Cageside Seats has gone retro with classic Wrestlemanias, classic Summerslams, classic episodes of RAW, classic WCW PPVs, and even infamous PPVs.
This Saturday night, for the first time in a year, we're going extreme!
This week, we're looking at the April 23 and April 30, 1996 episodes of ECW Hardcore TV. Featuring highlights of the recent Hostile City Showdown '96, this episode is best remembered for the segment that bridges the two episodes. I'll summarize it for you in four words: "I'll take 'em both, I'm hardcore!" The moment as explained in TV Tropes:
Tommy [Dreamer] would have another career-defining moment later in his ECW career. When his valet (and future wife) Beulah [McGillicutty] was revealed to have been cheating on him with Raven's valet, Kimona Wanalaya, Tommy's reply to the revelation helped to further cement his legacy: "I'll take 'em both, I'm hardcore!"
Though wrestling has occasionally flirted with the idea of using lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender characters, this is one of the first notable examples of such a storyline in a national promotion. Needless to say, this episode is probably not suitable for everyone.
If you have a WWE Network subscription, stop by at 7pm ET this Saturday night. That's 6pm CT, 4pm PT, 1pm in Hawaii, 12 midnight in Britain. Everywhere else, figure it out.
We'll begin with the April 23 episode. Then just kick back and relax as a few seconds after the April 23 episode ends, the next will begin playing automatically (assuming you have updated the app to the latest version. Or are watching on a desktop).
Hope to see ya there!
ECW Hardcore TV #157, April 23, 1996.
Joey Styles outside the ECW Arena with a group of rabid ECW fans as they're about to let the fans in for Hostile City Showdown '96.
Highlights of everything that led to the big story of Hostile City Showdown.
Joey Styles by the big ECW banner as he puts a bow on the event and Shane Douglas promising to reveal a truth that would "shock the wrestling world".
Static transition to Joey Styles interviewing The Gangstas. They call out the Eliminators and they wanna fight here and now. The Eliminators oblige, and we got ourselves a fight. It spills into the crowd, because of course it does. They eventually get it back in the ring, and the locker room is out attempting to separate the teams. LET THEM GO! LET THEM GO! LET THEM GO! Gangsta stand tall as the Eliminators and the rest of the locker room head backstage without incident.
Match 1: Super Nova vs. El Puerto Ricano is a no contest at 2:00. Much of that was spent on Styles lamenting Nova's ring outfit. Anyway, the Eliminators rush in and put the beating on them both before delivering Total Elimination to both Nova and Ricano.
Eliminators challenge the Gangstas to a street fight—what were they thinking? The Gangstas are back, and this time they're armed with a trash can, and they're fighting again. Seriously, can we have an official match between these teams already? Somehow a beach ball got in the building. Of course it did. And of course the Gangstas and Eliminators brawl into the crowd. Seriously, Tod Gordon. Do your job and sign the match already. Mustafa with a title shot to Kronus. They're still going.
THEY'RE STILL GOING.
Nope. They're not still going anymore. Locker room separates the teams. Again. Well, they're trying. JT Smith and Little Guido trying to play peacemaker and Guido is taken out by D-Von Dudley. New Jack and Saturn fight through the crowd. Bad Crew take out El Puerto Ricano. Hack Myers takes out Bad Crew and we're damn near in a full-scale riot.
At Geno's in South Philadelphia, JT Smith and Little Guido enjoy some good cheesesteaks. Guido not feeling Geno's cheesesteak. Missing some cannoli.
Match 2: "Prime Time" Brian Lee defeated Tommy Dreamer in 7:07. Raven's other henchmen, The Bruise Brothers, play a huge part in Lee scoring the upset win. Lee used a steel chair to hammer a cinder block into Dreamer's groin. That could not have felt good. Shoot cinder block, by the way. Oh, and Tommy Dreamer's evening may be getting worse. Joy.
Sandman and Missy Hyatt highlight video.
Joey Styles promises a secret from Shane Douglas so extreme, it will make the Monday Night Wars look like two old men playing chess in the park.
Out after the break is Raven, who is set to defend the ECW World Heavyweight Championship against Shane Douglas. Raven is seconded by Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie cosplaying as Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Meanie is Michaels by the way. Raven seems unamused. A lot of wrestling dirt sheets in the building, plus Bob Ryder reporting live.
Out next is the challenger Shane Douglas, who is seconded by Raven's ex, Kimona Wanalaya. Shane points to a sign, "The Time is Now... 371 Days Later", meaning it's been 371 days since Shane last held the ECW world title. His lack of the world title is two weeks away from matching his last reign as champion (385 days).
Shane lets Raven know he's got something that belongs to him—the ECW title—before going into the secret. Apparently, Beulah is a cheaty mccheatcheat: Beulah cheated on Raven with Tommy Dreamer...and Beulah cheated on Tommy Dreamer. With who? Raven for what it's worth seems unimpressed. Douglas stalls, and out comes Tommy Dreamer. And Tommy wants names and wants them now.
Shane says to go ahead and drop him where he stood, but if he can't take the truth, he's not hardcore. Shane goes on... turns out Beulah's not pregnant after all. Tommy is pissed and he wants to know who it is that's getting some of Beulah. Then Shane drops the big bomb... it's not a he.
Kimona snatches the mic from Douglas: "IT'S ME!"
The world stops as Beulah struts to the ring and strips her shirt (don't worry, she's got a top on). Kimona walks towards Beulah as the show fades to black.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK ON ECW. YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET! IT'S ABOUT TO GET EXTREME!
ECW Hardcore TV #158, April 30, 1996.
Show opens with Dreamer grabbing both Beulah and Kimona by the hair after what appears to be a wild making out session. Shane asks for Tommy's thoughts.
"I'll take ‘em both, I'm hardcore!"
Dreamer kisses the ladies and the ladies kiss each other as the E strategically blocks it out. Raven, still unimpressed as Dreamer and the ladies head out.
Match 1: Raven vs. Shane Douglas for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, one fall to a positive finish. Raven looks dejected. I guess it's now hit him: Raven's lost his girl to Tommy Dreamer. Again. Both the crowd and Shane are in his head in the early going. Even still, Raven has the championship advantage. Two minutes after the first tie-up, Raven's gotten no significant offense in.
At about 3 and a half minutes, Raven counters a sleeper into a jawbreaker. His first offensive move of the match. Sleeper reversed by Raven and Shane sends both men over. Crowd still in a state of shock about THE BIG SECRET. Shane with a cross body to the outside over the rail sends both champ and challenger down. Shane using a cane. And what looks like a bedpan. And a chair. And a cheese grater. Douglas busting the champ open, but Raven sends the challenger over to a nearby platform, then follows it up with a bulldog on the chair. Raven with the advantage for the first time in the match as we go to break.
Match spilled out to Swanson and Rittner during the break, and both men are back in the arena, with challenger Douglas on the offense. Piledriver by Douglas and the challenger is calling for the end. Brian Lee rushes in, but is thwarted by Dreamer. Belly-to-belly should have been a three, but referee was out of position and Raven kicks out. Dreamer explaining the situation to Douglas. A quick hug, but it's followed by his belly-to-belly. Dreamer and Douglas are fighting. Referees and locker room trying to separate Dreamer and Douglas. Match continues to a positive finish. Quick rollup by Raven gets a near fall.
Snapmare, but suplex attempt from Raven is blocked and Douglas gets a suplex of his own to the ropes. Suplex kidney first into the top turnbuckle. Way to cover up a sloppy suplex, Styles. Superplex is blocked and Raven up top. Raven crowns the Franchise. Raven's superplex is blocked and a cross body is reversed by Raven, gets only two. Backslide by Douglas gets only two. Figure four by Douglas, but Meanie moonsaults... nothing. However, Douglas moving out of the way forces him to release the hold. Half-Boston crab, but Stevie Richards rushes in with a STEVIE KICK. Raven covers, but only gets two. Raven looks for the DDT, but Shane pushes off and hits a DDT of his own. Raven kicks out at two. Spinebuster by Douglas. Shane undoing the orthopedic boot of Raven and hooks the figure four again. Bruise Brother rushes in but gets a belly-to-belly. Raven nails Douglas with the orthopedic boot, and that gets the three. Raven defeats Shane Douglas at 17:12 to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
Post-match, Joey Styles is with Shane Douglas. Shane not too happy, with Raven and his goons stealing the win again. He eats, drinks, breathes, sleeps ECW, and the world title is the only belt in the world that means anything according to him. That brings out ECW World Television Champion 2 Cold Scorpio. And his belt means more to him than anything. Scorpio laying the challenge to Douglas that if you want a shot, you can come and get it. You know, seeing as he has a belt and Shane doesn't. Shane is like... nah. I'm about the ECW world title. Both go their separate ways, but IT'S A TRAP! Shane jumps Scorpio and belly-to-bellys him, then whips Scorpion with the belt. Sandman rushes in and he gets a belly-to-belly. Scorpio and Sandman get caned by Douglas. Shane with a piledriver to Scorpio on the TV title belt before he storms off.
A recap of what just went down and some recent ECW happenings including Mikey Whipwreck and Sabu shaking hands following a match, and Missy Hyatt slapping Fred the Elephant Boy of The Howard Stern Radio Show fame, then Fred getting caned by Sandman.
Gangstas on the streets of Philadelphia in a promo. They're still waiting on a title shot against the Eliminators. Eliminators respond with a locker room promo. Apparently the title belts got an extra coat of paint: a white X.
Joey Styles informs us that Brian Pillman was in an auto accident, and Pillman has an open invitation to return to ECW when his condition improves.
Match 2: Axl Rotten defeats Little Guido in 6:21. Dominator wins it for Rotten. A portion of the match was clipped for broadcast. Post-match, JT Smith plays peacemaker—again. Axl Rotten thought about going after them before deciding discretion is the better part of valor. Please cut JT Smith's mic off.
Taz with Bill Alfonso and Team Taz out first. And Dangerous Devon Storm is the opposition. Joey Styles of course gets in his digs on WCW. And on Taz, who's been a bit dangerous lately, what with dropping people on their heads and such. Bill Alfonso not endearing himself to the ECW faithful as he steps on a Flyers sweater.
Match 3: Taz defeats Dangerous Devon Storm by countout at 4:57. Storm was belly-to-belly overhead tossed to the outside. Was supposed to hit the table, but didn't come close, and Storm landed on his head. Post-match, Taz locked in the Tazzmission on Storm. Taz gets on the mic and offers some sage advice (don't try and be somebody you're not; pay your dues) and credits him for showing up... unlike "the king" Sabu.
Pulp Fiction promos, basically a series of short rapid fire promos, ends the show. Correction: Gangstas get beaten down by the Eliminators and get spray-painted to end the show. Tag, you're it, mother*cker. Ok, I admit. That was clever.
EDDIE MAC'S QUICK REVIEW
Well, for 1996, the BIG SECRET that revolved around the first show and a quarter was something. Shocking for 1996. Probably would be shocking for 2016 if it happened on WWE television—not that it would. If you're a fan of Attitude Era-style wrestling shows, you'll probably like the show. If not, then I can safely say ECW is not for you, especially these two episodes. Following the BIG SECRET and ECW world title match, this double pack of episodes kinda fall off a cliff pretty quickly. It's like having the main event of a two-hour RAW at the top of the second hour. I'll be fair and split the middle leaning up with a 5.5 out of 10 rating.
The cSs Live Retro Blog is going on vacation for a bit. Next weekend is Labor Day weekend, and Backlash is the following weekend. It'll return on September 17 with one of the most infamous shows in wrestling history.