Written by: Matt Peddycord
ECW: Gangsta’s Paradise
September 16, 1995
The current ECW Champs were as follows:
ECW World Champion: The Sandman (4/15/1995)
ECW World Tag Team Champions: Raven & Stevie Richards (6/30/1995)
ECW World TV Champion: 2 Cold Scorpio (8/25/1995)
Your host is Joey Styles.
Bull Pain vs. Tony Stetson
Bull Pain looks like a cross between Michael Elgin and Big Van Vader, but with all the coordination and grace of Steve Urkel. Broad Street Bully punches Bull Pain back and beats him with a hockey stick. Bull Pain makes him pay with a chairshot, a suplex onto a table, and then a DDT on the same table. Crowd wants blood, but it’s just the first match, you guys. Stetson posts the balls and uses the chair over Bull’s head. Bull then drops Stetson’s balls on the guardrail. Back inside, Stetson whacks Bull with a can of soda and lowblows Bull. There’s another lowblow, but it doesn’t seem to bother Bull Pain anymore. He lands a superplex and then delivers a draping facebuster for the win. (8:14) Okay then, I think this is the last of Bull Pain in ECW. *
Dudley Dudley & Dances With Dudley (w/Big Dick Dudley) vs. Chad Austin & Don E. Allen
Big Dick comes out on crutches. Apparently, he had an incident with a garbage truck, says Joey. Well I don’t know about that, but I do know that Snot Dudley got into a jet ski accident. Sign Guy Dudley is in the front row as well. Complete and utter squash as Dudley Dudley splashes Don E and gets the win at 4:12.
Hack Meyers vs. JT Smith
This is the period where JT Smith’s “brain damage” caused him to think he was an Italian. Pretty much a headlock and brawl type match to start. JT Smith slips when he climbs the ropes and then misses a pescado. We skip forward to Smith and Meyers brawling in the crowd. Back to the ring, Meyers backdrops Smith. More editing again cuts to Smith falling off the top rope and down through a table. Then all of a sudden, Meyers is awarded the match via DQ. (5:01 shown) Seems like a countout to me, but whatever. We only get half the match here, but I’m not really that disappointed. ¾*
The Eliminators & Jason vs. The Steiner Brothers & Taz
YES! The ECW debut of the Eliminators. Saturn has long hair, which just looks weird. Jason is subbing for 2 Cold Scorpio tonight since he’s in the main event. Scorpio shows up anyways and nails Taz from behind to kickstart the whole thing. With the way this thing is edited, the Elims and Jason just bump around for the Steiners. Taz’s injured neck seems to be a constant problem though. When Taz shoves the ref down and won’t stop punching Jason, Scorpio sneaks back in and kicks Taz in the neck so that Jason can pin Taz. (3:21 shown) This was like a 20-minute long match.
2/3 Falls Dog Collar Match: ECW World Tag Team Champions Raven & Stevie Richards (w/Beulah) vs. The Pitbulls
No Stevie to start. Beulah says he broke his arm last night in a six-man tag and feels it’s only fair to change this match to 2/3 falls. Well, okay then.
First Fall: Since Pitbull #2 is connected to Raven, Pitbull #1 goes to the back to find Stevie. After Raven gets a chairshot, Pitbull #1 is found beating a bloody Stevie towards the ring. Meanwhile, Raven gives Pitbull #2 a piledriver through a table in the ring. That’s enough for Raven to secure the first fall at 2:10.
Second Fall: Raven helps out Stevie as they deliver a DDT on Pitbull #1. Stevie Kick doesn’t do the job. The Pitbulls fight back and SUPERBOMB Stevie through a table. AWESOME. Pitbull #2 covers him for the three-count at 4:20.
Third Fall: While Pitbull #1 and a bloody mess of Stevie Richards are brawling in the front row, Pitbull #2 brings another table into the ring. Raven shoves him into the ref and here comes the Dudley family. They help out with STEREO SUPERBOMBS on the Pitbulls. Unfortunately for Raven and Stevie, the Pitbulls NO-SELL the whole thing and deliver STEREO DOUBLE DDTs. Dudley Dudley and Dances With Dudley both take SUPERBOMBS. They, however, do sell them. Now Raven gets a SUPERBOMB and hits the back of his head on the edge of a table. Geez. Cover and a slow count gets 1-2-NO! I believe everyone is bleeding now. Raven ends up pulling out an ether rag and puts out Pitbull #2 onto a double stack of tables. Raven tries to legdrop him through it, but doesn’t really do much. He ends up just having to crash onto Pitbull #2 to put him through the table. Meanwhile, Pitbull #1 puts Stevie through a table with a suplex, but Raven breaks up the pin. Beulah baits Francine into the ring for our monthly catfight. Raven grabs Francine and drills her…with a DDT. While Pitbull #2 is being carried out by EMTs, Tommy Dreamer appears to sub for him in his street clothes. He straight up KNEE DROPS Raven in the balls and hits a DDT for the pinfall at 14:40. Just when ECW fans couldn’t be more satisfied, ref Bill Alfonso heads out and refutes the entire match saying that 2/3 falls was never in the contract and Tommy Dreamer can’t just hop into a match and substitute for somebody else. Commissioner Gordon comes out and gets up in Alfonso’s face before restarting the match. Standing on his crutches, Big Dick Dudley chokeslams Tommy Dreamer anyways. Fonzie shouts at Dreamer that he will never pin Raven. Did somebody say chokeslam? Here comes 9-1-1. He finally gets his hands on Fonzie and delivers the Chokeslam. Huge “ECW” chant. Pitbull #2 returns and SUPERBOMBS both Raven and Stevie Richards at the same time. Todd Gordon counts the pinfall. (19:46) It’s not a perfect match, but it’s the perfect ECW match. All the loose ends were tied, all the heels finally got their comeuppance, and all the good guys are over like wrestling gods. ****
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psychosis
This is the ECW debut of both men. Once all the armdrags are over, Psychosis drops Rey with a powerbomb and then launches him into the air. While working over the back, Psychosis also lands a couple running dropkicks in the corner. Mysterio avoids a third one and shocks Psychosis with a SPRINGBOARD HURRACANRANA for 1-2-NO! Rey then ups his game with a cartwheel into a headscissors, and follows up with a traditional tilt-a-whirl headscissors. As they fight on the apron, Psychosis takes a monkey flip of sorts onto the top of the ringpost. Awesome. Back inside, Rey misses a corner charge and receives the GUILLOTINE LEGDROP for 1-2-NO! Another powerbomb gets two. As Mysterio rolls out, Psychosis tries a tope suicida only to crash straight into a chair. Back in the ring though, Psychosis slams Rey and delivers a corkscrew moonsault for two. Back to the floor, Rey fakes a dive causing Psychosis to jump over the rail only to be taken out by a springboard plancha. Back in the ring, Mysterio runs and catches Psychosis up top with a headscissors for the 1-2-3. (10:20) A great part one, but they will do even more cool stuff in a lucha libre 2/3 falls match very soon. ****
Backstage, Public Enemy and the Gangstas get into a shouting match until both sides are separated by ECW refs and jobbers. Next thing we know, STEVE-A-MANIA is standing behind “Mean Joey” cutting a promo, brother. We’ve got MORE ECW debuts. Here is Steve Austin doing his best Hulk Hogan impression, realizes how lame that shtick is by ripping off the yellow shit and do rag, and walks out. We even see that Austin is so committed to the impression that he’s wearing a weight lifting belt and long red pants, brother. Joey reacts accordingly.
Cage Match: 2 Cold Scorpio, New Jack & the Sandman (w/Woman) vs. Public Enemy & Mikey Whipwreck
Mikey has the dreads and jersey on tonight. Joey – “He’s become a hoodie!” Due to a run-in with the Philadelphia’s Finest, Scorpio is subbing for Mustafa. Sometimes you don’t buy the kayfabe reasons for a no-show, but that’s actually believable. New Jack is wearing a Baltimore Orioles jersey tonight for some reason. Sandman stays perched up in the corner of the cage until he falls down onto Rocco. Scorpio and New Jack dominate Mikey and Grunge, but Rocco now seems in total control. He hits Sandman with a quebrada into a Russian legsweep, which just sounds cool. Not sure it was intentional though, but anyways. Both men bloody, Grunge and New Jack brawl outside the cage and all over the ECW arena. When we cut back to the ring, there’s a table inside the cage. Sandman goes SUPLEX CRAZY with the table. Once that’s over with, Grunge and New Jack go back inside the cage. Public Enemy set up a TRIPLE STACK of tables. As the other four guys fight outside the cage, Rocco and Scorpio find themselves up on the rim of the cage and then fall through the giant stack. HOW CONVENIENT. Sandman gets a triple-team Rocker-Plex, but he kicks out at two. As if the table spot wasn’t overly contrived, Mikey starts climbing the cage and Sandman sets himself up in position for the SUPER FRANKENMIKEY for 1-2-NO! Snuka Splash from Mikey gets the three-count though. (15:09) Yes, some cool spots here, but they meant nothing just being thrown out there with no rhyme or reason or even any kind of logical setup. To me, this is just ECW porn. ½*
Final Thoughts: If I had to pick one show that is the quintessential ECW show before PPV and the national TV deals, this would be it. There’s tons of important ECW debuts, they are trying different things like introducing the American wrestling landscape to the luchadores, and realizing the talent of Steve Austin. We just got a taste and he left us wanting to see more from him. As usual with ECW, you have to weed through the crap, but there’s two **** matches here. One with some of the best booking you’ll ever see and one with more action than you would ever see on the two major promotions at the time. Thumbs up for Gangsta’s Paradise. I believe even Coolio would approve.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.