Wrestler of the Day – December 14: Public Enemy

Today we’re looking at a couple of brawlers called the Public Enemy.

The team was put together by Paul Heyman after seeing the members (Flyboy Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) fight in Japan all the time. Their first match was the opener of Ultraclash 1993.

Public Enemy vs. Jason Knight/Ian Rotten

Jason is more famous as the guy in the Impact Players that never actually did anything but stood around posing and got paid for it. It’s a brawl to start as we hear about how the Public Enemy is brand new. This is their debut for the company but they had worked dark matches for WWF a few times before this. It’s pure domination so far and Jason is busted open.

I think we officially start with Grunge and Jason as Ian is down on the floor. Rock hits a moonsault but doesn’t cover. Oh they’re one of those kinds of teams. There are even DQs at this time so you can tell things are weird here. Rotten dodges a few things but never actually gets any offense in. Rock ends it with what we would call a bad Swanton Bomb but it really was just a front flip splash.

Rating: N/A. Total and complete squash here as no one got a shot on the Public Enemy all night. This went nowhere at all but as a debut show this was pretty solid as they looked completely dominant. They were eventually one of the most famous teams in company history ranking probably second behind the Dudleys. Total squash.

We’ll be jumping around a lot, including this jump to the Night the Line Was Crossed.

Bruise Brothers vs. Public Enemy

The Bruise Brothers are the Harris Twins in gimmick number 3948. They have long hair here and would be in WWF soon enough. This is more brawling and anything goes stuff which is in the crowd immediately. I think I sense a theme building here. About a minute in all four guys disappear as the camera work is making my head hurt. Joey talks about how you’re only going to see this stuff in Philly. Is that a good thing I guess?

ALL Bruise Brothers here which isn’t likely to last long. Joey points out that this isn’t wrestling but rather a street fight. The announcer says we’re five minutes in. Yeah that’s really what I care about right now. That’s the NWA for you: make sure we follow TRADITION of telling us how long we’re going and bring us out of the possible adrenaline rush that this match is supposed to bring.

Rock gets slammed on Joey’s table and he has a freaking heart attack over it which is always amusing. Joey is obsessed with what the Harris’ home is like. Grunge throws some powder in one of their eyes. A 2×4 shot ends it as the Public Enemy stay dominant in ECW and I’d bet undefeated.

Rating: D. This was just too insane and it hurt things a lot I think. Nothing of note happened here and after the first big brawl, this looked a lot weaker. It was fine for a brawl, but brawling can only get you so far, which is a lesson this company never wanted to learn. No one was looking for a wrestling match here and it would be silly for them to do so.

To 1995. November to be exact and it was one to Remember.

Tag Titles: 2 Cold Scorpio/Sandman vs. Public Enemy

Woman manages Scorpio and Sandman who are champions (along with Scorpio being TV Champion) and come out to Whomp There It Is. Whoever gets the fall here faces Mikey Whipwreck later in the show for the world title. Woman is kind of hot actually. She could look rather good at times. Scorpio dances a lot while we’re waiting on the Public Enemy to get here.

I have no idea what the face/heel alignment is here but I think Public Enemy is face. According to Gertner the TV Title is on the line here also. Yeah apparently Sandman and Scorpio are the heels here. Sandman is billed from…..Utah? Seriously? Scorpio is doing a thing where he says he doesn’t weigh as much as he really does. He does have a gut on him.

Public Enemy is leaving soon after this for ECW apparently. Scorpio offers them a chance to leave so let’s have a dance off. Uh…..ok? Scorpio cuts a rug and Joey dances too. The camera catches him and his reaction is great. Rocco does a robot which isn’t horrible. Scorpio does one also and destroys him. And now we set dancing back about a thousand years with Sandman dancing too. Joey: “Yes but can he walk a straight line?” They want Woman to dance and it’s very short. Crowd is WAY into this.

The champs jump the dancing morons but Public Enemy clears the ring quickly. AND IT’S TIME TO DANCE! The music is still playing as I think we have a comedy match on our hands. Just a hunch mind you. Ok so now we’re ready to go with Sandman vs. Grunge. Sandy grabs a headlock but is sent to the floor. Everything breaks down quickly and they all head to the floor.

Everyone grabs a chair and gets back in the ring for a good old fashioned duel. Sandman and Grunge are thrown to the floor and Scorpio follows. They fight up the aisle and a fan offers 2 Cold a frying pan. He steals someone’s prosthetic hand instead. Well why not? Sandman goes into the crowd and Grunge is busted open. He hits a splash for two on Scorpio as we’re bordering on having a regular match.

Rocco hits Sandman with a pumpkin pie and Sandy is in the crowd again. Woman pulls Sandman out of the crowd. At least offer him some boob so he’ll come out faster sweetheart. Sandman tags himself in and he jumps over the top (!!!) with something like a dropkick. Rocco comes in and hits a headscissors to take over. Slingshot legdrop by Sandman but he doesn’t cover.

Off to Scorpio who hits a slingshot splash for two. Scorpio vs. Rock at the moment if you’re all lost. Rock avoids a dropkick and escapes a tilt-a-whirl, only to miss a moonsault. The fans chant for SD Jones for some reason as Scorpio hits a double underhook powerbomb which is broken up at two.

Standing moonsault eats knees and it’s off to Sandman. Rocco (they’re Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge if you’re totally confused by me changing named) still can’t bring in Grunge so Grunge comes in and pounds on Sandman. Woman cracks Rocco with a kendo stick and Sandman dives over the top to take out Grunge. Sandman gets backdropped onto a table which doesn’t break. FREAKING OW MAN.

Grunge finally goes through the table and everything breaks down even further. Rock hits a big moonsault to the floor as they need to end this soon. A broom handle is brought in from somewhere with Scorpio taking over with it. There it goes though so 2 Cold settles for a Stinger Splash and moonsault for two on Rocco. We’re tagging again now and Grunge gets the hot tag. Sandman comes in sans tag but Public Enemy screws up their finisher and Sandman falls on top for the pin.

Rating: D. Yeah this went too long. These guys aren’t the ones you want having seventeen minutes. This was better as a comedy match but then again I might have just wanted to see Woman dance. Either way, not much here and Sandman getting the pin was pretty much the only logical choice since he lost the title to Mikey in the first place.

It’s 1996’s turn now at House Party.

Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas

This is Public Enemy’s last match before they head to WCW as well. The Public Enemy is Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock while the Gangstas are Mustafa Saed and New Jack. It’s a big dance party to start before Public Enemy says that they love it here and that this is their house. The fans aren’t sure if they want to chant “you’ll be back” or “you sold out”. Now Jack runs his mouth about WCW and Harlem Heat and all that jazz. Sensational Sherri is a ho apparently.

It’s a big brawl to start and did you really expect anything else? Jack immediately busts grunge open and beats on him with what looks like a whip. Rock and Saed get back in and Rock is choked with something. An iron, as in the thing you get wrinkles out with, is brought in and goes upside Rock’s head. Now it goes onto Jack’s head for two. Public Enemy takes over and we’ve got a lot of blood already.

Grunge DDTs Mustafa for no cover before sending him to the floor. Mustafa is put on the tbale and there’s a big flip dive by Rock through Mustafa through said table. We go into the crowd with Grunge hammering away on Jack. Mustafa busts out a spinning toe hold on Rocco of all things but gets caught in a small package for two. Jack piledrives Grunge on the floor and goes up onto a balcony for a splash. This is just mindless violence at this point.

A loaf of bread is used as a weapon. I hope it was white because if you bring in whole wheat…..I don’t even want to think of that kind of carnage. They head back to ringside as we have a pie used. Rock is placed on a table in the ring and Saed hits a Vader Bomb through it, allowing Grunge to cover Saed for two. Everyone gets back inside now and it’s time for another table.

Jack and Grunge head to the floor again and a can of soda is used upside Jack’s head. Rock moonsaults Saed through the table but can’t cover. Saed suplexes Rock down but Grunge comes in to beat on him. A reverse DDT by Grunge sets up a modified Swanton Bomb from Rock (The Drive By) for the pin on Saed to send Public Enemy out on a high note.

Rating: D+. This was ECW’s signature stuff: mindless violence and destruction. This isn’t my taste but the fans in Philly ate it up. Speaking of eating, what was with all the food used in this match? Did a bakery open up in the ECW Arena that I wasn’t told about? Either way this wasn’t awful but it was what it was: a big brawl which is how Public Enemy should have gone out.

This was somehow enough to get Public Enemy a job in WCW and we’ll start things off at Clash of the Champions XXXII.

Public Enemy vs. Nasty Boys

Public Enemy are brawlers from ECW who are making their in ring debut here, though they already appeared on Nitro and attacked Marcus Bagwell. Knobbs starts against Johnny Grunge (partner of Rocco Rock) but their partners start fighting on the floor. Both guys are sent into the barricade as Grunge avoids a charge and hits a belly to back suplex on Brian.

Rocco gets crotched on the barricade and Sags goes to the back to find a table. Grunge is sent outside but Brian accidentally dives onto the barricade. Rocco and Sags head inside now with Rocco avoiding a toss into the table in the corner. A moonsault press gets two on Brian but Rocco is sent outside, allowing the Nastys to double team Johnny. The table is set up in the middle of the ring and the referee just throws the match out.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t meant to be a match so it’s not fair to grade it as such. It was a good way to get the fans into the show and was certainly entertaining enough. Public Enemy would basically do this for awhile before being treated like the Nasty Boys were back in the earlier part of the 90s: turned into regular wrestlers and have most of their appeal taken away.

Here’s the rematch from Bash at the Beach 1996.

Public Enemy vs. Nasty Boys

It’s a tag team dog collar match with a former ECW team. Pay no attention to the Stevie Richards/Raven vs. Pit Bulls dog collar match less than a year before this in ECW. WCW never stole anything from ECW at all. Not a thing. Have you noticed a significant lack of young talent on this card other than the openers or DDP? Bischoff is missing if that means anything at all. Sags and Rock are attached and Knobs and Grunge are attached.

We almost immediately go split screen which has the ocean behind it and only half of the screen is covered by the split screen due to the MASSIVE BATB logo on the top of the screen. Brilliant. A trash can full of trash is brought in. Sure why not. We go up to the beach set and Johnny Grunge gets knocked down and is in pain. He was beaten by an inflatable pink shark. Somehow this has stopped being absurd. That’s a new one on me.

They fight for about five minutes on the beach. This is entertaining at least. I know I don’t say that often but this is one of those matches that reaches the point of insanity that makes it amusing. The announcers not taking it seriously at all helps a lot too. We get a table brought in. Keep that in mind. Rock gets piledriven on the floor and there’s no cover. Knobs hits a GREAT trash can shot on Grunge.

There goes the first table. We’re back in the ring now with another table. Now this one noticeably looks different than your modern Dudley tables. Sags is on the table and Rock goes up. He gets pulled into a front flip and bounces off the table. Remember that Rock weighs about 300lbs. Sags goes up and drops an elbow onto Rock onto the table. It STILL doesn’t break.

Rock comes unhooked from the chain when he’s whipped into the chain of Knobs and Grunge and it clotheslines him. That’s also enough for the pin. Rock knocks Sags from the apron to FINALLY break the real table. Most tables are precut and weakened to make going through them easier. This one wasn’t apparently.

Rating: C+. Not bad actually. They woke up and realized that there’s no point in trying to have these two teams have a coherent match. This was just pure insane fun and it actually worked pretty well. The shark was funny if nothing else. The commentary helped too as they just had fun with it like they were supposed to. Fun match.

They appeared on Nitro on September 23, 1996.

Tag Titles: Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy

Arn vs. Lex is announced for Havoc as well. The champs jump them and double team Rock for a bit. Booker vs. Rock to start but it’s off to Grunge quickly. We take a break and come back with Heat in control now. Booker crotches himself on a kick attempt though and it’s a not hot tag to Grunge. Big clothesline puts Johnny down (it’s Booker T/Stevie Ray vs. Johnny Grunge/Rocco Rock if you’ve been confused so far) and it’s off to Ray.

Time to talk about Savage again and we have a table from nowhere set up on the floor. Grunge is knocked to the floor and hit his back on it on the way down. Well that sucks. A Harlem Side Kick hits Grunge for two and we cut to the back to see the NWO arrive, now in two limos. At least it’s a chinlock that we’re missing which is an old school technique for getting around this kind of stuff. It was usually used when there was a fight in the crowd or something. Whenever you see fans looking elsewhere, you’ll often see a veteran go into a rest hold to make sure the fans don’t miss anything. That’s how a good wrestler thinks.

The hot tag brings in Rocco and he cleans house as well as a dirty man like he can. He fires off a bunch of right hands but runs into the Heat. The Hangover misses for the most part (Booker’s back landed on him instead) and we get a near fall due to Grunge’s foot being on the ropes. There’s a small package on Booker and Rock reverses it for the pin and the shocking title change.

Rating: D+. The match sucked but this was the kind of surprise that was designed to make you think anything could happen. They lost the titles like two weeks later so that Harlem Heat could defend against the Outsiders so it’s not like this lasted a significant amount of time, but it was a good surprise and I was legit shocked when it happened.

What would an ECW team be without a three way dance? From SuperBrawl VII.

Faces of Fear vs. Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy

This was supposed to be a four corners match with the Steiners but the Outsiders and Syxx ran their car off the road to injure them, filmed it, and AIRED IT ON NITRO. Naturally the Steiners said let us win the titles in a match instead of, you know, PROSECUTING THEM AS FELONS! This isn’t for the #1 contender spot because the Steiners aren’t in it if that makes sense.

Rocco Rock is bald now. Rock and Barbarian start us off. Powerslam gets two for the Samoan/Tongan/stereotype of the island monster. Stevie comes in and Rock gets beaten up a bit more. Grunge comes in and Heat takes him down with ease. Booker gets the axe kick for two on Grunge. Dusty is of course losing his mind over everything here and won’t shut up.

Booker gets a side slam and a Spinarooni to set up the Harlem Side Kick to take Grunge down. Meng comes in and beats on Booker a lot, including hitting a dropkick of all things. Clubberin commences and Booker is in trouble. Belly to belly superplex gets two for Barbarian. Meng hits a Piledriver on Booker for two. The Islanders hit their signature powerbomb combo for two and everything breaks down. Public Enemy hits a double team move off the top with no tag whatsoever and the referee is like whatever and gets the pin on Barbarian. Sure why not.

Rating: D-. So this was a bad match with nothing on the line and the ending was completely against tag team rules. Well of course it was. And this made it to PPV. Having Tony remind us that even though Public Enemy won a big tag team match but ARE NOT #1 contenders really points out how stupid this was.

We’ll settle back down on Nitro, July 7, 1997.

Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy

Booker and Grunge start but all four guys get in the ring for a staring contest before any contact is made. Booker pounds Johnny down in the corner and clotheslines him down for two. It’s off to Rock who has a bit better luck as he pounds away on Booker’s arm. That’s about the extent of his luck though as Ray comes in and pounds away in the corner.

The Heat keep control and a side slam by Booker gets two. An elbow misses Rock and the tag brings in Grunge. Everything breaks down and here’s Vincent of the NWO for no apparent reason. Sherri points him out to Booker which breaks up a Heat double team move. Booker goes after Vincent and Sherri accidentally pushes Rock into Stevie, giving Grunge a pin. It was about as messy as it sounds.

Rating: D. This was four minutes of punching and kicking before we got to the ending where things got more complicated than they needed to. Apparently Vincent had interfered in a Harlem Heat match on Saturday Night as well, so there’s some kind of a story there which is better than some random attack I guess. The match sucked though.

About nine months forward to Nitro, May 4, 1998 and back in Public Enemy’s element.

Hugh Morrus/Barbarian vs. Public Enemy

This is a street fight which is probably the best idea all around. Grunge whips Morrus with a big rope as Rocco blasts Barbarian in the head with a trashcan. Morrus comes back with a trashcan lid to Johnny’s head as Barbarian crotches Rocco on the top rope. It’s amazing how often one guy on a team making a comeback triggers the same comeback from his partner. Everyone gets inside for the first time, including Jimmy Hart to get in some stomps of his own. Barbarian misses a dive through a table but Morrus slams Rocco through one to make up for it. Hart hits Morrus by mistake and gets splashed by Grunge for the pin. Ok then.

They would actually get to the WWF in early 1999, including this match on Raw, February 22, 1999.

Brood vs. Public Enemy

Yeah ECW’s Public Enemy had a cup of coffee in the WWF. The Brood is Gangrel and Edge here and they’re part of the Ministry. They jump Public Enemy as they come in and send the two ECW guys together to take over. Edge dives on Rocco in the corner but Grunge trips them up and takes both Brood members out with a double bulldog. A hiptoss into a double kind of powerbomb puts Gangrel down but not for a cover. Instead they hit the Quebecers’ old Cannonball move onto Gangrel but Christian runs in for the DQ. This was barely 90 seconds long.

We’ll wrap it up on the indies in Australia at Rodman Down Under.

Tag Titles: Public Enemy vs. Road Warriors

Public Enemy is defending and this is a tables match for no reason whatsoever. Before anyone complains, yes I know Public Enemy does a lot of tables stuff, but there’s no story point to this being a tables match. There’s no story period but that’s to be expected. Public Enemy wants the fans to shut up during the match or Grunge will beat them all up. It’s going to be a night of cheap heat isn’t it? The Warriors’ stomachs are literally hanging over their tights in a sign of the times.

Rocco jumps Animal to start but the Warrior comes back with some lame clotheslines. Grunge comes in and is knocked to the floor seconds later as the announcers make fun of him for being out of shape. Hawk comes in to pound away and hits the flying shoulder to put Grunge down. These guys are really looking their age out there and it’s pretty sad to see. Back to Rocco who is slammed off the top and caught in a powerslam for two. Wait isn’t this a tables match?

Back to Animal vs. Grunge with Johnny clotheslining him out to the floor. Rock whips Animal into the barricade and hits him with the lethal bottle of water to the head. Public Enemy pounds him down in the corner but Rock misses a running crotch attack at the ropes. Grunge breaks up the hot tag attempt and Rocco goes up as this match is still in slow motion. Rocco jumps into a boot to the face and we finally get the hot tag to Hawk.

He takes both Enemies down with some lame neckbreakers before missing the top rope clothesline to a downed Grunge. Everything breaks down and Hawk is laid out on a table for the flip dive from Rocco….which doesn’t end the match. Rock is confused so he tries again on another table but drives himself through it instead. Animal hits a horrible shoulder to Grunge in the ring but Rock pops him with a chair. We get a table in the corner now and a spear/shoulder from Animal sends both Enemies through it for the titles.

Rating: D-. This is only above a failure because I love the LOD (Legion of Doom, meaning the Road Warriors for you young pups). It was sad to see these teams looking so old and out of shape but the rules made it even worse. They went back and forth between pins and tables with the table on the floor not counting. I’m assuming it’s because it wasn’t in the ring but the announcers nor the referee ever told us that.

As you can tell, Public Enemy was pretty much tailor made to be in a brawling atmosphere like in ECW. That being said, there’s definitely a spot for a team like them. You need brawlers to go insane and get the crowd fired up. They weren’t great workers but they weren’t supposed to be. I never was a huge fan, but man alive was their WCW theme music catchy.

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