbull #2 to retain the ECW TV title at 15:28. This matched is dated 8/3/96. The segment starts out with an interview from The Pitbulls, where Pitbull #1 explains that he may never wrestle again because of Shane Douglas “breaking his neck”. Douglas come out and a match between him and Pitbull #2 is on. Pitbull #2 piledrives him early for two, and continues to dominate the opening part of the match, heavily brawling with Douglas. The brawl to the outside, and all around town (not literally, although you never knew with ECW) and back into the ring. A table was setup on the outside and Pitbull #2 gets dumped by Douglas and just skims the table. Pitbull #2 bleeds shortly before this point. Back into the ring Douglas keeps trying to pin Pitbull #2 but can’t, and finally piledrives him onto a chair and goes for the cover, but it still doesn’t work. Pitbull #2 hulks up. They head to the top rope and Pitbull #2 gets crotched on the top rope and Douglas pulls him to the canvas and then belly-to-belly suplexes him for the three count. Douglas bails as Pitbull #2 attacks the ring announcer and then superbombs him and the ref. When the ref was getting bombed he actually prayed on his way down, which was a really nice touch. Otherwise, this was bleh. (**1/2)


[5] Rey Mysterio Jr. pinned Juventud Guerrera in a best-of-three falls match at 16:00. This was really excellent. They spit at each other and trade submissions to start. Rey gets a top rope rana for two. They do the lucha power test-luch-armdrag spot, and they end up going into the ropes on that when Juvi goes for a sunset flip. Rey gets another rana for two, and then Juvi heads to the outside and Rey hits him with a springboard asai moonsault. Rey powerbombs Juvi off the top rope for two. Juvi gets a springboard somersault kick. Juvi ranas Rey off the top for the first three count. We’re now in the second fall and Rey gets a rana for two. Rey ranas from off the top and sends Juvi from the apron to the floor. The ref bends over to check on Juvi while Rey is back in the ring, so Rey sentons over him and onto Juvi on the outside. Back in the ring and a powerbomb and a quebrada each gets two for Rey. Juvi fights back and comes off the top rope but Rey dropkicks him in the air, and then doctor bombs him for three, giving them one fall apiece. Third fall now as Juvi brings Rey to the top rope for what would look to be a dragon rana, but instead he dropkicks Mysterio off the top and to the outside of the ring. Juvi baseball slide kicks him. Mysterio gets dumped into the crowd and Juvi pulls the guard rail closer to the ring so he doesn’t end up landing on it and asai moonsaults over it and onto Rey in the crowd. Back into the ring and Juvi gets a springboard wheel kick for two, and follows up with a springboard somersault senton, but Rey moves and Juvi hits canvas. Juvi dives off the top rope but Rey catches him in mid-air and powerbombs him for two. Juvi is on the outside now and Rey slides out and headscissors him to the floor. Rey uses a chair on Juvi and knocks him over the guardrail and into the crowd. Rey then springboard somersault planchas onto Juvi in the crowd. They brawl all the way to the back parking lot and Juvi powerbombs Rey onto the hood of a car, but Rey jumps off of it with a rana that takes Juvi to the concrete. They brawl back to the ring and Rey again uses a chair. Juvi gets the advantage, though, and takes Rey to the top. Rey reverses a splash mountain attempt into a rana for three. After the match Rey powerbombs Juvi through a table on the outside. Really, fact paced, half-lucha, half-ECW style matchup. (****)


[6] Tommy Dreamer defeated Brian Lee by knocking him off the scaffold at 8:49. The rules to this match are different, to say the least: above the ring is a weakly swinging scaffold, and the ring below is filled with stacks of tables, and the object of the match is to knock your opponent off the scaffold and through the stacks of tables below. That’s a big ouch. Raven attacks Brian Lee, who is looking like a clone of the modern-day Undertaker here, from behind with a garbage can as he’s walking to the ring to start the match. They brawl to the back, they brawl up the stairs. They brawl to the ring, they brawl everywhere. Eventually Lee climbs the scaffolding and challenges Dreamer to come up. Dreamer does, and DDTs Lee on there, and eventually shoves him off and through the tables below in a nasty looking spot, but that was expected. Medics come out to attend to Lee, and that was the entire match. Did I say something about an ECW spot-fest in an earlier match? Well apply that to this one, too. This was basically just an excuse of a match just to do the table spot at the end. (*1/2)


Overall, this tape is really here and there. You’ve got two **** matches and one ***, and everything else is below that, and everything else, ironically, is an ECW-style garbage brawl. But this is actually ECW, after all. Recommended only for fans.


This past week's (newly redesigned) Touch Of Evil has reviews for January's Wrestle-1 show, the 2/3 Raw, the 1/30 Smackdown, the review for ECW's Hardcore History your read above, notes on the 2/4 Smackdown taping, A Look Back at world title changes before 1948, a review for NWA-TNA 2/5, a review of Jerry Lawler's appearance on Off The Record and a preview of Bret Hart's upcoming appearances on that show, plus tons of news, notes, and results from all around the spectrum of pro wrestling and MMA.


Next week's Touch Of Evil will feature an article on how WWE has been gradually morphing into WCW and what they need to do to fix that, reviews for the 2/6 Smackdown and the 2/10 Raw, the 2/12 NWA-TNA PPV. I'll also be starting a review of OVW TV from this past November, and we'll take a look back at Lou Thesz's title runs in the 1940s plus the formation of the NWA in 1948. We'll also have a review of ECW's Path Of Destruction, plus tons of news, notes, and results from all around the globe.


You can get your subscription started by visiting TouchOfEvil.4t.com. Individual issues of the Touch are available for US$2 apiece.



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