Monday, August 7, 2017

Kevin's Random Reviews: ECW Hardcore Heaven 1995

Hardcore Heaven 1995
July 1st, 1995 | ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Attendance: 1,150

For the most part, the shows I watch for this review series are from the Pay-Per-View section of the WWE Network. This one is different. A while back, the Network ran an ECW Exposed special with Joey Styles and Paul Heyman. With that, they uploaded a ton of old ECW clips and three non-PPV events. This is the earliest of those events. It was considered a big show by ECW but they hadn’t reached PPV just quite yet.

As usual with ECW events, Joey Styles is on commentary.

Dudley Dudley and Snot Dudley w/ Big Dick Dudley vs. The Pitbulls w/ Beulah McGillicutty, ECW Champion and ECW Tag Team Champion Raven and ECW Tag Team Champions Stevie Richards
Yes, Raven is a double champion here. This also happens to be the debut of the Dudley family, though no Buh-Buh Ray or D-Von quite yet. Pitbull #1 just beats up on Snot Dudley, showing that is a bit of a lopsided fight. Joey Styles does a good job of selling how badass the Pitbulls are. Stevie Richards is drawing attention to himself by showing off his belt and jawing with the fans. Snot makes the tag to the double named Dudley, which he needed pretty badly. Dudley actually gets in some offense, faring much better than his brother. Snot gets tagged back in for some reason and just gets murdered with some chair shots. Francine is in the front row and ends up making out with Stevie, causing Beulah to get into a catfight with her. Francine was playing a superfan of Stevie. Raven drags both Beulah and Stevie by the hair to the back and the Pitbulls hit a top rope powerbomb on Snot. Dudley comes off the top with a shot to the head of Pitbull #2, puts Snot on top and they steal this one.

Winners: Dudley and Snot Dudley in 5:52
This was more of an angle than a match. It did the job in that sense. It built tension between Raven and the Pitbulls, showed off Francine and introduced the Dudley family. The match itself wasn’t very good however. 

After the match, the Pitbulls cut a very angry promo about how they are tired of Raven and Stevie Richards. Honestly, they seem more upset at Stevie.

Broad Street Bully and Chad Austin vs. Dino Sendoff and Don E. Allen
JOBBERMANIA! “You all suck” chants. Joey Styles even flat out says “this match isn’t very good.” As they mess up some spots, Styles calls this WCW Slamboree. Ouch. Paul E. Dangerously shows up with 911 and you know what that means. 911 just destroys everyone in the match and lay them all out with Chokeslams.

Match ends in a no contest
There was no official bell, so I can’t give it a time. It was here as an angle, just showing off 911.

Big Malley vs. Hack Myers
Oh, I don’t expect this to be good at all. Big Malley is not at all popular. He weighs 510 pounds though. There are some very unflattering chants towards Malley. They just wail away on each other in slow fashion. The only thing interesting is the crowd’s reactions to all of this. I’ve seen Malley do about six avalanches in the corner, and he has to take plenty of breathers in between. Malley misses an elbow, Myers rolls over onto him and wins.

Winner: Hack Myers in 6:17
Who the hell thought that should go as long as it did? It was absolutely dreadful. I’ll never be able to get those precious minutes of my life back. DUD

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Taz w/ Paul E. Dangerously
Okay, this should be interesting. Styles points out that Scorpio is wearing Taz’s trademark orange and black to get in his head. Scorpio avoids the Tazplexes and Tazmission early on by escaping to the outside. It looks like this is a heel Scorpio, which I don’t think we saw often enough. Scorpio and Taz exchange holds, trying to wear one another down. Scorpio takes control and starts getting in some actual offense while the fans chant “Virgil” at him. That’s cold. Scorpio tries a second rope move but Taz gets his knees up. Taz finally hits a Tazplex, but Scorpio kicks him away as he tries another. Scorpio nails an odd looking Tombstone and climbs to the top. Tumbleweed connects but instead of pinning, he gets up to dance a bit. Taz gets right up, which the crowd loves, and he Tazplexes Scorpio over. Taz gets a three though Scorpio got his foot on the bottom rope. They think it’s over, but Bill Alfonso shows up to call out the foot being on the rope and restarts things. Paul threatens to fight Alfonso, giving Scorpio the opening to hit Taz with a chair. Alfonso cheap shots Heyman right before Scorpio leg drops the chair onto Taz. Alfonso counts the three.

Winner: 2 Cold Scorpio in 10:13
Man, I take back what I said about seeing more heel 2 Cold Scorpio. It’s like, he tried to take out most of his high flying offense to get less pops, but what he was left with was dull. This seemed to have a surprisingly dead crowd just waiting for something to happen. They finally got involved for the last third, but the start was just so boring. **

Joey Styles is in the ring to hype the ECW Hotline for news on Shane Douglas. Douglas shows up and admits to being in negotiations with the WWF because he’s too good for ECW. Man, if only he would be able to see how bad his WWF run as Dean Douglas would turn out to be. To get under Shane’s skin, the fans chant “we want Flair”. Shane runs down the crowd for an absurdly long time. It got the time of a current day Rock promo in the WWE. Woman shows up and offers Shane a proposition to join her and Sandman. Shane calls her a hoe bag…or at least I think he does. It gets bleeped out. Woman slaps him and Douglas seems like he’s going to retaliate but Sandman runs out to hit him. Cactus Jack is out to chase Sandman off. Before leaving, Douglas promises to make Sandman pay.

ECW Tag Team Championship
Raven and Stevie Richards (c) w/ Beulah McGillicutty vs. Luna Vachon and Tommy Dreamer

The challengers make for on strange pairing. This is part of the never-ending Dreamer/Raven rivalry, so they brawl instantly. Raven takes down Luna and Richards looks to take advantage quickly. He gets in offense on Luna, bragging while doing so. Raven eats a DDT on the concrete outside. Dreamer holds Stevie for Luna, who applies the testicular claw and even flips him out of it. Luna and Dreamer take turns beating Stevie up because he’s so weak. Once Raven is able to turn the tide on Dreamer, he can help Stevie and Luna starts to take a bit of a beating. Tommy gets back in and Raven gets tied up in the ropes. Luna nails a superplex but Beulah gets involved and throws powder in Luna’s eyes. Stevie covers her in missionary position, getting the 1-2-3.

Winners and Still ECW Tag Team Champions: Raven and Stevie Richards in 7:26
Fine little brawl here. It was chaotic and frantic. It made Stevie look weak like he should, while also furthering the Raven/Dreamer angle. **¼

Taipei Death Match
Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten

For those unaware, a Taipei Death Match means that both men have their fists taped and glue shards of broken glass to them. Bill Alfonso has been trying to enforce all of the rules in ECW, so he has been tasked with handling this match, which has no rules. Axl jabs Ian once and he gets cut above the eye. Alfonso gets on the microphone and stops the match because of Ian’s lost vision. Clearly, both Rotten brothers are pissed. In the entrance, the Gangstas and Public Enemy are brawling before their match later tonight. Alfonso wants those men arrested and heads out of the building with them. Todd Gordon decides to restart the match. The new few minutes sees these men just making each other bleed. Each punch is violent, meaning they don’t have to do much to get the desired result. Ian is absolutely gushing. Thumbtacks get brought into play and Ian is back body dropped onto them. Axl nails a splash and wins.

Winner: Axl Rotten in 9:13
Well almost none of that was even remotely entertaining. This was the kind of unnecessary gore that ECW didn’t need. It was senseless abuse and two guys just basically punching each other for ten minutes. ¾*

We come back to see Tommy Dreamer, Luna Vachon, Raven and Stevie Richards brawling again. The Pitbulls show up and help the Tag Team Champions. Raven and Stevie want them to super powerbomb Luna but they decide against it and attack the champions. The crowd is hot for this. Stevie nearly takes the super bomb but the Dudleys show up and attack the Pitbulls. While they go at it, Tommy and Luna are back at the throats of Raven and Stevie, fighting through the crowd and on the outside.

ECW Championship
The Sandman (c) w/ Woman vs. Cactus Jack

This feud has been going on for a bit. To spice it up, Sandman is allowed to start with his Singapore cane, while Cactus has his forearm wrapped in barbed wire. Sandman gets in the first shot after Woman throws a drink in Cactus’ face, and then just continually abuses him with the cane for a few minutes. Cactus comes back with some chair shots but again falls victim to the cane. The cane seems much more practical than wrapping your arm in barbed wire for so many reasons. Sandman nails a hideous DDT on a chair and starts to clutch his elbow. I guess its fine because he stops holding it shortly after. Sandman hits a flying leg drop before wrapping his entire body in barbed wire and splashing Cactus with it. Cactus lives, and does his signature apron elbow with a chair. He then uses the barbed wire around Sandman’s body against him, which is smart. Cactus is trying to do whatever it takes to win the belt, using a leg drop on a chair and even choking Sandman with the barbed wire. Woman jumps in but Cactus shoves her to the mat. The referee goes down and Shane Douglas appears, dropping an elbow on him. He then piledrives Sandman. He then also goes after Cactus, hitting him in the eye with the cane. Douglas puts Sandman on top of Cactus and the three is counted.

Winner and Still ECW Champion: The Sandman in 13:11
For a match involving canes and barbed wire, it didn’t really hold my interest and even the usually rowdy ECW crowd seemed kind of out of it. Also, why did this need a ref bump? Douglas could have done what he did either way. Disappointing. 

Todd Gordon comes out and Shane Douglas says he’ll stay in ECW if Todd gets on his knees and begs him. Todd declines and instead fires Shane. Douglas decks the commissioner and starts to assault him, even ripping up his clothes. Officials try but fail to stop Douglas. 911 comes out to a pop and Chokeslams Douglas out of ECW.

The Gangstas vs. Public Enemy
This is something that is pretty hyped up as the fans are rabid for it. Ugh, the dubbed over themes for these teams are dreadful. They brawl right from the start and I swear, it’s not even two minutes in and everyone is busted open. Like most New Jack matches, this involves some strange weapons. Johnny Grunge hits him with an open umbrella. That’s bad luck sir. Rocco Rock nails the Drive-By off the stage and through a table on Mustafa. They continue to brawl until it become Grunge’s turn to put someone through a table, leg dropping New Jack through one. Neither team is really even trying to pin the other because of the hatred between them. New Jack does some flying now, coming off the top with a flying shoulder block. Another big spot comes as Rocco does a moonsault through a table on New Jack and Grunge covers, but Mustafa breaks it up. The Gangstas start pounding away on Grunge until Rocco comes off the top with a croquet mallet to the back of Mustafa’s head. That is enough for the duo to win the first match in this rivalry.

Winners: Public Enemy in 11:31
I’d say that was the best thing on this show but it isn’t for everyone. To me, it was the kind of brawl that I like to see in ECW. It was violent, while not being over the top like the Taipei Death Match. The style of match worked too because this was billed as such a personal and serious rivalry. Insane brawl to close things out. ***

Overall: 2.5/10. On the whole, the show itself isn’t very good. Only two matches are pretty good and the rest is pretty much absolute garbage. Then there’s the overly long Shane Douglas promo that kind of kills the mood. I was also disappointed at the ECW crowd, which was less excited than expected. Up next on “Random Network Reviews” will be Spring Stampede 1998!