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Storyline wise, Steve Austin was chomping at the bit to get in the mix for the ECW Title hunt with Sandman and Mikey Whipwreck, Terry Funk joined Jack, Dreamer and Raven in the main event as a make-do for fans upset after the fire at the show last month and Bill Alfonso was showing to the world just how good he was at drawing heat in front of a crowd that wanted to like everybody. Oh, and after a six month hiatus, Sabu is back.
Lets take a break from the format and whizz through the opening matches. They're all short - Don E. Allen vs The Broad Street Bully never starts, Buh Buh Ray Dudley then pins them both. Jason vs Konnan lasts 15 seconds as special guest referee Taz levels Jason, and Stevie Richards is joined by The Blue Meanie in defeating El Puerto Ricano – that match lasts three minutes. Buh Buh Ray Dudley's stuttering gimmick works incredibly well in front of the ECW audience.
The Eliminators (w/ Jason) vs The Pitbulls (w/ Francine)
A long-ish match, the first of the night. All four guys are stacked and this show in a very stiff, physical match. Lots of brawling, lots of power moves and the progression of a side story involving Francine and Jason. The Pitbulls win it with a superbomb on Kronus.
Rey Misterio Jr vs Psicosis – Mexican Deathmatch
The death match format may work in Mexico, but the multi pinfall matches regularly fall flat in the US. Misterio was pinned four times in this match, and still won... it's a jarring issue that denied the pair to match their first classic match from two months ago. The workrate was there, so was the action (Misterio did well working through an injury), in the end Misterio hits a hurricanarana from the eagles nest, Psicosis cannot answer the ten count.
Sandman and Too Gold Scorpio vs The Public Enemy for the ECW Tag Team Titles
Whoever made the pin would get a title match against Mikey Whipwreck
A match that included a dance off and a prosthetic hand and the unlikely partnership of Sandman and Scorpio worked just about well enough. The crowd chanted "please don't go" at the Public Enemy, who were taking offers from both the WWF and WCW at the time. All four worked hard, there was an absolutely brutal cane shot by Woman in all of this, before Sandman collapsed ontop of Johnny Grunge for the win. Scorpio revives him with beer.
Tod Gordon vs Bill Alfonso (w/ Beulah McGillicutty as special guest referee)
A nice match with plenty of heat, but too long event at seven minutes. We start with Gordon laying out Beulah (par for the course with women in ECW). The match is surprisingly good, but once it got beyond a few minutes the tricks began to wane. Gordon eventually goes for a cover – but there's no ref. Out runs Taz, who counts two before leveling Gordon. Alfonso wins and Taz cuts a very nice heel promo saying he's pissed off at the fans for their lack of respect following his injury. At last ECW has a proper heel in their ranks.
Mikey Whipwreck vs Steve Austin for the ECW Title
Austin attacks Sandman before the match, ruling him unable to compete. Austin just barges his way into it instead, saying to Mikey "My name is Steve Ausin, and tonight you are Eric Bischoff". Austin got some nice heat, responding to some Hogan chanting with the big boot leg drop combo. The only thing that sequence was missing was Mikey "Hulking" up afterwards. The match never really got going beyond that, in the end Mikey wins with a roll up.
Sabu (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Hack Myers
Sabu returned for one night only having left WCW, WCW didn't like him for a number of reasons, and it's possible that influence rubbed off here. I seriously enjoyed this match, sure there were "better" matches earlier in the year but there are only one or two ECW matches I liked more than this from 1995. Sabu worked (by his standards) a more considered/paced style match, that seemed to learn from his wrongdoings in WCW. Myers looked great and the pair worked well together. Sabu wins clean with a Arabian Facebuster from the top rope while holding a chair. Excellent action.
Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk vs Cactus Jack & Raven
Cactus Jack comes out wearing a t-shirt that has Taskmaster, The Shark, Zodiac and Kamala from the Dungeon Of Doom drawn on it in cartoon. That looks awesome. This is a bloody, slow brawl – with the ring littered with weapons and the match going along at a crawl. That's not to say it was a bad match, but you really need to be a fan of the style to enjoy it. Later on Cactus reveals another shirt, this one with Eric Bischoff's face emblazoned over it – Dreamer pulls the shirt over Cactus' face before beating on it. In the end it's Funk, not Dreamer, who picked up the victory on Raven.
Score Rating: 8.5/10
Go Back And Watch: Really, really good show this. The early action is, if nothing else, brief and there's no bad match from The Eliminators and The Pitbulls onwards. The perfect variety show.