The Path Of Rage begins.
Date: Tuesday, November 28, 1995 (taped: 11/18/95)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)
We begin this week where we ended last week, with the return of Sabu to ECW. Backstage Joey nearly has a coronary reporting the news. Big “SABU” chant from the crowd. Paul E. gets a “THANK YOU” chant as well. And now a nice loud “ECW” chant to round things out. And away we go.
Nope. Paul E. cuts the montage off with an evil cut in. “It’s time… to get… extreeeeeme!”. This leads us into a lengthy music video of Sabu highlights, most of which involve him moonsaulting through tables (sometimes with people on them, sometimes just for fun). The WWE overdub music is pretty good, but once again I’m left to ponder what the original track was. The whole thing lasts about four-and-a-half minutes and does about as good a job as it can of putting over a guy who hasn’t been on the show for close to a year and isn’t really anything more than a glorified stunt man.
Backstage Joey does his thing. He tries to pimp the N2R video but gets told by his producer that Taz wants Joey in the ring for something. “I’d do anything for Taz”, so off he goes.
While Joey makes his way out, we fill the hole in our lives with a little sit-down promo (“previously recorded”) featuring Rey Misterio Jr. and Konan. Buh Buh Ray comes in looking for Konan’s autograph. Dances With Dudley kisses their ass for good measure, but Konan somehow takes offense to being told he’s great. The man really is a huge douchebag.
KONAN vs. JASON
Taz comes out in a ref shirt and explains that ECW won’t clear him to wrestle because he’s an insurance risk due to the neck injury. Jason takes umbrange to his presence. He’s got a set of balls on him, I’ll give him that. He mouths off a bunch so Taz asks him if he’s ready to go. Jason says sure, so Taz DRILLS him and then calls for the bell. Konan, babyface hero to millions, scoops up Jason and plants him with a crucifix powerbomb for the rapid fire three count from Taz.
Result: Konan via pinfall (0:14).
Far be it for Konan to actually earn his keep. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I hate Konan. I find him to be lazy and sloppy and not nearly as charismatic as he likes to think he is. BTW, he was also wearing that ridiculous Vader-esque mask. At least he ditched that when he went to WCW. Anyway, he’ll get no love from me. Sorry if you’re fan. Not sorry that I’m gonna rip him, sorry that you have such bad taste.
*ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP*
REY MISTERIO, JR. vs. MIKEY WHIPWRECK ©
(referee: John Finnegan)
This match comes from the night before N2R via FanCam from the dump in Jim Thorpe, PA. Joey and Taz continue to take shots at the Flagstaff in the WWE 24/7 intros so I feel safe in calling it a dump. Mikey actually outweighs Rey which is probably a first for Whipwreck. Rey picks the leg and goes to some amatuer stuff. CLIP. Snap hurricanrana by Rey nearly breaks his own neck. Mikey charges at Rey out of frustation, but Rey leapfrogs and Mikey sails over a monkeyflip attempt, then catches Rey with a flying scissor on the shoulder. Stand off follows. CLIP. Mikey ducks a corner splash and gets a quick roll-up for two. CLIP. With Rey seated on the corner buckle, Mikey hits a sort-of-enziguiri and Rey falls out into the first row of fans. Suicide somersault plancha follows from the champ. CLIP. Back in the ring and Rey sends Mikey out with a Cactus clothesline after a few chops. He returns the suicide plancha although he ends up taking the worst of it as Mikey catches him on the way down and powerbombs him onto the floor. I’m not sure that was planned or if Rey just didn’t quite reach Mikey. You can never really be sure. CLIP. Mikey’s turn to be seated on the top rope and Rey gets a Frankensteiner for one! Two! And Mikey kicks out. Rey tries a German suplex but Mikey reverses the waistlock and out of nowhere ties Rey up in a la magistral cradle! ONE! TWO! THREE! The champs retains!
Result: Mikey Whipwreck via pinfall (2:34 shown).
Like most heavily clipped matches it’s impossible to rate this. Just a bunch of moves without the story to tie them together. They hug post-match as Rey raises Mikey’s hand and lays the belt on his shoulder.
Aw crap, it’s Lance Wright and his nauseau-cam. On the plus side he’s got Steve Austin “on the phone”. Austin is pissed that Wright got his phone number and is reminded that the last time somebody called him on the phone it was Bischoff firing him. He promises to win the ECW Title on December 9th in a Three Way Dance versus Mikey and Sandman. We get a graphic to hype the match as well as Austin slams the phone down. Wright reminds us that Mikey has to defeat Raven that coming Friday or else Raven becomes part of the three-way.
Backstage Joey sets up the Bill Alfonso vs. Tod Gordon match of which we’re going to soon see highlights. He then a narrates a video package to help explain how we got to such a ridiculous place. Fonzie’s path of refereeing destruction is shown, as is the wicked chokeslam he took from 911. Beulah McGuillicutty got involved as well, explaining her presence as special referee for the match.
BILL ALFONSO vs. TOD GORDON
(referee: Beulah McGillicutty)
Joel Gertner is handling ring announcer duties for those betting in Vegas on such things. Beulah plays with her belly-button ring just for kicks. Big “SHOW YOUR TITS!” chant follows. Fonzie comes out talking a blue streak on his way to the ring. He gets nose-to-nose with Beulah just to prove he’s not intimidated (I guess). Gordon comes out as Joey puts over each man’s LACK of athletic credentials. Fonzie takes the fight into the crowd while Tod’s sucking up to Hat Guy and company. Buelah demands they bring it inside, but Fonzie don’t cotton to no woman. She slaps him so he clotheslines her down (to a bit of a face pop). Tod doesn’t much care for that so he attacks Fonzie from behind for the usual schoolyard brawl. CLIP. Fonzie wants a handshake, but gets a clothesline instead. Tod chokes him out as well, first with his hands and then with his feet. Joey openly pines for Fonzie to get busted open. Gordon stomps away in the corner but he spends too much time taunting Fonzie and eats a nutshot. Fonzie’s holding his eye for some reason. He kicks Tod a bunch and then wanders around the ring before asking for a mic. He’s ready to “KICK! TOD! GORDON’S! ASS!”. Of course you are. CLIP. Tod works Fonzie over with a cookie sheet on the outside than dribbles his face off a ringside chair. That’s enough to break Fonzie open and send Joey into an orgasm. CLIP. It’s a pretty wicked bladejob too, as Fonzie crawls around the ring for a bit. He recovers enough to steal a frying pan from Tod who’s on his way back in, but then mirrors his opponent by spending too much time taunting and gets a ballshot for his trouble. Tod takes the skillet back and blasts Fonzie with it. Fonzie is OUT, but there’s no ref to count the pin. SO HERE COMES TAZ! He has Tod hook the leg and counts! ONE! TWO! …. And now Taz clobbers Tod! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a HEEL TURN! He drapes Fonzie on top of Tod and counts another lightning fast three as Joey has a coniption on commentary. The crowd does their part to cement the turn by quickly firing up a “SABU!” chant.
Result: Bill Alfonzo via pinfall (4:53 shown).
The match was of course all sorts of amateurish crap, but that wasn’t the point. The point is what follows. Taz cuts the promo of his life.
Taz: You can chant his [bleeping] name all night, he ain’t comin’. Not one card. Not one letter. Not one phonecall. Tommy Dreamer nearly gets his fingers busted off his hand, everybody’s crying the blues about Tommy Dreamer. Terry Funk nearly [bleeeeeep] right in this building, everybody’s crying the blues about the legend Terry Funk. And then the almighty, your god, the king himself, Sabu, nearly gets his neck snapped in half and everybody’s [bleeping] and [bleeping] moaning about [bleeping] Sabu! [another big “SABU!” chant goes up] What about me? WHAT ABOUT TAZ?! [Fonzie crawls over and rants something into the camera] [bleep] Taz, right? NO, [BLEEP] YOU! Okay. And then, and then my buddy Paul Heyman, my buddy Paul Heyman, “hey Taz, take your time brother. Don’t worry, you’ll get back in the ring real soon. You’ll get back to work real soon”. Yeah, but see Paulie, the problem lies here, my father ain’t some fat [bleeping] lawyer that pays my way through life. How am I gonna pay my [bleeping] bills? Who cares about MY family? Who cares about MY house? Who cares about MY problems? I’ll tell you who cares about me, and that’s Bill Alfonzo. Bill Alfonzo wants to put food on MY table. Bill Alfonzo wants to put money in my pocket! So, the way… [big “SUCK HIS DICK” chant – ouch] …the way I see it, you people don’t care about me, you don’t care about Bill Alfonzo, SO WE DON’T GIVE A FLYING [BLEEP] ABOUT YOU!
And with that he throws the mic down and raises Fonzie’s hand. The crowd is PELTING them with garbage at this point and this is eerily similar to the famous Hogan turn which won’t occur for another ten months or so. Just a CRAZY good segment and one of the most authentic heel turns you’ll ever see. That was real emotion, folks.
Backstage Joey has Bill Alfonzo with him, sporting a massive head bandage thanks to his ugly bladejob. Joey is NOT pleased. He gives Fonzie the go ahead to go on another tirade, but Fonzie prefers to be subdued. In fact, since he beat Tod he figures he might as well keep on winning and challenges any ECW champ. Joey thinks the whole thing is a bad joke, but that just draws Taz into the picture and he goes all high school bully on Joey, daring him to open his mouth and start some shit. Joey actually holds his ground and tells him what he thinks, namely that he used to look up to Taz and doesn’t believe that he was speaking from his heart when he told off the fans. Taz tells him that he needs to find someone new to look up to and to grow up and be a man while he’s at it. Fonzie, hiding behind Taz, offers up “Joey’s a crybaby! Rip his face off!”, which is just awesome. Taz is just BAITING Joey, begging him to insult Fonzie some more. Joey instead just walks away. Holy crap this is awesome.
Back from another break and Fonzie is again backstage and daring anybody to come get a piece of him. Of course they gotta go through Taz first. And man, does Taz ever look like somebody you do not want to piss off at this point in time. I am in awe of this turn.
Miserlou! Stevie Richards in his Flock Of Seagulls cut-off T tries to come to grips with the stipulations of Ultimate Jeapordy. The reality is enough to send him into a tantrum born of fear. The Pitbulls promise a fight for Public Enemy. TPE promises one right back, and warn Tommy Dreamer not to make any mistakes or they’ll be shaving his head. Cactus Jack – scratch that – Mick Foley, dressed in a jacket and tie, tries to reason with the hardcore fans. He won’t be on the next show, but he’ll be there in spirit, so he’s asking the fans for a fresh start. He asks them to not encourage hardcore behavior from Tommy Dreamer, because he’s a nice boy deep down. He ends with a chipper “Bang! Bang!”. A shot of Francine in her Pitbull leather S&M get up follows. Words aren’t necessary. Fonzie dares people to try and knock the chip off of Taz’s shoulder. “Not a chance!”. TPE say that if they lose Ultimate Jeopardy they have to face each other. Back to Catcus Mick, who shows off his half-ear and missing teeth and starts up his own “I’M HARDCORE” chant. The Pitbulls show off some scars and talk about how that didn’t slow them down at all. Francine mentions how she broke a nail in Jason’s eye just so she can feel like one of the team. Buh Buh Ray’s stuttering “ruh-ruh-ruh-rumble” follows. Extreme close-up of Big Dick Dudley grunting. Mick’s missing ear means he can’t wear sunglasses. “I’M HARDCORE”. More Dudley nonsense, as Buh Buh runs out of breath. Mick can’t put a pen behind his ear. “I’M HARDCORE!”. More stitches talk from Pitull #2 and reconstructive surgery talk from #1. Oh, and Francine wants her nail back, Jason. PB1: “That’s… extreme.” Taz’s heel turn highlights are next. “What about me? WHAT ABOUT TAZ?”. Mick flosses his teeth with the microphone cord because, well, he can. “I’M HARDCORE!” Beulah thanks us for peeking at her box. She intros the Dudley’s and Buh Buh Ray offers to rearrange the alphabet so they can put “U and I together”. And it seems to work as she walks off with him. Tommy and his hairnet are back (still no idea why), but he’s willing to get his head shaved if it’ll allow him to get his hands on Raven. Speaking of which, “Quote the Raven…”. Tommy: “Take my hair, take my life”. Rocco Rock vows that “we ain’t losing this match”. Perry Saturn and John Kronus send a warning to TPE. Fonzie and Taz come up the aisle, ranting and raving. Mick Foley and a giant stuffed bear fire up an ECW chant. The Sandman is politically incorrect and damn proud of it. Fonzie closes things out by talking more trash. And that would be the episode.
Overview: Well the Taz heel turn is just one of the greatest pieces of business in the history of, well, the business. It makes this show a must-see all by itself. The rest of the stuff is the usual meandering junk, either being crap to begin with or so brutally clipped as to lose it’s appeal. The Miserlou interview montages do bring something unique however, as they wind up being a great way to keep everybody in the public conscience even if they don’t appear in a proper segment for a few weeks. So yeah, it’s an ECW show. Some great moments and a whole lot of nothing. But man, that heel turn… just awesome.