Saturday, January 17, 2015

ECW Hardcore TV: January 9, 1997

The dulcet tones of Desperado highlight the exciting return of Terry Funk!! … 2 months ago. At this point, Terry was a well-respected, but deeply washed up hardcore legend at 52 years old. Of course, that seems downright spry when compared to the 66 year old Ric Flair, still clamoring for one more big payday, but times were different. And speaking of different:

The intro is taken over by the BLUE WORLD ORDER, doing a cheap knock-off of the nWo quick-cut black and white routine. I guess the 90’s were a different time, because I honestly don’t remember ECW being this god awful; but compared to the slick presentation of the Big 2, the VHS quality of their camera-work, and their video packages that could be better produced in today’s age using Windows Movie Maker makes this exceptionally difficult to watch. I’m trying desperately to take myself back to an age where if you wanted to play video games with your friends, they came over to your house. Where AOL CDs were used as coffee coasters. Where people drinking bottled water were considered societal rejects; paying money for a free resource. Deep breaths …

Our host is “SCREAMIN’” JOEY STYLES.


AXL ROTTEN vs. BIG STEVIE COOL (with the Blue Guy and Hollywood Nova)

Stevie Richards was always an interesting guy; seemingly taking hold of every gimmick he was ever saddled with, and scoring a touchdown. From the BWO to RTC to his eventual insanity plea with Victoria, the man owned his personas. Unfortunately, injuries, poor political connections, and never finding the “it” gimmick he could run with for good kept him from ever developing into a major superstar, which is unfortunate, because he’s a hell of a performer. Axl Rotten embodies none of the above. In other exciting news, this is another match recorded with the “ECW Fan Cam”, so there’s a 40% chance I’ll start vomiting mid-match from dizziness. Rotten nails Stevie with a swinging neckbreaker, and chokes him out in the corner. Stevie’s filled with the power of cut off short-shorts, and turns the table, punching Rotten in the head and shoving his crotch as close to Axl’s face as legally permitted without charging for it. Axl isn’t ready to experiment though, and cracks Stevie over the head with a chair. “Funky like a monkey” doesn’t work when coming from anyone but Dusty Rhodes, and I recommend Joey Styles begin following that rule. Stevie nails Axl in the pooter, and his eyes blow up like a crack-baby. Headbutt to the groinal region gets 2. Axl gets up, and punts Stevie in the punt, before dropping his head in the same spot. “Work the PENIS!” is the kind of kool-aid inspired words I envision from Paul E before this took place. Stevie comes back with Emerald City Slam, but the Steviekick is blocked with a clothesline for 2. A powerbomb gets 2 before Axl picks up Stevie. I don’t mean to question his decision, as he’s a much bigger man than me with no aversions to putting a hurtin’ to the meat popsicle – but in my experience as a viewer, that usually backfires. Just play the odds man. One Steviekick later proves me right at 5:50. The winning group throw themselves into the crowd, and draw a “BWO” chant from all 22 fans in attendance. *

Meanwhile, we take a look at the Dudley Brothers. D-Von, at this point, is the outcast of the Dudley clan; having arrived in ECW roughly a year earlier to try and bring the True Dudley way back to the family name. More or less a family comedy troupe, D-Von was different, in that he had a real mean streak, and made sure everyone knew it. Brothers Dudley Dudley, Snot Dudley, Dances With Dudley, and Chubby Dudley were gone by now, but we’ve still got Buh Buh Ray, Spike, Big Dick, and Sign Guy kickin’ around. Anyway, we learn absolutely none of that from this segment. In fact, we learn nothing at all. Moving on.

JOEL GERTNER is here again, and his cameraman films this like a hyperactive seal wearing a camcorder on his head. He introduces CHRIS CANDIDO, who is being driven nuts by Louie Spicolli. He was undefeated when he came to ECW, and it’s everyone else’s fault that he lost to Rob Van Dam.

HOLLYWOOD NOVA (with Big Stevie Cool and The Blue Guy) vs. BRIAN LEE

Back to the fan cam, because production values aren’t extreme. Stevie reminds Brian they’re good friends, and was a little put off that Lee took out the entire BWO during the King of the Hill battle royal a couple weeks earlier. He recognizes it’s every man for himself, but he thinks Lee was a little more out for himself than everyone else. That draws an “oooooh” from the crowd but I don’t even know what that means. With all that said, they come from the same roots as members of Raven’s Nest, and he’s got a spot with them anytime as the BlueDozer. All that does is get Nova thrown across the ring by the throat. Prime Time Slam ends this quickly at 0:24.

Commercial reminding us not to “forget about M*A*S*H*”. How old IS this show?!?

KILLER KOWALSKI is welcomed to the program to discuss his hardcore roots, but he gets nowhere before BRIAN LEE shows up and chokes him out. “I’m a legend killer!” he warns Terry Funk.

THE ELIMINATORS respond to what they just saw; with Saturn seriously irate about his mentor being taken out. He vows revenge. Wrestling 101 here, good stuff.

Meanwhile, RAVEN is in the ring taunting Sandman. He’s a better man, which is why Sandman’s wife left him. He’s a better father, which is why his son left him. And he’s a better wrestler, which is why he’s the World Champion; and he wants his belt back NOW.

RAVEN vs. THE SANDMAN

Sandman clocks Raven upside the head with the belt. Styles: “Well, he gave Raven his belt. And he belts him again.” I imagine he’s plum out of belt puns, but props for the effort. Sandman continues the assault, pummelling Raven in the corner. Every time Raven gets to his feet, he’s punched in the mouth again, knocked to the corner. It doesn’t take long for the blood to start flowing. Raven finally stays down, so Sandman advances … but it’s just a sucker move, and a field goal to the tent pole sends Sandman crashing down. Raven grabs his belt, and runs it into Sandman’s face. Raven grabs a mic and re-iterates that he’s the champion, before tossing him to the floor and into the crowd. They head to the concession table, and Sandman is suplexed onto an autograph table! How many glossys just went down? There’s at least $200 worth of merchandise there; and those bills don’t pay themselves! Into the fire-escape, Raven drags Sandman to the top of the building, and sends him headfirst into every door he sees. Sandman, ever protective of his head, allows it to happen full-tilt. This leads us to the BWO locker room, and while Raven continues to beat the piss out of Sandman, the group start a “BWO!” chant. Raven shoves Stevie to the ground, and exits the locker room. Sandman emerges, bloody, and wearing a BWO shirt. Styles wonders if he stole it; but judging from his physical state, it’s more likely Nova and Meanie just kicked his ass and put it on him. Back down the stairs, passed the merchandise area, and through the sea of fans, they find themselves back in the ring. Raven taunts Sandman to take his best shot, and Sandman happily delivers a roundhouse. Both guys start trading punches back and forth, selling like the end of a war with neither guy willing to give. When they both fall, Styles announces we’re out of time (at the 10:05 mark of the match)! WCW alternative my ass! 1/2* - total amateur hour, Raven has so much more than this kick punch drag crap.


No preview; but a quick search reveals that the Raven/Sandman war continues next week. In fact, the next month looks promising from a lineup standpoint; it’s simply a matter of delivery.

19 comments:

  1. This took place on my 17th birthday. Sounds like I didn't miss much.

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  2. ECW, as I've learned, isn't for everybody, which I still can't understand, but whatever. I remember watching and liking this show the week it aired.

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  3. ECW is the definite 'you had to be there to get it' experience.

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  4. "There’s at least $200 worth of merchandise there; and those bills don’t pay themselves"

    I thought that was exactly how ECW bills got paid. Because Paul E. certainly wasn't.

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  5. Great stuff. Many laughs were had!

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  6. After I knew what I wanted, I started talking t0 people about it. Most of people didn't take me too seriously. I didn't even know if my 'dream job" existed anywhere. Still, I made the decision to look for it. Then I met a man who worked at home, part-time and had done so for years. He told me how he did it and shared with me how to get started.,,,

    ------------> www.cashtime10.com

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  7. "Stevie Richards was always an interesting guy; seemingly taking hold of every gimmick he was ever saddled with, and scoring a touchdown. [...] kept him from ever developing into a major superstar"

    He headlined Wrestlemania 20 for chrissakes, give the guy his due!

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  8. This is true of anything truly groundbreaking.

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  9. I thought that was legendary superstar, "And More!"

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  10. Agreed. ECW is why I started watching wrestling again after a multi-year hiatus. I've gone back and watched a bunch on the 9.99 Channel and a lot of it doesn't hold up. I don't care. I loved it at the time.

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  11. I don't care. ECW was awesome fun. I hit up half a dozen PPV's & compared to the big 2 they were ridiculously more fun. Yes the TV show couldn't & doesn't hold up, but live events were no comparison.

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  12. ECW's grunge/gritty look was definitely a product of the 90's. It wouldn't work today, but it worked for ECW as the anti-establishment. The company having shows before huge arenas and world class lighting just wouldn't feel like ECW. As others have said, it was definitely a "you had to be there" sorta thing or at least understand the historical context for how different ECW was than everything else in the US from 94-96.

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  13. Stevie was always one of my favorite lower card guys, I wish he would've found a gimmick to get him to the next level as well. I thought he had it with the Victoria deal, but advancing much further after it was made clear she was the focus of the team seemed unlikely... then they put him in a dress, and I knew it was pretty much over.

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  14. ECW, like the grunge movement in music that inspired it, was absolutely ground-breaking in the '90's, but lacks the staying power to be considered timeless or classic.

    It's merely a snapshot in time that reflects the style, trends and attitude of the time period, but will appear extremely ( pun intended?) more silly and groan-inducing as the years go by.

    Once the 'Big 2' began borrowing / stealing Heyman's concepts ( and in some cases executing them better), ECW was dead in the water.

    Hey, I consider myself a huge ECW fan, as well, but I am not telling you anything you don't already know (R.I.P., Sean O'Haire).

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  15. Public Enemy at the time was pretty current and relevant but really doesnt hold up but I still love their entrance and matches.

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  16. What I've found out is that most wrestling fans that ended up watching ECW started watching in 1999 so they totally missed out on the cultural revolution of being a teenager watching something so awesome. Now they watch 1995 ECW with no context and just says it sucks.

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  17. Like Nirvana, when I look back I realize ECW wasn't as good as I thought it was.

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  18. I never cared for Terry Funk.

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  19. The first thought that comes to mind whenever I think of Richards is the SICK chairshot he gave to JBL in the JBL/Meanie match on Smackdown in 2005.

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