The SmarK Rant for NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling – 01.04.94
Wheel of Network randomness, turn turn turn. We’ll try some ECW today, although I CAN’T EVEN with the 93 stuff, so let’s start at the beginning of 1994, at the dawn of the Heyman era as it was starting to get more recognizable. I will say, this is typically a hard show to review because it’s all over the place from a stylistic perspective, but I guess that’s part of the charm. We’ll see where things take us.
Immediately there’s a LONG intro sequence, running about 2:00 with an overdubbed guitar theme, showing various highlights thus far.
Taped from the Bingo Hall.
Your host is Joey Styles, who is in the production booth, although “production” is a stretch at this point. They put a “Presented in the most complete form possible” warning at the beginning of the show and it literally looks like someone’s third-generation VHS dub from RF Video.
We get some highlights of Terry Funk in 93, with clips of a chain match against Eddie Gilbert at “Super Summer Sizzler” and Funk beating Snuka to win the TV title in October. Later on, he loses the TV title to Sabu at November to Remember ’93 and then climbs up to the Eagle’s Nest and apparently threatens to jump off, or something. Honestly, the video and audio quality are so poor that it’s hard to tell what’s going on.
Later, after more choppy editing, Funk introduces Axl & Ian Rotten as his backup and beats up a jobber dressed as Sabu until Paul E. comes out and cuts a promo about how much he hates the Funks.
Hey, you can get into the Bingo Hall for half-price this week if you kept your ticket stub from Holiday Hell! Sadly, I lost mine.
ECW title: Sabu v. Terry Funk
Interestingly, the future 911 is playing a generic handler for Sabu at this point, before the character started morphing into Paul’s bodyguard specifically. Sabu attacks Funk and they immediately fight to the floor, but Funk hauls him back in and tosses him outside onto a table. We’re clipped to Funk hitting a piledriver for two, but Sabu comes back with Air Sabu in the corner and the moonsault for two. Back to the floor and Funk gets a bodypress off the apron, and we continue clipping the match as Sabu gets a chinlock and the crowd wants blood. Funk finds a table and runs Sabu into it, but it breaks, and then Sabu whips him into the remains and Funk goes bumping over the top. Back in, Sabu slams him on the remnants of the table and tries the moonsault, but Funk gets the knees up and puts him in the spinning toehold. Hilarious that it’s still a deadly finish in ECW, the Wild West of wrestling. Paul E. comes in and breaks the phone on Funk’s head to save his man, but then Shane Douglas comes in, and the lights go out, and when they return Funk is on top and wins the ECW title at 9:39. Hard-worked match and you can really see where they were going with the direction of the company here. ***1/2
And now, a special look at the ROUGHNECK, Mr. Hughes.
Next up, jobber Ted Oates (who I think was the guy dressed up as fake Sabu earlier) upsets The Pitbull (Gary Wolfe, aka Pitbull #1) and gets beaten down as a result. Thankfully, heroic babyface the Sandman makes the save, and then Pitbull kicks his ass as well and breaks his arm. So Sandman (and then-wife Peaches) cuts a yelling, very un-Sandman-like promo from what appears to be a mini-golf course about how he’s going to get revenge on Jason and Pitbull at the upcoming Saturday show. He was definitely working out the character at that point.
Next up, we take a look back at the year for Shane Douglas, as Sabu beats him for the ECW title, which splits up the Dangerous Alliance and sends Shane off on his own. So he pretends to be Tommy Dreamer’s friend and then turns on him to cost him the tag titles, and now he’s challenging for the ECW title again THIS SATURDAY.
Paul E. cuts last muffled promo for the big show THIS SATURDAY and we’re out.
I’m gonna have to jump ahead another year if I’m gonna keep going with ECW. This period is nearly unwatchable. Like, literally, the poor quality audio and video renders it too difficult to watch.