ECW Enter The Sandman 1995 Review

ECW Enter The Sandman 1995 Review

May 13, 1995
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Does it bother anybody else that the DVD cover for ECW Enter The Sandman 1995 makes the event's eponymous star look like a severed head?

Probably not, right?

Anyway, we came into this event with The Sandman riding high as ECW champion after his manager, Woman, double-crossed former title holder Shane Douglas. Tonight, Douglas would get a rematch against Sandman, who also had to pull double-duty in a second title defense against Cactus Jack. 

Elsewhere, we've got the continuing saga of Raven and Tommy Dreamer, the ECW debut of Bill Alfonso, and another one of those awful Ian Rotten vs. Axl Rotten matches. 

Let's get on with it, shall we? 

The Hitman Tony Stetson vs. Hack Meyers

And so we kicked off Enter The Sandman with The Hitman Tony Stetson already in the ring. 

ECW Enter The Sandman 1995 - Hack Meyers celebrates his win

The moment Hack Meyers arrived, Stetson attacked, battering his opponent in a wild brawl around the ringside area.

The duo got between the ropes where The Hitman remained unrelenting in his assault throughout this short but entertaining opening contest.

Then, just when you thought things were hitting up, Meyers suddenly stopped getting his ass kicked, hit a running knee drop and won the match.

It was an abrupt end to a great start to the show.
Your Winner: Hack Meyers

With no time to waste, we got right into our next match:

The Oriental Connection (Tsubo Genjin & Hiroyoshi Iekuda ) vs The Tazmaniac & 911 (w/Paul E. Dangerously)

This is going to get messy,” declared Joey Styles as Taz and 911 made their way to the ring.

ECW Enter The Sandman 1995 Review - Paul Heyman, tazz, and 911

Sure enough, Taz kicked this one off by hurling chairs at his opponents while a fan at ringside held up a sign that has since been completely blurred out.

I wonder what it said.

Anyway, the introduction of our combatants lasted longer than this entire squash match. 

If you didn’t know it was a squash, consider the fact that Styles didn’t bother to call either Tsubo Genjin or  Hiroyoshi Iekuda by their names. Instead, as the two got instantly battered by Taz, he referred to them only as “Oriental Connection number one and two.

That’s how little these two mattered. They were there simply as warm bodies for Taz to hit a double German suplex on.

911 then got the tag, dished out the one wrestling move he knew, and got the win.

This wasn’t bad, but it was mostly unnecessary.
Your Winners: Tazmaniac & 911

Out on the arena floor, Joey Styles welcomed us to Extreme Championship Wrestling. Kicking off an episode of the company’s TV show, Styles introduced his guest, Axl Rotten.

ECW Enter The Sandman 1995 Review - Joey Styles interviews Axl Rotten

The foul-mouthed brawler really hated Florida for some reason, calling fans in the sunshine state a homophobic slur and dropping a bunch of F-bombs as he sucked up to the Philly crowd.

Then, Axl said the one thing no fan should ever want to hear:

He and Ian Rotten were going to have another match.

Good lord, no.

Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten

I swear to you, there’s nothing in my life that I’ve stuck at longer than running Retro Pro Wrestling.

ECW Enter The Sandman '95 - Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten

In the past 12 years, there have only been two times when I thought about quitting.

The first was when I reviewed WCW’s run of poor, frustrating Pay Per Views from the late 1990s.

The second was when I learned that reviewing ECW meant I’d have to sit through an endless number of garbage matches featuring Axl and Ian Rotten.

Neither man had a modicum of wrestling talent, meaning they had to resort to hitting each other with chairs and barbed wire and whatnot.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t already done the exact same match on the last three or four ECW shows I’ve reviewed.

Seriously guys, let it be over.

Speaking of over, this uninspired, utterly banal brawl ended when Axl back-suplexed his brother onto a chair and pinned him.
Your Winner: Axl Rotten

Please, I’m begging you, don’t make me sit through another one of those matches ever again.

Raven & Stevie Richards (w/ Beulah McGillicutty) vs. Tommy Dreamer & Mikey Whipreck

Before this one could get underway, Shane Douglas interrupted proceedings to introduce Bill Alfonso as ECW’s newest official.

ECW Enter The Sandman '95 - Todd Gordon confronts Bill Alfonso

This brought out commissioner Todd Gordon, who was all set to send Alfonso packing until the referee declared that he had permission from the Philadelphia State Athletic Commission to shut the company down if they didn’t start following the rules.

Irate, Gordon stormed off, leaving us to our first genuinely good match of the evening.

This one saw Tommy Dreamer destroy Stevie Richards in the early going with a huge DDT. Mikey Whipreck then tagged in, failed to get a three count on Richards, and then fell into the familiar role of face-in-peril for a while. 

The gripping action spilled to the outside, where Dreamer planted Stevie with another DDT while Raven hit the exact same move on Whipreck.

The two then made it to the ring for an explosive finale, Dreamer finally getting his hands on his arch-rival Raven and pummelling him with wild fists. 

That was enough for Fonzie to call for the bell, ostensibly because Dreamer was using illegal closed fits, but really just to be a d*ck.
Your Winners via DQ: Raven & Stevie Richards

Post-match, Douglas returned to the fray, encouraging Dreamer to lay his hands on Bill Alfonso so that the official would have just cause to shut down Extreme Championship Wrestling. 

ECW Enter The Sandman '95 - Cactus Jack and Tommy Dreamer

That brought out Shane's former training partner and real-life friend, Cactus Jack, who let it be known that Douglas and Fonzie's shenanigans were not welcome here in the land of extreme.

At least, I think that's what he said.

Despite the picture quality for this show being much better than previous events, the audio quality was still terrible, meaning even the closed captions described most promos as "inaudible".

Extreme Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
ECW World TV Champion Eddy Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko 

Eddy (as Eddie Guerrero was billed in ECW) and Dean Malenko had wrestled an absolute classic back at Hostile City Showdown a few weeks earlier. 

ECW Enter The Sandman '95 - Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero

Tonight, they recaptured that magic in what I'm sure was an equally as exhilarating encounter. 

The only problem was that tonight's match was heavily abridged, with only the real highlights of their 30-minute draw shown here. 

All the while, announcer Joey Styles was joined on commentary by a man he bigged up as a legitimate athlete, Peter Senerchia.
Time-Limit Draw

Afterward, we cut to Styles who ran through a list of his co-commentator's credentials before revealing that Senerchia was, of course, the man better known as Taz. 

ECW Enter The Sandman '95 Review - Joey Styles, Tazz, and Paul Heyman

I'm not 100% confident in this, but I'm pretty sure this was part of an effort to repackage Taz as a legitimate bad ass rather than the wild Tazmaniac we'd mostly known him as so far. 

Confirming my suspicions, this led us into a Taz highlight package which ended with a graphic stating "Taz: Three letters. One man. One new bad attitude."

Alrighty then.

Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship 
ECW World Heavyweight Champion The Sandman (w/ Woman) vs. Cactus Jack

This wasn’t the longest world title match you’ll ever see, but man, was it fun.

ECW Enter The Sandman '95 Review -  Woman and The Sandman

The Sandman caught Cactus with a chair shot before he could even make it into the ring, kicking off a wild and explosive brawl around the arena floor.

The match eventually made it between the ropes for the briefest of periods in which the champion seized control.

Back on the outside, Sandman dumped Cactus into the audience. He followed up by attempting to leap onto him from the ring apron but tripped on the guard rail and went arse-over-tit into the front row.

That shifted the momentum back in favor of the challenger, who took the battle back into the ring and rested a table against the ropes.

In the highlight of the match, Cactus then threw a weary Sandman onto the table and flipped it over, unceremoniously dumping the ECW champion onto the outside.

For all intents and purposes, it looked like the former WCW wrestler was going to be our new champion as he once again got the match back in the ring and destroyed his opponent with a DDT.

When he went for the corner, however, Shane Douglas appeared from nowhere and dragged Sandman’s foot onto the rope to break the count.

Clearly, The Franchise wanted to be the one to beat his arch-nemesis.

Sure enough, as Cactus yelled at his old buddy, the champion got up, whacked his opponent in the bollocks, and won the match.
Your Winner and Still ECW Champion: The Sandman

On the night, ECW Enter the Sandman’s two heavyweight title matches were broken up by a second TV title defense for Eddy Guerrero. This time, he successfully defeated Marty Jannetty.

That match is omitted from the final presentation of this show, meaning we cut straight from that last world title fight to this one.

Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship 
ECW World Heavyweight Champion The Sandman (w/ Woman) vs. Shane Douglas

Taking advantage of his battle-weary opponent, Shane Douglas dominated the early part of this match, out-wrestling his rival at every step.

The tables eventually turned, with Sandman deploying some “unconventional” offense to take his opponent apart.

Though it lacked the unbridled violence of Sandman’s previous encounter, this was still a pretty enthralling match even if it did somewhat expose Sandman’s lack of ability.

In the end, the champion reversed his opponent’s suplex attempt and made the cover.

Douglas got his foot on the ropes, only for Cactus Jack to get his revenge by knocking it off again.

The Sandman won…or did he?

Before the champion could celebrate, Bill Alfonso returned to the ring and declared that that match would be restarted due to Cactus Jack’s shenanigans.

Quick as a cat, Douglas rolled up Sanman, Fonzie made the fast count, and The Franchise was once again our champion…

…or was he?

I honestly have no idea.

Alfonso and the designated match argued over the finish as a wild brawl broke out.
Your Winner: Who The Hell Knows?

All sources note The Sandman as the official winner of the match, so let’s go with that.

While I was busy trying to work out who won, things became even wilder. The aforementioned wild brawl ended up with nobody involved in the last two matches staying in the ring, and Tommy Dreamer getting DDT’d onto a piece of an industrial fan by Raven.

The match itself may have been decent, but the finish, the resulting run-ins, and the pace at which they occurred left this writer scratching his head in confusion.

I’m a fan of the “less is more” approach to pro wrestling.

Paul Heyman, on the other hand, was a fan of the “more is more and even that’s not enough” approach, and it wasn’t pretty.

Thankfully, we only have one more match to go:

Double Dog Collar Match for the Extreme Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship 
ECW Tag Team Champions The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Pitbulls (Pitbull #1 & Pitbull #2 w/ Steve Richards)

If Public Enemy win, they get five minutes alone with Steve Richards

Before the two teams locked up, Public Enemy took to the microphone and accused Steven Richards of liking it up the bum. 

Much time wasting then followed as Todd Gordon reappeared to remind us of the rules to the match and the referee took forever putting the chains on all four men. 

Once the match got underway, The Pitbulls won a brief tug-of-war and began laying waste to Public Enemy, much to the chagrin of the ECW crowd. Expressing their distaste for both the team and Richards, the fans broke into chants of "Doggy Style! Doggy Style!" and, later, "Sh*tbulls! Sh*tbulls!". 

Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge eventually turned the tables, leading us into the typical ECW arena-wide brawl which was, as usual, difficult to follow. All this led to the same spot we got in every Public Enemy match; Rocco Rock taking trip up to the Crows Nest followed by a fall down from it, completely missing the conveniently placed table. 

Having failed the first time, Rocco Rock and Pitbull #2 set the table back up and repeated the spot over again. They nailed it the second time, though not without making it obvious that this was a do-over rather than a natural part of the match. 

By the time the combatants made it into the ring for the final stretch, The Pitbulls were firmly in control with a superbomb off the top rope through a table proving to be one of the match's few highlights. 

Unfortunately, the duo were unable to build on the excitement as they spent far too long untangling their chains so that they could attempt to clock their opponent with it. Of course, they missed, and Stevie Richards got it in the head instead. 

Things finally came to an end when Rocco Rock reversed a top rope suplex from Pitbull 2 and covered him while, at the same time, Pitbull 1 covered Johnny Grunge. 

The referee counted to three and, after a moment of confusion, declared Rock and Grunge the winners.
Your Winners and Still ECW Tag Team Champions: The Public Enemy 

The victory had earned the tag team champions five minutes alone with Richards. Alas, since they were both worn down from the match, the future bWo member happily jumped in the ring and began beating them down. 

This didn't last long, of course. 

Public Enemy soon turned the tables, pounding on Richards before setting him up for the Drive By. Before they could complete it, however, Raven ran to the rescue and was soon followed by The Pitbulls. 

From there, things only got more chaotic. 

Tommy Dreamer rushed to the ring and began brawling with Raven until Stevie whacked him in the spine with a chair. Raven then tried to Destroy Dreamer as Beulah McGuillicutty appeared on the apron and stood there, doing nothing. 

Dreamer fought back and then, out of nowhere, Luna Vachon arrived on the scene and helped him clear the ring of Raven and Richards. 

Finally, Dreamer planted McGuillicutty with a piledriver, and that was that. 

ECW Enter the Sandman 1995 was certainly not void of good matches. Personally, I enjoyed the opener, the Raven/Richards vs. Dreamer/Whipreck tag, and the Cactus/Sandman title match. Of course, Guerrero/Malenko II was great too, but the fact that the whole contest was omitted from the tape was a letdown. 
On the downside, the whole post-match chaos that ensued after both the aforementioned tag match and the main event, coupled with yet another tedious brawl between the Brothers Rotten, really left a bad taste in this fan's mouth. 


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