Classic Wrestling Review: November to Remember ’94

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

November to Remember

November 5, 1994

ECW Arena

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

News & Notes: In August, Eastern Championship Wrestling hosted a tournament to crown a new NWA World Champion. Shane Douglas won by defeating 2 Cold Scorpio in the finals. He then cut a promo where he listed off the legends of the NWA. He even reluctantly mentioned Ric Flair among the names. However, Shane said they could all kiss his ass. Douglas threw down the NWA Title and said he wouldn’t accept a torch from an organization that died years ago. He picked up the ECW belt and declared it a World Title instead. Then, he claimed to be the leader of a new revolution. Dennis Coralluzzo, the NWA representative, called the act disgusting. He threatened to strip Douglas of both titles. But, Tod Gordon countered by withdrawing ECW from the NWA. He then rechristened the company with a new name—Extreme Championship Wrestling. The new ECW was born. Shane now considered himself a World Champion and made an open challenge for anyone to take his belt. That challenge was answered by former WCW Champion, Ron Simmons.

Meanwhile, there is another major storyline for this event. The Sandman faced Tommy Dreamer in a Singapore Caning Match. Tommy lost due to Woman’s interference. Tod Gordon offered to restart the match, but Dreamer accepted his fate. He willingly took all ten lashes with the cane. Woman offered to end it if Tommy would kiss her feet, but Dreamer asked for more. He finally earned the respect of the fans with this act. Then, Dreamer faced Sandman in an I Quit Match. During the bout, Sandman was accidentally blinded by his own cigarette. Sandman then announced that he would have to retire because of his eye injury, so Dreamer showed remorse for his actions. He dedicated his future matches to Sandman. Woman initially was angry at Tommy, but she soon ditched Sandman because he was no longer any use to her. She claimed she would announce a new wrestler to manage and teased that it might be Dreamer. But, she wasn’t the only one to react to Sandman’s blinding. I’ll explain more later in the review.

In other news, this is night two of a two-night event. Sadly, only the second part is on the network. I’m unsure why they only uploaded one. These early supershows aren’t as organized as a proper PPV, so it’s understandable. But, it’s disappointing.

The show opens with Bob Artese walking to the ring with a grocery bag in hand. He announces the card to some cheers, but the fans boo when he talks about Sandman’s retirement. Then, Bob opens his sack—to reveal some ECW hats. He throws them into the crowd before asking the fans to stand for an EXTREME version of the national anthem.

A nameless guitar player with hair like either Slash or Dan Avidan starts to play a metal version of the song. He seems a bit nervous because he plays the same part twice. Then, we discover why he’s anxious. 911 and Paul E. Dangerously arrive and 911 puts the poor sap through a table. Paul E. tries to mock him, but the mic doesn’t work. So, 911 gives the kid another chokeslam and leaves. Joey Styles checks on the guy while 911 chases Bob. He doesn’t catch him, but he does get the other ring announcer and chokeslams him. Then, Paul E. finally finds a working mic. He tells the guitar player he sucks and insults the fallen announcer before 911 chokeslams him again. Paramedics then arrive to take him to the back on a stretcher.

J.T. Smith vs. Hack Meyers

Notes: Bob introduces referee John Finnegan to boos, so he shrugs his shoulders. Did he expect the ECW fans to cheer a ref? Hack Meyers enters the arena and throws some chairs around. Then, J.T. arrives and nearly gets in a fight with Hack before Bob can do his introductions. Smith is introduced as the hometown guy, but he gets booed. Joey says that Hack brought his fan club with him tonight.

The Match: Smith gets the early advantage with slams and dropkicks. He even hits a surprising fallaway slam, but Meyers fires back with punches. The fans chant Shah with each one because Hack is known as the Shah of Philadelphia. They brawl to the floor, and the fans give Hack a chair to use, but Smith dropkicks it into Meyers’ face. J.T. also uses it for a modified elbow drop before sending Hack over the rail. The fight then returns to the ring where they trade pin attempts until Smith picks up the win with a bridging Northern Lights Suplex.

Thoughts: It was short, but what we got wasn’t bad. I would have been fine with this going longer. There were some fun spots on the floor with the chair. Also, Smith performed some nice moves. I don’t think it had enough time to get any momentum. If they had given it three more minutes, it might have been a hot opener. But, it was a decent but forgettable bout as it stands.

Winner: J.T. Smith (4:02)

Joey Styles asks his production crew for a mic stand while J.T. and Hack start brawling in the aisle. Hack surprises Smith with a chair shot and the two fight through the curtain.

The Pitbulls vs. The Bad Breed

Notes: Bob calls this match a special tag team attraction. I’m not sure special or attractiveness are words I’d use to describe this, especially with Ian Rotten’s new haircut. He shaved his hair into a short mohawk. Axl shoves the ref while the Pitbulls enter the ring and then the two teams immediately brawl. Everyone is itching to fight tonight.

The Match: All four men break into pairs and fight. Pitbull #2 tumbles out of the ring on a missed clothesline while #1 and Ian fight on the floor. Sadly, ECW only has one camera, so we miss half the action. They finally enter the shot as Ian Rotten crashes on the guardrail. Then, the Pitbulls bring Axl into the ring and surprisingly use legal tags to control the bout. They double team him for a bit and then hit a Super Bomb off the top for the quick win.

Thoughts: They are rushing through the early matches. I get they want to give the featured bouts more time, but it makes these preliminary fights pointless. I’d rather they skip the extra matches and focus on the ones with the build. I will probably forget this encounter before the show ends. It makes the Pitbulls look strong, but it means almost nothing. However, I have to say I like the Pitbulls finisher. That double team Super Bomb is quite nice. Also, ECW desperately needs more cameras. I couldn’t see most of the action, which made it worse.

Winners: The Pitbulls (3:11)

After the match, Axl grabs the Pitbulls’ chains and attacks both men. The Bad Breed punch them with the chains while fans chant for blood. They get their wish as both Pitbulls bleed. Ian displays his bloody fist tape to the crowd before the Bad Breed finally leave the ring.

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Mr. Hughes

Notes: Scorpio was feuding with Borne Again on TV, but Matt Borne is already gone from the company due to his substance abuse issues. He first appeared in ECW as Doink, but the ECW fans hated him. So, he altered the character. The story was the gimmick drove him crazy. He would beat his opponents and then put clown masks on them. He would also cut promos where he said he was Borne again, which was a semi-clever play on words. The character had potential, but he sadly didn’t last. So, we get this match as a last-minute replacement.

The Match: Hughes slowly shoves Scorpio around the ring, but he keeps getting distracted by the fans. They trade arm holds and then Hughes shockingly does a leapfrog, but he returns to slow punches. Scorpio tries to fight back with a corner splash only for Hughes to counter with a clothesline and a head vice. The fans are bored, so they change for 911. Hughes doesn’t care. He presses Scorpio into the air and then tries again, but Scorpio dropkicks him. They fight to the floor and Hughes rams Scorp into the apron. Then, they return to the ring and Hughes hits a one-armed sidewalk slam. He takes his time to cover, so Scorpio makes his comeback. He surprises Hughes with a mule kick and hits a 450 splash for the win.

Thoughts: This was a poor clash of styles. Scorpio had to wrestle Hughes’ pace, which is dreadfully slow. The fans lost interest quickly. It also doesn’t help that Hughes stalled for half the match. I’ll give Scorp credit for bumping around and doing his best to make it look good, but he couldn’t save this.

Winner: 2 Cold Scorpio (7:09)

Hughes is pissed, so he attacks Scorpio after the bell. It’s funny he only picks up the pace once the match is done. He gives Scorpio a dropkick and tosses him over the ropes before demanding a mic. He calls the fans stupid asses and tells them he’s the roughneck. He also says this is his house. A young Paige takes notes. Hughes leaves, so Scorpio takes the mic and calls him shoeshine boy. Scorpio then tells Hughes he got hit with the diss that doesn’t miss and says, “Whoomp, there it is.” The fight continues as Scorpio uses a chair and they brawl through the curtain.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Tommy Cairo

Notes: Tommy Cairo reappeared on TV after Sandman’s blinding. He was beside himself at Sandman’s fate. Cairo found it hilarious. He sent pre-recorded comments from his home where he mocked Sandman and joked about spending his days eating peaches. Dreamer took offense and attacked Cairo with a cane.

Cairo mocks Sandman’s blindness again while he enters the arena with a cane in hand. He even takes a pair of glasses from a fan and wears them for a moment. Styles finds it disgusting. Dreamer arrives with a slightly different look. He ditched the sequined jacket for a t-shirt, but he still hasn’t dropped the baggy pants and suspenders. It’s a slow evolution, but he’s getting there.

The Match: The match starts off as a slug-fest and soon spills to the floor. They trade chair shots and forearms until Dreamer takes him into the ring and hits a perfect piledriver. However, he doesn’t cover him. Dreamer takes the fight back to the floor, and fans hand him weapons. He uses both a frying pan and a canoe paddle. Then, they fight over to a wooden pallet and both men use it. They end up in the ring again and Dreamer hits two neckbreakers. He uses his t-shirt for the second one. Cairo responds with a flapjack and grabs the cane, but Dreamer eventually gets it. He canes Cairo all around the ring and even nails him in the balls. Joey Styles sounds queasy at the sight. Dreamer continues until Cairo is bloody and unconscious, so the ref ends the match.

Thoughts: This was more focused on character development for Dreamer than being a great match, but it did exactly what it needed to do. I thought it had good intensity and some unique weapons. I enjoyed it for what it is. The fans are finally warming up to Dreamer. ECW is doing a good job of slowly changing him into what he would become. It’s funny Cairo has been instrumental in the development of both Sandman and Dreamer. I think he doesn’t get the recognition for that.

Winner: Tommy Dreamer (by Ref Stoppage) (7:09)

After the match, Dreamer says some words to an unconscious Cairo and gives him a couple more shots with the cane. Styles says Cairo deserved it. Tommy then leaves while the ref checks on Cairo and motions for the paramedics. Cairo recovers and refuses to leave on a stretcher. He stumbles out of the ring while some fans chant for him to pay his bills.

ECW Title Match: Shane Douglas (c) vs. Ron Simmons

Notes: Artese introduces Ron Simmons as a former WCW Champion and the fans show some respect. But, Simmons gets the mic and tells them he never liked them. He says he’s only there to kick Douglas’ ass and take his belt. He also threatens to nuke the ECW Arena. Joey Styles initially sang Ron’s praises, but he takes it back after Simmons’ comments. Bob then finishes his introductions, and the fans start a Flair is dead chant, which makes Shane laugh.

The Match: Ron tries to jump Shane, but he catches him. But, Simmons soon has Douglas regrouping. Shane stalls, so Ron chases him and Douglas uses a female photographer as a shield. They fight on the floor and back into the ring where Shane catches Simmons with a facebuster. Then, Shane goes to the top and dives, but Simmons catches him with a powerslam. Ron then powers Shane around the ring until he misses a flying headbutt. Shane capitalizes with some chops, but Ron shakes them off and hits a chokeslam. This gets a small 911 chant from some fans. Ron tries to continue his attack, but Shane surprises him with a crucifix pin for the win.

Thoughts: This was a decent bout, but it was a bit slow. It also was surprisingly short. They were building up to a good pace before the abrupt finish. This is a prime example of why they didn’t need the first couple of matches. This should have been longer. Also, I’m not sure why the ECW title match was in the middle of the card. They’re trying to establish it as a world title, but they’re not giving it any priority on their own show.

Winner: Shane Douglas (6:34)

After the match, Ron tries to attack Shane, but he ducks and nails Simmons with the belt. 2 Cold Scorpio takes exception and stops Shane. Then, both Ron and Scorpio go after Douglas and Scorpio hits a moonsault. They place the belt on Shane’s chest before leaving the ring. The officials arrive to check on Douglas, but Cactus Jack surprisingly makes an appearance. Joey Styles says Douglas has no friends because he burned too many bridges. So, he doesn’t understand why Jack appeared. Cactus says some words to the officials, but he leaves without explanation.

Next, it’s time for Sandman’s retirement speech. Artese calls him a friend and welcomes him. Tod Gordon leads Sandman to the ring because he is wearing bandages and sunglasses over his eyes. He’s also wearing a suit, which is a surprising sight. I didn’t know Sandman owned one. Gordon calls him the epitome of extreme and his best friend before they hug. Then, Sandman reminisces about beating Cairo and Dreamer with a cane and says he wouldn’t change a thing. He also laments losing his manager and his wife before telling Woman to kiss his ass. He talks about his history with Peaches, so she comes to the ring. She says she doesn’t know whether to slap him or kiss him, but she chooses the latter. She says she’s changed since he last saw her. Sandman jokes he doesn’t care if she got fat, but she’s the most important thing to him. However, Woman interrupts by saying, “Excuse me!” A young Vickie Guerrero takes notes. Woman says she’s there to introduce her new wrestler.

Woman enters the ring, and Peaches calls her a bitch, so Woman canes her. Gordon then tells her to leave. Sandman blindly swings and knocks down Tod. Woman looks to cane Sandman, so Dreamer arrives. BUT, Sandman removes his bandages and attacks Dreamer from behind. Styles calls Sandman a phony while Sandman repeatedly canes Tommy. He lights a cigarette and continues his attack, so the fans chant his name. Woman also mocks Tommy for defending Sandman and Sandman ditches his suit for a t-shirt. Then, he removes his belt and whips Dreamer with it. Woman then announces she will still manage the Sandman, and they leave the ring together while Gordon checks on Dreamer. I enjoyed this segment. I thought it did a great job of building Sandman as a complete asshole and it put more sympathy on Dreamer.

Then, they go to Joey Styles and the fans boo him. He smiles at the reaction before introducing Shane Douglas for an interview. Shane talks about his history in the business and ECW. He insults Hulk Hogan for trying to destroy wrestling and calls Flair old. Then, he talks about his blood, sweat, and tears. Next, he mentions Simmons bragging about being the first black champion, but he says it doesn’t mean a shittin’ thing to him. Shane brags he beat Simmons and accuses 2 Cold Scorpio of sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. He also claims he’s on the phone with Sherri, but Styles says she doesn’t work there anymore. Douglas pretends to invite her back to ECW, so a fan yells, “Put some batteries in the phone!” Shane claims Sherri said it would be great to be with a man again, so the fans start another Flair is dead chant. Finally, Shane claims he found a man he’s faced in the past. He says it isn’t Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Flair, or Hogan. It’s Stunning Steve Austin. Styles says it will be Douglas & Austin with Sherri vs. Simmons & Scorpio. This was a really good promo, and I’d like to see that match. I’ll have to find out if it’s on the network.

Dean Malenko (w/ Jason) vs. The Tazmaniac

Notes: Jason held onto the TV Title through help from his stable, but he felt he needed a bit more insurance. So, he hired Dean Malenko. Dean is the son of the famous wrestler, Boris Malenko and a member of the Malenko wrestling family. I’ve always been a fan of his work and am happy to see him. I forgot he would appear this early on my timeline. Dean technically isn’t the TV Champion, but Jason felt confident enough to occasionally let him defend the title for him. However, Artese can’t make up his mind if this is a title match or not. He first announces it as one but then contradicts that. Taz still has his issues with Jason, but he realized he would have to deal with Malenko first.

I also should point out a story development with Jason’s stable. Chad Austin accidentally caused Rockin’ Rebel a match. So, the two got into a disagreement. They started fighting and Jason had enough. He attacked Rebel and kicked him out of their group.

The Match: They grapple around the ring and Taz reverses a suplex. But, Dean responds with a Tiger Bomb and a Boston Crab. Taz reverses it and they fight in and out of the ring. Then, they reverse through a full nelson until Taz kicks Dean low. He also gives Malenko a t-bone suplex. They go through some more reversals before Taz hits a release German. Next, they go to the top and block each other’s attempts at a superplex before fighting to the floor. Jason interferes, so Taz fights with him. However, this opens the door for Malenko to grab a towel. He smothers Taz with it and picks up the win.

Thoughts: This was going really well until that lame finish. I would have loved seeing a longer match between these two without the shenanigans. Even the fans agreed. They changed bullshit at the ending. They should have let them go out and have a great match. I get they were trying to put heat on Jason and his group, but it backfired.

Winner: Dean Malenko (5:13)

Styles says he smells chloroform on the towel while paramedics arrive to help Taz. Joey calls it foul play. They use some smelling salts, so Taz freaks out and suplexes the ref. He then dumps him out of the ring and starts throwing around chairs before heading to find Jason and Malenko.

Brawl Game Match for the Tag Team Titles: The Public Enemy vs. Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck (c)

Notes: Cactus Jack was supposed to team with Terry Funk to face Public Enemy for the tag titles, but Terry missed his flight. Tommy Dreamer agreed to team with Jack, but Public Enemy put him through a table. Then, Cactus promised to find a new partner. He went backstage and found—Mikey Whipwreck! Jack had to drag him kicking and screaming to the ring, but they shocked the world by winning the tag titles. Mikey said he promised his mom he wouldn’t win any more belts because she worried about him. But, Cactus said he chose Mikey because he reminded him of himself. Now, they have to defend those titles against Public Enemy in a Brawl Game Match. It’s the same as the Basebrawl Match, but they changed the name. Before the match, the fans chant jailbird at Public Enemy, so Rocco yells at them. They also tease leaving.

The Match: Mikey starts the match with Rocco and tries some offense, but it doesn’t work. But, Cactus enters the ring and uses Mikey like a weapon. He throws him at the Public Enemy, but it nearly leaves Mikey down for the count. Grunge takes Jack out of the ring with a Cactus Elbow and the Public Enemy start double-teaming Whipwreck. They hit the Drive-By, but Cactus cleans house with a chair. He even gives Rocco a Double-Arm DDT on it. It doesn’t work and the Public Enemy end up throwing powder in Jack’s eyes. Jack is blinded and accidentally gives Mikey the Double-Arm DDT. He’s out for the count, so the bats are in play. Everyone brawls into the crowd, and Rocco brings Mikey to the eagle’s nest. He then sets up stacked tables, but Sabu calls gimmick infringement and stops him. 911 manages to pull Sabu away, but the damage is done. Whipwreck uses a chair on Rocco, and Cactus puts Rock through a table with the Cactus Elbow. However, Public Enemy take control when they return to the ring. Grunge ends up hitting Mikey with a bat off the top rope for the win.

Thoughts: This was a fun and crazy brawl. They threw in entertaining spots and there was an innovative use of Mikey Whipwreck. I liked how Cactus used him as a weapon. Plus, it’s nice to see Whipwreck actually get offense. My only gripe is the lack of cameras once again detracted from the match. Much of the action is lost in the one-camera setup.

Winners: The Public Enemy (New Champions) (12:34)

Then, Artese introduces Tod Gordon. He announces their next show and says there will be a Mixed Tag Match. Sandman & Woman will face Dreamer & Peaches with Tommy Cairo as the special ref. Tod starts to say more, but Cactus Jack returns and takes his mic. Jack says Mikey Whipwreck is the toughest son of a bitch in the arena. He also says he’s not through with Public Enemy. He promises to do something he will hate when he returns with Kevin Sullivan as his partner at the next event. Gordon then finishes announcing the card and says Dean & Joe Malenko will face Taz & Sabu. Also, he officially announces the match Shane Douglas asked for earlier.

Chris Benoit vs. Sabu (w/ Paul E. Dangerously & 911)

Notes: Sabu has two feuds going on at the same time. He faced Cactus Jack at an event and broke his ribs when he crashed onto the rail on a missed moonsault. He still won the match, but his injuries caused him to lose to Chris Benoit. Paul E. promised that Sabu would prove he’s fine by defeating Cactus in a Falls Count Anywhere match on night one and Benoit in this rematch. However, it’s an ominous omen that Sabu already hurt himself given what happens in this bout.

The Match: Sabu dives at Benoit, but he sidesteps him. Then, Chris hits a knee to the gut and dumps Sabu onto the ropes. Next, he attempts back dropping him, but something goes horribly wrong.

Benoit dumps Sabu onto his head and Sabu immediately rolls to the floor. Paul E. and 911 check on him, so Benoit tries buying time. 911 then enters the ring and threatens Chris, but Benoit bails to the floor. Benoit gets a mic and says he didn’t sign to fight 911. They stall for a bit while the paramedics help Sabu. But, Benoit eventually attacks 911 when he turns his back. The fight is short-lived because 911 hits a chokeslam. The ref makes a three-count, but it doesn’t mean anything. He then gives Benoit a second chokeslam, but the Public Enemy attacks him with bats.

Thoughts: It’s unfortunate what happened. It was a freak accident. I really wanted to see a match between these two. The incident would earn Benoit a new nickname. He would be called The Crippler after this bout. However, the more concerning issue is how soon Sabu returned to action after this injury. Many of Sabu’s issues in his later life can be attributed to his disregard for his body.

Winner: No Contest (2:00)

Public Enemy continues their attack, so Cactus Jack arrives. 911 then recovers and chokeslams both members of Public Enemy. But, multiple wrestlers arrive to join the fight. There is chaos as the locker room empties and wrestlers fight into the crowd. Taz fights off Public Enemy with a bat while Benoit and 911 fight. Joey Styles starts saying goodnight, but Benoit gets a mic. He asks what happened to the great Sabu. This causes 2 Cold Scorpio to return and challenge Benoit to a match. He agrees, but Public Enemy remains with Chris.

Chris Benoit (w/ The Public Enemy) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

The Match: Benoit clotheslines Scorpio and gives him a powerbomb. Then, he hits a snap suplex. However, Scorp answers with some kicks and Benoit bails to the floor. Scorpio has to fend off Public Enemy with dropkicks until Benoit returns. Next, Chris nails a superplex and a slam before attempting a super back suplex. But, Scorpio reverses it in mid-air and gives Benoit a butterfly suplex. He also does a top-rope victory roll, but Benoit kicks out at two. Scorp then follows with a superkick and both men tumble over the ropes. They fight on the floor and use remnants of a table, but the ref counts out both men while they brawl.

Thoughts: I will give them credit for throwing this together to salvage the situation, but the finish was disappointing. The action was great and I wanted more. A long match between these two would be amazing. They did the best with a bad hand. So, it’s commendable.

Winner: Double Count Out (12:00 I’m guessing that time includes the pre-match antics. I got that time from Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt. I don’t believe it was that long.)

After the match, Scorpio and the other wrestlers run off Benoit with a chair. Scorpio grabs a mic and says Sabu is one of the best wrestlers out there. He calls what Chris did bullshit and welcomes him to the extreme. Cactus Jack then gets the mic and says everyone’s thoughts are with Sabu. Then, Artese thanks everyone and says goodnight.

The Good:

– The Tag Title Match.

– The Sandman segment.

– Tommy Dreamer’s character work.

– The Shane Douglas promo.

The Bad:

– Disappointingly short matches.

– The Taz/Malenko finish.

– Sabu’s injury.

– Pointless matches.

Performer of the Night:

I’m giving it to Sandman for his performance in the retirement angle. He gave me a good laugh a couple of times. Plus, it was great character work.

Final Thoughts:

This was a night of wasted potential. There were a few matches that could have used more time and less shenanigans. The Tag Title Match was fun, and some of the action was good, but it was a disappointing show. I know some of it couldn’t be helped. If Sabu hadn’t gotten injured, it could have had an amazing main event. It’s an unfortunate situation. However, there are some positive signs. They’re bringing in guys that will increase the quality of performances.

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My next review will be the WWF’s Survivor Series ‘94, so get your Chuck Norris jokes ready! 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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