Extreme Summit - Sex, Drugs and Wrestling (with Sandman, Tod
Gordon, Bill Alfonso and 2 Cold Scorpio)
Extreme Summit is the first shoot interview I have watched that including more than two people. Summit includes: Tod
Gordon, the original money man behind ECW; 2 Cold Scorpio, who at the time of
ECW was well known for his high flying action; Bill Alfonso, an insane heat
generating ECW referee who would later go on to manage Rob Van Dam, Sabu and The Sandman
(one of ECW’s biggest icons). Right at the start of the DVD, the gigantic RF Video banner that was on the wall fell off, which seemed to be straight out of ECW. One of my all time favorite ECW stories was Paul Heyman talking about the night of ECW’s Barely Legal and the power to the ECW Arena going out ten minutes after the show ended and saying, “Tonight, even the building gave 110%.”
All the guys talked about what they were currently up to and for Fonzie that meant sun tanning and fishing. Sandman is doing an indie show here and there, but mostly hanging out with his children. Sandman’s currently outraged at how much his daughter’s prom is going to cost him. I hope to God he doesn’t let her go to wrestling shows. Scorpio is currently working the indie scene along with doing several tours of Japan with Pro Wrestling NOAH (in fact he’s recently won the tag team titles with Ring of Honor’s Doug Williams.) Scorpio went into detail on the wrestling situation in Japan right now, specifically in Zero One. Between this and the recent In the Ring with Steve Corino DVD I think I could qualify to be the Torch’s Zero One Max correspondent. Tod Gordon is back to working at his jewelry store.
Alfonso was immediately asked about his incident with Missy Hyatt’s car that ended up going to court on one of those court TV shows “Judge Mathis.” I’ve heard of and watch The People’s Court, Judge Judy and the Texas judge one, but I don’t know of Judge Mathis. Tod Gordon talked about leaving ECW when he got married and arranged ahead of time to work out a way to return to the company later. This led to the whole “ECW mole” situation and Gordon talked about Tommy Dreamer saying he heard incriminating voice mail messages on Tod Gordon’s cell phone. Gordon said he just got his first cell phone “eight months ago,” so Dreamer’s full of crap. I think I need to see a DVD just going over the Mole story because there are so many different opinions of “truth.” Dreamer and Heyman gave theirs on The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD while Gordon and Terry Taylor gave their contradictory statements on the Forever Hardcore DVD. What tangled webs we weave…
Sandman said that he originally left ECW for WCW when he found out that Sabu was making more money than him. Sandman had a verbal agreement with Paul Heyman that he would be ECW’s highest paid performer and Sandman found out after a pay per view that Sabu got a bigger payout. I can’t believe anyone in the world would have a verbal agreement on anything in wrestling. You might as well ask to be f---ed in the ass. Scorpio said they had all been suckered at one time or another by Heyman.
The subject of ECW’s first ever appearance back on Monday Night RAW came up, back when the WWE was taping every show at the Manhattan Center in New York. Sandman said he doesn’t remember a thing from that show because he was so trashed. Sandman also compared that taping to the recent RAW and SmackDown shows that Sandman was a part of (leading up to One Night Stand) and pointed out just how much stroke Tommy Dreamer wielded in the WWE surprised him.
Bill Alfonso talked about the legendary match he had with Beulah McGillicutty that many credit with saving his job as he was implicated at the time in the whole Mole situation. Alfonso
bled for at least ten men during this match, which was actually a tag match at “As Good As It Gets” with Rob Van Dam & Fonzie versus Dreamer and Beulah. Sandman said that the doctor told Fonzie that he almost died and to not drink, smoke or fight for weeks following his hospital stay. Five minutes out of the hospital Fonzie was drinking and lighting one up. Well, this was EC F’N W. The boys recounted a great story in which Fonzie was hurt so bad at an ECW show he thought he was paralyzed. Still in pain after the show, but having no medical insurance, Fonzie dragged himself to a local WAWA store and staged an accident so that they would call an ambulance for him. “I didn’t want to sue anybody, I just wanted relief.” Fonzie is the man. The whole conversation is absolutely hilarious and Fonzie still defends what he did. I am also convinced that you can’t have an ECW shoot that doesn’t contain at least one WAWA story. I think that damn convenient mart chain is as important to ECW history as that Holiday Inn where all the rats were waiting.
The group agreed that Tod Gordon didn’t receive enough credit for the early success of ECW and gave several examples of his unrecognized ideas. Sandman said that it was Gordon who pushed Heyman to let Sandman drink beer and smoke cigarettes to the ring instead of his absurdly stupid surfer gimmick. Scorpio put over how ECW helped him learn how to do interviews and then went into a classic story involving himself and “The Cat” Curtis Hughes. Actually there were a couple stories involving Hughes, including one in which he insanely kicked out of a Tazz pin when he wasn’t supposed to. Hughes didn’t want to lose to Scorpio and told this to Gordon by saying “I can’t job. I beat Lex Luger.” Gordon was incredulous and yelled back “You didn’t beat anybody!” and apparently had to inform Hughes that wrestling was scripted. Sandman said that Paul Heyman tore Hughes a new asshole after bringing that line as well and I was rolling. Just a great segment. Hughes was the guy who originally was Triple H’s bodyguard in the WWE but proved to be such a head case he was quickly dropped and replaced with Chyna.
Scorpio and Sandman recounted their days as tag team champs when at the time Scorpio was also the ECW TV champion and Sandman was the World champion. It was pretty damn cool seeing these guys reminisce over their favorite angles and matches of this era. Sandman is quite the guy in that at times he can remember nothing because of how wasted he was, but at other times can remember the most minute detail of an angle. Tod Gordon said he was never contacted by the WWE to do One Night Stand and added that he wouldn’t do it if asked anyway. The
Kayfabulator just exploded. Gordon said that he was dead set against ECW showing up at the Manhattan Center back in ’97. Sandman talked about the ECW contingent that showed up on both RAW and SmackDown leading up to One Night Stand and thought it would help the wrestlers involved. Sandman asked Gordon what Gordon would do with One Night Stand since Gordon was pretty much saying what the WWE did sucked, but Gordon didn’t really answer that one. Sandman also said that he couldn’t believe how much everything is rehearsed in the WWE, including things like the Batista/Triple H contract signing. Apparently a member of La Resistance asked Rhino if getting caned by Sandman would hurt, and Rhino said that if Sandman was sober “you’re f---ed.”
The peak of ECW was pegged at pretty much 1994-1996 and the guys talked about other wrestlers coming into ECW at the time. Tod Gordon said that Joe Malenko (brother of Dean) was part of one ECW show and wanted nothing to do with the company afterwards. Gordon was asked if he could still use the old Eastern Championship Wrestling name, but said that it was “under litigation” and couldn’t discuss it. When Sandman
made his return to ECW after his stay in WCW, he said that the “morale changed.” Sandman said originally that ECW was like a family and that it was all for one and one for all. Sandman continued by saying that nobody knew when he was leaving ECW at the time and no one knew he was coming back either. ECW was good at many things but they were the best at surprises. Sandman also went over several stories where he got so f---ed up that he had near death experiences, including one which he needed an adrenaline shot to the heart in a scene straight out of Pulp Fiction.
Tod Gordon said that he was the one who steered The Public Enemy towards WCW when they were about to sign with the WWE. All the guys talked about doing jobs not being a big deal if you have a great match and can remain strong afterward. When being asked what match defined ECW the most, Gordon said it was the Double Dog Collar match between Raven & Stevie Richards against the Pitbulls. This match is on The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD and is one of my favorites as well. Sandman went with Terry Funk versus Sabu at the Born to be Wired show. Well, that was damn good as well. I personally would pick the Raven versus Tommy Dreamer match that had Jerry Lawler invading ECW Arena in the after match angle at WrestlePalooza ’97.
Sandman had an incredible story about one match in which he was knocked unconscious and Raven had to drag Sandman into the ring and cane the heels. This sounded straight out of Weekend at Bernie’s. In another match against Cactus Jack, Sandman was knocked loopy one minute into the match and couldn’t remember that the loser had to be “knocked out” for ten seconds and kept getting up. After the match Tod Gordon told Sandman he had to go to the hospital but Sandman declined, saying “I can’t. I got a match tonight.” Eventually Sandman stayed down, but after that match Mick Foley told Gordon he didn’t want to work with Sandman anymore because Sandman was “too dangerous.” Can you imagine?
Rat stories - If you are into road stories about wrestlers hangin’ and bangin’ with ring rats, then this is the DVD for you. These stories became surreal, and almost scary. Sandman talked about one saying “it wasn’t a sexual thing, it was an abusive thing” and talked about Scorpio whipping one girl in the face with his enormous c-ck and making the girl say “Tod is God.” All four of these guys traveled with each other and trusted each other enough to feel that whatever happened between them, stayed between them. Fonzie called the rats “ponies” while Sandman would have coke (of the snorting variety) and booze stashed everywhere in the hotel. Sandman didn’t kid around as he was lighting up “six hundred dollar an ounce hydro.”
Sandman told another hilarious story about being this close from killing himself after having to listen to Missy Hyatt during a car ride from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Baltimore. This brought up more Baltimore stories, including Scorpio finally nailing the EMT who worked the ECW shows, whose husband also toured with the company. I believe this was the girl who sopped up all that blood during the
Mass Transit incident.
What is the missing ingredient in wrestling today? Tod Gordon believes there are not enough quality storylines to keep the fans coming back for more. Sandman believes the indie scene “blows” and that’s what keeps people away. Well, that’s certainly valid to an extent. I remember reading an editorial once on the fans of Philadelphia being “burned out” leading to all the small houses. Yeah, they are burnt out on bullshit wrestling. If you were to put out a good show they would still be lining up. Sandman and Gordon disagreed about the suspension of belief needed to watch wrestling. Gordon feels that ECW made fans believe it was real, and that is why the fans stayed, while Sandman believes it is impossible to insult the fan’s intelligence as they are already suspending their belief by going to wrestling in the first place. Sandman was very passionate throughout this shoot and debated Gordon about if ECW could exist today, in an environment where they wouldn’t be able to do what they once did (because of stricter FCC standards, everything’s been done since the Monday Night Wars, etc).
The guys all felt that ECW’s attention to detail is what separated them from the other companies, including adhering to stipulations from matches several years old (such as Axl and Ian Rotten never teaming together again after losing a match in 1995 against the Pitbulls with the stipulation that the losing team can never team in ECW again.) Gordon pointed out what we all know, that the WWE doesn’t give a shit about stuff like this and had stuff like Kane lighting Jim Ross on fire one week and later Jim Ross is outraged about Kane getting the shaft from Lita and Edge. Sandman said he would always ask Paul Heyman “why?” when going over Sandman’s angles, as Sandman wanted them all to make sense. The subject of the Internet ruining wrestling came up. I thought RF Video employee Doug Gentry made a good point that the indie promotions need the Internet because there is not much viable advertising out there that is going to reach the people who would go to their shows. Meanwhile Tod Gordon felt the amount of people bitching on the net is like having to deal with “Dave Meltzer times twenty.” I’d bump that number up to one thousand, but I do think the impact of the Internet on wrestling should be looked at in depth in terms of the positive and negative effects it has had.
- Fonzie felt Candido was one of the nicest guys he ever worked with in ECW. Scorpio put over that he felt Candido was one hell of a wrestler and was too good to stay with Tammy Sytch, who Scorpio felt was doing Candido wrong. Sandman said that Candido would go out of his way to get a pop from the boys in the back by doing special spots in his matches.
Sandman said that the fewer people in the audience, the harder he works. I think he’d be working like Ricky Steamboat versus Ric Flair in 1989 if he were booked on an FIP show. Fonzie talked about MECW and its infamous promoter, John Collins, by calling Collins “Johnny Badcheck.” Sandman made good money in MECW but acknowledged all the goofy crap that will stick with Collins’ name forever. Gordon was asked about his recent incident in 3PW, where he quit after Jasmine St. Claire no showed a house show and took with the payroll with her. I think Gordon learned a trick or two from Terry Funk, because Funk made it clear in his RF Video shoot interview that if Paul Heyman didn’t have his money, Funk wouldn’t work the show. Sandman went completely OFF on St. Claire with the following: “I don’t f---ing bury anybody, but I have no problems burying that f---ing c-nt. That girl was a f---ing lying, backstabbing, biggest f---ing bitch I have ever met in my entire life.” That deserves an OH MY! Gordon said that he told 3PW owner Blue Meanie that he was getting used by St. Claire before Gordon left the building and said Meanie realized it about a month later.
ECW’s Last Show - The guys were asked about ECW’s last show in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Believe it or not, Sandman and Fonzie didn’t even remember the show. The guys then talked about wrestling in general and Sandman said he didn’t want any member of his family anywhere near wrestling. That answers my question about his daughter earlier. Tod Gordon called wrestling a “relationship killer,” something I’m sure Matt Hardy would agree with whole heartedly. Scorpio said that there’s no money in wrestling right now, but if you are going to get into it, give 110%. Gordon agreed with that and advised indie guys to find a good trainer, not just one who teaches high spots.
The DVD closed with the guys talking about that night’s Hardcore Homecoming. Gordon said that this show would be “the ECW you remember” and the general consensus was that Homecoming was not just a payday, but something special. This is a DVD I’m looking forward to seeing more and more each and every day.
Overall Thoughts: In other reviews I have written about how much I love listening to Sandman expressing his thoughts and he shined in Extreme Summit as well. This was the first shoot I have ever seen with either Fonzie, Gordon or Scorpio and I’d have to say, of the three, Gordon made the biggest impression. Fonzie had his moments, though, when he actually talked. I still can’t get over the amount of rat stories this shoot contains, just
mind boggling. My favorite parts were with Tod Gordon and Sandman, who you can tell are really good friends, having strong debates about many subjects. If you’re an ECW fan, you’re gonna love this one. If you would like to purchase this DVD, Click HERE, or head on over to
www.RFVideo.com and check out all the other DVDs they have to offer.
Special thanks to Keith Lipinski and Mike Roe for their help with this review.
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.