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ECW Hardcore TV: January 30, 1997

Last week, Pitbull #1 returned to the mother of all pops against Shane Douglas, delivering the strongest January show to date. With one date left before we check in with Punxsutawney Phil, the month is looking to end with a bang (but sadly, not a bang bang, since he’s off grinding with strippers while dressed like a mentally deranged turd).

We are ANYTHING BUT LIVE from Scranton, Pennsylvania! JOEY STYLES kicks us off just as we started and ended last week, with THE TRIPLE THREAT and FRANCINE. Douglas forces Styles to stay in the ring, and says he’s fairly sure he knows who the masked man is. And, if it’s who he THINKS it is, then he knows he’s a ladies man who’s after Francine and not his belt, and if that’s the case, he best step off. Just to make sure the masked man keeps away, he’s hired a body guard. Out walks MIKE AWESOME – holy crap, I didn’t even know he was around in 1997! Douglas gives away the identity of the Masked Man for the handful of people who weren’t able to pick up on it by voice alone; by telling the mysterious fella that Awesome’s in a pretty Rude Mood.

A bandaged and beaten down TERRY FUNK reminisces on the ass kicking he took from Brian Lee. He puts over Tommy Dreamer as the man with the biggest heart he’s ever seen, reminding him of his father. His dad always wanted to be the world champion of wrestling, but he had a massive heart attack in June of 1973. On his way to the hospital, he asked Terry how much further to the hospital. And even though it was just a few more blocks, “dad gum it I just can’t make it”. Those were his last words as he passed away right there in the ambulance. 24 years later, Terry sits here trying to make sense of his own goals, and like his dad, he wants to be World Champion one more time. Terry breaks down, and says if he’s able to accomplish he’s dream he wants all the ECW fans in the arena to come into the ring, link arms with him in celebration and say “WE DID IT OUR WAY! Not like the WWF! Not like WCW! AAA, New Japan, All Japan, FMW, UFC … but the ECW way. What is the ECW way? It’s the only way, because it’s the most physical dangerous form of wrestling in the world today bar non. WE DID IT OUR WAY! BECAUSE WE LOVE IT THAT WAY!”

Okay, so he was a little rambly, and had some difficulty tying the story of his father into wrestling the hardcore style, but god damn if that wasn’t one of the best promos I have seen in a long, long time. Terry came across as a genuine middle aged dude, stuck at the cross roads of life, unsure where to go next. However, with father time NOT on his side, he’s getting to be an emotional guy, and is ready to appreciate and take advantage of every second he has left. Raw, unscripted promos from the heart like this simply don’t exist anymore, and it’s sad, because this was phenomenal.

We head over to Taz’s Dojo by satellite, and TAZ ready to come clean about his shoulder surgery apparently. Taz’s story: In December he tore up his rotator cuff and popped a labrum and had surgery. It was an old injury, he needed to have it done. He calls RVD a long haired punk bitch, he despises him. He went into a match with Van Dam thinking they were gonna have a classic old school grappling match, but the little bitch used a weapon because he can’t do it alone. Sandman needs a stick. Tommy Dreamer needs a garbage. And the 169-year old Terry Funk needs a shovel, even though he should be using it to dig his own grave. His hands are HIS weapons, he doesn’t need anything else. However, if Rob wants to play with weapons, we’re gonna play with weapons. The promo work is on FIRE tonight. Taz just came across as the angriest man in the world and pretty much the #1 most likely name to come up in a homicide report tonight.

Elsewhere, RAVEN brags about taking Sandman’s wife, son, and sanity. He warns Stevie Richards not to fuck with him, lest he want to be on the receiving end of Raven’s games. “Just remember one thing Stevie, no one gets out of here alive.”

Outside the bWo locker room, the fans are in party mode, celebrating Stevie Richards’ win over Little Guido earlier in the night. These guys are completely intoxicated on blue power.

RAVEN (with Lori Fullington) vs. THE SANDMAN (for the ECW world heavyweight title and Raven’s hair)

Sandman is still in possession of Raven’s belt, and Raven’s still in possession of Sandman’s wife. No worries though, because Sandman shakes off any potential pain by getting good and drunk before the match. Raven taunts him during the intros by having Lori sit on his lap in his sulkin’ corner, but he’s too busy playing the poster child for indoor smoking bans to notice. So, to get his attention he attacks from the crowd before Sandman finishes his intro, and smacks the cane over his head a bunch of times, drawing color all over 8 seconds into this. In the ring, Raven piledrives Sandman, and after a bit of a struggle, gets a table set up in the corner. Sandman reverses whatever Raven had planned, throwing the champ into the table, and it doesn’t give. Sandman returns to his drinking which he never finished (and I mean even now, not just on this one particular night), saving some to throw in Raven’s eyes. Raven hits the floor, but he plays possum to lure in Sandman and whip him around into various uncomfortable ringside objects, including a table which DOES break on impact. Sandman’s unable to stand, but that could just as well be the beer. Raven ties Sandman in the ropes by one leg, hung upside down towards the floor, and then stomps on his face. Back in the ring, Raven throws pieces of table at Sandman, and is handed a chair from Lori. Karma’s a bitch though, and that has bad idea written all over it, because Sandman dropkicks it in Raven’s face and DDT’s him on the steel. Lori saves at 2, but Sandman’s FINE with that, because he’s got TONS of unsettled beef with her. He rips at her shirt revealing … a bWo shirt underneath? Raven saves with a Singapore cane shot, but spies the shirt and he is NOT happy. He looks like he wants to deal with it, but he’s still got the smelly drunk on the other side of the ring to worry about, and he can’t seem to decide which is more critical. THE BWO makes it easy by storming the ring, and Raven tries to threaten Stevie to return to his roots with the cane. Stevie ain’t coming back though, and Sandman grabs Raven hostage for a Steviekick, and Richards gives him the blast to end all blasts. In fact, it’s SO hard that it knocks Raven’s head back into Sandman’s, and Raven falls on top for the pin at 6:20. There was about 8 different angles taking place here, but they were all intertwined in a way that Vince Russo couldn’t possibly comprehend if he spent days trying to wrap his peabrain around it. This was the usual junk from these two, but the sports entertainment kicks it up a notch. **


Joey doesn’t even give us time to breathe after the break, urgently ushering us back to the ring because this pair are throwing down RIGHT now. Pitbull is all fired up, backdropping Lee and jamming a chain into his throat. Following a spinning heel kick, Lee goes low to stop the assault. Primetime Slam connects, but Pitbull pops RIGHT up and beats his chest. Lee gives him a boot to the face, and hits a second Primetime Slam. Pitbull ain’t so quick to move this time, but still has enough to get into a slugfest with Lee. SHANE DOUGLAS and CHRIS CANDIDO don’t care for the heart he’s showing, and attack, ending this quickly at 1:54. 1/2*

The beatdown is on, but PITBULL #1 is back and not taking this anymore, taking out all 3 guys by himself! TOMMY DREAMER joins the fray, going after the Bulldozer, and that leaves only Francine still on her feet. #1 picks her up by the throat, but Douglas attacks the rehabbed neck to make him drop her. It works, and then some, because he’s howling that his neck’s broken again. The Triple Threat manages to take control of things, and pose to a loud “BULLSHIT” chant.

THE MASKED MAN hits the ring as Shane and his cronies slither towards the back, and he demands custody of Francine in exchange for Douglas maintaining his own freedom. He whispers something to her, and Francine makes her way to the ring as ECW heads off the air.

Man oh man, we had some pretty awful weeks to kick 1997 off, but this is rapidly becoming the show I’m looking forward to the most. Crossing The Line is in two days, and I’m fairly jazzed for it. When these guys hit, they hit.