Your favorite brand of hardcore, ass kicking, no name taking, beer fueled and brutal pro-wrestling returns for a third volume of unreleased footage with ECW Unreleased Vol. 3!
Joey Styles once again assumes the role as host of the DVD and Blu-ray set, however this time he is joined by Raven’s flunkies and the blue World order (bWo) members: Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie. Stevie, Meanie and Joey aren’t afraid to look foolish and their zany and off the wall antics make the wrap around segments a joy to watch.
In addition to their madcap antics, they also do a great job of providing us with history and insight behind the superstars, matches and feuds highlighted throughout the set.
MATCHES… MATCHES… MATCHES…
Tag Team Title Match: Shane Douglas & Tommy Dreamer vs. The Tazmaniac & Kevin Sullivan (Hardcore TV • 12/14/93)
A very early ECW outing here, back in the days when Extreme was way more Eastern. The story of the particular match was that Tommy’s regular tag team partner (Johnny Gunn) didn’t make the show, however the Franchise offered his services to assist the man from Dreamland USA. The match itself maybe isn’t ‘all that’, but it has a good storyline and, for me at least, it is always nice to see the development and evolution of ECW from its very beginnings.
TV Title Match: 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Dean Malenko (Hardcore TV • 11/29/94)
Scorpio and Malenko were true workhorses of ECW in this era and it’s only right that we see one of their classic matches for the Television Championship included here on ECW Unreleased Vol. 3. Scorpio had only just won the TV title when this match took place (that was taped earlier in the evening and aired on TV the week before this match), but was he able to hold on to it…. I’ll leave that for you to find out! 😉
ECW Title Match: Shane Douglas vs. Ron Simmons (Hardcore TV • 1/24/95)
Ron Simmons and The Franchise had been feuding for several months at this point, the main story of this match was Simmons’ shoulder injury (which was a big part of their feud up to this point) and it would be the shoulder injury which would lead to the finish of this match which was a really good outing. Simmons and Douglas told a great story and at this point the Franchise was hitting his stride as the top heel in the company.
Ron Simmons isn’t well remembered for his time in ECW which is kind of a shame, this would be one of the final Simmons vs. Douglas matches and at the conclusion of the match we get all set for the Franchise’s next big feud (but I won’t spoil that for you).
No DQ Match for the Tag Team Titles: The Public Enemy vs. Sabu & Tazmaniac (Hardcore TV • 1/31/95)
As you might expect with these four involved this was a really incredible wrestling clinic… nah, I jest. This one was a wild brawl with bodies, furniture and more flying all over. This definitely isn’t one of the best brawls in ECW history, but still it wasn’t offensively bad.
It’s sad that today that Public Enemy isn’t remembered as fondly as other ECW teams like the Dudley’s. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge truly paved the way for everyone who came after them in ECW and I really believe they should be honored more.
Taz & Eddie Guerrero vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Dean Malenko (Hardcore TV • 7/25/95)
On the heels of the Malenko vs. Guerrero classic, the TV Title picture in ECW was beginning to really get heated up as Malenko, Guerrero and Scorpio had all traded (and would continue to trade) the TV Title. This match here took place from the War Memorial in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and is most famous for being the match in which Taz injured his neck after a spike pile driver and would be sidelined for the next few months. So, taking into account the immense wrestling talent on each of the teams, this couldn’t be bad, and it turned out to be anything but!
This match is also one of the final unreleased Eddie Guerrero/ECW matches (unless WWE have some hidden gems tucked away in their vault).
“Olympic Rules” Match: Cactus Jack vs. Sabu (Holiday Hell • 12/29/95)
Granted, I didn’t see all of the wrestling during London 2012, but I definitely didn’t see any table spots, crazy dives or flailing of steel chairs. Maybe if there had been more weaponry then I would have gotten more into the Olympic wrestling.
If you were hoping for a technical masterpiece here then sorry, but you do get a really great Sabu vs. Cactus Jack knockdown drag out.
Rey Mysterio & 911 vs. The Eliminators (House Party • 1/5/96)
A rare ECW match from 911 here, in ECW lore 911 will be most fondly remembered for being the ‘law’ of ECW by delivering a raft of choke slams to unwitting victims and this role fit him perfectly. Here in this match we get the full setup which included appearances by: Joey Styles (promo), Taz, Pablo Marquez, Todd Gordon, Bill Alfonzo and more.
911 wasn’t too involved in the match after he was taken out in the pre-match festivities, allowing Rey Mysterio to pullout lots of crazy spots against the Eliminators and work the majority of the match. 911 wasn’t great at garnering sympathy (especially from a bloodthirsty Philly crowd) but this still wound up being a fun match to watch and it featured a very unique finish, one that you probably won’t see coming.
Cactus Jack vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (Just Another Night • 2/23/96)
This was one of Cactus’ final Extreme Championship Wrestling appearances, and as is the time honored tradition (ask Bret Hart) Cactus was there to set up the next set of superstars on his way out the door. Unlike the vast majority of matches on this set, this one was taped by “ECW Fan Cam” so it does look different to all of the other matches; however the quality of this footage has held up pretty well.
TV Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. Shane Douglas (Allentown, PA • 7/12/96)
This match takes place at one of the most forgotten, but historic wrestling sites – Agricultural Hall; the venue for countless WWE TV tapings during the 70s and 80s.
This match was classic ECW wrestling and features everything from technical wrestling, to high flying, all the way through to fans handing weapons to the Franchise and a young ‘Lionheart’ Chris Jericho. This was great stuff, plus it’s the first time we’ve ever seen this recently unearthed footage (at least to my knowledge). Also, at the end of the match we get a great cliff hanger for the PHENOMENAL 4-Way Dance at Heatwave ’96 the next day (if you’ve not seen that particular match, check it out on Blood Sport: ECWs Most Violent Matches).
ECW Title Match: Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer (Hardcore TV • 8/13/96)
ECW takes Tokyo in this particular match as Tommy Dreamer attempted to wrest- (well, fight, scratch and claw – to be more accurate) the ECW World Heavyweight Championship from his arch nemesis Raven, inside the iconic Korakuen Hall. As you’ve probably expected this one isn’t a technical masterpiece, but if you’re hoping for a wild and bloody brawl with a big time feel… then BINGO!
Tag Team Title Match: The Eliminators vs. The Dudley’s (Hostile City Showdown • 3/15/97)
Another wild brawl around the arena here, however this time it’s Philly’s ECW Arena. Regretfully, the match didn’t really kick into high gear and it felt a little lumbering, but the match does have historic significance as it marked the very first tag team championship reign for the most decorated tag team in wrestling history – Bubba Ray and D-Von, The Dudley Boys.
Taz vs. Rob Van Dam (Hostile City Showdown • 3/15/97)
Just weeks before the long awaited showdown between Taz and Sabu at Barley Legal, came this warm-up bout as Taz takes on Sabu’s on/off tag team partner, Rob Van Dam. This one has a really unique beginning with Taz and Van Dam going at it amateur style over a chair. All in all it was a very enjoyable match and a great way to build to Barley Legal.
#1 Contender Match: The Sandman vs. Big Stevie Cool vs. Raven (Asbury Park, NJ • 5/2/97)
Less than a month after ECW’s first Pay-Per-View, Barley Legal, ECW takes over the Asbury Park Convention Center with a rematch of the Barley Legal title match. However, in this one we have Raven and Terry Funk switched around. Just like at Barley Legal, the winner of this three-way match would immediately take on Terry Funk for the ECW Championship.
Like the Jericho vs. Douglas match we had, this is a completely never before seen match. The match was recorded by ECW, so we don’t have any Fan Cams. This means the footage is of a much better quality, taped with multiple cameras. The match itself was a decent three-way match (which can often be a little disjointed), granted the match didn’t have the excitement of the Barley Legal three-way, but given their completely different stages that was sure to happen.
ECW Title Match Match: Terry Funk vs. Big Stevie Cool (Asbury Park, NJ • 5/2/97)
*SPOILER WARNING* Stevie Richards won the three-way match, so he takes the spot here in the World Title match.
Stevie was really on the ascent here, after breaking away from Raven and his split from the bWo looking to be looming, Stevie looked to be destined for a run with the World Title (especially after we hear his promo prior to these matches). Sadly, it wasn’t to be for Stevie as he would suffer a neck injury just a few days after this match (you can see that match on the Blu-ray edition of ECW Unreleased Vol. 2, by the way). Despite the drama of the match and the general support for Stevie, the crowd while on their feet didn’t seem to be too invested in the false finishes until the very ending which always hurts the energy of a match for me.
ECW Title Match: Shane Douglas vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (Hardcore TV • 10/25/97)
This was another really cool match, the energy and excitement of the Queens, Elks Lodge crowd was almost tangible. The pre-match setup is also included, which was nice. The reason for the match actually taking place between the Triple Threat members was due to Rick Rude screwing with the Franchise again by turning Bam Bam against him.
The subsequent match was awesome; a massive improvement over their November to Remember 97 match (which can be found on ECW Unreleased Vol. 1 or the WWE Network) but please don’t let that match put you off this one here.
Lance Storm vs. Chris Candido (CyberSlam • 2/21/98)
You’d think with Lance Storm and Chris Candido, you can’t go too far wrong and you’d be right. This was a really solid wrestling match between two pretty damn awesome pro-wrestlers. The back-story here was that Candido and Storm (who were the reigning Tag Team Champions) had a falling out after Storm was excommunicated from the Triple Threat when Bam Bam Bigelow was welcomed back (following the events in the previous match).
ECW Title Match: Taz vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri (Hostile City Showdown • 6/26/99)
After Steve Corino couldn’t get the job done against Taz, he brought in his “Taz Killer”, Yoshihiro Tajiri. Now, I’m a big fan of Tajiri’s work in ECW, and this was another great matchup. It wasn’t long, but was a ‘balls to the wall’ affair.
Tag Team Title Match: Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney vs. The Dudley’s (ECW on TNN • 9/3/99)
After watching this match I was reminded of two things: 1. The Dudley’s were awesome heels. 2. Those chair shots from Balls were so god damn stiff!!!!!
I’ve said it a few times now, but this again was an exciting brawl with a few crazy bumps scattered in for good luck. The Dudley’s (who were leaving for WWE) promised to take the ECW Tag Team Titles to lay at the feet of Vince McMahon, much to the displeasure of the near rabid “Mad House of Extreme” fans.
Tag Team Title Match: The Dudley’s vs. Tommy Dreamer & Raven (ECW on TNN • 9/3/99)
*SPOILER WARNING* The Dudley’s won that previous match and here they ran down ECW, its fans and the company’s heart and soul, Tommy Dreamer. After breaking away from Francine and Paul Heyman (who where holding back the injured Dreamer), Tommy started an impromptu match against the Dudley’s (much to the delight of the Elks Lodge) and after a few minutes Dreamer was joined by his former bitter rival, Raven (who was making his surprise return from WCW) as they take back ECW’s tag straps.
This was great stuff, not a great match per-se, but a fantastic pro-wrestling angle and an incredible way to cap off the second edition of ECW on TNN.
TV Title Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Rhino (Poughkeepsie, NY • 10/22/99)
This match was more of your standard TV main event than a full blown knock out drag out affair. Rhino at the time was on the rise in ECW and on this night at the famed Mid-Hudson Civic Center he came up against the (then) 566 day TV Title reign of Rob Van Dam. While this wasn’t quite the match I had hoped for, it was still thoroughly entertaining and again really cool to see this brand new, never before seen footage.
For all of these newly unearthed matches on this set (of which there are four) Joey Styles has laid down some brand new commentary. As we saw with Jim Ross on the Legends of Mid-South Wrestling DVD, Joey has redone his commentary as he was there live (and not like the alternate commentary tracks which we have seen on other DVD sets). In addition to the new matches, Joey has also redone his commentary for some of the entrances, like the upcoming November to Remember 2000 match.
Tommy Dreamer & Dusty Rhodes vs. Steve Corino & Rhino (ECW on TNN • 2/4/00)
Unique tag team match here, as Tommy Dreamer teams up with Dusty Rhodes to take on Steve Corino and ‘The Man Beast’ Rhino. Classic tag team wrestling was on display here, as Tommy was beaten down before making the hot tag to the ‘merican Dream who of course pulls out a bionic elbow or two in his old stomping ground of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Plus, we get a triple figure four spot… when isn’t that pretty damn cool? (see for yourself in the clip below…)
Kid Kash vs. E.Z. Money (Anarchy Rulz • 10/1/00)
On paper this match doesn’t seem like it’d be up to the quality of the other matches. While Kid Kash was over and is remembered by many, E.Z. Money is one of those ECW alumni who have been forgotten to time. With that said (and I may becoming repetitive, I know) this is again a fun cruiser style match – definitely not a bathroom break (if you’re having a mammoth ECW viewing session). The stipulation behind the match was if Kash won the match then Joel Gurtner would get to wrestle Cyrus, in the ongoing ECW vs. “the Network” feud.
Bizarrely, WWE decided to leave in the build to the Cyrus vs. Gurtner match, but not their actual match — I have no clue why not.
Double Jeopardy Match for the ECW Title: Jerry Lynn vs. The Sandman and Justin Credible vs. Steve Corino (November to Remember • 11/5/00)
There is a reason why we’ve not seen a second “Double Jeopardy” Match in the past 15 years and honestly, it’s because this one was (excuse my language) a cluster-f**k. In theory the match sounds quite interesting; in reality it was all a bit messy. The main event scene was getting a little messy in late 2000 and the ECW Title (like many titles in this era) was beginning to becoming a hot potato with this being the second title switch in two months and the second of four in the final two months of the promotion. Essentially this match is a mini-tournament with the two ‘semi-finals’ in the same ring at the same time, followed by the finals. Sadly, this is how we close out the DVD portion of the set.
However, if you’re a Blu-ray person, at least you’ve got more to close out the set…
BLU-(WORLD ORDER)-RAY EXCLUSIVES…
Tommy Dreamer, Cactus Jack & The Pitbulls vs. Raven, Stevie Richards, Dudley Dudley & Big Dick Dudley (WrestlePalooza • 8/5/95)
A really entertaining 30 minutes here, which begins as your traditional eight-man tag, but this being ECW of course it descents into chaos towards the end. The main crux of the match was the interplay between Cactus Jack and Raven and their reluctance to wrestle, with each agreeing that they “share [each others] pain”. The story would eventually turn into Cactus’ awesome anti-hardcore phase.
Rob Van Dam vs. Mikey Whipwreck (Hardcore TV • 6/11/96)
A very fresh faced Rob Van Dam, an injured Mikey Whipwreck and one hell of brutal beating all wrapped up in the package of a very short, but highly physical matchup. After taking a beating from Brian Pillman and his crutches (Pillman, who was making a brief return to ECW after signing with WWE and his car accident), Mikey was almost decapitated with a guillotine leg drop off the apron and then nearly had his skull broken with a Van Daminator. Post match we’re treated to a classic ‘Loose Cannon’ promo with Pillman shooting on ECW, the fans and putting over RVD as the savor of ECW.
Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs. The Eliminators (High Incident • 10/26/96)
Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams were quite possibly the greatest gaijin tag team in the history of Japanese wrestling. This was a completely wild and historic night for ECW – not only was this the night where Sandman was crucified, the night that Kurt Angle attended the Arena and the night of the famed Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee scaffold match (ending their feud), it also had the moment (from this very match) where Saturn dropped an elbow into Terry Gordy from the scaffold! The match itself isn’t quite as awesome as you might hope, but still, it’s Doc and Gordy in ECW!
Justin Credible & Mike Awesome vs. Jerry Lynn & Masato Tanaka (Hardcore TV • 7/29/98)
This match was awesome! All four guys worked really hard and gave us an awesome, awesome fast paced match-up. The match combined two feuds at the time: Credible vs. Lynn and Awesome vs. Tanaka, both of those matches singles match would happen at the equally awesome Heatwave 1998 PPV just a few days later (in fact both those matches were cool too). Really awesome, great stuff here (that was four times I said “awesome” — if you’re counting).
TV Title Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn (Crossing The Line • 2/12/99)
We’re back at the Mad House of Extreme for our final match as Rob Van Dam, then current and defending World Television Champion as “the whole f’n show”, was set to take on one of his greatest rivals, “the new f’n show”, Jerry Lynn. This is a way better way to go out than that Double Jeopardy Match. While it isn’t as good as their Living Dangerously and Hardcore Heaven matches in the weeks and months that followed, this was still really good. Frankly, I don’t think I have ever seen a ‘bad’ RVD vs. Jerry Lynn match.
PROMOS… PROMOS… PROMOS…
Unlike the previous two ECW Unreleased sets, this one features promos from the various superstars. Throughout the set we have 11 complete promos, and while some don’t necessarily go with the matches (many are devoid from the matches completely) they do make for a great addition to the DVD/Blu-ray. In addition to straightforward TV promos, there are a few instances of “lost” promos included as well complete with outtakes.
Examples of these promos are: Stevie Richards discussing his originally scheduled World Title Match versus Terry Funk at Wrestlepalooza 97 (which never happened due to Stevie’s neck injury) and a backstage promo with one half of the legendary tag team The Rock n’ Roll Express, Robert Gibson where Danny Doring professes to be his son (including Paul Heyman’s take on how the promo should be performed!).
On the topic of outtakes and bloopers, we also get some of these on the third disc of the DVD. Not only do we get some really funny outtakes from the Joey Styles, Blue Meanie and Stevie Richards segments (including spoilers of the movie Interstellar and an hilarious mention of a famous torrent website) but we also have promo outtakes from back in the day as well. I hope, if we get more editions of ECW Unreleased, that we get more outtakes and promos.
As you’ve probably gathered, I really enjoyed this release. The mix of cool matches and fun bWo/Styles segments made for a very enjoyable 8+ hours.
You will have noticed that the matches aren’t all “five star” masterpieces, and honestly ECW wasn’t always about the five star matches, it was about the characters, the emotion and the stories, all of which are represented very well here on ECW Unreleased Vol. 3.
It’s a great measure of a DVD/Blu-rays enjoy-ability when you’ve hammered through it, in just a few sittings without looking at the clock. So if I had to sum up ECW Unreleased Vol. 3 in just one word, it would be: FUN! F. U. N..! F. U. N..! F. U. N..! Bring on Volumes 4, 5, 6, 7…..
Get your copy of the “ECW Unreleased Vol. 3” DVD/Blu-ray…
– UK/Europe: Pre-order now from WWEDVD.co.uk for April 27th.
– USA: Pre-order now here on Amazon.com for April 28th.
– Australia: Pre-order now from WWEDVD.com.au for May 5th.