The “OH MY GOD!” Review of ECW’s TV Pilot #1 “The Best of Eastern Championship Wrestling Volume 1”
Back in early 1993 ECW was shopping their product around to try and get a TV deal. Four different pilots were created using matches filmed in 1992. This footage is the only known footage from 1992 to exist outside of the WWE vaults.
We get an opening video and a title card for our first match
“Ironman” Tommy Cairo vs. “Precious” Damien Stone ref Jim Molineaux (1992/07/14 from Original Sports Bar Philadelphia, PA)
Both men are making their ECW debuts here. The announce team tells us that Cairo is a former Mr. New Jersey. Stone pushes back Cairo twice from a lock up. On the third one Cairo pushes Stone who goes flying across the ring. Stone charges but takes a few arm drags until he leaves the ring. Stone gets slingshot back in and hit with a shoulder tackle. Cairo with a suplex and attempts a second but it’s reversed by Stone who then puts on a chin lock. Cairo fights out hits the ropes but takes a knee to the stomach. Stone back to the chin lock Cairo fights out again hits the ropes and back flips out of a backdrop attempt. Dropkick by Cairo sends Stone into the corner. Cairo charges but gets hit with an inverted atomic drop. Back to the chin lock and again Cairo fights out of it and dropkicks Stone to the floor. They fight outside the ring a bit. Back in and Stone takes control but gets slammed off the top rope. Cairo hits a powerbomb at 5.17 for the win. Cairo high fives the fans after the match and Stone attacks him.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart vs. Salvatore Bellomo (w/ Stevie Wonderful) ref Jim Molineaux (1992/06/23 from Original Sports Bar Philadelphia, PA)
Neidhart hits the ring and Bellomo bails right away. Neidhart attacks as soon as he gets back in so he drops to the floor again. The lock up and Neidhart backs in up and whips him to the ropes. Back elbow coming off and Bellomo starts to leave with Wonderful. Wonderful distracts Neidhart allowing Bellomo to attack from behind. Irish whip reversed and Anvil hits a big backdrop and a bodyslam. Turnbuckle whip and Bellomo avoids the charge and grabs Anvil. Wonderful takes a swing but misses and hits Bellomo instead. Anvil covers and gets the pin in 3.12. After the match Anvil brings Wonderful in the ring and beats him up until Don Muraco comes in and attacks Neidhart. The announcers are shocked as Muraco and Neidhart were friends.
Super Destroyers (w/ Hunter Q. Robbins III) vs. Night Breed – ECW Tag Team Championship Tournament Final ref John Finnegan (1992/06/23 from Original Sports Bar Philadelphia, PA)
This is the final of a four team one-night tournament to crown the first ECW Tag Team Champions. Night Breed consists of Max Thrasher and Glenn Osbourne. Thrasher starts with the taller Destroyer, we’ll call him #1. The lock up and Thrasher gets pushed into the corner. Destroyer calls for a test of strength, clearly Thrasher will lose this but he goes for it anyway. Big hammer to the back of Thrasher instead. Irish whip Thrasher ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody. Tag made to Osbourne but the Destroyer takes control and makes the tag. Osbourne forced into the corner where he is kicked and stomped. Leg lock by #2. Tags and illegal switches by the Destroyers for the next 7 minutes as they continue to work over the leg of Osbourne with submission holds. Osbourne pushed to the ropes and gets choked on them by the Destroyer. They just randomly end up in the Night Breed’s corner and Thrasher gets tagged in. Thrasher comes in and hits a back breaker but is quickly over powered. Hunter Q hits Thrasher with his cane and one of the Destoyers hits a senton from the top rope to become the first ever ECW Tag Team Champions in 10.47.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka vs. ECW Champion Johnny Hot Body (w/ Devious Don E Allen) ref John Finnegan (1992/07/14 from Original Sports Bar Philadelphia, PA)
This is a rematch for the ECW title as on April 26th Hot Body pinned Snuka to win the title. We get the bell but no action for the first 1.30 as Snuka stands in the corner stretching and barking. Crowd begins a “No Body” chant. Hot Body yells back at the crowd and begins to leave but Tod Gordon gets on the mic and says that if Hot Body gets counted out he will lose the title to Snuka. Five minutes since the bell and the men have not even touched each other. The crowd had been hot but are beginning to chant “boring”. Hot Body fakes a test of strength but attacks. He drives Snuka’s head into the turnbuckle but it does not hurt Snuka. Hot Body bails to regroup. Back in we get a side headlock. Snuka throws him off, leapfrogs and back kicks Hot Body. Johnny again drops to the floor to talk with Allen. Back in the ring another headlock. Snuka drops the head down but Johnny kicks him and chokes him on the ropes. Hot Body distracts the ref so Allen can do the same. Snapmare and a headscissor follows. Hot Body hits a chop to the head off the top rope but again it doesn’t hurt Snuka. Snuka gets taken down and put back in the headscissor. The ref catches Body using the ropes for leverage and makes him break the hold. Kicks to Snuka and back to choking on the rope. Allen gets in the action again. Back to the side headlock, Snuka throws him off but gets hit with a clothesline and goes back into the head scissor. Snuka finally able to reverse it into a leg grapevine but Body gets to the ropes quickly. Snapmare and knee drop gets the champ a 2 count. Chinlock again Snuka fights back with elbows hits the ropes but takes a knee to the stomach and rolls out of the ring. Snuka hits a shoulder and sunset flip getting back in the ring but Hot Body drops down grabs the ropes and goes for the pin. The ref counts 2 but then sees Johnny hold the ropes. He kicks his hands and Snuka completes the flip and gets a 2. Snuka now in control with headbutts and punches. Hot Body moves on a corner charge and hits a german suplex for 2. Snuka gets back up quickly and hits a clothesline and 2 backbreakers . The Superfly Splash gets the win and title for Snuka at 19.22.
My thoughts on the show
Only watch this show if you are interested in seeing the earliest possible ECW footage. The show itself is awful. The first two matches were short enough to sit through, but those last two just DRAGGED. I’m all for ring psychology but SEVEN minutes of a leg lock in an eleven minute match?!? The tag into Max Thrasher after all that just kind of happened with no excitement at all. The match clearly was to show the Destroyers as a dominant force in the tag division but they used ZERO big power moves. While I love when a heel leaves the ring because the crowd is yelling at them like Hot Body did, this just dragged on for way too long. Once the crowd started with a “boring” chant they should have gotten things going and not waited another minute to lock up. Once the action finally started we were treated to a match of headlocks and headscissors. I’ve seen more highspots in wrestling from the 50s. Again avoid this show with all your might and join me next time when things pick up as I review the second pilot “The Best of Eastern Championship Wrestling Volume 2”