What the World Was Watching: ECW: Barbed Wire, Hoodies & Chokeslams

Joey Styles does commentary for the show, which took place at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 17.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the card drew a crowd of 1,150 fans.

Opening Contest:  Tony Stetson (0-3) pinned the New Jersey Devil after a series of fists in 16 seconds:

The New Jersey Devils beat the Philadephia Flyers four games to two in the NHL playoffs a few days before this show, so this match is a play on that outcome.  Stetson is billed as the Broad Street Bully and wears a Flyers Jersey.  Stetson throws off his hockey gloves after the bell and pummels the Devil, earning a quick win.

After the bell, the Devil hits Stetson with his hockey stick and pounds away.  That brings out 911 and Paul E. Dangerously, with 911 planting the Devil with a record four chokeslams as the crowd voices its approval.

Mikey Whipwreck (4-2) beats Val Puccio after a DDT at 3:12:

Puccio outweighs Whipwreck by several hundred pounds.  A trainee of Johnny Rodz, he wrestled for the Boston-based International World Class Championship Wrestling (IWCCW) from 1989 to 1991, teaming with his twin brother as part of a duo called the Undertakers.  They eventually sold that name to the WWF and were able to go on a few house show tours with the company between 1991 and 1994, wrestling under the name Double Trouble.  However, they found no success.  The ECW faithful shower Puccio with their negative opinion about his weight and they get more riled up when Puccio dumps Whipwreck on his head out of a lockup spot.  Selling a shoulder injury, Whipwreck spams low blows and triumphs with a DDT.  Just another nothing match at the top of tonight’s card.  Rating:  DUD

The Vampire Warrior pins Hack Myers (2-2) after a DDT at 2:34:

The Warrior was David Heath, a Boris Malenko trainee who was so committed to his vampire gimmick that he got dental implants to mimic a vampire’s teeth.  He also grew his eyebrows out to look spookier.  After wrestling in the Florida independents, the Warrior worked for Stampede Wrestling and won the tag team titles with Tom Nash as part of a masked tag team called the Blackhearts.  The duo also competed for Tri-State Wrestling, Herb Abrams’ Universal Wrestling Federation, and All-Japan before splitting.  As a singles, the Warrior appeared in the USWA in 1993, where he won the Southern Heavyweight title, and then wrestled as an enhancement talent for the WWF as the Black Phantom until July 1995.  What helped the Warrior land a gig in ECW was that his wife, Luna Vachon (who was once married to Nash), was being booked so they were a package deal.  According to interviews, the Warrior gimmick was the brainchild of Heath and Vachon.  Both men rush through their offense, with the Warrior diving onto Myers on the floor and Myers dropping a leg from the apron while the Warrior is over the bottom rope.  A Myers blind charge causes him to fall victim to a DDT and that is all she wrote in under three minutes.  Styles says that the Warrior must have learned the DDT from Raven or Tommy Dreamer.

After the match, Steve Richards tells Dreamer that the Warrior is in their camp because he is tired of Dreamer touching his woman.  The two men start brawling and we have an impromptu match.

Tommy Dreamer (w/Luna Vachon) (4-4) beats the Vampire Warrior (1-0) after a jumping DDT at 6:59:

The brawl between the two happens largely near the entrance set and announce table, with chair shots busting each man open.  Vachon tries to interject herself in the match early, but the Warrior refuses to heed her demands to lay off of Dreamer and threatens to mix it up with her on multiple occasions.  A table is dragged into the ring and Dreamer eats a DDT on it.  However, the Warrior’s efforts to do another on a chair is countered with a backdrop and Dreamer uses the chair to do a jumping DDT for the win.  So much for mixing up the finishes in tonight’s matches.  Average brawling and average action beget an average rating.  Rating:  **

Commissioner Tod Gordon is interrupted by referee Bill Alfonso.  Gordon says ECW will be run as he wants it to be run, but Alfonso begs to differ and the two get into a shoving match.  ECW officials, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Cactus Jack pour into the ring and hold Gordon back.

911 (w/Paul E. Dangerously) (1-0) defeats Jim Steele after a chokeslam in 36 seconds:

Steele had left WCW the year before and was looking for work elsewhere to go along with his employment by All-Japan.  Prior to going to WCW in 1993 he worked on the Florida independent scene and the USWA.  He has a jungle man gimmick that is a mix of Jimmy Snuka and the Ultimate Warrior and the crowd despises it.  And when ECW hates something then it is time to call 911.  Steele hilariously builds up momentum in his corner before charging across the ring at 911, but 911 just steps to the side, chokeslams a groggy Steele, and gets the pin.

The crowd is not tired of seeing 911 chokeslam people tonight, so that earns Steele four additional chokeslams.  Dangerously dedicates the additional chokeslams to various people, including WCW’s Renegade and referee Bill Alfonso.  Before leaving, Dangerously grabs a crowd sign that says Alfonso is “Vince’s Boy.”

Beulah McGillicutty (w/Raven & Steve Richards) beats Luna Vachon in three seconds after Richards hits Vachon with a chair:

Styles puts over how Vachon is going to destroy McGillicutty, but that does not come to pass as Richards blasts Vachon in the back with a chair behind the referee’s back and McGillicutty covers right after the opening bell.  After the match, Raven and Richards beatdown Vachon and when Tommy Dreamer tries to make the save, he gets blasted with a chair and Raven breaks his fingers.  After that, Raven handcuffs Vachon into a crucifixion position but when he tries to bash her with a chair, Dreamer takes the shot to the head.

2 Cold Scorpio & Taz (w/Paul E. Dangerously) defeat Raven & the Pitbulls (w/Steve Richards) when Taz pins Pitbull #2 after an overhead superplex at 14:16:

Tommy Dreamer was supposed to team with Scorpio and Taz but the antics at the end of the previous match leave him in no condition to compete.  Hack Myers tries to take Dreamer’s place, but Bill Alfonso refuses to allow that.  The heels have more unity, with Scorpio initially trying to go it alone and falling victim to a three-on-one beating until the repacked Taz makes his entrance and suplexes everything.  The conventional flow of a tag match follows, with the heels never truly asserting their three-on-two advantage.  Scorpio flattens Pitbull #2 with a moonsault after the hot tag, only to have Pitbull #1 break it up.  Then things go off the rails with a female fan at ringside (the future Francine) mugging for the camera with a Richards sign.  Raven gets mad at Richards flirting with the woman so he pushes him toward the locker room, and as this goes on Scorpio and Taz cannot agree on how to set Pitbull #2 up for the finish.  Eventually, Taz catches #2 with an overhead superplex when the latter is mugging on the ropes, producing an off-kilter finish for the bout.  Rating:  *

The next match is supposed to feature the Public Enemy defending the ECW Tag Team Championship against Axl Rotten and a mystery partner.  Despite feuding with his brother Ian this year in a series of death matches, Axl picks him as his partner.  Bill Alfonso runs in to put a stop to that, though, because the Bad Breed lost a match to the Pitbulls months earlier where the losing team could never team again.  Axl protests, but eventually decides to brawl with Ian to give the fans their money’s worth.  The Enemy dance until the Gangstas make their debut and lay waste to the champions.  The beatdown goes on for a long time and even a table refuses to cooperate, collapsing before the Gangstas can do a Rocket Launcher on Rocco Rock.  The attack is only stopped when Philadelphia police hit the ring with Tod Gordon and arrest the newcomers.

Barbed Wire Match for the ECW Championship:  The Sandman (w/Woman) (5-5) defeats Cactus Jack (5-3) when Jack cannot continue at 17:34:

All of the ring ropes have been replaced with barbed wire rather than having barbed wire laid over conventional ring ropes.  Jack’s record of getting good matches out of the Sandman continues as he bumps like a madman on the wire, taking a chest-first suplex across it in the early going and then gets crotches on the wire closest to the hard camera.  There is also a comedy spot when Jack pulls the Sandman’s shirt over his head and he drapes himself over the ropes out of habit, only to endure the pain of the wire.  The bout features a good balance of wire spots, brawling with weapons, and conventional wrestling moves but the finish ruins everything.  Jack appears to have the title won when the Sandman cannot get up for a ten count.  However, Bill Alfonso shows up again and refuses to recognize the title change because there is nothing in the ECW rulebook that allows a title to change hands under those conditions.  When the match is restarted, the Sandman chokes Jack with the barbed wire and tosses him to the floor and Alfonso arbitrarily decides that Jack cannot continue and stops the match.  Rating:  **½

Afterward, Commissioner Tod Gordon comes out to argue with Alfonso, but Alfonso decks him.

The Last Word:  This was easily the worst ECW show this year, littered with bad finishes and throwaway matches.  It seems like the whole purpose of the card was to put heat on Bill Alfonso.  That gimmick is great but by the end he seemed to overstay his welcome, ruining a main event that could have single handedly rescued the show.

Backstage News*:        Paul Heyman has been called once a week by Sabu but no deal has been brokered to bring him back.

*Backstage news provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for June 26.

Up Next:  ECW Hardcore TV for June 20!