Highlights of Tommy Dreamer, the Pitbulls, and Luna Vachon fighting Steve Richards, the Vampire Warrior, Raven, and the Dudley Brothers in Florida is shown.
Joey Styles calls the matches on the card, which come from ECW’s July 21 show from Tampa, Florida.
Opening “Tampa Bay Brawl” Battle Royal for an ECW Championship Match: Mikey Whipwreck wins, last eliminating Marty Jannetty at 4:15 shown:
Other Participants: Hack Myers, the Vampire Warrior, Raven, 2 Cold Scorpio, Mikey Whipwreck, Ian Rotten, Dudley Dudley, the Pitbulls, Marty Jannetty, Tommy Dreamer, Steve Richards, and Bull Pain.
The Sandman and Woman sit at ringside for this battle royal to scout the competition. The match is clipped to show most of the eliminations, an effective way to advance feuds since those engaged in major storylines each other. For example, Dudley Dudley takes out the Pitbulls, Dreamer takes out Richards, and Raven tosses Dreamer. Since Bull Pain is a local act, he gets to be in the final five until Rotten unceremoniously dumps him out. Rotten is dropkicked out by Whipwreck and then Scorpio is clotheslined over the top rope by Jannetty, producing a short one-on-one between Whipwreck and Jannetty where the fans side with Whipwreck and treat Jannetty as a heel. Jannetty gets too cocky and talks trash with the Sandman, but he misses a punch near the ropes and Whipwreck tosses him out. Rating: *
After the bout, Jannetty gets back into the ring, shakes Whipwreck’s hand, and raises his arm for the crowd. The Sandman jumps in and blasts Jannetty over the head with a Singapore cane, a true heel move since Jannetty is forced to the locker room by referees and does not get a chance to respond.
ECW Championship Match: The Sandman (Champion w/Woman) (8-5) beats Mikey Whipwreck (7-2) after a piledriver at 1:34:
Bill Alfonso is the referee for this match, so Whipwreck has little chance of winning. Alfonso allows the Sandman to smash Whipwreck over the head with the Singapore cane before starting the match, putting the youngster on the defensive and allowing the Sandman to squash him in an easy title defense. According to the Sandman after the match, Whipwreck is not extreme.
Styles interviews Whipwreck, who recounts his championship credentials. He challenges the Sandman to a Singapore cane match where if he loses, he will take ten lashes with the cane. To prove he is a bigger scumbag than the Sandman, Whipwreck lights a cigarette and tries to smoke it, but ends up coughing his lungs out.
The Steiner Brothers and Taz cut a taped promo. Scott says they look forward to the wild nature of ECW and they put over an upcoming six-man tag with Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and 2 Cold Scorpio.
2 Cold Scorpio opens his suitcase and recounts life in the projects. He claims that Taz is scared of him so that is why he got the Steiner Brothers. Scorpio tells fans that he is not scared about the Steiners and puts over the technical abilities of Malenko and Benoit. He vows to drop bombs all over ECW.
Television Championship Match: Dean Malenko (0-1-2) beats Eddie Guerrero (Champion) (2-0-2) after rolling through a hurricanrana to win the title at 15:36 shown:
Before the match, Styles explains that if Malenko does not win the title here that he will not petition for any more rematches against Guerrero. As per usual, these two try to outwit each other on the mat, which divides the crowd since the fans who want hardcore brawling find that style boring. The divided response continues throughout, unfortunately. Their near-fall sequences get a better reaction as Malenko kicks out of a frog splash and Guerrero kicks out of a flying body press. The match is clipped around some dead spots, such as when Malenko takes a breather on the floor, but it does not mess with its flow. Malenko has a weird tendency to get up quickly after moves in this match, popping up shortly after taking a brainbuster as one example. That is a small nitpick, though, as the match is another great display of technical wrestling. Guerrero goes for another hurricanrana in the late stages, frustrated by Malenko kicking out of a German suplex and fisherman’s suplex, but Malenko rolls through and blocks Guerrero’s attempt to reverse his body weight further to win the Television Championship for the second time. Rating: ****
Following the loss, Guerrero hands Malenko the title belt and raises his hand in victory. However, that episode of sportsmanship is short-lived as Guerrero pulls Malenko into a clothesline.
Singapore Cane Match for the ECW Championship: The Sandman (Champion w/Woman) (9-5) defeats Mikey Whipwreck (7-3) after Whipwreck slips off the top rope at 2:42:
To avoid getting cheap shotted like the last time, Whipwreck attacks the Sandman before the bell and puts up more resistance than he did earlier in the show. Whipwreck delivers a piledriver and goes to the top rope, but he slips and the Sandman covers for the win.
As per the pre-match stipulations, Whipwreck is ordered by Woman to “assume the position” to take ten lashes from the Sandman’s Singapore cane. After the first one, referee Jim Molineaux tells the Sandman that he will take the blows for Whipwreck, but Woman says no to that because that is not what she wants. In an angle that gets ECW in hot water with TV networks, Woman moans in ecstasy as the Sandman hits Whipwreck a couple of more times. Ring announcer Ron Lemieux volunteers to take Whipwreck’s blows, but Woman dismisses that for the same reason that she dismissed Molineaux moments earlier. After the seventh blow, Commissioner Tod Gordon comes to the ring to put a stop to the carnage as Hack Myers and referees start putting Whipwreck on a stretcher. Referee Bill Alfonso is having none of that, though, because Whipwreck was supposed to take ten blows, not seven. To not follow through with the pre-match stipulation, according to Alfonso, is fraud. The Sandman flies over the top rope to hit Whipwreck with the cane an eighth time and the Sandman finishes raining down the blows on the arena floor. The Sandman still is not satisfied, though, so he hits the referees with his cane as Woman moans and tries to hit Whipwreck some more, but Marty Jannetty covers Whipwreck’s body and absorbs the blows.
Styles encourages fans to get Sunshine State Slaughter, a VHS tape that includes highlights of ECW’s run through Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida.
Marty Jannetty and Mikey Whipwreck deliver a promo from the locker room. Jannetty says that the Sandman no longer has his respect and is nothing more than a pig. He vows that the Sandman is going to see a side of him that he has never seen before. Jannetty shakes Whipwreck’s hand and puts him over as the “bravest kid he ever met.” After Jannetty leaves, Whipwreck acknowledges that he could get hurt but he still wants to take the Sandman to the extreme.
The Last Word: This was an excellent piece of episodic television, with the final angle putting over the evil of the Sandman and Woman, the bias of Bill Alfonso, and Mikey Whipwreck’s “never say die” attitude. The interview at the end was supposed to build to a Sandman-Marty Jannetty title match at Wrestlepalooza, but Jannetty left the company to do Smoky Mountain Wrestling’s Super Bowl of Wrestling show and got a new contract offer from the WWF. Despite that, the show creates an interesting angle for the Sandman going forward of facing, what on paper at least, is an outclassed opponent and that serves in stark contrast to his hardcore battles with Cactus Jack earlier in the year. This show is another example of why ECW was generating buzz in the wrestling world in 1995 while the WWF and WCW were floundering with bad booking and stale characters.
ECW returned to Pennsylvania on August 4 to hold a house show. Here were the results of that show, courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania – August 4, 1995 (375): Mikey Whipwreck beat Don E. Allen…Television Champion Eddie Guerrero defeated Dean Malenko…ECW Tag Team Champions Raven & Steve Richards beat the Pitbulls…ECW Champion the Sandman beat Hack Myers…The Steiner Brothers beat 2 Cold Scorpio & Dudley Dudley…Public Enemy beat the Gangstas in a falls count anywhere match.
ECW also held a big card at the ECW Arena, Wrestlepalooza 1995. Matches from this will air later on Hardcore TV as VHS copies of the show were not distributed. The show drew a sellout crowd of 1,150 fans to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 5. Here were the results, courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:
-J.T. Smith pinned Hack Myers (4-3) when Val Puccio interfered at 6:23
-Val Puccio (0-3) defeated the Broad Street Bully (1-3) via disqualification when Hack Myers interfered at 1:23
-Big Dick Dudley, Dudley Dudley, Raven & Steve Richards (w/Beulah McGillicutty) defeated Tommy Dreamer, Cactus Jack (substituting for Luna Vachon) & the Pitbulls when Raven pinned Dreamer after Cactus delivered a double-arm DDT to Dreamer on a steel chair.
-Dean Malenko, 2 Cold Scorpio & Cactus Jack (substituting for Chris Benoit) defeated Eddie Guerrero & the Steiner Brothers when Malenko pinned Guerrero at 21:59
-Mikey Whipwreck (substituting for Marty Jannetty) (7-4) beat ECW Champion the Sandman (10-5) in a non-title Singapore cane match at 5:51
-The Gangstas (1-1) beat the Public Enemy (6-2) in a stretcher match at 17:51
Backstage News*: The angle that closed the August 1 episode of Hardcore TV featuring Woman, the Sandman, and Mikey Whipwreck has the promotion in hot water with the Sunshine Network, which refused to air this week’s show after programmer Dave Omstead found the angle offensive. The Sunshine Network is responsible for the majority of ECW’s cable programming in Florida and it told callers that the show was cancelled due to ECW cancelling their contract. Paul Heyman says this cancellation happened because ECW is paying the Sunshine Network to air its programming and when the Sunshine Network refused to show the latest Hardcore TV episode, ECW did not make its regularly scheduled payment. Heyman thinks he can work out a deal with the Sunshine Network that will allow it to censor content. He is optimistic that ECW can return to the airwaves by August 11.
*Cactus Jack’s heel turn at Wrestlepalooza was hot shotted. ECW hoped to do it later in the year but had to do it on the show because Marty Jannetty, Luna Vachon, and Chris Benoit no showed. Benoit missed the show due to an injured shoulder and Vachon had transportation issues due to Hurricane Erin. Jannetty never called ahead to say he would miss the show, so a lot of people figure that he is done with the promotion. Jannetty did wrestle on August 5, but participated in Smoky Mountain Wrestling’s Super Bowl of Wrestling show in Knoxville, Tennessee, losing the MTW Midwest title to Al Snow. Jannetty’s absence is why Whipwreck was placed in the Singapore cane match with the Sandman. The original plans called for Whipwreck to do a run-in during the Sandman-Jannetty match.
*Rob Feinstein quit his role as ECW’s tape distributor on August 7 because ECW failed to make its monthly payment to him on August 1. According to Feinstein, ECW owes him $6,000. This is happening in the midst of an angle where ECW has positioned Feinstein as referee Bill Alfonso’s videographer and turned him heel, with Feinstein getting beaten up by 911 and wedgied at the show in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania on August 4.
*Paul Heyman is finally caving to demands that ECW look into the pay-per-view market, looking into starting negotiations with Semaphore or TVKO.
*WCW is still in negotiations with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero. Terry Taylor buried Malenko and Guerrero on the WCW Hotline this past week, saying that they are not draws and criticizing them for wanting control over their programs. WCW reportedly offered Malenko and Guerrero three-month deals but were turned down.
*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for August 14.
Up Next: ECW Hardcore TV for August 8!