ECW Hardcore Heaven 1996 (6/22/1996)- Philadelphia, PA
SHANE DOUGLAS vs. MIKEY WHIPWRECK- 5.5/10
After this match, we cut to Joey Styles welcoming everyone to the show and telling us that “the matches you are about to see” were taped at Hardcore Heaven 1996. So was Shane vs. Mikey not from this show? Or did they just put the opening on second for some reason?
Anyway, Bluedust and Baron Von Stevie come out and the crowd just eats it up. They set some stuff up for Raven’s appearance later on and finish it with Stevie putting the Claw on Joey… who just gets annoyed and smacks Stevie’s hand off of him. Just an awesome reaction from Joey here.
THE FBI (J.T. Smith & Little Guido)(w/Sal Bellomo) vs. BUBBA RAY DUDLEY & BIG DICK DUDLEY (w/D.W. Dudley, Sign Guy Dudley, & Chubby Dudley)- no rating. Bad segment.
The pre-match antics with the FBI went on for way too long. Sal hit Big Dick with some chairshots to the head which Big Dick completely no-sold and looked like a BEAST. For some unexplained reason, Big Dick then had to carry Sal to the back to continue beating him up. This paved the way for D-von to show up (he had gotten stuck at the airport so he didn’t know Big Dick was around) and beat everyone up with chairs, which resulted in the Dudley’s being DQed. There was no DQ when Sal Bellomo hit Big Dick with the chair because… um… I guess the ref didn’t see it? Who knows? ECW was never particularly consistent with these things. Shane Douglas hit the ref for no reason last match and he didn’t get DQed.
Anyway, D-von yells at the other Dudleys and hits them with a chair some more, then he decides to leave, calling out Big Dick while doing so. Big Dick comes out, but D-von is already on his way out of the arena. Big Dick follows Devon out of the arena, but D-von never once turned around and saw him, despite the multiple fans yelling at him to turn around.
“SHOOT FIGHT:” Paul Varleans vs. Taz (w/Bill Alfonzo, Rob Van Dam, Shane Douglas and the Eliminators)- no rating. Good segment.
The fans are solidly behind Varleans here, even chanting “UFC!” They wrestle for a bit until the ref gets distracted somehow and Perry Saturn hits Varleans in the back of the head with a missile dropkick. This allows Taz to put him in the Taz-mission and “choke Varleans out” (Joey Styles sold it as if Perry’s dropkick had knocked Varleans out and Taz was just being a dick). Taz then cut a promo talking about how he cheated the fans out of the “shoot fight” they had wanted to see, and you could tell that the fans were livid.
SEGMENT WITH RAVEN, STEVIE, NOVA, PEACHES, & THE SANDMAN- Great! I love seeing a booker actually remember continuity. Raven thinks he will get under Sandman’s skin by banging Lori, but Sandman completely no-sells it and reminds everyone that two years ago he had been pimping Lori out to the whole locker room (compare this to TNA who had Traci admit to putting out for Bischoff to try to get a promotion, then wanted us to be outraged a few weeks later when Karen Jarrett called Traci a whore). Sandman telling Raven “don’t forget to pay your bill!” got a HUGE pop!
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Raven(c) (w/ Stevie Richards & Nova) vs. Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy- 4/10
They brawled for a bit but really didn’t do too much and didn’t go too long. The crowd was ultra-hot for this match, though. Gordy punched the ref during the match and the ref just horribly oversold it (I am talking about jumping half way across the ring)… then the ref was up thirty seconds later to count a pin.
AFTERMATH- this is the beginning of the famous angle with Sandman’s son, and it was pretty well done, though Beulah challenging Peaches to a catfight took some of the attention away from where it needed to be, IMO.
And speaking of taking the focus off of where it needs to be, for no reason whatsoever, Bluedust comes out. He says something, then gets hit with a low blow by Kimona, a kick to the gut by Gordy, and a DDT by Beulah… and apparently Beulah doing a measly little DDT is enough to elicit a “she’s hardcore!” chant.
LAST CHANCE MATCH FOR THE ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: The Eliminators(c) vs. The Gangstas- no rating. Good segment. The match never got started as the Samoan Gangsta Party and the Bruise Brothers both jumped the Gangstas, leading to a wild multi-team brawl. This was very well executed. SO well executed, in fact, that even I, with my well-known disdain for him, popped when New Jack came back out.
THE SAMOAN GANGSTA PARTY vs. HACK MYERS & AXL ROTTEN- same as the last segment, except an even bigger schmoz. Once was good. Twice in a row is annoying.
ECW TV TITLE MATCH: Pitbull #2(c) )(w/Francine) vs. Chris Jericho- 6.5/10
The stuff on the outside with Shane Douglas was very good. Francine really had her Raquel Welch on tonight.
WEAPONS MATCH: Brian Lee vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Beulah McGillicutty & Kimona Wanalaya)- 5/10
They just hit each other with stuff a lot. After the match, the Bruise Brothers jump Tommy… then it just cuts to the famous scene of Brian Lee chokeslamming Tommy from the crow’s nest through three tables. The cut felt very awkward.
ROB VAN DAM vs. SABU- 5.75/10
Nowhere near acceptable for a main event. A lot of the offense looked extremely weak and staged, and Van Dam would alternate between selling his leg and then going and doing various kicks or flippy-do’s. There were some cool spots in here, too, and they started telling a decent story at the end, but not enough good to erase all of the bad.
Overall, a very bad show from ECW. Too many short matches, ultra-long schmozzes, and non-match segments just dragging on for WAY too long.