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Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

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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

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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 Tod Gordon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tod Gordon. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed 1994

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review
February 5, 1994
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Night The Line Was Crossed was Eastern Championship Wrestling's first major event of 1994 and a big step for the Philadelphia promotion as they began to firmly cement their legacy for violence, hardcore wrestling, and all things extreme. 

Throughout 1993, events such as the Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular had seen ECW presented as little more than another indie outfit in which both established, past-their-prime performers and up-and-coming superstars plied their trade. 

Tonight, however, the company let it be known that they meant business as they took the first bloody and brutal steps towards establishing themselves as one of The Big Three professional wrestling companies of the 1990s. 

Here's what went down on February 5th, 1994, a night that will forever live in ECW fans minds as the night the line was crossed. 





The Night The Line Was Crossed

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review - ECW President Todd Gordon
Tonight’s show opened with Todd Gordon sitting in front of a large map of the world and the oldest PC you’ve ever seen in your life.

Gordon informed us that Eastern Championship Wrestling had been accused of being the most violent, gory, extreme, and hardcore federation in America.

He neither confirmed nor denied these allegations, but simply said that what we were about to see was from February 4th, the night the line was well and truly crossed.

There you are then.

Wildman Sal Bellomo vs. The Ruffneck Mr. Hughes (w/ Jason)

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review - Mr Hughes beat Sal Bellomo
I must admit, it was different seeing Mr. Hughes with somebody leading him into battle rather than Hughes being the man standing behind someone else.

The man in his corner had the uninspiring name of ‘Jason’ and wore a tuxedo jacket and bow tie. Combined with his hairdo, you got the feeling this might be what Paul Heyman might look like if he dressed as Brutus Beefcake for Halloween.

Anyway, this match was a big pile of nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two men do less in the ring and call it a match.

A few instances of running the ropes, a slow, lumbering punch or two, then interference from Jason to give Hughes the win.
Your Winner: Mr. Hughes.

That was crap.

Double Dog Collar Match
The Sandman & Tommy Cairo vs. The Pitbull & Rockin’ Rebel (w/ Jason)

This was a fun, albeit short match full of wild brawling.

After five or six minutes of a fairly good match, Tommy Cairo dove on The Pitbull with The Sandman assisting by grabbing Pitbull’s legs.

That was enough to get the fall.

It’s a shame this will one didn’t last longer because I was just getting into it.
Your Winners: The Sandman & Tommy Cairo

Post-match, Rockin’ Rebel hung Sandman over the top rope by the chain before he and Pitbull did a number on Tommy Cairo.

No Rules Match
The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Bruise Brothers (Ron & Don Harris)

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review -  The Public Enemy vs. The Bruise Brothers
Coming to us by way of Smoky Mountain Wrestling, The Bruise Brothers entered into a chaotic, arena-wild brawl with The Public Enemy which looked to be even more wild and chaotic than the previous match.

I say ‘looked to be,’ because this was one example of how ECW’s low budget presentation could really hurt them.

The show seemed to be shot from a single camera which meant it was impossible to follow everything. Add some very low lighting, and keeping track of this match was hard going.

From what you could see, however, this looked to be an excellent brawl that finally ended up back in the ring where Johnny Grunge leveled one of their opponents with 2x4.

He and Rocco Rock then piled on for the three count.
Your Winners: The Public Enemy

Up next, this:

Tommy Dreamer vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review -  Jimmy Snuka vs. Tommy Dreamer
You know, the idea of a heel Jimmy Snuka appeals to me, but my goodness were his matches terrible.

On all of the Eastern Championship Wrestling shows I’ve reviewed so far, Snuka’s matches were  always one of -if not the- worst things on the show, and this was hardly an exception.

He and Tommy Dreamer spent the first third of the match stalling and playing to the crowd. I suppose that was fun for them but it was boring as heck to watch.

The second third saw Snuka beat down Dreamer in like 30 seconds, only for the plucky rookie to kick out of the Superfly Splash.

Then, in the final third, Snuka hit another splash and pinned him.

The ending was interesting as Joey Styles played up the idea that nobody ever kicked out of Superfly’s finisher, but the match itself was just dull.
Your Winner: Jimmy Snuka

Post match, Snuka beat up the official then attacked Dreamer some more.

Dreamer then sold the beat down like he’d been run over by a train while Sal Bellomo came in to ensure Snuka couldn’t do any more damage.

Kevin Sullivan & The Tazmaniac (w/ Woman) vs. The Original Sheik & Pat Tanaka

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review -  Kevin Sullivan & Tazz
The Original Sheik
was such a wild and out-of-control force that he tipped the entrance curtain over on his way out and destroyed started throwing things around wildly.

This distracted everyone enough that Pat Tanaka was able to sneak into the ring and attack The Tazmaniac

Tanaka was wearing street clothes tonight, probably because he couldn’t be bothered.

What followed from here was really two different matches. Sheik and Kevin Sullivan brawled through the crowd and got into a fight by the barricades while in the ring, Tazmaniac spent the entire match sitting on Tanaka’s back in a half Boston Crab.

To be fair, it wasn’t terrible, but having already seen two wild tag team brawls; this just didn’t add anything new.

At least not until the finish. Sheik broke away from Sullivan to throw a fireball in the ring at Tazmaniac, allowing Tanaka to score the victory.

The whole thing was over in about four minutes.
Your Winners: The Original Sheik & Pat Tanaka. 

Afterwards, Sheik and Sullivan continued to brawl while Woman tended to the scorched and singed Tazmaniac in the ring.

J.T Smith vs. Awesome Mike Awesome

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review -  Mike Awesome vs. JT. Smith
Yes, Mike Awesome was Awesome Mike Awesome here as he made his first appearance at a major ECW event.

Big Mike did look impressive here, getting over with the crowd as he destroyed J.T Smith in what looked to be a short squash match until Smith scored a quick victory with a roll up, his only offensive move of the entire match.
Your Winner: J.T Smith

Post match, Awesome vented his frustrations by taking out the referee with two powerbombs.

He then climbed to the top rope, ready to pounce on the poor, battered official. Instead, the top turnbuckle snapped and Awesome fell flat on his face in an ugly botch.

Ouch.

Three Way Dance for the Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
ECW Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk vs. Shane Douglas (w/ Sherri Martel) vs. Sabu (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review -  Sabu puts an armbar on Shane Douglas
Never in my life did I imagine that I’d willingly watch an hour-long Shane Douglas match, let alone actually enjoy it.

The entertainment started before any of the combatants even locked up as Paul E. Dangerously ran out and clocked Sherri Martel from behind with his ever-present cell phone.

It was such a cowardly-d*ck move and was so unexpected that you couldn’t help but be entertained by it.

From there, this three way dance started with just Douglas and Sabu as Joey Styles explained that in order for either man to win, they would first have to beat the other before dethroning Terry Funk for the title.

This got a little confusing as it was then explained that if neither man scored the victory in the first 15 minutes, Funk would come out anyway to make it a three way. That bit was clear, but it was never fully explained whether elimination rules still applied once the Funker got involved.

As both men duked it out, Styles also gave us the backstory to the match, reminding us that Sabu -in only his second match for the company- had upset Douglas for the title at NWA Bloodfest ‘93 before losing it to Funk.

Predictably, neither man scored the pin in the first 15, leading to the arrival of the ECW champion.

If you were immediately expecting the promised three-way though, you’d be dissapointed.

In the ensuing chaos, Sabu just kind of disappeared, meaning Douglas had essentially swapped opponents.

Later, the Homicidal Maniac returned sporting a bandage on his knee, with Styles telling us that he’d been injured.

The three-way then commenced and led to the most comical spot in the match:

Funk left the ring and worked his way through the crowd to Joey’s announce table.

There, he took to the microphone and practically begged Douglas and Sabu to come out and fight him in the crowd.

His opponents ignored him completely and instead went into a rest hold in the middle of the ring.

The more they ignored him, the more Funk called him out until eventually giving up and rejoining the fight.

I don’t know why, but that was hilarious.

Later, after more action, Bad Breed came out and began attacking Shane, though not without receiving a couple of chair shots courtesy of Sabu.

The match continued all the way up to an hour-long draw, and while it wasn’t the greatest technical spectacle in the world, it sure was a very entertaining hour of wrestling.
Time Limit Draw

Post match, Funk and Sabu had to be helped from the ring while Douglas left on his own power, all while the crowds gave the three men a standing ovation.

The Post-Show Media Conference

ECW - The Night The Line Was Crossed '94 Review -  Terry Funk confronts Shane Douglas
The Night The Line Was Crossed ended with Joey Styles pretending to host a media conference even though it was very obvious there was no one else in the room besides himself and ECW’s own camera crew.

First, Styles interviewed a very emotional Terry Funk, who put Douglas and Sabu over but was far less complimentary towards WCW and WWF.

The Funker was ECW all the way and was passionate about delivering hardcore wrestling for the hardcore fans.

Up next, Paul E. Dangerously came out with Sabu being restrained by his handlers.

Dangerously simply put his man over and claimed that he had been robbed of the title before making way for Douglas.

Calm, cool, and collected despite visibility seething underneath, The Franchise insisted that he should be the true ECW champion as he was the only man to leave the ringside area on his own two feet.

This brought Funk back for an intense confrontation which led to a predictable brawl that was broken up by most of the ECW roster.

I won’t lie to you, those post-match interviews were the most compelling thing on the whole show.






The fact that the “media conference” was the most enjoyable aspect of the event doesn’t mean that the rest of ECW The Night The Line Was Crossed sucked.

It really didn’t.

By now, the company had truly embraced the renegade, hardcore style that would see them establish themselves as one of American pro wrestling’s big three.

And while none of the matches were classics and there was a lot of crap on here too (looking at you, Superfly), that hour-long main event and the utterly captivating post-match interviews made it well worth a watch.

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:

Retro Pro Wrestling

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