ECW – The Night The Line Was Crossed – This Show Started It All……Kind Of

The Night The Line Was Crossed
Date: February 5, 1994
Location: ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 1,000
Commentator: Joey Styles

So this is it. This is allegedly the show where everything came together for ECW and became AWESOME. I’ve heard great things about the triple threat main event and I’ve heard it’s incredibly overrated. I’ve never seen it before so we’ll see if it’s either of them. I tend to hate triple threats in general so I wouldn’t put much stock in me liking this one either. Other than that not a ton matters as it’s about two hours and ten minutes long and the main event is an hour even. Let’s get to it.

Tod (and yes that’s how it’s spelled onscreen) Gordon says ECW is insane and therefore may not be appropriate for everyone. That was their tagline back in the day and it’s either brilliant or stupid.

Mr. Hughes vs. Sal Bellomo

This is the home video version so Chad Austin vs. 911 is left out. The arena is more or less dark here and it comes off as rather weird looking. Hughes is famous as the bodyguard character while Bellomo is just weird. I smell a squash here. Hughes and Jason come out to bad rap music. Let’s get this over with please. Bellomo looks like Hagrid from Harry Potter if that gives you any idea of what he looks like.

Sal goes for the arm and it doesn’t work at all. Hughes is pure heel here but it getting killed. Hughes is one of the few guys to play exactly the same character for the vast majority of his career and to never change a thing. It’s nothing special at all, but to be a bodyguard character this long is saying something. Now if only I knew what that was. Joey says the punches he throws are from St. Louis, Missouri. That’s a decent line if he’s from there. Shame it’s Kansas City. A HORRIBLE Boss Man Slam ends it.

Rating: D. Total squash that went too long. I never got the appeal of Bellomo but he was pushed forever here. He was a glorified jobber in the 80s in the WWF and he’s a big deal in ECW. There are his career highlights. This was a bad opener to say the least.

Sandman/Tommy Cairo vs. Pitbull/Rockin Rebel

This is a dog collar chain match. Sandman is getting more ticked off at this point but is still a beach guy. Jason is managing Pitbull #1 (Gary Wolfe) for you ECW fans that care. Wolfe and Cairo are chained together as are the other combination. They might have been in the ring for 6 seconds and then they hit the floor. Rebel is busted open and I think Cairo is too. Well that didn’t take long.

It’s more general insanity but unlike the last show I did the cameras can actually zoom in a bit. You can barely see things but it’s better than not being able to see at all. You can tell who is who here and you can tell what they’re doing. Pitbull gets two in the ring on Cairo. A bunch of violence leads to Cairo pinning Pitbull with a belly to belly. More brawling follows.

Rating: D+. Not terrible I guess and there seemed to be a reason for this….whatever it was. Sandman would start his transformation soon enough and make himself an ECW legend, changing the company forever. At this point he was terrible though, as were the other three so there you are.

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.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Jimmy Snuka

Snuka is EVIL here and Dreamer is a pure rookie. I’ve seen this before somewhere. Dreamer is from Dreamland USA. Wow indeed. He’s the pretty boy in bright blue tights here and no one cares about him. Snuka is by far the biggest star in the company at this point. Joey promises a classic. That’s never a good sign. Dreamer is 22, my age, here. That’s hard to imagine as he’s always been old.

Lots of stalling to start as we just had to stretch this show out further didn’t we? Dreamer puts on the hat of a kid for no apparent reason. After about three minutes of stalling we lock up and go to a headlock. And now we stall some more. I thought WE WRESTLE IN THE NWA! The fans chant for Piper although I’m not sure why. Would it kill you guys to do something?

Snuka pops him with a pretty weak chair shot on the floor in by far the most interesting move of the match so far. Dreamer kicks out of the Superfly Splash and Joey apparently thinks he can walk on water too. Snuka hits two more of them and Dreamer is more or less dead. He’s bleeding from the mouth and Snuka finally pins him. He beats up some referees and other people afterwards and hits a fourth splash on Dreamer. Gordon comes out and gets beaten up too.

Rating: F+. This was about 80% stalling and then a bunch of splashes. It was like a weird kind of squash and by that I mean it wasn’t any good. The stalling is what hurts this as it’s nearly 8 minutes long and WAY too much of it was just them standing around and yelling at the crowd. Snuka wouldn’t mean anything in the long run anyway as he was only around for a few months after this while Dreamer became one of the biggest stars in the company.

Kevin Sullivan/Tazmaniac vs. Original Sheik/Pat Tanaka

Sullivan/Taz are tag champions but the belts are being held up for some reason. This could be brutally bad and likely will be. Woman in a suit is oddly sexy actually. Taz is insane here and looks like a caveman. Tanaka is in street clothes just because he can be. Sullivan is bleeding 9 seconds in which might be a record even for him. Tanaka has a bad ankle so while the guys with S’s in their name fight Taz goes for a half crab.

The wide shots during brawls are really annoying. Sheik is 66 years old here and this is the first recorded match I can find for him in 13 years. He throws a fireball at Taz and Tanaka pins him. Yeah that’s it.

Rating: N/A. This was really short and really bad. Yeah….the whole 66 year old in a match this is pretty stupid. Somehow Flair isn’t that far off from it. He’s light years ahead of this though. Sheik and Sullivan fight even more for a little while.

JT Smith vs. Mike Awesome

This would be a squash in the regular ECW. Here it’s going to be a squash but with a different ending. If you want to see an example of why Awesome is so beloved, watch this match as he’s INSANE but great. He never lets up at all and hits a great over the top rope dive to nearly kill Smith. And then the hometown boy rolls him up for a pin in his only offense all night. Referee gets beaten up anyway. He goes for the splash and breaks the freaking ring ropes.

Rating: N/A. Total squash for Awesome and he lost anyway. He would go to Japan soon after and other than one other time in 94, wouldn’t be seen in ECW until 97. He would wrestle five times there and then would go winless in 1998. FINALLY in 1999 Heyman realized he had something amazing and made him world champion.

Shane Douglas vs. Sabu

This is a #1 contenders match and the title match will take place immediately afterwards. Heyman runs out with a phone and blasts Shane’s manager, Sherri, to take her out. With over an hour to go, this is the main event, and yes it’s that long. Joey has audio trouble so while he’s shouting you can’t understand a word of it. You can hear the crowd so clearly my audio is working.

Ah there he is. If there’s no winner here then it’s a three way for the title. The time limit here is only 15 minutes so I’m not expecting much. 911 is on the floor with Heyman as it’s all Shane at this point. Sabu hits a spinning kick which is really just an elbow as the foot never gets close. That’s par for the course with him though so there we are. Five minutes in and this is one sided. The king of Bombay, Michigan works the right arm of all things and the fans want Funk.

Dang he really is cranking on that thing and it looks great. The arm work goes on for a very long time. Shane gets out with an FU of all things. Man Cena if you’re going to use the same moves at least don’t copy them. Dang dude. Ten minutes in and it’s not bad so far. Shane with a big boot? What the heck??? He’s not even tall enough for that but whatever.

We hit the floor with three minutes left. It’s pretty clear that Funk is going to be involved here. It’s not like that was a real secret or anything. Sabu gets a chair on the floor and it results in Shane being on a table. Good thing Sabu misses it completely and lands in the crowd. Sabu is more or less dead with 30 seconds left. For no apparent reason Shane doesn’t cover him and here’s Terry.

ECW Title: Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk vs. Sabu

Ok so is this 60 minutes or are Shane and Sabu going 75? Sabu leaves, I guess with an injury and it’s Shane vs. Terry. Given that we have less than an hour in the tape and there are post match interviews, the whole thing is an hour but Funk only has to go 45. Ok then. Funk hits a piledriver on the floor but we can’t see all of it since it’s not on the camera side. To be fair the same thing happened at the end of the 94 Rumble so that’s a thing of the times and not ECW.

Funk hits a pair of DDTs in the ring (one like a football being spiked and one being like a basketball being bounced according to Joey). Terry wants a chair so about 6 people throw them in. They get piled up and Shane takes ANOTHER DDT on them. Seriously that’s all we’ve had from Funk so far: DDTs and a piledriver. Shane manages to beat Funk to his feet after that DDT which is odd.

Shane beats on Funk who now has a bad back it seems. This is moving REALLY slowly and nothing of note is happening. We had a long stretch of brawling in the audience and nothing of note happened. Douglas mixes things up with a DDT of his own. How innovative! All Shane here as Funk is busted open. The referee goes down at some point and this is literally putting me to sleep.

They slug it out for a bit and then head into the crowd. We’re 30 minutes in here and are in the crowd. This has been far from great like it’s built up to be. For some reason the arena looks like it’s full of smoke. So yeah the whole one hour three way dance thing is pretty much nonsense. Ah here’s Sabu FINALLY after being gone about fifteen minutes. Funk comes up towards the announce table and steals a mic, Joey’s in this case, thinking he’s yelling at the crowd and therefore the guys in the ring. The problem is that he’s yelling into Joey’s mic so only the people watching the tape can hear him. Brilliant.

We’re thirty five minutes in and Sabu is in a spinning toehold. 911 comes in and lets Heyman hit Funk with the phone (it’s Paul E. Dangerously but you get the idea). Terry gets a neckbreaker on the guy whose neck would be broken by Benoit later on but Heyman saves again. The triple sleeper spot hits which is either creative or idiotic. I’m not sure why it would be idiotic but it has that feeling to it. Again, no idea why.

Now it’s basically who can get the longest leg lock on Sabu. Shane puts on a Figure Four, but remember that Ric Flair is a horrible man. We hit 40 minutes and Heyman saves Sabu again. Sabu botches the heck out of a springboard moonsault. Sherri is in the ring for no apparent reason. Axl and Ian Rotten come out to help Funk as Shane gets two on Sabu. Sabu botches a rana and Terry leaves. Yeah…..this whole triple threat has been a triple threat for about 3 minutes out of almost 45.

A springboard legdrop hits Shane in a clip from Rise and Fall of ECW. And here are the Rottens to beat up both guys again. This is making my head hurt. We’re 45 minutes in so I only have 15 minutes left. Joey says 15 minutes left in what match? So somehow we’ve gone from Terry Funk vs. Shane vs. Sabu to Shane/Sabu vs. the Rotten Brothers. Sabu fights the Rottens to the back and Shane is alone in the ring. He just stands there and here comes Sabu….oh never mind he has to fight one of the Rottens again first.

Funk comes back, as do Paul, 911 and Ian Rotten. And now there’s no one in the ring. Hat Guy is back by the concession areas and Funk vs. Shane spills outside. This must have been RIVETING for the live crowd with no video screens. And Funk beats up the referee. Joey tries not to laugh while asking why. With ten minutes left Shane and Terry are beating each other up and we now get the clock going again on how long can all three guys be in the ring for. So far out of 50 minutes I’d guess it’s about 9 minutes.

Sabu hits a top rope moonsault and Funk’s knee is hurt. Joey says the match was over 15-20 minutes ago. To quote him, what match? Shane vs. Terry? Shane vs. Sabu? Sabu/Shane vs. the Rottens? Terry vs. one of them? Sherri vs. the laws of time and gravity? The referee stays dead for the better part of ever. He must have been watching the match.

Five more minutes and the fans suddenly get that this is going to a draw. Another new match breaks out with Terry beating up Sherri. Four minutes left and nothing at all is happening. The bald Heyman is knocked out by Shane. Let’s see: Rottens, Sherri, 911, Heyman….yeah I think that’s all. We’ve only had five run-ins so far. Three minutes and we’re out of here (the clock is ticking and we’re in the clear).

Sherri’s boot gets used a lot as Joey makes me angry by saying this is like Piper vs. Valentine from 1983. The camera goes black for a minute and we have two minutes left. Funk beats up Heyman for no good reason. Less than a minute to go and the referee has now been out over ten minutes from a single headbutt. Can we get this guy some medical attention? Two near falls within the last five seconds and that’s it. The fans give them a standing ovation for absolutely no deserved reason. This was bad… very bad.

Rating: D+. Cue X and jmt to come in here and explain why I just hate ECW and will never get what it’s about. While that may be true, I know a bad match. This wasn’t horrible and there have been far worse matches, but for this to be considered a classic or even a very good match is a freaking joke. This “hour long triple threat” is more like a 15 minute triple threat, two fifteen minute singles matches, a 4 minute tag match and a bunch of standing around. Sabu was SPENT about half an hour into this and he just laid on the mat for most of the time. I was bored to death watching this because the longest stretch where they’re all in the arena is about 8 minutes long. I have no idea what the standing ovation was for as this was just way too long and while it’s not horrible, it’s definitely not anywhere close to as good as it’s made out to be.

We get what are apparently famous interviews afterwards from all three guys. Terry is crying and says he loves wrestling but doesn’t like what it’s becoming. He hates what WCW is now….despite him going back there for a PPV in like 4 months. He also doesn’t like WWF….where he would be again in a few years. He puts over the company and says how great it is etc. He respects Shane and Sabu.

Heyman and Sabu come in (after Gordon thanks the guys for coming in from out of state for the press conference) and Sabu has to be held back by the security guards. Heyman claims a conspiracy and is just awesomely slick here. This goes nowhere but is kind of funny.

Shane comes in and says he should be champion because he’s the only guy that was out there for the whole hour. He has a point there, although he does claim to have smashed Funk’s knee into obliticry. Yeah it’s not a real word but whatever. Shane is FURIOUS here and here comes Terry for the big emotional showdown. Shane keeps saying he’s great and Funk doesn’t want to be called an old man. Terry hands him the belt and says it’ll be a great day when he takes it back from Shane since he’s not an old man. Shane throws it back at him and here we go again. This was good to set up the eventual one on one showdown where Shane would get the title.

Overall Rating: F+. This is it? This is the major show that got ECW noticed? Why? The best match is the overrated beyond belief triple threat and that’s decent at best. Other than that there is NOTHING here. Actually that’s not true. The post main event segments with Terry and then Terry/Shane were indeed very good.

If you cut about 30 minutes (including the opening 15 minute prematch thing) from the main event and cut out the Rottens and all the guys being carried out, this goes WAY up and I could see it being considered good. This show just wasn’t interesting at all though and the triple threat is just far too long and not very good. ECW would get a lot better in about a year though, so something worked. I don’t get the hype here at all. Now where’s X to complain about this?


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2 Responses

  1. Derek Hamel says:

    Wow, that’s just really harsh. Sure, it’s far from a technical clinic but this show was far more enjoyable than this review makes it out to be.

    • Thomas Hall says:

      Most people don’t agree with my ECW reviews. I really, really do not care for their stuff and find it to be hype covering up the lack of their abilities in the ring. Sometimes that would work, but this show’s big match being called a classic never worked for me.

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