For my first fantasy rebooking here on Wreslting Recaps, I decided to take look at arguably one of Extreme Championship Wrestling’s hottest years in company existence, 1997. ECW rapidly changed from a pretty small regional promotion, to having a presence on a global pay-per-view scale and would transcend the company into the big leagues of professional wrestling, even making the WWF and WCW promotions stand up and take notice. How would my ECW stack up against the giants of yesteryear? Only one way to find out…
Now, I should probably introduce you to the rosters (as of January 1997):
ECW Heavyweight Champion – Raven
ECW Tag Team Champions – The Eliminators (Perry Saturn & John Kronus)
ECW Television Champion – “The Franchise” Shane Douglas
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams, “Hollywood” Bob Starr, “Hollywood” Nova, “Prime Time” Brian Lee, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, Buelah McGillicuty, Buh-Buh Ray Dudley, Chris Candido, Chris Van De Lay, Davey Morton Jericho, D-Von Dudley, Francine, John Kronus, Lance Storm, Little Guido, Louie Spicolli, Mike Awesome, Mikey Whipwreck, Mustafa Saed, New Jack, Perry Saturn, Pitbull #1, Pitbull #2, Raven, Roadkill, Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Spike Dudley, Stevie Richards, Taz, Terry Funk, The Blue Meanie, The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer
The Eliminators (Perry Saturn & John Kronus), Rob Van Dam & Sabu, The Pitbulls (#1 & #2), The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustafa Saed), The Dudleys (Buh-Buh Ray & D-Von), Little Guido & Louie Spicolli, The bWo (“Hollywood” Nova, Stevie Richards & The Blue Meanie), Balls Mahoney & Axl Rotten, The Triple Threat (Chris Candido, Lance Storm & “The Franchise” Shane Douglas)
Now that you’ve been familiarized, let’s get into the first ECW: Hardcore TV episode of 1997!
ECW HARDCORE TV 01/01/97 (Philadelphia, PA)
1. The Pitbulls defeated The Gangstas in what was a knock down, drag out brawl. The referee was barely able to keep any established tag order and Pitbulls and Gangstas were nearly coming and going as they pleased. Most of the action did however take place in the ring with only a chair and the steel barriers being utilized. The Pitbulls put away the Gangstas right around the six minute mark after superbombing New Jack and Pitbull #2 snatched the pin. (6:38)
2. Commercial break + Hype Central reminds the viewers at home of the upcoming ECW Supershow, ‘House Party 1997‘ which is only ten days away.
3. Shane Douglas Promo: After recently being accused of holding Chris Candido back by playing politics in the back by the man himself, Shane Douglas is out here, presumably, to address these accusations. Which he does, with the accompaniment of Francine. He claims that if Candido truly believed that, then he should have stood up a long time ago. He also mentions that he believes it is very interesting that all of a sudden Candido came out with all his suspicions once Douglas held gold again. In closing, he claims that he always knew the jealousy would consume Candido, and that that was the only true factor holding Candido back. Douglas then dropped the mic and immediately left ringside with Francine.
4. Chris Candido defeated “Prime Time” Brian Lee in a back and forth battle between these two Television Title contenders. The match was pretty evenly fought, but Candido found himself fighting back from a beating more than once. After a hard fought battle, with hard bumps taken by both men in and out of the ring, Chris Candido picked up the victory over Lee. (11:19)
5. Commercial break + recap of Douglas’ promo by Joey Styles.
6. Terry Funk defeated Sabu in a decent match. Definitely not their most memorable match, as their greatest hits were thrown in without anything really extra on top. The high spot in the match happened when Sabu leaped from the top turnbuckle to a standing Terry Funk who had been three rows deep in the crowd as both men landed with a crash. Making it back to the ring, Funk put Sabu away by catching him off guard. Sabu was going for a triple jump moonsault and as he leaped to the top rope, Funk got to his feet and pulled the chair Sabu had used out farther. Sabu then performed the moonsault and landed in the chair, hitting his sternum hard on the back of the chair and falling backwards off of it. (12:23)
7. Raven Outside Promo: The ECW Heavyweight Champion Raven is seen outside sitting against a dumpster staring up to the sky. He is directly addressing Terry Funk saying that he could care less if he beats Sabu or not, or if he even makes it home safe or not. He says that he could care less if Funk is able to sleep, and already knows he tosses and turns in his restless nights. Raven states that Funk has yet to formulate a way to beat him and that it is weighing heavily on Funk’s mind (or what is left of it). He also claims that the next time Funk will see him is in his nightmares tonight, and every other night before the two meet. He ends the promo by saying, “The stars are talking Terry, can you hear them?”
8. This episode ends and the viewers are reminded to tune in next week!