Before we go back to 1995, I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to all of those who left some kind words. I was a bit nervous, knowing how brutal the BOD universe can be sometimes, but it seems to me that the article was liked for the most part.
What’s crazy to me is that some even remember channel GTW 48. The small Eastern, PA cable channel didn’t just have ECW…they were a MECCA for professional wrestling. Let me explain.
Staying up until a couple hours after Hardcore TV ended, viewers could also catch Memphis based (and Jerry Lawler owned) USWA. Sadly by the time I figured that out the promotion was on its last legs, being filmed in a TV studio in front of 20 or so fans. Flash Flannigan battling the Spellbinder just didn’t have the same impact sans an arena. Die-hards of the station might even also remember a promotion that I believe was called ICW, which featured a fake Doink and Scott Putski.
In this issue we explore Stevie Richards “Big Suprise” (spoiler; Its Raven), “the Franchise” roams the streets of NYC and Too Cold Scorpio battles everyone’s favorite drunk uncle, the Sandman. Oh and….
“The Horsemen are coming for Revenge!”
With that, I give you the January 10th, 1995 episode of ECW Hardcore TV.
“Shane Douglas, one of the Horsemen might be afraid of you, but this one’s not!”
Tully Blanchard, looking a bit weathered but rocking an awesome sparkling ring jacket starts us off with those words of DOOM. Was he promoting Shane Douglas by making him look like a savage? Or was it a shot at Ric Flair? I’m unsure what terms ‘Natch and Tully were on at this point, but after all of the dick-riding and trash talking Douglas had done towards Flair, it’s a nice touch by Paul Heyman to have Tully ride in.
Joey Styles, in the “newly redesigned ECW Arena”, brings out the man with an identity crisis, Steve Richards. Joey dresses Stevie down and calls him a liar. Stevie confirms there will be no Johnny Polo. There will be no Scotty Flamingo. But there will be….Raven!
Ravens music hits and I swear to you right now I’d pay an additional $5 a month for the WWE Network to stick with the original entrance themes. Typically, Offsprings awesome “Come Out and Play”, would add to this monumental occasion.
Paul was such a visionary, using cutting edge grudge and hip hop acts to get his viewers into the moment. Tommy Dreamer looking intense with “Man in a Box” blaring overhead. New Jack’s “Natural Born Killaz” playing damn near his entire match. Sandman finishing a 6-pack and a few Marboro’s as the entire building sings “Enter the Sandman”. And who could forget the “Desperado” video tribute to Terry Funk?
Heyman utilized a partnership with Tommy Boy Records so well, at one point ECW was getting paid a cool $1,000 an episode every time they played Too Cold Scorpio’s “Whoop There It Is”. Legend has it that when Vince signed Scorpio to become “Flash Funk”, Heyman received compensation for losing out on the Tommy Boy deal (depending on who you believe).
Sorry for the rant, but you might say ECW was the…Rock N Wrestling Connection 2?!?!?! Or at the very least a violent music video.
Enter the Raven. Joey looks completely stunned. Remember, Raven was a brand new character. Raven tells Stevie about the 12 year old kids that are in crack stupers. Parents are abusing their children. He wants eliminations. He was a little all over the map here, but you can really see the seeds being planted that will eventually turn into one of the coolest promo guys of the 90’s.
Past shoot interviews indicate Scott Levy wanted Raven to be a cross between Bodhi from the fantastic “Point Break” movie and Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana. As he ends the interview with Joey, he drops the first “Quote the Raven, Nevermore” line.
As Stevie gets into the ring, we are treated with the same highlight package as last week, showing us a couple wins and then a loss to Tommy Dreamer.
Stevie is wearing a disturbing denim/pink fabric jean jacket with tassels. Here comes Hack Myers, who is wearing an equally disturbing outfit of a leather vest and sailors hat.
Quick highlight video of the Shaw now, as we see that Hack had been a nobody until being discovered by Public Enemy. He picked up some wins and according to Joey, “people were thinking upset when Hack faced Chris Benoit at Holiday Hell 2”. The package ends with Myers getting belly to back suplexed and hurting his neck against “the Crippler”.
Introductions now, as Myers wears a grungy looking neckbrace and is announced from “the Last House on the Left”. Pretty decent crowd support for the ECW faithful.
“The Shaw of ECW” Hack Myers vs. Stevie Richards
Richards immediately goes after the neck brace of Hack and rips it off. More shots to the neck. Richards mullet blows effortlessly in the wind. Swinging neckbreaker for 1 by Richards. Slam and another kick out. Richards looks to be about 154lbs here, with the mullet being the most toned out of all his body parts. Stevie chokes the Shaw in the ropes. Crowd patiently waits for Myers to make a comeback so they can participate too.
Lowblow by Myers and the crowd is ready. “Shah!Shah!Shah!
*claps for themselves* Shah!Shah!Shah!
Richards outside now as Hack drops the leg on the apron. Curb stomp using his knees from the middle rope(!) gets 2 for Myers. Richards rolls back outside. Here comes Raven with the refs attention on Richards outside. Raven loads up his boot and kicks Myers in the face. Stevie rolls back in and pins him.
“You still suck” chant by the arena.
* The Shaw always worked hard and was fun for the crowd, but the match was purely to push the angle.
In the back, Styles tells us about the new bleachers they’ve installed and how packed the arena is. He also knows Raven is a different now and that being in the WW(edited out) will do that to people.
We just saw Hack Myers in a neck brace, and the combination of Malenko and Benoit have been hurting people.
Styles announces they’ve made their TV debut in New York this past week. Speaking of New York, lets check out ECW at Club Expo.
The Public Enemy show up wearing their tag titles.
Bouncer: You gahs walk ’round New Yawk with those thangs?
Rocco Rock: How else you think we keep our pants up?
The Franchise gets out of a limbo blanketed by a four women. A manager meets him at the door. 1 out of 4 *s for the women. Douglas should keep his mouth shut about Ric. On his worst night the Nature Boy wouldn’t be caught with those skalleywags….
Now time for the “Extreme Encyclopedia”. Today’s word:
The smoking wrestler with a propensity for violence; an athlete with no regard for wins or losses
An annexation of the classic American male fantasy of beauty and servitude; a seductive henchwench with an appetite for money.
2 ‘Co’ld” Scor’pio-n.
An aerial criminal whose high-flying actions break the laws of gravity and human comprehension
Back now with Shane Douglas and his crack whores grinding at the club. Shoot to Joey Styles who tells us this episode is being viewed by the most markets in ECW history.
Back to club Expo with Joey and Douglas. Shane tells us he stopped at Goldfingers, where he picked up these “beautiful women”(disease filled strippers). Someone from Philly PLEASE tell me Goldfingers is still a thing down there.
Here’s Ron Simmons from another location, still wearing an arm sling and a stupid haircut. He tells us his final shot is in Florida on the 14th and he’s got some surprises for Daveys Arena in Ft Lauderdale.
Back to the ring and 2 Cold has the Mic. He challenges Malenko and Benoit. They answer the challenge as Scorpio says Dean “ain’t shootin’ on me!” The two future Radicals enter the ring and man does Benoit look young. He slaps 2 Cold and the three start brawling. Joey immediately knows Scorpio is in trouble as the tide quickly turns.
The crowd is HOT for the Crippler and Shooter combo (Joey officially drops the “Cripplin’ nickname in favor of the better “Crippler” for Benoit). They start chanting “Whoop There It Is” to mock the face 2 Cold as he gets his ass stomped out. Todd Gordon and some refs are out now to make sure Scorpio doesn’t get injured like Simmons, Myers and Sabu before him.
Although Scorpio in down and hurt, and the Commish is out there, looks like the Sandman still wants his scheduled match.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. The Sandman
The Sandman walks around ringside smoking as Joey freaks out that Scorp is in no condition to wrestle. Sandman and Woman pose and Joey keeps telling us Scorpio is in big trouble. Sandman can’t be bothered to attack though, as he jaws with the ham and eggers at ringside. Scorpio is still down. Woman enters the ring and looks evil…but absolutely gorgeous as well. Bell rings and Sandman hits a delayed vertical suplex, almost dropping Scorp on his head. Sandman takes his time and hits a scoop slam. Sandman will fly, as a top rope leg drop connects but there’s a kick out at 2. Sandman tosses him out. Finally 2 Cold fights back with some right hands. Super kick to the side of the Sandmans head. Scorpio grabs a chair and jumps off the apron and cracks the Sandman. Back in the ring and Scorp gets caught with a chairshot. Sandman misses a charge and eats some forearms. Off the top with a splash but no cover from 2 Cold. Another top rope splash misses. Sandman sports a busted lip. Out of nowhere 2 Cold hit a moonsault for the 1-2-3.
* Decent but the crowd was kind of dead. So was the Sandman. Surprisingly, the arena didn’t even pop for the surprise win by 2 Cold Scorpio.
Sandman is not happy and wacks Scorpio with a couple of cane shots. Here come Benoit and Malenko back out and suddenly the crowd is awake again. Sandman leaves and Benoit hits a drop kick. Crowd chants for Sabu.
And then the episode just ends.
Not sure if the ending was an error by the Network or if that’s just how the show ended. I would lean towards the latter.
This show was all about furthering the important angles. We were teased last week with an upcoming Tully Blanchard title shot, but aside from a 5 second quip at the start of the episode, he wasn’t mentioned. Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit kicking ass remain the focus of the promotion, which is a good thing, along with a sprinkling of the champion Shane Douglas and a debut of a future legend, Raven.
We really see where the promotion was at through the first two episodes. You have your guys that have achieved some success at a higher level (Ron Simmons, Shane Douglas, Scorpio, and Raven), the guys who are just bursting at the seams with talent (Benoit and Malenko), the wildcards (Taz, Mikey Whipwreck, Sabu, 9-11, Public Enemy, the Sandman), the has beens (Tully Blanchard) and the never will be’s (Paul Lauria, Don E Allen, Hack Myers).
Next week we get Mikey Whipwreck vs. Paul Lauria, the debut of “the Snowman” Al Snow.