Classic Wrestling Review: Hardcore Heaven ’95

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

Hardcore Heaven

July 1, 1995

ECW Arena

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

News & Notes: The Sandman won the ECW Title at Hostile City Showdown ’95. He defeated Shane Douglas when Woman revealed she was still with Sandman. It was a double-cross! Douglas had Sandman in a Crossface Chickenwing, but Woman whacked Shane in the leg with a cane. After the match, Douglas donned a Monday Night RAW t-shirt to piss off the fans and then left. Cactus Jack would then receive title matches in the following weeks. Douglas took exception and confronted his friend. Shane would even referee a rematch between Cactus and Sandman, but he disqualified Jack for ignoring his warnings. Shane was fed up with ECW. He hired a lawyer and openly negotiated with the WWF. He antagonized the fans every way he could. However, his worst crime was hiring a state-sanctioned referee. It was Bill “Fonzie” Alfonso. He declared he would strictly enforce the rules. This made him the most hated man in the lawless ECW.

Meanwhile, there is another major storyline. The Public Enemy defended their titles against various teams. They mostly feuded with The Pitbulls. They were victorious, but they started noticing something disturbing. Someone was leaving them ominous messages in graffiti. It read, “TPE TOS.” This meant The Public Enemy terminate on sight. Then, Axl Rotten challenged the paranoid Public Enemy. He said he would pick the best partner he could find. It was his brother Ian. They still hated each other, but he knew no better choice. The match was set to start until Bill Alfonso appeared. He said the Bad Breed couldn’t wrestle because they were forced to disband. Public Enemy won the match by forfeit and celebrated. However, a mysterious team attacked them from the crowd. It was the men who left the threatening signs. They were known as The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustafa Saed). Anyone familiar with New Jack knows ECW will never be the same now he’s there. Oddly enough, The Gangstas started in Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling. They left without telling Cornette. This only made Jim hate Paul Heyman even more.

The show opens with a seizure-inducing subliminal message. Words like lies, time, and hardcore flash across the screen. I think I have the urge to fight the system. I might also have a headache. The name of the event and the date follow this. Then, we cut to a camera shot up Big Dick Dudley’s nose. I can’t tell if he’s holding the camera or the cameraman is kneeling. Maybe he’s incredibly short.

Snot Dudley & Dudley Dudley (w/ Big Dick Dudley) vs. The Pitbulls (w/ Raven, Stevie Richards, & Beulah McGillicutty)

Notes: This is the debut of the Dudleys. If you were expecting Bubba & D-Von, you might be disappointed. They join later. The gimmick was based on the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slap Shot. They are a group of unintelligent brothers with unassuming appearances. Their taped glasses, tie-dyed shirts, and simple demeanor don’t seem threatening. However, they are violent when provoked. The story is they are the offspring of a traveling salesman named Big Daddy Dudley. He was a ladies-man who sired children wherever he traveled. That’s why the family would continually add members of various races. This early incarnation includes Snot Dudley, Dudley Dudley, and Big Dick Dudley. They would later add Sign Guy, Dances with Dudleys, Buh-Buh Ray, D-Von, and Spike. Big Dick is the only imposing member of the group at this point. He looks amusing in nerd glasses at his size.

The Match: The Pitbulls take turns whipping Snot around the ring. They give him a powerslam and a dropkick before throwing him to his corner for a tag. Dudley Squared trades punches with #2 and even nails a clothesline and a slam. However, Snot returns and misses an elbow. Then, The Pitbulls throw him to the floor and use a chair. While this is happening, Stevie Richards makes out with a female fan that has followed him lately. She carries signs proclaiming her love for him. Beulah takes offense and attacks her. Raven has enough and drags both of them away from the ring. Back in the ring, The Pitbulls perform a Superbomb on Snot. They attempt a pin, but Dudley nails a flying axehandle. He then pulls Snot on top for the win.

Thoughts: This was nothing more than a backdrop for the storyline. It was passable but unimportant. They used it to set up dissension with the Pitbulls and Stevie’s side story. The female fan is Francine. She appeared in the crowd with fan signs for Stevie. Joey Styles was in disbelief someone so hot could be in love with him.

Winners: The Dudleys (6:25)

After the match, Joey Styles gets a word with the angry Pitbulls. #1 says they’re tired of two Ws. Did he mean W2s? Is he sick of taxes? #2 explains they mean undependable and unreliable. He meant double U. #1 then complains about Raven and Richards not having their backs. They threaten to kick some ass. They also make insinuations about Raven and Richards’ relationship. #1 thinks Raven spends too much time watching Stevie’s back. He claims there will be change and leaves. Joey can’t believe what happened.

Dino Sendoff & Don E. Allen vs. Chad Austin & The Broad Street Bully

Notes: Welcome to jobber town! Gee, I wonder what will happen in this match. Is it:

A) These four men will put on a wrestling clinic filled with hurricanranas and space flying tiger drops.

B) They will settle their differences with a nice game of chess and a cup of tea.

C) Someone will call 911.

If you answered A or B, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.

The Match: Chad and Don begin with some basics until Don nearly backdrops Chad onto his head. The fans chant you all suck while Chad & Bully do a double-team backdrop. Styles gives up hope. He thinks the match won’t air, so he jokes it’s WCW Slamboree. He says no one can tell the legends from the stars. 911 has enough of this mess. He storms the ring and chokeslams everyone, while fans chant Paul E.’s name. Heyman is so pleased he tells him to do it again. 911 obliges and Paul E. tells them welcome to EC F’n W. The ruckus attracts Bill Alfonso’s attention. He pokes his head through the curtain to see what is happening. Joey wishes 911 would choose him next.

Thoughts: This was amusing, but it belonged on TV. It’s time-filler on a big show like this. Plus, they’ve more than established 911’s gimmick. It was unnecessary.

Winner: No Contest (2:10)

Hack Meyers vs. Big Val Puccio

Notes: It feels like they are padding this event. I guess they didn’t have enough content. I’m unsure why they didn’t give us matches with Benoit, Malenko, or Guerrero instead of this. I guess Heyman likes watching two big fellas butt heads. Big Val is enormous. He appears to be over five hundred pounds. Val had a brief stint in the WWF with his brother. They were a tag team named Double Trouble. They originally wrestled as The Undertakers. However, the WWF bought the rights to the name. The stint in the federation was a thank you for selling the trademark. It didn’t last long. I’m unsure they even appeared on TV.

The Match: Fans chant unflattering things at Val. It distracts him, so Hack gooses Puccio. That’s brave of him. Hack then attempts a slam and hurts his back. Val throws punches and the fans chant shit with each one. Hack responds with his own strikes, as the fans chant Shah. Then, Val reverses a whip and nails multiple avalanche attacks. He has to take long breaths each time. He eventually follows them with a powerslam and a splash. He also attempts an elbow drop and misses. He’s too gassed to rise again, so Hack covers for the win.

Thoughts: This was awful. The fans had fun interacting with them, but it was unwatchable. It’s wasted time. They should have cut the last two bouts and given everyone an Eddie Guerrero match. He was the TV champ at the time.

Winner: Hack Meyers (7:30)

Val is surprisingly up first. I guess he was too winded to kick out of the pin. He splashes Hack a couple of times until the officials make him leave.

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Taz (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

Notes: Taz finally changed his gimmick. He cut his hair and shed the wild-man persona. They focused more on his wrestling ability. He was known as the Human Suplex Machine due to his plethora of suplex variations. He morphed into a badass who would dump you on your head and make you submit. Taz would be one of the first wrestlers to bring tapping out into the world of wrestling. Submissions were usually verbal.

His opponent is 2 Cold Scorpio. They had a disagreement after teaming together. Paul E. managed to piss off Scorpio after the match. He got in Dangerously’s face, so Taz attacked Scorpio. Styles quickly points out that Scorpio wears Taz’s colors (orange & black) to get in his head.

The Match: Scorpio blocks some suplex attempts early, and they trade mat holds. Taz finally nails a suplex after catching Scorpio on a leapfrog. Then, they reverse through a test of strength and Scorpio uses his own suplexes. He follows that by taking to the air. Scorpio lands a standing moonsault and attempts a flying splash. Taz raises his knees. Taz then nails a Tazplex, but Scorpio responds with a Tombstone and a Tumbleweed. However, Taz shakes off the moves and dares him to bring it. Scorpio does, only to fall to another Tazplex. Taz gets the three-count, but Scorpio’s foot is on the ropes.

Bill Alfonso arrives and demands they restart the match. Taz threatens him, so Fonzie says he’ll shut down the place if a wrestler touches him. Paul E. says he’s not a wrestler, and he’ll kick Bill’s ass. Scorpio uses the distraction to nail Taz with a chair. Paul E. turns to see what happened and Alfonso sucker punches him. Then, Scorpio uses the chair for a flying leg drop and Alfonso counts the pin.

Thoughts: This was a solid match. It was going well and telling a good story. The finish was a little overbooked, but I didn’t mind it. They built Alfonso’s character well and put some heat on Scorpio. I liked the storyline work.

Winner: 2 Cold Scorpio (9:09)

Next, Joey is in the ring. He compares the wars of ECW to the 4th of July. He also plugs the hotline and talks about Shane Douglas negotiating with the WWF. This brings out Shane who tells him to be quiet. He accuses Joey of yellow journalism. Isn’t that the only kind nowadays? Shane says he built ECW on his back, but he admits to talking with the WWF. He gestures to his WWF t-shirt. They blur it. The fans sing “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”, so Shane says anyone with an IQ less than 100 should shut-up. The fans change to a Shane is dead chant. They also chant we want Flair to anger him. Shane bashes Flair, the fans, and journalists. He has trouble making his point because the fans won’t stop. He blames them for him leaving. Douglas then accuses ECW of lying and creating conspiracies about him and Cactus Jack. He says they’re still friends. Shane then announces he’s gone from ECW.

It appears Shane is leaving, but Woman arrives and says Shane is the smartest man in ECW. She also tries recruiting him to join her and Sandman. Shane tells her she’s beautiful, but he calls her something they bleep. She slaps him. Joey warns Shane not to hit her. He doesn’t. He asks for another slap, but he grabs her arm. This brings out Sandman. He attacks Shane, but Cactus Jack stops him. Shane then bails out of the ring, and Joey follows. Douglas claims he will teach Sandman a lesson. I liked the content of the segment, but it went too long.

Tag Team Title Match: Raven & Stevie Richards (c) (w/ Beulah McGillicutty) vs. Tommy Dreamer & Luna Vachon

Notes: The Public Enemy was preoccupied with the Gangstas, so Raven & Richards managed to win the Tag Team Titles. Meanwhile, Dreamer’s issues with Raven have escalated. Tommy claimed Raven was obsessed with him because of their past. Beulah kept attacking Tommy, but he gave her multiple piledrivers. This only made the problems worse. Raven & Richards were beating down Tommy when someone unexpected came to his aid. It was Luna Vachon. She and Tommy were apparently an item. Raven countered by bringing in Luna’s real-life husband, The Vampire Warrior (Gangrel). He demanded Tommy got his hands off his woman. Raven also broke Tommy’s fingers in an attack. I guess that’s one way to keep his hands off Luna.

The Match: Tommy and Raven immediately brawl. Stevie attacks Luna. Raven uses a chair, but Tommy answers with a DDT on the floor. He then enters the ring and holds Richards while Luna uses the Testicular Claw. They abuse poor Stevie’s balls and Dreamer nails a fallaway slam. Then, Dreamer returns to Raven. He holds him while fans clock Raven with frying pans. Tommy also uses a TV antenna and a newspaper box as weapons. Back in the ring, Luna and Stevie trade near-falls. Tommy joins her, and they use an ironing board on Richards. However, Raven recovers. He and Stevie use a chair on Luna. Next, Raven slams Tommy’s broken hand in the newspaper box and lands a DDT onto it. Raven & Richards then double-team Luna, but Stevie accidentally tangles Raven in the ropes. Luna uses the opening to give Stevie a superplex. Luna goes for a cover, but Beulah throws powder in her eyes. This allows Stevie to roll up Luna for the win.

Thoughts: This was a fun little brawl. It was slightly overdone, but I enjoyed it. There were some unique weapons and spots. Luna was good. This is the most wrestling moves I’ve seen her do. The WWF had her performing mostly comedy spots. She was crisp. I’m impressed. I’m fine with the finish. It helps continue the feud.

Winners: Raven & Richards (7:34)

Tod Gordon heads to the ring and calls out Bill Alfonso. Fonzie offers a handshake that Tod refuses. Gordon has a surprise for him. Since Bill loves enforcing rules, Tod gives him a match with no rules. Alfonso will officiate the Taipei Deathmatch. He says he has no issue with that.

Taipei Deathmatch: Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten

Notes: The Rotten Brothers almost reunited until Fonzie stopped it. That doesn’t mean they patched their differences. They still hated each other. ECW booked them in a Taipei Deathmatch. It means they dip their taped fists in glue and then shards of glass. Styles says not to expect any flying head scissors. I doubt they would try even without the stipulation. When Axl enters the arena, he lets fans touch the glass to show it’s real. Alfonso checks both men for hidden weapons. Joey rightfully questions his actions.

The Match: Both men dodge punches for a moment until Axl lands the first one. A trickle of blood rolls down Ian’s forehead. Fonzie sees it and says he’s stopping the match because Ian’s vision is impaired. The fans boo, but they’re distracted by Public Enemy and The Gangstas brawling in the aisle. Alfonso leaves the ring to help break up the fight.

Tod Gordon returns and says the match will continue. Jim Molineaux takes over as the ref. Ian attacks and gouges Axl’s forehead and arm. Both men are bleeding badly. Axl returns the favor and gives his brother a glass-filled noogie. Then, they brawl on the floor and around the ring. Axl does another noogie, but Ian responds with a couple of low-blows. He follows that with a DDT and grabs a bag of thumbtacks. Ian attempts a powerbomb. Axl reverses it. He backdrops Ian onto the tacks and lands a splash for the win.

Thoughts: I liked the Fonzie stuff, but the rest was gross. It was mindless brawling and too much blood for my taste. I’m not a fan of deathmatches. I don’t mind hard violence if there’s good storytelling. This was merely punching and cutting. I hope this is the end of the feud. Axl got his win, so perhaps this is the blow-off.

Winner: Axl Rotten (7:10)

Raven & Richards brawl with Dreamer & Luna in the ring. Raven attacks Tommy’s broken fingers and hits Luna with his title belt. He then gives Tommy a DDT onto it. The Pitbulls arrive, and Stevie tells them to do a Superbomb. Richards tells them to do it to Luna. They’d rather attack Dreamer. Richards demands it, so the Pitbulls argue. Raven has enough and attacks #2 with a chair. The Pitbulls respond by giving Raven a double-suplex. Raven retreats and leaves Stevie to his fate. The Pitbulls attempt a Superbomb, but the Dudleys stop them. Raven uses the opening to return and brawls with Dreamer. Tommy gives him a DDT and uses an ironing board on him. Meanwhile, The Pitbulls throw the Dudleys through the wall. The brawl then ends up under the eagle’s nest. The Pitbulls prevent Raven from putting Luna through a table. They also fend off the Dudleys again. Dreamer, Luna, and The Pitbulls finally stand tall. This was fun chaos.

ECW Title Match: The Sandman (c) (w/ Woman) vs. Cactus Jack

Notes: Cactus and Sandman have had a few matches at this point. They had a deathmatch where Sandman was so concussed he kept kicking out of the pin attempts. It went far longer than expected because of this. Sandman was wrestling on instinct and forgot the plans for the bout. He’s thankfully healthier for this match. He’s also ECW Champion. They interviewed other wrestlers on TV about Sandman’s win. Almost everyone called it a disgrace for Sandman to be champion.

The Match: Cactus has his hand wrapped in barbed wire. He looks to use it, but Woman throws water in his face. Sandman then canes Jack. He also sends him to the floor and dives over the ropes. Cactus eventually gets the cane and returns the favor until Sandman uses a chair. He uses both the cane and the chair to beat down Jack. He gives Cactus both a DDT and a piledriver on the chair. Sandman even nails a slingshot leg drop. Next, Woman brings Sandman some barbed wire. He wraps it around his body and nails avalanche attacks and splashes. Cactus answers with a chair-assisted Cactus Elbow. He then pulls Sandman’s shirt over his head. Sandman is tangled in the wire, so Jack cuts him and chokes him with it. Woman has enough of this and canes Cactus. He responds by shoving her and breaking the cane.

Sandman capitalizes on the opening. He attacks Jack, but takes out the ref in the process. This opens the door for Shane Douglas to attack. He gives Sandman a piledriver and grabs a mic. Shane then tells Sandman his lesson. He tells him to keep his friends close and his enemies by his side. After Shane says that, he turns and canes Cactus. Sandman covers for the win while Douglas tells ECW to kiss his ass goodbye.

Thoughts: I wanted to like this match. There were some nice spots and a decent story. Sandman even impressed me a couple of times. His dive over the ropes was nice. However, it was a bit slow. They stalled a lot between moves. I think it was longer than it should have been. The match remains only decent.

Winner: The Sandman (13:05)

After the bell, Tod Gordon tries to restart the match. He’s fed up with Douglas and didn’t want it to end like that. Douglas tells him he doesn’t have the authority. Shane then says he will remain in ECW if Gordon gets on his knees and begs him to stay. Gordon kneels—and tells Douglas he’s fired. Shane attacks him and rips off his suit. The fans chant for 911 to help while Douglas slams Gordon. Shane also attacks the referees and some jobbers. 911 finally arrives and chokeslams Douglas. Shane bails and gets a hug from Bill Alfonso. This was a great segment.

The Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas

Notes: Public Enemy enters the arena while fans wave their arms in the air like they don’t care. They’re carrying a mailbox with eat shit written on the side. Joey jokes he’s not familiar with that address. Public Enemy then warns the crowd about the upcoming violence. The two teams brawl immediately when the Gangstas arrive.

The Match: The four men break into pairs. Rocco and Mustafa fight while New Jack and Grunge go at it. New Jack and Johnny fight with chairs, crutches, and even an umbrella. Rock and Saed head for the eagle’s nest. Rock lands a Drive-By through a table, but Mustafa suplexes him onto another one. Meanwhile, New Jack and Grunge fight with nightsticks and mailboxes. Back at the eagle’s nest, Saed whips Rocco into a fan (I mean a real fan. I’m not talking about a member of the crowd.) Grunge then puts New Jack through a table, but Mustafa stops his attack. The Gangstas respond by whipping Johnny into the pieces of the table. The Public Enemy rally. Rock uses frying pans. Grunge wields a keyboard with RSPW written on it. (Jason Solomon would be proud.) The mailbox and even a croquet mallet are used. Rock then puts New Jack through another table with a top-rope moonsault. However, the Gangstas answer with double-teaming. This continues until Rock nails Mustafa with the mallet from the top rope. It’s enough for the win.

Thoughts: This was chaotic. It went on a little longer than it should have, but I still enjoyed it. They kept the fans engaged the entire time. There was a lot of heat for this match. They kept it exciting and threw in some good spots. Plus, Styles’ commentary was amusing. It sounded like he was having fun.

Winners: Public Enemy (11:33)

Public Enemy celebrates for a moment, but the Gangstas attack. New Jack rams Rock into the rail, and they fight down the aisle. Joey says we haven’t seen the last of these four. Rock & Grunge fend off the Gangstas before returning to the ring to celebrate again. They invite the fans to join them. The ring fills with bodies, and they lift Public Enemy on their shoulders. The show ends with the fans loudly chanting ECW.

The Good:

  • The Bill Alfonso stuff was entertaining.

  • Taz/Scorpio was solid.

  • The Tag Title Match was fun.

  • Most of the Raven/Dreamer stuff was good.

The Bad:

  • Filler matches.

  • The Hack/Val match was awful.

  • Some segments went too long.

Performer of the Night:

As odd as this sounds, I’m giving it to Bill Alfonso. He plays the character perfectly. I think it was one of Heyman’s better ideas. There’s no bigger heel in ECW than someone who wants to enforce the rules.

Final Thoughts:

This wasn’t a good show. It’s not the worst ECW event I’ve covered. There was even some good stuff. It simply fell flat. The stuff that was good wasn’t great. This is a step down from the last ECW program I reviewed. It sorely could have used Benoit, Malenko, and Guerrero.

Thank you for reading. My next review is WCW’s Bash at the Beach ’95. 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 Sunday!
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