This weeks Throwback Thursday returns to the land of “extreme” as we look back at a classic, Hardcore Heaven 2000 go-home edition of ECW’s Hardcore TV, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 23 years ago this month!
After seven years of hard earned growth and success, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was falling apart. The “Monday Night Wars” were all but over, with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) reigning as the top wrestling promotion in the world once more. For anyone on the periphery of the WWF, as was the case in the late ’80s, the outlook was much more bleak. World Championship Wrestling (WCW), once the number one wrestling company in the world, was floundering. On April 10, 2000, under the new leadership of the Eric Bischoff/Vince Russo regime, WCW “reset” their promotion, vacating all championships and wrapping up (or outright killing off) existing angles and programs, in a futile effort to stop the the financial bleeding.
Twelve days after WCW “rebooted” their brand, ECW did something similar. In the wake of former ECW World Champion Mike Awesome’s “defection” to WCW—on the same April 10, 2000, “reset” edition of Monday NITRO—ECW found itself in full panic mode, struggling to save face amid one of the most embarrassing incidents in the recent history of the sport. On April 22, 2000, at CyberSlam 2000, ECW reset the top of their card, putting the TV title on a young Rhino while then-World Tag Team Champion Justin Credible won the World title from Tommy Dreamer. Credible abandoning the Tag Team gold enabled ECW to shroud the looming departure of Credible’s partner, Lance Storm (headed for WCW), in ga-ga.
With television ratings sinking, their cable agreement with TNN in tatters, and their revenue all but dried up, ECW threw everything they had at the problem in hopes something would stick. At the very least ECW was trying to do enough to entice a new national TV partner to pick their product up once the deal with TNN—who was openly negotiating with the WWF—was terminated. Though ECW’s booking was stable at this time, financial constraints kept taking pieces off the board, stunting any momentum the “reset” may have provided.
The top story in ECW at the time this edition of Hardcore TV aired was the upcoming Hardcore Heaven 2000 PPV. The return of Rob Van Dam, who broke his ankle on January 29, 2000, and another showdown with Jerry Lynn; Justin Credible’s feud with Tommy Dreamer and former Tag Team title partner Lance Storm; Rhino’s intensifying war with Sandman; and New Jack’s issues with Da Baldies were all top stories heading into this edition of HCTV and the PPV.
The top song in the nation the week this edition of ECW HCTV aired was Santana’s “Maria Maria”, featuring The Product G&B, as NSYNCs No Strings Attached was the top-selling album. NBC’s ER was the top-rated program on network television as WWF Monday Night RAW dominated the cable ratings. In theaters, eventual “Best Picture” winner Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, and Richard Harris, reigned supreme.
Now let’s fire up the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this edition of ECW Hardcore TV holds up 23 years later!
Edits are, as usual, a minor concern for this edition of ECW HCTV on the WWE Network and Peacock. All unlicensed music has been overdubbed and any and all merchandise, home video, and live event promos have been nixed as well. This includes promos for Hardcore Heaven 2000. Context, however, is complete, as every prior edition of Hardcore TV, as well as ECW on TNN, and all past ECW pay-per-views (including a growing list of supercards) are available for you to enjoy on the WWE Network and Peacock right now!
ECW Hardcore TV #368 (WATCH)
Date: May 13, 1995 (TAPED: April 29, 1995) – Location: Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York
Attendance: 2,500 – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Joey Styles – Interviews: N/A
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
ECW World Heavyweight Champion: Justin Incredible (April 22, 2000, ECW CyberSlam 2000, from Tommy Dreamer; Credible winning the title marked the end of a fiasco that began when an unhappy Mike Awesome jumped to WCW as ECW World Heavyweight Champion, though the title never appeared on WCW TV; Vince McMahon allowed former ECW star Tazz, who had signed with the WWF in late 1999, to return to ECW and take the World title from Awesome on April 13, 2000 in Indianapolis, Indiana, in an attempt to help ECW save face; nine days later, at CyberSlam 2000, Tazz dropped the title to Tommy Dreamer; Justin Credible then, in typical impromptu ECW fashion, challenged and defeated Dreamer for the title)
ECW World Television Champion: Rhino (April 22, 2000, ECW CyberSlam 2000, from Tajiri)
ECW World Tag Team Championship: VACANT (April 22, 2000, ECW CyberSlam 2000; the Tag Team titles were vacated after then-Champion Justin Credible relinquished his half of the Championship prior to challenging Tommy Dreamer for the World Heavyweight title)
This week’s edition of Hardcore TV begins with a cold open promo from ECW World Heavyweight Champion Justin Credible and his manager Francine. Credible begins by talking about Tommy Dreamer living and breathing for “one thing” since Dreamer joined ECW (the World title) before reminding Dreamer of Credible’s past insults and attacks against Dreamer.
Dreamer has worked everyday “for the last seven years” to win the World title only to have Credible take it away “just like that!” Francine jumps in next, saying that Dreamer didn’t just lose her but the World title, too. Credible then transitions to former partner Lance Storm, wondering if Storm is that much of a “mark” that he believes he actually carried the “Impact Players”. Credible calls himself the “most controversial figure in Sports Entertainment today” before telling Storm that “the student has become the teacher.”
Francine tells Storm to have Dawn Marie “get off her knees”, “wipe the brown off he nose”, and realize that at Hardcore Heaven Dawn Marie will discover why Francine is the “Queen of Extreme”. Credible says that the “three-way dance” at Hardcore Heaven between Dreamer, Storm, and Credible for the ECW World Heavyweight title is “Justin Credible”.
This leads to a lengthy music video highlighting Justin Credible, and Francine’s, reign of terror in ECW over the past three years, including footage of Francine turning on Dreamer and Credible winning the World title. The original music has been, of course, overdubbed.
We then cut to the announce position where Joey Styles welcomes us to the show. Styles talks about Justin Credible being the center of controversy in ECW as of late before we cut to the usual, long ECW open of the era.
Coming out of the opening sizzle reel we join Joel Gertner in the announce position. Gertner does his middle name shtick, this time savagely attacking TNN, and tells us not to adjust our dial because this is a real TV station (unlike TNN) before he tosses back to Hardcore TV with Joey Styles.
—Singles Match (10:52)
Swinger vs. “The Sicilian Shooter” Little Guido w/Sal E. Graziano
As this one gets going Guido tries to use his athleticism and wrestling ability to ground Swinger to no avail. This pattern repeats throughout the early portion of the match, with Guido getting cut off and pacing around the ring before jumping back in to start all over again.
The match goes to the floor where, after being sent into the guardrail, Swinger eats a Sal E. knee before being rolled back into the ring. Swinger comes back, though, landing a swinging neck breaker for a near-fall. Swinger comes off the top but Guido turns Swinger’s dive into a Fujiwara armbar. Back on their feet Guido is able to land the Italian leg sweep. After placing Swinger in position Guido stands atop Sal E.’s shoulders to deliver the Sicilian Elbow.
Guido then distracts the referee as Sal E. delivers a flying head butt from the second rope. This only gets a two-count, though, before Swinger, as if he hasn’t taken a lick of offense, fires up and begins to make the comeback. Swinger lands a few high-impact moves and a few near-falls before the two begin to trade chops. In an instant, though, Guido ducks a Swinger chop and cinches in the Maritato for the pinfall win at 5:47.
WINNER is “The Sicilian Shooter” Little Guido w/Sal E. Graziano (Pin, 5:47)
After the match we head straight to a Peacock ad-break. Coming out of the break we head to the back where Mikey Whipwreck is excitedly shadowboxing around a confused Sinister Minister. Mikey then lists the names of the stars scheduled to appear at Hardcore Heaven 2000 this Sunday night and shouts “Jesus Christ!” Sinister Minister replies that Jesus Christ has his “place in the food chain” but “Hardcore Heaven is going to be hotter than hell!”
The two begin to laugh uncontrollably for an awkward amount of time before we head back to Joey in the announce position. Joey tells us that the owner of ECW, one Paul Heyman, told Joey that working for WCW for an “extended period of time” will cause one to laugh like Sinister Minister & Mikey. Joey then tells us that the new Dangerous Alliance is in the ring and, after wondering “just how naked Elektra can get”, tosses to the ring.
In the ring Lou E. Dangerously stands with Elektra, C.W. Anderson, and Billy Wiles. Lou E. talks about Elektra taking off her jacket, which the fans want to see, before the four have a mid-ring conference. Lou E. then announces that Elektra will not be taking off her jacket, which is greeted by a loud chorus of boos, and says it’s because the fans are “Poughkeepsie punks”. Lou E. says he’s the hottest manager in wrestling and is booed loudly before finally being able to say his name. Lou E. introduces the Dangerous Alliance before we head to the next Peacock ad-break.
—Tag Team Match (20:00)
The Dangerous Alliance (C.W. Anderson & “Beautiful” Billy Wiles) w/Lou. E. Dangerously & Elektra vs. Chris Chetti & Nova
Anderson and Chetti start, trading momentum and low blows before Chetti delivers a pair of atomic drops and a Harlem sidekick that drops Anderson. The babyfaces control the action until Lou E. trips Nova and Anderson cracks Nova in the back of the head with a chair. The heels have the match until Nova turns a Wiles DDT attempt into Novacaine and makes the hot tag to Chetti as Wiles tags Anderson.
Chetti lands a slew of flashy kicks to Anderson as the match breaks down. Anderson sends Chetti from the apron to the guardrail before Wiles slingshots Nova into an Anderson superkick for a near-fall. Chetti tags back in and, soon enough, has C.W. set up for a DDT when Wiles slips in and lands a neck breaker on Chetti, dropping Anderson with Chetti’s DDT as well. Nova lands a senton on Wiles but Lou E. pulls the referee out of the ring. Chetti & Nova then set up a table in the center of the ring for Dangerously.
Nova holds Dangerously on the table as Chetti goes up top but C.W. pulls Chetti down and Wiles goes after Nova, holding Nova for Lou E. phone attack that goes awry. Nova places the loopy Wiles on the table as Nova disposes of Anderson. With the C.W. neutralized, Nova & Chetti put Wiles through the table with Tidal Wave for the 1-2-3 at 6:37.
WINNERS are Chris Chetti & Nova (Pin, 6:37)
Following the match, as the babyfaces celebrate and the referee tries to clear the table from the ring, the Dangerous Alliance attacks. Suddenly New Jack’s music hits and the “original gangsta” arrives with a garbage can full of weapons. New Jack uses a mop wringer to eliminate Anderson before breaking a broom over the back of Dangerously. Elektra jumps into the ring and shoves New Jack before New Jack forcibly kisses her and tears off her ring jacket. New Jack stalks Elektra in the corner with a broken guitar as Da Baldies hit the ring.
New Jack drops DeVito before Angel takes New Jack down. Angel gouges at New Jack, busting New Jack open, as the heels work over New Jack and the fans chant for Balls Mahoney. A handful of referees and wrestlers, including Nova, Chetti, and Chilli Willi, try to save New Jack when Doring & Roadkill’s music hits and the pair rush to the ring for an impromptu tag team match!
—“Impromptu Tag Team Match” (36:10 – HIGHLIGHTS)
Da Baldies (DeVito & Angel) vs. Danny Doring & Roadkill
The match starts with Doring & Roadkill dominating the heels. Doring hits the Bareback on DeVito before Roadkill powerslams Angel for Doring’s Panty Drop elbow. The two celebrate their momentum as we head to a mid-match Peacock ad-break. Coming out of the break (with much of the action missing) the heels are in control, working over Doring.
Da Baldies set up a table in the corner but DeVito end up walking into a springboard lariat from Roadkill. Doring & Roadkill land the Lancaster Lariat on Angel and set Da Baldies’ table up in the center of the ring. Doring heads up to the top rope as Roadkill lifts Angel and the two drive Angel through the table with the Buggy Bang for the pinfall win at 2:45.
WINNERS are Danny Doring & Roadkill (Pin, 2:45, highlight time)
After the match, as the babyfaces celebrate, Vic Grimes rushes in to attack. With Angel still on his back DeVito drops Doring with the Bronx Bomb as Grimes slams Roadkill. DeVito pulls Roadkill into position and hits a top rope moonsault before Grimes lands a top rope elbow drop. The pair push the babyfaces to the floor as Angel gets to his feet to celebrate. Suddenly Balls Mahoney rushes to the ring, steel chair in hand, and attacks Da Baldies. After a trio of brutal chair shot to the head Balls stands tall as the fans chant his name and we cut to the next Peacock ad-break.
After the break Joey, in the announce position, tries to hype this Sunday’s Hardcore Heaven PPV but tosses back to the ring to enjoy more of Balls’ “party”. Following the celebration Joey sets up and tosses to a Sandman promo. Sandman, smoking and drinking all the while, talks about surviving barbed wire wars with Cactus Jack and tables & ladders against Sabu and wonders what makes Rhino think it’ll be any different for him? “It’s going to be hardcore”, Sandman says, and Sandman says he’ll be “in Heaven.” This is followed by another Peacock ad-break.
Coming out of the break we cut to the back where Swinger interrupts the start of a Kid Kash promo. Swinger laughs at Kash, who wonders who the hell Swinger thinks he is. “I’m Swinger, and I’m from Atlanta,” Swinger says. Swinger tells Kash to stay out of Swinger’s way, calling him a “kid”. Kash tosses his hat in Swinger’s face and asks if Swinger wants “to roll”, but Swinger tells Kash to “swing it or bring it”, giving Kash the Diva finger snap before walking off. Kash repeats the “swing it” line to himself and has a few chose words for Swinger as the segment ends.
Back in the announce position Joey notes that some fans will be seeing this edition of HCTV after Hardcore Heaven before hyping this Sunday’s three main events. RVD versus Jerry Lynn (RVD’s first match back after breaking his ankle), the “Three-Way Dance” between Dreamer, Lance Storm, and ECW World Champion Justin Credible (for Credible’s title), and Sandman challenging Rhino for the ECW World TV title!
Joey then hypes the ECWWrestling.com website, including “sizzling” and “sexy” pics of Elektra.
We then cut to the back for a show-closing promo from World Television Champion Rhino. Rhino says that Sandman has a few problems. First, Sandman doesn’t drink the beer, the beer drinks Sandman. Second problem is a big one, Rhino says: Sandman is facing Rhino at Hardcore Heaven! Some call it the most hardcore PPV of them all, Rhino says, and tells Sandman to leave his “sl*t of a wife” back home. It’s Mother’s Day, Rhino says, and tells Sandman to bring his mother to the show, that Rhino will buy her a front row seat so that he can put her ass through a table! After the PPV, Rhino says, Sandman and Sandman’s entire family will never forget the name of Rhino. Rhino then stares into the camera to bring this week’s edition of HCTV to an end.
This is a fun, action-packed edition of ECW’s Hardcore TV, even if it’s extremely light on Hardcore Heaven build. This was an era of ECW where they tried to get as much as they could out of as little as possible, hence two tag team matches, a New Jack beat down, and a Balls Mahoney save out of a single Lou E. Dangerously promo. The matches we do see, though, are exciting and (non-nonsensical psychology aside) fun to watch.
The three promos we get to setup the Hardcore Heaven 2000 PPV, from Justin Credible, Sandman, and Rhino, are all decent for what they are. While it’s not even a halfway decent PPV go-home show this edition of HCTV delivers the kind of ECW action and excitement fans have come to expect. It may not be a classic (far from it), and not likely to drive anyone to the actual PPV, but it’s a helluvalotta fun! So, if you haven’t seen this edition of ECW HCTV, or it’s been a while, it’s worth the time to check out on the WWE Network on Peacock. Who knows, you may actually like it, and that’s never a bad thing!
Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive the classic edition of ECW Hardcore TV right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!