Picone Presents: ECW Hardcore TV Jan 3, 1995

It’s funny, as you get older everything starts to change. I can’t even watch Sportscenter anymore, because I don’t give a damn about debates on controversial subjects. I just want to see some highlights for the love of God.

Raw has certainly not changed, in that its basically been the same show with the exact same characters for the last 5 years. I guess it’s be careful what you wish for.

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That being said, my 9 year old daughter is a huge Bayley fan, so I guess marketing to a 33 year old white man is not in the cards for the WWE, but what they are doing is hitting their target audience.

Being a subscriber the the WWE Network has done nothing but make me compare the Attitude Era to everything else. I find myself wishing for chair shots, characters that were badass, and announcers who sounded like they were calling the 4th quarter of the SuperBowl every Monday.

Which brings me to this column. While undoubtedly being a WWF/WWE fan for almost my entire life, the Saturday Night back in 95′ when I channel surfed to GTW 48 and found ECW’s Hardcore TV, made me a WRESTLING fan.

I’ve been a visitor to all the major IWC websites throughout my time on this earth. 1Wrestling, Scoops, Online Onslaught were my early favorites, and these days it’s mostly BOD and 411mania. One thing that’s missing, in my screwed up head, are ECW reviews. So, starting with the January 3, 1995 Hardcore TV episode, I’ll try my damnest to review all major shows, TV Shows and PPVs, hopefully up until the death of the company.

What I hope to do is come across hidden gems, guys I haven’t thought about in years and awesome interviews over the Pulp Fiction music.

Lets kick it off. With help from the WWE Network, I give you the first episode of the year from 1995, as the Public Enemy battle Taz and Sabu, and Shane Douglas challenges former WCW champion Ron Simmons, brought to you from Philadelphia’s EC-Dub Arena.

ECW Hardcore TV #89 : January 3, 1995

Joey Styles welcomes us to Extreme Champioship Wrestling. Tons of stuff going on but first we head to the ring as Mikey Whipwreck walks down the aisle.

Mikey Whipwreck vs. Dangerous Don E Allen

Mikey is wearing his usual 90s Dragon T-shirt and pink tights. Back to Joey as he lets us know that “Cripplin” Chris Benoit and the Shooter Dean Malenko have injured Ron Simmons by dislocating his shoulder. God I loved Dean Malenkos “the Shooter” nickname. As much love for Dean Malenko’s alias, I feel quite the opposite about Don E Allen’s “Dangerous” moniker. Although he did once make the PWI 500 list….coming in at 500.

We JIP as Mikey hits a side Russian Legsweep and follows with 3 leg drops. Shoot back to Joey Styles while the match is going on to let us know that the State Athletic Commision won’t let the “All American” Ron Simmons compete tonight.

Back to the match as Mikey hits a Bulldog off the top for the 3 count.

Result: Mikey Whipwreck wins with a 2nd rope Bulldog. Edited to shreds, no rating.

Styles continued pushing that today was Mikey’s one year anniversary in the sport. They throw to a video of Shipwrecks first year highlights which are basically him getting squashed by Taz, 911, “Awesome” Mike Awesome, Public Enemy and Mr Hughes. Really, they didn’t show him getting one offensive move for the first 2 minutes before they highlight off him beating one of the Pitbulls with a fluke upset for the Tag Titles. They also explore his relationship with Cactus Jack. Mic Foley was always awesome in trying to get guys over.

After the package, they do a terrible sounding interview ringside, and Paul Lauria who is conveniately sitting in the first row, throws a cheap shot. Paul is sitting next to ICW favorite Hawian Shit Guy for a frame of reference to my readers.

For those who are wondering just who in the blue hell Lauria was, he was a guy who used to set up the rings with Mikey, and looks to be about 5’6, 145. I don’t remember him doing much in the business besides fueding with Mikey in 95′, and either does the almighty Google, as he doesn’t even have a Wiki page. From the best of my research, he now “works at a restaurant”.

Lauria smacks Mikey around ringside for a minute, and announces his new manager, “the Sexiest Man Alive” Jason, who is probably fresh off of jobbing on Monday Night Raw to Typhone or Adam Bomb. Jason defines the 90s with his sweet, sweet, mullet and leather jeans, complete with half a bottle of baby oil on his chest.

Time now for a ECW promo showing extreme moments, set to no doubt the lamest generic rock music ever. Taking out the original music KILLS the product.

Taking it backstage (or Paul E.’s grandmas basement), Jason explains his charges actions, although the fantastic baby oil covering his body has now disappeared. ECW spent a lot of effort over the years giving Jason T.V. time, with really nothing on their return. Joey tries his best to sell an upcoming Lauria vs. Whipwreck match. Joey ways tried, you’ve got to give him that.

Cut the the Sandman (w. Singapore Cane and lit Marlboro) and Woman, letting us know on Jan 14 and 16 in Florida that Cactus Jack has no chance.

Back to Joey now as he holds the contracts of the biggest title defense of “the History of ECW” (© Tony Schiavone) and promises viewers that the challenger will be revealed by the end of the show.

Again, “Crippling” Chris Benoit (not a typo, that’s what Joey is calling him) is shown breaking Sabu’s neck, and more hype for this Saturday Night as Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and the Public Enemy will face off against Taz, Sabu and 911 in a 4 on 3 match. As a 12 year old kid, I thought 911 was the greatest thing ever. PWI gave him a lot of love in their magazine’s.

Last week on ECW we saw Hack Myers vs Chris Benoit. Playing on the “Crippling” gimmick, Benoit suplexed the Shaw of ECW and he does a stretcher job. Of course, Dean Malenko has to be a dick and flip the stretcher over.

Benoit screams into the mic, although I can’t make out what the hell he was saying. Big Sabu chant as Taz and Sabu(with extreme neckbrace) confront them in the ring and get attacked by the Public Enemy. I’m under the impression that Sabu shoot broke his neck, and I can’t believe he was still wrestling. These guys were really drinking Paul E.’s KoolAid at this point.

A bunch of birds come out to separate the fight as Malenko and Benoit watch from the ring.

Back to a previous interview with the ECW Tag Team Champs Public Enemy in an alley, but is most likely the parking lot behind the arena. ( I have a fantastic story about being in that parking lot that I’ll tell on day.)

Public Enemy sports leather coats, round sun glasses and dreads. At this point they were being heavily recruited by both the WWF and WCW, possibly being the hottest free agents in wrestling at that time. They received a tryout at Survior Series 95′ in a dark match against The Smoking Gunns, but they ultimately chose to take the guaranteed money WCW was offering, picking up a cool $156,000/3 year deal. Of course, when they got there they were exposed as a Paul E. project via smoke and mirrors.

P.E. is now on their way to the ring. The match must have been taped around XMas time, as they have matching red and white baseball jersey and short combos, and Santa hats.

The Public Enemy vs. Sabu and Taz w. Paul E. Dangerously (taped at Holiday Hall 95′)

The match is No DQ like it matters. The two teams immediately start brawling, and we end up with Sabu and Grunge in the ring. Spring board moonsault by Sabu gets 2. Slam and top rope moonsault also gets 2. Sabu sends Grunge out and flies over the top onto him. In the ring Taz hits Rocco with a Tazplex. Referee Jim Molinaro is having a tough time keeping up with the match and is late on the 2 count as Rocco gets a foot on the ropes. We are clipped now and suddenly a table is set up outside with Rocco Rock on it. Grunge gets him off, but is hit with a chair by Taz and put through it by a backflipping Sabu. Belly to Belly by Taz in the ring, but Rocco gets his foot on the ropes. Fast forward again to Rocco in the corner as Sabu sets up a chair. Air Sabu connects. Taz, still in the shoeless point of his career, covers for two and then we get another belly to belly as Joey Styles calls the match and simultaneously busts a nut in his pants. Sabu gets whacked with a frying pan. Taz also eats a frying pan shot. P.E. are both busted open at this point. Fast forward for a third time and now Sabu and Rocco are heading up the bleachers as Grunge lays some shots to Taz with a chair. Belly to Belly again (Suplex City?) and Grunge gets his foot on the ropes for a third time. Rocco has a hockey mask going through the crowd.

Joey Styles reminds us of the times by saying “No one told him there was a lockout!!”

Arabian facebuster by Sabu. Middle rope Arabian Facebuster.

We push forward again as Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, wearing a pair of awesome Zubaz, hit the ring. Double DDT on Sabu.

Fast forward AGAIN and Joey says the match is over but Sabu refuses to stop fighting. Finally 9-11 hits the scene. He no sells a bunch of punches and double chokeslams Benoit and Grunge. The match just ends and we go back to Paul E. cutting a promo in front of the ECW banger.

Double DQ(?) in a No DQ Match (?) Hard to rank because of all the editing. This wasn’t the Networks fault because this is what ECW did on most of the TV shows to get their audience to buy the tapes of the entire card. In the original version, I’m sure an ad played as soon as they cut from the match on what to order to see it complete. Operating on a tiny budget, it was smart thinking by Heyman.

** Basically just a set up match for the upcoming Saturday.

Paul E. is in front of the ECW banner in the back. He holds a smaller cell phone than usual and has a Mic with the generic E-C-W letters on it. He promotes the upcoming 4 on 3 match.

Joey now lets us know that YOU can party with the ECW wrestlers this Friday in NYC at Club Expo. Call the hotline for more info. That had to have been a WILD time. Funny story about the ECW Hotline. I once called in with my PWI almanac in hand and won the trivia contest only to have never been sent my prize. Adding insult to injury, I caught an ass whooping from my Dad for running up the phone bill. Maybe that should have been adding Injury to Insult instead.

Back to the ring as a super young Stevie Richards, or as Joey lets us know, aka Stevie Flamingo, gets a win over some guy with a superkick. Clips are also shown of Stevie “upsetting” JT Smith with his foot on the ropes. You might remember Smith as the black guy in the FBI, or even more humorously, the guy who intentially would fall off the top rope or blow spots so the crowd could chant “YOU F*CKED UP! YOU F*CKED UP!” Not that great of a wrestler, but he definitely found his niche.

Apparently Richards had also been going as “Stevie Polo” and “Stevie the Body”, and lost to Tommy Dreamer at a recent show. Joey tells us that Stevie is so pissed at losing, he’s bringing in the real Johnny Polo next week to help him. This kicked off one of the greatest feuds in history and is also your “Understated Storyline of the Week” (sorry Scott).

The Franchise Shane Douglas vs The All American Ron Simmons

Back to the ring as Shane Douglas, balls deep in his great “the Franchise” run, hits the ring presumably to find out who his non ECW contracted challenger would be this upcoming weekend. That quickly changes as Ron Simmons comes out in a sling, jeans and cowboy boots. Simmons still wants his shot at the belt so he cracks Shane with the mic and the bell rings. Simmons goes ham on “the Franchise”, although he only has one arm he can utilize. I’ve always kind of been annoyed with Simmons “fro that covers the ears” haircut. I’m not sure why, but it bothers me. Kind of like the Rock’s wrestling in a track suit era, or whenever Tommy Dreamer takes his shirt off.

Simmons continues to wipe the floor with Douglas, but I don’t like Simmons chances knowing what Douglas would do to Pitbull 1’s neck stabilization device in the years to come.

The sling gets ripped off as Douglas whips the All American with his belt. Douglas, in great heel fashion, seems to enjoy hurting the former world champ, and eventually rolls him up for the 1-2-3 after about 3 minutes.

Shane Douglas wins with a rollup. *

Joey now reveals to the camera that he is authorized to announce Shane Douglas’s opponent this Saturday. He opens the sealed envelope and it’s…….

Oh my gawd!

Shane Douglas will defend against….

Tully Blanchard!!!

I remembered these shows as cluttered, but still a real change of pace from anything WCW or WWF were doing. That is what still holds true today. I wasn’t prepared for so little actual wrestling, but I’m sure it will change Week to Week.