The first of three shows we’ll be looking at from Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling is completely different action from what we’re getting with the mainstream WWF and WCW shows so far this year. Some of it is really good, but there’s some cringe-worthy stuff on this show, too.
I was watching the syndicated ECW show at this point, which aired on a late-night slot on the MSG Network, and the difference between the hour-long shows and the big events is so stark. The syndicated show was edited to highlight everyone’s strengths and to look like a music video that would have fit right in on Headbanger’s Ball. Getting a show of complete matches without the Pulp Fiction soundtrack or Alice In Chains’ greatest hits was a bit strange.
Best Match: ECW TV Championship Match: Eddy Guerrero defeated Too Cold Scorpio (c) – Forget all the blood and the craziness and the violence. Matches like this are why I got hooked on ECW back in 1995. Scorpio and Guerrero put on a light heavyweight clinic at the ECW Arena, and the fans in attendance appreciated every move and reversal. Guerrero’s win here was a sign of good things to come, as he would be doing his thing in WCW not too long after this.
Worst Match: Hair vs. Hair Match: Axl Rotten defeated Ian Rotten – There isn’t enough editing in the world to make a Rotten match good. Put them in the same ring against each other and you may as well redefine the term “go away heat.”
The Rules Are Right – ECW innovated the three-way dance, matches with three men or three teams involved, and both WWF and WCW tried to copy the format, but they always got something wrong to me. In ECW, a three-way dance is an elimination match. Take out one guy and it becomes a regular contest. It allows for some intriguing booking decisions. The format works in the advantage of the main event, a three-way dance for the tag team titles, held by Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Rick Steiner and the Tazmaniac and the Public Enemy were the challengers, with Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge coming out on top.
Beulah Begins – One of the most famous angles in the early days of ECW – and one of those male soap opera bits that got me hooked as a teenager – was the ongoing feud between Raven and Tommy Dreamer. It got even more personal here as Raven’s sidekick Stevie Richards introduced Raven’s childhood ex-girlfriend from camp, Beulah McGillicutty. She helps distract Dreamer in the match here, leading to a DDT and a win for Raven.
Ranking the ECW Three-Way Dance Matches
The Top Ten – 1995’s Best Matches
1 – ECW TV Championship Match: Eddy Guerrero defeated Too Cold Scorpio (c)
2 – ECW Tag Team Championship Three-Way Dance: Public Enemy defeated The Tazmaniac and Rick Steiner and Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko (c)
3 – Raven defeated Tommy Dreamer
4 – ECW Heavyweight Championship Match: Shane Douglas (c) defeated Sandman
5 – Mikey Whipwreck beat Ron Simmons by disqualification
6 – The Pitbulls defeated Johnny Hot Body and Tony Stetson
7 – Hack Meyers defeated Dino Sandoff
8 – Hair vs. Hair Match: Axl Rotten defeated Ian Rotten
*DISCLAIMER* The Top 10 rankings are for discussion purposes only and in no way reflect an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion. If you disagree, let me know in the comments. New arrivals to the Top 10 are in bold.
1 – WWF Championship Match: Diesel (c) and Bret “Hitman” Hart battle to a draw – Royal Rumble 1995
2 – WWF Championship Match: Diesel (c) defeated Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XI
3 – WCW World Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (c) beat Vader by disqualification – SuperBrawl V
4 – WCW TV Championship: Arn Anderson (c) defeated Johnny B. Badd – Clash of the Champions XXX
5 – Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage defeated the Butcher and Kevin Sullivan – Clash of the Champions XXX
6 – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Final Match: The Kid and Bob “Spark Plug” Holly defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka – Royal Rumble 1995
7 – ECW TV Championship Match: Eddy Guerrero defeated Too Cold Scorpio (c) – ECW Three-Way Dance
8 – Sting and “Macho Man” Randy Savage defeated Avalanche and Big Bubba – SuperBrawl V
9 – ECW Tag Team Championship Three-Way Dance: Public Enemy defeated The Tazmaniac and Rick Steiner and Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko (c) – ECW Three-Way Dance
10 – The Undertaker defeated Irwin R. Schyster – Royal Rumble 1995
The 1995 Top 10 will return next month, as the WWF goes In Your House! Stay tuned!