Looking back at the early days of ECW HCTV many younger fans may wonder what all the hubbub was about. But back in 1993, with cartoon wrestling and programming geared towards kids dominating wrestling, Eastern Championship Wrestling hit a nerve and struck a chord. It was what wrestling was supposed to be: realistic, athletic, personal, heated, and (most importantly) violent. For those fans looking for more, ECW was it. Its low budget approach and devil-may-care attitude satiated the needs of the hardcore, die-hard fans and made stomaching the childish WWF/WCW fluff a bit easier. It proved that all the money in the world couldn’t buy heart. ECW was by the fans and for the fans, and you either “got it” or you didn’t.
By this time in 1993 ECW, in the waning days of the Eddie Gilbert era, was still building a reputation with the core audience and finding their way creatively. Older stars like Terry Funk, Jimmy Snuka, and Don Muraco were instrumental in getting the young, future stars off the ground, and the hands-off approach of Sports Channel Philadelphia allowed Tod Gordon and ECW the type of leeway that was virtually unheard of at the time.
With all previous editions of HCTV currently available on the Network, context is no issue.
ECW Hardcore TV #15 (WATCH)
Date: July 20, 1993 (TAPED: March 15, 1993) – Location: ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance <300 – Rating: N/A
Commentators: Jay Sulli, Paul E. Dangerously, & Tod Gordon – Interviews: Stevie Wonderful, Paul E. Dangerously, & Jay Sulli
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
ECW Heavyweight Champion: Don Muraco
ECW Television Champion: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
ECW Tag Team Champions: The Super Destroyers (Destroyer #1: A.J. Petruzzi & Destoryer #2: Doug Stahl)
ECW Pennsylvania Champion: Tommy Cairo
The show opens with footage from the close of last week’s edition of HCTV where The Super Destroyers “broke” Chris Candido’s arm.
After the usual opening (with the original music intact, surprisingly) Jay Sulli welcomes us to the show and introduces the CEO of the Dangerous Alliance, Paul E. Dangerously, and ECW President Tod Gordon. Gordon says he promised to levy fines and suspensions for the fiasco that went down last week. Gordon says that anyone who comes to the ring this week who isn’t supposed to be there will be suspended.
After Gordon walks off Jay Sulli attempts to run down the show’s card when Paul E. starts screaming and runs off. From stage left enters Terry Funk. Funk calls Paul E. a “real fool”. Funk tells the fans to “call up your neighbors” because the main event is going to be a “real treat” with Funk having a chance to get a piece of the Dangerous Alliance by getting in the ring with Jimmy Snuka and doing his best to “beat the hell out of him.”
Next we go to Stevie Wonderful in a pre-taped interview with Tod Gordon who announces the stipulations for the ECW Tag Team title match between the Blondes and the ECW Tag Team Champion Super Destroyers. If the Blondes lose, Gordon says, they must leave ECW and that Salvatore Bellomo will be handcuffed to Hunter Q. Robbins III at ringside to prevent interference.
The Super Destroyers walk in with Bellomo and talk about beating “the midgets”, that no one is going to take their belts. Bellomo says he’s going to eat a lot of garlic and breathe it into Robbins’ face.
After a break Paul E. interviews Chris Candido, his left arm in a cast, and Hunter Q. Robbins III about the forthcoming title match. Hunter Q. Robbins says they’ve tried to hurt the Blondes in the past but he still has faith in the Blondes. Candido says they’re trying to end his career by having him kicked out of ECW and that they can’t back the Blondes into a corner and not expect them to “come out fightin’.” For some reason Candido in this promo is taped with the ECW Tag title belt before winning it on TV.
— ECW Tag Team Championship – “ECW Careers vs. Titles match” – Hunter Q. Robbins III Will be Handcuffed to Salvatore Bellomo (WATCH – 4:19)
The Suicide Blondes (Sir Johnathan Hotbody & Sir Richard Michaels) w/Hunter Q. Robbins III vs. The Super Destroyers (Destroyer #1: A.J. Petruzzi & Destoryer #2: Doug Stahl)(c)
So if the Blondes lose their out of ECW while Bellomo is handcuffed to H.Q.R. III to prevent his interference. The match itself, featuring some decent psychology and action, isn’t all that bad. The Blondes dominate much of the match until Destroyer #2 gets the hot tag and takes out both Blondes. Michaels comes off the top and is caught in the throat by SD #2. As SD #1 and Hotbody brawl outside SD #2 hits a huge powerslam on Michaels and goes for the pin but the referee is outside trying to break up the brawl. Candido runs in and clubs SD #2 in the back of the neck with his cast before hitting him in the face with it for good measure. Michaels rolls over on SD #2 and scores the pin at 7:59. This ended the Super Destroyers second and final reign as ECW Tag Team Champions at (kayfabe) 61-days, though they actually won and lost the titles at the same taping on May 15th. This also marked the second and final reign for the Suicide Blondes. The titles would be vacated on the very next edition of HCTV when Candido jumped from ECW to SMW.
WINNERS and NEW ECW Tag Team Champions, The Suicide Blondes (Sir Johnathan Hotbody & Sir Richard Michaels) w/Hunter Q. Robbins III (Pin, 7:59)
After a break we get a “King of Philadelphia” segment featuring the “King of Philadelphia” Eddie Gilbert and Paul E. Dangerously outside the That’s Greek To Me Pizzeria in South Philadelphia to illustrate the “worship” that is bestowed upon Eddie Gilbert. Gilbert says the Philly fans have been searching for a long time for someone besides the 76ers, the Phillies, and the Eagles to cheer for. A random fan (a cook at the restaurant), described as “President Bill Clinton’s OTHER half brother”, offers the two a pizza and a drink when Jay Sulli joins them. Another cook kisses Gilbert’s hand and serves “The King” a slice of pizza. Gilbert tastes the pizza and raves about it to close out the segment.
After a break Paul E. Dangerously interviews Rockin’ Rebel, who blinded Peaches, Sandman’s wife and manager, the week before on HCTV. Rebel is wearing sunglasses and mocking Peaches for being blinded, as does Tony Stetson. Rebel then gets serious and says that Sandman isn’t man enough to get back at him for blinding his wife.
— “Number One Contender’s Match for the ECW Heavyweight Championship” (WATCH – 22:56)
#9 Larry Winters vs. #5 The Rockin’ Rebel
This one is a very basic TV match. It’s good for what it is but it’s by no means a classic. Late in the match Rebel takes out the referee and Tony Stetson tries tossing his blind cane into the ring. Winters grabs it instead and blasts Rebel in the neck with it before waking up the referee and scoring the win at 5:06.
WINNER is Larry Winters (Pin, 5:06)
After a break Paul E. Dangerously interviews ECW Heavyweight Champion Don Muraco and Dark Patriot. Muraco says he doesn’t want to wrestle, he wants to brawl, to be as nasty as he can be. Dangerously says there’s not going to be any fines or rule books, only injuries.
— ECW Television Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 29:50)
Special Guest Commentator: ECW President Tod Gordon
Terry Funk vs. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka(c) w/Paul E. Dangerously
This match starts out incredibly slow with neither man getting any real advantage. After a break the match picks up a bit with Snuka taking control and Funk selling like only he can. The match turns around when Funk hits a picture perfect vertical suplex on Snuka. When the action picks up it’s a decent psychological battle of wills with everything having a purpose. After Terry Funk lands nine headbutts to the forehead of Jimmy Snuka, Snuka walks to the referee and headbutts the referee while Funk and Snuka continue to brawl. Two more officials run in and Funk runs their heads into Snuka’s, laying them out. With the officials out some of the locker room comes out only to get laid out by Funk. The referee finally calls for the bell at 8:14 but there’s no decision as of yet. Out of nowhere Dark Patriot and Don Muraco hit the ring and take it Terry Funk.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 8:14)
Soon Ivan Koloff, Vladimir Koloff, Rockin’ Rebel, and Glen Osbourne are in the arena and brawling with each other. Funk and Snuka continue to fight until all three Suicide Blondes hit the ring and glom Terry Funk with hair dryers and trash can lids! There are wild brawls happening all over the place. Sal Bellomo and The Super Destroyers run in and start wiping out anything that moves. When it starts to calm down Funk and Snuka are still fighting in the ring. Larry Winters and Tony Stetson get involved and Funk makes short work of Stetson.
Finally Eddie Gilbert runs in and with Snuka look to choke Funk out for good. ECW Pennsylvania Champion Tommy Cairo tries to make the save but Gilbert fights him off. There are literally brawls and fights going on all over the ECW Arena. Funk starts whipping Gilbert with a chain as Tod Gordon gets on the mic and shouts about breaking up the violence or there would be fines and suspensions. Suddenly Sal Bellomo, looking to take out Sir Richard Michaels, waylays Tod Gordon, knocking the the ECW President out cold. The show goes off the air with several wrestlers turning Gordon over and checking on him.
Though this is very early ECW and features none of the stars (save Terry Funk) that would come to mark the “golden age” of ECW, this is actually still a decent and watchable show.
Maybe you could skip the Winters/Rebel match but the rest is worth a watch if for nothing else than seeing how little changed about Extreme Championship Wrestling once they started getting hot.
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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