My Take On The Original ECW 3.05.08: ECW Hardcore TV (2.25.96)
Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.05.2008
Cactus Jack is made to pay for his sins…
Welcome back to the latest edition of My Take On! With the addition of WWE 24/7 to my cable system, I have decided to have some fun and do some columns on "The Original ECW." I plan to work this similar to the "My Take on MMA/The Monday Night Wars" columns, where it isn't a recap as much as it is an analysis piece. Much like the Monday Night Wars pieces I am running, this is for entertainment purposes. I loved ECW back in the day, sitting with friends and watching the Monday Night Wars, and also have a love for the original ECW. I remember finding it at 2am back in the day in Pittsburgh and was just amazed at what I saw. I even went to a few shows in Pittsburgh. So with 24/7 jumping into my cable lineup, this will be another thing I bring you. I hope that you enjoy it.
For those that have asked, these columns don't have a set schedule. They will appear as a fill in for when another 411 writer needs the day off.
Match/Segment: If it can go wrong, it will… Larry's Enjoyment Index: 7.0 Final Thoughts: A run down of last week's show explaining that New Jack was in jail, the return of the Bruise Brothers as friends of Dreamer, only for them to turn on him and leave him laying. Raven would explain that the Bruise Brothers were abused by the system and would never follow a man like Dreamer. Kimona goes topless for the three men, and I am sure they appreciated that. On the heels of the Pillman debut we get ECW fan cam footage of Shane Douglas challenging for the ECW Title. Pillman shows up smoking a cigarette and has a camera and press pass, that's a nice touch. It was one of those things that added to the wild aspect of ECW. A solid opening that gets you caught up and was a staple of ECW in many ways ala their Pulp Fiction ending.
Match/Segment: JT Smith vs. Axl Rotten Larry's Enjoyment Index: 5.0 Final Thoughts: The story here is that this is a grudge match. JT Smith and Axl were to be tag team partners about a month before this, but Smith turned on him before that match. That would piss me off as well. I have to appreciate them starting on the floor and truly brawling with chairs and shit instead of trying to have a "grappling bout." They had a beef and they are showing it. Smith attacks Hat Guy and tosses his lid off, Hat Guy looked like he wanted to fight and cry at the same time. Awesome. They show former heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks, looking homeless in the crowd. Smith does a spot where he fakes a fall off of the top rope and then kills Axl with a chair show. It was a fine brawl, had decent intensity, but isn't something I want to go back and watch again. I take that back, the end is great when JT gets a moonsault while holding a chair onto Axl.
Match/Segment: Cactus Jack vs. Shane Douglas Larry's Enjoyment Index: 9.0 Final Thoughts: Styles does a great pre-match bit explaining that ECW has brought in Brian Hildebrand to referee the bout because he was the third guy that trained with Foley and Douglas under DeNucci. I thought that was an awesome touch. Foley was in his suit and cowboy boots, and as the shirt gets ripped off we see he is wearing one of the air brushed Eric Bishoff shirts with the "Forgive me Uncle Eric" on the back. Douglas is great, some people were chanting about Dean Douglas so he gets on the mic and says, "Class dismissed asshole." This gets a "Dean is Dead" chant. Nice. Dear lord, Douglas pulls an RVD and dives from the top rope INTO the crowd onto Cactus. A HELL of a visual. I had discussed in the 2.11.96 episode that they were working hard to have Douglas come back and be the top star. That was failing in a way because they would refuse to see him as a face and during this match they were chanting for Ahmed Johnson and Razor. The crowd all knew Foley was on the way out, but nothing Douglas did mattered as they were still mad that he "betrayed" them when he left for the WWF. Paul feared backlash and they were starting to get it. Also, Douglas was always better as a heel in my opinion and is very underrated in that aspect. These guys kick the shit out of each other, and it is great. This was coming off of the anti-hardcore deal and Douglas was credited as being the man to "drag the hardcore back out of Cactus Jack." Hildebrand would give Douglas handcuffs, and Douglas handcuff's Foley's hands behind his back, and this is the idea behind the Foley/Rock I Quit match. Douglas gives him a chance to stop, and then beats his ass while Foley screams for Mikey Whipwreck, who he had turned his back on. Douglas applies the figure four, and just when you think Mikey may save Cactus, he KILLS him with the chair shot and Douglas wins. This was good because you believed that Mikey COULD forgive Cactus, but then you are actually glad he didn't and showed that he was his own man. Cactus paid for beating down and leaving Mikey and Douglas gets his revenge on him and shows that he is a bad motherfucker. This whole thing rocked pretty hard.
Match/Segment: Taz vs. Joel Hartgood Larry's Enjoyment Index: 7.0 Final Thoughts: "Taz is gonna kill you" chants, just to show that it didn't start with Joe as some people seem to think. At this point they were pushing Taz hard as the "One Man Crime Spree," and that people in other companies were upset with Taz because of his rampant disrespect for others, and the fact that he WANTED to break necks, since he had his neck broken. Paul did such a great job of making Taz the baddest son of a bitch in wrestling. Taz adds to this as Damage Control comes out, and he dumps the stretcher. He then dumps Dino Sendoff, Don E. Allen, and the Dirt Bike Kid on their heads with some TAZ PLEXES, which dismiss the jobbers easily. MIKEY hits the ring to a huge pop, does well for a while but ends up taking the Taz-mission and is out.
Match/Segment: Wrap-Up Larry's Enjoyment Index: 7.5 Final Thoughts: Douglas does a mock on his Dean character, and runs down Cactus ("say hi to Vince for me"), Pillman and shows that HE is the real loose cannon when he tossed the title in Funks face, threw down the NWA Title, renounced ECW, brought in Alfonzo to make rules and then proceeded to break them all. He and Dreamer made a deal, they were marked men, and Dreamer wanted to make sure Beulah and the baby were safe and Douglas vowed to do that. That is why he turned his back on Dreamer while he got beat down. That is a lesson in extreme life, just ask Dreamer. Dreamer follows that up saying that was the deal, and that he'd give up anything, including the title as long as Douglas was a protector. That's awesome in concept, and some of the deep shit that ECW wrote and that I really enjoyed.
The Overall: Best Match/Segment: Cactus Jack vs. Shane Douglas 9.0 Worst Match/Segment: JT Smith vs. Axl Rotten 5.0 Final Thoughts: This was not only a good follow up to the last episode, but just a focused and strong episode overall. All too often I discuss episodic TV and this is a great example of that. We get follow upon what Pillman is doing, which is more with Douglas and that plays off of the debut. The one problem was that the crowd wasn't embracing Douglas, so he is trying to prove that HE is the loose cannon, the true bad ass of pro wrestling. The follow up on the Raven/Dreamer angle again is great, and we got a complete explanation of the deal between Douglas and Dreamer and we found out that Raven got to the Bruise Brothers before hand. We knew that, but the explanation or "Tarantino-ing back" of the story is important. Axl and JT was fine, and didn't take time away from much so no issues there. I dug the entire Cactus/Douglas battle and the involvement of Hildebrand and Mikey, which helps lead to Cactus' last ECW match. Finally Taz is awesome and looks like he will kill anyone and everyone that gets into his way. Good stuff. Show Score: 8.0