Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label ECW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ECW. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 September 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW - NWA Bloodfest '93

ECW Bloodfest '93 - Night 2
October 1 and October 2, 1993
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

NWA Bloodfest ‘93 was a two-night event promoted by Eastern Championship wrestling a short while after their last event Ultraclash '93.

Unlike other ECW events from around this time, Bloodfest isn’t featured on the WWE Network, though I did manage to find a one-hour version on YouTube which features most -but not all- of the matches from night 2 of the event.

If I ever come across Night 1 of the event (or if any of you can tell me where to check it out), then I will of course, review that too.

For now though, let’s dive in and check this one out.

Welcome to Bloodfest

We opened tonight’s event with a short introductory video featuring highlights of tonight’s stars before heading right down to ringside for our opening contest.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship
ECW Tag Team Champions Johnny Hotbody and Tony Stetson (w/ Hunter Q. Robbins III) vs. The Sandman & J.T Smith (w/ Terry Funk)

Something tells me this show might be a chore to watch if this match is anything to go by.

It really wasn’t much of anything.

After a few minutes of decent but uninspiring action, Terry Funk got involved, leading to a disqualification in about 5 minutes.
Your Winners via Disqualification and still ECW Tag Team Champions: Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson

Moving on..

The Tazzmaniac & Tommy Dreamer

ECW Bloodfest '93 - The Tazzmaniac hurts Tommy Dreamer
Here we had the ECW debut of Tommy Dreamer as he took on The Tazzmaniac (Tazz), a man who himself had only debuted the previous evening against fellow newcomer Sabu.

Dreamer’s debut is well known as an early example of Paul Heyman’s booking prowess, having the future hardcore legend lose the match but gain the fan’s respect after putting on a solid show against Tazzmaniac.

That certainly happened, but it wasn’t as though Tommy completely got his ass whooped here. He held his own against a man who still had long hair, worn a loin cloth and pretended like he was an actual savage from the island of Tasmania.

It was a decent match. Not great by any stretch, but competently performed and reasonably entertaining.
Your Winner: The Tazzmaniac

Post match, the usually belligerent ECW crowd gave Dreamer

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas (w/ Sherri Martel) vs. J.T Smith (w/ Terry Funk)

ECW Bloodfest '93 - Shane Douglas
And so we have our second appearance from J.T Smith. According to Wikipedia, both of his matches happened on night 2.

That seems odd, but there you go.

There wasn’t much to this match. Going into it, the story was that Smith had an injured knee, so Shane Douglas wasted no time going right after it.

Within the space of 4 minutes (at least as it was presented here) Douglas wore down Smith to the point that Terry Funk had to throw in the towel.
Your Winner and Still ECW Champion: Shane Douglas

Post match, Funk turned on Smith, beating him up with his boot then tossing him to the outside and dumping a chair on him.

It was the most entertaining thing that had happened in the first 20 minutes of this show.

Yesterday’s Trash

Prior to the next match, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge threw some garbage in the trash which allowed them to deliver the very original and very clever line:

“Diamond, Tanaka, we’re going to take you out like yesterday’s trash!”

Right on.

Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) vs. Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)

Finally, we got a match this fan could really sink his teeth into.

Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka were excellent and Public Enemy didn’t exactly phone it in either.

Their combined efforts gave us a compelling match which proved to be the best thing on the show up to this point.

After a very strong contest, Badd Company picked up the win following a miscommunication between Rock and Grunge.
Your Winners: Badd Company

And on we go.

Rockin’ Rebel vs. Chris Michaels

We joined this match in progress and it wasn’t really anything.

Rockin’ Rebel beat up on Chris Michaels for a bit, then beat up the referee too and got disqualified.
Your Winner via disqualification: Chris Michaels

Post-match, Rebel went to attack Michaels with a chair, but his arch-rival Big Sal Belomo charged the ring and saw him off.

Bad Breed (Axl & Ian Rotten) vs. Chad Austin & Don E. Allen

This was essentially a squash match, with Axl Rotten & Ian Rotten demolishing their opponents in rapid order.

It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it was very obvious (especially given Joey Styles commentary), that this was intended as nothing more than TV filler to help Bad Breed get over.
Your Winners: Bad Breed

Up next, more Public Enemy.

Don Muraco & Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka)

ECW Bloodfest '93 - Jimmy Snuka
Everywhere you look online, this is listed as Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco beating Public Enemy by forefeit, but that’s not actually what happened.

Badd Company came out second, looking like they were gearing to fight Snuka & Muraco, only to be blindsided by Public Enemy. As Rock & Grunge attacked, Joey Styles yelled:

“We haven’t seen Public Enemy since they lost to Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka!”

So like, ten minutes ago then Joey?

Anyway, Bad Breed then came out and attacked Public Enemy and the announcer declared the match a forefeit.
Your Winners via forefeit: Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka.

What a waste of time that was. It was good news for Snuka & Muraco though, and probably the easiest pay check they ever made.

Afterwards, Styles confirmed that Badd Company really were supposed to be the intended opponents.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
ECW Heavyweight champion Shane Douglas (w/ Sherri Martel) vs. Sabu (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

ECW Bloodfest '93 - sabu
This was supposed to be Douglas vs. Sandman but the latter had been incapacitated backstage, so Sabu was wheeled out chained to what looked like a sack truck.

Wikipedia says this match lasted nigh on 13 minutes so this version must have been severely edited because it was over in less than 3.

Sabu got attacked by Douglas but then slammed him and landed a moonsault to capture the title.
Your Winner and New ECW Heavyweight Champion: Sabu

Post-match, the new champion was dragged, thrashing and lashing away, to the back.

Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Chad Austin

Snuka destroyed Austin in no time at all then hit him with a slingshot suplex and pinned him with an arrogant ‘one foot over the chest’ cover.

The sling shot suplex looked good. The rest of this match did not.
Your Winner: Jimmy Snuka

And finally...

Steel Cage Match
Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) vs. The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)

This match went from the entrances straight to Bad Breed running in and a whole bunch of chairs being swung about.

It looked like a good brawl, but by this point I have to admit, I’d completely switched off.

Public Enemy won by escaping the cage.
Your Winners: Public Enemy

Thank goodness that’s over

If anyone out there has a copy of night one of this event that they’d like to send me, I’d be glad to review for the sake of completion, but if it’s anything like Night 2, I dare say I won’t enjoy it much.

By the time this hour-long presentation was half way through, it had become very apparent that what NWA Bloodfest really was, was a two-night TV taping with matches shot in no particular order to be played on ECW TV.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, the fact that we only saw abridged versions of mediocre matches did not make for an entertaining hour of pro wrestling viewing.

The first Badd Company/Public Enemy match was enjoyable, but nothing else here was up to much.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW Ultra Clash 1993

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Event review
September 18, 1993
ECW Arena Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 may not be the most widely-remembered wrestling event in history, but that doesn't mean it isn't significant in its own right.

This was the first event for which Paul Heyman had taken control of Eastern Championship Wrestling's booking and creative vision. 

It was the event in which he first began to turn this little indie outfit into an extreme institution and one of the Big Three US wrestling companies. 

It was also the event at which we would first meet future ECW mainstays like Joey Styles and The Public Enemy...

But was it any good?

Let's head down to the ECW arena to find out.

Welcome to Ultra Clash

ECW was still Eastern Championship Wrestling at this point in time but our opening video (set to what sounded like a cut from a low-budget PlayStation skateboarding game) featured shots of a woman getting her top ripped off and JT Smith being knocked from a balcony, so it was already fairly least more so than the fairly tame product we’d seen back at ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular earlier in the year.

After said video, we went straight into our opening match.

The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. Jason Knight & Ian Rotten

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - The Public Enemy
If your only exposure to The Public Enemy was as the party-loving jobbers from WCW, you’ll likely be surprised to find them here as two ass-kicking heels who just destroyed their opponents.

I mean they demolished them. So much so Ian Rotten and Jason Knight didn’t manage to get in a single offensive move between them for the duration of this five-plus minute slaughter.

In fact, Jason Knight didn’t even get tagged in. He just got his ass kicked on the outside while Rotten got destroyed between the ropes.

Unsurprisingly, Johnny Grunge and Flyboy Rocco Rock prevailed when the latter cannonballed onto Rotten for the win.
Your Winners: The Public Enemy

Post-match, The Public Enemy further drew the ire of the crowd by continuing their beat down of Ian Rotten.

When they’d had enough, Joey Styles started to tell us all about the group’s next big event, NWA Blood Feast ‘93.

Sadly that isn’t on the WWE Network, though I did find a version on YouTube so we’ll get to that soon.

ECW Pennsylvania State Championship 
ECW Pennsylvania State Champion Tony “Hitman” Stetson (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III) vs. “Ironman” Tommy Cairo

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Tony Stetson vs. Tommy Cairo
Imagine still using the nickname “Hitman” in the 1990s and not considering changing it.

Here, the not-so-excellence of execution put his title on the line against Tommy Cairo in a decent if somewhat unremarkable match that failed to maintain this fan’s attention.

After roughly ten minutes, Stetson’s manager, Hunter Q. Robins III distracted referee Jim Molyneux while the champ blasted his opponent with the title belt.

One three count later and this one was done.
Your Winner: Tony Stetson 

Mask vs. Mask Match
Super Destroyer I vs. Super Destroyer 2 (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Super Destroyer 1 vs. Super Destroyer 2
Prior to the match, Robins took to the microphone to berate Super Destroyer I, but the quality of this recording is so bad that I could only make out the words “building” and “ugly face.”

This was a weird match that was very slow and basic. 

Though that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, it was like watching two wrestlers early in their training being told to demonstrate a basic sequence of moves for a match.

Plus there was the fact that both men wore identical attire and masks. Sure, Joey Styles told us that one of them was technically bigger than the other, but it was still impossible to tell them apart.

In the end, the babyface Super D. 1 picked up the win.
Your Winner: Super Destroyer 1

Super Destroyer 2 was then forced to unmask, and while Styles pretended like he recognized him but couldn’t remember his name, The Dark Patriot came down and helped Super D. 2 carry out a beat down of S.D 1.

Eventually, J.T Smith came down to make the save and this led us right into our next match.

Scaffold Match
The Dark Patriot vs. JR Smith

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - JT Smith vs. The Dark Patriot in a scaffold match
No joke, this was probably the best scaffold match this fan has ever seen.

All of the scaffold matches the NWA had in the 1980s (including at Starrcade '86 and Starrcade '87) saw big, tough men hanging around the edges of the platform where it was safe, and then basically hanging onto the edge of the platform and dropping down into the ring as gently as possible.

JT Smith and The Dark Patriot showed no such restraint.

They brawled fearlessly in the middle of the platform and took bumps. Smith even threw a neat dropkick.

Speaking of threw, Patriot won the match by hurling his opponent off the scaffold. Smith took an unbelievably nasty bump but then popped back up so that Patriot could come down and attack him some more.
Your Winner: The Dark Patriot

And attack him he did.

Smith got thrown into the crow, hit with a chair, thrown into another part of the crowd, hit with another chair and so on until he was destroyed.

Tag Team Bunkhouse Match
Kevin Sullivan & Abdullah The Butcher vs. Terry Funk & Stan Hansen

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Abdullah The Butcher & Kevin Sullivan vs. Terry Funk & Stan Hansen
I don't know why anybody would think this was good.

Sure, I can see how it might have been entertaining if you were there live, but watching it back now, it just looks like four sloppy-arsed drunks falling over each other after closing time.

At various points, Kevin Sullivan tried a brand new, never-before-tried approach to winning a pro wrestling match:

He would just walk up to his opponents and look at them.

 Seriously, there was a moment when he wandered towards Stan Hansen and just stood there staring at him for a while until Hansen thought 'screw it' and slapped the Taskmaster silly.

In the end, Eddie Gilbert ran out with a steel chair, causing a disqualification, which was dumb because this was a weapons-filled, anything goes brawl.
Your Winners via Disqualification: Terry Funk and Stan Hansen

Post-match, Kevin Sullivan and Abdullah The Butcher started fighting each other for no explainable reason until some dudes ran in to break it up. 

Funk and Hansen then returned to beat up those dudes and we got another wild brawl into the crowd that was exactly the same as the Dark Patriot/J.T. Smith brawl except with more people.

I'll say it again, this was not good.

$5,000 Intergender Battle Royal
Sensational Sherri vs. Tigra  vs. Angel  vs. Don E. Allen  vs. Jay Sulli vs. Hunter Q. Robbins III

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Tigra
Nor was this. 

While Tigra spent the whole match sat on the turnbuckle, watching, each of the men took turns in walking over to Sensational Sherri and Angel and being routinely eliminated by them.

Sherri then did a Mil Mascaras and eliminated herself, though rather than hitting a top rope splash, she chased off some dude in a shell suit who Joey Styles told us was Freddie Gilbert, Eddie's brother and ECW referee.

At that point, Angel deliberately popped herself up on the ropes making her an easy target. Tigra came over, poked Angel in the bum with the tip of her finger, and won the match.
Your Winner: Tigra

I'm a big fan of Sensational Sherri, but this was dumb and pointless.

Loser Receives 10 Lashes
Wildman Sal Bellomo (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Sir Richard Michaels (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

Did Hunter Q. manage every single heel in ECW?

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Wildman Sal Bellomo
I’m sure he did, because here he was again, backing Sir Richard Michaels.

Not to be outdone, Wildman Sal Bellomo got on the microphone before the match started and said ”whmph, mmph, bumpy bum bmmph, Sherri would you come to the ring, please?”

OK, so it may not have been that exactly, but like I said earlier, the recording quality is so bad that I’ve really no idea what he said beyond asking Sherri to join him in the ring.

The Sensational One did so, making her presence felt in Big Sal’s corner for what was a fairly average, if inoffensive, match.

After a few minutes of uninspired action, Sal fell like a sack of potatoes onto Richard Michaels and got the one, two, three.
Your Winner: Wildman Sal Bellomo

If you were worried that this show didn’t have enough post-match brawls,  you’ll be delighted to know that yet another one came right up.

Wildman Sal started to lash Michaels with a training belt while Sherri rolled around on top of Hunter Q and made him the luckiest dude in the whole building.

At that point, Rockin’ Rebel ran down to blast Sal with a chair and throw Sherri around the ring.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship 
Fabulous ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Sandman

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Shane Douglas vs. Sandman
Yes, Shane Douglas was “Fabulous” here, apparently. 

Though, to be fair, he almost wasn’t much of anything as he first walked off and threatened not to defend his title until the referee promised that he would give said title to Sandman if Douglas didn’t return to the ring immediately.

The champion did so, and consequently entered into what I have to say was the best match on the card up until this point.

No, I can’t quite believe that I just wrote that either, but it’s true. It was a competently wrestled heel vs. face match with some stuff which, while fairly textbook, was still pretty fun.

In the end, the ref took a tumble and Paul E.‘s phone came into play as an international object to give us a very near fall.

The challenger then dove off the top with what looked to be the match-winning flying cross body only for Douglas to roll through, grab a handful of tights and retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still ECW Heavyweight Champion: Shane Douglas 

Afterwards, Sandman berated the referee while Fabulous Shane made his escape.

Baseball Bat Match
W*ING Tag Team Champions Headhunters (Mofat & Mahim) vs. Miguel Perez & W*ING Heavyweight Champion Crash the Terminator

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - The Headhunters
Ok, scrap what I said about Douglas vs. Sandman, this was the best match on the card.

As a baseball bat match, things started with all four men outside the ring and a baseball bat inside.

After the count of ten, they charged to the ring to grab the bat and beat the living hell out of each other with it.

And beat the living hell out of each other they did.

The match immediately spilled back out into the crowd for a wild brawl which was hampered only by ECW's lack of budget. 

The show was filmed entirely on a single camera, and when you have two teams pairing off and brawling all over the building, that one camera is going to miss stuff.

At one point, one of the Headhunters got thrown through a fricken wall by Crash the Terminator and the camera was focussed purely on the other Headhunter hanging around in the ring doing nothing much of anything. 

That gave us the odd moment where Joey Styles called something that we didn't actually see.

When we could see stuff, it was all good stuff, culminating in one of the big fat Headhunters hitting a sweet moonsault for the three.
Your Winners: The Headhunters

At this juncture, Joey Styles told us that The Headhunters had successfully defended their W*ING tag team titles, though there was no mention on the show -or in anything I've read since- that says the titles were actually on the line.

Afterward, both teams continued fighting to end the show with yet another brawl through the crowd because why choose to end your show with something different when you could just repeat the same damn thing you'd been doing from the beginning?

To be fair, it was a pretty entertaining brawl, but I can't help but feel that it would have meant so much more had we not already seen the exact same thing multiple times.

So no, Paul Heyman's start as ECW booker was not a spectacular one by any stretch of the imagination.

When one of the best matches on the show is Shane Douglas vs. The Sandman, you know things are pretty bad.

Sure, it's historically important, and if you do watch it you'll get to see not only Heyman's first attempt at booker but also the ECW debut of The Public Enemy and Joey Styles on commentary, but don't expect to be entertained very much.

If you can get the moment JT Smith plummets to his doom and the main event on YouTube, those are the only moments you need to see from what was otherwise a poor show.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993

June 19, 1993
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular was the first major event promoted by ECW and was a long, long way from the kind of PPV events the company would be putting out just five-six years later.

Back in 1993, there was no way of telling that this little-promotion-that-could would eventually establish itself as one of the "Big Three," offering a viable option for those who preferred a more extreme alternative to WCW and the WWF.

OK, so may be some people - like Paul Heyman, for example - wanted it to happen, but to watch Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular you'd be forgiven for dismissing ECW as nothing more than another low-rent indie promotion with nothing much going on.

Still, that's not what we're going to today. Rather than dismiss ECW, we're going to head down to Philadelphia and see what went down at the company's first big super show.

Welcome to the Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular 

We began tonight’s show outside the ECW arena where Todd Gordon and Jay Sulli stood around hyping up a small group of middle-aged men who were apparently die-hard ECW fans.

Gordon hyped one of tonight’s big matches before calling the ECW Super Summer Sizzler 93 ‘the hottest show in independent history.’

With that, we got our opening video package, a typically early ‘90s amateur-hour affair featuring early ECW stars like Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco as well as people this writer had no idea had ever appeared for the company like British Bulldog and Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart.

We then went straight to the action with Sulli being joined on commentary by the one and only Paul E. Dangerously.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Television Championship
ECW Television Champion ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka vs. J.T Smith

Superfly was a heel here and aligned with Paul E.

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 - Jimmy Snuka
Apparently, his gimmick was that he didn’t give a sh*t. Either that or he just didn’t actually care and was only there to pick up a paycheque.

The match wasn’t awful or anything but you really just got the impression that Snuka was simply going through the motions until he could hit the Superfly Splash and get out of there.

That happened in about six minutes, ending a pretty ‘blah’ match.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Jimmy Snuka.

Moving quickly on...

First Blood Rules
Larry Winters vs. Tony “Hitman” Stetson

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Larry Winters vs. Tony Stetson
Things got a little better with this next match. Not great, but better.

The action wasn’t particularly special, but both Larry Winters and Tony Stetson concentrated on attacking each other’s foreheads and actually trying to make their opponent bleed right from the word go. Honestly, that’s a far better approach than many first blood matches where the two wrestlers compete in a relatively normal match and drawing blood seems like a an afterthought.

With that working in its favor then, it’s disappointing that the finish to this match was kind of dumb.

Rockin’ Rebel got involved, distracting the referee so that Stetson could pull a chain out of his pants and blast his rival with it to win the match.

Sure, that would have been a standard finish in a regular match, but it had already been announced that there were no rules besides making your opponent bleed, so why bother with the distraction?
Your Winner: Tony Stetson

Post match, Stetson and Rebel beat up on poor old Larry Winters until Winters battled back and sent them packing.

Cat Fight Humiliation Match
Miss Peaches vs. Terrible Tigra

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Terrible Tigra
‘Cat fight humiliation match’ - well, at least ECW were honest and didn’t try to pass this off as any kind of genuine athletic competition because it certainly wasn’t.

Miss Peaches was Sandman’s wife and Terrible Tigra had been getting involved in Sandman’s matches which was a good enough reason for the two to roll around on the mat tugging at each other’s clothes in a bout that had no clearly defined way to win.

The way to win wasn’t by removing an item of your opponents' clothes because Tigra did that to Peaches in about sixty seconds and the match continued.

It could have been by regular pinfall or submission but since neither lady even attempted a cover, that’s probably not it either.

After another minute or so of nondescript rolling around, Tigra tried to leave only to be blocked at the isle by the debuting Angel, who was being presented here as a mystery woman.

Angel ordered Tigra back to the ring to roll around again for another minute before simply letting her leave. At that point, the referee called for the bell and awarded the match to Peaches.
Your Winner Via Goodness Knows What: Miss Peaches

Post-match, Peaches went to cut a promo but Rockin’ Rebel and Tony Stetson chased her off then ganged up on Angel and ripped her top off, exposing her boobage to the audience. Seriously, can you imagine any show today where two men could overpower a woman and rip her clothes off and it being allowed to air?

I’m sure there are people for whom this kind of stuff constitutes entertainment, but this fan is certainly not one of them.

Anyway, Larry Winters eventually came to the rescue and Angel’s dignity was preserved with a beach towel.

Eastern Championship Wrestling TV Championship
WCW TV Champion Superfly Jimmy Snuka (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Iron Man Tommy Cairo

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Iron Man TommY Cairo
With Paul E. now accompanying his man to ringside, Terry Funk joined Sulli on commentary.

This was the better of Jimmy Snuka’s two title defences on the show, but only because challenger Tommy Cairo turned up ready to go and worked his butt off.

Snuka still seemed like he didn’t want to do much of anything, so his opponent bounced around for a while before losing in the most feeble way possible.

Paul E. tripped up Cairo and Snuka pinned him with one foot barely grazing the middle rope.

Apparently, Cairo was so weak that he couldn’t kick out and the match was over.
Your Winner and Still ECW TV Champion: Jimmy Snuka

After the bell, Cairo hi-fived the fans while Terry Funk put over his main event match with ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert and the ring announcer put over the ECW Hotline.

Remember that?

Philly Street Fight
The Sandman vs. Rockin’ Rebel

After his awful double-murder suicide killing his wife and then himself in 2018, Rockin’ Rebel now recives the Krispin Wah treatment on WWE Network which captions this match only as ‘Sandman Competes in a Philly Street Fight.

Much as I do with Benoit matches on this blog, the best way I can think to approach this is to focus purely on the quality of the match out of respect for their opponent and leave my own personal feelings about the crimes committed out of the equation.

The match was easily the most entertaining thing on the show so far but to be honest, given the lacklustre quality of this event that’s not the huge compliment it might first seem.

The Sandman wasn’t yet fully ‘The Sandman’ as fans would later get to know him as. Instead, he was somewhere between the beer-swilling hardcore icon and the surfer dude he had started his career as.

Whatever his gimmick was, Sandman wasn’t a great wrestler here but could swing a chair around with the best of them and did so with gusto until another mystery woman (Tammy Sytch) entered the ring and sprayed him in the eyes with something.

That allowed Rebel to get the win via roll-up.
Your Winner: Rockin’ Rebel

Afterwards, Tony Stetson (who had put in a cameo in the match) helped Tammy to the back but thankfully saw no reason to rip her clothes off.

Dark Patriot II (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Dick Murdoch

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Paul "Flappy Tits" Heyman
Prior to the bell, Paul E. announced that the original Dark Patriot was in Japan and thus he had recruited the originally named Dark Patriot II to take his place.

Dick Murdoch didn’t care. He was here to make his ECW debut and was only interested in kicking some butt.

He did that pretty effectively in an inoffensive but largely bland match that was typical of your average low-rung indie show.

Like I say, it wasn’t awful or anything, just not that entertaining.

Murdoch won with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Dick Murdoch

Ready for some more?

Six-Man Tag Challenge
Wildman Sal Bellomo, Super Destroyer #1, and Stevie Wonderful vs. Hunter Q Robins III & ECW Tag Team Champions The Suicide Blondes (Sir Jonathan Hotbody & Sir Richard Michaels)

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -Sal Bellomo
Joey Styles
made his ECW debut here, joining Sulli on commentary and playing a heel which was interesting and fun.

Speaking of fun, that’s exactly what this match was, at least compared to the bland bag of meh that the rest of this show had been.

Played partly for laughs and partly as a straight match, this still came across as the kind of thing you’d only find on an indie show, but since that’s exactly what this was, I can hardly complain.

After some decent action, Wildman Sal Bellomo splashed the crap out of Richard Michaels to earn the win.
Your Winners: Sal Bellomo, Super Destroyer, and Stevie Wonderful.

Finally, with just shy of 25 minutes left on the clock, it was time for our main event.

Joey Styles left the announce booth to be replaced by Todd Gordon, delighting nobody but Gordon himself.

King of Philadelphia Texas Chain Match Massacre
Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert vs. Terry Funk

This was your standard ‘touch four corners’ strap match using a chain instead of a strap with the winner claiming the title of ‘King of Philadelphia.’

Though it certainly wasn’t a technical classic, it was a compelling and bloody brawl that captured the attention and held it from start to finish.

Both men busted each other open as they brawled in the ring, around the ring, and later up in the crowd.

At one point, referee John Finnegan got squashed in the corner and was replaced by Kevin Christian.

At first, this seemed like a random and pointless move but later it proved to be important to the finish.

Terry Funk touched all four corners only to discover that Christian had been distracted by Paul E. and didn’t see it.

As Funk argued with the official, Gilbert waffled him with a chair, hit him with a piledriver and then touched all four corners to win the match, and the crown.
Your Winner and King of Philadelphia: Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert

Afterwards, Paul E. Dangerously revealed that he and Kevin Christian had been in cahoots the whole time. He also cut an excitable promo but the quality of this video is so poor that it’s impossible to make out what he said.

Finally, things ended with Todd Gordon firing Christian, who pushed the boss man down and wandered off arm in arm with Dangerously while Gilbert got sent packing by Funk.

The Funkster then placed the King of Philadelphia crown atop Gordon’s head as the ECW Super Summer Sizzler 1993 event came to a close.

If all you had to go off was this one event, you’d never in a million years be able to guess that ECW would become one of the hottest wrestling promotions in the world.

The Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular came off as a low-rent indie show filled with mediocre performances, a gang rape spot and only the occasional flash of genuine entertainment.

Things would get better -much better- over the course of ECW’s existence, but their first major event wasn’t much to get excited about.


Other ECW Reviews:

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

PPV REVIEW: ECW November to Remember 1999

November 7th, 1999
Buffalo, New York

(NOTE: This ECW November to Remember review was originally written back in 2009. I recently discovered a bunch of my archived reviews and wanted to include them here on RPW, hence the introduction referencing 'ten years' and the different format from normal RPW reviews) 

Ten years (2017 update: make that 20!) to the day that Paul Heyman's Original Extreme Championship Wrestling presented the '99 version of their pay per view event, November to Remember, your favourite wrestling reviewer does just that; remembering  an event which featured Masato Tanaka challenging Mike Awesome for the ECW title and a great three-way dance between Jerry Lynn, Tajiri and Super Crazy.

Joey Styles and Cyrus the Virus opened the show

In front of a rabid crowd, ECW's legendary announcer, Joey Styles and the smooth-talking Cyrus the Virus welcomed everybody to the show before Joel Gertner arrived. Gertner did absolutely nothing of note, instead taking a back seat to the arrival of Tazz.

The Human Suplex Machine, about to embark on a career in what was then the World Wrestling Federation, was greeted by loud chants of 'You Sold Out!' from the Buffalo crowd.

Ignoring them, Taz instead turned his attentions to antagonising Styles. The announcer made the smart move and left the ring, leaving Tazz to take his frustrations out on Gertner before hyping his upcoming match with crowd-favourite Rob Van Damn.

Spike Dudley beat Simon Diamond 

Prior to the bout, Diamond and Dick Hertz went through an innuendo-laden promo before Jazz came out for no reason and was swiftly destroyed by Hertz.

The match itself was nothing special, with Diamond essentially brutalising his opponent throughout until Spike Dudley scored the upset with the Acid Drop.

Little Guido beat Nova

After the match, The Full Blooded Italians ran in and attacked Dudley, causing Nova to run in for the save and resulting in an impromptu match against Little Guido.

Better than the previous contest, Nova looked genuinely impressive against his diminutive opponent until Big Sal interfered on behalf of his FBI teammate and ultimately cost Nova the match.

The two men continued their assault in the post-match until Chris Chetti came to the rescue. Danny Doring and Roadkill then ran in, destroying the returning Chetti and bringing to an end the overkill of run-ins.

Honestly, if WWE or TNA presented that many pre and post-match run-ins in such quick succession, your reporter is sure that fans would hate it. But of course, this was the original ECW, who could seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of their ever-loyal fans.

 Jerry Lynn beat Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy in a Three-Way Dance. 

Tajiri was led to the ring by a wheelchair-bound Jack Victory and Steve Corino, who cut a pre-match promo putting over 'The Japanese Buzzsaw' as the 'King of the three-way dance'.

Tajiri certainly disappoint here, but neither did his opponents, Jerry Lynn and Super Crazy; the latter hitting a jaw-dropping moonsault from atop the entrance set. Unfortunately for Crazy, it wasn't enough to win the match and shortly after he was eliminated by The Japanese Buzzsaw.

Jerry Lynn eventually pinned Tajiri to end a very exciting bout that was easily the best on the card to this point.

Afterwards, Lynn was attacked by Steve Corino, but managed to overthrow his adversary and leave with his head held high.

Da Baldies (Spanish Angel, Tony Devito, P.N. News and Vito LoGrasso) beat New Jack and The Chair Swingin' Freaks (Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten) in a handicap match.

With a 4-on-2 advantage, Da Baldies wasted no time in attacking The Chair Swingin' Freaks until New Jack and his plethora of weapons came to the rescue. What followed was one of ECW's trademark out-of-control hardcore brawls that spilled all over the arena and was thus hard to keep track of.

Save for a death-defying spot in which New Jack leaped off the top of a basketball board and nearly killed himself, nothing interesting happened until Spanish Angel blasted Jack with a guitar and won the match for his team.

Sabu and Bill Alfonso Cut a promo

In a rare sombre moment for ECW, Alfonso put over Sabu's upcoming contest against Chris Candido, dedicating the bout to the memory of Sabu's recently-deceased friend.

Sabu beat Chris Candido 

Back on home turf following an ill-fated run in the WWF, the sadly-no-longer-with-us Chris Candido made his way to the ring with real life partner Tammy Lyn Sytch (who had a much better run in the big leagues as Sunny) to take on Sabu in a disappointing affair.

As one of the most popular stars in the company, Sabu had the full support of the ECW faithful behind him as he and Candido made full use of chairs and tables to beat the hell out of each other. Unfortunately, the two didn't do anything fans hadn't seen a million times before, and when Sabu finally made his opponent submit with the Camel Clutch, nobody cared.

Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka warmed up

Backstage, Tanaka stopped running on a treadmill long enough to tell Mike Awesome that he would take his title. Awesome, busy working on his arms, replied by threatening to break Tanaka's back.

Mike Awesome beat Masato Tanaka to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship

With Judge Jeff Jones in his corner, champion Awesome successfully defended his title against Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling's Masato Tanaka in the best match on the card.

The two behemoths collided in a hard-hitting battle with some high-flying action which belied their well-built frames, and after withstanding some brutal punishment at the hands of the challenger, Awesome finally beat his foe with a top-rope Awesome Bomb.

Rob Van Dam beat Taz to retain the ECW World Television Championship

Hoping to leave the company with some gold around his waist, a WWF-bound Taz met Rob 'Mr. Pay Per View' Van Dan in a decent bout. The challenger looked to be on form too, dominating the bulk of the contest with some heavy-handed offence. Ultimately, however, it was Van Dam who left with the title after beating Taz thanks to the Five-Star Frog Splash.

Afterwards, a departing Taz showed his respect to the champion, slapping hands with Van Dam and shaking hands with the Television Champion's manager, Bill Alfonso.

Rhyno and The Impact Players (Lance Storm and Justin Credible) beat The Sandman and ECW Tag Team Champions, Raven and Tommy Dreamer. 

For most of its tenure, and certainly afterwards, Raven, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman were the true embodiment of Extreme Championship Wrestling, and seeing all three on the same team was a huge attraction for this pay per view.

Their opponents, Lance Storm, Justin Credible and Rhyno were the newcomers on the scene and out to make a name for themselves.

The Sandman, making his return to the company followed a disastrous run in World Championship Wrestling, takes more time to get to the ring than the actual match lasts for; soaking up the adulation from the fans before joining his partners to take on the Impact Players and Rhino.

The match itself was decent enough, though hardly fitting of a true main event performance and after ten minutes of action, Raven turned on The Sandman, drilling him with a Singapore Cane shot that allowed Justin Credible to pick up the victory for his team.

This event would ultimately prove to be ECW's penultimate November to Remember event. The group presented one more in 2000 before eventually being taken over by the global wrestling powerhouse that is World Wrestling Entertainment.

Thankfully, the final outing for November to Remember was a much better send off for the pay per view, as despite a couple of great bouts, the 1999 version was ultimately nothing special.

For more ECW, WWE, WCW, and TNA reviews follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or like the new Facebook page.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Event Poster
September 22, 1996
CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For most fans and wrestling experts, the WWF Attitude Era didn't truly begin until sometime between late 1997 and early 1998. 

Yet if you look far back enough, what becomes apparent is that this change in the company's direction was not a dramatic, overnight overhaul.

Rather, the Attitude Era began subtly -very, very subtly- with the first, tinest shifts towards an edgier product beginning all the way back in April 1996 at In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies.

Back then, Shawn Michaels had made his first valiant title defense in a brutal no-holds barred match against his on-again/off-again buddy, Big Daddy Cool Diesel.

Tonight, The Heartbreak Kid would continue to lead the World Wrestling Federation towards a more violent, risque approach to sports entertainment by battling the deranged Mankind in what was sure to be the kind of brutal, all-out war usually reserved for renegade promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling.

So, where better to do just that than in the home of ECW itself, Philadelphia, PA.

Here, it wasn't just the champion and his psychopathic challenger who were channeling the spirit of Paul Heyman's hardcore outfit. No, tonight, the entire company seemed to be not only pushing the boundaries, but also pushing themselves one step further away from the cartoon campness of the New Generation and one step closer to the sexed-up, blood-filled orgy of OTT entertainment that was the Attitude Era.

Would that actually make for a good show? Let's head down to the Corestates Centre to find out.

The World Wrestling Federation, for over fifty years, the revolutionary sports entertainment. 

That still gives me chills.

When I heard that as a kid, it meant one thing: Wrestling time. It was time to get excited. Time to come alive.

Whether or not tonight's show is worth getting excited over remains to be seen, let's get straight on with the Free For All and find out, shall we?

Marty Jannetty (w/ Leif Cassidy) vs. Savio Vega 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Marty Jannetty faced Savio Vega in the Free for All
Our Free For All tonight skips all the formalities and gets us right down to ringside for our opening contest as Savio Vega looked to get the better of Marty Jannetty, all whilst avoiding the distraction of Jannetty's New Rockers partner, Leif Cassidy.

Whilst the action itself was fairly enjoyable, it only really served as a background to the commentators' last minute shill for the show itself.

After hyping up tonight's epic Mankind/Michaels main event, Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross next took us to a split-screen interview with one Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw.

As Uncle Zebekiah stood by, Bradshaw ranted and raved about being left off every single Pay Per View since his WWF debut nine months ago. That wasn't all, Bradshaw also complained about how his long-time rival Savio Vega continued to get PPV opportunities, even though it was quite clear that Vega was only on the mid-90s equivilent of today's Kick Off shows.

If Bradshaw was pissed about mising out on a Free for All match, he only had to jog his memory back a few months ago to WWF In Your House: International Incident, when he and Vega did inded lock up in the opening contest.

Cutting back tot he ring, the fans were just as uninterested in watching Vega/Janetty, opting instead to start an ECW chant as Tommy Dreamer, Paul Heyman, and The Sandman made their way to the front row and took seats.

Surprisingly (for the time at least), McMahon actually aknowledged the chants, saying:

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw (JBL) was unhappy about not being on the PPV
"By the way, if you do hear some unusual chants here from this extraordinary crowd gathered for In Your House: Mind Games, bare in mind that there is a local wrestling franchise -so to speak- here in town, [and their fans are] very vocal."

"Oh yeah, they have a small, vocal contingent, and this is their home base, and we're just glad they bought tickets!" added Jim Ross.

Back to the in-ring action, this was a relatively decent match that Savio won with a roll-up.

The crowd were only mildly pleased.
Your Winner: Savio Vega 

In a repeat of last month's Summerslam 1996 (and what felt like just about every PPV of that year), Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw ran down after the match and beat up on his adversary, whipping him with his patented bull rope before skulking to the back.

The Face of Fear

Would Shawn Michaels continue to live the boyhood dream or would he find himself trapped in Mankind's diabolical nightmare?

Would The Undertaker finally be able to settle the score with rival Goldust, even after Paul Bearer so deviously turned his back on The Dead Man at last month's Summerslam 1996?

These were the main questions presented in our opening video package this evening, a dark, dramatic affair voiced by Todd Pettingill which set the stage well for the show's two biggest matches.

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Mr. Perfect, Vince McMahon, and Jim Ross did commentary
With that video over, Vince McMahon welcomed us to Philadelphia, PA and to the CoreStates Center, which at the time was still basically a brand new venue.

Joining McMahon on commentary for In Your House 10: Mind Games was none other than Mr. Perfect, and the one and only Jim Ross.

The trio briefly hyped tonight's big two matches before getting down to ring side for our opening contest.

Caribbean Strap Match
Savio Vega vs. Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah) 

Following Bradshaw's attack during the Free For All, Savio had apparently challenged him to a Carribean Strap Match, something I suspect the future JBL accepted as much to finally get his in-ring PPV debut as it was to settle his long-running rivalry with Vega.

In some respects, you'd have to imagine Bradshaw would have preferred to wait a little long for his big match if he knew it was going to be as terrible as this one.

Duller than the proverbial dishwater, literally the only exciting moment occurred when the two brawled to the outside.

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - ECW's Sandman and Tommy Dreamer got involved in the opening Savio/JBL match
There, The Sandman, Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer could be seen on camera watching the show.

A second later, Sandman spat beer at Savio Vega, causing a commotion which Vega and Bradshaw cleverly sold as a legit shoot.

We would see more from the company that Vince McMahon would only refer to as "a local promotion here in Philadelphia" in the coming weeks, but for now, it was back to one of the most mind-numbingly tedious bouts your writer has ever had this displeasure to watch.

Making things worse here was the fact that they copied the exact finish from Savio's earlier strap match against Steve Austin from In Your House 8: Beware of Dog.

I don't mean it was similar, I mean it was exactly the same, right down to Bradshaw playing the Austin role and dragging Vega into the final corner to give him the win.

If this was a redo of a match from many years ago, nobody would have cared. The fact that they repeated a finish from just five months prior made this whole thing look dumb.
Your Winner: Savio Vega. 

As Savio celebrated his big win and hopefully put this never-ending feud to bed once and for all, we were taken to a video package highlighting the -ahem- epic rivalry between James E. Cornette and Jose Lothario.

That match, if you could call it such a thing, was next.

'Razor and Diesel' Attack Savio Vega 

As Jim Cornette made his way to the ring for what was sure to be a thrilling contest, we were taken to backstage in one of those "OMG, something is happening in the back! We'll get you exclusive news on what's happening RIGHT NOW!' segments that were such big part of mid-late '90s American pro wrestling. 

As it happened, the 'something' that was happening was the first glimpse of Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon in a blurry, from-a-distance shot as they beat up Savio Vega.

Battle of the Managers
James E. Cornette vs. 'Super Sock' Jose Lothario

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Jose Lothario faced Jim Cornette
As as 12 year-old mark such as I was at the time that this show went out live, I swallowed just about anything and everything the World Wrestling Federation wanted to shove down my throat. 

I ate it all up happily, and enjoyed almost every match I saw with none of the cynicism or pessimism that inevitably crept in once I grew up into an adult and continued to watch pro wrestling. 

I saw almost, because I remember quite clearly that, even as a wide-eyed, 12 year-old kid who lapped up everything the WWF put out, I just couldn't see the appeal in watching a flabby non-wrestler like Jim Cornette lock up against a retired old man who looked older than my granddad. 

To this day, I can't quite get my head around the idea that Vince and his booking crew thought anybody wanted to see this match. 

But hey, clearly that's what they thought, and here we were. 

Thankfully, this was mercifully short. 

Cornette did the usual heel shtick of berating his opponent and the live audience on the microphone, then Lothario came down, whipped him from corner to corner and pinned him in about a minute flat. 

I'd call this one a dud, but it was barely a match at all, just a short angle that neither served to further a long-term story nor as a short-term spot of entertainment.
Your Winner: Jose Lothario 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Savio Vega was interviewed after being beaten up by Fake Razor and Diesel
Afterwards, we were taken to the back for a Coliseum Home Video Exclusive, in which Doc Hendrix caught up with Savio Vega following the latter's beat down at the hands of the men who may or may not have been Razor Ramon and Diesel.

Selling the attack for all it was worth (or else just doing a really bad promo), Vega admitted that despite once being the absolute best of friends with Razor Ramon and rescuing him from an attack at the first ever In Your House ppv, he could not actually tell if The Bad Guy and his buddy Big Daddy Cool were indeed the men who had beaten him up earlier.

This, he attributed to the fact that both men attacked from behind after he'd already had his ass kicked by Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw.

The segment -which like many of this time period was simple yet effective- ended with Vega swearing revenge on whoever it was that had attacked him the very first chance he got.

A Hollywood Blondes Reunion featuring The Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Bret Hart refuted Brian Pillman's claims that he was going to be there
Back in the arena, Brian Pillman came down to continue the slow, slow build up to the return of Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

In recent weekends, The Loose Cannon had been claiming that he had personally been in touch with The Hitman, and that he would deliver him to the Philly audience here at In Your House: Mind Games. 

Not too surprisingly, it transpired that the devious heel Pillman had been lying this whole time, with Bret issuing a firm rebuttal in a pre-recorded segment live from South Africa. 

Pillman, it appeared, was here to address said rebuttal, and in doing so, managed to orchestrate one of the most entertainment segments of this entire pay per view.

Pushing the envelope in a way that no other promo in recent memory had, The Loose Cannon asked his former Hollywood Blondes partner Austin whether he thought Bret Hart was chicken. 

The response from Stone Cold?

Bret Hart doesn't even qualify as being a chicken, he's the slimy substance that runs out of the south end of a chicken.
Let me make myself clear, if you put the letter 'S' in front of Hitman, you get my exact opinion of Bret Hart.

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart cut a promo on Bret Hart
Considering what was to come just a short time down the line in the Attitude Era, such remarks may seem quite tame, but when you consider that this was still New Generation time, a time when babyfaces smiled, little kids supposedly looked up to their heroes, and nobody made even the vaguest of references to chickenshit on a live pay per view.

The fact that this took place in the home of  ECW was not an accident. The fact that it may have just been the next inevitable step towards the no-holds-barred, x-rated approach of the Attitude Era, may have been.

Mark Henry Explores Philly 

As entertaining as that last segment may have been, it did feel as though the WWF were stalling here, as if for some reason they just didn't have enough in-ring content to make their show worth watching and were filling up on as much added stuff as possible. 

More filler came next with a short clip of Mark Henry walking around Philadelphia, visiting the Liberty Bell and generally having a nice time. 

Quite what the point of this was is anybody's guess, but it did at least kill at minute of time before our next match.

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Clarence Mason tricked Jim Cornette into signing over Owen Hart and British Bulldog's contractsClarence Mason Swindles Jim Cornette 

Next, we went to the back where Jim Cornette was being tended to by a doctor after his -ahem- punishing contest with Jose Lothario. Taking advantage of Cornette's dazed and confused state, Clarence Mason arrived and had him sign his signature to a document, telling the distraught manager that it was a legal document needed to sue Lothario. 

In recent weeks however, it would be revealed that Mason had actually tricked Cornette into handing over the managerial rights to Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. 

Speaking of those two, they were up next.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn)  vs. Owen Hart & British Bulldog

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the beginning of the end of The Smoking Gunns.

Making their pay per view debut at WWF King of the Ring 1993, the team's three year reign would ultimately come to an end here, all thanks to the self-obsessed seductress known as Sunny. 

This was at the point when the former Body Donna was doing her full Yoko Ono on the one team that had been a consistent part of the company's tag division for several years. 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Sunny fired The Smoking Gunns after they lost the WWF tag team titles
Billy had become so enamored with the blonde bombshell that he was frequently distracted in his matches, and it would cost him dearly here in an entertaining match against Owen and Bulldog. 

To be fair to them, the now-former Camp Cornette members had the Gunns' number right from the start, revealing that they had defaced a huge drop-down poster of Sunny, similar to the one she revealed at last month's Summerslam 1996. 

From there, the two teams engaged in what was so far the best match on the card. Though I appreciate that isn't saying much, it was nonetheless a good effort which ended when Sunny's distraction allowed the British Bulldog to get the cover, the count, and the tag team titles.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & The British Bulldog

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Owen Hart & British Bulldog beat The Smoking Gunns for the WWF Tag Team Titles
Post match, Sunny got mad at her charges, claiming that she had given them her time, she had given them her money, and she had given them Everything, implying, you know, everything that you could probably get from Sunny today if you had enough money.

Much as she had done with The Body Donnas and The Godwins previously, Sunny promptly fired The Smoking Gunns. 

In the weeks that would follow, this would cause Billy and Bart Gunn to turn on each other, bringing the team to an end, but not before they had one last match at the following month's In Your House: Buried Alive. More of that later this month..

The Challenger Speaks...

Cutting to the back of the building, Paul Bearer and Mankind gave a so-so promo about the latter's upcoming title match against Shawn Michaels. 

Bearer claimed that just as it was The Undertaker's Creatures of The Night that had forced him to turn on The Phenom, it would HBK's Kliq (the fans, not the backstage group), that were to blame for what Mankind was about to do to the champion. 

For his part, Mankind gave an eerie and gruesome account of himself, claiming that it was his destiny to hear Michaels' liver rupture, and to become the WWF champion.

Jerry 'The King' Lawler vs. Mark Henry 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Mark Henry beat Jerry 'The King' Lawler
Going into this one, I did wonder why the WWF would invest so much in hyping the debut of Olympic athlete Mark Henry only to have his first match be against Jerry 'The King' Lawler, a man who had mostly been used for comic relief over the course of 1996.

Then the story was revealed, and suddenly this became close to perfect.

You see, this was about Jerry Lawler, the wiley veteran and celebrated pro wrestling star mocking newcomer Henry for not having the skills to back up his overly-hyped debut. 

Lawler was going to "take Mark Henry to school" and show him that wrestling wasn't as easy as it looked.

What followed was a very basic, text-book pro wrestling match that somehow proved to be a whole lot of fun. 

All credit here has to go to The King, who basically wrestled himself for the duration of this short but enjoyable bout. Lawler through himself around and worked the crowd to perfection before finally succumbing to a backbreaker and giving Henry the win in his first WWF wrestling match.
Your Winner: Mark Henry 

Afterwards, a weird contingent of heels, including The New Rockers and Hunter Hearst Helmsley ran in one after the other in attempt to attack The World's Strongest Man.

Henry fought back, cleaned house, and then celebrated as fireworks exploded from the rafters. 

I'm sure the reason for the post-match beat down was explained on Raw or something, but for now, I'll have to imagine that the story line was perhaps that the baddies were jealous and upset about this huge superstar non-wrestler coming in and trying to compete on their turf.

Coliseum Home Video Exclusive Interview with the New World Tag Team Champions

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Coliseum Home Video Exclusive
Backstage, Doc Hendrix caught up with Clarence Mason, Owen Hart, and the British Bulldog.

In an entertaining promo, the new WWF tag team champions gloated about their victory, insisting that The Smoking Gunns -even with "that hosebag" Sunny in their corner- just didn't have what it took to beat the two.

Just when it looked like this interview was all wrapped up, Doc asked about the absence of James E. Cornette. Still enthralled with his big win, Owen claimed that Cornette had been "throwing some confusion into [his and Bulldog's] strategy" but that he didn't really care anyway, and was glad that Clarence Mason was in their corner as their "lucky leprechaun."

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Owen Hart & British Bulldog gloated about their big win
It was at this point that Mason revealed he had indeed tricked Jim Cornette into signing over the management contracts of the new champs.

Though of course, being the cowardly bad guy, he made it seem like it had all been a big mistake.

Not that it mattered, Owen and Bulldog seemed perfectly Ok with the situation, smiling and nodding happily as we cut back to the arena.

Hype for Undertaker vs. Goldust 

For most of 1996, The Undertaker had been at war with both Goldust and Mankind, alternating between the two on most pay per view bouts since the spring. 

This one began at the aforementioned Beware of Dog back in May. It continued just two months ago at In Your House: International Incident, but tonight -so Todd Pettengill informed us via this generic 90s video package- it would all come to an end. 

There would be a winner, and this rivalry would be settled tonight.

Final Curtain Match
Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. The Undertaker 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Undertaker beat Goldust in a Final Curtain match
If the rules of a Final Curtain match were ever fully defined, they certainly were not explained to either of the two combatants, nor to referee Tim White. 

In the aforementioned video package, Pettengill had informed us that the only way to win this one was by pinfall. 

This, you would assume, would make this a no disqualification, no count out match, right?

Yeah, I thought so too, but even as Vince McMahon was telling us on commentary that there was no dq, White was there calling a ten count.

Even when 'Taker and Goldie were on the outside, nothing happened that wouldn't happen within the confines of your standard match. 

In this writer's opinion, this means that both men squandered a perfect opportunity to really do something different and make their match stand out. 

Instead, we got a decent, run-of-the-mill match which ended when The Undertaker tombstoned Goldust to win the match and end this rivalry once and for all. 
Your Winner: The Undertaker 

Afterwards, The Undertaker celebrated his big victory by posing in the ring, doing the now famous pose without the urn for the first time on WWF PPV. 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Shawn Michaels admitted to being nervous in his pre-match promo

Shawn Michaels Is Nervous 

Backstage, Kevin Kelly asked the World Wrestling Federation champion about his thoughts going into tonight's main event. 

Playing down his usual charisma and jovial nature, The Heartbreak Kid admitted that for the first time since winning the gold, he was nervous about defending it. 

Sure, he could out-wrestle anybody in the WWF, but would he even get the chance to straight up wrestle with someone as deranged and -as HBK put it- "whacked out" as Mankind?

Shawn himself wasn't exactly sure, and told us that he was about to go to the ring with no idea about how to deal with the number one contender and his manager, Paul Bearer. 

That match, ladies and gentlemen, was next. 

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. Mankind (w/ Paul Bearer)

Mick Foley has often referred to this as his favourite match, though to be honest, some 21 years down the line, I still haven't seen the whole contest in its entirety. 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Mankind challenged Shawn Michaels for the WWF title
So, was this one really as good as Foley, and countless fans have claimed it to be?

In a word, yes.

A riotous back-and-forth battle that only got better the longer it went on, this nigh-on 30 minute classic had literally everything. 

You wanted wild, out-of-control brawling? You got it. 

You wanted actual, honest-to-goodness wrestling holds? They were here in abundance, even from Foley. 

You wanted high spots like Michaels and Mankind crashing from the top turnbuckle through the Spanish announce table? That happened and looked awesome. 

There was even some wonderful storytelling going on, with Shawn Michaels destroying the Mandible Claw and forcing Mankind to actually use wrestling holds to try and make a pinfall. 

The end, which I really want to describe as beautiful, came when the challenger -who at this point was firmly in control of the match- looked to leap off the top turnbuckle and smash the champ's head open with a steel chair. 

WWF / WWE IN YOUR HOUSE 10: Mind Games - Mankind locks the mandible claw on Shawn Michaels in the WWF title match
Michaels ran up, used a second chair (this one fully set up) as a springboard, and hit a flying Sweet Chin Music, smashing the chair into Foley's head and causing him to crash down. 

Just when it looked like Michaels would get the pin however, Vader ran down to the ring, disqualifying Mankind. 
Your Winner by disqualification and still WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels

Post match, Michaels disposed of Vader, only for Paul Bearer to knock him out cold with the urn. 

Vader looked to strike again, but this time Sid came out and saw him off. 

This gave Mankind time to recover and shove his bare fingers into Michaels throat. The deranged one then called for the casket (which he had traveled to the ring in) to be opened, assumedly to dispose of HBK's body in it. 

Instead, The Undertaker popped out and saw off Mankind, leaving the ring clear for HBK to celebrate another hard fought victory, and one of the best matches of his 1996 title run. 

Coliseum Home Video Exclusive: Mankind Swears Revenge on The Undertaker 

Wrapping things up, another Coliseum Home Video Exclusive took us to the back, where Paul Bearer tried in vein to console a visibly distraught Mankind.

Raging away somewhere deep in the bowels of the building, Mankind promised to get revenge on The Dead Man when they met next month at In Your House: Buried Alive. 
But that, my friends, is another review for another time.

For now, let's get on with the usual summing up, shall we? 

From an in-ring stand point, WWF In Your House 10: Mind Games was a reasonable effort, though with only the Michaels/Mankind match really worth repeat viewing, it has to be said that this one was memorable not for the matches, but for the shift in tone that was a little less subtle than the companies previous steps towards an edgier product.
From the ECW invasion at the start of the show to to the dramatic and violent main event, via Stone Cold Steve Austin's 'off-colour' comments and the occasional use of suggestive language, this was a milestone in the World Wrestling Federation's gradual transformation into the Attitude Era. 

On a personal note, I'd like to apologise for the poor quality images on this review. Wherever possible, I try to use my original copies of shows. Whilst that does mean I review shows closer to how they were presented at the time rather than the heavily edited versions that can appear on the WWE Network, it also means that sometimes I end up with a shitty-quality video, such as this one. 

And finally, thanks once again for reading. To keep up with the latest from RPW, come join me on Twitter, or hit Like on the brand new Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.