What the World Was Watching: ECW November to Remember ’95

Joey Styles handles the commentary for the show, which took place at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 18.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a sellout crowd of 1,150 fans.

Buh Buh Ray Dudley walks to the ring to do guest ring announcing duties for the Broad Street Bully-Don E. Allen opener.  He is accompanied by the other members of the Dudley clan except for Dudley Dudley, who is no longer part of the company.  Buh Buh is wearing a top hat and suit coat like he is running a circus.  Buh Buh gets through the welcome until he tries to mimic Michael Buffer and stutters over the word “rumble.”  Frustrated, Buh Buh takes out the jobbers with Buh-Buh Bombs.

Opening Contest:  Buh Buh Ray Dudley (w/Dances with Dudley, Chubby Dudley, Sign Guy Dudley & Big Dick Dudley) pins the Broad Street Bully (1-5) after a Buh-Buh Bomb at 1:06:

As noted above, this was not a scheduled match, but Buh Buh takes the win for himself after he flattens the Bully with a Buh-Buh Bomb.  The crowd loves the character, helping to chant “Buh, Buh” when Buh Buh went for his finisher.

ECW owner Paul Heyman has the arena lights turned off and then turned back on to welcome Sabu back to ECW.  The two shake hands and hug it out as the crowd explodes.

Singles Match with Taz as Special Guest Referee:  Konnan beats Jason (0-2) with a crucifix powerbomb in 14 seconds:

Taz tells Styles that he is not cleared to wrestle because he is an insurance risk, so he is serving as a referee to enforce his authority.  Jason scoffs at that and eats a right hand, allowing Konnan to quickly hit  a crucifix powerbomb and win with a quick count.

Stevie Richards (w/the Blue Meanie) (1-4) beats El Puerto Ricano (0-2) after a Stevie Kick at 2:59:

During his entrance, Richards accepts a gift from someone in the crowd wearing a half t-shirt that reads “the Blue Meanie.”  The Meanie is welcomed to come over the barricade after he gives Richards a “Flock of Seagulls” half t-shirt.  The crowd demeans the Meanie’s weight as Ricano hits his early high spots, only to miss a missile dropkick.  After planting Ricano with a powerbomb, Richards calls for Meanie to get into the ring and talks him into doing a moonsault, which misses.  Richards is not happy about that, but he still vanquishes Ricano with a Stevie Kick shortly thereafter.

After the match, Richards grabs Meanie by his hair and drags him back to the locker room.

The Pitbulls (w/Francine) (6-7) beat the Eliminators (w/Jason) (1-0) when Pitbull #2 pins John Kronus after the superbomb at 10:54:

The Pitbulls recent matches have been full of garbage brawling but this match is wrestled relatively straight, following the normal tag team formula of putting Pitbull #2 in peril until #2 uses a superbomb to block a super hurricanrana effort by Perry Saturn.  Jason runs messy interference behind the referee’s back that has no impact on Pitbull #1 getting the hot tag.  After the hot tag things start falling apart as the four-way brawl keeps going and going.  Jason prevents the Pitbulls from winning after breaking up a cover after the Pitbulls plant Saturn with a superbomb-neckbreaker combo they call the Guillotine.  But he cannot keep running interference forever as Pitbull #2 takes him out and they hit the superbomb on Kronus to win the first match of the feud.  The Pitbulls use of creative power moves near the end to clear their path to victory was enough to overcome some of the sloppiness.  Rating:  **

Following the match, Jason forces himself on Francine as Styles is surprised Jason has an interest in women.  The unwanted advance earns Jason a chair shot but the Eliminators get their heat back by doing Total Elimination to their opponents.

Mexican Death Match:  Rey Misterio, Jr. (1-1) defeats Psicosis (1-1) after a flying hurricanrana at 11:46:

Like a Texas Death match, the winner secures a fall over their opponent and that opponent fails to answer a referee’s ten count (or in this case the ring announcers).  After Misterio botches a springboard off the guardrail and hurts his knee (he really messed up his ankle), Psicosis uses power moves to score fall after fall, going to a chair when Misterio gets up after three falls.  But a moonsault on the chair cannot keep Misterio down as he gets the chair up when Psicosis tries another moonsault.  That somehow does not hurt Misterio’s knee as he stops selling it and the two brawl to the commentary position, with Misterio launching himself off to perform a flying hurricanrana and Psicosis fails to answer the bell, not that referee Jim Molineaux would have noticed because he walked back to the ring with Misterio.  This match was well below their prior efforts as the brawling in the crowd was weak, Psicosis did not appear to take enough damage through the match to warrant the finish being the end, and there were a few botches that did not appear in their prior encounters.  Rating:  ***

Following the match, Jason welcomes Misterio back into the ring and insults him when Misterio refuses his managerial services. Misterio floors Jason with a spinning heel kick and botched headscissors.  That triggers a beatdown by the Eliminators until 911 makes the save.

ECW Tag Team Championship Match:  2 Cold Scorpio & the Sandman (Champions w/Woman) defeat the Public Enemy (7-3) when the Sandman pins Johnny Grunge after babyface miscommunication at 16:05:

There are additional stipulations to this match.  First, if Scorpio takes the fall, he loses the Television Championship to whomever pins or submits him.  And second, the person who scores the winning fall gets to face Mikey Whipwreck later in the evening for the ECW Championship.  The Enemy get chants of “Please don’t go!” from the fans since it was an open secret that the Enemy were negotiating with the WWF and WCW.  Scorpio looks good with two belts during his entrance, making one wonder why ECW is not trying to give him all three belts at once.  To liven the mood, the participants do a dance off before they fight, and the Sandman steals the show with his moves.  The match suffers because the participants cannot make up their minds if they want to do a standard, four-person ECW brawl or wrestle a conventional tag match.  As a result, the action plods along without much rhyme or reason to it.  Also, Scorpio and the Sandman are a makeshift team and do not attempt any double team moves, which makes their heat segment on Rocco Rock boring.  The end finally arrives when Johnny Grunge makes a hot tag and Rock tries to hit a Drive-By on Scorpio.  But babyface miscommunication occurs and the Sandman ends up scoring the winning fall.  If the WWF or WCW watched this match, the fans would not have to worry about the Enemy going anywhere.  Rating:  *

The Sandman is out of it at the end of the bout so ever the helpful partner, Scorpio pours beer down his throat to revive him.  A revived Sandman gets up and dances, almost coming to blows with his partner when Scorpio accidentally spills some beer.

A video package recaps the Tod Gordon-Bill Alfonso feud.

Singles Match with Beulah McGillicutty as Special Guest Referee:  Bill Alfonso beats Tod Gordon after Taz interferes at 7:08:

Alfonso is a ball of fire, attacking Gordon before the bell and then getting into it with McGillicutty, knocking her out with a clothesline.  As expected, this is a sloppy brawl between non-wrestlers.  Gordon busts Alfonso open with a chair and cookie sheet and then knocks him out with a frying pan.  However, there is no referee so Taz runs in to do it, but he stops at two, hits Gordon, and puts Alfonso on top.  The turn at the end was nice, but the match should have been shorter.  Rating:  *

Taz gets on the house mic and ridicules the crowd for not caring about his neck injury while they cared about other ECW superstars that were hurt.  Taz discusses how Alfonso is the only man who cares for him, which Alfonso follows up on with his usual bluster, and he runs down ECW owner Paul Heyman.  This was a great heel turn promo, inciting fans in the front row who want to get into the ring and fight Taz for aligning with arguably the worst man in the promotion.

The Sandman starts making an entrance for the ECW Championship match against Mikey Whipwreck when he is attacked from behind by Steve Austin.  Austin stun guns the Sandman on the guardrail and mixes in some shots with a chair and Singapore cane.  Well, fans were promised Austin’s debut on this show and the card is running out of matches…

ECW Championship Match:  Mikey Whipwreck (Champion) (9-6) pins Steve Austin with a sunset flip and a handful of tights at 4:37:

Austin was trained by Chris Adams and he broke into the business for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in 1989 and then wrestled in Memphis for the USWA before going to WCW in 1991.  While there he won the Tag Team Championship with Brian Pillman and won the Television and United States titles twice.  He started 1995 in WCW but was used in a midcard role, losing to the likes of Sting and Randy Savage.  After a triceps injury in New Japan, Austin was released from his WCW contract, so he used the chance to go to ECW to rehabilitate his career.  Austin tears into Whipwreck and gives him no space to breathe.  When the crowd chants for Hogan, Austin responds by giving Whipwreck a big boot and doing a leg drop for a near-fall.  Whipwreck also kicks out of the stun gun, though, and then surprises Austin with a sunset flip off the ropes, pulling Austin’s tights down to secure the win.  The finish was in keeping with Whipwreck’s character and Austin kept it going.  Rating:  *

After the bell, Austin beats on Whipwreck to get his heat back.

Sabu (w/Paul E. Dangerously) (1-0) beats Hack Myers (7-5) after an atomic Arabian facebuster at 12:56:

Paul Heyman gets in the ring and pulls out a cell phone to revive his Paul E. Dangerously character so that ECW can “turn back the clock” and welcome back Sabu.  Sabu was with WCW, but the promotion did not take kindly to his uncle the Sheik throwing a fireball in Mr. J.L.’s face at Halloween Havoc, triggering his eventual parting of ways with the company.  Although Myers is a lower midcarder it seems strange to sacrifice him Sabu instead of a heel like J.T. Smith or Dances with Dudley.  The match should have been a short squash as Sabu does some of his greatest hits and Myers weathers it.  Myers even hits his modified facebuster finish, but Sabu is rescued when Dangerously puts his foot over the bottom rope.  The action plods along until Sabu puts Myers through a table with a somersault plancha and hits an atomic Arabian facebuster.  It seems like they wanted to do some type of hardcore respect match, but Myers did not have the offense to maintain his end of the bargain and appeared blown up halfway through.  Sabu also went spot-to-spot without trying to tell a story.  Rating:  ¾*

Following the match, Sabu shakes Myers hand.

Before the match, Terry Funk gets on the house mic and curses at Cactus Jack for what happened the last time at the ECW Arena where Funk was set on fire.

Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk beat Raven & Cactus Jack when Funk pins Raven after Dreamer piledrives Raven on a chair at 13:40:

In keeping with his pro-WCW gimmick, Jack wears a Dungeon of Doom t-shirt.  There is no effort to make this a conventional tag match as Funk unloads a garbage full of weapons, something a young New Jack must have taken notes on.  Dreamer and Funk beat up referee Jim Molineaux for some reason too.  The highlight of the match is Jack removing his Dungeon shirt to display a “Forgive me, Uncle Eric” shirt that has Eric Bischoff’s face on it.  That allows Dreamer to pull the shirt over Cactus’ face and lay in blows, making it appear that Bischoff is getting punched or hit with a chair.  When t-shirt usage is the highlight of the match that is a problem, though.  Everyone bleeds and Jack cannot pin Funk because there is no referee.  So, Bill Alfonso and Taz come to do the job, laying in some shots on Funk before Dreamer confronts them and Taz is reluctant to fight his friend.  They leave as Molineaux gets back in the picture – something that does not make a lot of sense because Alfonso loved to stir things up rather than retreat from the field – and Dreamer lays out the heels.  For a guy obsessed with beating Raven he also does not care that Funk steals his pin either.  The problem with these wild weapons brawls is they get old quick.  If this were cut in half, it would have served the same purpose.  The weapons shots become repetitive and ineffective too, which hurts the finish.  Other reviewers love the match and mileage will vary depending on your love of garbage brawling, but this was a lot of mindless chaos that plodded along until it ran out of steam.  Rating:  **

Following the decision, Jack and Raven beat up their opponents, with Raven DDTing Dreamer and Jack choking Funk with an audio cable.  Raven does his crucifixion pose bloodied and with barbed wire around his head to end the show.

The Last Word:  Some have crowned this as the best ECW event of all-time and from a storyline perspective it might deserve some of that label because of Sabu’s return, the debut of the Blue Meanie, and Taz’s turn.  However, on a wrestling level the main event was a lot of nothing, Sabu’s in-ring return was flat, the Public Enemy were exposed as unable to wrestle a somewhat normal tag team match, and even the Mexican Death match was underwhelming compared to what Rey Misterio, Jr. and Psicosis were capable of in other matches.  Compared to the hype this show received going in, one would have to say it did not clear that bar.  But one of the things that made ECW great was its ability to hide the shortcomings of its roster so it will be interesting to see how Hardcore TV, which is how most of the public consumed ECW during this period, frames this show.

Backstage News*:  The Public Enemy worked a dark match against WWF Tag Team Champions the Smoking Gunns at Survivor Series in Washington, D.C., losing in what observers said was booked as a glorified squash.

*Shane Douglas was backstage at the ECW card in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania on November 17, leading people to believe that he might be returning to the company in the near future. 

*In talent relations news, Sabu agreed to return at November to Remember on November 1 but does not have a long-term deal signed with ECW.  Sabu’s appearance resulted in WCW firing him, which Sabu reportedly found out about by calling the WCW Hotline.  If Sabu returns to ECW long-term it will complicate issues with NWA promoter Dennis Coraluzzo.  Coraluzzo booked Sabu to face Hakushi in Camden earlier in the day on Saturday and had to create a disqualification finish because the WWF freaked out about one of their talents facing someone that they believed was under WCW contract.  Coraluzzo was planning on a Sabu-Devon Storm main event in December since he had Storm interfere in the Sabu-Hakushi match and was blindsided that Sabu was working November to Remember since Sabu never told him about it before it happened.  However, Sabu reportedly wants to keep working for Coraluzzo, which is unlikely if he were to work regularly for ECW again.  There are rumors that Sabu was paid $3,000 to appear at November to Remember and might be paid $2,000 per appearance there in the future.  Woman is denying rumors that she is going to WCW.  Konnan gave notice to Paul Heyman that November to Remember would be his last show because he was going to WCW.  Heyman tried to talk him into going to the WWF because he could split his dates between the two promotions but Konnan was not having it.  However, Konnan has promised Heyman that he will continue to help him book AAA talent.

*Backstage news is sourced from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for November 27.

Up Next:  ECW Hardcore TV for November 21!