Classic Wrestling Review: The 3-Way Dance ’95

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

The 3-Way Dance

April 8, 1995

ECW Arena

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

News & Notes: It’s been a while since we checked in with ECW. There have been a few events since then, but not all of them are on the network. This show was part of a two-weekend double-header. They would hold Hostile City Showdown the following week, but I don’t have access to that one. There are three main storylines I want to discuss before I talk about the show. So, let’s get started.

First, the main focus of this event was a 3-Way Dance for the Tag Team Titles. Paul E. Dangerously put together what he called the most dangerous team in ECW. He paired Sabu with The Tazmaniac. They defeated Public Enemy at Double Tables to win the belts. P.E. put Taz & Sabu through tables, but the ref didn’t see it. However, he did see Taz & Sabu succeed and awarded them the championship. Afterward, Chris Benoit appeared. He still had his issues with Sabu, so he powerbombed him through a table. Rocco Rock was on it and was taken out in the process. The attack hospitalized him, and Public Enemy couldn’t get a rematch. Benoit & Malenko got the match instead and won the titles from Taz & Sabu. Now, all three teams are at each other’s throats. It should also be pointed out that Benoit & Malenko aligned themselves with Shane Douglas to form a group known as The Triple Threat. Despite this, Malenko temporarily retained the services of Jason as his manager. Now, Public Enemy had to go through Jason’s other tag team The Pitbulls to earn their rematch. Public Enemy won and later Malenko kicked Jason to the curb when Dean lost his TV Title. This only served to piss off the Pitbulls, who demanded they face the winner of the 3-Way Dance. The match was supposed to feature the three teams I mentioned. The problem is, Sabu no-showed this event. He realized he could make more money in Japan and decided to work there instead. Paul E. would explain his absence, but it’s cut from the network version. The fans were unhappy, to say the least.

The next feud I want to discuss is The Sandman versus Shane Douglas for the ECW Title. Sandman feuded with Cactus Jack for months. They had a few fights including one where Sandman was severely concussed. He couldn’t have a rematch, so he hired someone to fight for him. It appeared to be a jobber, but that was a red herring. Terry Funk emerged from a box to attack Jack because the two were feuding in deathmatches in Japan. Sandman and Funk beat up Jack until Shane Douglas appeared. He had trained with Mick Foley and the two were long-time friends. Sandman and Woman tried to convince Shane to join them, but he attacked Sandman instead. Later, Shane & Cactus would team to fight Sandman & Funk. They would attack Douglas with a loose guardrail, and Funk would use a flaming branding iron on Jack. Funk and Jack face each other at Hostile City Showdown, but Douglas versus Sandman happens at this event.

Finally, I’ll discuss Tommy Dreamer’s situation. He feuded with Stevie Richards, who was going through an identity crisis. It was one of his many phases where he imitates other wrestlers, but these were focused on one specific man. He wrestled as Stevie Flamingo and Stevie Polo, but he kept losing to Dreamer. He chose these names because he was heralding the arrival of the former Johnny Polo. However, he was quite different from the last time we saw him. Now, he called himself Raven. The character was brooding and grungy. He spoke in poetry and quoted Edgar Allen Poe, hence the name. The story was he and Dreamer were childhood rivals, but there was a mystery about their past. Raven began to gather a following he called Raven’s Nest. It started with Richards and then Stevie invited The Broad Street Bullies (Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson). They beat him up in a bar, so Stevie thought they’d be a good addition. The Bullies pledged their loyalty because they saw Raven as the voice of their generation. Raven made Dreamer face his Nest in a gauntlet match while he was cuffed at ringside. However, Raven used the cuffs to lacerate Dreamer and left him bloody.

Joey Styles welcomes everyone to ECW Home Video and what he calls the most controversial night in ECW history. Aren’t they all? That’s almost as bad as Tony Schiavone calling every night the greatest in the history of the sport. Joey then talks about Sabu not making it to the event because he was in Japan. However, he says Paul E. and 911 have a surprise for everyone in the main event. We have to stay tuned to find out who it is.

Then, we go to the event itself. Joey is ringside and introduces men he claims make him proud he watches more C-SPAN than Mtv. It’s Raven along with Stevie Richards and the Broad Street Bullies. Richards tells the Bullies they have to prove themselves tonight. If they lose their match, they’re fired. Stetson is angry, so Stevie corrects himself to say Raven was the one who made the stipulation. Stetson changes his tune and tells Raven he will do whatever he says. They will beat the hell out of their opponents the same as they did to Tommy Dreamer. The Bullies then enter the ring, but Stevie reveals his true intentions. He tells Raven he will make him proud by introducing a team that will destroy the Bullies. It’s The Pitbulls.

The Pitbulls vs. The Broad Street Bullies

The Match: The Pitbulls immediately attack the Bullies. They send Hotbody to the floor before #2 press slams Stetson. Then, he delivers a wheel kick in the corner. #1 follows that up with a side kick before the Pitbulls hit the Superbomb for the quick victory.

Thoughts: This was too short to rate. It certainly made the Pitbulls look strong. I’m fine with furthering the storyline, but this feels more like something that should have happened on regular TV. However, it is a hot way to open the show.

Winners: The Pitbulls (00:57)

Stevie is quite pleased with himself and looks for Raven’s approval. Raven says something in return, but the sound quality is so bad I can’t hear it. Closed captioning claims he said the truth set Stevie free, but I don’t think that’s correct. The Pitbulls then say they kicked ass and promise to deliver the Tag Titles to Raven’s hands. Stevie asks if they’ll follow his orders, but they growl in his face. They tell Raven he’s their master. Raven smiles and orders them to head to the back. Next, Stevie says has something even better. He tells Raven he found a girl Raven knew from summer camp and brought her there tonight. Raven is pissed and backhands Richards. He calls summer camp the worst time of his life and says the girl was fat and ugly. Stevie tells him she’s changed and introduces a beautiful woman named Beulah McGillicutty.

Raven (w/ Stevie Richards & Beulah McGillicutty) vs. Tommy Dreamer

Notes: Beulah briefly worked in Stampede Wrestling in the 80s. She played Brian Pillman’s sister. Then, she disappeared from the business for a while. She was a backup dancer for Prince until baseball player Ron Gant introduced her to Raven. He convinced Heyman to hire her and make her part of the Raven/Dreamer feud. The story is she fell in love with Dreamer at summer camp, but Tommy rejected her. So, she hooked up with Raven to get under Dreamer’s skin. Now, Stevie invited her to join them and get even more revenge.

The Match: Raven attacks and they brawl to the floor. The fight spills across the arena where Tommy rams Raven into the rail and the wall. He also uses weapons the fans hand him, including frying pans and a cheese grater. Raven eventually reverses Tommy into a chair and hits an elbow off the apron. Then, they end up in the crowd again and Raven rams Dreamer into the pillar. They even end up under the eagle’s nest. Dreamer powerslams Raven and splashes him before they return to the ringside area. There, Dreamer uses some camera equipment as weapons and gives Raven a piledriver. However, he doesn’t cover him. He bites Raven’s cut instead and the fans chant he’s hardcore. Unfortunately, Tommy ducks and Raven gives him two DDTs. Tommy keeps kicking out and mounts a comeback, so Richards distracts him. He pretends to attack Beulah, which draws Dreamer to the floor. Beulah turns and sprays Tommy with hairspray before Stevie lands a superkick. Raven follows that with a DDT and rolls Tommy into the ring for the pin.

Thoughts: This was mostly a walk and brawl, but there were some unique weapons. I also liked the storytelling at the end. The match wasn’t great, but I enjoyed it for what it was. It did a good enough job keeping the feud going while giving Raven a win. I like that they’re fleshing out Dreamer’s backstory a bit. He has the crowd on his side now, so giving him more depth is a good thing.

Winner: Raven (8:42)

Mikey Whipwreck vs. Ron Simmons

Notes: Simmons cut a promo where he said he was tired of people in ECW being scared of him. Perhaps they’re scared because he threatened to nuke the ECW Arena! Ron then listed people he faced and said they’ve all ducked him ever since. He decided to prove his point by calling out 911 to see if he’d answer. He did and they brawled. Simmons seemed to have the advantage. He gave 911 backbreakers and a spinebuster. However, 911 answered with two chokeslams. The two men face each other at Hostile City Showdown, but Simmons has a warm-up match on this show with Mikey Whipwreck. He warns Mikey to return to the locker room, but the fans chant for Whipwreck to kick his ass.

The Match: Mikey is reluctant to enter the ring, so Ron kicks him. He beats up Whipwreck for a while as the fans chant for 911. Simmons presses Mikey into a gutbuster and attempts another one but they botch it. Then, Mikey gains control with a low-blow. He nails a missile dropkick and tries another top-rope move, but Ron catches him with a powerslam. Ron then gives Whipwreck two chokeslams as a message to 911. He tries another and the referee John Finnegan attempts to stop the carnage. Simmons has none of that and kicks John before giving him a chokeslam. However, that’s enough for a DQ.

Thoughts: This did a good job of making Ron look like a beast while giving Mikey sympathy. Whipwreck bumped well, despite the botch. Plus, I enjoyed the story of Ron doing chokeslams to piss off 911. It wasn’t much of a bout, but it was good simple booking. Mikey was the perfect foil for this kind of story.

Winner: Mikey Whipwreck (by DQ) (4:18)

Simmons continues attacking Mikey, despite the decision. 911 arrives, so Ron press slams Whipwreck onto him. He catches Mikey and drops him before brawling with Simmons. 911 attempts a chokeslam, so Ron gives him a low-blow. He then chokeslams 911 to the chagrin of the crowd. Then, Ron leaves while Paul E. and other wrestlers check on 911. He loses his cool and starts chokeslamming everyone in the ring except Heyman. The fans chant one more time, so he gives them their wish while calling Simmons a piece of shit.

Next, Joey Styles interviews Chris Benoit in the ring. He says he and Malenko came there to beat the best tag teams. He also gives Taz some credit for having the guts to appear tonight unlike the pussy, Sabu. Benoit claims Sabu is hiding in Japan. Then, he calls out Taz and the two start brawling. They trade punches while the crowd chants for Taz, but Malenko attacks from behind. However, the crowd erupts because Rick Steiner arrives to join the fight. He gives Benoit a middle-rope belly-to-belly, so Benoit & Malenko retreat. Steiner and Taz celebrate while the fans chant fuck Sabu. So, Paul E. joins them and raises their arms. This was a pretty decent promo by Benoit. They kept it short and he had good intensity. Plus, the crowd was hot for Rick Steiner’s appearance. The Steiners wrestled a few times for ECW during this period, but I think Scott was injured at the moment.

TV Title Match: Eddie Guerrero vs. 2 Cold Scorpio (c)

Notes: Scorpio beat Malenko for the TV Title on ECW TV, but Malenko is busy with the Tag Titles. So, Scorpio put out an open challenge. Joey Styles announced that challenge was answered by Eddie Guerrero. Scorpio had defeated Eddie’s brother Hector in the past, so there was a connection. Eddie made a name for himself in Mexico and Japan. He was part of a tag team with Art Barr and Heyman wanted both men. Sadly, Barr passed away before they could appear in ECW. However, Eddie would press on as a singles star and adopted Barr’s Frog Splash as a finisher to honor his friend.

The Match: The two men trade reversals, and mat holds and try to sucker each other with feigned handshakes. Eddie takes control with a slingshot senton and an attempt at a Scorpion Deathlock. He also gives Scorpio a brainbuster and a Frog Splash, but he only gets a two-count. Then, Guerrero uses an eye-poke, but Scorpio catches him with arm drags and a superkick. The fight spills to the floor and the guardrails before both men trade suplexes. Eddie answers that with a low-blow and a dive off the top rope to the floor. Momentum swings back and forth and Guerrero gets more near-falls off a Tornado DDT and a super Frankensteiner. However, Scorpio answers with a flying cross body and a moonsault. He even lands a somersault leg drop and a Tumbleweed, but neither work. Next, Scorpio uses a superkick, but Guerrero surprises him with a victory roll for the win.

Thoughts: This was a really good and fun match. It was a nice showcase of moves that you didn’t see much in American wrestling at the time. The crowd loved it and chanted Eddie’s name. I’m a bit surprised they both kicked out of each other’s finishers, but it did a good job of making them look strong. This is a perfect example of the variety Heyman began adding to ECW. He wanted to showcase international talent and would bring in more stars from Mexico and Japan.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero (New Champion) (14:49)

Hair vs. Hair Match: Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten

Notes: After losing to the Pitbulls at November to Remember, the Bad Breed were forced to split. Both men blamed the other for the loss, so the brothers began feuding. This was done to play off real-life issues between them. They notoriously did not get along. Their feud has escalated in violence. Now, they face each other in a Hair vs. Hair match. That means the loser must shave his head. It wouldn’t be a big loss for Ian. He doesn’t have much hair already.

The Match: They meet in the aisle and begin brawling. Axl uses the edge of a metal sign to cut open Ian. Didn’t he read the warning on the sign? Then, they spend a brief moment in the ring before fighting to the floor again. Axl uses a chair and anything he can grab as they fight through the crowd. It’s hard to follow the action because of the lack of roving cameras. The fight surprisingly returns to the ring and Ian cuts Axl’s arm with a piece of wood. Axl answers with a surprise boot and starts using the timekeeper’s hammer on Ian’s shoulder. Ian responds with a low-blow and a neckbreaker before they brawl into the crowd again. There, Ian does a slingshot senton over the guardrail, which gets an ECW chant. The camera loses them again, and Axl apparently lands a suplex. They thankfully return to the ring where Ian gives Axl a piledriver. He tries following that with an elbow, but he misses and Axl clobbers him with a chair for the win.

Thoughts: This was mostly mindless brawling. It might have been better if they had more cameras to follow the action, but it was dull as it is. I’m unsure who I’m supposed to root for in this rivalry. They’re both a bit unlikable. The crowd enjoyed it for the most part, so I guess it did its job. I personally didn’t care for it.

Winner: Axl Rotten (9:50)

After the match, Axl gets some scissors and cuts Ian’s Mohawk. A few fans beat me to the joke and chant Sid’s name. Axl throws the hair into the crowd, but Ian uses the opening to grab a paint pan and attack his brother. He then uses the scissors on Axl’s forehead. The Sid chant starts again. Ian then starts leaving but decides to throw a trash can at Axl before doing so.

Hack Meyers vs. Dino Sendoff

Notes: Hack has gained crowd support with his Shah of Philadelphia shtick. The fans like chanting Shah. He hasn’t won often, but he showed fire in matches with some of the bigger names. He also received a good reaction when he got his hands on Angel and gave her a spanking in the ring. She seemed to like it a bit too much, so he gave her a piledriver. Oh, ECW. It was a different time. This is basically a comedown match after that Bad Breed brawl.

The Match: Hack hits Dino with strikes while the fans chant Shah. They also boo because Dino trips over Hack on a drop-down spot. He gets it right the second time, but the damage is done. Hack continues his attack and lands an apron leg drop. However, he crashes into the post on a missed clothesline. Sendoff pounces on the opportunity to attack Hack’s shoulder. He rams him into the corners and nails a short-arm clothesline. He even gives Meyers a hammerlock slam. Then, Dino tries another short-arm clothesline, but Hack ducks and hits a brainbuster for the win.

Thoughts: This was a filler match. It was nothing more than a cool down after the previous bout. It wasn’t anything special, but it was not terrible. I would call it forgettable more than anything. The fans had their fun chanting Shah and Hack got himself a win. It was what it was.

Winner: Hack Meyers (4:14)

ECW Title Match: Shane Douglas (c) vs. The Sandman (w/ Woman)

Notes: Sandman lights a cigarette on the way to the ring and stores his lighter in Woman’s cleavage. Styles questions what kind of role model he would be as champion. He can’t picture Sandman wearing the title. Joey also speculates whether Shane will wrestle or brawl with him. He has to fill time during Sandman’s entrance, which is diminished by the dubbed music. It doesn’t have the same impact without “Enter Sandman.” Before the bell, Joey tells us Tod Gordon has banned the Singapore Cane from the match.

The Match: This match is oddly clipped on the network. There was a message at the start saying this event experienced technical difficulties. I’m guessing it’s the reason for the edits. Shane gets the advantage early with a back drop and a neck whip. Then, they jump to Sandman controlling the match with a crossface chickenwing. He holds Shane for Woman to slap him, but she refuses. Then, Sandman gives Douglas a shoulderbreaker and returns to the chickenwing. They clip the action again, and we see Sandman land a flying leg drop. He orders Woman to get the cane before giving Shane a piledriver. After another jump, they show Sandman pausing for a cigarette break. Woman returned with the cane, but she throws it to Douglas while Sandman smokes. Shane uses it to nail a low-blow and rolls up Sandman for the win.

Thoughts: Based on what we saw, this looked surprisingly good for a Sandman match. He seemed to be on his game. I would like to have seen the entire thing. It appeared to have good storytelling. The finish builds Douglas’ character and helps transition Sandman into more of a fan-favorite role. It’s a shame this match is hacked to Hell.

Winner: Shane Douglas (10:00)

After the match, Douglas and Woman hug and celebrate. Shane then takes Sandman’s pack of cigarettes and dumps them on him before leaving. Sandman lights one while nursing his sore balls. Then, they go to some comments from Sandman. He says Woman once encouraged him to cane his own wife. He asks her what she thinks he’ll do to her. He promises to beat Shane next Saturday. He also tells Woman to bring every activist she can to protect her because he’ll beat her too. Then, they go to Shane and Woman. Shane reminisces about winning the match and celebrating with Woman afterward. He tells Sandman he doesn’t have what it takes to win the title. He says he deserves the belt and Woman because he earned it. Shane claims his bank account is full, and his body is worn out from celebrating, but Woman doesn’t think so. Then, Shane threatens to fist Sandman. I wish I was joking, but he really does. Woman ends the segment by saying she’s not afraid of Sandman. These promos didn’t age very well, but they both had good delivery.

3-Way Dance for the Tag Team Titles: The Public Enemy vs. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko (c) vs. The Tazmaniac & Rick Steiner (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

Notes: Public Enemy enter first and lead the fans in waving their arms like they don’t care. Benoit & Malenko enter next and immediately attack. They don’t wait on their opponents, so Taz & Steiner quickly join the fight. They clear the ring with suplexes and Rick runs around barking. On a side note, this match is tornado rules. There are no tags, so it’s a bit chaotic. However, it is an elimination match. The winner has to eliminate both of the other teams.

The Match: Taz & Steiner give everyone suplexes before Rick nails Benoit with a Steinerline and a diving bulldog. Meanwhile, Public Enemy introduces a cookie sheet that Rick uses on both himself and Grunge. He also nails Rocco with a sitout Tombstone, but Grunge saves his partner. Next, Benoit and Taz fight with a chair while Public Enemy uses frying pans. Johnny even uses a lunchbox, which baffles Joey Styles. Benoit & Malenko then double team Taz and Dean holds him for a flying headbutt to earn the first elimination. (Elimination: Taz & Steiner)

They don’t leave peacefully. Taz & Steiner wreak havoc on both teams until Tod Gordon and Paul E. convince them to stop. Paul E. even takes a cheap shot at a security guard on the way out of the arena. Everyone eventually recovers, but the Public Enemy is bleeding. That doesn’t stop them from taking control with a low-blow, and Grunge does a Vader Bomb. They also use chairs and a crutch before brawling to the floor. Rocco and Benoit end up in the crowd where Rock hits Chris with a soda can. Then, they fight to the eagle’s nest while Grunge and Malenko trade near-falls. Rock places Benoit on a table and attempts the Drive-By, but Benoit moves. Meanwhile, Grunge chokes Dean with a cable and nails a neckbreaker. Everyone returns to the ring and Benoit & Malenko double team Public Enemy. However, they have a miscommunication on who will make the pin. Public Enemy capitalizes, and Rocco lands the Drive-By for the win. (Elimination: Benoit & Malenko)

Thoughts: This was a fun brawl for the most part. It dragged a bit once Taz & Steiner were eliminated, but it picked up again by the finish. It probably would have been better with Sabu. I will give them credit for dealing well with the last-minute change. There were nice spots and some of the Public Enemy stuff was amusing. I enjoyed it on the whole. It was a decent way to close the show.

Winners: Public Enemy (New Champions) (19:56)

After the match, Taz returns and tries to give Malenko a Tazplex, but Benoit stops him. Steiner also returns and dumps Chris to the floor. The four men brawl to the back while Public Enemy celebrates with their belts. Joey calls it a house party and says he almost feels like dancing. However, the Pitbulls attack them to stop the fun. They whip Public Enemy with belts and deliver a powerslam. Joey points out they’re wearing Public Enemy t-shirts to mock them.

The Good:

– Guerrero/Scorpio was great.

– There was some good storyline and character work.

– The main event was decent.

– Sandman/Douglas seemed good for what we saw of it.

The Bad:

– Hack/Dino was just filler.

– The Rotten Brothers match.

– The technical difficulties.

Performer of the Night:

I’m giving it to Eddie Guerrero. He stood out above everyone with moves you didn’t see often at this time. It was his night to shine and he did it.

Final Thoughts:

This was easily the best ECW show I’ve covered. That’s not saying it was great, but there was far more I enjoyed on this than the others. You can see the pieces coming together. Heyman started bringing in better wrestlers and it helped improve the quality. Even when the content isn’t good, I enjoy watching the evolution of this company. It’s the one I’m least familiar with, so it’s a learning experience. It’s like watching a child grow up and find its way.

Thank you for reading. My next review will be the WWF’s In Your House. 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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