ECW House Party 1996 1/5/1996

Credit: InsidePulse

The Skinny: ECW’s very first ECW Arena event of 1996 was held on
January 5th and entitled House Party, named aptly after the Public Enemy who was
having their final match this night with the company before heading to WCW. PE
was the very first Paul Heyman Extremity brought to ECW. They were an act all in
their own, something the crowd had never seen before, and played a BIG part in
making ECW what it had become. They were quite possibly the very first self made
stars ECW produced, and after two years at the top the PE had began to catch the
eye of both the WWF and WCW. After a lackluster tryout match against the Smoking
Gunns at the 1995 WWF Survivor Series, the WCW picked up on PE quickly figuring
they could make a quick buck using them in hardcore matches against the Nasty
Boys, who had some of the same type of matches in WCW already against Cactus
Jack, Kevin Sullivan and Maxx Payne. This was an important time in the “Monday
Night Wars” and Bischoff had already taken Guerrero, Malenko & Benoit from ECW,
he would now move on and take the PE and soon after the AAA Luchadores, forcing
Heyman to build new stars in ECW, which he had no problem doing….repeatedly.

Just 6 months earlier the Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa Saed) had invaded ECW,
most recently leaving Smokey Mountain Wrestling where they were just too Extreme
for in many senses. The Gangstas were in this huge feud with PE to decide who
truly was the more hardcore team in ECW. This would all culminate tonight in
their final battle b4 PE heads to Turner Land.

This event would see tons of other major happenings including Beulah’s face turn
when she announces her “pregnancy” to the world, Rob Van Dam’s ECW Debut, and
the return of ECW legend “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, right off his tenure in
the WWF as Dean Douglas.

The only match missing from this event on ECW Home Video is a Bad Crew/JT Smith
& Tony Stetson bout…So you’re not missing much, although I am a JT Smith fan.
With that out of the way let’s get started with…

ECW House Party ’96

– The show kicks off with ECW’s favorite and only host at the time, Joey
Styles standing in the ring at the ECW Arena welcoming us to House Party
1996. Styles is quickly interrupted by Bill Alfonso who goes on a tirade
and makes no sense, yet is very entertaining at the same time. Alfonso asks for
mic time for Taz, for better signs in the crowd and apparently he hates Joey
Styles, Tod Gordon, the fans….oh and 1976?!? Actually it’s a funny bit, until
Styles can take no more and begins to yell at Alfonso, leaving him at a loss for
words…but not long. The two begin to argue until Taz enters the ring and
corners Styles. Taz makes some threats to Joey until 911’s “Frankenstein” theme
begins to play. Out comes 911 AND Commissioner Tod Gordon. Tod decks
“referee” Bill Alfonso, and as Taz goes to deck the Commish, 911 catches
Taz in mid swing. Before we can get an epic Taz/911 altercation the wrestlers
from the back break it up.

In the middle of this entire bit the crowd busts out with a very loud “Bad
Crew Sucks Dick” chant. That’s right this team sucked SOOOO bad, that even
during a giant storyline they take the time to stop paying attention just to let
Bad Crew (Dog & Rose) know how horrible they truly were. Imagine two big fat
guys with greasy hair and white t-shirts that had the word BAD CREW airbrushed
on them. Oh and they couldn’t work for shit either. Well I’ve given them more
time on this rant than Paul E. ever did in the ring, but enough about them.

Anyway it takes a bunch of the workers to escort 911 to the back while Taz
remained in the ring with “El Puerto Ricano” Pablo Marquez, a talented
ECW job guy who had worked the Indy’s as Ubas (Sabu backwards) in the prior
months. For some reason Pablo is still in the ring, so Bill Alfonso slaps him.
Marquez goes after Alfonso but Taz sneaks up behind Pablo and dumps him right on
his head with a Hardway Tazplex. Taz again goes after Styles but 911 comes back
out to make the save AGAIN. 911 goes after Taz but in come the Eliminators
who nail TOTAL ELIMINATION on 911. WOW all of this in the first 6 minutes of the
show. Amazing.

The Eliminators continue to pummel on 911 and a sign in the front row says it
best…”Who does 911 call?????”. Well that’s about to be answered. Apparently
911 calls…..619!!!! That’s right Rey Misterio Jr. to the rescue
and we have our first match of the night.

Match #1: The Eliminators (Saturn & Kronus w/Jason Knight) vs. 911 & Rey
Misterio Jr.

Misterio tries a bodypress on Kronus but is caught & slammed. Kronus misses a
moonsault on Rey, then Saturn tries and he too misses on Misterio. Rey Rey fires
back with a springboard moonsault onto both Eliminators. Misterio walks the
ropes and delivers a simultaneous headscissors and armdrag to take both
Eliminators to the floor. Misterio now delivers a moonsault to the concrete and
nearly cracks his skull in the process. Back in Rey hits a series of Luchadrags
and Headscissors on Saturn. This is the longest 911 has ever sold, but it’s
probably because he’s blown out quite frankly. Rey is finally cut off and thrown
to the floor where the Elim’s manager Jason Knight delivers a few shots. In the
meantime Taz has returned to the ring and chokes out 911 with a towel. The crowd
chants for Sabu but will have to wait another 10 months for that altercation.
Saturn throws Misterio bak inside and Kronus delivers a standing moonsault on
Rey for a 2 count. 911 by this point is humiliated and pissed. 911 gets to his
feet and throws Saturn across the ring. Kronus powerbombs Rey Rey while 911
actually hits a SUPLEX on Saturn. The Eliminators regroup and yet again hit
TOTAL ELIMINATION on 911. Taz again attacks 911 and chokes him with a towel. I
believe somewhere around here Rey or Kronus goes through a table but the camera
guy misses it. Saturn now powerbombs Rey. The Eliminators shoot Misterio off but
he counters with a double DDT. All 4 men are back up and Rey climbs onto 911’s
shoulders and challenger the Eliminators to a chicken fight (kinda gay if you
ask me). The Eliminators accept (of course they would), and this all sets up Rey
leaping off of 911’s shoulders and hitting a huracan rana on Saturn off of his
own partners shoulders. Definitely a site to see. Misterio covers Saturn while a
groggy Kronus stumbles around the ring and we have a 3 count.
Winners: Rey Misterio Jr. & 911 at 7:23
Thoughts:
Kinda Messed up to push Rey in a Tag Team match and kind of kill the
Eliminators heat at the same time. But then again at this point Paul didn’t know
Rey was WCW bound. This match was all Rey vs.Eliminators, 911 was as minimal as
it gets. He was there to put over his upcoming feud with Taz which never got off
the ground, because he too would work a few matches for WCW.
Rating: Good spotfest by Misterio, but the Eliminators were still far from the
team they would become. Too short to be anything more than **

– The Eliminators get their heat back after the match by attacking their
opponents and hitting Misterio with TOTAL ELIMINATION. This is broken up by the
Pitbulls and Francine. Franny attacks Jason while the PB’s go after the
Elim’s. Taz is back out and brawling with 911 in the aisle. The Eliminators
thwart off the Bull’s momentarily and nail TOTAL ELIMINATION on Francine and the
crowd goes nuts. For some reason the Elim’s leave the ring but their manager
does not. The enraged Pitbulls press Jason Knight onto his team on the
floor and then attend to Francine who is being stretchered out.

Match #2: Axl Rotten vs. Rob Van Dam
This is RVD’s ECW debut and the crowd gives him a bit of a rough time at first.
Nice exchange at first as RVD shows off a splitlegged dropdown, a somersault
into a Japanese armdrag and a springboard reverse bodyblock to start things off.
RVD hits some weak looking homosexual double thrust shots to Axl Rotten’s
mid-section (notice he never does it again after this match). Van Dam goes into
his shoulderblock, backflip, shoulderblock into the corner again routine. RVD
tries a spinkick but Axl ducks and catches Rob with a T-bone Suplex. Axl works
over RVD for a bit and goes for a top rope splash but of course misses. RVD hits
a legsweep and hits a FIVE STAR SPLASH minus the frog. Axl to the outside where
RVD now hits the somersault plancha to the floor. Van Dam back inside hits the
top rope leaping sidekick and a standing moonsault for two. The crowd begins an
Axl chant, but Rotten’s offense isn’t enough as RVD nails a powerslam and a
split legged moonsault for the win. Good debut as RVD wins over the crowd by the
matches end.
Winner: Rob Van Dam at 6:10
Thoughts:
This match was alot better than I remembered it being for RVD. Axl
basically allows RVD to put himself over the entire match to win the respect of
the crowd. RVD hit mostof his basic moves that made him the star that he is
today during this match and I think that helped. This would prep RVD for a feud
with Sabu soon after.
Rating: Yer basic ECW squash, but fun to watch in a sense. *

Match #3: TV Champion Mikey Whipwreck vs. Too Cold Scorpio (w/Woman)
Basically the story behind this is Mikey defeated Scorpio in December in a
singles bout to win the TV Title as well as the Tag Team Titles. Mikey’s Tag
partner in crime, Cactus Jack is not here tonight, but Mikey is defending the TV
belt against the former champion Scorpio. Cactus had aligned himself as a member
of Raven’s flock, which in turn meant that Mikey was a member of Raven’s flock,
something Mikey nor Raven wanted, which will show during this match. A fan point
out Scorp went from 2 GOLD Scorpio to NO GOLD Scorpio. Too Cold Scorpio tells
Mikey Whipwreck he’s gonna lose so save himself the trouble and give him the
belt, Whipwreck agrees, only to nail 2 Cold with the title belt repeatedly to
the crowds delight. Scorpio finally boots the belt into Mikey’s face and takes
control. Whipwreck comes back with a crossbody, a pair of dropkicks and a dive
to the floor. Back inside Mikey gets a German suplex for a 2 count. 2 Cold cuts
Whipwreck off shortly and attempts a powerbomb but Mikey counters with a huracan
rana. Mikey tries something off thetop rope but slips so it ends up being a one
footed dropkick. Too Cold is up and give MW a low blow and a powerbomb to lay
Mikey out. Scorpio throws Mikey face first into a chair and hits the corkscrew
legdrop out of the corner but refuses to cover. Scorp tries to throw Mikey into
a chair again but Mikey counters an sends 2 Cold into the chair. After a few
chairshots by Whipwreck, Scorpio is put in the Mexican Surfboard which kind of
kills the crowds heat down. Scorp gets out of the hold and nails a tombstone and
a picture perfect moonsault but pulls Mikey up on the 2 count. The crowd begins
to chant “You Fucked Up” to Scorp, the smart marks that they are, figuring that
2 Cold was now bound to lose. Scorpio with a top rope superplex and a spinning
splash of sorts but again pulls Mikey up at the 2 count. Mikey fights back
momentarily and hits a tornado DDT and a Huracan rana from the top rope. Too
Cold heads into the crowd figuring he will be safe there but Mikey leaps from
the top rope into the 3rd row to take 2 Cold out. Back in the ring Scorp comes
back with a superkick and a tope rope back superplex which takes out referee
John Finnegan as well as Whipwreck. With everyone down Raven enters
the ring, and just as it looks like Raven is about to nail Scorpio he spins
around and DDT’s Whipwreck instead!!! Toldya Raven didn’t want him in the flock.
Scorpio gets up and hits a powerbomb on Mikey followed by a moonsault into a
legdrop which he calls “Da Bomb” for the win.
Winner & NEW TV Champ: Too Cold Scorpio at 16:45.
Thoughts:
Very Good Match overall, a lot of back & forth heavy hitting moves by
both men. Scorpio rarely ever disappoints and always brought the best out in
Mikey. With Cactus nowhere in sight Raven made it known how he felt about Mikey,
good story.
Rating: Besides Mikey’s weak chairshots and a slip off the top rope this match
was very solid and enjoyable ***

Match #4: TAZ (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. “The Shaw” Hack Myers
No back story here, Hack Myers attempts to wrestle Taz early on but needless to
say, that gets him nowhere. Taz delivers several unique takedowns and stretches
on Hack to show him up early on. Myers gives up and goes back to what he knows
best, brawling. Hack hits an elbow to the back of Taz’s head and begins throwing
his infamous “Shaw” Punches, but Taz catches one and takes Myers over with a
Judo throw called the Ippon Sainagi. Myers is back up with some more “Shaw”
punches and tries for a hiptoss but Taz counters the hiptoss into a T-Bone
TAZplex, Very Nice counter. Hack ducks a clothesline and fires back aagin
with…”SHAW PUNCHES” and a Tornado Shaw Punch drops Taz!!! Taz ducks a
clothesline and dumps Myers on his head with a Head & Arm TAZplex and a nasty
looking German TAZplex before applying the TAZ-Mission (Kata Hajime) for the
win.
Winner: Taz at 3:42
Thoughts:
Needless to say Hack Myers would be “Just Another Victim” long before
Taz made that term popular. Taz would run wild, plexing everyone in the company
on their heads for nearly a year to set up the long anticipated feud he would
have with Sabu near years end.
Rating: While Always fun to watch, Taz squashes don’t get much more than a 1/2*

– Taz cuts a quick Interview where he makes it known Hack Myers is the beginning
of his PATH OF RAGE over ECW. He then tells the fans to Fuck Off as he and
Fonzie head to the dressing room.

Match #5: Jimmy Del Ray (w/Mr. Hughes) vs. Buh Buh Ray Dudley (w/The Dudleys)
Buh Buh Ray is accompanied by Big Dick, Chubby, Dances With & Sign Guy Dudley.
The Heavenly Bodies had just made their debut for ECW the month prior and
started a feud with the Dudley’s, however Tom Prichard was quickly picked back
up as Zip of the BodyDonna’s by the WWF, and Jimmy Del Ray was left to fend
alone so he acquired the services of Mr. Hughes. This match is edited heavily,
as I can probably understand why. Sign Guy Dudley wins the battle of signs with
the Sign guy in the front row. Buh Buh can’t say his name so Del Ray attacks
from behind. Buh Buh fires back with a dropkick and does the Gigolo dance,
followed by his own dance to earn a large pop from the crowd. The match is
clipped and Del Ray is getting some basic heel offense which Bubba Ray counters
with a splash in the corner. Del Ray gets back up and low blows Dudley which
allows him to hit a tornado DDT. Match is edited again as we see Bubba going for
his Buh Buh bomb but is distracted by Mr. Hughes. Del Ray tries for a
backdrop on Bubba but BBR counters with a DDT for the win. The match is edited
again and we get about a 5 second clip of Bubba splashing Mr. Hughes from the
top rope after the bout. Edited yet AGAIN and now we have Mr. Hughes & Del Ray
on the mic talking to the Dudleys.
Winner: Buh Buh Ray Dudley (Only 3 minutes shown)
Thoughts:
Not enough footage really to have any thoughts but the main point of
the match was yet to come.
Rating: Can’t really rate something clipped down worse than a Coliseum Video PPV
from the 1980’s but I’m sure it never even reached *

– Mr. Hughes is now on the mic talking to the Dudley’s. Hughes says he had
someone who can teach Buh Buh proper English and out comes the Dean…er I mean
“The Franchise” Shane Douglas mocking his English Teacher gimmick from
the WWF. Shane throws up the Triple Threat sign and I know he is NOT saying Del
Ray & Hughes are his Triple Threat, that’s like Paul Roma in the Four Horsemen
bad. Anyhow Shane slaps Buh Buh for his bad English then tells the crowd the
Franchise is back to a large pop. This was a really strange segment and way to
bring Douglas back but eh well.

– The next segment see’s Joey Styles interview “Dancing” Stevie Richards,
the Blue Meanie & Beulah McGuillicutty. Stevie states he is no
longer “Dancing” but now “Studly” and “The King of Swing” after being kissed by
Missy Hyatt just weeks before. Stevie talks a bit more and tries to hit on
Beulah. McGuillicutty pushes Stevie away and Richards asks her why. She states
the reason why is becuase she’s pregnant. This brings Raven back out. Raven
calls Beulah an idiot for getting pregnant to which she replies “What do you
care, it’s not yours!”. Raven quickly looks at Stevie and attacks him
until Beulah tells him it’s not Richards either….it’s TOMMY DREAMER’S!!! Holy
Shit, Raven flips out and goes after Beulah only to be saved by Tommy Dreamer.
Beulah lays out Stevie and the Meanie with a baking sheet while Tommy nails
Raven with a cardboard sign….but not just any sign…it’s a stop sign wrapped
in cardboard. Dreamer then piledrives Raven on a blueberry pie and the new
couple go off to celebrate. Good twist to the nearly year long feud.

Match #6: ECW Heavyweight Champ The Sandman (w/Woman) vs. Konnan
This is back when Konnan was in great shape and could work. Hell he does things
in this match I totally forgot he was capable of doing. Amazing what hanging out
with Kevin Nash can do for yer career. This is Konnan’s last match with ECW
before heading off to WCW along with the PE. Of course it would only be a matter
of weeks before the rest of the luchadores would follow. Sandman tries to
wrestle Konnan, and much like the Hack/Taz match, the wrestler gets the best.
Konnan stretches Sandman in several innovative and painful looking submission
holds to start. Konnan gets some basic offense before getting cut off. Sandman
nails a dive onto the floor sending Konnan to the concrete. Konnan uses a chair
but is now in Sandman’s domain as the Sander sends Konnan onto the guardrail &
into the crowd. Back inside shortly, Sandman pummels on Konnan causing the AAA
star to get busted open. Sandman brings a table into the ring while the crowd
chants “Bye Bye Konnan”. Sandman tries a superplex through the table but Konnan
reverses and throws Sandman through it. Woman canes Konnan to no avail. Konnan
goes after Woman which allows Sandman to cane the living shit out of Konnan’s
skull. Rey Misterio Jr. hits the ring and throws Konnan a Singapore cane
as well. Konnan fires back with some ruthless cane shots to Sandman’s head in
return. The duo now begin to trade cane shots until both men collapse. Both men
are down as the referee Jim Molineaux makes the 10 count. Woman pulls her
man to his feet by his hair long enough to beat the count. Not sure why the ref
kept counting after the Sandman was up
Winner: The Sandman at 13:58
Thoughts:
I expected a lot more out of this match. A pretty big letdown, and
other than taking those cane shots, Konnan didn’t give this match much effort.
Off to WCW for Konnan AND Sandman’s manager Woman for that matter, while a face
turn was on the horizon for the Sandman.
Rating: The opening and the cane shots were nice but that’s about it. *3/4

Match #7: Sabu vs. Stevie Richards (w/Blue Meanie)
On the way to the ring Stevie slips and falls…what a puts! Stevie Richards
stalls outside the ring so Sabu comes to him. Sabu hits a dive to the floor onto
both Richards and the Blue Meanie to kick things off. Back inside Sabu hits a
springboard legdrop & a spinkick before Stevie tries to cut him off. Richards
nails Sabu with a boot to the face and a powerbomb for a 2 count. Stevie mocks
Sabu which allows Sabby to drop Richards and hit a somersault slingshot legdrop
and go into an inverted cross armbreaker. Sabu places Stevie on the top rope and
leaps off a chair to hit a leg lariat and send Richards to the floor. Sabu now
delivers an Arabian powerbomb to the floor. Sabu sets a table up but the Meanie
attacks him to allow Richards to take control…momentarily, until Sabu kind of
Victory rolls Richards back to the outside. Sabu tries to put Richards through a
table but Stevie moves and Sabu springboards himself to the outside through the
table. Back inside Richards hits another powerbomb and a Rocker Fistdrop from
the top rope fr a 2 count. Sabu somehow pops back up and nails a Frankensteiner
and then places Stevie across the middle rope where he hits a springboard
somersault guillotine legdrop….wow that’s alot of words. Sabu springboards to
the outside and nails Meanie with a hurancan rana on the floor. Sabu throws
Stevie on a table. Meanie tries to interfere again but gets caught with a chair.
Paul E. Dangerously makes his way to ringside and attacks the Meanie himself to
help Sabu out. Sabu hits a springboard legdrop onto Stevie through a table on
the concrete floor but somehow Stevie gets his foot on the bottom rope at the 2
count. Richards finds a way to apply an inside cradle for a near fall while
Paul E. rally’s the crowd behind Sabu. Sabu comes back with a Bradshaw like
clothesline, but Richards somehow shakes it off and nails a Super Steviekick for
a near fall. Somehow Sabu musters up enough energy to climb to the top rope and
delivers a somersault Arabian Facebuster from the top for the pin.
Winner: Sabu at 14:29
Thoughts:
Richards best match to that date. To that point he was known as a
clueless moron and a bitch boy. This was the night Stevie earned the respect of
the ECW Arena crowd when Richards gave his all against one of the ECW icons.
Rating: Nice Solid Bout, Caught the crowd and myself off guard. **3/4

Match #8: Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas
PE cuts a goodbye speech to which the crowd begins to chant “You’ll Be Back”.
This is followed by New Jack talking shit about WCW, Harlem Heat and Sister
Sherri. Not much to call early on as all 4 men just beat the shit out of each
other with anything they can find. Mustafa does his usual wrestling move routine
and Rocco Rock hits a sunset flip for a 2 count. Johnny Grunge posts Mustafa and
puts him on a table. Rock does a somersault five onto Mustafa through the table
on the floor. Mustafa back in the ring applies a pinning toehold on Rocco while
Jack applies a very technical spinning chairshot on Grunge in the crowd. Rock
hits Stafa with an ASAI Moonsalt in the ring and New Jack piledrives Grunge on
the floor. New Jack follows uop the driver with a splash off the Commentary
balcony. Grunge & Jack continue to fight all over the building while Mustafa
grabs a table and throws it in the ring. Stafa hits a springboard Vader splash
onto Rock through the table for a 2 count. All 4 men are now back in the ring
finally as Rock begins to set up another table. Rocco sets Mustafa up and
moonsaults him through the table. Rock baseball slide dropkicks New Jack into
the guardrail while Johnny Grunge hits a inverted DDT on Stafa setting up Rocco
for the Drive-By (Somersault Splash from the top rope) to get the win.
Winners: The Public Enemy at 12:59
Thoughts:
Kind of a surprise Heyman would put over the team that’s leaving for
WCW, but they did play a major part in building ECW. I don’t think the fans
wanted it any other way. Jack & Grunge gave the crowd a great brawlign squence,
a few tables were shattered and we got some basic wrestling in the ring from
Stafa & Rock. Not too shabby.
Rating: Hard to rate because of all of the weapon swinging, but for
entertainment purposes this gets a **3/4

– The show ends with a closing speech by Rocco Rock to the fans followed by a
Public Enemy Music Video.

Overall Thoughts: Total Time of the show was 2hrs and 25mins on tape. As
I mentioned it’s missing an undercard tag match and of course the Bubba
Dudley/Del Ray match is clipped to shits but everything important is in tact.
Every segment had a meaning behind it which makes the show solid. With people
like the Sandman, Konnan & Woman on their way out, and the rest of the
Luchadores & Cactus Jack to follow, ECW needed some new talent & fast. This was
a good time for the full time return of Taz, Sabu’s return from WCW, Shane
Douglas’ return from the WW, RVD’s debut and the character building of Stevie
Richards. While WCW & WWF continued to raid the ECW, Paul E. continued to make
stars of his own, and this show proved it.

Match of the Night: Too Cold Scorpio vs. Mikey Whipwreck While many will
argue and say it was TPE vs. The Gangstas, I honestly believe the
Scorpio/Whipwreck match was the best. I guess it all depends on taste really.
They had good heat, told a great story and gelled very well together in a good
back & forth match. I felt the Tag Main Event & the Stevie/Sabu match tied for
second place.

Recommendation & Final Rating: While this show isn’t exactly out of the
ordinary Great, it has a lot of solid bouts and good angles. This would be the
start of, in my opinion, the greatest year in ECW history. It offered a little
bit of everything for the fans. I give the overall show **1/2

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