E! C! W! Three letters that embody the little wrestling promotion that could. Three letters that were chanted in arenas across the north-eastern States of the U.S. Three letters that are held dear to the hearts of those who lived through the life of arguably the most important independent wrestling promotion in U.S. history.
This set is another chapter in the history of Extreme Championship Wrestling and will include matches the masses will not have seen. Never having been released on home video before, this is ECW Unreleased and THIS! IS! EXTREME!!!
Running Time: 435mins (7hrs 15mins)
Chapters – Disc 1
- We Are Back!
- Hardcore TV (19th October, 1993) – Tommy Dreamer v Tazmaniac
- When Worlds Collide (14th May, 1994) – Terry Funk & Arn Anderson v Sabu & Bobby Eaton
- Hardcore Legends
- Hardcore Heaven (13th August, 1994) – Cactus Jack v Terry Funk
- Hardcore TV (4th October, 1994) – “I Quit” Match: Tommy Dreamer v The Sandman
- Wrestling Machines
- Wrestlepalooza (5th August, 1995) – Eddie Guerrero & The Steiner Brothers v 2 Cold Scorpio, Dean Malenko & Cactus Jack
- Holiday Hell Tour (29th December, 1995) – Raven v Tommy Dreamer
- House Party (5th January, 1996) – The Public Enemy v The Gangstas
Chapters – Disc 2
- A Good Idea At The Time
- Lost Battalion Hall (13th April, 1996) – Extreme Hardcore Shoot Fight: Chris Jericho v Taz
- A Matter of Respect (11th May, 1996) – ECW World Television Championship Match: 2 Cold Scorpio v Shane Douglas
- The Flagstaff
- Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania (2nd August, 1996) – Sabu v Chris Jericho
- Hardcore TV (27th March, 1997) – Dick Togo, Terry Boy & Taka Michinoku v Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa & Great Sasuke
- Tag Team Wrestling Done Right
- Buffalo, New York (17th May, 1997) – Three Way Dance for ECW World Tag Team Championship Match: The Eliminators v The Gangstas v The Dudleys
Chapters – Disc 3
- Real Heat
- Hardcore TV (5th January, 1998) – The Sandman, Taz, Tommy Dreamer & Al Snow v Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon
- Wrestlepalooza (3rd May, 1998) – ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Shane Douglas v Al Snow
- Hardcore TV (29th June, 1998) – ECW World Tag Team Championship Match: Chris Candido & Lance Storm v Sabu & Rob Van Dam
- A Real Clash of Styles
- ECW Arena (8th August, 1998) – Three Way Dance for the FTW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sabu v Taz v Bam Bam Bigelow
- Hardcore TV (23rd August, 1999) – ECW World Tag Team Championship Match: The Dudleys v Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney
- Stepping Up
- ECW on TNN (1st October, 1999) – ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Mike Awesome v Rhino
- November to Remember (7th November, 1999) – Extreme Three Way Dance: Yoshihiro Tajiri v Jerry Lynn v Super Crazy
- The Ultimate Underdog
- ECW on TNN (28th January, 2000) – ECW World Television Championship Match: Rob Van Dam v Mikey Whipwreck
- ECW on TNN (29th September, 2000) – Three Way Dance for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Justin Credible v Jerry Lynn v Steve Corino
- End of an Era
I’ve been a wrestling fan since I first saw WrestleMania VII in July 1991 when my cousin loaned me a tape of it he had recorded from SKY television. From that day, I have been a devoted wrestling fan and watched it consistently ever since.
The advent of the internet, especially the birth of YouTube has put more wrestling at the fingertips of more people than many thought possible during the dark old days of tape-traders. Since becoming a fan, I went back and watched all the WWE PPVs that I had missed until WMVII and have watched every one since.
I did the same with WCW (although that was a lot harder to garner until TNT started broadcasting Nitro regularly) and in 1995, thanks to the Superstars of Wrestling magazine (the predecessor of Powerslam), I was introduced to ECW via an article on one of the promotions most famous sons; Raven.
To say I was enamoured is an understatement. I was instantly captivated by this enigmatic character and sought out everything I could on both him and the promotion he called home. Once I had found a way to watch the shows, I sought out what I could and fell in love with Extreme Championship Wrestling. From there, the internet allowed me to watch the weekly shows and PPVs, while HMV also started selling video-tapes to cover the current PPVs and some of the older content.
Of course, now that WWE owns the library of virtually every wrestling promotion in America, they have put it to good use, with ECW always seeming to have a special place in Vince’s heart as it has had the most releases (going back to the amazingly good Rise & Fall of ECW).
With so much content in the vaults, it makes perfect sense to release collections covering the matches very few people will have seen at the time and no-one will have seen on home video. It’s that concept that leads us to this set of 21 matches from the early NWA-Eastern Championship Wrestling days and the ECW on TNN era that ultimately led to the closure of the company.
As ECW is my favourite promotion of all time, this review could easily have slipped into fan-boy praise territory, but I’m aware enough to remember that ECW had some shoddy content at times too, so the rose-tinted specs are not required for this one.
The matches on show try to cover the respective time-period shifts that ECW had (pre-Shane Douglas double-cross, hardcore-to-the-max era and the TNN era specifically) as well as feature as many talents as possible within the amount of matches available.
Because this is the second set to be released, you could argue that the better ones had already been cherry-picked for Volume 1… and you might be right. However, the matches on show here are all good-to-great and are well worth a watch as you pass through the years with Joey Styles and Tommy Dreamer as your guides.
The double-act is great and the sly digs at each other appear to be unscripted for the most part, which adds to the enjoyment. They also reveal some of the reasons why things happen (such as why Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton wrestled in ECW while WCW-contracted performers), which add a bit of history to the matches on the discs.
Other things that are interesting include seeing characters in a different gimmick to what made them famous. For example, Taz as a bare-foot wildman in face-paint shouting “Tazmanian” during his matches, “Lionheart” Chris Jericho or the “attractive” Tommy Dreamer is MC Hammer pants and braces.
Match quality, as said, rarely dips below good, but some of the video / audio quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially on the older matches. Of course, this is to be expected for something that is close to 20yrs old, but seeing it on an HD-capable television enhances the visual flaws to distracting effect on occasion.
This is a must-own collection of matches from possibly the most beloved and respected defunct wrestling promotion in Western history. If for nothing else, simply to see a hairy, bare-foot, face-painted, Tasmanian-speaking Taz nail “GQ-level good looking” Tommy Dreamer in MC Hammer pants-with-braces with a Top-Rope Northern Lights Suplex just after Joey Styles says the fans are getting behind Tommy as the image shows the most apathetic bunch of wrestling fans you are likely to see.
Blu-Ray owners also get -:
- Hardcore TV (27th August, 1994) – 911 v Doink the Clown
- Gangsta’s Paradise (16th September, 1995) – Steel Cage Match: The Sandman, 2 Cold Scorpio & New Jack v The Public Enemy & Mikey Whipwreck
- Buffalo, New York (17th May, 1997) – Four Way Dance for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship: Terry Funk v Raven v Stevie Richards v The Sandman
- Detroit, Michigan (23rd January, 1999) – The Dudleys v The Public Enemy
- Hardcore Heaven (16th May, 1999) – Tommy Dreamer v Lance Storm
- Hardcore TV (11th February, 2000)- Japanese Death Match: Super Crazy v Yoshihiro Tajiri