Subscribe to the podcast via: iTunes | RSS Feed | Email Newsletter
As I have written about before, the WWE version of history is one that’s written to suit their own game. In a lot of cases, it means bending the truth (or sometimes just outright lying) to fit their own agenda. In some cases, it’s just about shining a light more brightly on performers who are “in the circle” and glossing over moments that feature guys who are not on legends deals with the company or who just aren’t all that friendly. In the case of Shane Douglas and Terry Funk, the latter is very much the case.
So we come to the TV taping of February 25th 1995. Cactus Jack will face a mystery opponent as chosen by The Sandman (who is out of action, presumably in storyline, with a concussion). The opponent who is bought out in a crate turns out to be DC Drake. Nothing to see here; Jack disposes of him in under eight minutes before surviving a post-match cane attack from Sandman and putting him inside the crate.
Sandman re-emerges from the crate covered in a long, black cloth, he steps back in the ring and Cactus allows him the space to get himself untangled. Sandman takes off the cloth to reveal that he’s not actually Sandman at all, it’s Terry Funk. The ECW crowd explode, this is the first time they have seen Funk since early August the previous year.
Funk and Sandman lay waste to Cactus Jack, running off some lower card ECW guys and even Tommy Dreamer, who in storyline was Funk's protégé when Funk was last on Hardcore TV. Dreamer puts up a fight before getting disposed of himself. Jack is helpless, grabbing the house-mic and pleading “Somebody help me”. The man that came out next was Shane Douglas, ECW's World Heavyweight Champion.
Douglas earlier in the evening had cut a promo alongside Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko establishing the group as “The Triple Threat”, Douglas' three man version of the Four Horseman, playing off a long-time and very real rivalry with Ric Flair, even if it was one that was never likely to play out on television. Douglas threw down the “four” hand signal and then raised three fingers in reverence to the trio that held all of the gold in Philadelphia.
But Douglas was out alone assessing the damage in the ring, Sandman's valet Woman wanted to recruit Douglas and create a supergroup. Douglas weighed up his options but looked remorseful at the treatment Jack was receiving at the hands of Funk and Sandman – it was at this stage that Joey Styles on commentary bought up the fact that Douglas and Cactus Jack trained together with Dominic Denucci a decade before hand.
Funk instructed Douglas to attack Jack with his title belt, Douglas ran toward Jack but instead levelled Sandman before running off him and Funk. For the second time in ten minutes the crowd popped and an unlikely babyface (at least on this night) was created in Douglas.
Having watched ECW for the past 18 months, and having seen numerous memorable moments including two fantastic Tommy Dreamer/Sandman segments from the latter half of 1994 I can honestly say this is “to date” the best ECW segment I've seen. Quite why it's forgotten in the annals of ECW history is difficult to tell, even if Douglas and Funk aren't in WWE's “inner circle”...