A video package shows Raven walking through a snow-covered residential neighborhood and how he helped Steve Richards beat Hack Myers in the ECW Arena. Then, in an arena’s boiler room he says he is a tortured soul and warns Tommy Dreamer to take heed.
Joey Styles welcomes the audience to the broadcast, where all of tonight’s matches come from the January 7 ECW Arena show.
Opening Contest: Paul Lauria (w/Jason) defeats Mikey Whipwreck after a flying bulldog at 11:02:
As noted in the January 3 review of Hardcore TV, Lauria and Whipwreck were former tag team partners and childhood friends. Jason’s interference helps Lauria weather Whipwreck’s early offensive burst and Lauria uses a fan’s crutch to beat Whipwreck against the guardrail. Even though he is the heel, Lauria does very little to play to the crowd, simply going from move-to-move. Whipwreck wakes up the crowd when a dive sends Lauria over the guardrail and Whipwreck uses a flying body press to fly from the ring into the crowd. Back in, Whipwreck spams roll ups but cannot put Lauria away. Jason gets on the apron, kicks Whipwreck in the back of the head, and Lauria comes off the top rope with a flying bulldog to win the first match of the feud. This had an awkward beginning but both men settled in and put together a pretty good match with a smooth finish. Rating: **½
After the match, Whipwreck pescados onto Jason. He forgets about Lauria, though, who sneaks up behind him and blasts him with a chair.
This week’s edition of Extreme Encyclopedia lets us know that Bad Breed are “uncouth British punks who would rather fight than love…hence the girth. The Pitbulls are “high strung powerhouses with a knack for brawling; Beasts with a lust for blood.”
Joey Styles explains why Chris Benoit is calling himself “the Crippler,” noting his recent efforts to injure Ron Simmons, Sabu, Hack Myers, and 2 Cold Scorpio.
Al Snow beats Osamu Nishimura after a springboard guillotine leg drop at 7:22:
Snow spent more than a decade on the independent circuit before getting a break in ECW. Before debuting, he worked as a jobber for the WWF and helped to train Dan Severn for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Nishimura was a New Japan talent who came to the United States in 1994 on what he called “a learning expedition,” winning Global’s light heavyweight title and losing to Dean Malenko in the NWA’s World title tournament. Snow and Nishimura start with some technical exchanges, with a vocal element of the fan base booing it. Much of that stops when Snow tries a springboard knee drop from the apron and a slugfest breaks out when each man gets frustrated. Snow kicks out of two German suplexes and two missile dropkicks, finding the will to block a suplex, drop Nishmura over the top rope and execute a springboard guillotine leg drop to win his debut. With more time this could have turned into something special. Rating: **¾
ECW Tag Team Champions the Public Enemy give a shout out to Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko for not minding their place as the second-best team in the promotion. Rocco Rock says that the New Generation the WWF is talking about is them. They use a green frog figurine to make fun of Paul E. Dangerously, saying it is not an accurate figure because the mouth is not big enough. The Enemy’s high pitched screeching throughout the promo was annoying and distracted from the message.
Losing Team Must Split Up: The Pitbulls defeat the Bad Breed after Pitbull #1 pins Ian Rotten after a super hurricanrana at 7:17:
The Pitbulls, a team composed of Gary Wolfe (Pitbull #1) and Anthony Durante (Pitbull #2), competed in South Atlantic Pro Wrestling and New Japan before coming to ECW in 1992. Durante left for a few years and returned in 1994 and the duo spent the year feuding with the Public Enemy and Bad Breed, a team made up of Axl and Ian Rotten. The Rottens were fictious brothers with a propensity for blood-soaked brawls and they were veterans of Global, winning the promotion’s tag team titles in 1993. They spent 1994 feuding with the Public Enemy over the tag team titles but never won them. Both teams immediately tear into each other, with Pitbull #2 and Axl exchanging weapons shots near the ring and Pitbull #1 battling Ian in the crowd. One fan noticeably winches when Axl uses a cookie sheet to bash #2 over the head several times near the guardrail and in less than four minutes everyone in the match has color. After #1 eats a DDT on a chair, the Breed go to Superbomb him, only to have #1 reverse the move into a super hurricanrana on Ian and get the pin. As with most of these garbage brawls, it had a hot start and then became repetitive until the finish. Rating: *
After the match, Ian clotheslines Axl and then pulls a chair out of the crowd and beats him with it, kicking off a new feud between the two.
The Last Word: This show demonstrated how ECW had a diverse array of offerings for its fans, giving them two scientific matches and a wild brawl in a one-hour show. It did a good job furthering the Mikey Whipwreck-Paul Lauria feud, building a new one between Axl and Ian Rotten, and positioning Raven as a mysterious figure who hates Tommy Dreamer for reasons we have yet to understand.
ECW ran another Florida show on January 16 in Orlando. The crowd was small but according to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer the fans were incredibly engaged (results courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com):
Orlando, Florida – The Armory – January 16, 1995 (427): Joe Malenko wrestled Osamu Nishimura to a draw…Hack Myers defeated Steve Richards…Mike Whipwreck beat Jason…Ron Simmons & 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko…Kendall Windham beat Prey of the Dead (Horace Hogan)…Cactus Jack defeated the Sandman…ECW Tag Team Champions the Public Enemy beat Sabu & the Tazmaniac.
Backstage News*: ECW’s big plan for its February 4 show is to headline it with a tables match for the ECW tag team title match between the Public Enemy and Sabu and the Tazmaniac. Other matches will be Cactus Jack vs. the Sandman in an Amarillo-style Texas match, Chris Benoit vs. Al Snow, Ian Rotten vs. Axl Rotten, Steve Richards vs. Tommy Dreamer, and Mikey Whipwreck vs. Paul Lauria. There may also be a rematch between Shane Douglas and Tully Blanchard.
*Backstage news provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for January 30.
Up Next: ECW Hardcore TV for January 24!