Welcome to another installment of my run through ECW! Kind of at the mercy of WWE Network in regards to the missing episodes but it should be better by the time I start hitting early 1994.
We open up immediately to…
No DQ: Terry Funk & Abdullah the Butcher & JT Smith vs. Jimmy Snuka & Kevin Sullivan & Don Muraco Taped 1993/10/01 at NWA: Bloodfest 1 and aired on 1993/10/12 Hardcore TV
Thoughts: We open into the match joined in progress and it’s opening the episode, probably because this match took place before Snuka lost the TV Title on last week’s episode. This is like being thrown back into the 1980s WWF tinged with Florida Championship Wrestling.
This match is the definition of a pier six brawl as people are fighting inside and outside the ring. JT Smith takes a pretty nasty shot into a pillar from Kevin Sullivan at one point and then gets turned inside out by an Abby clothesline. Fun seeing every single fan there literally standing on their feet though. Snuka ends up blinding Muraco(!) with powder as Sullivan and Abdullah are just brawling outside the ring. JT Smith rolls up the blinded Muraco with an inside cradle for the victory at 4:31. Match was nothing to speak of so it gets a 3/4* but it was fun seeing such figures brawling around.
Tommy Dreamer cuts a promo hyping up his debut against Taz. He’s wearing a weird Elvis style cloak but you can kind of see the underpinning of his hardcore character that would come out later. It’s pretty clear the “pretty boy” babyface kind of fit at the time but it’s easy to also see why the ECW crowd crapped all over it as well.
Bad Breed (Ian Rotten and Axl Rotten) Debut of Axl Rotten vs. Bad Company (Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond) Taped 10/01/1993 at NWA: Bloodfest 1 and aired on 1993/10/12 Hardcore TV
Thoughts: Surprising to see them start out with a fairly solid and basic wrestling match considering the reputations of the Rottens. Both teams provide a good contrast to one another with Diamond and Tanaka being far more well known and athletic. Tanaka’s a lot of fun to watch and it’s fun seeing him and Diamond utilizing a lot of kick based offense for the time.
Diamond hits a good leaping bulldog off the 2nd rope and tags Tanaka in only for the Rottens to double team him in their corner. Axl does a good job doing little heelish tactics in this one such as distracting the ref and mugging to the crowd. Ian’s pretty green but delivers a top rope sitting splash! It’s interesting to see little things in this one that take away from the story/match as only a couple pinfall attempts have been made and neither were down after moves (such as the bulldog and that sitting splash) that warranted them.
Hot tag made to Diamond after Ian misses a pretty sloppy looking top rope diving headbutt. A double superkick on Ian Rotten leads into a leapfrog splash by Tanaka and a back suplex by Diamond for the 3 count at 9:28. A decent, if not sloppy match gets it a *3/4. A little better execution could’ve pushed it higher.
Public Enemy cut a promo against Bad Company and I gotta admit, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge had their characters down pat and are a ton of fun promo wise especially given the freedom by Gordon and Heyman. I’m quickly finding them near must watch promo wise. They aren’t on any Pillman/Austin/Foley type levels but they know their characters and do just enough to be solid entertainers.
Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) vs. Bad Company (Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond) Taped at NWA: Bloodfest Part 2 on 1993/10/02 and aired on 1993/10/19 Hardcore TV
Thoughts: I’m pretty hyped for this match up so I’m looking forward to a good bout. Crowd was listed at 400 for this show and it looks like more people. Grunge is really solid playing up the heel style of the Bad Breed match format and it’s pretty obvious early on that Public Enemy are arguably the best tag team in the company already. Rocco Rock delivering an arm drag against Tanaka then acting all proud of himself made me laugh.
Tanaka hits a crazy sitout powerbomb on Rocco Rock(!) but Grunge breaks up the pinfall. Diamond comes in and does a great spot slamming Grunge’s head into each turnbuckle multiple times working from the top to the bottom. Rocco breaks up a pin after a Rock style floatover DDT from Diamond and it’s fun seeing the faces work in a blind tag spot here as Tanaka comes in. Diamond quickly finds himself in trouble after Rocco and Tanaka both tag out and a Grunge slingshot splash off the second turnbuckle gets a 2 count. More great heel fun as Grunge continues working Diamond’s leg over on the outside while the referee gets distracted.
HOT TAG TO TANAKA! Tanaka’s on fire taking out both members of Public Enemy! Grunge makes the save after a 1 count as Bad Company delivers the three move process that beat Bad Breed last week. Diamond ducks the forearm and Grunge waylays Rocco Rock! Tanaka takes out Johnny and Bad Company wins at 13:31 in a really fun little match. Probably selling this a little high but at *** it’s easily the best match I’ve seen thus far. Go out of your way to catch this one. Solid execution coupled with little character moments and heeling made this all work.
Heyman comes out and starts up his new Dangerous Alliance led by the ECW Champion “The Franchise” Shane Douglas and introduces Sherri Martel! Unfortunately it starts to fall apart when SABU is named Shane’s bodyguard. Shane absolutely refuses this and Sherri calls Heyman out when Heyman insinuates Shane is the junior partner in the relationship. Heyman takes off with Sabu but Sherri and Shane Douglas have formed their own partnership.
Tag Titles: Johnny Hotbody and Tony Stetson(C) vs. The Sandman and JT Smith Taped at NWA: Bloodfest Part 2 on 1993/10/02 and aired on 1993/10/19 Hardcore TV
Thoughts: Sandman and Smith seems like kind of a random pairing considering some of the other teams in the company at the moment. It’s clear Heyman and Gordon wanted to beef up their tag division some by introducing new acts such as the Bad Breed. Terry Funk is seated outside watching the match. We get a weird cut as JT Smith is now in after Sandman cleared the ring of Hotbody and Stetson.
Stetson starts working over JT Smith’s bandage wrapped knee including a nice top rope legdrop to it. Sandman gets tagged in but dumped over the top rope onto Terry Funk who was helping the injured JT Smith! Funk and Smith are out on the ground in pain. Sandman’s locked the sleeper hold on but Funk is pissed and comes in with a chair, pushing the referee away and hammering Sandman in the back for the disqualification at 4:08. Match was what it was so it gets a * but the important story is FUNK and SANDMAN. JT Smith comes in and Funk is all, ‘this punk landed on top of me outside the ring right there’ and is having none of this reconciliation crap.
We get highlights of Terry Funk being awesome and beating up JT Smith after his match for the ECW Title against Shane Douglas. A pissed, nasty, heel Terry Funk is the best Terry Funk! The full match apparently would be aired on 1993/10/26 which isn’t listed on the Network.
No DQ, No Countout: Tommy Dreamer (Debut) vs. The Tazmaniac Taped at NWA: Bloodfest Part 2 on 1993/10/02 and aired on 1993/10/19 Hardcore TV
Thoughts: Dreamer quickly working on Taz including a flying back elbow to the face. Taz catches Dreamer and hits a good looking t-bone suplex. Worth noting is the very brief chants of “Sabu” at Taz. Fun seeing Dreamer actually wrestling while Taz just lays in stiff shots. It’s easy to see how the crowd got behind Dreamer later on as Dreamer’s really good at selling and making Taz look like a real ass kicker. A Northern Lights suplex stops Dreamer’s momentum but Dreamer starts storming back with a flying shoulderblock and snap suplex.
Neat seeing the hardcore origins as Taz nails Dreamer with a chair but Dreamer answers by slamming a chair over Taz’s head and hitting a DDT on the concrete floor(!) Watching these early shows, it’s great seeing the seeds of these characters already despite most of them not coming to fruition for a year or two. Taz crotches Dreamer on the top rope and hits a sick released Northern Lights suplex from the second rope giving Taz the win at 6:41. Another solid little bout featuring Taz and Dreamer showed he could hang, this thing gets **1/4.
Sandman and Peaches cut a brief promo on Shane Douglas. Good seeing more women starting to come into ECW and getting some screentime. Highlights are shown of the Shane Douglas/Sandman match from UltraClash 1993 with Douglas winning after rolling through Sandman’s top rope crossbody and grabbing the tights.
Heyman comes on and utilizes a substitution clause after Sandman gets taken out in the back to replace him setting up…
ECW Title: Shane Douglas(C) vs. SABU! Taped at NWA: Bloodfest Part 2 on 1993/10/02 and aired on 1993/11/02 Hardcore TV
Thoughts: Oh, man what a colossal matchup! We immediately join in progress with Sherri attacking Heyman. Shane dominates early including a top rope superplex but Sabu storms back with an irish whip where Douglas takes the Bret Hart chest bump and Sabu delivers a back suplex. Up top, MOONSAULT and we have a new ECW Champion at 1:37! A dud rating but a pretty important moment in the early era of the promotion.
We get the full video of Madusa and Sherri going at it at a fan convention. Some fascinating stuff here as Madusa’s almost Terry Funkish here while Sherri just loathes her guts as they build up to the un-televised November to Remember on November 13th. Sherri backhand compliments Madusa for running off from America and the AWA to go over to Japan. It starts to get bizarre when Sherri mentions Madusa being with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine romantically or sexually. Sherri even does a mic drop(!) before walking off. Madusa is pissed and claims Sherri’s done nothing but show her tits and ass to the NWA committee. Madusa starts going for the jugular saying Sherri could never prove anything in Japan and that’s why she never went over. It closes out with Madusa outright mentioning she might be going to the WWF and that Sherri, upon hearing that, left the WWF. Crazy and riveting stuff. Unfortunately, the match would not be featured as Malia Hosaka would take Madusa’s place against Sherri Martel.