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OO FEATURE SERIES: THE BEST OF ECW  
ECW's Finest in Five Categories:
The Number Ones! 
January 16, 2004

by Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus 
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Editor's Note:  If you haven't been keeping up with this feature, then by all means, be sure to check out the Previous Five Installments of Scotty's Favorite ECW Moments:

PART ONE: The Honorable Mentions and #10s
PART TWO: The #9s and #8s
PART THREE: The #7s and #6s
PART FOUR: The #5s and #4s
PART FIVE: The #3s and #2s

When Rick introduced the first part of this multi-part column last week, he humbled me by making reference to there being “no bigger ECW fan in the world.”  I was humbled because Rick himself was instrumental in introducing me to ECW in the first place, back in the day when he was knows as Big Daddy Who, long before establishing himself as The Rick.  It was our mutual friend, Snake, whom I always considered to be the biggest ECW fan in the world back in the day.  Maybe I could lay claim to being the biggest current fan of ECW that Rick knows, based on the fact that I am still buying the occasional ECW tape even now, three years after they went out of business…but back in the day, nobody that I knew loved ECW like Snake loved ECW.  And that my friends, is what inspired me to devote hours daily doing these recaps, as a way of offering a shout-out to my old pal Snake, whom I haven’t seen in a long time…and the last time that I did see him?  We got together and watched wrasslin’, of course!!
 

ECW: History in Review
#1, Some of My Favorite Memories

(Disclaimer:  This is not meant to be a “History of ECW” piece.  There are plenty of places where you can go to get the historical minutia that you desire, and I am not the man to give that info to you anyway.  I started watching ECW regularly just before they got their show on TNN, and so I was really only a die-hard fan of the fed for a little over a year before they went out of business.  But, in that time, and since that time, I have collected as many ECW tapes as I could afford to get my hands on.  Based on the tapes in my collection, I have gathered together a few Top Ten Lists.  Once again, these are not meant to be universally accepted as the top moments/matches/whatever in ECW history; rather, they represent some of my favorite moments/matches/whatever that appear in my tape collection.)

#1

Joel Gertner Poem:

This poem was performed at ECW’s annual internet-convention, Cyberslam 2000:

Joel…  
“All the ladies in the house
Just want me to click their mouse,

‘Cause when I’m on the internet,
I make their panties wet,
And as they sit at their computer
And they sit on my sex shooter,

They can surf through cyberspace,
And I’ll upload right in their face.”  
…Gertner

I’m not going to make a case for this being the very best poem that Gertner ever performed.  Instead, this poem is a shout-out to both Snake and Rick, because Snake was the person that first introduced me to Rick, and also Rick’s website (which at the time was “wrestlemaniacs.com”).
 

Promo:

RVD anticipates Sabu winning the World Title from Taz.

This promo was on the Living Dangerously ppv leading-up to the Title Unification Match between Sabu and Taz that was featured by me as the #7 match.  At the time, RVD was the TV champ, Sabu was the FTW champ, and together they were the Tag Team champs.  If Sabu could unify the FTW and ECW belts, that would mean that all of the belts in ECW would be held by the two of them, prompting Van Dam to ask, “How is Rob Van Dam gonna carry all five belts, and his partner, too?”

With so many criteria that could be used to judge different promos, it seems silly to try and label one as the greatest.  Hell, this probably isn’t even the greatest RVD promo!!  What it is, though is a promo by one of Snake’s favorite wrasslers, at his all-time cocky best.
 

Angle:

Bill Alphonso loses 30% of his blood.

I was still blinded by the glitz and glitter of WCW in September of ’97, but not Snake, and he traveled (along with Scaia, probably) to South Philly for an event that was recorded and released as: As Good As It Gets.  After the event, he came back and all he could talk about was this guy named Bill Alphonso that was hospitalized after losing 30% of his blood…against Beulah in a mixed-tag match!  It was RVD & Fonzie v. Tommy Dreamer & Beulah, and upon entering the ring, Van Dam tells us that he is embarrassed to even be booked in this match, but he feels like kickin’ someone’s ass, so he’s going to take care of Dreamer, and Fonzie can have him some of Beulah, if he wants too.  The match starts as just Dreamer v. RVD, as Fonzie and Beulah don’t even get onto the apron for most of the opening minutes.  Referee Jeff Jones takes a steel chair out of Dreamer’s hands at one point, and RVD responds by hitting a Van Daminator on the ref!

Sabu hits the ring after the ref goes down, and he and RVD bludgeon Dreamer using chairs, and later, a table.  From opposite corners, RVD and Sabu put Dreamer through a table with a Frogsplash and Legdrop.  After Dreamer is taken out, Van Dam gets back on the mic, saying that he doesn’t need silly matches like this, and he and Sabu have better things to do with their time.  So Van Dam and Sabu head to the back, and Dreamer is taken back to receive medical attention, leaving Alphonso and Beulah alone in the ring.  There has not been a pinfall, so the match-up is still underway.

Beulah dares Fonzie to hit her in the chin, and when he turns and swings, she has pulled a cookie sheet out from under her shirt, and Alphonso crushes his knuckles.  He turns around, and walks right into a shot to the head from the cookie sheet, and rolls out of the ring.  Beulah removes her T-shirt to reveal a sports-bra sort of outfit that the ECW Arena faithful seem to approve of, and when Fonzie rolls back into the ring, we can see that he is busted open already.  In fact, blood is practically gushing from his forehead, smearing the right side of his face, and soaking his shirt.  They head back into the ring, where Bill Alphonso is actually on the offensive briefly, but Beulah reverses a suplex into a DDT.  That only gets her a two-count, and after exchanging chops in the corner, Fonzie climbs to the top, motioning that he is going to go for a moonsault!  Beulah crotches him on the top turnbuckle, however, and next thing ya know, Alphonso is hanging helplessly from the Tree o’ Woe with a chair positioned in front of his face!  One Baseball Slide Dropkick later, and Beulah is now climbing to the top.  Fonzie catches her up there and attempts to bring her back in with a Powerbomb, but Beulah reverses it into a Huricanrana for the 1, 2, 3.  After the bell, a bloodied Bill Alphonso stumbles into one of the corners and reaches out, looking to make a tag!
 

Moment:

“Hi Snake!”

Yes folks, my favorite memory from all of ECW’s history is the time that I got my “Hi Snake” sign on television during Sandman’s entrance, because the Sandman was Snake’s very favorite wrassler of them all.  Once again, this is footage from Hardcore Heaven 2000, when Amey and I were in the third row.  We had taken a few signs with us, including my favorite (devoted to Dawn Marie Bytch), which read, “Dawn Marie Spyts”…in all caps on the sign, of course!  Another sign that I had with us that night read, “Hi Rick,” but it was not meant to appear on screen.  Obviously, I couldn’t be there to see Snake’s face when his name appeared on a sign being supported by a scrawny pale-white character in a blue Luchadore mask, but I’m sure that he and all of the other wrasslin’ watchin’ crew down there in Dayton got a kick out of it!
 

Match:

Terry Funk v. Sandman v. Big Stevie Cool…Winner v. Raven (champ): #1 Contender’s/World Title Gauntlet Match.

This is the first ECW match that I ever saw, and it is from Barely Legal, their very first pay per view broadcast…and I am bringing it to you on the anniversary of their very last ppv.  See how I concentrated on things like continuity, and bringing things full-circle as much as, if not more than I concentrated on which things were the “greatest”?

The footage begins with Joey Styles at the announce position, and he introduces us to the special color commentator for this match: “The Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer, who enters with his girlfriend Beulah…I read that Tommy and Beulah were married some time in the last year, so good for them!  Love is nice. 

The rules of this match are not so nice, however, because there are no rules.  Falls count anywhere, and the winner of the 3-Way Elimination Match will immediately challenge Raven for the ECW World Heavyweight Title.  The Blue World Order hits the ring to a huge pop.  Big Stevie Cool will be competing of course, and he is accompanied as always by Da Blue Guy and Hollywood Nova, along with 7-11, and the newest member, Thomas The Inchworm Rodman!  They perform various antics in the ring as “Enter Sandman” starts to play over the loudspeakers of the ECW Arena.  Everyone surely knows by now that Sandman’s pre-match ritual consisted of an unfiltered cigarette and several beers, but what you might not have noticed is that after several years of using that ring entrance, he started to pour the beer into fan’s mouths, or spit most of it out.  This event, however, is from the era when he poured basically an entire beer into his mouth in one pour, crushed the can on his forehead, and barely spit-out a little foam…and I think he drank four beers on the way to the ring!  Terry Funk enters to no music, but a huge ovation.  During the introductions, Funk shakes the hands of his opponents…and I guess before the match starts I should tell you that Tommy Dreamer was originally scheduled to be a part of this match, but he stepped-aside in order to allow Funk to have “one more chance” at becoming World Champion.  On commentary, Joey Styles has already repeated that fact a few times, and it’ll be mentioned again, to be sure.

When the bell rings, the Sandman cracks one more beer, and offers it to Terry Funk.  The Funkster refuses politely, and so the Sandman shrugs, drinks the beer, and then spits the foam into Stevie’s face.  They circle, and the match is underway!

Lots of double-teams to start, mostly Funk and Sandman teaming-up against Stevie, but eventually alliances form against the Sandman, and later against Funk.  In the first comedy-spot, after Funk is laid-out, Stevie asks Sandman to pick him (Stevie) up and drop him across Funk.  Sandman complies, enabling Stevie to drop a Big Legdrop onto their enemy.  Then a minute or two later when Funk is again laying in the center of the ring, Stevie asks Sandman to repeat the spot, but when he picks Stevie up, Sandman falls backwards in a Belly-to-Back Suplex!  The BWO at ringside is irate!

Sandman leaves the ringside area, and meanwhile in the ring, after hitting a trifecta of Hangman’s Neckbreakers on Stevie, Funk follows-up with…a Hangman’s Neckbreaker!  That only gets a two-count, and at that point Sandman returns and tosses a ladder into the ring, taking-out both Funk and Stevie with it!  Sandman comes in and Suplexes the ladder onto Stevie, and then sets it up near the corner.  Funk and the Sandman climb opposite sides of the ladder, and start to exchange punches at the top.  After dazing the Sandman, Funk leaps backwards with a Moonsault onto Big Stevie Cool!  Sandman folds the ladder up, and leaps from the top turnbuckle, dropping the ladder across Stevie’s back.  Both Funk and Stevie are down, and Sandman is standing tall in the ring…for now.  He leans the ladder up in the corner, but Stevie reverses a whip into the corner, and Sandman crashes into the ladder upside down.  Stevie gets a Scoop Slam and a two-count on Funk while the Sandman recovers and sets the ladder up in the center of the ring.  This time it is Stevie and the Sandman that climb each side of the ladder, but as they reach the top, Funk makes it to his feet and staggers backwards, knocking the ladder over, and Hotshotting both opponents on the top rope.  I guess I also should mention at some point that Dreamer, on commentary, has repeatedly stated that Terry Funk is his mentor, and that he promised Terry that he would not, under any circumstances, interfere in this match…Terry wants to win it on his own.

Back to the ring, where Dreamer’s mentor has the ladder across his shoulders, and he is spinning in the middle of the ring.  Both Sandman and Stevie attempt to reach him, but each time he just spins and the ladder clips them and knocks them down.  The ref is ducking in the corner as a dizzy Terry Funk falls and manages to get his head stuck between two rungs of the ladder.  He eventually frees himself and positions the ladder leaning against the top rope, where Sandman meets him and they exchange blows over the ladder.  Big Stevie Cool perches himself on the top turnbuckle, and when Funk and Sandman exhaust themselves and lean forward, propping each other up above the ladder, Stevie leaps and see-saws the ladder into both of them!  Both men are down as Stevie comes back into the ring and sets-up for the Steviekick, which he delivers on the Sandman, but he kicks out!

Stevie tossed outside and into the first row, where Sandman sets the ladder up against the guardrail.  Sandman then leaps from the ring to the floor, using the seesaw action of the ladder against Stevie.  Sandman has left the area again, and as Funk and Stevie make their way back into the ring, Sandman can be seen carrying a trash can down the aisle.  Sandman and Funk double-team to Suplex Stevie onto the trashcan, and then they also deliver a Spike Piledriver to the leader of the BWO.  Stevie is down, but instead of going for the cover, Funk hits him in the head with the trashcan!  Sandman brings the ladder back in and lays it on top of the prone Stevie Richards.  Sandman then goes out onto the apron, and Funk assists in Slingshotting Sandman back in with a Flipping Legdrop onto the ladder and Stevie!  Funk goes for the cover, 1…2…no!  Joey tells Dreamer that he wouldn’t have believed any of this if he hadn’t seen it!

Double-team Powerbomb by Funk and Sandman, and when they both make the cover, they are able to get the pinfall and eliminate Big Stevie Cool approximately fifteen minutes into the match.  Funk and Sandman shake hands in the ring, while Stevie rolls to the outside.  Funk sent into the ropes, and when Sandman rushes him, Funk Back Bodydrops him over the ropes and onto Stevie on the floor!  Sandman goes under the ring, and comes back out with what at first appears to be just paper streamers, until you hear someone in the audience yell, “Barbed wire!”  Sandman comes back into the ring, where Funk uses him for a punching bag after pulling his shirt up over his head.  Sandman does a Flair Flop (with his shirt still pulled up and over his head), and Funk over and over again whips Sandman’s bare back with the barbed wire!

Sandman is able to break that up, using a piece of sheet metal that had been wrapped around the garbage can, and then the Sandman turns himself into a Human Barbed-Wire Battering Ram by wrapping the barbed wire around himself and hitting Funk with repeated Standing Splashes.  Funk is down, and when Stevie climbs up onto the apron, Sandman has a Splash for him, too!  Funk takes the trashcan and places it over the Sandman’s head, and then lays-in some punches before Sandman blindly walks into a Steviekick!  Sandman is able to get the trashcan off, but he rolls into corner, and Funk comes off with a Moonsault onto the Sandman, who is still wrapped in barbed wire!  1, 2, and 3.  Sandman is eliminated at about the twenty-minute mark.

There is no rest period for the Hardcore Legend, as Raven hits the ring immediately, and hits Funk in the head with the World Title belt.  Drop Toehold onto the chair from Raven, followed by a couple of straight chairshots to the head, and Funk is down and bleeding…bad.  I mean, blood is literally pouring out of the right side of his forehead and down his shoulder and chest.  Funk does little more than writhe in pain as Raven continues to lay boots into Funk’s bloody head, and the doctor hits the ring.  At this point, Raven is seated in the opposite corner while the doctor checks on Funk, and the crowd chants, “Tommy!  Tommy!”  On commentary, Tommy reminds us that the fans don’t understand that he promised, he made a solemn vow to Terry that he would not interfere in the match…and he simply can’t go back on his word!

Raven chases the doctor out of the ring, and attacks Terry again, laying right hands to the head.  Funk swings wildly, but can’t even keep his balance.  The doctor comes back out, but again Raven chases him off, and drags Funk outside the ring.  Terry is laid-out on a table, and then Raven, from inside the ring, dives over the ropes and crashes onto Funk, and they both go through the table to the floor.  The doctor is on the scene immediately, and waves his hands to stop the match.  Raven ain’t havin’ any of that, though, and he takes the doctor out with a right hand.

Raven calls for reinforcements, and the members of Raven’s Nest come out and attack the Funker…as well as stack three tables on the floor beneath the announce position.  Raven grabs the mic and says that he is going to Chokeslam Funk through the tables, and also that Dreamer is going to have to watch it happen right at his own feet.  Dreamer removes his headset and challenges Raven, but then Big Dick Dudley (making a surprise return) sneaks-up behind Tommy, and after a chairshot, positions Tommy for the Chokeslam!  In the ring, Raven DDT’s the ref, but the real story is being told on the balcony, where Tommy Dreamer (for the second time in his career) is about to be Chokeslammed through three tables to the floor.  Dick picks him up, but Dreamer kicks him in the nuts and reverses the hold!  To a wild pop, Dreamer applies the Chokeslam and tosses Big Dick Dudley from the balcony and through the three tables!  Tommy then leaves the broadcast position and rushes the ring.

Whip into the ropes by Raven, who goes for an armdrag, but Tommy reverses it into a DDT!  Funk realizes what is going-on just in time to make the cover, and score the 1, 2, no!  Raven kicks out!  He goes for a slam, but Funk rolls him up…1, 2, and 3!

A bloody 53-year old Terry Funk slides out into the crowd and celebrates with Dreamer and the ECW faithful, as Joey Styles asks, “Do you believe in miracles?”
 

Closing:

There you have it.  Some of my favorite moments, matches, and whatnot from my ECW video library.  I hope that you enjoyed riding along with me during this trip down memory lane, because it was both a pleasure and a nightmare for me to produce…a pleasure because I enjoyed pulling all of my ECW videos out and dusting them off; but a nightmare because I don’t type very fast, and so the act of actually writing more than fifty pages (single-spaced) in one week has left me exhausted.

There are a couple of things that I want to cover before I close.  First, there is a Monster-Truck Show in San Antonio this weekend, and so the local Fox affiliate has been showing commercials for it for more than a week…conveniently during the same week that I was reviewing a bunch of footage from the Old-TNN, which of course, featured commercials for the Monster-Truck TV-Show.  It may not have been the same guy doing the voice-over for both commercials, but they were damn sure trying to sound the same!  There were several times during the creation of this column that I would stop the tape and go into the kitchen or bathroom, and then hear a Monster-Truck commercial and think that the tape was still running!  Amey and I aren’t going to the Monster-Truck Show…not our cup o’ tea, but we are going to the Hank Williams III show in San Antonio next week.  We have seen Hank 3 once already, and his name is on top of the list of musicians that I would recommend that everyone listen to!

Finally, if this column has piqued your interest and you want to seek-out some of these matches or moments, RF Video is the place for you to go.  They were in-cahoots with ECW from almost the very beginning, and they have nearly every ECW commercial video that was ever made, as well as house shows and things that were never officially released by ECW itself…and best of all, since ECW is out of business, just about all of their tapes have been discounted by RF Video!

OK, I’m through.  I don’t know when you’ll be hearing from me again.  Amey got me a bunch of videos for X-Mas, but I don’t know when I will have time to recap them…I will be taking the GRE some time hopefully next month, and then my application is due at Texas State by the beginning of April, so February and March are going to be busy months for me…wish me luck!  In all honesty, I know how I am, and after a month or so I will start to jones to see my name up on OO, and I will force time into my schedule for a little something!  So until then…

PEACE

E-MAIL SCOTTY
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