July 1, 2009
Austin Atwood

"HARDCORE TV"
Air Date: August 10 (14), 1995 (taped: August 5, 1995)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)

As usual, we open with Backstage Joey hyping highlights from the previous weekend's ECW Arena show (Wrestlepalooza). First he teases us with what we won't see until next week (Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas, Sandman vs. Mikey), along with some still shots of Sandman caning Mikey and Jim Molineaux threatening to strip Sandman of the title if he didn't stop. Sandman stages a mid-ring sit-in out of protest, bringing out TPE. As you might imagine, things degenerate from there. The end result is Sandman interfering in the Tag Team Stretcher Match giving the Gangstas the win and Mikey Whipwreck getting a little payback on Sandman with some caning of his own.

Promo time as Mikey is with Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge. They put a Public Enemy baseball jersey on him and then quiz him on how to behave like a hoodie. Mikey's wimpy answers are less than satisfying at first, but he gets the hang of things pretty quickly and does the TPE dance in the background while Johnny goes off the Gangstas and Sandman. Mikey's cabbage patch at the end is tremendous stuff.

Opening montage. I have give them credit on these things, as there's new clips in there almost every week.

Backstage Joey hypes the ticket hotline, as apparently they were turning people away at Wrestepalooza. Get your tickets today!

Ringside Joey (Backstage Joey's twin brother) interviews the tag champs. Stevie's sporting a Winger cut-off this week, for those who care about that sort of thing. Raven, for the record, does not. They talk about Stevie's girlfriend, officially dubbing her "Francine" for the first time. Stevie demands TV time for his woman. He drags Joey all the way around ringside, as he apparently doesn't know where he left her. Having finally located Francine, Joey interviews her. She refers to Stevie as "sweet cheeks" so he waggles his ass at us as Joey name drops the Blue Oyster Bar (holy Police Academy reference!). Francine stirs shit up though, calling Beulah a slut, and I smell a catfight. Beulah lays out the challenge and over the rail comes Francine and to the ring we go! Crowd is going APE for this, as Stevie is jumping around the ring like a jackass while the girls roll around. In comes video guy Rob Feinstein (complete with neck brace) to get some up-close shots, but eventually some refs and jobbers break the whole thing up, much to the chagrin of the fans. And just like that a rivalry is born.

The Pitbulls cut a promo with Tommy Dreamer. Tommy's still got his hand in a cast. Apparently Luna missed her plane (Tommy blames Raven), but they have a back-up plan. You know, there's something about Tommy's promo style back in 1995 that made him seem like he was stoned all the time.

HACK MYERS vs. J.T. SMITH
(referee: John Finnegan)

Joey refers to J.T. as the "People's Champion here in Philadelphia" even though he's booed by about half the audience. They actually shake hands at the bell. Crowd is very much behind Myers. Cult status is such a bizarre thing. They fight over a lock-up, rolling around the ropes before eventually giving a clean break. Another handshake, which gets booed. Lock-up into the corner and again a clean break (and again booed). Apparently this is J.T.'s return from a knee injury. Third lock-up, but this time J.T. is not so clean on the break. Joey is putting over on commentary that ECW has become more hardcore since J.T. last wrestled, so he's trying to figure out how to give the fans what they want. Hack ducks another lock-up attempt and just shoves J.T. over. They go nose-to-nose and J.T. tries to apologize for his earlier indiscretion, then changes his mind and punches away (earning the "shit" chant), but Myers fires back with "shah" punches. J.T. goes low to turn the tide (a first for him, says Joey) and hits a spinning kick in the corner. He throws Hack outside and then we get an infamous moment in ECW history as J.T. tries a tope and hooks his kneepads on the top rope, smacking his forehead off the floor. We get about half a dozen replays just to humiliate him as this giant welt is forming on J.T.'s head. It really does look like something out of a sci-fi movie. Meanwhile fat Val Puccio comes into the ring and squashes Hack with a powerslam. J.T. recovers enough to climb to the top and hit a Macho Man elbow drop then pin Hack with one foot.
Result: J.T. Smith via pinfall (5:04).

Raven, Stevie, Beulah, Big Dick & Dudley Dudley are hanging out in a giant trash bin. Dudley Dudley is digging through the garbage as Raven recites some poetry. Stevie relives their tag title victory one more time, then ruminates about his new groupie, drawing the ire of Beulah. Stevie rants some more and Raven cuts him off, demanding the Dudley's speak for themselves. Dudley Dudley and his insanely deep voice does the honors. Even though the Pitbulls took out Little Snot, there are plenty more Dudleys to come. Apparently money is thicker than blood and Raven is a demi-God. More poetry from Raven closes things out. We never do find out what Dudley Dudley was looking for in all that garbage.

Back to the ring where we see Hack Myers running in on the end of the Val Puccio versus Broadstreet Bully match and chairing Val, giving him the DQ win. Thankfully we don't show much more, as I'm not sure I can stand Puccio much longer.

Ringside Joey has the Pitbulls and Dreamer. Since Luna got sidetracked by a hurricane (wait, I thought it was Raven's fault? He controls the WEATHER now?), her replacement in the upcoming 8-man tag is none other thanů Cactus Jack! Pretty good substitution if you ask me. Jack gives one of his squeaky voiced interviews. He makes sure to mention Big Dick as often as possible, because dick jokes rule! Cactus actually shows respect for Raven, which is what we in the recap biz call "foreshadowing".

CACTUS JACK & TOMMY DREAMER & THE PITBULLS vs. BIG DICK DUDLEY & DUDLEY DUDLEY & RAVEN & STEVIE RICHARDS
(referee: John Finnegan)

We're only getting highlights on this one, so expect major clippage. Pre-match, Cactus Jack mimics Raven's flop in the corner. Raven gets on the mic and, wouldn't you know it, he feels Cactus' pain. He gives a long recap of Cactus' career, basically seducing him to the dark side. CLIP. Cactus holds the crucifix pose, so Raven slaps him. Then Raven puts his hands behind his back, offering up a free shot, but Cactus tags Tommy in. Raven tags out to Dudley Dudley instead. CLIP. Tommy gives a reverse atomic drop to Dudley, then whips him into Stevie and gives them a noggin' knocker and then a double DDT. CLIP. Richards gets whipped into a chairshot by the Pitbulls. CLIP. Cactus slugs it out with Big Dick. The rest of the heel team comes in to get knocked around, but Cactus holds up before punching Raven and tags out again. Raven and PB2 actually have the nerve to try wrestling, so Stevie pulls the rope down on an Irish whip and PB2 tumbles out. CLIP. Dudley Dudley hits a pretty nice elbow drop after walking the top rope. CLIP. Big Dick military presses Tommy and drops him to the mat. CLIP. Neckbreaker by Dreamer on Richards. Raven dives in to prevent a tag out by Dreamer and Stevie gets a powerbomb on Dreamer for two. CLIP. Cactus works over Big Dick with some chairshots on the outside, but Raven uses one in the ring on Tommy. Everybody's brawling all over the place at this point. Dreamer piledrives Raven on a folded-up chair and is about to pin him when Cactus boots him in the gut, double-arm DDT's him, and rolls Raven on top for the pin and WE HAVE A HEEL TURN!! This of course is the beginning of the anti-hardcore run that Cactus would go on which will lead to some of the best promos ever in the coming weeks. Whipass! The match was nothing special, but it was also clipped to hell, so it's hard to criticize. In fact, given the participants, the clipped version is probably best.
Result: Big Dick Dudley & Dudley Dudley & Raven & Stevie Richards via pinfall (4:49 shown).

Backstage Joey is kind of somber over the Cactus heel turn. He does a really good job of putting over the psychology of the situation. He then throws it to the first of what will be many Cactus promos on the subject.

We scour the backstage area and find Jack sitting under some lumber. He tells the story of getting lost on the way to a show one time due to the brain damage he's suffered thanks to hardcore wrestling. He recaps some of the more famous injuries he's suffered (torn ear, flaming brand, etc.) and claims that Raven was the first to show him sympathy. He apologizes to Tommy and Mikey and every fan who ever believed in him, but he now stands for a higher purpose, that being Raven. He closes with a twisted "Bang! Bang!". A brilliant beginning to a great storyline.

Although we were told that promo would end the show (and got the closing credits to go with it), we cut to Backstage Joey for more recap on the Sandman vs. Whipwreck situation and then show the exact same promo from the Steiners and Taz that closed last week's show. Either they were short of time or that's just a production glitch on somebody's part. Odd.

Overview: Between the J.T. Smith screw-up and Cactus Jack heel turn this is a pretty historic show. As is often the case, the wrestling was nothing special, but the storylines were cranking along. This episode was better for the out-of-ring stuff than anything else, which is sometimes just as good.

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