American Hardcore Theatre: ECW's Real History

Discussion in 'Old School PPV/TV Reviews' started by ShinobiMusashi, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Perseus

    Perseus New Member

    Jul 14, 2015
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    I'm a newer ECW fan but I stumbled across and I've read just about all of it. I wanna experience ECW from the beginning, but the hardcore tv dvd's are so expensive. Is that the best way to watch ECW? Or just buy the Supercards?

    And WWE edits out too much for me to watch it by them.
  2. ShinobiMusashi

    ShinobiMusashi Getting Noticed By Management

    Jan 1, 2011
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    IVP videos sells cheap sets of unedited Hardcore TV but they don't have them advertised on the site, you have to contact the administrator of the site and ask for them. I'm pretty sure they go for $50-60 a set, I can vouch for them that they are reliable and trustworthy to buy from, I buy stuff from them regularly(mostly Japanese stuff though).

    Honestly I think the best way to watch through ECW would be going back and forth between the Hardcore TV sets and the supercards. To go with either one or the other would be to miss out on a lot of stuff. There were stretches of Hardcore TV that were great, from August to November 1995 for example was a hell of a run of TV's. 1996 I also feel is best experienced through Hardcore TV. Then there were some stretches of Hardcore TV that were really weak too though, totally skippable. The stretch after Barely Legal for example, April-May-early June 1997 was not very good at all.

    If you can only go with one or the other I'd definitely go with Hardcore TV. With the supercards you are missing out on a lot of elements that made ECW great, the promos, the music videos, etc.
  3. ShinobiMusashi

    ShinobiMusashi Getting Noticed By Management

    Jan 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Extreme Championship Wrestling
    Wrestlepalooza '97

    June 7th, 1997
    ECW Arena
    South Philly, PA​

    This show takes place just 24 hours prior to the WWF King of the Ring 97 pay per view, which went down in Providence Rhode Island. Taker defended his WWF Championship against Farooq and the Nation, Austin wrestled HBK to a double DQ, and Triple H won the King of the Ring tournament by defeating Ahmed Johnson and Mankind(with Chyna's help). Over in WCW they were building up to the Great American Bash, which was set for June 15th in Illinois. Great American Bash seen DDP vs Randy Savage, The Outsiders vs Flair & Piper, and NFL footballer Kevin Greene vs Mongo. Caught in the middle of all that was ECW, which was coming off of their debut on pay per view in April. Barely Legal was a success for ECW just for the fact that it wasn't a failure. Barely Legal didn't shock the world with huge buyrates(from what I've read from a few different places it did between 50,000 to 100,000 buys) but the fact that it wasn't a total flop was an accomplishment in itself for ECW.

    When you really look at Barely Legal and all of the circumstances it would have, could have, and probably should have been a major flop, but it wasn't. Perhaps one of the reasons why ECW Barely Legal wasn't a flop was because of the exposure they got from the quasi-invasion angle that WWF was running sporadically from October 96 into the Spring of 1997, an angle that seen WWF actually including ECW talent on their shows and promoting and advertising Barely Legal at times during Raw. It started at In Your House: Mind Games in October when Heyman, Sandman, and Dreamer were featured in the audience and actually got involved in a match between Savio Vega and Bradshaw(Sandman spit beer at Savio from the audience). It continued when ECW wrestlers popped up on Raw the night after Mind Games, including Taz parading around the ring with a "Sabu fears Taz" sign during an Owen/Bulldog tag match. ECW was never mentioned again in WWF until February 1997. Behind the scenes Heyman was directly involved in helping WWF set up Shotgun Saturday Night, using his connections in the New York nightclub scene to secure the venues for the filming of the first episodes of Shotgun. Vince even offered Heyman the job of doing commentary for Shotgun Saturday Night but Heyman turned down the offer to focus on getting ECW ready for "The Dance" on pay per view. ECW returned to WWF when Lawler started ripping them on commentary, calling them "Extremely Crappy Wrestling" and challenging them to come to Raw to in February.


    The shit hit the fan on the February 24th 1997 episode of Raw, with all of the main WWF stars on the roster over in Europe for a tour and WCW dominating Raw in the ratings battle for 36 strait weeks, ECW was called in to answer Lawler's challenge at the Manhattan Center in New York City. The Eliminators crashed the show and hit a ring worker with the Total Elimination followed by Heyman himself answering Lawler's challenge. Heyman would take the commentary booth with Lawler and Vince(he even offered Vince a job doing commentary for ECW :lol:). ECW got the spotlight that night on Raw. Stevie Richards wrestled Guido, Raven made an appearance wearing the ECW World Title, Tommy Dreamer wrestled D-Von Dudley, Sandman cracked open the first cold beer in Raw history, Taz wrestled Mikey Whipreck in the best match of the night and Sabu did a suicide dive off of the top of the gigantic R on the RAW set.


    ECW by late 1996-early 1997 had become a darling in the wrestling magazines. You always seen ECW featured in magazines like The Wrestler and Pro Wrestling Illustrated, you always seen the ECW signs and t-shirts on Raw and Nitro, you always heard the chants, but unless you lived in New England or somewhere on the northeastern seaboard in the United States chances are you had never actually seen any ECW in the flesh. For a lot of people(myself included) the February 24th episode of WWF Raw was the first exposure to what ECW really was. The next week on Raw they hyped the return of ECW, this time they were bringing a war. The war that ECW brought to Raw on the March 10th episode kickstarted some changes in the content of WWF. Raw eventually became "Raw is War". The opening intro became Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People". Things got bigger, badder, meaner, raunchier, and it all goes back to that March 10th episode of Raw.

    It was on the March 10th episode of Raw that ECW brought the war, with Taz going after Jerry Lawler himself(with Sabu subtly hinting at his heel turn at Barely Legal by saving Lawler when he went after Taz). Later in the show Heyman and Lawler had a "Great Debate" in the middle of the ring. Lawler mocked ECW and Heyman plugged Barely Legal until the whole debate degenerated into ECW wrestlers trying to get their hands on Lawler. The angle kind of faded out of WWF television as Wrestlemania 13 passed and Barely Legal came and went, then Lawler issued an open challenge on his USWF television show, a challenge that was accepted when Tommy Dreamer appeared on the June 7th episode of USWA TV(the episode aired that morning). Dreamer cut a worked shoot promo on USWA talking about how big of a fan he was of old school Memphis wrestling but Lawler had sold out to WWF and run it into the ground.

    Over on WCW's side of the fence it was a different war with ECW, a real one that unfolded behind the scenes. WCW undercut ECW by booking a Nitro in Philly the very next day after Barely Legal, an episode of Nitro that featured several former ECW wrestlers. Behind the scenes WCW continuously made plays on several ECW wrestlers. During the lead up to Barely Legal rumors grew in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WCW had made a deal with Rob Van Dam. Van Dam cut his shoot promo at Barely Legal about working Mondays and then shockingly appeared on Raw alongside Jerry Lawler on the May 12th episode of Raw. Lawler gave his endorsement to "Mr. Monday Night" and Van Dam criticized ECW for being low rent, low budget, low talent rejects.

    While WCW wasn't able to get Van Dam away from ECW, they did manage to sign Raven, just 10 days after Barely Legal. Signing Raven was another move that undercut ECW, this time derailing their 2nd pay per view in August that was set to be the blow off of the 2 year long Raven vs Dreamer feud. Heyman did all that he could to stop them from taking Raven but there was nothing he could do at the end of the day. WCW inked Raven to a 3 year deal worth $225,000 a year. Heyman threatened to sue WCW but the best he was able to do was to work out a deal for Raven to work his final ECW show at Wrestlepalooza 97, and here we are....

    This show opens up with Joey Styles in the middle of the ring in the ECW Arena and the fans are tearing the place up with E-C-Dub chants. Packed house and a pretty hot crowd. Styles brings in Rick Rude. Rude was Styles partner in commentary after Barely Legal but for some reason he does not do commentary on this show, just this little opening. He comes to the ring and puts over the whole card, speaking about how Stevie Richards suffered a spinal injury and was supposed to be getting a title shot against Terry Funk tonight but Chris Candido will take his place. Rude says his prayers are with Stevie and he wishes him a speedy recovery. Pretty good little opening here, after putting the card over Rude cracks a joke about Francine/Shane Douglas and then gets Joey Styles to do his hip swivel dance. :lol: Funny little lighthearted moment.

    ECW World Television Championship: Shane Douglas(C) vs Chris Chetti

    Shane Douglas comes out first with Francine looking hot as usual. Douglas cuts a promo and has Francine pull out a Philadelphia Flyers t-shirt. Shane orders somebody to bring him a big push broom. Franny throws the Flyers shirt to the canvas and both of them spit on it before Shane sweeps it out of the ring. :lol: Cheap heat got a pretty good reaction, probably more cheers than boo's though. For those that didn't know the Flyers are Philly's NHL hockey team. They made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997 for the first time since 1987, only to be swept in 4 strait games against the Detroit Red Wings, the last game of the series was actually June 7th 1997, the same day as this show. Shane's opponent Chris Chetti comes out to Ozzy Osbourne's "Perry Mason", what an awesome entrance tune. Joey Styles says on commentary that Chetti has only been wrestling for six months. He is a product of the ECW training academy(House of Hardcore) and he's Taz's cousin. Shane Douglas pulled him through a really solid match on one of the episodes of Hardcore TV prior to this show. Before they start the match Shane challenges Chetti to a strait up match, no chairs or bullshit, "let's show these people the athleticism that they've been deprived of all week" referencing the NHL Stanley Cup. :lol:

    Shane lulls the rookie into a false sense of security early on by shaking his hand. Chetti ties up with Shane and backs him into the corner. The ref calls for a clean break and they do. Shane shakes his hand again, then ties up with him, backs him into the corner, and smacks him in the face when the ref asks for another break. Really solid exchange after that with Chetti working Shane's arm. Chetti catches Shane with a thrust kick to the face and goes for the pin but Francine pulls Douglas' foot up on the ropes to break the count. Chetti goes out after Francine and Shane catches him with a baseball slide, followed by a body slam onto the concrete to take the control of the match.

    Shane goes back on his word at the beginning of the match by racking Chetti on the steel guard rail and hitting him with a chair shot to the head. Douglas takes Chetti back into the ring and hits a nice delayed vertical before turning to the camera and taunting Rick Rude. Francine passes a chair to Douglas and Shane batters Chetti on the back with it. Chetti gets a nearfall when Shane sets the chair up opened and tries to atomic drop him onto it, Chetti does a go-behind and then slams Douglas face first into the chair. Chetti is all over Douglas and catches him with several nearfalls before going for a moonsault press off of the top rope. Douglas moves out of the way and puts Chetti away with the Belly to Belly Suplex after around 6 minutes. Despite the lack of selling of the arm by Douglas this was a really decent short match with some psychology built around Douglas manipulating Chetti with their agreement prior to the match, giving him a false sense of security in the early stages, then going back on his word and cheating him and beating him with a chair. Chetti looked like he almost had Douglas only to get caught and put away with a nice finish. Short but sweet ECW match. 3 Stars

    FBI vs The Pit Bulls

    This was around 7 minutes long and was a standard tag formula match. The FBI in this phase is hilarious to me with Guido and two rednecks pretending to be Italian in Tracey Smothers and Tommy Rich. Tommy Rich taunting the ringside fans here during the FBI's intro was hilarious as he got right up in their faces with his hands behind his back, challenging them to hit him. The FBI's intros from Bob Artese are pretty funny too. The FBI dominate early on to build up the hot tag, then the Pit Bulls make a comeback and fuck them up. Guido takes a fucking sick Super Powerbomb bump off of the top rope for the finish. Not bad but nothing great, decent, short tag team squash with the FBI getting a good chance to shine before being destroyed. I never cared for the FBI back in the day but that act grows on me more and more each time I see them now. 2 & 1/4 Stars

    The Dudley Boys vs Sandman & Balls Mahoney

    The Dudley Boys got together a few months before Barley Legal and were pushed to the moon on an undefeated run that seen them win the tag titles. They lost the straps to the Eliminators at Barely Legal and since then have added Big Dick Dudley to the group and have been engaged in a really bad 3-way feud with the Gangstas and Eliminators. The 3 way feud with those teams goes back to before Barely Legal and has included one sloppy ass weapons brawl after another, each usually with the exact same redundant finish. Balls and Sandman on the other hand have had some of the most brutal matches in ECW history leading up to their uniting as a tag team. Their last match on one of the Hardcore TV's prior to this show seen them in a fun brawl over a can of beer. The whole Sandman vs Balls feud really was the beginning of Balls becoming one of the most over wrestlers on the roster, now with him aligning with Sandman he is officially one of the top babyfaces in the company. Pretty good booking to get a new guy over in ECW, especially when you look at what Heyman had to work with in Balls look and his skills. It was more than Heyman's booking that got Balls over though, he displayed some inhuman toughness in his matches with Sandman leading up to this. This is Balls and Sandman's first match as a team.

    Rick Rude at the start of the show said that the winners of this match will go on later tonight to get a shot at the Eliminators for the tag team titles. The Dudleys come out first with no music. D-Von gets on the mic and tells the fans to kiss his ass and shut the fuck up. He passes the mic to Buh Buh and he goes off on such a nasty tirade on the fans that it's mostly censored out. He must have said something really bad because fuck and shit was not censored. I'm assuming there were some homophobic slurs in there or something. The Dudley Boys focus their attention on Sign Guy the fan at ringside and really heckle him, big time. Joel Gertner finally takes the mic and takes more shots at the Philadelphia Flyers, repeating the scores from the first 3 games that they lost to the Red Wings. So I'm assuming that game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals was either going on at the same time as this show or hadn't started yet. One of the Dudley Boys takes a shot saying that the closest that any of the fans will get to a Stanley Cup is a fat fucking slob fan named Stanley.

    Sandman and Balls come out together to Metallica's Enter Sandman and they are maximum over with the fans. This match starts off sloppy and gets a whole lot sloppier. The fun part is the fans chanting "Balls" with each punch that Balls lands, similar to how they did "Shaw" for Hack Myers in 1995. Something about Balls just clicked with the ECW fans, he was fat, ugly, wore blue jeans and a t-shirt, he just had a certain personality that they really liked. This is a brawl, and not a very good one. Big Dick gets involved and the Dudley's outnumber Balls and Sandman, eventually hitting Balls with the 3D for the win. Sandman helps Balls up after the match and gives him his endorsement. 1 & 1/4 Stars

    ECW World Championship: Terry Funk(C) vs Chris Candido

    Chris Candido comes out to AC/DC Back in Black dressed up exactly like Terry Funk, same stripped long pants, t-shirt, and the bandanna tied around his head. Prior to this show the Triple Threat came together with Douglas, Candido, and Bam Bam Bigelow and Sunny even popped up on one of the episodes of Hardcore TV but none of that has been acknowledged yet on this show.

    Candido is filling in for Stevie Richards. Rude put this match over at the beginning of the show as if Candido had a good chance at scoring the upset here because Funk had been preparing for Richards and had his opponents switched out at the last minute, Candido is a totally different style of wrestler than Richards. Some Conor McGregor/Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes shit right there.

    Funk comes out to Eagle's Desperado, wearing the big glorious ECW belt. This belt is so much more awesome than the blood n' guts belt they started using in 99. Everybody chants Terry's name during his intro. Stevie Richards comes out after the intros from the ring announcer and cuts a pretty emotional promo. He says that not only is he going to miss his shot at the world title but doctors told him he may never wrestle again. Stevie turns to Funk and tells him how much he looks up to him before breaking down and giving him a hug before bowing out and making his exit.

    I'm not sure yet but I don't think Richards ever comes back to ECW(except for a cup of coffee at the end of the year). His ECW career was an interesting one because of how far he made it from 1995 to 1997, starting out as a jobber comedy act, working his way up as Raven's goofball lackey, eventually getting over as one of the best comedy acts in the entire wrestling business by Summer 1996, then outshining Raven himself and becoming one of the most over acts in ECW history with the BWO. He was being pushed as a serious contender going into and coming out of Barely Legal, even scoring a pin over the Champ Terry Funk in a tag match. Signs were pointing to a Stevie Richards ECW World Title reign until Funk dropped a steel guard rail across his neck in a 4 way match(that also included Sandman and Raven) and injured him pretty seriously. I'm pretty sure that Raven put in a word with WCW to bring him along but it's pretty sad because Stevie basically had to start all over again as Raven's lackey. I've heard rumors that Raven noticed Stevie trying to steal his spotlight(like he did in ECW) and burried him backstage in WCW, this along with Stevie's bum neck got him released from WCW and out of a job altogether. He really had something special going in ECW before he left. Stevie Richards is one of those rare cases where leaving ECW for WCW turned out to be a pretty big mistake that did more harm to his long term career than anything else. By the time he came back to ECW the magic was gone and he never really recaptured it again. Richards' run in ECW from 1995 to 1997 is one of the more interesting arcs I've noticed during this watchthrough that I've been documenting in this thread.

    Not much to this match but it does have a few funny moments. The way Funk lands for bumps and his selling is just always funny to me. They start out with a traditional wrestling exchange early on and then take it out to the floor for some brawling. They brawl into the crowd and Funk acts like he can't see at one point and takes a shot at one of the fans. :lol: They brawl their way back to the ringside area where Candido hits Funk with a piledriver onto an opened steel chair. He goes to piledrive Funk through the timekeepers table but the table breaks under their weight. Back in the ring and they have a pretty funny face slapping exchange. The finish is the best thing about this match as Funk catches Candido in a la magistral rollup for the win, nice. Shane Douglas comes out with Francine and urges Candido to attack Funk after the match. Funk escapes and survives to live another day as ECW World Champ. 2 Stars

    Raven vs Tommy Dreamer

    Here we go. This is it. This next hour of this show is the definitive hour of television in ECW history.

    Raven comes out with Chastity and his new lackey Lupus(who is carrying a blow up doll and keeps picking his nose). I watched through all of the April and May episodes of Hardcore TV leading up to this show about a month or two ago(included my thoughts and a brief summary in the "Life After Barely Legal" writeup) and I have no recollection whatsoever of Chastity being introduced, I vaguely remember something with Lupus. To bring these two worthless performers in and tack them on to Raven's act when he was on his way out the door seems pretty pointless and wasteful.

    Now Rick Rude has joined Joey Styles on commentary. Beulah comes out with Tommy and she is H-O-T!!! Joey does a great job of putting this match over, the final battle in the longest running feud in wrestling. Raven gets the "YOU SOLD OUT!" chants during his intro. Raven and Dreamer have a pretty epic staredown until Lupus gets into the ring and tells Raven to just go, he doesn't even have to wrestle. Raven takes Lupus' advice and heads for the front door of the ECW Arena to leave. Dreamer decks Lupus and chases Raven down, catching up with him out in the foyer/entrance area of the ECW Arena. Dreamer slams Raven around into the steel overhead pulldown door. In the background of the camera shot you can see a mob of people just hanging out outside of the ECW Arena. I'm assuming these people were turned away at the door? There's probably 40-50 people outside!

    Dreamer drags Raven back into the ECW Arena and kicks his ass, hitting him in the back with a chair, busting his head with somebody's drink(then spitting it into his eyes). Raven pushes Dreamer off of the back of the bleachers and sends him plummeting through a merchandise table. They fight around the bleachers and up to the stage area. In the background you can see Shane Douglas sitting on the Eagles Nest platform and watching the match with Francine.

    Raven tries to put Dreamer through a table with a piledriver but Dreamer backdrops him. That is one tough fucking table because it doesn't even break! Dreamer goes to pull Raven up and you can see the photographer standing in position and the flash where this picture was taken:


    Raven and Dreamer brawl from one end of the ECW Arena to the other, from the front entrance area to the stage area, back to the ringside area and then to the back of the Arena near the back door, hitting each other with chairs, slamming and racking each other on the steel crowd barrier rails along the way. Both men are bleeding. Raven finally drags Dreamer back into the ring and hits him with his drop toe hold into an opened steel chair. Dreamer counters a hip toss with a DDT and brings in a sign from the crowd to kickstart a series of false finishes, or what I like to call, "The Paul Heyman 12-Step Finish". Almost all of these steps tie in to one of the classic matches that Dreamer and Raven had through their 2 year feud. Dreamer bringing in a sign from the crowd ties in to the time he hit Raven with the stop sign back at House Party 96 when Beulah dropped the "I'm pregnant" bombshell and left Raven for Tommy.

    Raven pushes the sign into the ref and knocks him out but Dreamer still manages to knock Raven out with it. Dreamer peels the paper off and reveals a "Do Not Enter" metal street sign. Dreamer hits Raven with a Piledriver onto the sign and goes for the pin but the ref is out. The ref finally recovers to count the pin but Lupus gets into the ring and breaks the count. Tommy beats up Lupus and Beulah gets into the ring and drops him with a DDT. Tommy and Beulah pose together with their arms out but Raven hits Dreamer with a low blow. Raven rolls Dreamer up and gets a 2 count. One of my favorite camera shots from this match is when Raven crawls over to Beulah and pleads with her. Beulah backs away from him like he's a dying monster in a horror movie.


    Dreamer hits a low blow on Raven and rolls him for another nearfall. Chastity hits the ring and sprays Dreamer in the eyes with hairspray, which is another nod to one of Dreamer and Raven's old matches. Dreamer kicks out of another nearfall. Beulah tackles Chastity to the ground for a cat fight! Rick Rude on commentary says something that gets censored out.

    Raven pulls Beulah off of Chastity but she hits him with a low blow. Dreamer drops him with a DDT on the sign for another nearfall. Dreamer pulls Raven up and goes for another DDT but Raven pushes him into the ref, knocking him out again. Dreamer lands the DDT but the ref is down. Out comes Louie Spicolli, who has been feuding with Dreamer for the past few weeks after Barely Legal. Louie turned heel and was flashing the click/NWO hand sign around until Dreamer came out on one of the past episodes of Hardcore TV and broke his hand. Louie responded on another episode by dropping Beulah with a Death Valley Driver.

    Louie hits Dreamer with a DDT and pulls Raven over his lifeless body before reviving the ref. Dreamer kicks out at 2! Louie pulls Dreamer up and goes for the Death Valley Driver but Dreamer counters with the DDT. Raven hits Dreamer with a DDT and goes for another pin but Dreamer kicks out again. Raven goes for another DDT but Dreamer pulls him up and drops him with a Death Valley Driver. Tommy finally finishes Raven after 2 long years by pulling him up, screaming "E-C-FUCKING W!" and planting him into the sign with a DDT for the 1, 2, 3! A fun brawl, then a bunch of nods to their older matches, a bunch of false finishes, it wasn't pretty but it was a fun ECW match all the way around. 3 & 1/4 Stars

    Just seconds after Dreamer finally beats Raven, the lights go out....

    The lights come back on and it's "Mr. Monday Night" himself, RVD. RVD hits Dreamer with a Van Daminator and works him over. Dreamer fights back and hits RVD with an Atomic Drop, setting him up for a DDT. Just before Dreamer can hit the DDT the lights go out again. This time they come back on and it's Sabu with Bill Alphonso. Sabu throws a chair and hits Dreamer in the face. Raven recovers and watches as Sabu and RVD beat down on Dreamer. Raven pushes them away from Dreamer at first, then says fuck it and just walks away. Dreamer fights back and hits Sabu & RVD with a double DDT and the lights go out for a third time. They come back on and it's Jerry F'N Lawler. ECW Arena goes ape shit. Lawler gets a HUGE pop, maybe the biggest pop in ECW history. The crowd is so loud you can't even hear Lawler on the mic at first. I think you can make an argument that this is the biggest angle in ECW history.

    Axl Rotten, Chris Chetti, and Nova all come out and get beat down by RVD and Sabu. This is where Lawler says his famous line. "This bingo hall aught to be built out of toilet paper, because there's nothing in it but shit!"

    Wrestlers keep coming out and getting beat up by RVD and Sabu. Fonzie gets a mic and challenges Shane Douglas to come get some. Douglas, who's been watching the whole thing since the Dreamer/Raven match, says he doesn't want any part of it. Natural Born Killaz hits and the Gangstas hit the ring. RVD and Sabu attack them before they can even get to the ring, beating them and everyone else up with the weapons they bring out. The whole ECW Arena is turned into a huge fucking mess with weapons scattered around, bodies scattered around. Total mayhem. Lawler keeps ripping ECW the whole time, calling the fans crap, calling out Paul E., Calling Beulah a ****, asking "Isn't there anybody in ECW that's got any guts?". Dreamer tackles Lawler to the mat but RVD beats him with a chair.

    The whole Arena starts chanting, WE WANT TAZ!

    Sandman comes out and beats on Sabu with a cane until getting kicked in the face by RVD. RVD hits Sandman with a brutal Van Daminator.

    Wrestlers keep trying to get into the ring but they get knocked back down to the floor. Lawler asks, "Is that all you got?"

    Taz's music hits and the place goes wild. He comes out looking boss as boss gets.

    Sabu tries to go after Taz but RVD and company keep him away. Team WWF pulls Sabu out of the ring and flees. Taz stands tall. He is at his absolute best on the mic here as he goes into full on rage mode, telling Fonzie to bring his freak *****es to fight him, telling Lawler to suck his cock. Shane Douglas gets on the mic and tells Taz to calm down. Taz tells Shane to get lost and take his rat with him before he calls out Sabu. My favorite line is when he says, "Get these fucking bodies out of my ring!". I'm sure that there are a lot of wrestling fans that see this type of profanity being thrown around and think it's childish, immature, maybe even cheap. When you use those words with the conviction that Taz uses them here it's anything but childish, immature or cheap, it's pure fucking rage unadulterated and overflowing. You can't stop it.

    Everybody starts chanting Taz's name. He says he ain't leaving the ring until Sabu shows his fucking miserable face. Heyman comes out and tries to restore order. Taz tells Heyman he ain't leaving, "You can fine me, whatever, I'm sick of his shit! This stuff with WWF, fuck them! Jerry Lawler, you want to show your face in my house, come get me motherfucker."

    Taz is red hot. He tells Heyman to get somebody to clean his ring. He ain't leaving. Taz keeps calling Sabu and RVD and Fonzie out, saying "I'm ready to fight". Sure enough you can hear Fonzie's whistle as he makes his way back out to the ring. Fonzie gets into the ring and Taz tells him he's got 15 seconds and he's about to get choked the fuck out. Fonzie tells Taz that he missed the boat, "We're on Monday night, we're big time now baby." Taz rips Fonzie up for a suplex and it's hilarious the way he does it. :lol: Sabu comes out for the save and we're off....

    Sabu vs Taz

    I've always considered this match to be superior to their match at Barely Legal but upon watching it this time I'm not so sure that is the case anymore. Sabu seems to be more on point, sharper than he was at Barley Legal. They seem to have better chemistry at moments than what they did at Barely Legal. You got to think, they went over a year without touching each other leading up to that Barely Legal match. By this point this is the third time they've wrestled each other in 5 or 6 weeks(they had a match at a Supercard called "Chapter 2" prior to this show). Taz's crossface strikes look so great, especially early on in this particular match. At one point Sabu goes for a Triple Jump Moonsault and clearly botches it on purpose. Taz pulls him off of the ropes into a T-Bone Suplex.

    The one huge glaring flaw in this match comes when Taz actually climbs up to the top turnbuckle and goes for a Somersault splash. It has to be one of the most out of character things I've ever seen him do, and on top of that it looked horrible. I do like the finish of this match a lot more than their Barely Legal match. Sabu sets Taz up on a table in the ring and hits a splash off the top rope. Both guys are selling it after the table bump when Taz reaches up and hooks the Tazmission on Sabu from behind as they recover. Sabu rolls back onto Taz and scores a clean pinfall. This was the first time Taz has been pinned in ECW since September 1995. That's almost 2 full years! Exactly 630 days!!! I gave their Barely Legal match 4 Stars but I did not enjoy this one as much on this viewing, it just lacked the big fight feel but it was still a good match by ECW standards. 3 & 1/4 Stars.

    Taz keeps the Tazmission on Sabu after being pinned and he chokes Sabu unconscious. A slew of refs come out to pull Taz off of Sabu. Taz chokes a ref out, then hits another ref with a German Suplex before choking him out as well! Taz gets his hands on Fonzie and chokes him out for payback for his doublecross at Barely Legal. That is how you end a fucking undefeated streak.

    Shane Douglas, who's been watching everything from the Eagles Nest balcony since the Raven/Dreamer match, gets on the mic and tells Taz to get the fuck out of the ring and let the next match go on. Taz gets on a mic and tells him to come make him leave. Shane tells Taz he could come down there and show him how to throw a proper suplex but he's already wrestled. Taz tells Shane that he guarantees him that he can make him tap in 5 minutes. Shane says he's willing to put the belt on the line, if he lasts the 5 minutes, Taz takes his fucking ass out of ECW for a 30 day vacation. Taz makes it 60 days and says he will make Shane tap out in 3 minutes! Shane accepts, it's on!

    ECW World Television Championship: Shane Douglas(C) vs Taz

    Shane concentrates on Taz's neck, hitting a swinging neck breaker, a DDT, 2 inverted rolling neck snaps, elbows to the neck, then a full nelson. Taz counters the full nelson and transitions into the Tazmission but Douglas hits a reverse low blow kick. Taz reverses a whip into the corner and Douglas does a tip up, landing right into the Tazmission. Fucking great scene as Douglas reaches for the ropes. The ring announcer announces that there are only 30 seconds left. Douglas gets up to his feet and tries to kick back out of the corner for a rollup but Taz pulls him down and forces the tap. Crowd goes CRAZY! I'm not going to rate it but for a 3 minute match it was great. Taz wins the ECW World TV title and caps off one of the greatest hours of wrestling television in the history of pro wrestling. Unfucking believable. All of that, from the Dreamer vs Raven match and it's wild 12-step finish, to Lawler/RVD/Sabu beating up the whole ECW locker room, to Taz coming out and taking the show hostage, to Taz vs Sabu(with Sabu ending Taz's 630 day undefeated streak), to Taz forcing Shane to tap out to win the TV title all flowed from one event to the next. On paper it probably reads like a clusterfucked mess, it was anything but.

    This was Heyman's finest hour as a booker. This style of booking was often imitated but never duplicated. I think Scott E. Williams described it the best in his book Hardcore History when he called it a "Rolling stream-of-consciousness series of events". To me it reminds me of Pulp Fiction and the way that movie was "booked" at times, Bruce Willis goes to get his father's watch, kills John Travolta, runs into Marcellus Wallace on the streets, has a chase that leads them to a pawn shop where they get raped by Zed, who gets sliced with a sword by Willis, who then reconciles with Wallace. It's a level of unpredictability that mirrors real life, similar to the Sopranos, like how the whole Richie Aprile arc played out, twisting and turning and then ending in a completely different way than what you expected. Paul Heyman himself has often described this hour as his favorite in ECW history.

    It was great. Taz was on fire and his dialogue with Shane Douglas to set up their match was like something out of a movie. I can't praise this hour enough really, it is what really makes this one of my favorite ECW shows and what makes Taz one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Today's wrestling can't touch the stuff like this that ECW did, and I don't care who gets offended by that statement, it's the damn truth and I'll stand by it, not for nostalgia(I had actually never seen this show until 2 or 3 years ago), not for blood or guts or gore that can't be done in today's environment, but for several elements that have been lost, forgotten, disregarded, for whatever reasons. This style of wrestling booking was Heyman's trademark, it was as style completely lost on bookers like Vince Russo who just didn't "get it" but still tried so hard to copy it. Many people say that ECW hasn't aged well but I would strongly disagree. ECW scenes, angles, and characters have aged quite strongly because it's style has been lost, it was a style that is completely different and worlds apart from what is out there today. There are many elements of ECW that have been taken to the next level by the modern generation, but there was just a certain style about ECW that just appeals to me, strikes chords that a modern day wresting tv show just can't hit. I'm sorry if that pisses you off, I'm sorry if you are sick and tired of hearing old people talk about wrestling this way, but it's just the way it is.

    ECW World Tag Team Championship: The Dudley Boys vs Eliminators(C)

    The Dudley Boys come out and Gertner breaks the news to the Arena, 2-0 Red Wings are beating the Flyers in the 3rd period of game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

    Todd Gordon comes out, the babyface kayfabe commissioner of ECW. Todd announces that Saturn is out with a torn ACL, he's out of the match. Todd announces that Saturn will be out of action for 1 year. He asks the Eliminators to come out and forfeit the Tag Team Titles. Saturn comes out on crutches, wearing street clothes with his knee in a huge brace. Saturn gets on the mic and refuses to give up the belts, saying that Kronus will wrestle on his own. Gordon calls for the bell.

    This is basically the Eliminators last stand in ECW. Kronus wrestles the Dudley Boys by himself as Saturn watches from the floor on crutches. Kronus shines early on with his kicks but Big Dick Dudley gets involved and drops him with a chokeslam. The Dudleys dominate Kronus. All 3 of them beat on Kronus until Saturn hits somebody with a crutch. Saturn goes head to head with Buh Buh on one leg, ducking under a clothesline and hitting him with a Diamond Cutter. Kronus makes the cover but Buh Buh kicks out. Kronus shines a little more on his own, hitting D-Von with his handspring back elbow. Buh Buh catches Kronus with with his Buh Buh Cutter and covers for the pin but Kronus kicks out. Kronus makes a comeback and takes out all 3 Dudley Boys with kicks. Saturn is giving Kronus instructions from the outside, guiding him through and instructing him to hit a 450 for another nearfall. Eventually the Dudleys overwhelm Kronus again. Saturn comes in and hits Big Dick with his other crutch, then goes up to the top and hits a one legged elbow drop on D-Von. Saturn makes the cover and scores the pinfall over D-Von. 2 & 1/2 Stars

    As much as I said it about Barely Legal the same can be said about Wrestlepalooza that this was the end of an era for ECW. After this show Raven, Stevie Richards, and The Eliminators were all gone all at once. The top heel, the most over babyface, and perhaps the best tag team in ECW history all gone within a few days. What is interesting looking back now at this show was how ECW was caught in the middle of the Monday Night War between WCW and WWF. While WCW undercut ECW and ruined their main event for their next pay per view by signing Raven, WWF stepped in and lent them a helping hand with the whole Lawler angle. The very next Monday after this show Raven popped up on Nitro but over on Raw Dreamer and Heyman carried over the whole Lawler angle by appearing in the audience and RVD was being put over WWF wrestlers like Flash Funk. I definitely feel like this is the best ECW show ever.

    If you only watch one ECW show in your lifetime, watch Wrestlepalooza 97. Just be sure to watch the full unedited version with the original music. I mean, would you watch the movie Scarface with some bunk ass generic soundtrack replacing the original and the cussing bleeped out!? I didn't think so.

    Overall: 10/10
    Hollywood Naitch likes this.
  4. MrHashasheen

    MrHashasheen Enjoying Wrestling

    Apr 11, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hey Shinobi, you're the guy to ask I reckon, but did Rick Rude wrestle much in the main event of Heat Wave? I mean, he was retired after the accident with Sting in Japan, no?
  5. NSL

    NSL Life's A Bitch, And Then You Mosh

    Nov 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    It's highly probable that my memory is failing me, but I don't think he even showed up until the very end of the match. I haven't seen the show in 2-3 years, but I think it was a case of Dreamer and Sandman charging in and jumping everyone, the big brawl ensuing, and then Rude coming in for the finish.
  6. ShinobiMusashi

    ShinobiMusashi Getting Noticed By Management

    Jan 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    ^I'm pretty sure this was the case. I haven't seen the full match but I remember seeing clips of it back in the day. ECW guys were being destroyed by the WWF contingency, Rude came out like he was going to make the save and then did what he did.

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