Watch in as awe as Douglas and Sandman manage to not kill each other in the ring!
Date: Tuesday, June 6, 1995 (taped: 5/13/95)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)
We open with – GASP – the opening credits!
TONY STETSON vs. HACK MYERS
(referee: John Finnegan)
Stetson attacks in the aisle and they brawl around ringside, Tony choking Hack out with his own ring jacket at one point. Hack fights back with the “shah” punches, but Stetson reverses a whip into the barrier to regain control. In the ring Stetson works Hack over with one of Hack’s studded wristbands and does a seated ropechoke before playing to the crowd for a bit. The Shah fires back with, yup, punches, but an eyerake once again gives Stetson control. Tony pulls on the mangy mutton chops of Hack, so Myers punts him in the nads. Hack then slips coming off the second rope and barely manages to drop a forearm (“Nothing fancy about that”, says Joey. No shit.). Some more punches and kicks before a back elbow and a snapmare from Hack. He follows with a second rope fistdrop, but then Stetson blocks a punch and the fans get all over Stetson by chanting “shit” every time he connects with a punch or kick. This leads to Tony punting Hack in the nads, returning the earlier favor. It’s back to the “shah” chant for some Myers punches before he turns to a bodyslam and the crowd decides if they can’t chant “shah”, then this match must be “bor-ring”. Hack eats turnbuckles, then reverses a cross-corner whip and drops Stetson with an elbow to the back of the head. With Stetson draped over the bottom rope, Myers hits a running guillotine legdrop. Sensing victory (I guess), Myers scales the top and drills Stetson’s face into the mat with a double-knee-to-the-back-of-the-head-driver. Or something. That’s enough for the three count. It didn’t actively suck or anything, but there wasn’t much there either. The fans love of Hack Myers will forever confuse me.
Result: Hack Myers via pinfall (5:33)
(LAST WEEK ON ECW) We get highlights of the Malenko-Guerrero match, which was itself clipped all to hell. Not enough was shown here that I feel the need to recap it again.
Backstage with Joey, who puts over the debut of the “new” Taz. That shifts into an interview with Paul E. Dangerously, as Joey asks “why drop the gimmick and expose the man now?”. The gist? The Human Suplex Machine don’t need no stinking gimmick!
Backstage with Joey part II, as he moves on to putting over The Public Enemy and their recent trip to Japan. We then get an overseas promo from the duo (complete with Japanese subtitles to REALLY drive it home), and some footage from the actual tour. Back in America the resident goofballs of ECW cut a promo (sort-of) from an outdoor batting cage, including Johnny’s recent haul from some department store’s liquidation sale. I’m not sure what the point of that was other than an excuse to make some bad Japan and baseball jokes. I guess I just don’t “get” Public Enemy.
(2 WEEKS AGO ON ECW) Once again we go over the introduction of Bill Alphonso as “troubleshooting referee”, making it three weeks in a row we would have seen this segment.
(1 WEEK AGO ON ECW) Tod Gordon’s “lighten up” promo, followed by the end of the Sandman vs. Cactus Jack match. This is all just lead-in for…
*ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP*
SHANE DOUGLAS vs. THE SANDMAN © (w/ Woman)
(referee: John Finnegan)
Long stall to start as Douglas jaws with the fans and Sandman does, well, nothing really. They actually have the nerve to do a collar-and-elbow tie-up (in a SANDMAN match?!) which Douglas wins by backing Sandman into the corner and raining down fists as he tries to re-open the cut Sandman had received earlier in the evening (last week’s show). This goes on for awhile in various corners of the ring, with a snapmare into a rolling necksnap mixed in. Douglas drops Sandman stomach first on the top rope, so of course Sandman falls into the ring on his head. Douglas goes back to working on the cut, but Sandman eventually turns the tide with a weak gutshot. Douglas spills Sandman to the outside with a fairly impressive rope-assisted headscissor, then pulls out a pescado to knock Sandman loopy. Back inside Douglas gets a top rope crossbodyblock. He then takes a moment to wipe some blood off of Sandman’s forehead and flick it on Woman at ringside. That Shane, always a class act. Nice dropkick by Douglas gets a one-count as Joey gives The Franchise the old verbal blowjob (“Is there anything the man can’t do?” Only about a million things, JoJo). Sandman fights out with some elbows, but drops his head too soon on a backdrop attempt and eats a boot. Douglas then hits a springboard twisting splash and admittedly he’s looking pretty spry tonight. They brawl in the corner until Sandman just yanks Douglas through the ropes. Into the barrier goes Shane as the crowd chants “over here!”. He then gets dropped stomach first across the railing. Shane does the Nature Boy flip-up on a corner whip and gets clotheslined coming down the apron. You know, if he hates Flair so much, why is he bothering to rip off his signature spots without the slightest hint of irony? They go outside where Sandman delivers a DDT onto a flattened table, then picks up a another table and drops it on Shane. Now a front suplex onto the flat table before heading back inside. Sandman gets a vertical suplex with a pretty lengthy delay, which of course leaves him too gassed to cover. Scoop and a slam, and to his credit Sandman hasn’t come close to crippling either one of them yet. He gets a slingshot somersault senton which looks pretty good, and is apparently so pleased with himself that he goes for a top-rope legdrop. That doesn’t go so well, as Douglas moves (thank God; if it had landed, Shane’s face would have been shaved off) and eventually takes over with corner stomps. Sandman blocks the belly-to-belly suplex and gets one of his own. Douglas manages to get a foot on the ropes, but uh-oh, there’s Cactus Jack to knock it off before Finnegan can see it and Sandman retains.
Result: The Sandman via pinfall (10:37).
This brings out Bill Alphonso, who claims to have seen Cactus Jack’s interference and restarts the match. Sandman menaces him with a cane, so Fonzie threatens to shut down ECW if Sandman follows through. Sandman rares back, so Cactus Jack dives in to take the shot (and save ECW), allowing Douglas to roll Sandman up for a Fonzie three-count. Original referee John Finnegan doesn’t recognize the title switch however, and Sandman leaves with the belt. This leaves Douglas and Cactus to settle things in the ring. Or so it would appear, but Dean Malenko comes to Shane’s rescue and puts the boots to Jack (with malice!). This draws out Tommy Dreamer for the save, which brings out Raven and Stevie Richards who get the upper hand thanks to a chair and we sign off with Cactus fighting them off.
Overview: Meh. We got a couple of jobbers slapfighting, a nonsensical yet quasi-humorous promo from TPE, and some other stuff we’ve already seen. The main event, however, was shockingly decent given who was involved, so it wasn’t a total loss. It’s odd watching this stuff with the perspective of the last 10 years of wrestling, particularly the rise of ROH from what was essentially the ashes of ECW. Guys like Stetson and Myers wouldn’t have a chance in today’s climate where even the mid-carders need to be decent mat wrestlers. A character like Sandman would probably get over as a niche (Necro Butcher is sort of the modern day equivalent), but its hard to imagine him carrying a promotion as it’s champion for as long as Sandman did in 95-96. At the same time it’s easy to see why ECW succeeded, as it is totally different from what the Big Two were doing at the time in every way, from the wrestling style to the promo style to the reliance on sex and violence.