ECW Hardcore Heaven 1994 Review

ECW Hardcore Heaven 1994 review - poster

August 13, 1994
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Somehow, in my attempt to cover Extreme Championship Wrestling in chronological order, I completely missed ECW Hardcore Heaven '94. 

So, in an attempt to play catch up, here's a review that served as a continuation of the company's biggest feuds from that summer, with Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman upping the violence factor, and The Public Enemy's problems with Terry Funk bringing the show to an end with one of the more iconic scenes in ECW history. 

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Hack Meyers vs. Rockin’ Rebel

As was the norm with these ECW shows, we skipped any formal introduction to go right into our opening contest, a basic but fairly enjoyable clash between Hack Meyers and Rockin Rebel.
ECW Hardcore Heaven '94 review - Hack Meyers

The two didn’t do anything particularly fancy, but, as usual, the crowd was enamored with The Shah of ECW and lapped up his every move, particularly when he got Rebel in the corner and unleashed with a series of kicks and headbutts.

Not long after, Meyers ended this short match by putting Rebel away with a powerslam.
Your Winner: Hack Meyers

Up next, this:

Iron Man Tommy Cairo vs. Chad Austin

Chad Austin was embracing his new-found confidence as a heel and a member of Jason Knight's stable, but it wasn’t much used to him here.

At least not at first.

In this short but entertaining squash match, Austin’s role was simply to serve as a warm body for Iron Man Tommy Cairo to throw around at will. 

The highlight, not that there were many, came when Cairo hit a simple back bodydrop, sending Austin soaring towards the heavens and landing face-first with an ugly splat on the mat.

“Chad Austin is dead.” deadpanned announcer Joey Styles, and for a moment or two, it seemed he was right. 

Throughout the whole thing, I’m pretty sure the only offensive move Austin managed was an Irish whip reversal into the corner. However, when he followed up by charging at his opponent, Cairo moved out of harm’s way and resumed tossing Austin about like a rag doll.

Then, somehow, Big Bad Chad got a pin attempt in the corner, used the ropes for leverage, and stole a win. A surprise upset if ever there was one.
Your Winner: Chad Austin 

These first two matches may not have been outstanding, but so far, Hardcore Heaven ‘94 was off to a good start.

No Disqualification Match for the Eastern Championship Wrestling Television Championship
ECW TV Champion Mikey Whipreck vs. Jason 

Prior to his opponent’s introduction, “Sexiest Man on Earth,” Jason collected flowers from two masked fans in the front row.

ECW Hardcore Heaven '94 review - Jason

It was an attempt to get over his gimmick, sure, but I can’t help but think that this may have been the only time Jason Knight “got his flowers” in the metaphorical sense, as pretty much everything I’ve read about him says that he sucks.

Jason didn’t suck. And neither did this match.

Alright, I’ll admit that the most tedious part of the match was when he was in control with a standard heel beatdown, but there was a lot to like on either side of that.

Mikey Whipreck started strong, catching Jason with a flurry of quick arm drag takedowns and dropkicks, which delighted not only the audience but also Joey Styles, who declared with astonishment, “This is the first time I’ve seen Mikey do ANYTHING!

You have to assume he meant anything other than getting his ass kicked, which is exactly what happened as Jason soon regained control, placed the TV champion on a table outside the ring, and leg-dropped him through it in a genuinely good spot.

Back and forth the match went, and though it sagged at various points, it was otherwise a good match…

…a good match with a horrible, dumb, stupid, terrible finish.

Whipreck swung a chair at Jason. Jason ducked, and the offficual caught the full force of it.

The champ then took down Jason with the same chair and covered him.

Most referees throughout pro wrestling history have been notorious wimps. All it takes is for a wrestler to slightly bump into them and they’re unconscious for five minutes.

Not this official. He was tough. 

He took a full chair shot and still attempted to count the fall.

He got one…

He got two..

And then he passed out.

The problem was, as he passed out, his hand still hit the mat, so for all intents and purposes, it looked as though Whipreck had retained his title.

However, The Pitbulls then came down, dragged Whipreck testicles-first into the post, and tossed him back in the ring.

Jason made the cover, the referee counted to three, and Joey Styles echoed the thoughts of the entire audience and this reviewer in just two words:

“I’m confused.”

Honestly, I was still confused as The Pitbulls hoisted Jason onto their shoulders, and the announcer officially declared him the champion.

I had to go on Wikipedia to figure out what had happened.
Your Winner and NEW TV Champion: Jason

The newly crowned champion didn’t have much time to celebrate as The Tazmaniac and Jimmy Snuka rushed to the scene to kick off our next match.

The Pitbulls (Pitbull #1 & Pitbull #2 w/ Jason) vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka & The Tazmaniac

Well, I say “match.” The faces got their opponents into the corners, Tazmaniac threw Pitbull #1 high in the air with an awesome belly-to-belly suplex, Snuka immediately followed up with the Superfly Splash, and this one was over in about 40 seconds.
Your Winners: Tazmaniac & Jimmy Snuka

Honestly, I’d forgotten that Snuka had stuck around in ECW for this long, though I am now reminded that the last few times he appeared for the promotion on a big event, he had wrestled in matches that required him to do as little as possible.

Mr. Hughes (w/ Angel and ECW Champion Shane Douglas) vs. 911 (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

This wasn’t much of a match, either.
ECW Hardcore Heaven '94 review - Shane Douglas & Mr. Hughes
Before the bell, ECW Champion Shane Douglas took to the microphone, putting Mr. Hughes over as the real giant of the company.

Looking to prove it, Hughes stood toe to toe with 911, rattling him with slow, deliberate blows to the face that caused Paul E. Dangerously’s man to stagger around, trying to sell the offense to the best of his very limited ability.

Moments later, Hughes took his opponent down with a chokeslam, eliciting a big pop from the crowd but only a two count from the official.
ECW Hardcore Heaven '94  - 911 vs. Mr. Hughes
From there, 911 popped back up, hit a chokeslam of his own, and won the match.

Nothing about this was great, but the ECW faithful did love 911, and the spectacle of it alone meant that it was at least watchable.
Your Winner: 911

Post-match, Douglas decked Dangerously. When 911 came after him for revenge, the champ hid behind Angel, who promptly ate a chokeslam, lying dead in the ring as Dangerously yelled at Shane to get his “stinking dead fish out of the ring,” or something to that effect.

Singapore Cane Match
The Sandman (w/ Woman) vs. Tommy Dreamer 

Our third non-match in a row began with Woman escorting The Sandman to the ring while Joey Styles made a dumb joke about how much he liked to see a beautiful woman holding a stick.
Hardcore Heaven 1994 review - Woman (Nancy Sullivan)

Tommy Dreamer then revealed that he’d been hiding under the ring, popping up to attack Sandman from behind with a cane.

With his rival down, Dreamer turned his attention to Woman and smooched her into oblivion before resuming his attack.

The referee tried to intervene, but he, too, got whacked with the cane, leading to an immediate disqualification.
Your Winner via DQ: The Sandman

Afterward, Dreamer continued his assault for a while, even taking a moment to plant the ring announcer with the cane before making his exit, leaving a bloody Sandman motionless in the middle of the ring.

At that point, Woman lit a cigarette and popped it in her man’s mouth. 

Somehow, miraculously, in a move that even Joey Styles found hard to believe, the unholy power of nicotine and lung cancer was enough to revive The Sandman, who promptly sat up, Undertaker style, to receive his props from the fans.

Baseball Brawl Match for the Eastern Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship 
ECW Tag Team Champions The Public Enemy (‘Flyboy’ Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Bad Breed (Axl & Ian Rotten)

I have to confess that prior to this week, I’d never heard about the legend of super fan Hat Guy.
Hardcore Heaven 1994 review - The Bad Breed vs. Public Enemy
Then I reviewed both this Hardcore Heaven show and WCW Halloween Havoc 92 back to back and was surprised to find the very same guy in his Hawaiian shirt and straw hat sat prominently in the front row at both shows.

I only mention this because the first interesting thing that happened in this match was Flyboy Rocco Rock attacking Hat Guy for calling him a jailbird.

After that, nothing else interesting happened for a very long time as the two teams engaged in a mind-numbing brawl void of anything noteworthy.

It was especially bland, given that neither team seemed to care about the stipulation for the first part of the match.

In case you’re wondering, a “baseball brawl” match was a cross between a Last Man Standing match and an object on a pole match, the objective being to beat your opponent down for the count of 10, after which you would revive a baseball bat with which to inflect further punishment before finally winning the match by pinfall or submission.

It took the longest time for anybody to bother with the whole counting to ten thing. When it happened, it was The Bad Breed who hit Rocco Rock with a Doomsday Device, keeping down long enough to earn themselves bat.

At that point, things did pick up a bit, with Johnny Grunge battling Axl Rotten outside the ring and Rocco Rock taking Ian for a walk through the crowd so that he could jump off some scaffolding on top of him.

It was better than the first part of the match, but it was still Public Enemy vs. Bad Breed and, therefore, still not very good.

Eventually, Public Enemy hit the Drive By, and this one was over.
Your Winners and Still ECW Tag Team Champions: The Public Enemy 

Surprisingly, there was no major post-match brawl between these two. Instead, we went straight to our next match.

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Sabu (w/ Paul E. Dangerously & 911)

This one started really well, with Sabu diving at 2 Cold Scorpio before his music had even finished playing, only for Scorp to get the upper hand and maintain it for at least three-fifths of the entire match.
Hardcore Heaven 1994 review - Sabu vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

It was exciting stuff to begin with, but the more it went on, it became more akin to watching somebody play a wrestling video game; the two just throwing out one move after another with no rhyme or reason and neither man selling very much at all.

Don’t get me wrong, most of those moves looked impressive. 

Even when Sabu crashed onto Scorpio through a table on the furthest side of the ring, you got the impression that it was a cool move despite the fact that the camera didn’t catch any of it.

Still, despite what some modern fans may tell you, there’s more to pro wrestling than just cool moves, and there are only so many times you can watch a Sabu slingshot legdrop or a Scorpio moonsault before it starts to get old and repetitive.

Despite being on the defensive for much of the contest, it was Sabu who walked away with the victory thanks to his 5,000th slingshot leg drop of the night. This one has the assistance of Paul E. Dangerously, who held a chair over Scorpio’s face while 911 distracted the official.

And so ended a match that would have been much better had it been about 5 minutes shorter and had some kind of structure to it.
Your Winner: Sabu

Finally, it was main event time.

Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack

This one started with Cactus Jack on the microphone.
Hardcore Heaven 1994 review - Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk

Cactus, who was playing up a gimmick in which he was a proponent for family-friendly entertainment, bemoaned the level of violence on the show and insisted that what the fans really needed now was “one hell of a scientific match,” between he and Terry Funk.

The fans, of course, hated the idea, but The Funker was all smiles as he shook hands with the madman from Truth or Consequences to get our final bout of the evening underway.

Not that it lasted long. 

Of course, there was no scientific wrestling to be found here. Instead, the two men quickly spilled out into the crowd for a wild brawl, taking shots at one another until The Public Enemy arrived on the scene.

Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge immediately went after Funk, beating him to a pulp and urging Cactus to take advantage of the situation.

When he refused, they beat him up, too, then discarded the official and threw Cactus on top of Funk, making their own three count.
No Contest

If Joey Styles had his way, Hardcore Heaven ‘94 would have ended moments later, the announcer signing off as Jack & Funk hauled ass to the back, carrying broken tables as weapons in a hunt for revenge.

Moments later, the two bust through the curtain again, dragging Public Enemy back to the ring to kick their ass.

Then it happened.

Cactus Jack called to the crowd for someone to throw him a chair.

He got one.

And another.

And another.

And another, until the ECW Arena was raining steel chairs, dozens of them flying through the air and crashing on top of a fallen Public Enemy as the ring announcer desperately begged the fans to stop throwing furniture.
Hardcore Heaven 1994 review - The Public Enemy covered in chairs

Of course, they ignored him, and before long, it was barely possible to see Johnny Grunge’s arm rising out of a mountain of chairs.

Finally, things ended with the two heels grabbing the microphone and swearing that their problems with Cactus Jack and Terry Funk were only just beginning.


All in all, it’s fair to say that ECW Hardcore Heaven 1994 was not the most exhilarating show in the world.

Sure, there were some good moments. I genuinely enjoyed the TV title match more than most others seemed to, and the Sabu/2 Cold Scorpio match was definitely the best bout on the card even if it was too long and repetitive for this fan’s liking.

Still, despite all that, this is a show that will be forever remembered for that final moment of the fans hurling chairs into the ring, a moment that truly told the world this was no ordinary wrestling company, this, ladies and gentlemen, was ECF’NW.

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