by Mike Campbell
Let me begin by saying that I hope everyone had a great holiday season.
All of my rewinds so far have dealt with people so far this one will deal with a particular incident, what led up to it and what followed it. Here are some of the players. Shane Douglas, Francine, Pit Bull I, Pit Bull II, 2 Cold Scorpio, Chris Jericho, Chris Candido, and Brain Lee.
Part 1: The Buildup It was in May of 1996 when Shane Douglas after he came back to ECW from the WWF in January of that year had finally claimed an ECW title, the ECW Television title he won it from 2 Cold Scorpio at "A Matter of Respect '96". After his victory he began to torment Francine, who was managing the Pit Bulls trying to get her to dump her two protégés for him. Francine wanted no part of The Franchise and made it perfectly clear.
In June, Douglas began to issue open challenges for his title. One night after he defeated Mikey Whipwreck, Louie Spicolli and others Pit Bull II came out with Francine to accept his challenge and won the title. Douglas was livid. Pit Bull I who was nursing an injured arm at the time was very happy for his partner to achieve singles success during his time off from their team.
At Hardcore Heaven '96 Shane Douglas fought Mikey Whipwreck in the opening match while Pit Bull II had a 5 Star match with Chris Jericho and after Douglas came to ringside to make a pass at Francine both Pit Bulls escorted him out but Francine was knocked out and Pit Bull I took her to the back. Jericho went on that night to reverse a Super Bomb into a hurracanrana (much like we see Kid Kash do today) to get a 3 count and win the TV title. Shane Douglas was livid.
Next Week We look at Heatwave '96 and what became known as the vilest
incident in ECW history.
After Shane Douglas had regained the ECW Television title and broken the neck of Pit Bull I in the process, Pit Bull I had a halo screwed into his skull and was forced to retire and watch his partner try to make it on his own as a singles wrestler. Many people felt that Douglas would at least show some regret for the incident or at the very least tell Gary Wolfe (Pit Bull I) that he was sorry or dedicate a match to him.
Nothing was further than the truth however as Douglas and "The head cheerleader" Francine began to mock Wolfe on television and attack Pit Bull II at every opportunity. Gary Wolfe began to appear on ECW TV sitting in the crowd with a look of anger on his face as Douglas and Francine mocked him and attacked his partner. In October Wolfe finally had enough and entered the ring to stop Douglas, Douglas grabbed him by his halo and shook it and threw him down to the mat in an act so vile that the locker room and crowd tried to attack him before he got away.
Douglas concentrated on defending his title and scored wins over such great wrestlers as Pit Bull II, Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, and 2 Cold Scorpio. In January of 1997 Douglas re-formed The Triple Threat with Chris Candido and "Bulldozer" Brian Lee. A masked man began to appear on ECW TV and said his new years resolution was to screw with the Franchise. Douglas blew him off until White Zombie began to blare over the sound system and Gary Wolfe without the halo stormed the ring, and basically beat Douglas from one end of the ECW arena to the other.
With the help of Francine and The Triple Threat Douglas turned back the challenge of Wolfe by giving him the hangman in the ropes, the hangman is where you put your opponent's head in between the middle and bottom rope and twist them around and "hang" the man. They did this to Wolfe with Francine making the ropes tighter with his head still in the ropes, Candido and Lee stopped anyone from helping Wolfe out by blocking the entrance way. Wolfe's neck wasn't hurt as bad as was thought and he was only confined to a neck brace. ECW's first pay per view Barley Legal saw a special challenge match for the TV title. Douglas VS Pit Bull II, if Douglas wins the masked man (who was thought to be Rick Rude) would unmask. Gary Wolfe sat in the front row for the match and at one point jumped the rail to attack Douglas but after some help from Candido Douglas took a victory. The masked man came out wearing Rick Rude's old ring robe and gave a long kiss to Francine which temporarily rendered her unconscious. Douglas attacked him and a riot squad member took his helmet off to reveal Rick Rude, Douglas forced the mask off to reveal Brian Lee, his triple threat partner. Lee gave a vicious chokeslam to Douglas and left with Rude and Pit Bull II. Douglas won the battle but lost the war when his own games and deviousness cost him an ally.
Pit Bull I did make a full recovery and the team of the Pit Bulls lasted until late 1997 when both men left ECW after a dispute with their manager Lance Wright. In early 2000 at an ECW arena show prior to Living Dangerously The Pit Bulls returned to face Danny Doring and Roadkill in a losing effort. Pit Bull I also worked several ECW on TNN shows most notably against Scotty Anton and was the first opponent of the returning Blue Boy.
Shane Douglas replaced Brian Lee with Bam Bam Bigelow and then replaced Bigelow with Lance Storm before returning to Bigelow. He lost the ECW TV title to Taz in June of 1997. He then won the ECW world title until January of 1999 save a 6-week reign by Bam Bam Bigelow in October-November of 1997. After losing the title he named Tommy Dreamer the new "Franchise" and left ECW for WCW where he recently won the United States title.
Chris Jericho left ECW in July of 1996 for WCW where he won multiple Cruiserweight titles and a television title before becoming the WWF sensation Y2J
2 Cold Scorpio left ECW in November of 1996 and became Flash Funk in the WWF. He also wrestled under the name 2 Cold Scorpio. He briefly returned in 1998 to ECW and most recently wrestled in ECW in early 2000 against Mike Awesome and Mikey Whipwreck.
Next Week: ECW Rewind looks at Terry Gordy
In his movie Beyond The Mat Barry Blaustein referred to ECW as "The Ellis Island of wrestling, where legends go to be re born and rookies go to be discovered". Blaustein was right because ECW has launched the careers of such greats as Lance Storm, Chris Jericho, The Dudley Boyz, and many others. Legends such as Terry Funk, Bobby Eaton, and Dusty Rhodes (who Steve Corino has defeated, as Joey Styles loves to mention). This week however we look at a legend who was only with ECW for about 4 months but in that short time once again became a star, Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy.
Hardcore Heaven in June of 1996 was the debut, Raven had an ECW world title match in Philadelphia, PA and out of the back came Terry Gordy. The crowd went crazy and a wild brawl ensued that saw both men bleed and run ins from both sides as Raven had Stevie Richards and a little goofball known as Supernova. Terry Gordy had "The Innovator of Violence" Tommy Dreamer watching his back who had Beulah and Kimona with him as always. Brian Lee who was in a feud with Dreamer ran out and gave him a huge chokeslam to take hom out of the picture. The match ended after a Stevie Kick and DDT put Gordy down for a three count.
Raven earlier in the night got The Sandman's ex wife Lori Fullington as his valet and The Sandman couldn't seem to care less until after the match when Sandman came out to help Gordy and Dreamer. Lori brought out his son Tyler told him he was a drunk and worshipped Raven. The Sandman was reduced to tears and Raven and his entourage left with Sandman crying right behind them, and then to top it off The Blue Meanie who was calling himself "Bluedust" came out to cause some trouble and took a DDT from Beulah. It was an interesting debut indeed and was the seeds of a new partnership between Gordy and Dreamer.
Terry Gordy and Tommy Dreamer became regular tag team partners and occasion six man partners with The Sandman. They mostly fought with The Bruise Brothers and Brian Lee in different types of matches including one brawl that went to the parking lot. Then Gordy injured his arm and Dreamer was attacked by Taz, who was in the prime of his path of rage, and Brian Lee. Tommy wanted to call Terry Funk but Gordy had a better idea. Taz and Lee teamed up to face Dreamer and a mystery partner and Tommy Dreamer brought to ECW, Dr. Death Steve Williams. Although they lost the match it was a wild brawl that saw both teams have the upper hand.
When Gordy recovered in August he began to team up with Williams regularly since Tommy Dreamer was in the midst of trying to survive against Brain Lee. Gordy and Willimas were not strangers to each other in the least. They had feuded ten years back in the old UWF, and were former NWA, and WCW Tag team champions as well as All Japan tag team champions. They were heralded as the best tag team in the world today. This brought them into a dispute with the Eliminators, Perry Saturn and John Kronus, who had just lost their ECW tag team titles to the Gangstas. The Eliminators were getting a lot of respect around the world for their team work and match quality and felt they were the best team in the world today.
The Eliminators made their first move by running in on a match between Terry Gordy and Bam Bam Bigelow which was hyped as "The Battle of the Bam Bams" They hit Gordy with their finisher Total Elimination which was a combination of a legsweep and spin kick and cost Gordy his match. This led to the one and only tag team match which can be seen on ECW Extreme Evolution (Uncensored) the match was great and in a huge feat of strength Saturn powerbombed Williams on the floor. They hit Gordy with Total Elimination and when he kicked out Perry Saturn climbed a scaffold that was set up at ringside for Tommy Dreamer VS Brian Lee. Saturn got to the top and dropped an elbow into his chest that got the victory.
Terry Gordy was next seen on a WWF PPV in a mask helping bury The Undertaker and calling himself The Executioner.
NEXT WEEK: ECW Rewind looks at the feud of Tommy Dreamer VS Brian
One of the things that keeps pro wrestling so fresh in feuds. Feuds can be based on any number of things. Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn had a great feud in 1999 over the ECW Television title. Back in the old days Carlos Colon(sp?) and Abdullah The Butcher had a blood feud in Puerto Rico over the WWC title. The Freebirds and The Von Erich Family had a feud that lasted almost five years in Texas. This week we are going to look back into 1996 and the feud with Tommy Dreamer and Brian Lee.
This feud began out of the feud that Tommy Dreamer and Raven were having over Beulah McGillicuty. In early 1996 Beulah after being with Raven switched to Tommy Dreamer's side and told him secrets of how to beat Raven. In mid January Raven shocked the world when he won the ECW world title from The Sandman. This was very good for Tommy Dreamer who now had found himself in a position to win the ECW title.
To keep Dreamer from the title Raven began sending people after Tommy Dreamer to take him out of the world title picture. The first people were the Bruise Brothers (currently stinking up the rings of WCW has the Harris Boys). Dreamer had aligned himself with The Sandman and Shane Douglas and they were holding the challenge back of The Bruise Brothers. Dreamer's friends the Pit Bulls began feuding with The Bruise Brothers and Dreamer saw a chance at gold. Then Raven found a huge man known as "Prime Time" Brian Lee.
The first match to my knowledge was in April at Hostile City Showdown '96. It was a wild brawl that went all over the arena. The end came when The Bruise Brothers hit the ring and put a cinder block on Dreamer's groin and Lee hit the block with a chair, the pin was only a formality. A month later Dreamer avenged the loss by pinning Lee in a weapons match at Hardcore Heave '96, but after the match Lee gave Dreamer his Prime Time Slam (Chokeslam) off the balcony through three stacked tables. However this show was the debut of Terry Gordy, who immediately established himself as an ally of Dreamer and things would look up for Dreamer now that he had a partner since his alliance with The Sandman and Douglas was over, although Sandman and Dreamer still had earned each other's respect.
At Heatwave '96 Dreamer teamed up with Terry Gordy and Sandman to defeat Lee and The Bruise Brothers in a "Bad Street Match". The Bruise Brothers were gone almost overnight. Lee aligned himself with Taz who was in his Path of Rage and demolishing everyone in sight. Terry Gordy had recently injured himself and advised on Dreamer to get Steve Williams for a partner. Taz and Lee beat Dreamer and Williams at "The Doctor Is In".
For the rest of the summer of 1996 Dreamer and Lee fought in street fights, cage matches, tag team matches etc. with out a clear cut winner so in October They had their final match, a scaffold match, with the ring filed with tables Dreamer and Lee both bled buckets and after about 15 minutes Tommy Dreamer knocked Lee off to win the match that became known as "High Incident".
Tommy Dreamer never did beat Raven for the world title although he got his only pinfall in a loser leaves ECW match in mid 1997. Dreamer won the ECW title in mid 2000 but held it for about 5-10 minutes. Brian Lee went on the join the triple threat with Shane Douglas although he left after he saw how cold and devious Douglas was.
Next Week. ECW Rewind takes a look at who we've seen before and what
they've done since.
For those of you that have been following the ECW Rewind from the very beginning of the column here on ECWNews.com we have a special treat, We are going to see what our previous prospects have been up to since being looked at. If you discover that you missed a column then click the links below to previous columns.
First we looked at New Jack. since his loss at November To Remember against Rhino, New Jack beat Angel once more in a dark match at the Massacre on 34th Street. He made several appearances at house shows to attack various people including The Blue Boy at a house show in Schenectady, NY that I attended. After an altercation in Queens, NY with a fan New Jack announced his retirement to Dave Scherer but then appeared in XPW and has been wrestling there ever since.
Next we looked at Little Guido and the FBI, after Danny Doring and Roadkill won the titles they were drawn into a feud with Mikey Whipwreck and Tajiri. Super Crazy soon made his ECW Return to help Tajiri after Mikey was injured. Tajiri soon turned on Crazy when Mikey was healthy and Crazy teamed up with Kid Kash. The FBI lost a three way dance at Guilty As Charged to Tajiri and Mikey but not before they took out Kash and Crazy.
After that we looked at Beulah McGillicuty. She has not yet returned to the wrestling scene and it is doubtful she ever will (Although it's been said that she may turn out to be Raven's mysterious driver in the WWF)
Then we looked at the feud between Shane Douglas and The Pit Bulls. Shane Douglas recently won (and more recently lost) the WCW United States title. The Pit Bulls are currently in Indy feds.
We then took a look at Terry Gordy. He has not been seen in a wrestling ring in the United States ever since he left the WWF. He has been wrestling in Japan where he is a much bigger star.
Last week was a look at Tommy Dreamer VS Brian Lee. Tommy Dreamer recently won his first ECW PPV since Anarchy Rulz in september of 1999 when he beat CW Anderson in an "I Quit" match. Lee is currently in Indy feds.
There you have it. an updated look at everyone who has been examined by ECW Rewind since it's inception in November of 2000.
Next Week: ECW Rewind looks at the evolution of Nova. from Superhero
to serious competitor
It's amazing when one tries to imagine what wrestling would have been like without ECW. In 1994 Sabu was putting people through tables and it caught on to the point where you can hardly watch any wrestling without someone going through a table. In 1995 when the fans of WWF and WCW were treated with mediocre matches involving garbage men, football players and dentists, ECW was getting wild brawls into the parking lot. i guess it's safe to say that ECW innovated the modern style of wrestling. Speaking of innovation no name comes faster to the mind than Nova.
In 1996 there was no Nova, there was a goofy kid who dressed like "a deranged power ranger" called Supernova. His debut was impressive as the fans were chanting his name on his first night in the opening match. In June at Hardcore Heaven Raven gave the world Supernova as his newest flunky with Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie, the trio had the full attention of nobody as they were mainly used to help Raven keep his ECW world title. Realizing the way they were viewed they began to do silly skits to mock famous individuals. They mocked Kiss as the most humorous as they were all caned by The Sandman, but in November of '96 they did a spoof so funny that it suck around.
In November at November to Remember Stevie Richards was set to wrestle Davy Morton Jericho (now known as Kid Kash) but before the match strange music played and out came Supernova, Richards, and Meanie and they were the bWo The Blue World Order. They were an instant hit with the crowd and at one point they had everyone in the ECW locker room wearing their T-shirts from Sandman, to New Jack, to even Tommy Dreamer. In his time in the bWo Supernova (known as Hollywood Nova) did little else than play air guitar as it was clear the group's main focus was to elevate Stevie Richards. At Barley Legal in April of '97 Richards got a shot at the title in a 3 way dance but was the first man eliminated, after that the bWo fell apart.
Stevie Richards soon left ECW along with Raven, Supernova and The Blue Meanie were now on their own, they began to wrestle in tag team matches but with very little success. After drifting in the ranks of ECW Meanie and Supernova took to the gym and began to work out and improve their skills and the results were immediate as they defeated the FBI at WrestlePalooza '98 when Supernova won the match with one of his most famous moves, the Novacaine.
Supernova and The Blue Meanie began to team with Chris Chetti in six man tag team matches and the trio was very successful as Chetti was the exact opposite of them, Chetti was serious and wrestled in plain singlet tights, Supernova and Meanie wrestled in very colorful costumes. Supernova and Meanie also developed a tag team finisher called "The Blue Light Special" it was a reverse tiger driver by Meanie with a DDT assist from Supernova.
After moderate success in the tag team ranks in mid-late 1998 Supernova and The Blue Meanie hit a roadblock, Al Snow was in the WWF and wanted Meanie to come in to the federation to re form the J.O.B Squad. Meanie accepted and after that Nova wiped off the paint off his face and declared that "It was time to get serious"
Next Week: Supernova is dead and Nova takes over and becomes one
of the most popular ECW wrestlers.
After he changed his approach to be as serious competitor, Nova found himself in an unfamiliar role, a singles competitor, for a wrestler who'd always been part of a team during his entire time in ECW it was a big step. Nova first found himself helping out friend Spike Dudley in his feud with the Dudley Boyz they challenged them at Living Dangerously '99 but unfortunately Sid made his way to the ring and destroyed Buh Buh and D Von.
A short time later in Queens, NY Nova was wrestling Little Guido when he used a move that would become synonymous with the word victory, The Kryptonite Krunch. In the summer of 1999 Nova began to team with Chris Chetti and a great team was born, they began to feud with Danny Doring and Roadkill and in their match at Heatwave '99 Nova showed the world his upside down spinning neckbreaker a move he named "The Spin Doctor".
Nova was at a high point in the year 1999. He was part of one of ECW's most popular tag teams, he was getting huge pops for his innovative moves and, even though he was often in one of the first few matches on the card he was enjoying himself, then it all went downhill. At Anarchy Rulz in September Nova and Chetti came to the ring to back up their friend Jazz when Chris Chetti injured his back. Nova went on TV and told his friend that he was dedicating all his matches to him in hopes of a speedy recovery. Nova as attacked by Danny Doring and Roadkill several times during this period, but at Re-Enter The Sandman Nova scored one of the biggest victories in his career when he used the Krunch to get a 3 count on Chris Candido.
Durring Chetti's absence Nova began to team with a young flyer who was making waves with his attitude and ability, Kid Kash. Nova and Kash were popular with the fans but their success was very limited they were in a 3 way feud with Doring and Roadkill and Jack and Bo Dupp, Doring and Roakill had Elektra watching their backs and The Dupps had their Uncle Fu with them so Jazz began to watch Nova and Kash as they fought.
Chetti came back in February and they began to pick up where they left off, they left every team in the dust, The Dupps were gone in a flash, Doring and Roadkill began to team with Simon Diamond, The Impact Players (Lance Storm, and Justin Credible) had just won the tag team titles and Nova and Chetti were right on their backs. Before they could win the belts The Impact Players lost them to Tommy Dreamer and Masato Tanaka.
At Living Dangerously 2000 Chetti and Nova got what many said their biggest victory in ECW was, they beat Japanese stars Gedo and Jado, The Impact Players also regained the titles at the same PPV so Nova and Chetti were back on their tails. Although they came close they didn't win them but in a singles match Nova got a pinfall over Justin Credible, the same night Chetti got one over Lance Storm. A week later Nova injured Storm and the titles seemed theirs for the taking but Credible threw down the belts and ECW had no tag team champions.
In August ECW held a tag title tournament and Nova and Chetti were the number 3 favorites to win behind Rob Van Dam and Kid Kash and Rhino and Justin Credible. Unfortunately they were eliminated in the first round when a Chetti kick hit Nova. One night later when they hit the ring to join Simon and Swinger and Doring and Roadkill in a 3 way dance. Chetti hit Nova with a chair and left him in the ring for dead. After Raven, Richards, and Meanie Chetti had done the same thing to Nova, left him behind. In hopes of finding Chetti Nova came back to the ring in join the big brawl that Rhino started by spearing a cop, and ending in Kid Kash winning the TV title. Many gave Nova credit as his teaming with Kash put him into the spotlight but Nova took nothing from Kash saying he won because he was a great wrestler.
Chetti employed the services of Lou E. Dangerously as a manager. Nova saw red and was ready to rip him apart. Nova got his chance at November to Remember and it was a loser leaves ECW match. Nova fought both Chetti and Dangerously and after a Kryptonite Krunch off the top rope Nova had won. Nova began to team with Balls Mahoney to feud with Hot Commodity but it didn't last long as Elektra slapped Nova so hard it ruptured his eardrum. 3 weeks later during a match with EZ Money the ear began to bleed and the match was stopped.
Guilty as Charged 2001, the debut of "Nasty Nova". As Hot Commodity were in the ring The song "Bang Your Head" by Quiet Riot hit the loud speaker and Nova ran out looking to be in the best shape of his life. Chris Chetti who Nova ran out of ECW two months earlier came out to attack Nova and Spike Dudley made the save and Nova got the win.
No body knows where Nova or ECW is headed these days. Many say ECW
is dead and buried. Nova has said that until Paul Heyman says so ECW is
still running. Nova has stated that the TV title is his goal. If ECW makes
it to their March PPV then it's Nova's chance to shine and accomplish his
Today with almost everyone saying that ECW is dead and burried I went into my tape collection of ECW events where I often go to research my columns. While watching "The Three Way Dance" in preperation for what was going to be a column on the 3 way feud with Malenko/Benoit, Sabu/Taz and Public Enemy I realized that only about 10% of ECW's fans knew a large chunk of ECW history so if you mention that The Steiner Brothers were once in ECW you'd hear a lot of questons surrounding it. So without further ado, this week we look back at The Steiner Bothers five month stay in ECW.
The Three Way Dance on April 15, 1995 was supposed to be the end of the three way feud between Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, Sabu and Taz and Public Enemy but fate stepped in the way when Sabu stepped on an airplace and went to Japan. The fans were very upset since this was to be the first ever three way tag team match in wrestling history. Chris Benoit who was in the middle of a personal feud with Sabu was very upset that he wasn't at the ECW arena that night, and when he had interview time to speak his mind he also insulted Taz. Taz entered the ring to shut Benoit's mouth when Malenko attacked him and out of the blue Rick Steiner hit the ring to back up Taz, the match was on.
Rick Steiner and Taz were a good team but were the first team eliminated from the match. Rick Steiner spent the next two months jumping back and fourth from wrestling singles in ECW to teaming with his brother Scott in Japan. When Scott came over to ECW the steiner brothers were competing for the first time in the United States in over a year after longtime fans of WWF and WCW who hadn't heard of ECW (myself included I have to admit) were frantic about why they were gone and where did they go?
Their first match was in Upstate New York against Dudley Dudley and Vampire Warrior (better known as Gangrel). They won the match with the famous Steiner Bulldog. They also had some great matches with the team on Dean Malenko and 2 Cold Scorpio. It wasn't very long before they were feuding with the Eliminatiors, Perry Saturn and John Kronus. This feud led them back to Taz who was just returning from a serious broken neck. At Gangstas Paradise on September 16, 1995 The Steiner Brothers and suffed a defeat when Jason pinned Taz.
In October They received their first and only shot at the ECW tag team titles against The Pubic Enemy, the match was very close with the hoodies finding themselves unable to use their usual tactics of weapons because Rick and Scott were not letting them near them and were out-wrestling them, something that they hadn't seen in a long time. The Eliminators however hit the ring and caused TPE to keep the belts.
The same night after helping congradulate Mike Whipwreck on his ECW world title win Rick and Scotty Steiner were never seen in ECW again. Soon afterwards they returned to WCW.
Next Week: Unless something comes up ECW Rewind looks at the feud
that led to the first 3 way dance in ECW history.
Many people who think back on ECW's history often remember the huge feud that grew out of Sabu and Taz. Most people get it wrong. They believe that Taz was upset that when he hurt his neck and didn't get a card or letter, he took his anger out on Sabu strictly for his returning to ECW and getting the huge standing ovation. But what most people don't know is that prior to this they were a tag team and held the ECW tag team titles. They were involved in a 3 way feud for the belts with The Public Enemy and Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko.
The feud started over an accident in November 1994, Chris Benoit was having a match against Sabu and after a botched suplex broke his neck. Instead of showing remorse Benoit gloated about the injury. This gave Benoit his nickname "The Canadian Crippler" Sabu came back a week later with a neck brace on and gave Benoit a rematch, Benoit broke his tail bone . Sabu was a regular tag partner of Taz under the management of Paul E. Dangerously (now the host of Raw Is Heyman).
The Public Enemy had won the ECW tag team titles at the 1994 November to Remember. Sabu had a trademark gimmick at that point in time, he put wrestlers through tables. The Public Enemy, Rocco Rock in particular had taken to using this move to win their matches. Taz (then known as Tazmaniac) and Sabu confronted them about it and found themselves attacked and Sabu was forced to watch as Paul E. and Taz were each put though tables.
While Taz and Sabu were having their problems with TPE and Sabu and Benoit were fighting Taz was having problems with Dean Malenko who was then known as "The Shooter" he was called this because he was known for using UFC style moves during matches to stretch his opponents. Taz who was trained in several martial arts forms found this to be very dishonorable. Malenko and Benoit soon joined forces and made it clear that they wanted the ECW tag team titles held by Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge. February of 1995 was wrestlings first ever Tables match it was between Taz and Sabu and TPE. Taz and Sabu won the match after Grunge and Taz had bee put though tables and Rock put Sabu though one but the refs back was turned so Sabu put Rock through one to win the match and The ECW tag team titles. Only Benoit and Malenko hit the ring and Benoit power bombed Sabu off the top rope through a table that Rocco Rock was on. Rock was left with internal injuries.
3 weeks later at "Return Of The Funker" TPE were given an interview to tell the ECW arena how they felt. Rocco Rock was in a wheel chair due to injuries The fans chanted "You were robbed" as a symbol of Rock's putting Sabu through a table first. Grunge made a mistake though when they called out Benoit and Malenko and told them "Malenko, you ain't no Shooter, Benoit you ain't no crippler" Benoit and Malenko used a chair on Grunge and ran Rock into the crowd and then knocked him over in his wheelchair . Sabu and Taz hit the ring and Joey Styles announced that it was for the ECW tag team titles. The challengers worked over Taz's leg and eventually 911 took him out of the match. Paul E. tried to help by hitting Malenko with the phone but Benoit hit his top rope power bomb for a 3 count and new ECW tag team champions were crowned. Taz and TPE came back to the ring for a huge 3 way brawl.
In April ECW tried a 3 way tag team match TPE, Sabu/Taz and Benoit/Malenko. It was billed as "The Three way Dance. Only one problem. Sabu no-showed the even to wrestle for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Rick Steiner took his place. After Taz was pinned TPE hit the "drive by" (top rope flip smash) to win their third set of ECW tag team titles.
Of course the rest is history. Tazmaniac became TAZ, Benoit and Malenko left, Sabu came back, feuded with Taz for all of 1996 and most of 1997. TPE went to WCW, then back to ECW for a night, then WWF.
NEXT WEEK: ECW Rewind looks at Brian Pillman
I know last week I promised to do a column about Brian Pillman, but as I was watching tapes in preparation I figured that having only one match and a bunch of interviews doesn't add up to a very interesting column. But as I watched different tapes to find a better subject I came to a realization that Joey Styles would be the perfect person to take a look at, even though he had no wrestling experience he's one of the best announcers in wrestling.
Joey Styles came to ECW when it was still Eastern Championship Wrestling , I don't know the exact year but it was late '93-early '94. His look didn't exactly fit in to the ECW attitude as he was a skinny guy with glasses who had the word dweeb (no offense Joey) written all over his face. Wrestling Magazines such as Inside Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Illustrated and such praised him as the best announcer in the business. Every commentator had a phrase that just went with them, Gorilla Monsoon had "Give me a break" Jesse Ventura had "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat", Joey Styles cool and witty line? "Oh My God!"
In early 1995 Joey Styles began to really come in to his own as an announcer and he became off the wall hilarious especially when he made jokes about Stevie Richards. One that I personally like the best was when Richards is describing being beaten up by two tough guys in a rock club Joey adds "Boy scouts right?" He constantly called Richards a "Clueless Putz" As the fans began to cheer for The Sandman and sing along with his music he would often make jokes of the ECW crowd being a "sadistic choir" and at one occasion after such a joke began to sing "Of to never never, wait what am I doing, I'm not Gene Okerlund, soon I'll be dancing on camera, and badly."
As ECW began to take shots at WCW and the WWF Joey Styles was at the front of the line and cracking away. 911 the huge wrestler who chokeslamed anyone in his path was a Styles favorite to make jokes at them on. After one occasion after he took out Doink The Clown he remarked "One clown down, McMahon and Bischoff to go." The Sandman's beer and cigarette smoking often gave way to some great jokes "ECW should send The Sandman to the Olympics in Atlanta, no Atlanta isn't ready for that, they like those tamer spots like Figure Skating".
When Taz began his path of rage in 1996 his first target was Joey Styles. At House Party 96 as he was interviewing Bill Alfonso Fonzie suddenly went crazy proclaiming "Joey Styles I hate you, I've always hated you, I hate 1976, ECW" after hearing enough Joey grabbed the mic and responded "SHUT UP!, I've had with you just shut your stinking mouth, your ruining the party, cut the cameras we got to start it all over again" Taz then came out and nearly killed Joey. When Brian Pillman came to ECW and tried to "relieve himself" in the ring Styles physically got in his way.
When Buh Buh Ray and D Von Dudley began to team up Joey Styles was not shy about his feelings proclaiming on more than one occasion "The Dudley Boyz are scumbags" He was very vocal about his feelings toward Buh Buh and D Von. On his debut night in ECW he laughed at the name of Justin Credible, When Lou E. Dangerously made his debut he proclaimed "LOU! you want me to call you Lou on television?"
More recently Styles has been doing what every announcer ought to do but almost never does, get's the talent over, ahead of himself. He and Joel Gertner hosted ECW on TNN in which they did a funny bit about injuries.
"Joel, tell me why Victory wears the leg brace?"
"Joey, it's a recurring injury just like my neck"
"Your neck, my ass"
"Is there a problem with your ass?"
His regular PPV partner Cyrus stepped into the ring for about 45 seconds to cover an unconscious Joey Matthews and after a 3 count Joey proclaimed "That Sucks".
Although his only time in a wrestling ring is doing interviews or announcing a match ECW wouldn't be the same without "The Voice of ECW" Joey Styles. As a fitting farewell here are some of the best all time jokes made by Joey Styles.
"I'll be damned, Richards likes girls"
"I heard what Paul E. said, I tend to agree with what Paul E. said, but I don't dare comment on what Paul E. just said."
"From this angle you can see the Sandman has been on a strict training regimen of cheap beer"
"I bought a new suit, it's double breasted, Like Francine"