March 4, 2009
Austin Atwood

"HARDCORE TV"
Air Date: May 27, 1995 (taped: May 13, 1995)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)

I've always wanted to give this recapping thing a try, so here goes.

(LAST WEEK ON ECW) Shane Douglas introduces Bill Alphonso as a "trouble shooting referee". Cut ahead to Alphonso disqualifying Tommy Dreamer in a tag match against Raven for using a closed fist. Douglas taunts Dreamer immediately afterwards, but Cactus Jack comes down and tells Douglas to hit the bricks, because ECW doesn't want him around. Douglas fires back by bringing up how he bailed Cactus out many years ago when they were both struggling through wrestling school. Pull apart ensues. Say what you want about Shane Douglas' personality, he at least *looked* like a star.

Opening credits.

Joey Styles does the TV intro from backstage, recapping the events we just saw. ECW FanCam catches up with Commissioner Gordon as he leaves an office somewhere and cuts a promo on Bill Alphonso and Shane Douglas, telling them to lighten up. Joey then runs down the rest of the show to come.

*ECW TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP*
DEAN MALENKO vs. EDDY GUERRERO
(referee: John Finnegan)

Peter Senerca (Taz) joins Joey for commentary. Go behind into a rear waistlock by Eddy, then into a full nelson. Duck under by Dean is countered right into hammerlock by Eddy, who segues into a rolling armdrag into an armbar, frustrating The Shooter. Eddy goes to a cross-arm breaker (called a Fujiwara armbar by Taz), but Malenko blocks and turns it into a leglace, really working the crank. Eddy tries to break it by reaching back for a chinlock, but Dean escapes. CLIP. Malenko whips Eddy from corner to corner a couple of times. Eddy leaps up top the second time and catches Dean with a forward rolling headscissors and both men roll out to the floor. CLIP. Dean drops Eddy with an inverted DDT right into a head-and-arm lock, but Eddy gets his foot on the ropes to break. Malenko tosses him outside and whips him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Dean hits a tigerbomb with a fold-over pin for two. Malenko tries to pick Eddy up, but Eddy's got rubber legs and just falls to the mat, so Dean settles for a foot on the throat with a little rope leverage. Both guys are legitimately spent at this point, so they must have clipped a LOT of filler. Backdrop suplex by Dean and a lateral press only gets two when Eddy rolls the shoulder up. More visible frustration from Malenko. Tombstone piledriver from Dean gets another two-count as Eddy rolls the shoulder. Dean's too worn to cover with much authority as he's not hooking the leg. He puts Eddy on the top rope, but Eddy gets a thumb to the eye and is about to score with a tornado DDT when Dean just HEAVES him 3/4 of the way across the ring. Successful counter, Dean old boy. Irish whip by Dean and Eddy tries to leap into a hurricanrana, but Dean just plants him with a powerbomb and then quickly rolls into a Boston crab, which Eddy counters for a quick one-count and they roll through a couple of pin attempts before laying each other out with a double clothesline. CLIP. Outside the ring Eddy sends Dean into the rails and then heads up top, launching himself up the aisle with a beautiful plancha. CLIP. Eddy hits a brainbuster in the center of the ring, with Dean adding the old spasm sell. Eddy's frogsplash follow-up hits knees though, and it sends him outside, buying Dean time to recover. Dean rolls Eddy in and goes up top himself, where he's met by Eddy with a superplex, again taking both men out. CLIP. Eddy uses a Three Stooges eye-poke to disorient Dean long enough to grab his hand and do a corner run-up into a ropewalk flying headscissor for two. Both guys are down as Joey and Taz put over the fact that Eddy busted himself open when he hit the mat on the headscissor follow-through. Dean goes to work with an elbow to the back of the head, but a shadow cover gets only two. Texas Cloverleaf attempt is rolled into a small package by Eddy for two. Quick slugfest leads to Eddy putting Dean up on the corner and getting a crisp looking Frankensteiner. CLIP. Crucifix bomb by Eddy for two, Dean breaking the count with a heel to the face on the sit-out cover. Dean slugs away, working Eddy's cut. He gets a backwards roll into a bridge for a two-count. CLIP. Eddy with a schoolboy off a rope whip for two. Eddy gets another two-count by rolling Dean onto the back of his shoulders and neck, but Dean kicks his legs to roll free and then drops back into a corner to catch his breath. Eddy drops in with what would have been a bronco buster had he kept riding. Instead he drags Dean to the center and slaps on a figure-four leglock, only to have the bell ring, signaling the time limit had expired at 30 minutes. Eddy retains as a result. Its criminal how clipped that thing was.

Result: Time-limit draw (12:36 shown).

Backstage Joey runs down the credentials of, and then introduces Peter "Taz" Senerca, signifying his new look as he drops the Tazmaniac caveman get-up to become a legit wrestler. A highlight package of the Tazmaniac suplexing the crap out of a bunch of guys then follows.

Styles does a quick-n-dirty recap of the Raven-Dreamer feud, including the recent introduction of Luna Vachon into the mix.

Raven cuts a promo from some rundown staging area. He brings Stevie Richards in to show off the long scars on Stevie's back that Luna left, and then tells him to go away. Raven says the scars are nothing compared to the emotional ones he lives with every day. He spits out the usual circular poetry to make a pretty decent point, namely that he got the better of the deal since he has Tommy's smokin' hot ex in Beulah, while Tommy is stuck with Raven's ex in the "hideous gargoyle" Luna. He then essentially says he'd rather be crucified then have to fuck Luna again. Can't argue that.

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

They meet on the outside and exchange weapon shots before slugging it out. Cactus whips Sandman into (and over) the barriers as Joey hammers home that the winner faces Shane Douglas immediately after this match. Cactus launches himself over the barrier onto Sandman and they brawl in the crowd for a bit, causing some young kid to leap off the bleachers to avoid getting squashed. Chair shot knocks Sandman silly (well, sillier), but he quickly turns the tides and hits one of his own before tossing Cactus into a table. Molineaux calls for them to take the action inside, but that ain't happening, and Cactus goes to some biting and eye raking to set up a boot to the side of the head. He tries to overhead suplex the table onto Sandman, but for whatever reason can't get it up (make your own joke), so he settles instead for ramming Sandman face-first into a chair held up by a ringside fan. A second one and Sandman rolls into the ring to escape. A Cactus cover barely gets a one count and next thing you know Cactus is outside and Sandman runs down the apron into a body block. He whips Cactus into the barrier, where Cactus finds a cookie sheet nearby. Somebody also rolled a bowling pin his way, but he doesn't use it. Pity. Back inside Sandman gets what could generously be described as a slingshot dropkick, which Joey tries to put over as "innovation". I'm assuming by innovation he meant "horribly botched". Vertical suplex and Sandman just kinda sits there after every move, like he has no clue where he is. Couple of hard corner whips and Sandman lays the boots in. Cactus fights his way out with boots and forearms, then gnaws on Sandman's head. Color me surprised that it didn't open up Sandman's calloused forehead. Swinging neckbreaker by Cactus for a two-count, but Sandman kicks out. Cactus goes for the Cactus Clothesline, but Sandman just backdrops him out. More standing around before Sandman tosses Cactus into the first row, then nearly breaks his own leg trying to jump on him from the apron, getting more of the barrier than of Jack. He then actually manages to impress me with a running dropkick over the guardrail, as he got good air and actually made contact! Hmm. Maybe there's hope for Sandman yet! He derails that hope train by nearly breaking his own ankle on a piledriver, as he apparently can't even sit down correctly, then goes outside to throw the table into the ring, dumping it right on Cactus' ankle. Jesus this is sloppy. Mick thankfully sells the ankle as Sandman props the table in the corner and whips him into it. Mick is impervious though, and comes out with a facedrive into the mat. Cactus moves the table to the center of the ropes, puts Sandman on it, then teeter-totters him out to the floor. Pretty cool looking spot there. And now we've got some barbed wire from somewhere, as Cactus wraps it around his arm and begins to just beat Sandman with it, even dropping an elbow off the apron with it. Sandman is now officially busted open as Cactus continues dropping barbed wire elbows inside the ring. Double-arm DDT gets a two-count, but Shane Douglas runs out from the back and puts Sandman's foot on the rope the break the pin. Cactus is none to happy about this development and Sandman uses the distraction of Shane's presence to take the Singapore cane from Woman at ringside and give Cactus a low blow leading to the three-count to retain. And we're out almost instantly.

Result: Sandman via pinfall (11:31).

Overview: As ECW goes, this was a pretty good show to begin my recapping career with, as we get some wrestling goodness in Dean vs. Eddy and the debut of the cool Taz. The clipped up nature of the TV title match really killed the flow though, as what we were left with was just a bunch of moves. There was no build to the end because we went from the opening moments to both guys being suddenly exhausted. That's where all the quick exchanges and cool-downs that we'll see them work into the later re-matches come in handy, as you get more of a sense of the building dynamic. Here it's kinda flat. Still, it's always fun to watch those two go at it. Foley-Sandman was their typical garbage, but at least it was quick and furthered the three-way angle, which was clearly the focus. Getting to see the debut of Fonzie was also pretty cool from a historical standpoint, so all-in-all this was a memorable episode.

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