Mike Reviews – Eastern Championship Wrestling (17/08/1993)

Hey to the hey ya’ll!

This week we’re going to go way back to 1993, when ECW was yet to become “Extreme” and was still essentially a Tri-State territory called Eastern Championship Wrestling. It wasn’t until 1994 that they finally changed the name following the whole NWA World Title tournament thing.

I picked this episode mainly because it’s got Eddie Gilbert in all his wacky pomp, and indeed it wasn’t long after this that he got punted from the company and Paul Heyman got control of the pencil. I’ve always really liked Gilbert, so I’m welcome for any excuse to watch something involving him.

Matches are taped from The Arena in Philly

Calling the action is Jay Sulli

We open up with a graphic hyping up a tag team tournament, and the brackets get run down by Sulli.

I do love the music used in the intro here. If you ever had that “Best of WrestleMania” VHS the WWF put out in 1998 then it’s the music they play over the Shawn Michaels Vs Razor Ramon section.

Jay Sulli is in the studio, where he hypes up the matches for tonight. He also hypes up the big Ultra Clash 93 show on the 18th of September, which I’ll probably get around to reviewing at some stage. I’m not sure if Sulli himself even survived to that show, as that’s the first one where Paul E takes over and Joey Styles was already in by that point I think.

Eddie Gilbert interrupts the show, with gifts for Sulli and an apology to Sulli’s wife for suggesting that Sulli was having a bit on the side. He cracks Sulli up a couple of times and then bets him $500 that he can find a random guy on the street who can do a better job hosting the show than Sulli can. Sulli doubles it to $1000, at which point Eddie heads out to find someone. He ends up bumping into a guy who looks like a cross between British wrestler Chris Egan and Snow of “Informer” fame. His name is John and he butchers the format sheet whilst Eddie gleefully eggs him on. This leads to Sulli suggesting that John is a plant because he has a King Gilbert shirt on. That was really funny, especially as Sulli was clearly trying to hold back from laughing.

Ivan and Vladimir Koloff cut a promo on The Head Hunters.

Opening Match
Tag Team Tournament
Ivan Koloff and Vladimir Koloff Vs The Head Hunters w/ Victor Quiñones

Ivan of course famously defeated Bruno Sammartino to send MSG into shock. Vladimir is just some Soda Popinski lookalike that they’ve put with him. He’s no Nikita let’s just put it that way. The Head Hunters were working for W*ing as well as for Victor in Puerto Rico and would have a brief run in the WWF as The Squat Team. This match is for the tag belts, which Tod Gordon made vacant after stripping The Suicide Blondes of them.

Paul E joins Sulli on commentary for this one. It’s a wild brawl right from the off, and it’s pretty fun actually. Vladimir actually shows off some good strength by suplexing one of The Hunters at one point, at which point things settle into more of a traditional tag match after the initial brawl. Ivan eventually shoves the ref and the match gets thrown out.

NO CONTEST
RATING: N/A

Too short to rate, but it was entertaining as a wild brawl

There must be a winner, so we toss a coin to decide it, and The Koloff’s advance, starting up the brawl again. Well, that’s one way of getting around someone eating a pin I’ll give them that.

ECW Champ Don Muraco (Yes, he was the Champ at the time) comes down to cut a cheap heat promo ahead of his upcoming enhancement match. He calls out the entire roster and insults his opponent, The Metal Maniac. Tod Gordon tells him that Tito Santana will be coming into ECW to restart the famous feud between Muraco and himself.

Match Two
Don Muraco Vs The Metal Maniac

Maniac is a chubby bloke with Wolf Hawkfield styled face paint, and he gets clobbered by the ECW Champ with relative ease. Muraco was showing his age here and didn’t really have much of a physique anymore, but his work wasn’t terrible or anything. Maniac isn’t a great enhancement talent, but he takes a nice snappy bump off a knee lift at least and Muraco takes it home straight after with a Tombstone.

WINNER: DON MURACO
RATING: SQUASH

Let’s just say you don’t really watch these 93 ECW episodes for the in-ring most of the time.

Match Three
Tag Team Tournament
Sir Richard Michaels and Tony Stetson w/ Hunter Q Robbins III Vs Sal Bellomo and The Sandman w/ Ms Peaches

Robbins looks a bit like Richard Ayoade actually. Stetson has a pretty awful set of attire, looking like a cross between 1-2-3 Kid and Bret Hart with ugly purple and yellow tights and singlet. Sandman’s gimmick was that he was a surfer at the time, so he wrestles in a wetsuit and actually tries to do chain wrestling and whatnot. Let’s just say his switch to hardcore cane swinging brawler was a vast improvement. Before this one starts though we get clubs of Abdullah the Butcher, as he’ll be wrestling at Ultra Clash 93. This was a pretty effective segment at making him look like a wild madman that you should go out of your way to buy a ticket to see.

We re-join the match with Sandman getting worked over, but he manages to tag out to Sal. Sal worked in the WWF in the 80’s and was a fixture of the under card. He was a mostly clean cut grappler back then but now he’s a wild Captain Caveman like fellow. Sandman is a thoroughly awful wrestler, but he puts the effort in at least. Both teams do a switcheroo, and that leads to Sal getting an inside cradle on Stetson for three.

WINNERS: BELLOMO & SANDMAN
RATING: N/A

Not enough was shown to rate

Tod Gordon joins us in the ring to hype up Ultra Clash 93. Hey, I’ll give them credit, they were doing their absolute best to try and get people to attend this show. One match that gets heavily hyped is an inter-gender battle royal between the managers that I don’t think ended up actually happening due to people leaving. Gordon also books a match between Eddie Gilbert and Abdullah against Terry Funk and Stan Hansen. Hansen isn’t too happy about that and throttles Gordon before calling out Jimmy Snuka for the next match. Hansen was such a great fit for ECW that I’m frankly shocked they didn’t try to book him more once the new regime took over.

Jimmy Snuka and Paul E cut a promo on Hansen, and it’s pretty good.

Main Event
ECW TV Title
Champ: Jimmy Snuka w/ Eddie Gilbert Vs Stan Hansen

Gilbert distracts Hansen early doors so that Snuka can get some cheap shots in, including a shot with the timekeepers table. Hansen as a Face selling is kind of jarring for me as he’s almost always been a mean nasty Heel whenever I’ve watched him, but he does a decent enough job at it actually. Again, it’s a shame they couldn’t use him more throughout the 90’s as Stan Hansen as the violent rebellious brawling babyface clobbering the likes of Raven and Shane Douglas would have probably been really entertaining.

Both men trade momentum here and it’s a decent match, with it mostly being all action as both men throw strikes at one another. Hansen gets a near fall from a DDT at one stage when Snuka gets his foot on the ropes, but manages to catch him with the Western Lariat straight after, which leads to Eddie jumping in for the DQ.

WINNER BY DQ: STAN HANSEN
RATING: **

Decent enough match until the crappy non-finish

Manager Freddie Gilbert tries to help the Heels out post-match, and that goes about as well for him as you’d expect, but it does allow Snuka and Eddie to bail. Hansen grabs the mic following that and hypes up Ultra Clash 93. He doesn’t like Terry Funk but he will team with him in order to get revenge on Gilbert.

In Conclusion

This show was all about hyping up Ultra Clash, and it did a good job in that respect, with the Sulli and Gilbert skits being a funny little bit to open with outside of the hype job.

If you’d like to get in touch to suggest shows to review, ask questions, share your love of those wonderful Royal Blue Toffees, or just generally chat the grapple game, then feel free to hit me up at [email protected]