The night they nearly killed Taz.
Date: Tuesday July 25, 1995 (taped: 7/20/95)
Location: War Memorial Auditorium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
For the record, this episode marks the first time Joey Styles joined Taz for the WWE 24/7 introduction. Up till now it’s just been Taz by himself. Their banter becomes one of the highlights of watching these shows, because in addition to setting up the shows and telling some great stories, they know there’s 0% chance that Vince McMahon or anybody important is watching, so they can get away with murder. I don’t usually include their stuff as part of the recaps, but it’s worth checking out. Also, they’ve dated this one “July 20”, even though it should be the 24th going by the timeline they’ve been using. Plus, the footage is FROM the 20th, so I’m not sure how it would have aired the same night. This is the second jump out of sequence they’ve made in the last two months. (EDIT: I’ve since retrofitted all the air dates to be Tuesdays since that was apparently when they aired in the Philly market. As always, card subject to change.) Anyway, on to the actual show.
We open with highlights of the recent Ft. Lauderdale event (holy shit! Marty Jannetty!), which are too numerous and not noteworthy enough for me to go into detail over. It ends with a long look at Raven and Tommy Dreamer going at it. They exchange some nasty looking punches and Dreamer nails a DDT. He ties Raven in the ropes and is about to hit a cookie sheet to the face when Stevie Richards makes the save. The tag champs beat on Dreamer until Luna comes running out, but she’s not much help as Dreamer is tossed and Luna eats a Steviekick. The super-serious Raven and goofball Stevie dynamic is in full effect as they celebrate, which is just genius. Dreamer interrupts their fun with what I believe was a skillet, which just shatters upon impact with Raven’s skull. DDT for Raven, as per contractual obligation. Tommy then gets a flag from somebody at ringside and slams Raven’s hand with it, apparently breaking it as payback for Raven doing something to Tommy’s hand, which is currently in a big white cast. No idea when that would have happened. He then tends to Luna as we hit…
The Opening Montage.
Backstage Joey is all somber, as he reports on Taz breaking his neck in a tag match with Scorpio and Malenko where they fucked up a spiked piledriver and didn’t protect him. This was a legit injury that Taz talks about on the Rise + Fall of ECW DVD, and is actually one of those cases of a negative becoming a positive as he turned heel upon his return and launched the Path of Rage, which REALLY got him over as a star (EDIT: The heel turn came a bit after his return.) Anyway, Joey puts over Taz’s toughness in finishing the match, promising to show highlights later on.
Back from a break and we do in fact get footage of the tag match that injured Taz. This would be a rematch from last week. Funny seeing Paul E. with Taz and Eddy, as he’s by far the biggest of the three.
2 COLD SCORPIO & DEAN MALENKO vs. EDDY GUERRERO & TAZ (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)
(referee: Frankie Reyes)
Not sure of the ref, as he’s apparently a Florida local. Fonzie mumbled his name later on in the show, and that’s the best I could make of it. Scorpio and Taz begin by just throwing haymakers at each other. Taz goes for a Tazplex but Scorp wisely clings to the nearby ropes. Taz tries another but Scorpio turns it into an armdrag. Taz actually trips over Scorpio on a rope run, but manages to get a belly-to-belly suplex anyway. CLIP. (sigh) Eddy pounds on Dean in a corner and a reversal exchange leads to Eddy’s forward roll headscissor. More lighting exchanges lead to Eddy hitting a push-off dropkick and Dean bails. CLIP. Thumb to the eye by Eddy (RUDO!) leads to a scoop slam and the slingshot senton from the apron in. BRAINBUSTAAA!!! …gets two. CLIP. Scorpio chops away at Taz, but Taz gives it right back. Scorpio reverses a crucifix into a quick two count, then they fight over a backslide. Taz swats away a standing dropkick and throws on a leg scissor, but Scorp makes the ropes. CLIP. Eddy with a Gory Special on Scorpio. Scorpio actually calls for Dean to come in and break it up, which he does. That was cool. CLIP. Scorpio with a NASTY powerbomb on Eddy. Damn, Scorpio could be a badass when he wanted to, which makes it all the more depressing to see him dog it so often. Front somersault legdrop by Scorpio gets a one-count, but he gets up rather than go for the pin. They almost fuck up a back elbow, so Eddy goes to town with some kicks and gets a serious receipt with a powerbomb of his own. Twisting boot rake by Eddy and into the corner for a sweet tornado DDT. That gets two. CLIP. Some gorgeous armdrags from Eddy lead to a dropkick and then a pescado onto Scorpio who had rolled outside. CLIP. Dean Oklahoma rolls Taz for two. Scoop slam near the corner and Dean does a rope assisted splash. Tag to Scorpio for a backdrop suplex. Twisting legdrop gets one, but again Scorpio doesn’t want the win. He tags in Malenko and they hit the spiked piledriver that nearly killed Taz. It’s kinda creepy that even as they’re setting up for it Paul E. is heard screaming “NO! NO! NO!” on the outside. It’s almost like he knew. CLIP. Dean gets the elevated gutbuster on Eddy. CLIP. Powerslam by Scorpio. He signals for the moonsault and then gets it, but Eddy rolls his shoulder up at two. CLIP. Frankensteiner by Eddy gets him a two-count and they’re too close to the corner so Dean tags in. He quickly gets Eddy up for a tombstone, but it’s reversed, and reversed again, and then AGAIN, with Eddy finally hitting it! He goes up top… FROGSPLASH! ONE! TWO! NO! Eddy goes up again, but Dean pops up and hits a superplex! Both men are down! Dean gets a roll-up, but Eddy kicks out and eventually gets one of his own for two. Clothesline with malice by Malenko. Sit-out tigerbomb only gets one for Malenko. Another powerbomb attempt is reversed into an armdrag and Eddy works in the armdrag/flying headscissor combo on Malenko and Scorpio. A rapid fire hiptoss sequence leads to Eddy stealing the pin on Malenko with a victory roll. It’s at that point we see that Taz has been simply lying on the apron since the botched piledriver.
Result: Eddy Guerrero & Taz via pinfall (10:38 shown).
Backstage Joey announces that Malenko and Guerrero will face off in an upcoming match, then switches up to put over the seriousness of Taz’s injury.
Backstage Joey again, as he recaps the recent antics of Raven & Stevie, including the entrance of the yet-to-be-named Francine. This segues into a promo from the duo on the beach in the middle of the night. Beulah is in a bikini and… well… I… … …whew. Stevie begins his portion with “I love the smell of fish in the morning”, which prompts Beulah to hit him. Tremendous. He goes into his memories of watching Florida Championship Wrestling, particularly the “2 foot tall” Kevin Sullivan and Purple Haze. He ties it into Luna debuting in Florida and how it ruined his childhood. Raven says some stuff too, but honestly, it’s not really noteworthy. His promos are interesting thanks to his vocabulary, but when he’s finished you kind of go, “yeah, and?”. We close out on shots of the waves rolling in.
(LAST WEEK ON ECW) Replay of the Rob Feinstein bits. Go read that report if you really want to know.
Joey discusses how Feinstein has been announced as the “Official Videographer of Bill Alphonso”, which means that somebody else is now distributing ECW home video. The plus side? You should get your tapes on time now. Oh, that whacky Joey Styles!
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. THE TERRORIST
(referee: Frankie Reyes)
The Terrorist is some dude in fatigues and a mask. Mikey looks about 12 years old here. Clothesline by the Terrorist as the ref is checking Mikey for foreign objects. He pounds on Mikey for a bit then tosses him outside. Baseball slide sends Mikey into the barrier. A second one is blocked and Mikey hits a very ugly springboard plancha to the outside. Terrorist works over Mikey in between jawing with the fans. Whipwreck fires back, hitting a dropkick, but his comeback doesn’t last. Belly-to-belly suplex by the Terrorist gets a two-count. Mikey tossed to the outside again where he’s thrown into the crowd. Back inside they go as Mikey battles back and actually scores a two-count off a roundhouse right. More punches from the Terrorist. He throws a nice punch, I’ll give him that. And for the record, I have no idea who it is although I’ve seen it somewhere. David Sierra, maybe? Okay, so I have SOME idea. Low blow from Mikey turns the tide and he gets another two-count off some punches. Clothesline and a legdrop for another two. Again the Terrorist turns the tide and throws Mikey outside. More punching. This match is… not exciting. Headbutt launches Mikey off the apron. Terrorist outside, but he gets sent into the post. Back inside Mikey comes off the top with a crossbody and picks up the three-count.
Result: Mikey Whipwreck via pinfall (5:05).
Aw hell. Here comes Bill Alphonso. He wants to overturn the decision because the ref never completed his check of Mikey. Whipwreck gets all indignant and shoves Fonzie. The Terrorist Pearl Harbors him and hits a piledriver. Fonzie then announces that the Terrorist is his new bodyguard. He starts going off on Tod Gordon as the fans are hurling trash at him. Cue up 911’s music! Paul E. has got his chokeslamming insurance policy and we get a confrontation that unfortunately we don’t hear because the stupid WWF 24/7 machine has to overdub music and as a result they drown out the mic. One thing leads to your mother and 911 chokeslams the Terrorist. He goes to get one on Fonzie, nearly bringing Joey to orgasm on commentary, but Fonzie escapes by letting 911 tear his shirt off. 911 works through his chokeslam blueballs by giving the Terrorist a second. So much for that bodyguard, Fonzie. Paul E. declares the Terrorist dead, which brings Fonzie back out (in a new shirt and bowtie!), but he turns and bails almost as quickly as he got out there. Paul E. dedicates the upcoming chokeslam to “not to O.J. Simpson, not to the *bleep* in the second row… but to Bill “Mother*bleeping*” Alphonso!”. And just like that, the Terrorist eats chokeslam number three. Good night’s work, masked man.
Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge are hanging out on a fire escape somewhere, cutting a promo on the Gangstas. They cut the comedy out and get serious. Man, Johnny sure does like to yell. They make their points (we’re extreme, this ain’t over) without much creativity. They do manage to get lucky however as a Mack truck’s airhorn goes off in the background just as they hit the closing line. Cool.
BULL PAIN & JOE DIFURIA vs. THE PITBULLS
(referee: Jim Molineaux)
Joined in progress to Pitbull #1 clotheslining DiFuria while his partner is hammering Pain on the outside. Nasty powerbomb on DiFuria. PB1 tries to slingshot PB2 from inside the ring onto Pain on the outside, but PB2’s feet hook on the top rope and he takes a header to the floor. DAMN, SON! J.T. Smith ain’t got NOTHIN on you! He no sells the concrete though and DDT’s Pain on the floor. Inside PB1 turns DiFuria inside out with a clothesline and its SUPERBOMB TIME! Three count is academic.
Result: The Pitbulls via pinfall (1:24 shown).
Stevie Richards comes out and PB1 demands that Raven join them. He turns his back on Stevie, who tries a sneak attack, but that had bad idea written all over it. Thankfully Raven DOES come out and things break down from there. Clip ahead to the Vampire Warrior and the Dudleys all getting involved. The Pitbulls get handcuffed to the ropes and Luna runs in only to get suplexed by the Warrior (her real-life husband) and DDT’d by Raven. Enter Tommy Dreamer with a garbage can. He goes to town on everybody and somehow in all the mess the Pitbulls break free from the cuffs and the babyfaces clear the ring as the show closes.
Overview: Another really solid show, as we got some good wrestling from those we’d expect it from (Dean, Eddy, Taz, Scorpio) and some fun crap from everybody else. The match is only slightly marred by the Taz injury, but knowing that he fully recovered and actually used it to his advantage takes the sting out of it. The Fonzie angle was tremendous stuff, and really helped carry these shows from week-to-week, although I’m starting to grow weary of having the Dusty Finish EVERY week. The other annoying thing is that it only seems to be official about half the time. The first couple of shows I recapped really seemed to drag, but these last few have been much better paced. Might just be me, might just be a lucky streak, or it could be they were getting better at putting the TV show together. Whatever the reason, it’s become more fun.