ECW Hardcore TV: Episodes 1 and 2

Be sure to check out more from Dave through his author archive below. He’s currently working through Dave Meltzer’s 5* matches, and reviews ROH TV weekly at Place to Be Nation.

ECW Hardcore TV #1 4/6/1993

Jay Sulli and Stevie Wonderful introduce the inaugural episode of Eastern Championship Wrestling TV. Tod Gordon is introduced as the President of ECW. Tod comes out with the ECW TV Title and announces that there will be a tournament for the title tonight. Tod also announces that a living legend will be the third man in the commentary booth. Eddie Gilbert comes out and thanks Tod who says he won’t put up with Gilbert’s shenanigans. Tod introduces the real third man in the booth and brings out Terry Funk. Gilbert says that legends to him are old men. Funk says when you run with his old gang you gotta be tough. Funk says Gilbert can get in the ring with him but how would it look if this old man kicked his butt. Gilbert then leaves.

Funk says that the hardcore fans in Philadelphia have a place in his heart because that is where ECW originated. Funk says there are a lot of great wrestlers in the ring tonight, some of whom fans have seen before and some they haven’t, but these will give their heart and soul in the wrestling ring.

1) ECW Tag Team Champions The Super Destroyers vs The Hell Riders of EZ Ryder and HD Ryder- The Super Destroyers are masked men dressed in black and it is hard to tell them apart. They are managed by Hunter Q Robinson. The Destroyers are actually Al Petruzzi and Doug Stahl. The Ryders attack the Destroyers at the bell. The SD’s beat down one of the Ryders down then do a double a facebuster on HD. They give him a double back elbow but pick him up before the three-count. EZ tags in and get beat down with forearms by one of the SD’s who gives him a suplex. He gives EZ a powerbomb and tags in the other SD who hits a senton for the pinfall. After the match Robinson insists that Funk call him Hunter Q Robinson the Third and Funk calls him Hunter Q Robinson the Terd.

Winners: The Super Destroyers

A video package is shown of The Sandman in his surfer gimmick complete with surfboard and wetsuit. We see his wrestling prowess with monkeyflips,  bodyslams and a DDT. This includes footage against Jerry Lawler. Also, Sandman is the current ECW Heavyweight Champion which is noted at the end of the video

2) TV Title Tournament Round 1: “Ironman” Tommy Cairo vs Salvatore Bellomo with The Cosmic Commander- Cairo is announced as undefeated in ECW. Cairo armdrags Bellomo twice to start. Bellomo goes for a hammerlock but Cairo escapes. Bellomo punches Cairo in the corner. Bellomo does an armdrag into a wristlock. Cairo fires back with punches and hits a back elbow in the corner. Bellomo grabs a hammerlock and moves into a chinlock. Bellomo rakes his eyes and headbutts him in the corner. Cairo punches Bellomo in the corner and charges but takes a boot to the jaw. Bellomo wears down Cairo on the mat and then headbutts him. Cairo does a flying bodypress. The Cosmic Commander is up on the apron while Cairo punches Bellomo. Johnny Hot Body comes to ringside and comes off the top rope while Bellomo holds Cairo who gets out of the way causing Hot Body to hit Bellomo. Hot Body and Bellomo roll to the floor and Bellomo gets counted out. Cairo advances in the tournament. Hot Body attacks Cairo from behind but misses a top rope elbow.

Winner: Tommy Cairo

3) Tony “Hitman” Stetson vs The Rockin’ Rebel- Rebel is announced as the #1 contender for the ECW Heavyweight Title while Stetson is one half of the #1 contenders for the ECW Tag Team Titles. Stetson armdrags Rebel to start and hiptosses him. Stetson kicks him in the bottom area. Rebel shoulder-blocks Stetson who armdrags him again. Stetson grabs an armbar and gives Rebel a northern lights suplex. Stetson works on Rebel’s arm. Stetson goes for an Irish Whip but Rebel reverses him into the corner. Rebel drops an elbow and hits a dropkick. Rebel snapmares Stetson and puts him in a chinlock. Rebel hits a flying back elbow and a sideslam. Rebel whips Stetson into the ropes and goes for a backdrop but Stetson gives him a neckbreaker. Stetson brings his fist down on the top of Rebel’s head. Stetson hits a top rope legdrop and goes for a pin but Rebel gets his foot on the ropes. Rebel then rolls up Stetson and puts his feet on the ropes. Rebel gets the pinfall win. Jay Sulli interviews Rebel who says he’s coming after Sadnman. Rebel calls himself the best wrestler in ECW and the #1 contender.

Winner: Rockin’ Rebel

4) TV Title Tournament Round One: Jimmy Snuka vs Larry Winters

Snuka introduces Eddie Gilbert as his representative. Gilbert says not to call him a manager and says that Snuka is his first acquisition and that Snuka will be the next ECW TV Champion.

Snuka kicks Winters in the stomach to start and punches him in the head. Snuka chokes Winters on the bottom rope and stomps on him. Snuka backdrops Winters then chops him. Snuka clotheslines him in the corner and chops him again. Snuka snapmares Winters and headlocks him. Winters fights back with kicks to the stomach but Snuka rakes his eyes. Snuka whips Winters into the ropes but Winters gives him a bodypress. Winters dropkicks Snuka and armdrags him. Winters legdrops Snuka as Gilbert gets up on the apron. Winters backdrops Snuka. Winters hits the ropes but Gilbert trips him. Snuka gives Winters a backbreaker then does the Superfly Splash for the pinfall win.

Winner: Jimmy Snuka

After the commercial, Terry Funk says they had a great show but he thinks they have some room for improvement. He says they’ll try really hard and to give them some time and they’ll get better.

Salvatore Bellomo comes to ringside and jumps in the ring and attacks a wrestler who is already there. Bellomo headbutts him and bodyslams him for a quick pinfall.

Funk then talks with Tod Gordon about next week’s episode having the quarterfinals of the TV Title Tournament. Gordon says that ECW Champion The Sandman will be there as well.

Summary: This was a fun first episode. The matches weren’t blow-away by any means but were better than I would have expected for some indy wrestling in 1993. Terry Funk was a great presence and Snuka could really still go at this point.

ECW Hardcore TV #2 4/13/1993

Jay Sulli and Stevie Wonderful introduce the show. Wonferful calls out The King of the Texas Death Match for commentary and Eddie Gilbert comes out. Sulli says that Terry Funk is the real King of the Texas Death match and the real commentator. Funk tells Gilbert to go ahead and handle the microphone because he might need both of his fists. Gilbert says he’s a big talker. Funk says he doesn’t deserve the interruption. Gilbert says these are his people and they all love him and not Funk. Funk says he’s known Gilbert a long time and doesn’t plan to take any crap from him and that Gilbert and his Perrier water mean nothing to him. Gilbert asks what he’s going to do about it and Funk pours the Perrier water down Gilbert’s shirt and Gilbert runs off.

1) ECW TV Title Tournament Round One: Johnny Hot Body vs Glenn Osbourne- Osbourne grabs a headlock then leapfrogs Hot Body and clotheslines him. Hot Body rolls to the outside. Hot Body gets to the apron and Osbourne slingshots him in. Osbourne grabs a headlock takeover but Hot Body gets him in a headscissors. Osbourne grabs him in headlock takedowns again and Hot Body again gets the headscissors. They do this again and then Osbourne hits a clothesline. Hot Body throws Osbourne face-first into the turnbuckle. Hot Body gives Osbourne a vertical suplex. Hot Body clotheslines him then snapmares him and applies a chinlock. Hot Body moves to a headlock and Osbourne fights out with elbows. Hot Body knees him in the gut then whips Osbourne into the corner and gives him a German suplex for a two-count. Hot Body throws Osbourne outside and gives him a snap suplex on the floor. Hot Body goes to the apron and hits a flying shoulder-tackle to the floor. Hot Body rolls Osbourne inside and puts him in a sleeper. Osbourne elbows Hot Body and whips him into the corner. Hot Body charges Osbourne with a clothesline but misses and hits the referee. Hot Body gives Osbourne a piledriver. Hot Body takes Osbourne to the top rope and goes for a superplex but Tommy Cairo comes out and grabs Hot Body’s leg knocking him to the mat. Osbourne gives him a top rope splash to get the pinfall and advance to the next round.

Winner: Glenn Osbourne

2) Tony Stetson and Larry Winters vs Chris Michaels and Samoan Warrior- Michaels starts with a low-blow to Winters. Michaels hits a shoulder-block and an up-kick. Michaels bodyslams Winters. Winters armdrags Michaels and tags in Stetson who does a neckbreaker. Stetson gives Michaels a gutwrench suplex. Stetson whips Michaels into the ropes and Michaels skins the cat to come back inside. Stetson then clotheslines Michaels over the top rope to the floor. Winters tags in and he and Stetson give Michaels a double suplex. Winters backdrops Michaels and drops knees on his arm. Stetson tags in and legdrops Michaels’ arm. Winters tags in and he and Stetson double backdrop Michaels. Winters does a rolling snapmare. Stetson and Winters hit a double shoulder-block. Michaels reverses an Irish Whip and sends Stetson into the Samoan’s knee. Michaels drops the elbow on Stetson and tags in Samoan Warrior (later known in ECW as L.A. Smooth). The Samoan is in control until Stetson gives him a facebuster. Samoan clotheslines him in the corner but then hits the turnbuckle with a headbutt when Stetson gets out of the way. Winters tags in and backdrops the Samoan and clotheslines him to the floor. Michaels comes in and takes a boot to the face. Winters and Stetson then give Michaels the Veg-O-Matic for the pinfall. Funk interviews them and says they’re moving on up and getting an ECW Tag Team Title Shot. Hunter Q Robinson III comes out and confronts them and then The Super Destroyers attack Winters and Stetson and they brawl through the crowd.

Winners: Larry Winters and Tony Stetson

3) ECW Heavyweight Champion The Sandman with Peaches vs The Kodiak Bear- Sandman comes out and says it is a pleasure to be out here with Funk who has done so much in this sport. Sandman says it is a pleasure to be here with the fans because if it wasn’t for them he wouldn’t have the belt. Funk thanks him for what he’s done for people and for kids (note: Sandman is a future endorser of cigarettes). Peaches kisses Sandman before the match.  Kodiak is mad and chases Peaches but Sandman slaps him on the bottom. They lock up briefly and then fool around some more. Then they tie up again and Sandman hiptosses Kodiak. Sandman rolls him  up and Kodiak rolls to the floor. Kodiak works a wristlock and headbutts Sandman’s arm. Sandman reverses into his own wristlock. Kodiak grabs a headlock and then works over Sandman in the ropes. Kodiak rakes his eyes. Kodiak knees Sandman in the corner. Sandman whips Kodiak into the corner then clotheslines him in the back of the head. Sandman goes up top and hits a missile dropkick!!! Sandman then slingshots into a bodypress from the apron. Sandman applies a cobra clutch and gets the win.

Winner: The Sandman

4) TV Title Tournament Round One: Eddie Gilbert vs JT Smith- Gilbert attacks Smith to start and they trade punches. Gilbert throws Smith to the floor and hits him with a chair. Gilbert clotheslines Smith and then runs his head into a table. Gilbert takes Smith to the back of the arena and runs him into the wall. Gilbert comes back to ringside and grabs the TV Title Belt. Funk gets up to protest. Smith makes his way back and Gilbert rams his head into a table again. Smith fights back with punches and they return to the ring. Smith punches Gilbert, whips him into the corner and clotheslines him. Smith gives Gilbert a fall-away slam. Smith misses a moonsault and Gilbert clotheslines him to the apron. Gilbert kicks Smith, brings him back in and thumbs him in the throat. Gilbert snapmares Smith but misses an elbowdrop. Gilbert avoids a backdrop but misses a kick. Smith punches Gilbert to the apron and then brings him in with a back suplex attempt but Gilbert punches him and lands on top for the pinfall.

We see a graphic indicating that next week we will see Jimmy Snuka vs Tommy Cairo and Eddie Gilbert vs Glenn Osbourne in the second round of the tournament.

5) Tommy Cairo vs Super Ninja (match joined in progress)- Ninja kicks Cairo in the stomach and gives him a thrust-strike to the throat. Ninja chops Cairo in the corner but Cairo fights back with punches and a beel throw. Cairo hits Ninja with a back heel-kick. Cairo hits a back elbow in the corner. Ninja fights back with kicks to the stomach. Ninja whips Cairo to the corner and goes for a back elbow but Cairo catches him and gives him a back suplex. Johnny Hot Body comes in and drops an elbow on Cairo’s head just after the referee counts three. Cairo and Hot Body then brawl to the back.

Funk and Tod Gordon say that next week we will see the semi-finals and finals of the tournament.

Summary: These early episodes are gritty 24 years later but definitely have a charm. While the in-ring action is a little rough at times there is definitely a more international influence on the moveset than you would see in WWF and even WCW at the time. It’s also really fun to watch early Sandman knowing the things he would go on to do.