Mike Reviews ECW November to Remember 1994
By Michael Fitzgerald on 5th November 2022
Happy Extreme Saturday Everyone!
I’ve never watched this show and it’s on the WWE Network/Peacock, so let’s go in blind and see how it is. N2R was created with a goal to being ECW’s WrestleMania or Starrcade level event, but outside of a few examples the show didn’t always deliver on that front.
The big matches on this one are Chris Benoit Vs Too Cold Scorpio, Shane Douglas Vs Ron Simmons and The Public Enemy Vs Mick Foley and Mikey Whipwreck, so at least some of those could be good if they get enough time and no one suffers an horrific injury just a couple of minutes in (foreshadowing).
The Event is emanating from The Arena in Philly on the 5th of November 1994
Calling the action is Joey Styles
Some dude plays the national anthem on a guitar but does a terrible job, so 911 comes down and attacks him with a Choke Slam out on the stage. 911 was a big burly dude that could do a Choke Slam and not much else, but Paul Heyman protected him and he ended up getting pretty darn over. One of the ringside attendants ends up getting Choke Slammed back in the ring as well, and he takes a really good one too.
Hack Myers Vs JT Smith
Myers was mostly known from his ECW run as being the guy fans could chant “SHAH” at when he punched people. He was a decent brawler though. Smith was a local guy from Philly who was the hometown babyface for a while until he eventually went Heel and started pretending he was Italian in the original version of The Full Blooded Italians. Both of these guys sound like they’re getting booed here though, which makes sense seeing as it’s an ECW show and the Arena fans weren’t always the kindest.
Smith looks good in the early sections, running wild with things like hip tosses and dropkicks. He eventually misses a dropkick though and Myers starts throwing the Shah Punches to pop the crowd. Smith sells well on the defensive, whilst Myers’ offence looks mostly fine. Myers uses a chair at one stage (here in the opener) but Smith dropkicks the chair into Myers’ face to get himself back into the fight, which eventually leads to the fans cheering for him.
They are working at a very quick clip here, and it’s been a sloppy yet exciting outing. On most shows all this brawling and chair stuff would be overkill, but it’s an ECW show, so it’s probably a good way to start things in order to let any potential new viewers know what the product is all about. Both men trade some near falls back inside and Smith eventually gets a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge for the three count.
WINNER: JT SMITH
Short energetic opening match that served it’s purpose
The fight picks up again post-match, with both men brawling to the back. Good old ECW, starting the show as they mean to go on!
The Pitbulls (#1 and #2) Vs The Bad Breed (Axl and Ian Rotten)
The Pitbulls ended up being one of ECW’s most decorated tag teams with them not just being Tag Champs but also both of them getting runs with the TV Title as well. They were mostly a brawling team that would sometimes pull off an impressive power move or high spot. The Bad Breed are brawlers also, doing a punk gimmick, with their thing being that they would indulge in more implicit ultra-violent techniques such as barbed wire and glass.
This one is a brawl right from the off, with all four guys going at it. It has good energy, even if the crowd is surprisingly subdued for it all considering that it’s a high-tempo brawl and those usually got over in ECW. #2 shows off his athleticism at one stage by giving Axl a big dropkick inside the ring, and it’s a nice one too. I’m not really sure who the babyfaces are here actually, as neither side is really being heelish by ECW standards.
The answers seems to be The Pitbulls, as they cut Ian off and work him over in their half of the ring, as this brawl has broken down into a standard tag team match. Axl appears to have disappeared somewhere as The Pitbulls work Ian over and then polish him off with The Super Bomb to accrue the three count.
WINNERS: THE PITBULLS
Another fast paced energetic match that was enjoyable, but too short to be rated any higher
The Bad Breed attack The Pitbulls post-match, so maybe they were the Heels after all? The crowd doesn’t seem to care and just chants that they want to see some blood, because ECW. The crowd does get what they want, as The Bad Breed open’s both of The Pitbulls up with their own dog collars.
Mr. Hughes Vs Too Cold Scorpio
Hughes always seemed like an odd fit in ECW as he was more of a traditional big slug in the WWF/WCW mould than the underground counter culture style that ECW was going for. Scorpio fit the company much better due to his high-flying skills and in-your-face attitude. This is a pretty dull match because Hughes takes most of it and he’s not an especially exciting guy to watch, with his offence mostly being plodding punches and stomps.
They do throw in a token agility spot for Hughes at one stage when he does a leapfrog, but it’s done in slow motion. This is just the wrong match to put Scorpio in as it does nothing for him to just sell whilst Hughes slowly works him over, even though Scorp does a decent job selling everything. Scorpio’s appeal was exciting high-flying offence though, and he can do precious little of that with Hughes opposing him. Hughes and Myers would have made more sense as opponents as they could have slugged it out whilst Scorpio and JT Smith had a quicker paced bout.
Scorpio tries a dive to the floor at one stage, but Hughes either doesn’t know how to sell it or just plain doesn’t want to, so it looks awful and Hughes drops some elbows back inside for two. Hughes eventually takes a frankly terrible bump off a boot to the face and Scorpio quickly heads up with a nice looking 450 Splash for three, although Hughes made sure to kick out of one of the best finishing moves in all of wrestling at 3.1 in order to make himself look good.
This was no good. Scorpio tried, but he didn’t have much to work with. The finishing move looked nice at least, which makes Hughes’ almost no-sell of it all the more infuriating
Hughes makes sure to get his heat back (don’t you need to actually have heat before you can get it back?) by attacking Scorpio post-match. So he no-sold his finisher and then beat him up following the match, meaning Scorpio gained basically nothing from this. Hughes then cuts a terrible promo as he’s so blown up he’s threatening to turn Shane McMahon purple. Hughes then no-sells a Scorpio chair shot for good measure. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying Curtis chuffing Hughes as an unstoppable monster. Vader or Meng? Yeah sure, but Hughes isn’t close to being as scary as those two.
ECW Grudge Bout
Tommy Cairo Vs Tommy Dreamer
Cairo was known as the “Iron Man” and is probably best known for a feud with The Sandman where he hooked up with Sandman’s valet Miss Peaches and ended up getting caned into oblivion. Dreamer was still trying to get over with the Philly crowd, as they had initially seen him as a standard pretty boy act due to his good looks and physique (yes, Dreamer was in great shape when he first showed up in ECW). Dreamer would eventually win them over when Raven came into the promotion to feud with him.
Dreamer had accidentally blinded Sandman on a show prior to this, which Cairo of course finds hilarious because he hates Sandman and he mocks The Sandman’s blindness during his entrance. Dreamer is in effect fighting for Sandman’s honour here due to Cairo being such a jerk, and because he feels sorry about hurting Sandman. Dreamer is full of fire early on, but he takes a couple of nice looking spinning wheel kicks from Cairo which halts his momentum. Both men quickly head to the floor for some brawling, where Dreamer uses a chair, and we head back inside for a Dreamer piledriver.
Dreamer isn’t going for pin attempts here, as he really doesn’t like Cairo, so they head back to the floor again following the piledriver, which leads to a famous moment where Dreamer grabs a paddle from a dinghy or something from someone in the crowd and clocks Cairo with it. ECW fans would often bring wacky weapons with them to the show, with someone even bring a Leonard Cohen album to one show that Mick Foley ended up using. It must have been wild to attend these ECW shows at The Arena sometimes.
Cairo fights his way back into the match by hitting Dreamer with a wooden pallet that is near the entrance way before adding in some shots with a frying pan. This is one of those matches where your enjoyment of it will depend on how much you like weapon-filled brawling matches. If two guys having a hate filled fight and trading weapon shots sounds like your idea of fun, then you’ll probably enjoy this. If you hate that style of wrestling though then this match won’t convert you.
Dreamer goes after the neck of Cairo when they get back into the ring, getting a pair of Rude Awakening’s, leading to Cairo getting a super sloppy flapjack in reply that nearly sends Dreamer down onto his shoulder in brutal fashion. Dreamer rebounds by wearing Cairo out with a Singapore Cane that Cairo brought down to the ring with him, which leads to Cairo bleeding. Dreamer ends up clocking Cairo right in the depths of the Nile with the cane and the ref decides Cairo has had enough and stops it.
WINNER BY KO: TOMMY DREAMER
This wasn’t a technical classic or anything, but it was a decent brawl and Dreamer in particular showed some good fire
Dreamer beats on Cairo some more following the match, which I think led to Cairo getting written out of the company entirely, as Joey is saying his career might be over on commentary. Cairo refuses a stretcher though, which dampens the message a bit.
ECW World Title
Champ: Shane Douglas Vs Ron Simmons
Interestingly CageMatch.net thinks this match was actually on sixth and the match that proceeds it here went on fifth, so either that site is wrong or the scienticians over at WWE Network headquarters mixed up the running order. Douglas was coming into his own as “The Franchise” in ECW, cutting good promos and generally delivering in the ring. This would eventually get him a run in the WWF in 1995 that ended very badly for him. Simmons had come in from WCW, where he’d been their World Champ less than two years prior, so this was actually a pretty big get for ECW at the time.
Simmons actually cuts a Heel promo prior to the match, saying he has never liked the Philly fans, which is odd seeing as Douglas was normally a Heel during this time. The fans suck up to Douglas following that by chanting “Flair is Dead” because Douglas vocally hated Ric Flair. Of course had Ric Flair even showed up to wrestle in ECW he might have got possibly the biggest pop in company history, just like how the ECW faithful treated Sid as the second coming when he came in.
Simmons doesn’t appear to be in the best of shape here, as Douglas tries to work a quick clip early on and Simmons is soon breathing pretty heavy as a result. Douglas looks very good here though, as he was a solid worker before injuries just destroyed him in the second half of the 90’s. Douglas keeps bailing and even tries to use a female camera operator as a human shield, so I’m guessing this match is now Heel Vs Heel based on Simmons’ comments earlier? I guess maybe Douglas could be classed as an anti-hero here perhaps? The fans continue to cheer him despite his Heel tactics anyway.
Simmons manages to counter a Douglas cross body attempt into a Power Slam at one stage, but for some reason he doesn’t go for the pin attempt and instead works Douglas over. Seeing as the Power Slam was how he beat Vader to win the WCW Title I thought they might have protected that move and used it for a big near fall rather than just for the cut off. Simmons gets some more big slams and suplexes following that, as Douglas bumps and sells well for all of it. Douglas manages to get a crucifix pin OUTTA NOWHERE though and that’s enough for a flash pin.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: SHANE DOUGLAS
This wasn’t especially bad but the psychology was all over the place and Simmons clearly got bushed quite early on
Simmons and Scorpio beat up Douglas following that, although Douglas did hit Simmons with the belt first before Scorpio got there. The fans aren’t really sure how to react as they like Scorpio and Douglas but hate Simmons, so Scorpio helping out Simmons isn’t something they really want to see. Cactus Jack ends up coming out to check on Douglas, as they were both trained by Dominic Denucci.
Ring announcer Bob Artese brings down the now blinded Sandman, as Todd Gordon guides him down to the ring. Sandman really committed to this blinding angle, to the point that he stayed home so that nobody saw him out and about without his bandages on. Joey overdoes it a bit on commentary by trying to cry though. Acting is a lot like a fart, if you have to force it, then it’s probably $hit. Sandman does an excellent job on the mic here, saying he’s unrepentant about how extreme he was during his career, which is a nice touch. Sandman tries to reconcile with Miss Peaches, and she actually comes down to the ring to kiss him, whilst also making a gag about her new bust. Nancy “Woman” Sullivan interrupts this tender moment though, and canes Peaches before preparing to cane Sandman as well. Tommy Dreamer prevents that, but it turns out Sandman isn’t blind after all and he lays a beat down on Dreamer with the cane that Dreamer brought with him. This was a fantastic angle, with everyone delivering in their respective roles. The storyline explanation for all of this was that Sandman faked his blinding so that Dreamer would take Cairo out on his behalf, which is a really clever twist as you don’t often get a Heel pitting a babyface against another Heel like that.
Joey Styles is on the stage area and introduces Shane Douglas for a promo segment. I do like the knock-off version of Perfect Strangers they use for him on The Network actually. Not all of the ECW dubbed themes fit but that one does. Douglas is all taped up in the mid-section following that attack from Simmons and Scorpio. Douglas does his usual act of slagging off wrestlers in other companies, in this case Hulk Hogan. Douglas’ delivery is good here and he talks about bringing Sensational Sherri back to manage him again, and he even has a mobile phone with him, where Sherri supposedly says she will indeed return to manage him on the 19th of November show at The Arena. He will also have a tag team partner for that show to go against Simmons and Scorpio, in the form of Stunning Steve Austin (although a trip to CageMatch.net reveals that it ended up being Brian Pillman instead). This was a good interview segment and the crowd was hyped for the next show.
ECW World Television Title
Champ: Dean Malenko w/ Jason Knight Vs The Tazmaniac
Malenko was doing a “shooter” gimmick at the time as opposed to the “Ice Man” one he would go on to do in ECW. Tazmaniac would ironically adopt a similar shooter gimmick in 1995 when he changed his name simply to Taz. Right now though, the artist that would become Taz is instead a wild caveman styled character. I might just call him “Taz” to save effort though, as everyone knows who he is now I’ve explained it and it saves me typing “Tazmaniac” throughout the review.
Artese says it’s non-Title during the introductions, but CageMatch seems to think the belt was on the line. Regardless, this is a good match, as the two men match up well stylistically and Malenko was one of the best wrestlers in the entire world during the mid-90’s. It’s mostly both men trading holds and throws, and it has some good crowd reactions as well, so it’s fun to watch, even if the wrestling gets a bit sloppy at points due to Taz still being a work in progress at the time.
Taz gets some very nice suplexes at points, including an impressive release German Suplex. Jason tries getting involved to help his man and that doesn’t end well for him. It does but Malenko some time though and he ends up suffocating Taz with a towel for the three count. The fans think that finish was Bullshine, and I can’t say I disagree with them. It was a super lame way to end what had been a decent match up to that point.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: DEAN MALENKO
This was a decent match with a horrible ending that just didn’t work for ECW. Heyman would eventually realise that and from 95 onwards you generally got less 70’s and 80’s finishes like this. This finish would have likely worked great in a more old school styled promotion, but it wasn’t want the ECW crowd wanted to see and it drew bad heat instead of good heat
Taz is OUT following the match, with Joey thinking something like chloroform was on the towel. Taz does eventually wake up though and suplexes a ref to pop the crowd, which thankfully makes them forget about the finish a bit.
ECW World Tag Team Titles
Champs: Cactus Jack and Mikey Whipwreck Vs The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge)
Mikey tagging with Cactus was the payoff to a long angle where Mikey went from being enhancement talent to the top of the card. Mikey had originally been someone who couldn’t even hit one successful offensive move, but he stuck at it and when Terry Funk couldn’t make a booking to tag with Cactus against TPE, Cactus dragged an unwilling Mikey out to team with him and they shockingly won the belts. This match is TPE getting a chance to win the belts back.
You have to knock someone out for a 10 count out of the ring, at which point you can then use a baseball bat, with a pin needing to happen in the ring. Not sure you really need the 10 count stipulation really, as it just adds an extra layer of complication to things. Just say it’s a tornado match with baseball bats. They actually work this one as a standard tag match at first, until Cactus gets sick of seeing Mikey getting worked over and comes in to use Mikey as a human torpedo against the challengers, which leads to Mikey almost getting counted out in a funny moment.
TPE eventually manage to knock Mikey down themselves with their tag team finish where Rocco comes off the top with a twisting senton, but he actually gets up to his feet at nine, so no bats will be allowed just yet. This has gotten better since they moved to all four guys brawling rather than trying to work the tag formula. TPE end up throwing some powder in Cactus’ eyes, but Mikey then fights back against them, only to get DDT’ed by a blinded Cactus. That’s enough for a count of ten and TPE can use the baseball bats as a result.
The fight heads outside of the ring following that, which leads to Rocco trying to put Mikey through a table on the stage area. Sabu attacks Rocco though and sends him flying through the tables instead. Sabu doesn’t like other people using tables apparently, and this actually built to a match between TPE and Sabu/Taz. Cactus and Mikey rally following that, with Cactus putting Grunge through a separate table with a big elbow off the stage.
This has really picked up since they gave up actually trying to have a wrestling match and just started brawling. I’d actually say it’s been quite entertaining. Grunge gets an aloha-Mikey back inside, leading to a sunset flip for two, before heading up with a baseball bat shot from the top rope for the pin to give TPE the belts.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: THE PUBLIC ENEMY
This was pretty rough at first but it ended up becoming an entertaining wild brawl
TPE celebrate with their belts following that. Mikey then gets helped out of the ring, to a mixture of applause and jeers. Man, some ECW fans were just utterly joyless weren’t they?
Todd Gordon joins us following that match, where he hypes up the next card at The Arena in two weeks. We’ll see The Sandman w/ Woman Vs Tommy Dreamer w/ Peaches, with Tommy Cairo as the guest referee. Cactus Jack then comes back down to put Mikey Whipwreck over and then says he’ll be coming after TPE on the next show, with Kevin Sullivan as his partner! Taz and Sabu will also team up against The Malenko Brothers. Heck, I’d come back to watch that show, it sounds pretty good.
Chris Benoit Vs Sabu w/ 911 and Paul E. Dangerously
This was a pretty heavily hyped match due to Benoit being a big star in Japan and Sabu being one of ECW’s biggest home-grown stars. However, things take an unexpected turn very early on as Benoit lifts Sabu up for a flapjack and Sabu ends up rotating forward and lands straight on his head in horrific fashion, leading to the match having to rightly be stopped within 2 minutes. Amazingly Sabu did make the next show two weeks after this against The Malenko’s though.
I remember watching Benoit’s WWE DVD and they covered this match, with Benoit saying he called Paul Heyman afterwards to make sure that Sabu was okay but Heyman was more interested in how they were going to promote Benoit going forwards! Thankfully Sabu did survive this and Benoit got a new nickname of the “The Crippler” from it, but such a response is classic Heyman.
They ad-lib a spot following the match between Benoit and 911, where Benoit takes a Choke Slam and 911 gets the pin, but this isn’t listed as an official match and the crowd doesn’t buy it as one either. TPE run down to attack 911 following the match, which leads to Cactus getting involved as well. The locker room empties following that, as everyone just brawls to make up for the fact that Sabu is hurt. I’m thinking some sort of brawl was going to happen anyway and then just brought it forward to cover for the injury.
Benoit grabs a mic once everything calms down and cuts a promo on Sabu, which leads to Too Cold Scorpio joining us to lay down a challenge, and we appear to have an impromptu match.
Impromptu Replacement Main Event
Chris Benoit Vs Too Cold Scorpio
This should be a good match at least. TPE attacks Scorpio before the match can start, giving Benoit an advantage from the opening bell, leading to him working some heat. Scorp probably hasn’t warmed up or anything here, and he’s running around doing spin kicks and dropkicks, which is pretty darn impressive. This one is pretty much all big high impact moves, with Benoit getting power bombs and Superplexes right out of the gate. More wrestlers come down to ringside to cheer on both guys and to get the crowd invested.
Scorpio replies with some big moves of his own, including a fantastic double under-hook suplex where Benoit just goes FLYING, and both men end up spilling out to the floor for some brawling, as they are just throwing everything they can into this. They end up fighting out there for too long and the referee counts them out for the lame finish, but I’m guessing neither Benoit or Scorpio were in a position where they could job so they just had to do the best finish they could.
DOUBLE COUNT OUT
This was decent for an unplanned match that was done on mere moments notice
The babyfaces of Scorpio, Cactus, JT Smith and The Bad Breed clear the ring following the result, with Scorpio adding a promo for good measure.
This felt like an extended version of the ECW TV show, with some good angle advancement and mostly short TV styled matches. There were no matches you would have to go out of your way to see, but it was still a solid effort for the most part and I enjoyed it, Sabu’s horror injury aside. It didn’t really feel on par with a WrestleMania level event, but then N2R rarely did outside of maybe the 95 and 96 shows, with most of them rarely living up to the hype.
Mildly recommended show