Monday, March 23, 2015

ECW Hardcore TV: February 15, 1997

Big Dirty Murphy asks: Why has it continually been the narrative for nearly 20 years that that stupid Mass Transit kid was some poor helpless victim who got hurt at the hands of a heartless criminal? He lied about his age to get booked, lied about having wrestling experience, and allowed himself to get bladed by an opponent, something that always results in excessive gore (see also WM13). How about blaming the kid and his dad who apparently helped him get booked? Personal responsibility doesn't play ANY factor here?

Because the kid was 16 years old. When you’re 16 years old, you’re probably going to do a lot of dumb shit things. The kid, from all accounts, had a number of self-confidence issues, and suffered from depression. I’ve known adults in the same position who make mistakes, and that’s before you factor in the confusing world of being a teenager. Paul Heyman was a fully grown adult, and as a business owner, and ultimately the person in charge of his brand, it’s his responsibility to vet every single person who steps into a wrestling ring. As much as I want to rain down the hate-parade on the kid’s father, I guarantee the guy thought wrestling was little more than two guys pretending to punch each other and it was all in good fun, and he was just happy to see his son participating in a group activity. That probably makes him a shitty parent for failing to educate himself before signing off on the idea of letting his kid go through with it, but Heyman’s lack of due diligence was the real issue.


Then there’s New Jack, whose idea of a little rookie hazing is apparently to take a box cutter and rip apart someone’s forehead until you tap an artery. It’s one thing to make a mistake, but New Jack fessed a long time ago he intended to hurt the kid, which is, as far as I know, assault with a deadly weapon. The kid could have easily bled to death inside that ring, and Jack seemingly didn’t give a damn. In light of this past weekend, where a highly skilled 20-year veteran passed away due to wear and tear off a couple of standard bumps, I’d say that awareness should be at an all time high about how critical it is to protect your opponents inside the ring. I can’t accept any argument that lets Heyman and especially New Jack off the hook. Heyman probably should have had his company shut down pending further investigation of safety practices, and New Jack should have done jail time. Rest assured, if this had occurred in 2015, this is *exactly* what would have happened.

Now, just because I hold that particular stance doesn’t mean I’m going to slam my laptop lid in moral outrage and stop watching immediately. I love wrestling. I grew up on it, and the late 90’s came during the most influential period of my life; my mid to late teens. So as a viewer – I’m thrilled the company wasn’t shut down, that they were able to continue to produce content, and that we’re able to look back some 20 years later and talk about it. But it doesn’t make it right.

As I dismount from my high horse, I’m greeted by the steely eyes of TOMMY DREAMER. He figures with all the hardcore things he’s done in his 3 years as an ECW wrestler, things are probably gonna be all sorts of gory come the PPV in April. And, just to accentuate the point, we’re shown a highlight package with all his nastiest moments; starting with the “Please Sir, may I have another?” caning from Woman and Sandman, the piledriving of Beulah, the face first chair-shot to Raven in the cage, his war with Cactus Jack, and the Stop “sign” on Raven. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping ...

JOEY STYLES starts the hype-machine for Barely Legal, in what he’s calling a revolution in pay-per-view offerings. He figures Raven is going to be running scared trying to retain his title between now and then, especially in light of the fact that Stevie Richards is hunting him. A single Stevie Kick could be the difference between retaining ... or losing.

Highlights from the main event of Crossing The Line Again are aired.

The Terry Funk / Tommy Rich match is replayed from the same show, which I reviewed a few weeks back. Geriatric fight be damned, there’s nothing quite like watching a couple of old vets work a crowd, and these guys brought everything they have left in the tank. Lots of fun.

A smiling TERRY FUNK tells a story about an old bull rider who was passed his prime, named Freckles Brown. He managed to jump on a bull that had thrown dozens of tough men away, setting a new record above this particularly wild animal. He was asked afterwards how he did it, and he just grinned and said “every dog has his day”. Funk feels the exact same way, he’s still looking for his day. If he’s able to capture the belt from Raven, he can give his family a lifetime memory of seeing Terry on top of the sport, instead of as a beat up old has-been.

The genesis of The Dudley Boys is shown in full. The era of Bubba and D-Von is upon us.

Speaking of, THE DUDLEY BOYS are out in the street. They’ve been looking all over Philly looking for Da Gangstas, starting with the West Side, working their way to the East Side, and even though they can’t afford it, they checked out the North Side. So, they’re standing in the South Side of Philly, and there’s not a Gangsta to be found. And the reason? They’re nothing but a bunch of “Puh-Puh-Puh-Puh-Puh” *smack* “Cowards!”

Lance Storm’s debut against Balls Mahoney from CTLA is shared. Storm would have far greater days ahead, but as far as debuts go, it was ago.

RAVEN sits in a basement somewhere, and asks Terry Funk to knock off the boring old war stories unless he’s willing to buy another round. If fate somehow puts them together, then the dog is going to be denied his day. Funk can talk all he wants about his dad dying in his arms, because if his own father had died in his arms he would be a much happier person today. The miserable shit promises to be World Champion forever.

The tag-team title match between The Eliminators and RVD/Sabu is replayed – which makes for an easy fast-forward spot. I know there’s folks out there who love a good 20-minute Sabu slopfest,  but I’m not one of them and I have no urge to re-watch this one again anytime soon.


CyberSlam is coming at us next week, as well as a new episode of Hardcore TV with a couple of fresh arena matches. And, of course, Jerry Lawler’s issued a HUGE open challenge to the ECW roster for the February 24th edition of RAW. It’s not a question of whether they’ll respond, it’s how they’ll respond.

46 comments:

  1. New Jack is garbage and wouldn't have got over without his entrance music, at least Sandman has gotten reactions with generic guitar riffs.

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  2. The kid lied about his experience. So Paul should have, what? Checked his resume, called around for references, maybe fingerprinted him and had a professional background check done so he could have a jobber for a TV match? New Jack probably went over the line but would it have been better to put him in there against, say, the Steiners and get him dumped on his neck? You don't know if the kid can work so you put him in a garbage match. Besides, its not like that killed him. He died years later due to being a giant ham planet.

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  3. And can we get over this idea that 16 year olds are clueless children who can't decide anything for themselves? In most other countries in the world, and in this country up until the last couple decades, and still to this day in parts of this country, at 16 you're expected to start working, supporting yourself, and raising a family. Just because we have an infantilizing culture that has created the oldest children in history doesn't mean you are incapable of rationality before the magic age of 18.

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  4. Hey, it's okay. Nobody cares anymore.

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  5. How many kids did you have when you were 16?

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  6. And he was 17.

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  7. None, because I was a rational thinking young man and I always wore condoms.

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  8. Yup. The reasonable reaction to lying about your age is attempted murder. Case closed.

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  9. Great set of Raven promos coming up these next few episodes. ECW promos were bar none the best.

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  10. He was blading and went too deep. If you believe New Jack isn't just working everone about being dangerous in the ring so he can sell shoot tapes to smarks, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. No one would have continually worked with a guy who was actually trying to hurt his opponents. Or if he was, why is it attempted murder when he does it but totally acceptable when Scott Steiner drops people on their heads on purpose?

    I know I know, Ugh, right? Fucking spare me.

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  11. The Mass Transit incident is just about the worst set of circumstances all happening at once given the situation. I would venture to guess he wasn't the only kid trying to sneak on a show especially during the heyday of backyard wrestling.

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  12. I'd say I'm surprised that New Jack kept getting work after the "incident," but I'm more surprised he ever found work in the first place. I'd call New Jack my least favorite wrestler of all time, but then I'd have to call him a wrestler. He is the fucking worst.

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  13. Personally, New Jack is easily one of my 5 favorite wrestlers of all time.....but I agree. Dude should have gone to jail. Period. That being said, that doesn't mean the kid or his father doesn't share some of the blame in this - particularly the dad, because New Jack and Heyman both thought they were dealing with a grown man, not some 17 year old kid.

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  14. I'm going to try working "ham planet" into everyday conversation. Or form a band.

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  15. Ham planet?????????? Consider that phrase stolen

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  16. I can see where it would be very hard to take a case like this to trial. By all accounts the kid asked New Jack to blade him and blading was standard practice in many wrestling promotions as gruesome as that sounds.

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  17. I'm agreeing with. I personally believe every bar should have a firing squad out back for anybody caught with a fake Id.

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  18. Raven especially was just amazing. He was one of the best ever at his peak.

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  19. When I was 16 I thought I was a hell of a lot smarter than I really was.

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  20. His promo with Stevie was especially great.

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  21. Spoken like a man who either is not around a lot of 16 year olds, or is the secret 16 year old son of New Jack

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  22. I must be missing something. Women are precious and need to be defended (re: the Sable conversation and issues there), but body shaming (giant ham planet) is okay? I'm having a hard time figuring out your stances.

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  23. I really shouldn't be laughing at "giant ham planet" as hard as I am right now.

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  24. I hear everything you're saying and I don't quite agree. I do believe New Jack should have been dealt with much more severely than he was and I honestly don't understand why Heyman continued to employ him. I also think Heyman has some blood on his hands for basically taking a guy at his word and booking him in a match. I don't think Heyman was criminally negligent, though...I think he just made a really bad decision. I don't think he should have shut the promotioni down for any length of time...he still had people to pay who were truly dependent on those paychecks. If a police department wanted to shut it down for further investigation, I'd have been ok with that, but the police didn't really seem to care all that much. That's really the larger problem here...no one really cared. Like, the father screamed and yelled to the Heavens and finally had to sue to get his day in court.


    So, to say New Jack should have been arrested or Heyman should have been investigated...I don't disagree with that, either, but who would do that? I'm pretty sure if it happened next weeked, you'd still have a difficult time finding an authority who could and would take action.


    So, really, it comes down to why did Heyman trust New Jack and continue to employ him? That's the part I've never understood and it's made me think less of Heyman. I don't really think there's any one bad guy in the story, though. Everything is hindsight and I'm sure if Kulas was still alive, he wouldn't have gone into the ring and if Heyman could have it back, he wouldn't have done any of it.

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  25. "It's not like that killed him" isn't exactly a glowing defense of the situation, haha.

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  26. He and Stevie had incredible charisma together. I thought they were even better than Raven and Tommy.

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  27. Good point......now that serves as a good measure of how naive this kid was, that he trusted New Jack (of all people) to blade his forehead

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  28. Too bad i didn't catch the real Raven in ECW. I didn't see ECW until mid 97 so my first impressions of Raven was the watered down WCW version. Also i never knew about the storyline between him and Stevie. I just saw Stevie as some lackey that Raven squashed at the final Clash of Champions.

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  29. Can you please stop? I don't like that I kind of agree with the reviewer.


    Also, as justicegris pointed out, insulting Sable= bad. Insulting fatties= good?

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  30. I didn't get the random slut shaming out of nowhere and without much warrant. Whereas Kulas clearly sweats bacon grease. Plus as a chubby guy im allowed to mock my own kind.

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  31. Chris Fothergill-Brown, why do you keep insisting Eric Kulas was 16, when he was 17?

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  32. Oh okay, you're a hypocrite. Thanks for clearing that up. ;)

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  33. That sucks. Raven's first run in ECW was legitimately one of the greatest runs of any wrestler ever. His promos were great, his feuds were great, and he brought out the best in everyone. He made the Sandman seem like a true star. The Stevie stuff was so wonderful, especially when you see the entire story. It's too bad Stevie's neck got so messed up; he should have been huge.

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  34. I'm one of the people who love a good 20 minute Sabu slopfest, but I can easily see how they're not for everyone.

    How do you rate Raven's first ECW run on the scale of great runs in a promotion? Good? Bad? Meh?

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  35. "Ween" Dean AndrewsMarch 23, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    How did you pee?

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  36. "Ween" Dean AndrewsMarch 23, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    Anyone with a fake Id must have a big ego.

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  37. "Can you please stop? I don't like that I kind of agree with the reviewer."

    LOL, the last time I heard someone say something like this, the following happened:

    https://youtu.be/viJhkcywIBY?t=4m38s

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  38. I do think this one of those situations where no one is right. The kid and especially his dad should not have put him in that spot, but how dumb is Paul Heyman for letting a guy off the street come in and wrestle for him?

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  39. Agreed. Who's at fault? Everyone involved. Blame is not a zero sum game, especially not with that incident.

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  40. "why did Heyman trust New Jack and continue to employ him?"



    Who says Heyman trusted New Jack? Maybe he feared for his life if he fired him?

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  41. Everyone involved has some of the blame, but ultimately the buck stops with Paul Heyman. He is the boss and he has final say.
    The incident kept ECW off of PPV for a little while longer. And if the kid had died, it would have cost him a lot more than that.

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  42. Paul didn't have to call for references. Mass Transit said he was trained by Killer Kowalski. Kowalski happened to be at the show but no one asked him.

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  43. How about this for a question.

    What do you protect first,

    The boys or the business?

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  44. I could see Shitty Sleazy Indie pulling something like that, but if you're trying to go mainstream and be the true #3, it's just irresponsible and stupid

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  45. You keep insisting the kids was 16 but in a column when the kid died you said he was 17. Which is it?

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