The SmarK Rant for NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling – 08.30.94
(Originally written 03.29.18)
OK, as suggested by the readership, we jump ahead to the finals of the NWA World title tournament, as I get the most special-est present ever for my 20th birthday…lucky me.
Taped from the Hall of Bingo.
Your host is Joey Styles
Thankfully the VQ is much, much better at this point in the show’s run.
Doink the Clown v. 911
Joey notes that “Paul has had experience dealing with clowns in his career” as the crowd immediately wants 911 to “Kill the clown”. I’m not sure who was playing the clown at this point, but I don’t think it was Borne and Ray Licachelli would have still been under contract to WWF. Doink tries to run away, and of course 911 throttles him and kills the clown as promised, with three chokeslams at 2:00. “One clown down, Bischoff and McMahon remain,” notes Joey.
Dear god, what have they done to “Thunderkiss”? Someone cut Rob Zombie a damn cheque already.
Singapore Cane match: The Sandman v. Tommy Dreamer
Sandman was slowly morphing into the slob we all know and tolerate, while Tommy was still playing the American Males-style pretty boy that the fans hated and resented. Clearly, something had to be done to change the character. Sandman was on a rampage of caning people and Tommy kept sticking his suspenders into Sandman’s business, so the loser here has to take 10 shots with a cane. I haven’t watched the original tape in a while – was Tommy using “Man in the Box” at this point? Whatever it was is overdubbed with something vaguely grungy, so maybe. Tommy attacks to start and he’s immediately smashing Sandman in the face with chairs and throws him into the guard rail. Back in, he takes forever setting up the DDT, but Sandman thumbs the ref in the eye on the way down, allowing Woman to come in and cane Dreamer into a Sandman DDT for the pin at 1:52. I’m assuming this was clipped all to hell for TV. Joey is OUTRAGED that this miscarriage of justice might stand, and Tod Gordon comes out to restart the match in the interest of fairness. However, Tommy signed a contract, so he’ll take the cane. And Sandman gleefully MURDERS his back with that cane, just laying them in. Woman keeps offering Tommy the chance to end it if he’ll kiss her feet, but Tommy keeps taking the shots as even the crowd is getting uncomfortable and can no longer boo someone willing to take that. Related: They ALMOST accomplished this exact thing with Roman Reigns taking a beating from Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania whatever that was, but then couldn’t follow through. Tommy’s back is brutally welted up and bleeding and you can tell the crowd is really turning the corner on Tommy. The crowd is silent is a really scary way, not 205 Live silent but “Oh shit, what are we watching?” silent. Tommy’s famous “Thank you sir, may I have another?” pretty much made him into the character he played for the next two decades and counting. And after all that, he’s still standing and giving Sandman lip, and the crowd finally forgives him.
NWA World title: Shane Douglas v. 2 Cold Scorpio
OK, so ECW was a member of the NWA in 1994, for whatever that meant, with Dennis Corraluzzo as the main guy behind the paper promotion, and their plan was to have Chris Benoit win the title tournament, but Paul E. pitched Douglas as the champion, promising that the show would give the title lots of exposure and then it would mean more when Douglas dropped the belt to Benoit right away. So Corraluzzo gave Shane a contract on the way to the ring for a standard agreement with the NWA, with a promise to lose the belt to Benoit and make however many appearances on NWA-affiliated shows around the country.
Douglas was already ECW champion at this point, and beat Tazmaniac and Dean Malenko to make it to the finals, while Scorpio beat Benoit and 911 (with the clown angle paying off as Matt Borne and Shane “Doink” Douglas team up to get 911 counted out in revenge for earlier). Joey is in full SUPER SERIOUS announcer mode here, being fully reverent to the NWA name and stuff. Shane takes him down and wraps him up in a leglock, but Scorpio reverses him for two. They do some pinfall reversal stuff to continue the complex façade that was being played out at the time. They fight on top and Scorpio comes off with a cross body for two and goes to a chinlock. Scorpio goes up with a missile dropkick and puts Shane on the floor with a baseball slide. They fight into the crowd and Douglas suplexes him onto the guard rail and back in with a suplex for two. He misses a springboard crossbody and Scorpio gets an ugly tombstone and goes up to finish, but misses the moonsault and the belly to belly ends it at 12:48. Boring match. **1/4
And then afterwards, they do their pretend promo on each other to set up the “rematch”, and then Shane gives his victory speech, where he thanks Lou Thesz, the Briscos, Flair, Funk and Steamboat…and then famously throws down the belt and tells them all to kiss his ass. The NWA died seven years ago, you see, and Shane declares himself the first ECW World heavyweight champion instead.
So backstage, Corraluzzo was Corra-losing his shit, and Paul Heyman smoothly greased the wheels by telling him that this was all an angle that wouldn’t air on TV, and was just to put heat on Shane. And then it aired on TV three days later and everyone realized that Paul played EVERYONE, and Shane wouldn’t be defending the NWA title, ever, and Benoit wouldn’t be winning it, and ECW was no longer a member of the NWA.
Corraluzzo cuts a promo on Shane on the way out of the building, promising to strip Douglas of both titles.
And the show closes with Tod Gordon double-crossing them AGAIN, folding Eastern Championship Wrestling, and launching Extreme Championship Wrestling for the first time, with the Public Enemy spraypainting the new logo.
You certainly can’t say this wasn’t historic, although it was a shit show from a wrestling standpoint. But you can definitely see how a bunch of cynical, disenfranchised hardcore fans who were being fed crap like twin Undertakers and WCW champion Hulk Hogan would go nuts for it. So we’ll see where the adventure takes us with this one!