Paul Heyman is here to hype up the main event between the TV Champion, Sabu, and the human suplex machine, The Tazmaniac before we get the opening video.
In the ECW Command Center…
Joey Styles welcomes us to the show and runs down the card. We get a double main event tonight. In addition to the match Heyman announced at the top of the program, we also have a six man tag team match pitting Shane Douglas & The Public Enemy against Terry Funk, Kevin Sullivan and Hugh “Crash” Morris. Joey then tosses it to Douglas and the PE who are standing by in an unfinished basement.
I got so fucking confused by the beginning of this episode. “Didn’t I just watch this? Did I accidentally play the same episode I just watched? No…do I need to send the WWE Network a strongly worded letter?”
The episode begins with the exact same intro as last week with Joey Styles talking about the tag team fracas that happened last week (two weeks ago) and then showing us the Public Enemy sneaking into Tod Gordon’s office last week (two weeks ago). Joey hypes up the return of Sabu to face Pat Tanaka for the TV Championship (happened last week), and talks about getting our first look at newcomer, “Awesome” Mike Awesome (also happened already). The reused the intro. Fortunately after that weird editing decision, the remainder of the episode is new to me, so let’s take it away!
“Saturday February 5, 1994. The Night the Line was Crossed.” We start the episode off with the ending to the three way dance between Sabu, Funk, and Douglas with the ring announcer declaring the match a 60 minute time limit draw. The fans are on their feet and clapping. Joey Styles is like, “WHAT IS THIS?! JAPAN?!” before we get the opening credits.
ECW’s got some new theme music I think. It’s kind of hard to tell since the audio on this episode is fucked. I had the volume on my TV almost maxed out and I could still barely hear anything. Anyway Joey Styles is in the ECW Command Center and I think gives us a brief rundown of whats to come before tossing it down to the ring for tag team action!
Joey Styles is in the ECW Command Center and welcomes us to NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling. He tells us about how the Public Enemy didn’t get to wrestle last week on TV because of the epicness of Terry Funk’s match with Shane Douglas and then shows us footage of Jay Sulli breaking the news to them.
“The Franchise” Shane Douglas is backstage getting his wrists taped up by Sherri Martel. He says that tonight he becomes ECW Champion once again…
“Pssst…hey, you! Yeah you…this is ECW. Pro-wrestling’s best kept secret.” Matty Indahouse then appears and screams, “Not anymore!” like a goddamn asshole.
Meanwhile in the ECW Command Center…
Joey Styles is here to give us a quick rundown of what’s coming up in this special 90 minute episode of ECW.
We got the tag team champs in action in a six man tag match and Terry Funk will be defending his ECW Heavyweight Championship against the Franchise, Shane Douglas. Let’s get down to the ring for that big six man tag match!
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2001 was not the first ECW invasion of the WWE. Back on February 24, 1997, Paul Heyman and his merry band of hardcore heroes invaded Monday Night Raw in the very place it was born: the Manhattan Center.
Several ECW matches took place over the course of the evening with the penultimate match of the night featuring Tommy Dreamer going up against Devon Dudley. Dreamer picked up the win only for Bubba Ray Dudley to jump in post-match. This caused The Sandman to come out and make the save.
Moments later, Paul Heyman, who had been doing commentary during the ECW got fed up with Jerry Lawler’s shitty dad boner jokes and charged him only to be restrained by ECW wrestlers thus bringing an end to one of the weirdest nights in the history of Monday Night Raw.
So why was this allowed to happen? Why did Vince McMahon allow a rival wrestling promotion to have matches on his television program? To start with, the WWF was touring Europe (the European Championship would make its debut the following week) and the majority of the roster was somewhere in Germany when this episode aired so at the simplest level there was just a need for bodies to fill TV time.
Beyond that the WWE was losing badly in the ratings to WCW and Vince McMahon was willing to try almost anything to get back on top. WCW had become the top rated wrestling promotion with a fake invasion story line so why not see how a “real” invasion did? The short answer is, it didn’t work out very well, mostly because of ego and backstage politics, but that didn’t stop Vince and Company from trying it again later in 1997.
The second time around, however, the replaced the hot, up and coming promotion that represented the future of wrestling (ECW) with one that represent wrestling’s past and, at that point, was basically dead (NWA). Suffice it to say it was an abysmal failure.
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I’m a sucker for callbacks in wrestling. When Kane mentioned electrocuting Shane’s balls this week on Raw I marked out a bit. Similarly when Tommy Dreamer reverted to his “Gross Guy Who Puts Disgusting Things In His Mouth” gimmick in the midst of this intergender tag team match it put a smile on my face.
The gross thing in question is a lollipop that was in Joey Ryan’s mouth, on the mat, in Joey Ryan’s chest hair, in Joey Ryan’s trunks, and lastly in Tommy Dreamer’s ass.
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Scaffold matches are usually pretty lame. There are punches, an occasional kick, and then someone falls. The only thing anyone cares about in a scaffold match is the fall. No one cares much about the extremely limited wrestling match that transpires before the fall, so for that reason this is my favorite scaffold match.
The first part of the match is a mid-90s ECW brawl with Dreamer and Lee fighting in the crowd with garbage cans, chairs, and a jack o’lantern among other things. By the time they actually climb the scaffold Dreamer’s already split open.
Once atop the scaffold there are a few punches, a low blow or two, a DDT, and a couple blocked attempts of tossing someone over the edge before Dreamer finally throws Lee from the scaffold into a heap of tables.
Because they more or less limit the scaffold to a spot in a standard issue ECW brawl the overall match works a lot better for me than the standard “two guys punching each other for eight minutes high above the ring before one of them falls” scaffold match, though your mileage may vary.