September 10, 2010
Austin Atwood

"HARDCORE TV"
Date: Tuesday, October 3, 1995 (taped: Saturday, September 16, 1995)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)

For the record, I'm finally ditching the WWE 24/7 version of the air date, which has jumped around quite a bit and never seemed to be based on anything in particular. Apparently the show used to air on Tuesday nights in the Philly market, so from now on we'll be going with that.

The unbelievably gorgeous face of Beulah McGillicutty opens the show, as she's standing in front of the ECW banner to announce a new feature here on Hardcore TV – "Beulah's Box". YYYYYES!! Oh wait, it's a post office box, and she's gonna be answering viewer mail. Darn. Not quite what I was hoping for.

Opening montage. A new one to boot. Some of the highlights are the same, but it started off a little different.

Backstage Joey gives us the actual address for Beulah's Box, although he's not too pleased about the possibilities it presents. He pimps the "Gangsta's Paradise" video as well as the ECW Arena show that coming Saturday night, which will apparently feature a Gangsta's/Public Enemy match taking place in a ring set up *outside* the arena. Interesting. Can't say as though I've ever heard of that match before.

# STEEL CAGE MATCH #
MIKEY WHIPWRECK & THE PUBLIC ENEMY vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO & NEW JACK & THE SANDMAN (w/ Sandman)
(referee: Jim Molineaux)

Mikey is dressed as a Hoodie (complete with braided hair) and the three babyfaces do their dance while standing on the ropes. Mikey gives Bob Artese a hug and lifts his wallet and watch, much to the appreciation of Rock & Grunge. Mustafa is – surprise, surprise – not here tonight thanks to some troubles with local law enforcement, so 2 Cold Scorpio will be taking his place. Before we get to the actual match…

(LAST WEEK ON ECW) New Jack and Grunge knocked out some cameras during a backstage altercation and Steve Austin made his ECW debut with an off-the-charts Hulk Hogan imitation.

They're taking FOREVER to get this thing going, which is actually building the tension pretty well, something you don't often get in ECW. Makes it feel like more of a main event. New Jack grabs the mic from Artese and shouts his way through a bleep-filled promo that doesn't really add anything. Rocco Rock responds by telling Molineaux to keep "that raggedy-ass ho" off the cage, otherwise he'll bite her in the ass. Interesting threat, Rocco. CLIP. Scorpio slams Mikey and we're knee deep in carnage. Sandman goes into the cage courtesy of Rocco. Joey rips off Jim Carrey on commentary (I guess it would have been hip at the time). Rocco actually hits a pretty sweet move, as he springboards off the second rope for a moonsault on a standing Sandman, who ducks, so Rocco manages to turn it into a Russian legsweep all in one motion. That's something I'd expect to see from a Rey Misterio, not Rocco Rock. Impressive. CLIP. Grunge and New Jack are now outside the ring and up at the Eagle's Nest. Beer cans are used and Jack eventually hits a splash from the top portion to down below. Back in the cage, Sandman suplexes a folded-up table onto Mikey. Lots of punching and cage-related violence follows, none of which is worth getting into detail over. CLIP. Sandman SUPERPLEXES the aforementioned table onto Mikey. Scorpio hits Mikey with a superkick, then hits Rock as well. Sandman goes back to suplexing the table, this time on BOTH downed opponents. New Jack and Grunge are back in the cage, BTW. Skillet violence from Rocco Rock as he sends Sandman careening out the door. New Jack gets dumped outside as well while TPE make a TRIPLE-STACK of tables in the ring. Scorpio gets to play sacrificial lamb as Rocco drags him up the cornerbuckles. They get on TOP of the cage and BOTH go launching off the top and through the tables! Big "ECW" chant follows, as you'd expect. That was one of those spots that would have blown my mind at the time, but in light of all the TLC matches in WWE since, it's like "cool… what's next". It doesn't help that what we've seen of this match up until now has been BRUTALLY slow and disjointed. TPE holds Sandman up in a vertical suplex position and Mikey comes off the top rope with a cross-body for a two-count. He goes to the top of the cage, but Sandman recovers and hits a nut-shot. He can't capitalize though, as Mikey hits a Frankenmikey off the cage for another two. Mikey goes up AGAIN and damn near trips leaping off of the cage, but hits the superfly splash for the one! Two! Three!

Result: Mikey Whipwreck & The Public Enemy (8:32 shown).

Rocco chases after Woman, forcing her to scramble up the outside of the cage (in red spandex pants, nice). Sandman meanwhile exacts a little revenge on Mikey by pummeling him with cane shots. He adds a sloppy legdrop off the top of the cage for good measure, before lighting up a cigarette. Rocco and Grunge come to the rescue but Sandman gets the hell out of Dodge before anything can come of it. Mikey & TPE celebrate with a dance. An exhausted and bloody dance, but a dance nonetheless. The heels try to spoil the party, but Mikey suplexes Scorpio in OVER the top of the cage! Now THAT was awesome! He gets some cane shots in on Sandman as well before everyone wanders to the back.

Backstage Joey once again promos the upcoming Gangstas-TPE outdoor match, which includes a pretty lengthy video recap of the feud up till now. Lots of sick violence and brawling spots that we haven't seen on ECW TV because none of the matches have aired. There's also a bunch of clips from promos that I don't recall ever seeing. Kinda wonder where they would have aired if not on this show. Curious.

Jason – "The Sexiest Man On Earth" – stands by with The Eliminators, to ask Taz the all important question: "How do you like my suit?". I have no idea what that's all about. I'm not sure I need to.

Lance Wright, who has thankfully shaved off his abomination of a goatee, attempts to interview Tommy Dreamer, but Tommy takes immediate offense to being interviewed. He grabs Lance by the collar and cuts a pretty intense promo, telling Cactus Jack he won't get the sympathy he's after. He ends things by aping Cactus' "Bang! Bang!" catchphrase, actually making the gun symbol with his hand and sticking the "barrel" down Lance's throat on the second "Bang!". Niiiiice.

Back to Joey, who intros the next match which was filmed at The Sportland Café in Middletown, NY on September 23, 1995.

*ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP*
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. THE SANDMAN (w/ Woman)
(referee: Jim Molineaux)

"Superstar" Steve Austin, as he's now dubbed, comes out. He calls the building a dump and says WCW "wouldn't take a [bleep] in this building, much less book a wrestling show in it". He gets in Sandman's face and tells him since Sandman's name's not Hogan, he could whip his ass. Sandman accepts this as a challenge and the two shake hands, apparently cementing an upcoming match. Austin tells Mikey he's a good kid, but he's not in Austin's league. Austin is walking this weird line between face and heel. We clip ahead into the actual match, with Mikey hitting a hurricanrana and then a superkick to send Sandman outside. A nice pescado follows. CLIP. Sandman just bitchslaps Mikey around for the camera's benefit. CLIP. A ladder gets pulled from under the ring and things are NOT looking good for Whipwreck. Sandman just drops it on Mikey's back as he's laying across the ringside barrier. CLIP. The ladder's in the ring now and Mikey is goin' up! He comes off with what is really a flying headscissor but which so often gets called a hurricanrana (or Frankensteiner or FrankenMikey or whatever). CLIP. Sandman is on the top rope and falls forward with the ladder, driving it into a prone Mikey. CLIP. Scoopslam on Mikey and Sandman goes back up the ladder. He actually HANGS from the roof girders and drops a NASTY legdrop on Mikey from there. That gets a well-earned "ECW" chant. CLIP. Mikey batters Sandman with the ladder in the corner, then slugs away up top and gets ANOTHER FrankenMikey (a legit one this time). He goes up with the ladder to return the earlier favor by falling forward onto Sandman, but Woman canes him from the apron and Mikey falls to the mat where Sandman rolls over and pins him to retain. You know, if the whole point of the Mikey character is to make him this inept underdog who wins even though he's not really good enough, does it make sense to have to your World Champ need outside interference just to get a fluke win?

Result: The Sandman via pinfall (3:15 shown).

Mikey's not through though, as he attacks Sandman on the outside during the announcement of Sandman's victory. Yeah, this feud isn't over yet.

Cactus Jack promo time! Let's see what the master has to offer this week.

CACTUS JACK: You know I'd like to kind of apologize for my behavior, I'm embarrassed. Certainly I feel a little stupid about the way I acted here out on this show a few weeks ago. Because I get a little emotional when I talk about wrestling because wrestling's been my livelihood for the past ten years. It's enabled me to live out my childhood dream. So for me to come out on a show such as the ECW television program and badmouth the wrestlers there, well… I'm sorry. But I think in order to understand what's going around my head and going through it, you have to understand where I came from and what my goals were when I got into wrestling. You see back in 1985 there was a program on 20/20 that, that challenged the wrestling industry, kinda portrayed it in a negative light. And Tommy if you're listening, try to understand that I was just about the world's biggest wrestling fan. And for me to stand in front of that television set and see people running down a business that I loved and held dear… even though I new very little bit about it. To see my friends laughing at me saying "that's what you want to get involved in?" And that night I went to bed, NOT WITH VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS DANCING IN MY HEAD, BUT OF BROKEN BONES, OF BATTERED BODIES, OF BLOODIED CORPSES, saying to myself, "if it's the last thing I do, if I have to hold myself up for a human sacrifice… the world will respect professional wrestling." Oh and that dream came true, yes. I've sacrificed myself for the past ten years AND LEFT THE BETTER PARTS OF MY PAST LYING ON CONCRETE FLOORS… from Africa to Asia to South America to right into the middle of the ECW arena. And what's it really done? Where have we really come to? Lying in a hospital bed in Munich, Germany, watching my ear being thrown out into a garbage can NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE IT BACK ON THE TRIP HOME BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW THE GERMAN WORD… for formaldehyde. And having a nurse walk into my room… looking at that piece of my body that's laying in the bottom of the garbage and saying, "EST AUL ESPAUCHEIL", which means, "it's all a big joke". EXCUSE ME! I DIDN'T KNOW! DO YOU OPEN UP THE LUNGS OF A SMOKER AND SAY "OH MY GOLLY, I THOUGHT SMOKING WAS SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD FOR YOU!". DO YOU OPEN UP TERRY FUNK'S NON-FUNCTIONING LIVER AND SAY "OH, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT FOUR DECADES OF HEAVY DRINKING TOOK THIS KIND OF TOLL!". So if they show that much respect for the patient… WHAT MADE ME ANY DIFFERENT? Because I was a wrestler and professional wrestling will never be respected, no matter have many teeth I lose, no matter how many ears I lose, no matter how many BRIAN CELLS HAVE TO DIE! And so it comes down to the point where it's just not worth it. It's not worth it. And Tommy Dreamer you've got to start looking realistically at wrestling as a way to make a living. Nothing more and nothing less. And as long as it's strictly business, then you may as well be cuddled in the welcoming arms of World Championship Wrestling. BECAUSE ECW FANS WILL BE THE DEATH OF YOU! You see, they realized – and they were smarter than any of us – that *they* ruled ECW wrestling, not us. What happened, Tommy? You came back from All Japan Wrestling with your trunks and your boots and said, "by golly, I'm gonna wrestle". Did Giant Baba hand you a dozen eggs and say, "HIT THESE ON JUMBO TSURUTA'S HEAD"? YOU'RE A DISGRACE TO THE PROFESSION, TOMMY! You're becoming a damn fool! And I can't sit back there and take it, because I've got a moral obligation. You see, when I survey the wasteland that is professional wrestling... Tommy try to understand. I am but a failed experiment in human sociology, and I can accept that. But never in my sickest dreams did I imagine that there would be other people taking dives onto concrete floors, committing human suicide on my behalf, like I'm the patron saint of the sick sons-a-bitches. Is that all I stand for, Tommy? Is that all I stand for, to sit in an arena where J.T. Smith lands head-first on the concrete and hear the fans say "YOU [BLEEPED] UP!" WELL [BLEEP] YOU!!! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WE'RE NOT A WRESTLING ORGANIZATION ANYMORE! WE'RE THE WORLD'S DAMN BIGGEST PUPPET SHOW! AND I'LL BE DAMNED IF I'M GONNA STAND IN THAT ARENA AND LET YOU CALL ME MY MATCH! One, two, three, JUMP! One, two, three, JUMP! Well not me, because I'm nobody's stooge. And Tommy Dreamer if you had a little bit of pride or a little bit of common sense you'd understand that those people don't love you… THEY LAUGH AT YOU! You took the worst beatings the sport's ever seen and they STILL laughed in your face. And I stood there with my arm around you six months ago and endorsed you saying "He's hardcore. He's hardcore". Well for that I deserve to die a terrible, painful death, Tommy. Because I feel responsible. And I go to bed at night… AND I'M NOT SURE WHERE I'M GONNA SPEND MY ETERNITY. And you Tommy… you're my salvation. Because by delivering you to a better organization where you can be appreciated, loved, and held with just the littlest amount of respect in the Turner Family. Then maybe there's a chance for me too. So please, Tommy, for my sake, think it over. Because a "yes" to Cactus Jack would mean a great deal to me. And a "no", well… I'd have to take that as you're putting a big OK stamp of approval… ON MY ETERNAL DAMNATION! I'M COUNTING ON YOU, YOU LITTLE SELFISH PRICK!! DON'T MAKE ME HURT YOU, BECAUSE I CAN! DON'T MAKE ME DO IT, AND IF I DO, AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, IT WON'T BE IN FRONT OF THOSE LITTLE SCUMBAGS AT THE ECW ARENA… it will just be me and you, Tommy. And you won't know when it's coming… and you won't where. SO UNLESS YOU WISH TO DAMN ME TO THE DEPTHS OF HELL, answer my call and say "Okay, Cactus, you win. I'll put on the suspenders, I'll groom that moustache and I’ll call Uncle Eric and say 'Count me in'." Because not only would you be doing yourself a big favor; not only would you be helping your life, but you'd be saving mine. You'd be saving mine. YOU BE SAVING… mine.

Overview: Thank God for that Cactus interview, because it saved this show from the dregs. The wrestling was pretty pitiful this week and the other segments didn't offer much outside of the cool Gangstas-TPE video recap. And when a *recap* is one of the highlights of a show, well… that's not good.

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