June 14, 2009
Austin Atwood

"HARDCORE TV"
Air Date: August 3 (7), 1995 (taped: July 28, 1995)
Location: Orange County Fairgrounds (Middletown, NY)

This week's episode opens with footage from the Florida shows where the Public Enemy once again invited a huge mass of fans into the ring, but THIS time we get the ring actually collapsing under the weight in an image that would live on in ECW lore forever. 'Bout time. They've been teasing me for weeks.

Opening montage.

Backstage Joey hypes the show, adding that it took place in the middle of a thunderstorm, which wasn't such a good thing since it was an outdoor venue. Whoops. Some highlights: Cactus Jack gets driven to the ring on a back of a motorcycle. It's no Road Wild, but then, what is? Marty Jannetty nails Jim Neidhart with a dropkick. Wait, when did this become 1990 WWF? Scott Steiner belly-to-bellys the Vampire Warrior, then hits him with a dragon suplex. That leads to a top rope clothesline from brother Rick. Fat Val Puccio misses a splash and takes a bunch of "shah" punches from Hack Myers. He reverses a corner whip though and squashes Hack against the buckle like a bug. Hack turns the tide again and manages a guillotine legdrop on the apron and a kind-of DDT for the three-count. Scorpio hits a moonsault legdrop on a prone Mikey Whipwreck. Then we see introductions for the Steiner match, which we already saw a highlight from. Nice continuity, dummies. In the ring New Jack is all hyped up and talking trash on TPE. From the match itself we see Rocco and Mustafa brawling in the crowd. The outdoor atmosphere is pretty wild, as there's this chain link fence surrounding the fans and it makes it look like they're fighting in a prison yard, which given most of the guys in ECW, is probably not a bad suggestion. Next up is Raven DDT'ing Tommy Dreamer and then he and Stevie holding Tommy so Beulah can slap the shit out of him. The Pitbulls run in to clear the ring.

*ECW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP*
THE PITBULLS vs. RAVEN & STEVIE RICHARDS © (w/ Beulah McGillicutty)

(referee: Jim Molineaux)

Lance Wright is handling in-ring announcer duties, in case you care. Joey keeps saying that its "pouring rain", but it doesn't even look like it's misting at this point. Stevie starts off tentatively with Pitbull #2. He tries to use Molineaux as a shield, but that doesn't work and he eats a big press slam. PB1 comes in and tosses Stevie around for a bit, squashing him in the corners and just generally pounding on him. Pitbulls trade off again, with #2 hitting a release powerbomb. He nails Stevie in the corner with a half spinkick/half corner splash. To the outside he clotheslines Stevie on the dirt infield. Back in for the slingshot shoulderblock from PB1. The challengers call for the superbomb, but Raven runs all the way around the apron to knock PB2 off the ropes. He takes care of both Pitbulls, getting a two count on PB1 off of a double clothesline. Not that there was ever anything remotely close to a tag, but this ECW, where rules only count when the story demands it. Double arm suplex for two as Joey actually backs up my point that the tag never occurred. Raven tries a splash on PB1, but it hits knees. In comes Stevie, and then PB2, but now Molineaux is all concerned about legality and puts #2 out, allowing Raven to choke #1 in the corner. Stevie gets small packaged by PB1, but the count is late because Molineaux is talking to Raven on the apron. Not that Raven was doing anything, mind you. Raven tags in and goes low on the Pitbull for a two-count. Back in comes Stevie, who actually scores with a headbutt. He drops down for a backdrop and gets suplexed over for his trouble. Hot tag to Pitbull #2! He unloads on both champs with some punches, slams Stevie, then gets a double noggin' knocker. Powerslam on Stevie, but the ref is nowhere to be found as Raven and PB1 are brawling outside. Beulah gets on the apron to draw #2 over, Stevie recovers to get a superkick, Beulah sprays something in the Pitbull's eyes, and NOW Molineaux is back and Stevie gets the three-count to retain. Ugh. That was a mess.

Result: Raven & Stevie Richards via pinfall (8:03).

Post-match, Raven & Stevie continue to beat down the Pitbulls. This of course brings in Tommy Dreamer and Luna. DDT for Raven. Double DDT for Stevie. Some fan assisted weapon shots on the outside send the tag champs staggering up the aisle. Oops. They forgot to bring Beulah. In the ring, Tommy calls for the piledriver, as the crowd is eating this up like crazy. Tommy lifts her up, giving all sides of the arena the panty shot… and DRILLS her into the mat. That Tommy Dreamer, such a nice boy.

Backstage, "Scorp Dog is in the house". He accuses WCW and WWF of ripping off the ECW. He gets half-way through the promo and then starts repeating himself. I'm not 100% sure he's "with it" tonight, if you know what I mean. Talk turns to Taz, as Scorpio takes gleeful credit for breaking his neck. He mentions the Steiners as well. Wow. That was a rambling mess of a promo.

*ECW TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP*
EDDY GUERRERO vs. DEAN MALENKO ©

(referee: Jim Molineaux)

Two weeks in a row? IT'S AWESOME, BAY-BEE!! Sorry. Channeling my inner Dick Vitale there. I feel the need to point out that Molineaux got a shave and a haircut and now it's damn near impossible to tell him and Finnegan apart. Slow start as neither wants to make the first move. Dean pushes Eddy into a corner on a lock-up, but gives a clean break. Eddy turns another lock-up into an armbar then into an arm-wringer. Malenko reverses to one of his own, but Eddy rolls through and kips up back into his. Furious exchange of escapes and leg sweeps leads to a stand-off. Eddy works a headlock on the mat as Joey goes over the Guerrero family history. Monkey flip by Dean sends Eddy SAILING, but he lands on his feet in a beautiful spot. Unique headscissors delivered by Eddy. He then gets a Frankensteiner off the top rope for two. Hiptoss battle won by Eddy, but then they trade off headscissors as things pick up quickly. Scoop slam by Eddy into the slingshot senton which he's worked into every match so far. Eddy slows thing down with an abdominal stretch. Dean tries to hiptoss his way out, so Eddy rips his head off with a short-arm clothesline. Dean counters a waistlock into a backdrop suplex with serious elevation and now the Shooter is in control. WICKED back elbow! Dean runs Eddy into the buckle and cleans his clock with a clothesline. Brainbustaaa!! ONE! TWO! NO! Fireman's carry into the stomach buster actually pops the crowd. Eddy reverses a corner whip and goes for the tornado DDT, but Dean just LAUNCHES him about 3/4 of the way across the ring. That's still sweet even though it happens in damn near every match between the two. Tigerbomb! ONE! TWO! THR-NO!! Dean-o showing a little emotion here as he's frustrated by Eddy's resilience. Off the ropes and Eddy gets tossed HIGH into the night and dropped to the mat! Hiptoss reversed into a roll-up! ONE! TWO! Malenko kicks out! And IMMEDIATELY clotheslines Eddy back down! Urinage slam by Eddy. Up top for the frogsplash… NAILS IT! But Eddy's ribs are too hurt for him to capitalize and we get a ten-count from Molineaux. Dean is up first and now it's his turn to work the abdominal stretch. Eddy eventually makes the ropes, so Dean just starts punting him in the ribs. Legdrop gets two for Dean. Powerbomb attempt is turned into a hurricanrana by Eddy! They go into the pinfall reversal sequence and Eddy scores the out-of-nowhere pin with a jackknife cradle to regain the title!

Result: Eddy Guerrero via pinfall (11:47).

Okay, first things first, what happened to the heel turn that Eddy pulled last week? He nearly ripped Dean's head off and spat on him post-match, and then this week it's never mentioned and Eddy wrestles the match as the underdog babyface. Maybe I'm being picky, but that's inexcusable in my book. The match itself was good, but it was essentially the same match they've had before, so it's beginning to feel less and less special. I thought the heel turn would have changed the dynamic, but obviously it didn't. And while it was novel to see Dean win the title last week with a pin in the middle of the pinfall reversal sequence, two weeks in a row is a bit much. All that being said, mediocre Malenko/Guerrero is still better than most of what the others guys in the promotion have to offer, so I'll take it.

Backstage Joey announces a rematch will take place on August 26th in a 2 Out of 3 Falls Match. I believe that will wind up being both men's last match in ECW. We segue into the Sandman caning Mikey segment from last week. Mikey has apparently vowed revenge, sayeth JoJo. Speaking of revenge, Taz is looking for a little on Scorpio, so he's brought in the Steiners. Let's go to them now!

Rick actually does the heavy lifting with this week's promo, sounding very much like Road Warrior Hawk. Taz rips off his neck brace to announce he's been "Steinerized" and starts barking with Rick as Scott nearly cracks up. Rick, genius that he is, grabs Taz around the neck, which wasn't too bright considering Taz's broken neck was legit. And that's the show.

Overview: Hard to get really excited about this week's show. Malenko-Guerrero was good, but ultimately disappointing for reasons that had more to do with the overall story rather than the quality of the match. The tag title match annoyed the hell out of me. I can't stand when the rules are only enforced when it's convenient to the story, or worse, when the refs allow themselves to be "distracted" by heels that aren't really doing anything heelish. The idea behind those kind of spots is for the heels to get away with something because they're timing is better and they know how (and are willing to) cheat, whereas the babyface always gets the short-end because it's not supposed to be in their nature. It's not that hard to do right, and yet it's constantly butchered (and not just in ECW). Anyway, there wasn't really much in the way of angle advancement this week either, and the two promos were a mixed bag. I'm a thumbs down on this week even though it's actually a sold hour of action.

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