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Guest Columns

Joe Gagne



Originally broadcast 10/17/95

  • We begin with a promo from Steve Austin, who was recently fired from WCW and made a surprise appearance on last week's show:

    "Four weeks ago, when Eric Bischoff told his secretary to tell her secretary to leave a message on my answering machine for me to call Eric Bischoff, and then I called Eric Bischoff, and he proceeded to fire me over the phone, I thought a big cloud was lifted off the career of Steve Austin [snorts]. Because gone were the days when I'd go up to someone and say 'Hey, what about me and Sting, we got this big thing going, how about the cage,' and someone says [imitating Dusty Rhodes] 'No, baby, that's for somebody else. We're just gonna keep you right where you at right now.' And I said, 'Well, how about me and Savage, man, I got this great idea, man, he come in, he's got the Slim Jim deal, well hell, I got-'[imitating Dusty again] 'No Steve, that's for somebody else baby.' Then you go 'I got this great idea I can do with Hulk Hogan, I'm gonna be the Steve-a-maniac, and we're gonna take this thing all the way because Hulk Hogan, Hulkamania was the biggest thing to ever come down wrestling's pike,' and they say [imitating Hogan] No, it's not for you brother, you can't do that. We're just gonna keep you right where you are. I said, 'How about me and Brian [Pillman] getting back together? The Hollywood Blondes, it was the best tag team to come along in ten years. And they say 'No Steve, we need you in a singles role, man. We need you to do this, we're gonna put the U.S title on you, and then we're gonna take you here, and then you're the #1 contender, so then you've got this World Title Shot... Well, none of that [shit] never happened.

    'So there I am, floundering along. There's nothing going my way because the politics in WCW kept the biggest potential superstar in wrestling on the [God] damm ground. What are you supposed to do? On one hand, they're paying you a bunch of money. They're paying me a bunch of money. Well, on this hand they're telling me 'Hey, go out there and give Bagwell a hell of a match. Go out there with an 18 year old German kid, give him 7 good minutes, let the people see what he can do.' They say you are what you eat. In WCW they didn't feed me nothing but garbage. So I let myself become garbage. I became complacent with everything that they said. As long as Big Ted kept sending in the checks, maybe I wasn't happy with what was going on, but I became complacent. Then, they send me to Japan, the big injury, Bischoff delivers the shot heard around the damn world. Steve Austin's out of the high paying job. All of a sudden, the phone starts ringing off the hook: it's ECW, it's the WWF, it's All Japan, it's New Japan. And all Steve Austin's got to do is make a decision. Todd Gordon [ECW commissioner], whether he mortgaged his house one time, two times, maybe three times, came up with the right figure for Steve Austin to make a decision. I strolled into the ECW Arena-it's the biggest piece of crap I've ever seen. I broke in in a building called the Sportatorium, in Dallas, Texas, home of the world famous Von Erichs. Anybody that was anybody stepped foot in the Dallas Sportatorium. For the last two years, all you've heard about anywhere in wrestling is the famous ECW Arena. Debut night, I roll in. You got the Sandman, you got the Raven, you got the Pitbulls, you got Stevie Richards, you got the Public Enemy, you got the Gangstas, you got Mikey Whipwep, whatever the hell his name is. You got a bunch of damn misfits running around, thinking that they can actually wrestle. All I've seen in ECW is a bunch of violent crap, and that's exactly what I'll call it because that's what it is. Steve Austin his here to wrestle. it's what I do best. it's what I do better than anyone in the world. Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero, they got the big sendoff. Tears we in everybody's eyes, it was a big deal All Steve Austin got was a good swift kick in the ass, as Bischoff hung up the phone and left me high and dry.

    'There's no Hogans here. There's no Flairs here. There's not a Dusty Rhodes. And there damn sure isn't an Eric Bischoff here. There's no one that can hold back Steve Austin now. 'Stunning?' Tossed it out the window. Never was meant to be. ECW's gonna find out firsthand what Steve Austin can do. And I'm gonna show everyone here exactly what a true superstar is supposed to do, what a true superstar is supposed to be. Because no one here can hold me back. Not Todd Gordon. Not Hulk Hogan. Not Eric Bischoff. Nobody. I'm gonna be the superstar that I always knew I could be. Because there's no one, no one in ECW that can stop me."

  • It's weird seeing this interview now because Austin seemed so calm, and not completely agitated like the Stone Cold persona. Also, what's interesting about this promo is that it's pretty much a total shoot. To talk about being fired and backstage politics like this was unheard of at the time (hell, even now). Mick Foley's promos at the time were rooted in reality (namely, his feeling about the ECW fans' attitude), but you could tell that Mick wasn't serious about Tommy Dreamer signing with WCW. He was playing a character based in reality. Here, it's impossible to draw and a line where Steve Austin the person ends and Steve Austin the character begins

  • Opening credits. They added Rey's killer springboard 'rana on Psychosis from last week's show.

  • Joey Styles introduces the show and sends it over to Lance Wright (ugh) and Hype Central. Lance hypes an upcoming ladder match on 10/28/95 for the ECW title between the Sandman and Mikey Whipwreck.

  • We cut to the Sandman and Woman. Sandman does one of his standard interviews, where he starts speaking softly, and then STARTS YELLING REALLY LOUDLY. Anyway, the bottom line is that Steve Austin won't resuscitate his career on the ECW champ.

  • Taz promo. He's gonna choke out Jason, and then 2 Cold Scorpio's next. He recounts being embarrassed when he recently met his childhood hero, Lou Thesz. "What am I supposed to say? 'Oh hi Mr. Thesz, I'm Taz. You know, the guy who LOST TO JASON!'" But Lou told Taz to choke out Jason, and that's what he's gonna do. Taz was in-between his savage persona and the miserable bad-ass we know today. He was talkative and even pretty funny here-I wish we could have seen more of this character before he turned at November to Remember.

  • Joey recaps the Jason/Taz situation and segues into Jason's team, The Eliminators.

  • A very special look at the Eliminators. I'll go over this again: The Elims were Perry Saturn (currently in the WWF) and John Kronus (currently in XPW). We see highlights of their six man match against the Steiners and Taz, as well as highlights from a squash against the Broadstreet Bully and someone I don't recognize. The Elims annihilate the jobbers with their cool double teams and finish it off with the Total Elimination (actually called the Hurricane Eliminator a the time). Crowd was into the Eliminators, even back then. Then we get comments from Saturn (with hair) and Kronus, who threaten to eliminate the Steiner Brothers. Kronus acts like a nut (a character he didn't deviate from at all in his ECW tenure) and Saturn sounds like he needs a lozenge.

  • The Steiners cut one of their wretched promos. They threaten the Eliminators, and say that ECW's their home, even though they jumped to WCW not long after this.

  • Beulah's Box promo. Also the home of Monday Nyquil. I'll get into that later.

  • Referee Bill Alphonso is in the ring telling Taz that he failed his physical and isn't fit to wrestle. Taz gets jumped by Jason, so we get...

    TAZ VS. JASON: Jason works over Taz's neck with some pussy forearm shots. Jason's wearing long pants tonight, so thankfully we don't get a repeat of the wedgie incident from last week. Taz reverses a whip, Jason ducks a clothesline, but Taz ducks one of Jason's clotheslines and goes for the Tazmission. But Jason mules kicks Taz in the groin. Jason takes a swing, but Taz ducks and locks in the Tazmission for the quick tap out. (:37) 1/4* This was the debut of the Tazmission, FYI. Taz won't let go afterwards. Replay shows all the action (?).

  • Joey talks to Taz, who threatens to choke out Scorpio. Taz makes mention of Scorpio's "bubble-ass," and threatens the Eliminators on behalf of the Steiners. We see another replay of the Tazmission. Jason crawls out of the ring and says that and says that it was an illegal choke, and he's not a loser. Wow, deja vu! Jason even sounds a bit like Kurt Angle. Jason goes on about how he was in a car accident earlier that day, and while he was waiting for AAA, a gang of hoodlums attacked him. As Jason prattles on, "Wild Thing" starts up and a new wrestler, El Puerto Ricano, comes out. Jason remains unimpressed, so he gets in the ring and badmouths Ricano for his display of disrespect. I really can't make out what Jason is saying. Jason slaps the youngster twice, then Ricano rips off his mask and gets in Jason's face, saying something in Spanish that gets bleeped. Anyway, we've got an impromptu match...

    JASON VS. EL PUERTO RICANO (from Ecuador-no shit, that's how they used to bill him) Jason with a roundhouse kick to start, but Ricano reverses an Irish Whip and hits 3 consecutive dropkicks that knock Jason to the outside. Ricano fakes a dive, then nails Jason with a springboard plancha. Jason's had enough, so he bails. Or maybe he's running from the police again. No real match to rate.

  • Anyway, "Born to be Wild" starts up, which brings out Cactus Jack (w/Raven), who was Ricano's scheduled opponent. This gives us...

  • CACTUS JACK VS. EL PUERTO RICANO: Cactus had recently turned his back on the ECW fans and sided with Raven. Cactus gets on the mic for some pre-match intimidation, telling Ricano that he's got a great future in this sport, but if he fights, Cactus, not only will he not have a future in this sport, he won't have a future, period. If he walks away, he can tell his grandkids he stood face to face with a former WCW World Tag Team Champion. Ricano responds by dropkicking Cactus in the back of the head while he converses with Raven. Ricano dropkicks Cactus roughly 800 more times (cripes, learn another move!). Cactus gets knocked to the outside, where Ricano follows up with a nice Asai moonsault. Back in the ring, Ricano goes to the top, but Cactus bumps him to the outside. Cactus acts like he's going for the Hipbuster elbow, but changes his mind and goes back in the ring, drawing major heat. Ricano crawls back in, and Cactus with a headlock takeover and long headlock. Joey finally figures out that Cactus is doing this to piss off the fans. Well, duh. Ricano brings them to their feet using a hairpull, but Cactus takes him over again and it's back to the headlock. Ricano gets uses leverage to get a pair of two counts. Crowd starts a "boring" chant and does the wave to pass the time. Joey and the cameraman join in. Ricano uses the hair again to back Cactus into the corner, and this time uses the opportunity to go medieval on Cactus, stomping away and even spitting on him. But Cactus retaliates with am eye rake and tosses Ricano to the outside. Raven then hits a DDT on the concrete while Cactus converses with the ref. Ricano gets thrown back in, and a small package from Cactus puts the youngster away. (4:27) DUD, and I mean that in the nicest way.

  • After the match, Raven tells Cactus to work over Ricano. Cactus is reluctant, but does eventually put the boots to the youngster. Raven and Cactus hit a stuff piledriver and then Raven throws Ricano out of the ring. Meanwhile, Tommy Dreamer runs out and attacks Cactus, but Raven makes it a 2 on 1. Cactus goes for the Double Arm DDT, but Tommy counters with a back bodydrop. Tommy then DDTs Raven and tosses Cactus outside the ring. Tommy gets on the apron and does a crappy version of the Hipbuster on Cactus. Tommy fishes a chair from the crowd and prepares to do a Hipbuster with a chair, but Raven knocks him into the guardrail. Raven and Cactus then engage in a long beatdown sequence on Tommy while the fans chant for 911. Raven gets a chair and wallops Tommy, then hands it to Cactus. Cactus seems to refuse by throwing the chair down, but then hits the Double Arm DDT onto the chair. Cactus gets some barbed wire as Tommy eats another DDT on the chair. Cactus drops a barb wired elbow on a bloodied Tommy. Raven gets a table, and Cactus finishes the assault by putting Tommy through the table with a second rope elbowdrop. Finally the Pitbulls run in and chase Raven and Cactus off. If you like Tommy Dreamer getting beaten up, this was the segment for you!

  • Joey promises an update on Tommy's condition.

  • 2 Cold Scorpio (w/bubble ass) giggles a lot and asks Joey if they're going to replay Tommy getting punked out. He just likes watching people get hurt, you know. And he's the TV champ. What is it with potheads and the TV title?

  • Lance Wright (ugh) hypes a match between Cactus Jack and Tommy Dreamer on the 28th. Then Lance realizes that Tommy won't be able to find anyone who'll stand up to Raven and Cactus, so he refuses to hype the match. The fact that I don't have to see Lance Wright on my TV screen anymore easily makes my top five on the list of list of "Things I'm Most Thankful For."

  • Raven and Cactus promo: Raven says that Cactus Jack is the friend that Tommy couldn't be all those years ago. Cactus says that Tommy needed to be hurt, because the ECW fans have gotten to him so badly that simple words won't suffice. H pleads with Tommy to go to WCW, where you truly can be anything you want. He's seen a tough Jewish kid from Brooklyn become a black man from Macon, a kid from Nebraska an overnight rap star sensation, and a kid from New Hampshire become a Frenchman overnight. Cactus goes on to say that ECW tends to change people too: it's changed the Rotten brothers into jobless, scarred freaks, it's changed Mikey Whipwreck from the nicest kid in the world into a bumbling fool, and it's sent Tommy Dreamer on a roller coaster to Hell. Cactus can't go back to WCW, and he deserves to rot in ECW. But Tommy's got to go before it's too late. Another killer Foley promo.

  • Tommy's in the ring with Joey, and he says he's got a man on the phone who's gonna watch his back...Terry Funk!

  • We end with a shot of Terry Funk holding a flaming branding iron. Watch it Terry, someone could sue you over that...

    Conclusion: This show was what we would now call a hype show, leading up to November to Remember (not a PPV at the time). Light on wrestling, but heavy on angles and promos. It's definitely worth it to hear classic Austin and Foley interviews, as well as remember when Paul E. was on top of his game.

    Send all feedback to If there's anything you'd like to see in the future, let me know.

    Joe Gagne
    ECW Flashbacker

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    Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission