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ECW TV Re-Watch 7/4/95

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Yakuza Rich

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 781

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:07 am    Post subject: ECW TV Re-Watch 7/4/95 Reply with quote

Came across this video of old ECW TV.

While Heyman's style of TV and the talent may not appeal to your senses, it's a great study in how to create a TV show with little in the way of actual wrestling, getting all of their main talent on TV, telling an important story (Douglas leaving ECW), building up great crowd heat and leaving the viewer wanting more.

What's interesting about this episode is that they immediately go to Joey Styles announcing that there are new ECW Tag Team champions in Raven/Richards who won over the beloved Public Enemy in a controversial decision. Styles goes over this as they show clips from Jim Thorpe, PA and due to them starting off and immediately discussing has an important feel to it. This is legitimate breaking news that changes the landscape of the tag division and ECW. And with the ECW Fan Cam footage, it makes the viewer understand that anything can happen in ECW at any time or place and gives them an incentive to go to local house shows.

Instead of doing the standard, flagship opening segment, they continue to show clips. Letting the wrestlers get in promo time, showing Luna Vachon hitting a nice superplex on Stevie Richards and showing the clips of them teasing the Tai Pei death match (which was a popular thing with teenagers back then from the Jean Claude Van Damme movies) and get Bill Alfonzo over as a heel.

It's not until 6 minutes in that the opening roll starts (unfortunately because of YouTube Thunderkiss '65 isn't playing on the video).

Then after the opening roll...they show the fans jumping in the ring with The Public Enemy.

This comesoff as pro wrestling, but very different. Al the while starting the story of Shane Douglas leaving ECW. Even without a real match being shown, the energy level is up and Heyman has already exposed the following talent with actual air time.

Bill Alfonzo
Rocco Rock
Johnny Grunge
Stevie Richards
Shane Douglas
Cactus Jack
Tommy Dreamer
Luna Vachon
The Sandman
2 Cold Scorpio
Big Val Puccio
Tod Gordon
Ian Rotten
Axl Rotten
New Jack

That's about as many people, if not more, than AEW will put on TV in a 2 hour episode. Granted, the landscape of fans has changed and they want to see more in ring action and that means less people can get involved. And ECW TV was taped and edited. But they could do this with AEW Dark and still do not get enough people involved on AEW Dynamite. As Brian Last astutely mentioned...if somebody cuts a great promo and isn't one of the Bucks, Cody, Jericho or Omega...yhou won't see them for at least another month.

Then for 15 minutes Shane Douglas cuts an in-ring interview with Joey Styles. It's important that Styles is out there because as an interviewer he can give reactions to what Douglas is saying and ask questions when Douglas, the heel, is a bit too full of himself. Styles usually did a good job, particularly in 95, of reacting to wrestlers in interviews but not overdoing it. I remember when everybody would rave about Renee Young giving interviews, but she just stood there deadpanned with no reaction whatsoever. If AEW does do one thing right is that they have an experienced wrestling interviewer in Schiavone who knows how to react without overdoing it to take away from the wrestler and what's being said in the interview.

Douglas is also in his prime in terms of working on the mic and knows how to interact with the crowd. Woman finally comes out and Shane's motives are unclear at first, but he has sprung a trap for Woman...who is a weird heel while Sandman is more of a tweener leaning as a face. Sandman saves Woman and Douglas walks back to the locker room and as he does Styles catches him and Douglas warns that he'll give Sandman the wrestling lesson of his life later tonight. Even that little bit of touch where Styles tracks Douglas down and Douglas cuts the promo is good enough to make things feel genuine.

Then they go back to the ECW Tag Team title change and how it happened followed by a so-so promo by Stevie Richards and Raven. This was about the time that Richards started showing improvement as a total wrestler every month.

Then they actually show a match with 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Taz. This was edited, but just enough action without all of the garbage wrestling to balance out the action. And it ends with Alfonzo continuing to get his heat as a heel.

Then they go to action of the ending to Cactus Jack vs. Sandman. Douglas interferes and stands over Sandman and as a viewer you wonder what his 'lesson' he's going to give The Sandman. Instead, he just amps up him being the evil, conniving heel and turns on his friend, Cactus Jack and Sandman gets the pin.

Tod Gordon, the beloved commissioner, comes in and tells the refs to reverse the decision. This leads to Douglas saying he'll stay in ECW if Gordon gets on 1 knee and pleads for him to come back. Gordon stands up to Douglas and then Douglas decks Gordion (with a horrible punch to the shoulder). As Douglas is beating up Gordon and the fans think that Douglas is going to get away scot free and go to the WWF, 911 saves the day and chokeslams Douglas and the show ends.

Was the execution great?


Did the first segment with Douglas go way too long?


Was there a lack of in-ring wrestling action?


But the show got the talent over and practically the entire roster over. It was a very different alternative to what WWF and WCW were putting on TV at the time and they showed an effective way to make a show that doesn't follow the standard TV show format. What's interesting is that there were 2 stories in the episode (Douglas leaving and The Public Enemy losing the belts) where they went to the beginning of the story and then showed a bunch of other stuff and then went back to the story.

It allowed the viewer to not only remind themselves of the story, but since they spent time and went back to the signified how important the stories were to the landscape of the promotion.

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Yakuza Rich

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 781

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:01 am    Post subject: ECW TV Re-Wach 8/22/95 Reply with quote

The YouTube user is missing a few episodes and the other episodes were filmed when ECW went to Florida. Those episodes told the stories of Sandman vs. Mikey Whiprweck, TPE v. Da Gangstas, Taz legitimately breaking his neck (Scorpio screwed that up...he had Taz in a piledriver position and went to his knees instead of landing on his thighs. It is weird thinking about what would've happened had Taz never injured his neck and that may have been the best thing for his career).

But it also goes to the point of why Excalibur should never know when something legitimately serious happens to a wrestler and the announcer needs to be serious and address it to the fans on TV. And if you have a mask on it comes off as mocking the seriousness of the situation.

The 8/22/95 episode can be found here:

This episode starts off going into developing storylines and feuds from previous episodes. Particularly Cactus Jack's heel turn on Tommy Dreamer and joining Raven't flock. What's interesting here is that the turn shouldn't have been so shocking given the interview Cactus had given, but Dreamer and the Pit Bulls did a good job of not over-selling what Cactus was saying in the interview to completely give it away.

Eventually they get to the opening roll 12 minutes into the show. Here's part of the brilliance behind Heyman's editing. You never knew when the opening roll was going to start, but he would edit the opening roll with different clips almost every week. Thus, the opening role didn't get in the way and changed allof the time that the opening roll never got stale.

I was watching Ring of Honor TV for the first time in years and it's just the same opening role to start the show and the same part of the episode. I also don't think ROH's music really 'pops' and gets to the viewer. It's too nicely produced and doesn't contain any lyrics so it comes off as uninspired and just throwing together a generic opening role for the sake of doing so.

Then there's a development of Francine joining Raven's Flock and hte tension between her and Beulah. It's pure 90's wrestling that doesn't work today, but again...Heyman keeps getting more and more of this cast airtime and knows how to throw little things into the foray of his show.

Then it's a bunch of different promos that lead up to a 6-man. But we're not even halfway in and the episode has shown the following talent getting air time.

Cactus Jack
The Pit Bulls
Tommy Dreamer
Stevie Richards
Dudley Dudley
Mikey Whipwreck
JT Smith
Hack Myers
Eddy Guerrero
Dean Malenko
2 Cold Scorpio
The Steiners
The Public Enemy

This was often referred to as 'Crash TV' as coined by Vince Russo. But it was really just basic Wrestling TV 101...get your talent air time and get as many of your talent meaningful air time as you can. Meaningful doesn't equal the length of time and doesn't mean that the person is necessarily involved in an angle.

The 6-man tag match lasted 23 minutes...almost half of the show.

The work here was just far better than any 6-man tag you would see today. It wasn't super clean spots and there were a few botches, most notably Guerrero's rana attempt on Malenko. But it was also far better than anything being put on in North America at the time.

But what was so fun about the match is that the spots were plausible, they didn't hit us with a dozen false finishes and the action looked completely unrehearsed.

There was one spot where Malenko ends up taking a powder after some moves on him by Guerrero. Guerrero runs over and quickly does a springboard planch on Malenko. Sure, Malenko had to catch Guerrero...but the point is that he did everything to make the plancha plausible. Instead, today he would ahve ran to the other side of the ropesand then did some sort of somersault plancha while Malenko had to sit there and wait and wait for the move to be executed.

Later in the match, Malenko tags in after having not wrestled a while and Guerrero takes him down and then body slams him and quickly goes for the frog splash. But he misses which is what should've happened given Malenko had been out of action for so long and was only hit with a takedown and a body slam. Again, this was completely unrehearsed, but Guerrero and Malenko had a feel for what they should do instead of pre-planning everything. Today's wrestlers would have waited while the werstler turned around and tried to hit a Phoenix Splash and would have missed by a mile anyway.

Oh, and Eddy is mega over here with the ECW Arena crowd which reminds moe of the time that Raven wrote that nobody cared about Malenko and Guerrero in ECW except for the internet marks. He boviosuly wasn't paying attention to this.

This leads us to a match of Sandman vs. Mikey Whipwreck which really served more to further a storyline with Mikey getting some revenge and not looking like a total loser in his feud with the Sandman. Some of the booking didn't make sense (Sandman was supposed to get 10 canings), but sometimes in the hysteria you can have some things int he story that don't make sense.

And then that set up the tension between Sandman and the Gangstas versus TPE and Mikey.

Again, the execution wasn't particularly great here although the 6-man tag was excellent and far ahead of its time as far as US wrestling on TV goes. But the booking was designed to get heat on its wrestlers and have a natural flow to moving along storylines and feuds. He didn't flood the viewer with too many angles so they couldn't follow along, but he didn't stick with the same angle or promo for too long and let that get stale.

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