The SmarK Rant for ECW November to Remember 95 – 11.18.95
Taped from the ECW Arena
Your host is Joey Styles
Oddly, this one is filed under “ECW PPVs” on the WWE Network. I guess because they added it long before they had a “ECW Supershows” sub-section.
I have of course seen this one MANY times thanks to my tape trading days, but last time I actually reviewed the show was something like 22 years ago. And since we just did the pertinent issue of the Observer, let’s have another look at the show.
Don E. Allen v. The Broad Street Bully
Your special guest ring announcer: Buh Buh Ray Dudley, who is looking resplendent in his tuxedo jacket and overalls. So the gag tonight is that he does a full speech without any trouble, and then tries to say “Let’s get ready to rumble!” and lapses back into his stuttering. So he beats up the jobbers instead and gives them both the Buh Buh Bomb. The idea of a stuttering powerbomb is a cute one (he has trouble lifting people up for the move because he “stutters” while he’s doing it) but the Buh Buh character had a short shelf life and the D-Von storyline saved his career.
Paul E. Dangerously joins us and turns out the lights, as we get the return of Sabu and they bury the hatchet. Of course, the fickle mutants immediately forgive him after months of chanting “Fuck Sabu”. This is intercut with Joey Styles telling us how amazing the return was, which I guess worked for the TV version but is totally obnoxious on something meant to be watched in one shot.
Jason, the Sexiest Man on Earth v. Konnan
So our special referee for this one is Taz, to establish that he’s in the building and working as a troubleshooting referee tonight. ECW won’t let him wrestle because he’s still injured, so he’s just here to enforce his will. So Jason gets in his face and Taz tells him to “keep his fucking hands off him”. Surprised that didn’t get bleeped! So Taz decks Jason and Konnan pins him with the crucifix bomb at 0:16. That’s how I like my Konnan matches!
Stevie Richards v. El Puerto Ricano
Stevie of course is rocking his “RSPW Sucks” t-shirt after endearing himself to the internet, but he meets future hetero life partner Blue Meanie in the front row and gets a Flock of Seagulls shirt out of the deal. Ricano hits him with a dive while he’s modelling the new shirt and then hits a moonsault for two in the ring. Ricano with a missle dropkick and then he hits Meanie with a tope suicida, but Stevie trips him up to take over. Richards with the StevieBomb and he calls Meanie into the ring to finish him off with a moonsault, but that misses to begin a longtime running joke, and Ricano gets a rollup for two. But then he walks into the StevieKick and gets pinned at 2:49.
The Eliminators v. The Pitbulls
OK we’re finally getting into the meat of the show now after the goofy undercard matches. I never got the “Original Mad Dogs of War” tagline that Joey always harped on for the Pitbulls. Reminded me of “The Return of the Curse of the Creature’s Ghost”. Like, were there other mad dogs of war and they needed to legally distinguish themselves? Saturn and Pitbull 1 take turns slamming each other and no-selling to start, but Pitbull 1 slugs him down in the corner and it looks REALLY bad. Like he was barely making contact. Over to #2 and he comes in with a flying elbow for two, and then powerslams Kronus. Kronus comes back with a dragon suplex and they put #2 on the apron for a Saturn forearm off the apron and moonsault press to the floor. Back in, Kronus gets a legdrop and backdrop suplex for two as the crowd is kind of clapping politely but they’re mostly just having a normal match and it’s not particularly interesting. Given all the crazy stuff they’d do in the future, by this point I’m like…
The Pitbulls trap Kronus in the corner for some abuse, but #2 misses a splash and hits the floor. Back in, Saturn drops a flying elbow for two and gets some impressive hangtime on it. Top rope rana gets two. They put Pitbull #2 back on top, but 2 fights back with a powerbomb on Saturn for two. Kronus takes the ref and Jason runs in for a legdrop on #2, but #1 gets the hot tag and cleans house. Saturn with the TIGER BOMB on Pitbull 2 as Dave Meltzer’s head explodes. Pitbulls hit the double team neckbreaker off the top on Kronus, but Jason makes the save and the Pitbulls beat him up as well. And this sets up the SuperBomb on Kronus to finish at 10:41. Of course by the same time in 1996, the Eliminators had caught fire, but here they were just another goofy Jason team there to do the job. This was an OK, mostly un-notable match that didn’t even have a real heat segment. **1/2
Mexican Death Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. v. Psicosis
Joel Gertner is in his glory doing the announcing en espanol. Psi misses a dropkick and Rey flies to the top for the flying rana and gets the first pin at 0:31. Psi of course answers the bell and we continue. Rey takes out the leg, but he charges and gets dumped to the apron, then takes Psicosis to the floor with a rana from there. Rey tries to launch himself off the railing, but he slips and falls for a bad looking botch, and Psi hits him with a chair and sends him back in for a missile dropkick. That sets up the moonsault for the pin at 2:25. Rey barely manages to answer the bell, so Psi dropkicks him into the corner and then slams him on the top turnbuckle. Snap powerbomb gets the pin at 3:53, but Rey pulls himself up again. Psi keeps coming with a corner splash and runs Rey into the corner a few times and follows with a Tumbleweed legdrop for the pin at 5:27. Rey makes it to his feet again, so Psi hits him immediately with a shotgun dropkick and brings a chair into the ring. Hey, he’s stealing that other guy’s gimmick! DDT on the chair and he goes up and moonsaults the chair onto Rey for another pin at 6:53, but he won’t stay down. So Psi dropkicks the bad knee and hits another moonsault, but this time Rey puts the chair on his knees to block it. Psicosis bails to the apron, so Rey hits him with a springboard clothesline and then a crossbody into the front row and follows with an insane Asai moonsault out there. So they fight to the back of the arena as Rey throws chairs at him and climbs to the Eagle’s Nest and comes down with a rana for the pin, leaving him laid out there. Rey sprints back to the ring, and obviously Psicosis can’t make it back to the ring in time and gets counted down at 11:46 to give Rey the win. They definitely had better ones before and after this, but Rey was working on a really bad ankle here so it’s perfectly understandishable. ***1/2
Afterwards, Jason hits the ring and offers his managerial services, but Rey attacks him, prompting the Eliminators to hit the ring and lay him out. So then 911 makes the save, giving us the famous visual of Rey riding around on his shoulders. Although we know who ended up the bigger star out of THAT partnership.
ECW World tag team title: The Sandman & 2 Cold Scorpio v. The Public Enemy
Goofy stip du jour: Whoever scores the pinfall gets a shot at Mikey Whipwreck’s World title tonight. Plus if either Public Enemy member pins Scorpio, they get his TV title too. But of course, before the match we get a DANCE OFF. Sandman clearly wins that one, causing Rocco to fall on his ass in shock. And then just as it seems like they’re gonna shut down the show and party instead, the champs attack and we’re off. Public Enemy fights them off and clears the ring, so that they can finish their partying. So after all that, we actually start the match, with Grunge putting Sandman on the floor with a hiptoss and Rock following with a dive. Sandman does his lumbering dive back into the ring with an elbow and everyone grabs chairs for a showdown and they fight into the crowd for a bit. Scorpio borrows a prosthetic hand from a fan and uses that on Johnny in the ring, but Grunge kicks Scorpio in the nuts a few times. Let’s face it, that’s a far more dangerous move for the person delivering the low blow. Meanwhile, Rock hits Sandman with a pumpkin pie outside. Grunge has managed to get completely busted open in the ring somehow, so Woman hauls Sandman back to the apron and he comes in with his drunken master slingshot dropkick on Grunge. Rock comes back in and trades tilt-a-whirl moves with Sandman, but Sandman hits the slingshot legdrop and Scorpio follows with a slingshot splash. Scorpio with a sideslam on Rock, but he misses a dropkick and Rock gets a bit of a comeback. Scorpio puts him down with a superkick, however, and follows with a butterfly bomb for two. Sandman comes in and drops elbows on Rock in a very nonchalant fashion, since he was probably thoroughly fucked up here anyway. Woman gets some shots on Rock with the cane, but Grunge fights with Sandman on the floor and backdrops him onto a table. It doesn’t break, so Sandman suplexes Grunge onto it and that does the trick. Rocco follows with a slingshot plancha onto Sandman, who was already prone on the broken table and so can’t even catch him. Back in the ring, Scorpio goes up with a moonsault on Rock for two. Finally Grunge gets the hot tag but Rock comes in and hits Rock with the Drive-By accidentally and Sandman pins him at 15:57 to win the title shot. Man, Public Enemy looked DONE here. The crowd just stopped caring by the time we got to the 10:00 mark. *1/2 Sandman is out cold after the win, so Scorpio pours beer down his throat and he revives for the celebration while TPE meekly leaves the ring, on the way to WCW soon after.
Tod Gordon v. Bill Alfonso
So this was the final blowoff of the brilliant Fonzie storyline, with Shane Douglas creating the biggest villain in ECW history by actually having a referee who enforced rules. Beulah is guest referee here just to add to the wackiness. Fonzie attacks before the bell and they immediately fight in the front row, where Bill stomps him down and then heads into the ring to yell at Beulah. She gets in his face, so Fonzie gives her a hilarious clothesline, completely lacking any kind of control of his limbs, and she’s down and out already. Tod makes his comeback and slugs Fonzie down while the crowd does the “Shah / Shit” gag for them. Fonzie’s selling is hilarious, as he’s like Octodad come to life, flailing everywhere. Tod chokes him out in the corner and looks like he’s about to deliver a broncobuster, but does a flying stomp instead. So Bill goes low to stop the perturbed pawnbroker, and then goes out to cut a promo on the crowd about how it’s hard being a referee. This gives Gordon a chance to hit him in face with a chair and then ram him into it multiple times while Fonzie just gigs himself clear as day, not giving a shit. Gordon gives him the open hand strikes to work on the cut and runs him into the post, and back in for the frying pan. Alfonso steals it, but Gordon goes low and hits him with the pan, with no ref of course. So Taz comes out to make the count, but then stops at two and turns on Gordon, putting Bill on top for the pin at 6:00. Shockingly entertaining. *** And then, in the moment that led us to the first ECW PPV, Taz does the all time bitter promo of a lifetime, bitching about how no one cared when he was injured and no one called asking about him. And it especially pissed him off when “everyone was pissing and fucking moaning about Sabu” and he EXPOSES THE BUSINESS by talking about some guy named “Paul Heyman”, who has a “fat lawyer father” to pay the bills for him. Who cares about Taz? BILL ALFONSO DOES. The crowd just loses it at that point, and continues their verbal abuse, so Taz just goes over and kicks Tod Gordon’s dead body in the head just to twist the knife further. Also hilarious: WWE leaves all the “fucks” intact, but bleeps out “WWF”. People in the front row are trying to jump the railing and attack him, so Taz gets a classic line about how he’ll beat the shit out of anyone who tries, and then after he does it, “Bill will take you out!”
So yeah, that stuff was the absolutely height of Heyman’s booking powers, especially the way he got out of Alfonso as a referee and turned his heat into managerial heat instead here. However, and this is a scorching hot take so I hope you’re wearing oven mitts while scrolling, the Path of Rage went on too long because he didn’t know when to pull the trigger on the Sabu match and kept waiting for the PPV. Anyway, this was a great promo, especially if you’re only familiar with Taz from his WWF stint and you’re wondering where the dangerous rep came from, and it was extra effective at the time because it was like Charlton Heston finally speaking in Planet of the Apes after years of basically being silent.
ECW World title: Mikey Whipwreck v. The Sandman
Nope, as it turns out Steve Austin attacks Sandman in the aisle and drops him on the railing with a stungun before popping open a beer to mock him. Man, who would ever buy STEVE AUSTIN as a beer drinking badass? That’s just stupid. So with Sandman out, thanks to the transitive property of title matches in ECW, we get…
ECW World title: Mikey Whipwreck v. Steve Austin
Austin lays down the law: His name is Steve Austin, and tonight Mikey’s name is “Eric Bischoff”. Oh man, he’s not messing around. Also, he wants to hear his own name announced as the champion, not Hogan’s name and not Flair’s name. And then of course he really would end up as the biggest star of them all! Austin lays him out on the floor and beats him down in the corner before dragging him around the ring and whipping him into the railing outside. Back in, Austin goes for the throats of the fans by hitting a big boot and legdrop for two. Mikey retreats to the floor and Austin drops him on the railing again, but Mikey fights back while Austin claims that his arm is still injured. Back in, Mikey goes after the arm, but walks into the stungun and that gets two. Austin gets frustrated and slugs away in the corner, but Mikey gets a sunset flip and pulls the tights down, getting the pin at 4:48 to retain. The assumption was that Austin would win the title here and hold it long-term, so clearly him losing clean meant that he had a different destination in mind. **
Sabu v. Hack Myers
Sabu slugs him down and goes for the leg, then hits the slingshot legdrop for one. He works the arm and we get some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, and Sabu gets a leg lariat for two. Corner clothesline follows, but Hack fights back with a powerslam for two. He goes up with the kneedrop/facebuster, but Sabu is in the ropes, which I guess is the one rule that’s enforced in ECW. They fight to the floor, but Sabu brings him back in for a guillotine legdrop and they slug it out. Sabu pops up with a hurricane DDT and that gets two. Hack comes back with a backdrop, but Sabu hits him with a leg lariat to put him on the floor and then follows with a diving rana out there. Back in, Sabu with a victory roll for two. He goes up and gets cut off by Hack, who grabs a chair from a fan (AND the guy’s jacket!) and beats on Sabu with both items before going up for another try at the kneedrop. Sabu slams him onto the chair, but Hack won’t stay down, so Sabu takes him to the floor with a rana and then puts him on a table and puts him through it with a dive. So then Paul E administers the last rites to Hack, but Sabu decides to let him back into the ring. Hack is still moving, so Sabu hits the Atomic Arabian Facebuster with the chair and that finishes at 13:00. Nice of him to not just completely gobble up Myers, even though he probably should have. This is also probably Hack’s best ever match by quite a wide margin. ***1/2
Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk v. Raven & Cactus Jack
Sadly, this is going to be one of Funk’s last matches as he heads into retirement.
OK, so it’s apparently a REALLY long road to retirement.
Anyway, Cactus Jack wins the internet by wearing a Dungeon of Doom shirt to the ring, to the disgust of Joey Styles. Jack and Raven hold the ring while the babyfaces try to win “King of the Hill”. Much like Obi-Wan and Anakin, it’s an impossible fight for them because the heels have the high ground. They finally storm in and everyone slugs it out and they head to the floor. Into the ring and now the craziness begins as Funk just dumps a garbage can full of weapons into the ring. Stevie tries to interfere, so the faces throw him In a shopping cart and run him into the ringpost in that. Back in the ring, Dreamer plays Jack Valenti and smashes a VCR over Raven’s head (WORTH A GOOGLE!) while Funk beats on the referee with a dustpan. We get some literal cheese grater action from Dreamer as Raven is now busted open, and Funk of course gets a toilet seat hung around his neck because of course he does. It actually reminds me of a funny story in Al Snow’s book where he talks about working an indie show with a bunch of midgets, and having to dive from city to city with them while they chugged down entire cases of beer, including the midget driver who had blocks tied to his feet so he can reach the pedals. At one point the van was veering off the road and nearly went flying into the guardrail, and Al’s thought was that this would be how he died, and his obituary would read “Pro wrestler Al Snow dead due to flaming car wreck with a van full of drunk little people”, to which his friends and family would respond “Yeah, that sounds about right.” Anyway, this match is the flaming van full of drunk midgets. They fight to the floor again and Raven sends Dreamer into the railing while Jack organizes the weapons in the ring. Back in, Jack lays out Dreamer again and pulls off his Dungeon of Doom shirt, revealing his even more awesome “Forgive Me Uncle Eric” shirt underneath. Dreamer comes back and pulls the picture of Bischoff over Jack’s face and they do a gag where Dreamer punches “Eric” in the face and smashes a chair on his head. What’s Dreamer’s problem with Bischoff? Did he pitch a tag team with Marcus Bagwell and get shot down? Dreamer beats on Jack with the trash can, but gets taken out by Raven, and Jack hits Funk with a DDT on a chair. The referee is long gone so that means nothing. So Cactus makes his own count, which only counts if you’re Junkyard Dog in 1985. This brings out Taz and Bill Alfonso to count the pin, but that doesn’t count either. So they leave and Dreamer hits a bunch of DDTs on Raven while the ref FINALLY revives, and Dreamer steps aside to let Funk have the pin on Raven at 14:00 before he retires for good, forever, amen. This had potential to be a hilariously violent and transcendent brawl, but they just ran out of ideas about halfway through and the match lost all its steam. Still fun most of the way, but it didn’t seem like they knew how or when to end it. ***
Overall, this could have worked as their first PPV if the stars had been aligned for Paul E. at the time. As it is, this is obviously one of their best shows up and down the card, with some of the most memorable moments in their history, and it’s well worth checking out.