November 24, 2009
Austin Atwood

"HARDCORE TV"
Date: September 17 (18), 1995 (taped: September 16, 1995)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)

We're not messing around this week, as we open with a Cactus Jack promo. And not just any Cactus Jack promo, but the now legendary "Cane Dewey" promo. He starts off by begging Tommy Dreamer not to sacrifice himself for the ECW fans because when he does, he's taking Cactus down with him. He goes back in time to a point when he thought his name meant something, back to the night that Terry Funk sliced his head open with a broken bottle. And as he lie there bleeding, ready to throw in the towel, he looked out and saw a fan holding a "Cane Dewey" sign, which was apparently aimed at his infant son. The emotional pain suddenly took over from the physical pain. "Dewey Foley is a three-year old boy, YOU SICK SONS A BITCHES!! YOU RIPPED OUT MY HEART, YOU TOOK EVERYTHING I BELIEVED IN, AND YOU FLUSHED IT DOWN THE DAMN TOILET!!" He goes OFF on how he traded in a nice cushy job and big house down in Atlanta for a sweatbox in Long Island, implying that Eric Bischoff is the greatest man in the world along the way. He says the letters ECW are a "lie" and that the ECW fans who chant "he's hardcore", "WOULDN'T PISS ON YOU IF YOU WERE ON FIRE!". He tells Tommy that he loves him and wants to save him and if he has to, he'll drag him to Atlanta where he can turn in his ECW t-shirt for a pair of green suspenders (a reference to Tommy's early ECW babyface attire). "Welcome home, Tommy Dreamer". Wow. Utter brilliance. I'll say it: that gave me chills.

Opening montage.

(LAST WEEK ON ECW) The Pitbulls vow to split up if they can't win the tag titles back.

Backstage Joey announces that Big Dick Dudley was involved in an accident and suffered a serious knee injury. They splice in some news footage of firemen tearing the door off a burned-out truck just to show how the truck that ran into him took most of the damage. Cute. Things cut to the afforementioned Big Dick (and his nasty surgical scar) as Dudley Dudley cuts a deep-voiced promo going over the details of the surgery. Apparently in addition to pins and plates, there are now sparkplugs in Dick's knee. Alrightythen.

Tommy Dreamer offers his rebuttal to all the promos Cactus Jack has been cutting lately. He's sorry for Cactus' Uncle Willy, but hey, ECW is politically incorrect and damn proud of it, so suck on it. He calls Cactus a liar, as everything he has in life, including Dewey and the smokin' hot wife, are thanks to hardcore wrestling. Tommy gets all emotional, almost coming to tears talking about all the crap the guys in ECW have gone through in an attempt to reach for the brass ring that Jack once had. He threatens Raven in passing, then tells Cactus that even if he can't change his mind, he'll die trying.

A lengthy music video hypes the Raven/Cactus/Dreamer love triangle. Makes me wonder what the original music was (damn 24/7 overdubs!). This was really quite long and featured a ton of footage from before I started recapping, so even without any commentary to put it in context, it was pretty badass.

"Dudley: It's Not Just A Name, It's A Way Of Life", or so says the graphic. Dudley "Barry White" Dudley tells the tale of how Papa Dudley "poked a hontas" and fathered the newest member of the clan, Dances With Dudley. He's supposed to be a Native American, but he's much more fluent in Spanish. D.W.D. looks like a REALLY fat Super Crazy, by the way. They glom the Dr. Pepper slogan to close things off. Joey Styles' Michael Jackson impression ("tee-HEE!") is pretty funny.

*ECW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP*
#DOUBLE DOG COLLAR MATCH#
THE PITBULLS vs. RAVEN & STEVIE RICHARDS (w/ Beulah McGillicutty)
(referee: Jim Molineaux)

This is a pretty famous match in ECW lore for multiple reasons. Scott Keith is on record as giving this thing the Full Monty (five *****'s), although even he admits it's more for the extracarricular activities than the match itself. Basically, all of the major angles of the day came home to roost in this one match, in typical ECW fashion. I'm on the fence a bit because prior to watching these shows, I didn't have the context for all the angle stuff and as a result, found the match to be "meh" when I first saw it. Let's see what a little perspective does to my opinion.

Things start off with Stevie MIA. Beulah gets on the mic and says that the Clueless Putz (TM-Joey Styles) broke his arm the night before in a tag match and as a result they want to change this to a Best of 3 Falls Match to be fair to Raven, who's flying solo. That ends up being one of the dumbest ideas in history, but I'm getting ahead of myself. The Pibulls accept, and Raven chains himself to PB2. He charges right away, but the Pitbull gets the best of him and before you know he's hanging Raven over the ropes as PB1 heads to the back in search of Stevie. Chokedy choke choke choke. Chain fist punches. Chair shot. And now Stevie comes staggering out of the back chained to PB1 and bleeding like a stuck pig. PB2 slides a table in the ring and looks to powerbomb Raven onto it, but it backfires when Raven attacks from behind and PILEDRIVES PB2 through it! The three count is academic and the champs win the first fall, making them look like morons for requesting the multiple fall stip at the last minute.

First Fall Result: Raven & Stevie Richards via pinfall (2:10).

The second fall starts right after a commercial break and everybody winds up in the ring with Raven and Stevie taking the early advantage. The chains get all tangled. Stevie NAILS PB1 with a Steviekick for a pair of two-counts, but meanwhile PB2 has disposed of Raven and goes back out for another table. The challengers then Superbomb Stevie through it and PB1 gets the three-count!

Second Fall Result: The Pitbulls via pinfall (3:59).

So in a matter of minutes we've blown through the first two falls, making me wonder what the point of it all was. We get some replays of the superbomb just for kicks. Back live where Raven is working over PB2 in the front row with a chair. PB1 is likewise laying waste to Stevie with some ringside weapons. Stevie counters with a chairshot of his own and I'm wondering why nobody's using the chain outside of the initial hanging Raven spot. PB2 drags Raven in and then out of the ring with the chain, and now ANOTHER table is in the ring (thanks to an assist from some ringside grunt). Ref gets bumped (umm… why?) and the Dudley Boys take that as their cue to run in. DWD and DD join the tag champs in beating down the Pitbulls and they set 'em up for double superbombs. Raven superbombs PB2 while Stevie gets PB1. But silly rabbit, you can't hit the Pitbulls with their own move. That's a license to NO SELL!! The dogs of war are back up and simultaneous double DDT's take out Raven, Stevie and BOTH Dudleys. DD gets superbombed ("all of his inbred brothers felt that one!", says Joey), and DWD soon follows suit. ("Say hello to Tatanka, I hear he's looking for work too!", as Joey is on fire!). Back to the table and things look grim for the champs. Up goes Raven… and DOWN goes Raven, as PB2 HORRIBLY botches the superbomb and drills Raven's head into the edge of the table. DAMN, SON!! Raven kicks out at two although he is clearly not in a happy place right now. Things meander for a moment before Raven goes outside and introduces an ether-soaked rag into the mix, causing Joey to get all indignant. "Take that crap back to Smokey Mountain!". You tell 'em, JoJo! There's no room for those kind of shenanigans here in ECW! We take wrestling seriously! Now where did Dances With Dudley the Spanish Native American go? Anyway, somehow tables get double-stacked on the outside, and PB2 falls onto them, allowing Raven to legdrop him from the top. Of course, the table doesn't break, so Raven tries it again, this time just coming down with ALL his weight on PB2 to insure the job gets done. Inside the ring PB1 hits a big time suplex on Stevie. We focus on Raven outside and totally miss how Stevie was able to recover enough to climb to the top. PB1 just YANKS him off with the chain though, crotching Stevie in the process. He then hurls him through the table that was still in the ring. ONE! TWO!! Raven makes the save, having removed the chain collar. Francine makes an appearance, running in to attack her ex-boyfriend Stevie (did I miss that episode?), but Raven says "uh uh, girlfriend" and DDT's her back to the red light district. PB2 is being stretchered out at this point. Tommy Dreamer, Defender of Women's Rights, enters the mix long enough to put on PB2's Collar, drop a knee into Raven's family jewels, DDT him and pin him! WE'VE GOT NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPS! AND DREAMER HAS *FINALLY* PINNED RAVEN!!

Or not. As you might expect, Bill Alphonso hustles down to put a halt to all this nonsense, rightfully pointing out that Dreamer wasn't even part of the match, so the match isn't over, the titles didn't change hands, and "TOMMY DREAMER YOU HAVE NEVER PINNED RAVEN!". He tries to award the match to the champs since PB2 can't continue, but now Commissioner Gordon is on the scene. Joey is screaming all over Tod's promo time so I can't hear what he says. In the chaos, Fonzie pops Gordon and Big Dick Dudley (on crutches) comes in and chokeslams Dreamer. Of course that move is banned, so Fonzie gets on the mic to make it legal for the night. Whoops. Not really well thought out, big guy. HERE COMES 911!! Fonzie is too stupid to run away while he has the chance, so he eats one of the biggest chokeslams you'll ever see and the crowd GOES BANANA!! (Thank you, Pat Patterson). PB2 suddenly comes back, having made a miraculous recovery from… whatever it was that put him out. Raven & Stevie BOTH gets superbombed by PB2… AT THE SAME TIME! And NOW we have new champs, as PB2 pins Stevie for the legal three as counted by the Commish!

Third Fall Result: The Pitbulls via pinfall (18:36).

For the record, I kept the timer going through all the ga-ga surrounding the third fall, so that time is not what I would call "official", but then again it's not like it matters to anyone but us wrestling nerds. Aaaaanyway…

Big celebration in the ring as the PB's strap on their new belts and Tommy shows his moobs to all the viewers at home. Tommy was not what one would call "toned". Man titties aside, this was a pretty awesome match for ECW, as they paid off the 911 vs Fonzie chase, the Pitbulls vs Raven & Richards feud, and even sprinkled in some Raven-Dreamer stuff as well. The match itself still isn't great, as the chains never really came into play to any great degree and the added multi-fall stip only served to make Raven look like a retard, which goes against the way he's been built up. But on the sliding scale of ECW quality, this was some good stuff. I'm almost afraid to admit that the Pitbulls are growing on me. Yeah, they still suck at the basics and most of their stuff looks like it could cripple you, but they're more believable in their sloppiness than say, the Public Enemy. Must be the vinyl and the steroids.

Overview: I'm pretty sure I'm not going out on a limb by calling this one of the greatest episodes of TV in ECW history. You get what might be the best promo of Cactus Jack's career (certainly top 3) and one of the most famous matches in the company's history that managed to highlight a lot of big angles, culminating in a pretty emotional title change. What's not to like?

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