We kick off this month with a great little promo intercut with highlights from Mr. Hughes beating up people such as Hawk, Mikey Whipwreck, and Tommy Dreamer. Hughes came off looking awesome and managed to hype his affair with 911 just through his words. A great lesson on how to push something just through a face to camera promo.
TV Title: Mikey Whipwreck(C) vs. Stevie Richards Taped 7/22/94 in Montgomeryville, PA and aired on 8/2/94 Hardcore TV
Overall Thoughts: Always fun to see a young Stevie. Mikey actually gets in some offense including an armdrag and dropkick that sends Stevie to the outside(!!!) Love seeing the evolution of Mikey as a character slowly growing some confidence and in the ring, expanding his repertoire. Kinda surreal seeing Mikey deliver a clothesline and actually lock in a chinlock of his own. Also Stevie hits a superkick but because he’s not STEVIE yet it’s not his finisher. Flying Crossbody from Mikey! 2 count only because Jason runs in at 5:40 for the disqualification. *1/2 for seeing Mikey put forth some offense, a very rare sight although the match is mainly to further the Mikey/Jason match for August 13th.
Cactus Jack and Terry Funk in highlights shown from Hardcore Heaven 1994, which took place on August 13th. This is most memorable for the insanity of the chairs thrown into the ring leading to an absolutely irate Tod Gordon, pissed over the fact that fans and wrestlers alike could have been harmed. Funk then Cactus call for a chair and before both me know it, they (and the poor Public Enemy laying down on the mat!) are besieged with a sea of chairs from the crowd. You can really see how dangerous it is, especially for Rock and Grunge who can only curl up in fetal positions due to the dozens of chairs already in the ring. Great for the opening highlight video but insane in a ‘fear for your life’ way otherwise. Grunge and Rocco get up and both are visibly pissed off at the fans too as Grunge is busted open.
Their post match promo is good stuff and Grunge is wearing bandages on his forehead and right arm. The Public Enemy should’ve been what The Dudley Boys were in terms of ability to get over in the WWF, real shame it never happened. Terry Funk and Cactus respond with their own good promo. Great little war of words from two entertaining tandems. Funk calls out PE and their ‘neighborhood’ tough talk referencing a cousin of his in Vietnam who had both his legs blown off by mortar rounds. Cactus ends it with, “You’re homies from the streets but when we’re done with you, the streets will be homie-less.”
Heyman cuts a promo referencing the NWA Tournament coming August 27th. Heyman remarks that Eastern Championship Wrestling wants to go worldwide. Heyman rants about how there is nobody, “man enough,” to continue carrying the torch of the NWA Title and that one man cannot represent professional wrestling. Good stuff in lieu of what was to come with The Franchise Shane Douglas. Douglas cuts a promo after calling out the NWA saying it has nothing to do with kissing Ted Turner’s ass and it only has to do with who can be the best entertainer today. Douglas outright calls Ric Flair to enter the tournament himself quoting Flair’s infamous ‘to be the man’ line and even offers to take the last seed and give Flair the number one seed. Great stuff, calling out the competition so straightforwardly was unfathomable.
DEAN MALENKO is on the mic in front of a drab gray green screen. Poor Dean. Dean puts over the prestige and history of the NWA Title, building up the tournament as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Dean name drops Rocky f’n Balboa and calls himself the Rocky of the tournament.
911 vs. Mr. Hughes Taped 8/13/1994 at the ECW Arena for Hardcore Heaven and aired 8/23/1994 on Hardcore TV
Overall Thoughts: This has been built up on Mr. Hughes being a bad ass bodyguard for Shane Douglas while 911 just chokeslams the hell out of anybody who crosses his path. I don’t expect much but this is all about the story. Hughes has Douglas and Angel in his corner while 911 has Heyman. Crowd is red hot with “911” chants out of the gate. We get a collision and nobody budges. They trade punches and Mr. Hughes gets the offensive attack underway. Mr. Hughes CHOKESLAMS 911! 911 gets the arm up at 2 and 1/2! 911 starts doing the Hulk up but Hughes stops it short with a low blow. Sidewalk Slam blocked and a CHOKESLAM on Mr. Hughes gives 911 the win at 4:18. 1/2* but fun to see how hot the crowd is for 911 now. After the match, Shane Douglas punches out Heyman but pushes Angel in front and flees like a coward. 911 delivers a chokeslam to poor Angel, who’s still sporting her neck brace. 911 eventually delivers a second chokeslam for good measure.
Another Heyman promo, whoo. Heyman mentions the NWA crowning a World Champion all the way back in 1905 and cites that the NWA wants to have a third World Championship, remarking about the WWF (which gets bleeped out) and Bret Hart and WCW and Hulk Hogan and how both will be competing all over the world. In a great little moment, Heyman comments about the mystery man and how, “… nobody knows who this joker is.” Heyman mentions that Terry Funk pulled out of the tournament so he could team with Cactus to take on Public Enemy.
We start to see the seeds of the ‘ECW’ style promos as Douglas follows Heyman and now it’s Cactus Jack time. Cactus cuts a good promo referencing February 1990 and how Flair was having a birthday party at the Holiday Inn after the PPV event. He remarks that an employee told Funk maybe he saw something in Cactus. At the end, Cactus again smartly references that it’s not just for revenge but he’s also gonna take the Tag Titles from Public Enemy.
Joey Styles introduces the program as ECW chants come from a crowd source. He makes mention of “NWA…” and “Eastern Ch…” and what happened. We then cut to a short Sandman/Dreamer Singapore Cane match taped August 28th. Woman canes Dreamer, giving Sandman the victory following a DDT. Tod Gordon comes out to restart the match but Tommy Dreamer is all, ‘fuck off, this is ECW, cane me, Sandman.’ This is an awesome culmination for both guys stemming from their respective growth with Shane Douglas and Tommy Cairo. Woman goes so far as to give Dreamer a chance to avoid this but Dreamer’s completely shedding his nancy boy/pretty boy babyface character here, asking Sandman to do it. Sandman just canes the holy hell out of Dreamer (busting him open hardway half way through the 10 lashes) here while Woman taunts Tommy to just quit and give it up by getting down on his knees and kissing Woman’s feet. Awesome, awesome angle.
NWA Title Finals: Shane Douglas vs. 2 Cold Scorpio Taped 8/27 at the ECW Arena and aired on 8/30 Hardcore TV
Overall Thoughts: This should be a fantastic match. Worth noting is that Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko would make their in-ring ECW debuts in the NWA Title Tournament on August 27th. Steve Corino was also in attendance for that event. Douglas beat Taz and Dean Malenko while Scorpio beat Benoit and 911. We get a handshake of respect to kick the match off.
In a neat spot, Douglas transitions from a half crab to an Indian Deathlock early in the match. Douglas does a great job keeping his heel schtick including a blatant slap to the face of Scorpio despite the ‘prestige’ of the tournament and title itself. Here you can see the “ROH”/Indy stealing of the pre-match handshake and the moves/back up/pose for fan respect bit but it works in this match because the duo traded inside cradles to 2 counts and Douglas smacked his hands in frustration afterwards. This match is also a good example of differing wrestling styles as Scorpio utilizes a flying crossbody while Douglas tries to resort to more technical wrestling and more power moves. The slingshot splash gets a great 2 and 7/8ths pinfall by Scorpio. Later in the match, Douglas gets sent into the fans and Scorpio takes it to Douglas including several face slams into chairs. Douglas misses a springboard crossbody and Scorpion delivers a Tombstone Piledriver! MOONSAULT MISSES! BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! Douglas wins at 12:58 in a great match, ***1/4. Scorpio’s kickout was just a second too late.
After the match comes one of the best promos in wrestling history from Shane Douglas. “… And they can all kiss my ass,” coupled with Douglas throwing the belt down is absolutely iconic in ECW and wrestling history. Douglas remarks that the NWA died in 1987 and this all fits in perfectly with his promos from the entire month too. Douglas’ declaration as the NEW ECW Champion gets a decent pop from the crowd and then after his promo ends, we get our first major ECW, ECW chant. Scorpio and Douglas shake hands as well and the crowd completely drowns out Scorpio’s words. What is most interesting is that, much like the nWo, the ‘original’ promo is memorable and such but the company is never officially called Extreme Championship Wrestling in Douglas’ promo.
Dennis Corraluzzo threatens to strip Douglas of the NWA and ECW Titles citing that ECW is still a member of the National Wrestling Alliance. Tod Gordon is shown in front of the ECW banner and mocks the fact that Corraluzzo thinks he has the power to govern who ECW recognizes as their world champion. Gordon states he’s folded NWA: Eastern Championship Wrestling and coins Extreme Championship Wrestling and openly remarks, “And we recognize The Franchise, Shane Douglas as OUR World Heavyweight Champion,” in an emphatic fuck you to Corraluzzo and the entire NWA while openly inviting any wrestling to get to ECW to challenge for the title. Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock come on with Grunge putting the finishing touches on it, spraypainting Extreme underneath Eastern while coining THE CATCHPHRASE! “If you thought we were hardcore before… Now we’re going to take it to the EXTREME!” Great stuff.