This week Throwback Thursday takes a trip to the last house on the left of the WWE Network archives as we revisit one of the final editions ever of Extreme Championship Wrestling’s Hardcore TV that aired 20 years ago this month!
After nearly nine years of hardcore history behind it, the end was nigh for the beloved Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). By this time in 2000, ECW was barely scraping by. Financial problems, long the bane of ECW’s existence, were finally catching up to the promotion. A number of “ECW Originals”, like Sabu, Rob Van Dam, and New Jack, had either refused to work for promoter Paul Heyman or were on the verge of walking out over issues with back pay. The national television deal with TNN that was expected to save ECW was instead a hardcore war of its own. After months of butting heads with TNN executives over the content and production of ECW on TNN, the deal with TNN exploded in ECW’s face in the early summer of 2000. In November of 2000, the only TV that ECW had left was their syndicated Hardcore TV. Unable to pay to keep the syndicated program in key markets, syndication was being to dry up as well. While Paul Heyman was trying desperately to land another TV deal it was up to Tommy Dreamer to keep ECW running, a task that was becoming harder by the day. With finances disappearing many of ECW’s shows were being canceled. This TV taping in Poughkeepsie, New York was one of the very last the company would run before losing all of their television at the end of the year. These were dark days indeed for one of the most influential wrestling promotions of the modern era.
In an effort to bring in more revenue, ECW was going the way of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) by running monthly pay-per-views. The upcoming Massacre on 34th Street would the promotion’s first December PPV. The big stories at the time in ECW centered around the unique Jerry Lynn/Justin Credible/Steve Corino World Heavyweight title triangle and the violent Sandman/Rhino war.
With that out of the way, let’s fire up the WWE Network, hit ‘play’, and see how well this edition of ECW Hardcore TV holds up 20 years later!
In respect to edits, music (as usual) is the chief offender. All merchandise and ECW Home Video promos are also gone. Context, on the other hand, is complete. All prior editions of ECW Hardcore TV and ECW on TNN (ECW Wrestling on the Network) as well as all past ECW PPVs and a growing number of supercards, are available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network!
ECW Hardcore TV #396 (WATCH)
Date: November 25, 2000 (TAPED: Nov. 11, 2000) – Location: Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York
Attendance: 2,500 – TV Rating: N/A
Commentators: Joey Styles & Joel Gertner – Interviews: N/A
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
ECW World Heavyweight Champion: Steve Corino
ECW World Television Champion: Rhino
ECW World Tag Team Champions: Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke)
This week’s Hardcore TV opens with a longer version of the usual (awesome) ECW opening vignette. Coming out of the vignette we see a replay of Steve Corino’s dressing room promo from last week’s edition of HCTV. Corino shouts about being the World Heavyweight Champion before breaking the fourth wall with Jack Victory and Francine, who tells Corino that seeing Corino with the World title makes Francice “moist”. (Yeah, it’s the ’90s!) Justin Credible crashes the party and accuses Corino of trying to get with Credible’s “broad”. Credible says that he pinned former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Jerry Lynn at November to Remember but Corino has the gold. Corino then manipulates Credible into believing that Lynn will refuse to give Credible a title shot should Lynn dethrone Corino on tonight’s HCTV. Credible takes the bait and suggests that he and Corino take Lynn “out of the equation” tonight. Credible says he takes what he wants and Corino has Credible’s ECW World title. Credible leaves only to return to drag Francine, who is likewise manipulating Corino, out of the room. After some fun with Jack Victory, Steve Corino looks into the camera and sighs, saying there’s never a dull moment in ECW.
We then cut to the broadcast position where Joey Styles welcomes us to the show and Joel Gertner does one of the slowest introductions of his ECW run. Styles then hypes the Jerry Lynn/Steve Corino World title main event before we see highlights of the Full Blooded Italian’s attack on Danny Doring & Roadkill, cutting Danny Doring’s hair and trimming the beard of Roadkill. We then see highlights of Mikey Whipwreck & Tajiri turning on Super Crazy after a six-man tag team loss to Hot Commodity and an impromptu bout between long-time rivals Tajiri and Super Crazy. This is followed by a promo for ECW Massacre on 34th Street.
—Singles Match – JIP (WATCH – 7:10)
DeVito vs. Chilly Willy
Joey Styles calls Chilly Willy “everybody’s favorite homeboy” which doesn’t age well at all. This one just gets started as we head to commercial break and when we come back the match is already some minutes old. This is a solid fight for what it is but we don’t see enough of it to judge one way or the other. Chilly Willy looks okay here but he’s still pretty green. The two do their best but this is very basic stuff. Soon enough, after a string of counters, Chilly Willy lands a Falcon Arrow for the pin.
WINNER is Chilly Willy (Pin, 1:54, JIP time)
After the match, as Chilly Willy celebrates, Angel arrives to batter Chilly Willy with a steel chair. Out of nowhere Balls Mahoney makes the save, knocking both Angel and DeVito out with massive chair shots.
Next we head to the back where the Full Blooded Italians mock the Sinister Minister’s injury. In storyline it was the F.B.I. who cost Sinister Minister one of his fingers. In reality, James Mitchell was seriously injured when a fireball prop exploded prior to the November to Remember 2000 PPV, costing Mitchell a finger among other injuries. Little Guido says they will cut of hair, fingers, and testes to hold on to the World Tag Team titles. Tony Mamaluke says he needs his finger to “buckle up” the Tag Team straps.
This is followed by yet another promo for Massacre on 34th Street and a promo for the popular Pioneer Home Video Path of Destruction VHS/DVD (I still have mine!).
We then see footage from N2R ’00 of Jerry Lynn handing the World title to Steve Corino and issuing a challenge for a rematch before we head backstage to find Cyrus drawing on Jerry Lynn’s dressing room nameplate with marker. Cyrus says that Lynn is in a “fragile state” after losing the ECW World title only days after winning it. Cyrus says he saved a distraught Jerry Lynn and won’t stand to see Lynn upset anymore. Lynn, Cyrus says, had to go back home and explain why he lost the title before being “bumped down to mid-card again.” Cyrus then says he’s “all about” Jerry Lynn and fixing Lynn’s career. From now on, Cyrus says, he’ll be Jerry Lynn’s “best friend”.
Coming out of break we join Dawn Marie in her dressing room. Dawn Marie says she wants to show the cameraman something “hardcore” before deciding against it. This is followed by a promo for ECWWrestling.com and news on Scott Hall’s arrival in ECW.
We then head into the boiler room where we find World TV Champion Rhino raging about needing his “fix” of violence and calling out his top challengers, including Rob Van Dam, Kid Kash, and Spike Dudley.
—ECW World Heavyweight Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 16:49)
Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino(c) w/Jack Victory
Before the match begins Dawn Marie, who turned on Steve Corino at N2R ’00, comes out and walks around ringside before returning to the back. Jerry Lynn goes on the attack early, whipping Corino with the title belt, leaving a massive welt on Corino’s back, before battering Corino in and out of the ring. As Lynn continues to dominate, Cyrus comes to ringside before, like Dawn Marie, disappearing to the back. Though Jerry Lynn is on fire he is unable to put Corino away. A dangerous looking powerslam helps turn the tide in Corino’s favor and it’s Corino’s turn to take the fight to Lynn. Out of nowhere we get a pair of ref bumps. After a third ref bump Justin Credible arrives and gloms both Champion and challenger with the Singapore cane before disappearing, like everyone else, to the back. With all three referees being wiped out and Jerry Lynn sustaining a cut over his eye from Credible’s cane shot, the match is stopped at 7:03 and ruled a no-contest.
NO WINNER declared (No contest, 7:03)
After a commercial break we return to find Steve Corino in the ring with the microphone. Corino is telling the fans that the rules are “different now” with Corino as World Champion. Corino says he’s not afraid of anybody from ECW, WWF, WCW, or anywhere else. Corino says that if there is anyone man enough to take his title he would slap them like he slapped the beer out of the The Sandman’s hand. This, of course, brings out Sandman! As Sandman makes his way to the ring we see footage of Corino slapping a beer out Sandman’s hand prior to the “Double Jeopardy” match at N2R ’00.
Corino tells Sandman that though he said he’d take on any challenger, Corino didn’t mean tonight. Corino tries to plead with the fans about having to wrestle Jerry Lynn and then face Sandman but the crowd, like Sandman, isn’t buying it. Corino says he’s got all the respect in the world for Sandman, who somehow wound up winning the ECW World title four times. Then Corino claims that he can’t wrestle Sandman tonight because he’s injured his “appendic” again. Corino then says that he knows Sandman to be a “compassionate man”, earning a “say what?” from Joey Styles. Corino talks trash about Sandman’s kids before Sandman spits beer in Corino’s face. Corino loses it and accepts Sandman’s challenge for a fight but not before we get a series of “cross the line” spots. Finally, as Corino bends to put the World title on the mat, Sandman cracks Corino with the cane to get the impromptu title match underway!
—ECW World Heavyweight Championship – “Impromptu Grudge Match” (WATCH – 25:23)
The Sandman vs. Steve Corino(c) w/Jack Victory
The Sandman dominates the action from the start, even introducing Corino to a section of guardrail Sandman brought from the back. Corino tries to fight back but is cut off at every pass. Soon enough the match spills to the floor and Sandman introduces a ladder to the match. Sandman continues to batter Steve Corino, nearly putting the Champion away, before Corino lands a timely superkick for a near-fall. Moments later, after trading punches in the middle of the ring, Sandman is in control yet again but is unable win the gold. Sandman goes back to the cane as Corino begins to bleed. Finally, Sandman goes for the White Russian Leg Sweep when Corino, out of nowhere, hits the Old School Expulsion for the 1-2-3 at 7:50 to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
WINNER and STILL ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Steve Corino w/Jack Victory (Pin, 7:50)
After the match, as Corino & Jack Victory celebrate, we head back to announce position for another ECWWrestling.com promo. This is followed by adult film star Jasmin St. Claire plugging a set of photos on the ECW website.
Suddenly the photo plug is interrupted by an angry Spike Dudley who is looking for Rhino. Spike barges into the boiler room and we can hear all hell break loose inside. Paul Heyman and others try opening the door but they never once turn the knob. At long last Paul Heyman remembers how a door knob works and we rush into the the boiler room to find Rhino assaulting Spike Dudley, banging the back of Spike’s head off the metal cabinet doors. Rhino shouts threats to a lifeless Spike about coming after his TV title. Rhino stands up and looks at the camera, saying he just got his “fix” before the show ends!
This is far from the greatest hour of ECW TV one can find on the WWE Network but, given the situation the promotion was in at the time, this isn’t bad. The focus of the hour is on the three Championships, with the F.B.I., Rhino, and Steve Corino having their moments to shine if even, in the case of the F.B.I., for a few moments. The matches, by and large, are good and the promos are decent. For anyone who thinks that ECW was putting out rubbish in their dying days, this edition of HCTV is a must-see. ECW had their share of problems, some of which we’ve covered this week, but they could still, with their backs firmly against the wall, produce a compelling, action-packed hour of wrestling. If you haven’t seen this edition of HCTV or if it’s been a while, you won’t regret seeking this “hidden gem” out!
Already subscribed to the WWE Network? Then you can relive this classic edition of ECW Hardcore TV, or see it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!
For pre-WNN editions of TBT, click here!
Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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