Classic Wrestling Review: Hardcore Heaven ’94

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Hardcore Heaven

August 13, 1994

ECW Arena

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

News & Notes: ECW held a show called Heat Wave in July. It’s not on the WWE Network. They only uploaded a few of these supershows. It’s a shame because Heat Wave was reportedly better than this event. At the show, Sandman finally defeated Tommy Cairo, Public Enemy defeated the Funks in a barbed wire match, and Shane Douglas defended his ECW Title against Sabu. A few new feuds built from that show. The Douglas/Sabu match led to 911 and Mr. Hughes having an altercation and eventually a rivalry. Meanwhile, The Public Enemy transitioned into a feud with the Bad Breed (Ian & Axl Rotten). They would engage in violent brawls on the house show circuit. There were a few other smaller feuds born from Heat Wave, but I will discuss them throughout this review.

The two main matches for Hardcore Heaven don’t have much of build other than being considered dream matches. Cactus Jack will face Terry Funk, and Sabu will face 2 Cold Scorpio. Both matches were announced on Hardcore TV and promoted with video packages. I have to admit the build for this show was kind of weak compared to previous events.

Hack Meyers vs. Rockin’ Rebel

Notes: Rebel & Meyers teamed together at Heat Wave to face the Bad Breed. They lost when Hack got pinned, so Rebel attacked him in anger. It’s not much of a build, but this isn’t much of a match. Meanwhile, before it begins, Joey Styles points out that Jason isn’t at ringside because he’s preparing for later. Artese introduces Hack as being from the last house on the left. Styles jokes you don’t let your kids go trick or treating there if you know what he means. What exactly is he saying about Hack? I don’t think that came off the way he intended—or maybe it did.

The Match: Hack gets the early advantage with punches and an apron leg drop, but he makes the mistake of ducking and pays for it. Rebel takes over with chops, leg sweeps, and a chair, but he keeps refusing to pin him. Hack tries to fight back with headbutts, but Rebel hits a short-arm clothesline. He still doesn’t pin him, so Meyers makes him pay for that decision. He pulls him to the mat by the hair and reverses a back suplex for the surprise win.

Thoughts: This was a basic and uninteresting match. It’s nice to see Hack get a surprise win, but it wasn’t enough to make me fully care. Even the crowd was barely interested. They couldn’t decide whether to hate on Hack, cheer Hack, or boo Rebel. I think I heard a fan randomly yell about Barry Horowitz, at one point.

Winner: Hack Meyers (4:40)

Chad Austin vs. Tommy Cairo

Notes: Chad Austin went from a jobber to an unlikely protege of Jason. He’s still not very good and needed Jason’s help to win matches. I swear Jason surrounds himself with mulleted rednecks and rough-looking wrestlers to make himself look better by comparison. Chad is facing Tommy Cairo, who slid down the card after finishing his feud with the Sandman. I almost feel bad for him.

Styles says he hopes Tommy didn’t underestimate his opponent. He also questions Austin’s billed weight and accuses Chad of slipping Artese money to add some pounds to it. Chad tries posing early in the match, so Joey jokes that Austin wasn’t called for a witness in the steroid trial.

The Match: Tommy shoves Chad around and hits various suplexes. Chad gets a rope break, so Cairo press slams him and reverses a hurricanrana into an atomic drop. Then, Tommy hits dangerous looking back drops and clotheslines. Austin tries to fire back with a corner charge, but Tommy moves and Chad hits the post. Next, Cairo uses a back suplex and a powerslam, but he misses a flying cannonball. Austin quickly attempts a flying sunset flip, but it’s not enough. However, Austin pins Cairo with his feet on the ropes.

Thoughts: That’s two fluke wins in a row. This one at least had some decent spots. The only problem is you could tell Cairo was a bit demotivated by his slide down the card. His heart didn’t seem to be in this match. This did a decent job of continuing Chad Austin’s storyline, but it still wasn’t great.

Winner: Chad Austin (4:30)

No DQ Match for the TV Title: Jason vs. Mikey Whipwreck (c)

Notes: Jason’s newest protege Chad Austin failed to win the TV Title from Mikey at Heat Wave. Mikey escaped by DQ again. Jason finally had enough and decided to do it himself, but there will be no count outs and no disqualifications. He came out of retirement and scored a pinfall in a warm-up match. He also interfered in a Whipwreck/Stevie Richards bout to prevent Mikey from getting a win. Also, there was a funny promo from Mikey. He said there’s not a man, woman, dog, or parakeet he can beat, but he thinks he can take Jason.

Jason accepts some flowers from female fans on the way to the ring and poses for the camera. The rest of the crowd is having none of it and chant Mikey’s name. Artese introduces Jason as being from Europe. He doesn’t say what country. I guess Jason is simply a homeless European nomad.

The Match: Jason does some shoulder blocks early, but Mikey starts surprising him with roll-ups and dropkicks. He even knocks Jason to the floor and hits a baseball slide. Then, Mikey goes for an axehandle off the apron, but Jason kicks him and puts him on a table. Jason then hits a leg drop to break it and suplexes Mikey back into the ring. Next, Jason slows the pace with some chinlocks and posing, but Mikey recovers for some near-falls. He even tries luring in Jason by playing possum. Jason finally cuts off the comeback with an enziguri and a gut-wrench powerbomb. He follows that up by dumping him to the floor where they brawl. Mikey uses a chair to the delight of the crowd, but he misses a flying cross body. Jason then takes the chair, but Mikey gets it back—only to hit the ref by mistake. He also hits Jason and a groggy ref makes a three count, but he can’t call for the bell. The Pitbulls seize the opportunity to interfere and attack Mikey. Then, they put Jason on top of him. The ref is too dazed to recall making the previous three-count, so he counts the pin and awards Jason the match.

Thoughts: The match was slow at times, but I enjoyed it until the finish. They were telling a good story, but I don’t think that ending worked. I get they were trying to say the ref was too dazed to realize what he did, but the fans didn’t like it. It wasn’t well-executed. It killed an otherwise decent bout.

Winner: Jason (New Champion) (12:09)

After the match, the Pitbulls continue the attack until Taz & Jimmy Snuka arrive. The two teams brawl, which leads into the next match.

The Tazmaniac & Jimmy Superfly Snuka vs. The Pitbulls (w/ Jason)

Notes: Snuka started losing matches, which drew the ire of his manager, Hunter Q. Robbins III. He berated Snuka and broke his cane over Jimmy’s back. Snuka finally had enough. He attacked Hunter and the Pitbulls tried to stop it. However, Taz arrived to help. They successfully fought off the Pitbulls and then faced each other. Snuka and Taz showed each other respect and Snuka even taught Taz how to do his signature hand gesture. Snuka was now a babyface and a new team was born.

The Match: Everyone brawls and Taz gives Pitbull #2 a belly-to-belly suplex. Then, Taz hits a t-bone and Snuka does a Superfly Splash for the quick win.

Thoughts: That was too short to even call a match. The fans popped for the finish, so I guess it did a good job of waking up the crowd after the disappointing end to the previous bout.

Winners: Taz & Snuka (00:40)

911 (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Mr. Hughes (w/ Shane Douglas & Angel)

Notes: Douglas and Sabu were feuding, which led to their bodyguards attacking each other. 911 and Hughes had a few altercations at Heat Wave. 911 chokeslammed everyone, including Shane’s new woman, Angel. She would wear a neck brace afterward. The attack made Hughes so angry he dared to remove his sunglasses for once. However, he would also become so worked up that he nearly choked Angel without thinking. Then, 911 and Hughes would have a pull-apart brawl where 911 hit the chokeslam. Hughes claimed he took 911’s best and is still standing.

Before the match, Douglas gets a mic and calls Hughes the real giant of ECW. Styles says this match will make Frankenstein vs. Godzilla look like a pillow fight. What an odd combination. Why would he choose Frankenstein? 911 enters the arena and Shane yells at him for chokeslamming Angel. Also, Styles mentions that Mr. Hughes once wrestled Lawrence Taylor. I wasn’t aware that L.T. wrestled before Mania 11.

The Match: They stall and trash talk before trading shoulder blocks. Then, they trade punches, and Hughes manages to chokeslam 911. He kicks out of the pin attempt and fights back, but Hughes gives him a low-blow. Next, Hughes attempts the Sidewalk Slam, but 911 blocks it and hits a chokeslam for the win.

Thoughts: I went in with low expectations, and they were met. This was what I expected it to be, and that’s not good. It’s a match between a wrestler who knows one move and someone who isn’t very good. They kept it short. I’ll give them that. Also, the fans reacted well to it. They were solidly behind 911. Paul E. has done a good job of getting him over with the crowd, despite his flaws.

Winner: 911 (3:33)

Shane attacks Dangerously after the match, but 911 stops him. Douglas pulls Angel in front of him and leaves her to her fate. 911 grabs Angel and hits a chokeslam while Paul E. taunts Douglas with a hip swivel. That’s disturbing. Paul E. then grabs a mic and tells Shane to come back and get his dead smelly fish out of the ring. He also gives Angel her last rites, and 911 gives her another chokeslam.

Singapore Cane Match: The Sandman (w/ Woman) vs. Tommy Dreamer

Notes: Sandman finally ended his feud with Tommy Cairo and earned a TV Title Match. He lost by DQ, but he caned Mikey Whipwreck. Wrestlers tried to stop the attack and failed until Tommy Dreamer arrived. Dreamer ducked and moved until Woman accidentally hit Sandman with the cane. Then, Tommy kissed Woman, but that infuriated Sandman. He caned Tommy repeatedly, which caused Tommy to later lose his ECW Title Match with Shane Douglas.

Sandman takes a few moments to threaten fans during his entrance. Woman holds the cane, so Joey makes a joke about a woman holding a stick. He also sarcastically calls Sandman the picture of health and fitness. Then, Bob Artese is about to do his introductions, but Dreamer crawls out from under the ring and attacks Sandman with a cane.

The Match: Dreamer continues caning Sandman and then knocks the cane out of Woman’s hands. He also grabs Woman and kisses her again before turning his focus back to Sandman. Woman interferes one more time, and Tommy threatens her, but the ref stops him. Tommy has enough and canes the ref before attacking Sandman once more. Artese finally announces Dreamer has been disqualified. He mistakenly says Sandman first, but he corrects himself. Tommy then snaps and strikes Bob before continuing his barrage on Sandman.

Thoughts: This was another non-match, but it did a good job of giving Tommy Dreamer an edge. It was more storyline than anything and I’m okay with that. The fans still haven’t bought into Tommy, but they will soon. It would help if he ditched the suspenders for a better look.

Winner: Sandman (by DQ) (00:53)

Tommy hits Sandman a few more times and leaves. Woman returns to the ring and revives Sandman with a cigarette, which Styles finds hilarious. Sandman is bleeding and woozy, but he shrugs off what happened.

Basebrawl Match for the Tag Team Titles: The Public Enemy (c) vs. The Bad Breed

Notes: The Public Enemy started feuding with the Rotten brothers after Heat Wave. They had a few matches on the house shows, including a fight on the boardwalk. They eventually announced they would have a Basebrawl Match at this event. This was a reference to the baseball strike that started around the time of this show. The Public Enemy even sang a rather dirty rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Also, the build included Public Enemy attacking Joey Styles in the eagle’s nest.

During the introductions, they explain the rules. If you knock out your opponents for a ten-count, you can use a baseball bat on them. Also, the match is Falls Count Anywhere and can only end by pinfall. Those are some contrived rules. Then, before the match, Public Enemy attack Straw Hat Guy and rip up his hat. Rocco threatens to leave if anyone else calls him jailbird, so Axl leads the crowd in a jailbird chant. The Public Enemy leave and the ref starts counting. They return before he finishes and the brawl begins.

The Match: Rocco hits a couple of moonsaults until Ian dropkicks him. The Rottens then back drop Rock to the floor and back drop each other onto the Public Enemy. Then, everyone brawls on the floor. Rocco accidentally crotches himself on the rail while trying a tight-rope walk. Chairs and frying pans are introduced into the fight. Eventually, they return to the ring and trade low-blows and double team moves. The Bad Breed then hit the British Invasion (Doomsday Device) and get a ten-count to gain use of the baseball bats. Axl busts open Grunge with the bat, but he counters with a low-blow. Then, they split into pairs. Rock fights Ian in the crowd and jumps off a scaffold. They also fight to the eagle’s nest where Styles retreats in fear. Rock uses a chair and drags Ian around with a rope. The fight ends up back at the ring where Public Enemy hit a reverse DDT and a cannonball for the win.

Thoughts: This was a slow walk & brawl with convoluted rules. It wasn’t good, and most of the action was no-sold by the teams. It also doesn’t help that ECW doesn’t have better camera work. These matches are hard to follow with one camera. It lasted longer than it should have and lost my interest.

Winners: Public Enemy (19:09)

Sabu (w/ Paul E. Dangerously & 911) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

Notes: These two faced each other once before in ECW, but the top rope broke. Sabu would move on to other feuds, including an ECW Title Match against Shane Douglas. However, Sabu ended up in the hospital after crashing on a missed move. Paul E. wanted to prove that Sabu was still alive and kicking, so he welcomed a chance for Sabu to face someone like Scorpio.

The Match: Sabu rushes to the ring, but Scorpio ducks and dodges him a few times. Scorpio then attempts to out-wrestle him and manages to evade some of Sabu’s slingshot moves. Then, Sabu crashes to the floor while trying a sunset flip from inside the ring. Scorpio answers with some slingshot moves of his own and a flipping leg drop. Next, Scorpio tries a flying splash, but Sabu raises his knees. Scorpio almost comes back, but he flies out of the ring on a missed flying forearm. Sabu then uses a chair to hit a somersault plancha. He follows that with more dives, chairs, and tables. Scorpio eventually uses the chair to fight back, and they reverse through a Tombstone. Scorpio fights back again when Sabu misses a moonsault. He hits both a slingshot 450 and a Tumbleweed, but Sabu kicks out of the pin attempt. Things look bad for Sabu, so both Paul E. and 911 interfere while the ref is distracted. Sabu gives Scorpio a piledriver on the floor and hits a chair-assisted slingshot leg drop to get the win.

Thoughts: This match was decent, but it became a bit of a spot-fest. I think it might have gone longer than it should have. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it started dragging. I think I expected more from these two. That might explain why I was disappointed by this. If they shaved five minutes off of it and had more of a flow, I might have liked it better.

Winner: Sabu (18:28)

Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk

Notes: Before the match, Funk grabs a mic and says something. It’s hard to understand him, but I get the gist. He forgot to put on his knee-pads, so he takes a moment to finish getting dressed. It was an amusing moment. You gotta love Terry Funk. Then, Cactus takes the mic and says there’s been far too much violence already. He says he learned to appreciate the value of family entertainment, so he promises a scientific match and shakes Funk’s hand. The fans boo the announcement. Next, Cactus talks about how he and Funk teamed before, but tonight he will kick his ass. Also, I have to point out that Styles jokes these two could chainsaw each other and still shake hands. That statement is amusing considering Funk’s Chainsaw Charlie gimmick in ‘98.

The Match: They trade chops until Funk throws Cactus to the floor. He then hits Jack with remnants of a table and they brawl around ringside. They also fight into the crowd and Funk grabs a sleeper hold, but Jack gives him a jawbreaker. Then, Cactus hits a cannonball over the rail before they return to the ring. Jack hits a facebuster and charges Funk, but Terry ducks and Jack ends up in a hangman spot. I’m surprised he still does that after losing an ear. Funk capitalizes by ramming Jack into the posts, but Public Enemy arrives to interfere in the match. They attack Terry and leave him for Cactus, but Jack refuses to pin him. Public Enemy then attempts forcing Cactus to pin him, but that doesn’t work. Next, Public Enemy attacks the ref before counting their own three-count, but Jack won’t let them raise his arms in victory. The match is finally declared a no-contest.

Thoughts: They had the makings of a fun brawl until the interference. I don’t know if they were running low on time or not. They could have let this go longer before it became a schmoz. I wanted to like this because I know these two are capable of having good matches. This was disappointing. However, what comes next is memorable.

Winner: No Contest (11:00)

Cactus and Funk grab pieces of the broken table and chase down the Public Enemy. They bring them back to the ring and brawl. Funk sends Rocco over the guardrail and uses two frying pans on him. Then, Terry hits a piledriver after a couple of attempts. Funk then covers and Jack counts a three-count. Next, Jack and Funk turn to the crowd and ask for a couple of chairs. The problem is, everyone starts throwing chairs. Soon, the ring begins filling, and the Public Enemy is buried under a rain of chairs. Cactus and Funk are smart enough to get out of dodge, but the Public Enemy isn’t so lucky. It becomes chaos, and the ring announcer starts yelling at the fans to stop. It finally ends, so Styles thanks everyone and says goodnight while Public Enemy starts throwing the chairs in anger.

The Good:

– The ending is memorable.

– The Tommy Dreamer stuff was good for his character.

– Jason/Mikey was okay until the finish.

The Bad:

– Too many non-matches.

– Bad finishes.

– A lot of the matches weren’t good.

Performer of the Night:

I’m going to give it to 2 Cold Scorpio. He was the best worker on the show that was able to work a full match. The match wasn’t great, but he did well in it.

Final Thoughts: This was not a good show. The scene at the end is memorable, but you can find clips of it online. I would not recommend watching this. I wish they had uploaded Heat Wave instead. These early ECW shows are rough, but they are an interesting look into the evolution of ECW.

CAPTION CONTEST

I presented a caption contest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I only got responses on Facebook. Here are some of the ones I enjoyed.

Jason Rambo said: “Those are my shoes!! I WAS GONNA WEAR THOSE!!!”

Andrew Skirving said: “Now Gene Bobby here wants you to apologise about his god for almighty terrible outfit that you said earlier was a bloody disgrace.”

Mike Thompson said: “What are those!?”

Sean Patrick Hanley said: “Gene don’t touch me. I break out when poor people touch me.”

Pops Martin said: Tony: “Ain’t y’all supposed to be in WWF? Why are y’all here?”

Ben Anderson said: “Put that cigarette out!”

George Keene said: “Gene where are your pants?”

Thank you everyone for participating! There are some more, but some are a bit much to post here. I regret using that particular picture. If you want to see the other captions, be sure to follow the Facebook page here. You can also follow the Twitter page here and buy t-shirts here.

My next review will be the WWF’s SummerSlam ‘94, featuring not one, but two Undertakers! Look for it next Saturday!

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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