What the World Was Watching: Hostile City Showdown ’95

Joey Styles is doing commentary for this show, which took place at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer, about 1,000 fans attended.

Opening Contest:  Mikey Whipwreck (w/Hack Myers) (3-2) beats Steve Richards (w/Raven) (1-2) after a hurricanrana at 7:36:

Myers serves as an equalizer for Raven, who trips Whipwreck when he runs the ropes less than a minute into the match.  Richards is arguably the biggest heat magnet in the promotion as the ECW diehards hate his guts, loudly booing him during ring introductions and after he botches a blind charge spot.  The match is dull as Whipwreck works a long hammerlock and hits a miracle hurricanrana to go over.  Rating:  *

After the match, Raven attacks Whipwreck so Myers comes to his aid.  This leads to the Pitbulls coming out to aid their master and the babyfaces on the receiving end of a four-on-two beatdown until the Public Enemy make the save.  Johnny Grunge then picks Myers pockets and freaks out that he only has two dollars.

Tsubo Genjin beats Tony Stetson (0-1) after a leg drop at 59 seconds shown:

Genjin was a Japanese talent who worked for Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi.  He wears silver and black facepaint and is dressed like Jimmy Snuka.  Genjin and Stetson fail to win the crowd over, probably why ECW home video cut straight to the finish.  Genjin drops some weak knees and a leg drop and is showered with boos after the bell.  According to Meltzer, this match was booked because Genjin was in a Japanese film and they wanted footage of him winning in the ECW Arena.

Axl Rotten tells fans that it is up to them to decide what kind of match he is going to have with his brother Ian.  They do not want an “I Quit” match, loses leaves town, strap match, or baseball bat match.  Instead, they cast their ballot for a match with a barbed wire baseball bat.  Axl decides to give them that and all of the weapons he brought to the ring in a trash can.

Bad Breed Death Match:  Ian Rotten (1-2) beats Axl Rotten (2-1) after a chair shot to the head at 9:06:

Since fans want the barbed wire bat it would have made sense to build its use but instead, they start using it within a minute of the opening bell.  There is little wrestling to speak of, just weapon spot after weapon shot and both men take turns having barbed wire stuck on their bodies.  For the finish, Ian wraps barbed wire around Axl’s head and hits him with a chair.  This warrants a half star for the punishment each man took.  They are going to need to do something big to blowoff this feud.  Rating:  ½*

Styles interviews Raven, Steve Richards, and Beulah McGillicutty.  Richards reveals that McGullicutty used to weigh 300 pounds and had bad acne.  Dreamer allegedly treated McGillicutty terribly and Raven treated her well.

Raven (w/Steve Richards & Beulah McGillicutty) beats Tommy Dreamer (4-2) via disqualification when Dreamer DDTs the referee at 7:30:

Like their match the previous week, Dreamer and Raven immediately take the match into the crowd and an interesting choice of weapons are utilized:  a kitchen sink, a toy dinosaur, and a dozen eggs.  Up to this point, Raven’s DDT is only effective if used on the concrete since three of them fail to put Dreamer down for the count.  Dreamer manages to turn that move against his nemesis, only to have Richards interrupt the count.  Dreamer then DDTs the referee, getting disqualified, and gives McGuillicutty a piledriver as the crowd roars in approval.  This was a poorer version of their match from Three-Way Dance.  The post-match antics will help the feud continue, though.  Rating:  **

Television Championship Match:  Eddie Guerrero (Champion) (1-0) wrestles Dean Malenko (0-1) to a time limit draw at 25:53:

This match would begin a hot rivalry between Guerrero and Malenko over ECW’s secondary title.  Both men throw their best at each other, with Malenko working the left knee for a while and Guerrero managing to work through the pain of that to run through a super hurricanrana, dive to the floor, and frog splash off the top.  There is also a great battle over moves, with each man exchanging a brainbuster on the other and then tussling over whether Malenko can lock in the Texas Cloverleaf.  A hot series of near-falls finishes with Guerrero scoring one from a springboard hurricanrana and a sunset flip to counter a Malenko electric chair drop effort off the second rope and the thirty-minute time limit expires five minutes early.  To nitpick, Guerrero could have sold his knee more as the match neared its conclusion, but this was still an amazing piece of technical wrestling that helped both men get contracts with WCW by the end of the year.  It also sets up a highly anticipated rematch between the two down the road.  Rating:  ****½

ECW Championship Match:  The Sandman (0-5) beats Shane Douglas (Champion w/Woman) (4-0) when Woman interferes to win the title at 7:50:

Douglas had been ECW champion for over a year by this time, having won the title at Ultimate Jeopardy in March 1994.  The Sandman’s face turn has been well received as ECW fans chant for him to whip Douglas throughout the contest.  Although Woman provides a distraction, the Sandman lures Douglas into brawling with him on the floor and in the ring.  Douglas avoids the Bitchin’ Leg Drop and puts the Sandman in a crossface chicken wing, but Woman turns on him by hitting him in the ankle with a Singapore cane and the Sandman falls backward on his opponent to win the title.  Horrible finishing trope since Douglas should be smart enough to release the hold and avoid pinning himself.  Not to mention, the Sandman was checked out on parts of the match, creating some botches.  The result makes the Sandman the first wrestler to win the ECW title since the promotion was rechristened as Extreme Championship Wrestling.  Rating:  *½

After the match, Douglas throws a chair and puts on a Monday Night RAW t-shirt, further angering the fans in attendance.  He gets on the house mic, says he desires to go to a place where he can wrestle, and walks out of the ECW Arena.

ECW Tag Team Championship Match:  The Public Enemy (Champions) (3-1) defeat the Pitbulls (w/Steve Richards) (3-1) when Rocco Rock pins Pitbull #1 with a schoolboy roll up at 16:39 shown:

Even though both teams are brawlers, there appears to be some sort of gentlemen’s agreement that they will wrestle under conventional tag team rules.  Doing so does not play to the Enemy’s strength, though, and Johnny Grunge looks terrible trying to lay into the Pitbulls after Rocco Rock is put through a table on the floor.  Pitbull #2 almost drops Rock on his head during a running powerslam effort as well.  Instead of a hot tag, the teams brawl into the crowd and get color.  Pitbull #2 sports the best cut of them all.  The match loses its cohesion and although Johnny Grunge and Pitbull #2 have a decent encounter inside of the ring, Grunge putting his adversary through a table with a slingshot splash off the second rope means little.  The eight minutes of outside brawling culminates in Rock blocking the superbomb finisher with a hurricanrana but misses the Drive-By on Pitbull #1.  Grunge then nails Pitbull #1 with a chain to the back of the head and Rock rolls up his opponent to help the Enemy retain the titles.  There was some good brawling here, especially near the end, but the match needed to be structured better rather than have everyone aimlessly battle for half of the time it was given.  Rating:  *½

911 (w/Paul E. Dangerously) beats Ron Simmons (1-2) after a chokeslam off the second rope in 28 seconds shown:

911 was a Larry Sharpe trainee who first entered ECW in January 1994 as an enforcer for the Dangerous Alliance, a group that also included Sabu, Taz, and Dangerously.  His 6’8” frame helped him stand out on a roster with men who were much shorter.  Although limited in the ring, ECW got him over by chokeslamming jobbers, referees, and other wrestlers stupid enough to call him out.  Only the finish of this match airs, with 911 chokeslamming Simmons off the second rope when Simmons tries to superplex him.  This was 911’s biggest career win to date and helps him recoup some of the street cred he lost when Simmons beat him down at Three-Way Dance.

Cactus Jack (4-0) beats Terry Funk after a DDT on a chair at 13:03:

Funk literally wears his distaste for Jack on his attire, with the back of his shirt reading “Cactus My Ass.”  Jack dares Funk to face him in the crowd and the two brawl near to the broadcast position, where Jack goes through a table when Funk moves out of the way of the Cactus Elbow.  Weapons brawling dominates the rest of the match and it is tough to put up with that again since almost every match on the show except for the opener and Eddie Guerrero-Dean Malenko used that style.  After smashing Jack in the face with a bottle – it takes three attempts to break it – Funk closes in for the kill and he dispatches of Mikey Whipwreck and Hack Myers when they try to stop him.  Funk goes for the spinning toe hold, which Jack blocks and follows up with a DDT on a chair, and then the finish is messed up when the Sandman attacks Jack too early.  So they have to redo the spot and attack so Jack can get the pinfall.  Some have praised this brawl, others find it mediocre.  I found it to be underwhelming, hurt largely by other acts up and down the card doing much of the same stuff.  Rating:  **

After the match, the Sandman wears out Jack with a Singapore cane and pours lighter fuel on him.  Funk comes out with a flaming branding iron and pours fire toward Jack.  However, if the Sandman put lighter fuel on Jack, it does not ignite.  Jack rolls out the ring and eventually gets the branding iron from Funk, causing Funk to flee to end the show.

The Last Word:  Eddie Guerrero-Dean Malenko was excellent and stands well above anything else this show had to offer.  The Sandman winning the title was a small upset, if only because he had yet to win a singles match yet in 1995.  The Woman turn to give him the title was unexpected, if only because of the vitriol that she and the Sandman expressed toward each other right after Three-Way Dance.  Based on the ending to this show, it appears that Cactus Jack will be the Sandman’s first challenger.  Those two have had good matches before, so that might get the Sandman’s title run off to a good start.  In terms of the overall card, this was slightly better than Three-Way Dance if only because the main event was not a disaster.  But the last two cards have been nowhere near as good as Return of the Funker in February.

Prior to Hostile City Showdown, ECW held a house show in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.  Here were the results of that show, courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania – The Flagstaff – April 14, 1995 (350):  Taz pinned Steve Richards…Dean Malenko beat Mikey Whipwreck via disqualification…ECW Tag Team Champions the Public Enemy defeated the Pitbulls in a barroom brawl match…Ian Rotten beat Axl Rotten in a strap match…Tommy Dreamer pinned Raven…Shane Douglas & Cactus Jack defeated the Sandman & Ron Simmons when Jack pinned Sandman.

Backstage News*:        Shane Douglas is telling people that he is headed to the WWF, but is likely not headed there immediately because ECW is still considering him to be part of their promotion.

*Sabu is in ongoing discussions with Dennis Coraluzzo and Eric Bischoff.  He is working with Coraluzzo and Phyllis Lee to start up an independent promotion in Michigan, booking himself and reigning NWA Champion Dan Severn for a May 19 show in Kalamazoo.  While some think the WWF should be on Sabu’s radar, he is not interested in working for them because they would want to change his name and gimmick and would not allow him to work for New Japan.  Sabu and Paul Heyman had discussions on April 11 where both sides came to an understanding and it is not anticipated that future ECW broadcasts will bury Sabu.  This could open the door to Sabu’s return in the future.

*The reason that the promotion is not relocating from ECW Arena to Penn Hall in Philadelphia despite the increased seating capacity is because of the cost of the venue and how ECW would have to pay $5,000 for the rights to videotape matches there.

*Backstage news provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for April 24.

Up Next:  ECW Hardcore TV for April 18!