Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
November To Remember 1994
Date: November 5, 1994
Location: ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentator: Joey Styles
This is one of the promotions I can’t escape no matter how hard I try. It’s a requested show that was just dropped on the Network a few weeks back and since it’s ECW’s flagship event, it’s probably worth a shot. In theory that is as ECW is one of the most unpredictable promotions in the world. Let’s get to it.
This must be the full version as we even see the ring announcer coming to the ring. He lists off some of the names on the card but only one specific match. In something that feels rather un-ECW, he throws some hats to the fans, followed by presenting an “extreme version” of the National Anthem. A guy in an event staff shirt plays the song on an electric guitar and this is always weird to see/hear.
It goes so badly that Paul Heyman and his bodyguard 911 break it up with 911 chokeslamming the guy. Heyman grabs the mic, complains that it doesn’t work, and has 911 chokeslam the guy again. We’re not ready to go yet though as Heyman sends 911 after the ring announcer. That means another chokeslam, with Heyman saying that the guitar playing was terrible and he always hated the ring announcing.
We’re STILL not done though as Heyman hits the announcer with his phone and has 911 hit another chokeslam. We hear Joey Styles asking if the mic is hot and if he is on as Heyman and 911 leave. The announcer has to do a stretcher job as the fans want CPR. We’re clipped to the announcer being taken out and now, over ten minutes in, it’s time for the opening match. I’m sure the live fans liked this but it just kept going.
JT Smith vs. vs. Hack Myers
Myers is something close to a biker and kind of a cult favorite. Smith is from Philadelphia but the fans don’t seem to like him very much. An early hiptoss and fall away slam on the much bigger Myers give Smith two but he misses a dropkick. Myers hits his left hands so the fans can shout SHAH on each one for some reason. A running splash to Smith’s back connects in the corner and it’s a legdrop across the bottom rope.
The first chair shot of the night has Smith in more trouble as we’re waiting on the comeback. That’s some great timing as Smith hits a dropkick on the floor and drops an elbow with the chair. Smith’s running splash sends them over the barricade as Joey talks about how extreme this is. Back in and they trade some rollups for two each, followed by Smith’s bridging northern lights suplex for the pin at 4:03.
Rating: C-. Just a match as Smith clearly didn’t have a future in the company. He was just a guy in trunks who could wrestle well enough and that’s not what this company is all about. Myers was popular but there is only so much you can get out of someone as standard as he was. This probably should have been a dark match but it wasn’t that bad.
Post match Joey again asks if the mic is hot and wants a mic stand.
Bad Breed vs. Pit Bulls
That would be Ian/Axl Rotten and the fight is on before the bell. Pit Bull #2 kicks away at Axl inside but Axl is right back with a clothesline. Ian is sent into the barricade and beaten down with a chair and #2 gets two off a suplex. #1 comes in for a snap suplex on Ian and a flying shoulder puts Ian down again. We actually get a tag to #2 (Was #1 ever legal in the first place?) and it’s right back to #1 for a slingshot shoulder. The SuperBomb finishes Ian at 3:09. It’s as sudden as it sounds.
Rating: D. This was nothing and felt more like an extended segment than a match. The Pit Bulls were a hard hitting team though I never cared for them all that much. They’re far better than the crazy violent Rottens though and I’ll certainly take a short match rather than the nonsense stuff that they would do most of the time.
Post match Axl makes the save with a chain and the Bad Breed beats the Pit Bulls up.
Mr. Hughes vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
A midcard match on any indy show over a period of about seventeen years! Hughes shoves him away without much effort to start and then does it again to prove his point. Styles talks about how Undertaker found out that he can’t go toe to toe with Hughes and it’s so strange to hear another company discussed like this. I know ECW did it all the time but it’s still weird. The fans call Hughes the Shoe Shine Boy as Scorpio can’t get anywhere off a wristlock.
Hughes busts out a leapfrog of all things and starts stomping away to keep Scorpio in trouble. A big clothesline drops Scorpio again and it’s off to a neck crank. Scorpio grabs the tie for a breather and is promptly thrown into the air for a crash to the mat. Back up and some dropkicks put Hughes on the floor but Scorpio leaves a baseball slide VERY short. The fans catch onto it so Scorpio hits a quick dive to get them back. Hughes hits a side slam back inside and drops an elbow to the face for two. Scorpio is back up with some boots to the face out of the corner. The 450 finishes Hughes at 7:38.
Rating: D+. They told a simple story here and while it wasn’t the most interesting thing in the world, you could figure out exactly what they were trying to do. Scorpio is one of my all time favorites though and seeing a 450 in 1994 is insane. They did the comeback in a hurry and Hughes was a monster for Scorpio to slay, so it was a nice enough story. Not well done that is, but nice enough.
Post match Hughes destroys Scorpio and says that’s what happens when you mess with him. Hughes leaves and Scorpio calls him Mr. Shoe Shine Boy and says he just lost. The fight is on again for the second time in a row. Styles: “Can anyone stop Mr. Hughes???” Uh yeah, I think his name is Scorpio.
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Tommy Dreamer vs. Tommy Cairo
Winner gets the name Tommy. Ok not so much but would that stipulation surprise you around here? Cairo is one of the holdovers from the old days of ECW and mocks the recently blinded Sandman (blinded by Dreamer in an accident). Dreamer is fighting for the Sandman and the fight is on with Dreamer going right at him while the music is on. A spinwheel kick puts Dreamer on the floor and Cairo hits another out there.
Dreamer gets in some chair shots and takes him back inside for a rather delayed piledriver. They head outside again with Dreamer being handed a canoe paddle. I’ve seen far weirder things around here. Cairo seems to miss a dive off the barricade as they fight into the crowd. A running wooden pallet shot drops Dreamer, who is right back up with a pallet shot of his own.
They get back inside with Dreamer hitting a neckbreaker and taking off his shirt (egads) for some choking. Cairo is right back up with a standing flapjack (I kind of like that) but stops to mock Sandman again. It’s Singapore cane time but Dreamer takes it away and canes him in the head. The blood starts to flow and Dreamer hits him low (with Joey’s voice going higher). Dreamer licks the blood off of his hand as Cairo is mostly dead, meaning the referee stops it at 8:23.
Rating: C-. This was much more of a wild brawl and that’s where it makes more sense. There is a story behind this one as Dreamer is fighting for Sandman, who had issues with Cairo. It ties into the backstory and that makes the violence mean something. That’s one of the places where ECW missed the point a lot of the time and it caught up to them, but it made sense in a situation like this one.
Post match Dreamer gets in a few more shots and Cairo isn’t moving, meaning it’s another stretcher job. Cairo isn’t being carried out though and walks off.
ECW World Title: Shane Douglas vs. Ron Simmons
Simmons is challenging and says he’s never liked this city, but he’s taking the title. The fans chant something negative about Ric Flair, much to Shane’s delight. Simmons goes straight after him but gets dropkicked down for an early two. Douglas gets chased to the floor and it’s time to hit the stall for a bit. Back in and Simmons headbutts him down in the corner, sending Shane back outside for another breather.
Shane is back in again with a crossbody as we hear about those cowards Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan not answering Shane’s open challenge for an ECW Title shot. The staredown is on outside with Shane hiding behind a photographer. Simmons swings at him (and over her) anyway, followed by a clothesline on the floor. Back in (again) and the powerslam plants Shane, followed by a gutbuster as the slow beating continues. A top rope splash misses so Simmons hits a chokeslam of all things. The fans want 911 but Shane is right back up with a crucifix to retain at 6:46.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see here other than a minor novelty as, just like in Scorpio vs. Hughes, it was mostly one sided until the finish. It’s not a good sign that we’ve had the same match structure twice in about an hour but Heyman wasn’t always the most versatile in-ring booker of all time.
Post match the beatdown is on again with Scorpio running in to help Simmons beat Douglas down (Simmons being known as someone who needs help in fights) and hitting the moonsault. Simmons and Scorpio leave but Cactus Jack, who doesn’t like Shane, of all people comes out to check on him. Shane takes a LONG time getting out of the ring.
Here’s the still blind Sandman, helped to the ring by owner Tod Gordon, for a chat. Styles is choking up at how sad it is for Sandman to be like this. Gordon is sad as well, as a cameraman gets in the ring for a closeup but we stay on the regular shot, meaning we can see the whole cameraman but about half each of the other two (it looks like some bad student film).
Thankfully he leaves and Sandman talks about having to retire at 31, but he’s beaten the daylights out of Tommy Cairo and he’s taken Tommy Dreamer to an inch of his career. He wouldn’t change a thing though, even if he’s lost everything. One of the things he’s lost is his wife, which is all thanks to Nancy Sullivan (Woman). We hear about some of the things he’s done to his wife and Cairo, who stole her, can’t accomplish those same things.
Cue Sandman’s wife Peaches, who doesn’t know if she should slap him or kiss him. She says she’s changed a little since he last saw her, which he thinks means she’s put on weight. A reconciliation seems possible but here’s Nancy to interrupt. She wants to introduce her newest client but canes Peaches in the head first. Sandman punches Gordon by mistake and here’s Dreamer to calls Nancy off.
As Dreamer yells, Sandman takes the bandages off of his eyes and canes Dreamer because he is Nancy’s new client. That should be a heel turn but the fans seem rather pleased. Nancy mocks Dreamer’s recent emotional speeches about Sandman and Joey is aghast. Sandman gets in some whips with his belt as Nancy is having a ball gloating over this. Oh and in case it wasn’t clear: Nancy is managing Sandman. What we got here was good, though I can imagine it having a much stronger impact if I had seen all of the build.
Joey brings out Shane Douglas for a chat. Shane, holding a phone, talks about never feeling anything like what he has felt tonight. His career was unparalleled in ECW but then he saw entertainers in Chicago destroying what he spent fourteen years building. That would be a person named Terry Bollea, who is already on Social Security. Part of his success in ECW is because of blood, sweat and tears, but it was also due to a beautiful woman.
Tonight he fought someone who was the first black heavyweight champion but that means nothing to Shane. Then 2 Cold Scorpio got involved after Shane beat Simmons. Now it’s time to rebuild the Franchise and that’s why he has Sherri on the phone. He wants her back here two weeks from tonight and Sherri says it’ll be great to be with a man again. On top of that, he’s bringing in a partner to deal with Simmons and Scorpio: Stunning Steve Austin. Shane isn’t losing to an ex-WCW Champion.
Dean Malenko vs. Tazmaniac
Dean’s TV Title isn’t on the line and of course that is the future Taz, though he is still kind of a caveman here. He does have TAZ on his singlet though. We get Big Match Intros, including one for Dean’s manager Jason. They fight around the ropes to start with Taz taking him down and hammering away, setting up the first northern lights suplex. Dean is right back up with a release tiger bomb and the Boston crab goes on, with the fans seemingly grunting for Taz.
That’s broken up with some power so Dean stomps away instead. They trade full nelsons until Taz hits a t-bone suplex. Dean comes back with a victory roll for two but an attempt at a second is countered into a German suplex to put them both down. It’s Dean going up (Huh?) and getting crotched, only to elbow his way out of a German superplex attempt. Jason tries to get in a few cheap shots and gets whipped into the barricade for his efforts. The distraction lets Dean grab a towel to cover Taz’s face, which is enough for the pin at 5:40.
Rating: D+. I really wasn’t feeling this one as it was more of a collection of matches with a finish instead of anything that tied together. Malenko was a good choice for this role and offered a different style, though you could see that they wanted to do something with Taz. Maybe under a better gimmick and after a horrible neck injury.
Taz is out and needs help as there was something on that towel. Medics come out and Joey smells chloroform. Some smelling salts wake Taz up and he wrecks a bunch of stuff.
Tag Team Titles: Public Enemies vs. Cactus Jack/Mikey Whipwreck
Jack and Whipwreck are defending and it’s a weird set of rules where you have to put someone down for ten before you can go for the regular pin. Also after the ten count, you can use baseball bats. That’s quite the complicated rules, though Johnny Grunge grabbing his crotch takes away some of my focus for a few seconds. Mikey is of course scared to death, as tends to be his custom.
Hang on though as we need to have Rocco yell at the crowd a bit, followed by some standing around. There’s no contact for the first two minutes, though they are at least going through with the pretense of a tag match to start. The stalling continues as Public Enemy decides to walk so the referee starts the ten count. They come back so Mikey’s shoulder block can fail, giving us the first action at just shy of four minutes.
Mikey gets sent into a boot in the corner and a middle rope elbow crushes him. Grunge isn’t about to let the referee count so he drops a headbutt and kicks Mikey low. A gordbuster drops Mikey again so it’s Cactus coming in to save him from a bad case of destruction. Cactus whips Mikey into both of them as Mikey continues to be little more than a toy here. Mikey is so beaten up that he collapses for an eight count, leaving Cactus to clothesline both of them down at once.
Rock kicks Cactus low and Grunge crotches him on the barricade for a bonus. That leaves Mikey all alone and it’s a reverse DDT into a Swanton (the Drive By) for nine. As the count goes on, Cactus comes in and cleans house with a chair. A double arm DDT isn’t enough for the ten count so Public Enemy comes up with powder into Cactus’ face. Mikey fights back with forearms to both, including the bloody Grunge.
The blind Cactus DDTs Mikey by mistake though and that’s good for a ten, meaning it’s time for some baseball bats. Mikey gets laid out with the bat but all four walk up the aisle and fight over to some nicely placed tables. Two of them are stacked up on top of each other but Sabu breaks up a flip dive to put Mikey through them. 911 and Heyman come out, with Sabu sending Rock through the tables.
Mikey is back up and uses a chair to beat on the pieces of tables near Rock. Cactus and Grunge are back as well with Cactus suplexing Rock onto a table. The running elbow off the balcony puts Rock through the table and everyone is done. We hear about Mikey diving onto Grunge and let’s head back to the ring for some fun. Grunge sunset flips Mikey for two, followed by a top rope baseball bat shot to the face for the pin and the titles at 15:15.
Rating: C. I liked this more than I thought I would, even if there was nothing involving tagging or wrestling for the most part. The dives and carnage were good enough though and the fans cared about Public Enemy. Mikey and Cactus were a good oddball team and it made both guys look better than I was expecting. Nice enough here, assuming you’re not a traditionalist.
Gordon runs down the card for the next show, including Dreamer vs. Sandman with Cairo as guest referee. Hang on though as Cactus comes in to say how tough Mikey is. He’ll be back in two weeks also, with Kevin Sullivan as his partner to challenge for the titles. Also, Tazmaniac/Sabu vs. Dean Malenko/Joe Malenko. Plus the aforementioned Austin/Douglas vs. Scorpio/Simmons.
Sabu vs. Chris Benoit
This is an infamous one. They go right at each other with Benoit kneeing him in the ribs and dropping him ribs first onto the top rope. Then Benoit lifts him up and drops him down on top of his head, breaking Sabu’s neck (for the first of two times in ECW). Since HE BROKE HIS NECK, the match is stopped at around 1:40. Of note: that is how Benoit got the name the Crippler.
As medics tend to Sabu, here’s 911 to keep Benoit away from him. Benoit says he wants to fight Sabu and never signed to fight 911. We get some major stalling until Benoit jumps 911 from behind but can’t knock him down. A chokeslam plants Benoit for a pin but here’s Public Enemy with the baseball bats to take 911 down. Cactus comes in to go after the two of them as 911 gets back up. A double chokeslam (with all of four inches of lift) plants Public Enemy.
A bunch of people come out for a big brawl (including Taz looking downright bizarre in flannel) with Taz getting a bat to take out just about everyone. Eventually it’s Benoit and Taz in a standoff as 911 gets a beaten down Heyman out of dodge. Joey signs off but Benoit wants a mic. When that doesn’t work, Public Enemy holds up his arms as the mic is fixed. Benoit wants to know what happened to the great Sabu so here’s Scorpio again. If Benoit wants a fight, he’s right here.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Chris Benoit
Public Enemy jumps Scorpio from behind and Benoit gets two off a powerbomb despite the lack of a bell. There’s the snap suplex as Public Enemy is still messing around at ringside. Scorpio gets in a superkick to send Benoit outside, meaning it’s time to beat up Public Enemy again.
There are even more people at ringside now, making this a glorified lumberjack match. Benoit hits a top rope superplex but Scorpio counters a belly to back superplex with a crossbody. Scorpio gets two off a super victory roll and nails a superkick but they fall out to the floor. Benoit throws him into various things and it’s a double countout at about 5:45.
Rating: D+. I can’t get mad at this one as they were making it up on the fly and had nothing planned. It wasn’t terrible or anything as they’re talented enough to make something work, though it went about as well as it realistically could have. This kind of heel Benoit is just weird to see but he did it very well and I could go for more of it.
Post match Scorpio says we should do that again.
Joey signs off again but we’re STILL not done as Cactus says his thoughts are with Sabu. That FINALLY ends the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This is the kind of company that I can see having a cult following, ESPECIALLY in 1994 when wrestling was entering the dark ages. ECW is best known by the masses for the late 90s when wrestling had recovered, but this was a completely different feeling where you could see how effective it could be. It’s certainly not for everyone (including me) but I get the idea here and some parts of the show were really interesting. The hardcore felt more well timed here and it didn’t dominate the night. Not a great show by any means, but you can see the magic that people got swept up in around here.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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