ECW Hardcore TV (March 22, 1994)


We kick things off with the closing moments of last week’s main event in which saw Taz besting Sabu in a fairly contested bout of grappling to become ECW TV Champion…wait that’s not how it went down? The ending was an overbooked mess in which Kevin Sullivan appeared to stop Paul Heyman from waffling Woman with a Zack Morris cellphone thus distracting Sabu an allowing Taz to pick up the win? Umm…ECW? ECW? ECW?

In the ECW Command Center…

We get the opening video package and then head to the Command Center where Joey Styles is standing by. It occurs to me that everytime Joey Styles declares himself to be in the Command Center above the ring in the ECW Arena he rolls his eye upwards to look at the ceiling of the basement he’s actually sitting in.

He tells us we have two huge matches tonight. “The Franchise” Shane Douglas will be taking on “The Sensei” Pat Tanaka and The Tazmaniac will prove himself to be a fighting champ, putting the title on the line against Joey Styles’ buddy, Philadelphia’s own, J.T. Smith in the main event.

Meanwhile at the Valley Forge Music Fair…

Tod Gordon is still at the Valley Forge Music Fair, hyping Ultimate Jeopardy. “ULTIMATE JEOPARDY! 8 MEN WITH WEAPONS! IN A CAGE! WHOEVER LOSES LOSES BIG LEAGUE!”

Highlights for Children!

We get a video package of Road Warrior Hawk chucking Jason’s Pitbull and clotheslining Jason’s Roughneck, Mr. Hughes. Road Warrior Hawk sells nothing! WHADDA RUUUUUSH!

Match 1: The Bruise Brothers vs. Chris Ford & Damien Stone

I guess the most interesting thing about this match is that the job guys Ford and Stone would go on to become Devon Storm/Crowbar and Little Guido respectively. Like the Bruise Bros. match from the other week they drag their opponents down to the ring and just brawl the shit out of them and laying out the man who would be Crowbar with the double big boot in under a minute.

Winners: The Bruise Brothers

I hate the Bruise Brothers. They are Nazi fucks and boring wrestlers. This match was basically garbage beyond that brief moment of “Hey…is that that guy who was with David Flair in late 90s WCW?” recognition. I cannot wait for the Bruise Brothers to become the Blu Brothers and go to WWF so I don’t have to see them anymore.

Highlights for Children!

We get a highlight reel of the Snuka/Dreamer feud to hype up their steel cage match at Ultimate Jeopardy. This would probably have felt slightly less unessential if I was watching these episodes week by week instead of an episode or two daily. I already saw all this stuff happen a couple days ago.

Back in the ECW Command Center…

Joey is joined by Jason who is sporting a bright yellow suit. He looks like the Man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George sans hat. Joey asks Jason if one of the guys on the other team could pay Mr. Hughes to take the fall so they could have a chance to beat on Jason.

Jason starts yelling that he knows the fans want to see him in the cage with Funk, Taz, Road Warrior Hawk and Kevin Sullivan because the fans are bloodthirsty savages, but they can’t do it themselves so they want someone else to do it. He then yells at Joey for always wanting him to get hurt.

Jason talks about what the various wrestlers would do to him if he ended up having to go in the ring, and then says that he could care no less if Douglas gets his head shaved and could care no less if the PE have to leave ECW. All he cares about is his own well being and he’s going to do everything he can to make sure he doesn’t get a beating at Ultimate Jeopardy. He then storms off leaving Joey alone to play a taped match from earlier that Jason had brought to show, highlighting his tag team of The Pitbull and The Rockin’ Rebel.

Match 2: The Pitbull & The Rockin’ Rebel (w/ Jason) vs. The Young Dragons

Someone in the audience has a sign proclaiming, “Young Drag Queens.” Wow, that’s so clever. The Young Dragons kind of look like proto-Chikara guys. They have goofy masks with too much fake hair coming out of it and karate gis. Jason meanwhile is encased in leather.

As the match gets underway Styles is like, “I wish Jason would have fallen down the stairs when he left the Command Center.” Joey Styles is kind of a dick. A moment later, Jason shows back up in the Command Center to help call the match.

The match is, as you would expect, a total squash. Pitball and Rebel work quick tags and just trounce the masked karate fighters. Towards the end of the match The Pitbull puts one Young Dragon up on the top rope. What’s he going to do? A superplex? Some sort of hurricanrana? No, he just kicks him so he falls out of the ring onto a table at ringside.

The table must be Japanese though because the Dragon just bounces off of it and hits the floor. The Rockin’ Rebel comes over and slams the Dragon into the table, but again it does not break. Rebel drops a weak looking elbow on the neck of the Young Dragon and the table collapses. I don’t really know why because the Young Dragon’s head was hanging off the table so it didn’t seem like The Rockin’ Rebel really put any additional pressure on it before it broke.

The head back into the ring and The Pitbull climbs up top. The Rebel hoists up one of the Dragons and hands him off to The Pitbull who does a powerbomb off the top rope. From there it’s one, two, three…GUARANTEED VICTORY! After the match they repeat the process on the other Young Dragon, just because they can.

I can’t remember when it happened, but at some point during the match Styles pissed off Jason causing him to storm out of the ECW Command Center and Styles to declare, “HA! He almost fell down the stairs again!” I thought you wanted him to fall last time Styles, now you’re changing your story so that he nearly did fall? Styles, you’re full of shit man!

Winners: The Pitbull & The Rockin’ Rebel

Squash! Squash! Squash! The stuff with the table was kind of funny and Jason is the breakout star of 1994 ECW for me, so having him on commentary made this match more enjoyable than it otherwise might have been.

Highlights for Children!

We get some Taz highlights of him wrecking house and suplexing the fuck out of everyone set to generic Metallica ripoff metal, followed by highlights of J.T. Smith falling off shit and getting his ass kicked set to a vaguely inspiration anthem.

“Taz vs. J.T. Smith Happens in a Few Minutes!” declares an onscreen graphic.

Match 3: “The Franchise” Shane Douglas (w/ Sherri Martel) vs. Pat Tanaka

The match commences with Douglas slapping Tanaka in the face and then pushing him to the mat. “You’re in there with ‘The Sensei’ Pat Tanaka!” shouts Joey Styles as Tanaka hits a forearm and then sweeps the leg (Johnny).

Shane bails to the floor and Styles wonders what a lose to Tanaka tonight would do to Douglas’ psyche going into Ultimate Jeopardy. “He could very well end up bald, but with Sy Sperling in the wrestling business now maybe Douglas could get a bad toupee like the ones that were on display at Madison Square Garden this past weekend: Howard Finkel, Burt Reynolds, Vince McMahon…” Oh shit a WrestleMania X shout out. I wouldn’t have had any idea what he was talking about if I hadn’t watched that a couple months ago.

Douglas gets back in the ring but Tanaka’s in control  now. He gets Douglas in a head scissor, but Douglas escapes. Tanaka goes off the ropes to do something but Sherri grabs his foot, causing him to become distracted. Douglas levels him with a clothesline and follows up with a suplex into a pin for two.

Douglas takes control for awhile, hitting a superplex and whipping Tanaka into the turnbuckles hard. Sherri Martel calls someone an ass from the outside. Tanaka makes a late match comeback and hurls Douglas halfway across the ring with the most back body drop ever. He then sets up for a powerbomb, but Sherri comes into the ring and hits him.

“That’s it! Tanaka’s your winner by DQ…” announces Joey Styles.

Tanaka sets up to powerbomb Sherri Martel but Douglas takes Tanaka’s head off with a clothesline and covers him for three. So much for Tanaka being the winner.

Winner: Shane Douglas

I guess ECW Rules are a thing now and apparently no one told Joey Styles. The earlier matches would have DQs and count outs and stuff but I guess anything goes at this point. Goofy ending notwithstanding this was a really good match. Douglas and Tanaka have both proven themselves to be really reliable in-ring guys in these early ECWs and here they were given enough time to have a pretty decent match.

Highlights for Children!

We get a summary of the feud between “Ironman” Tommy Cairo and “Wifebeating Shitstain” Sandman. Cairo seems like an upstanding fellow. Sandman is a piece of shit here. Two former best friends will collide at Ultimate Jeopardy!

Highlights for Children!

Call 9-1-1! 911 chokeslams fools to generic riff rock that sounds like it was probably replacing a Black Sabbath song. I still don’t get why 911 is as over as he is. He literally does one move.

Match 4: The Tazmaniac (w/ Woman) vs. J.T. Smith

Taz is a fighting champion so the TV Title is on the line tonight! Taz beats the fuck out of Smith and lays him out with an overhead belly to belly suplex in the opening moments of the match. Taz goes for the pin but pulls Smith up at two.

Smith rallies somewhat and hit the worst looking powerslam in the history of our sport and then follows it up with an ugly ass elbow drop. For some reason the Public Enemy appear at ringside to menace Woman which causes Smith to go intervene because he’s a true gentleman.

Taz is not a gentleman and suplexes Smith from the apron into the ring, but he doesn’t get him all the way over, so Smith falls on him. PINNING PREDICAMENT! ONE! TWO! THREE! NEW CHAMPION!

Public Enemy hit the ring and start beating down the Tazmaniac which causes all the Ultimate Jeopardy guys hit the ring and start brawling while what was probably originally “Iron Man,” but is now just generic riff rock plays.

The “faces” (Funk, Hawk, Sullivan, and Taz) clean house and then hug each other in the ring. I guess while that was happening J.T. Smith was unceremoniously handed his TV Title and ushered to the locker room because he’s nowhere to be seen.

Winner: J.T. Smith

What a stupid match. Way to make Taz and Sabu both look like chumps. Smith did nothing and somehow picked up the win and then they didn’t even do a big Ultimate Underdog Wins the Title thing where faces come out and celebrate with him. Instead they have a bunch of dudes rumble, which I get…you want to get people interested in the upcoming event, but is was just kind of a mess.

Tazmaniac suplexs Smith from the apron but Smith falls on top of Tazmaniac and gets the win and title in 2.47. WTF. PE get in the ring and begging beating on Tazmaniac. All the Double Jeopardy contenders end up int the ring and brawl. The faces clean house and celebrate.

Final Thoughts

Did I dislike Jason the first time he showed up since I started rewatching these? I can’t remember. If I did, I don’t anymore. He is 9 times out of 10 the high point of the episode. This week was no exception. Jason’s promo was tremendous and he got me to care about the match way more than Tod Gordon did with his promises of the most violence EVER! Jason was literally the only one involved in Ultimate Jeopardy that talked about what could happen to him if he lost. He is the only one where the threat of the gambit seems to carry any weight, so good job Jason.

Elsewhere I liked the Douglas vs. Tanaka match. Tanaka seems to be one of those guys who can have pretty good matches with just about everyone, like a Starter windpants clad Ricky Steamboat, and Douglas is not as terrible as I thought he was when I was a teenager, in fact, he’s been pretty good in what I’ve seen of him since I started doing this thing.



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