Welcome to Poopsicle Pick's The
Top 20 ECW Matches of All Time.
Where the Head Writer of ECW2k writes his picks for the All Time Top 20 ECW Matches.
Over the next Week, We'll count down the Top 20 Matches, 5 at a Time. So now, I'm going to send it off to the Man of The Hour, Poopsicle.
Let me start by saying that I am in no way implying that these rankings mean anything aside from personal preferance. These are just simply the 20 matches that I personally would use to define ECW. Being not overly familiar with anything before The Night the Line Was Crossed, pre-94 omissions are for that reason. Picking the 20 matches was difficult; putting them into order was nearly impossible. Anyway, here we go:
Poopsicle Picks the Top 20
Part 1: 20-16
20) Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero – 4/15/95 – A great match between two future superstars. Some people prefer this bout better than their 2/3 and I can somewhat see why. A bit less technical and much more fast-paced with some great power moves.
19) Taz/Rick Steiner vs. Public Enemy vs. Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko – 4/8/95 – Included partially because of the pre-match angle. Sabu (Taz’s scheduled partner) no-showed, and as Benoit and Malenko worked him over RICK F’N STEINER came to his rescue. The match that ensued was fast-paced yet
18) 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Sabu – 2/17/96 – Damn this was a hot match, fast and furious from the bell. Both men must’ve been riding of fumes towards the end. Sabu smacked his head on the guardrail after a suicide dive and still put on a four-star match (at least). Get a copy of this to see these two at their best.
17) Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Psicosis – 2/3 Falls – 10/7/95 – Everything you’d expect from these two. They took Lucha Libre to a new level with tables, chairs, guardrails, and anything else they could find. Don’t blink or else you may miss the ultra-smooth hurricanrana from the apron to the floor.
16) Taz vs. Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome – 9/19/99 – This one prevails in part to its mark appeal. A routine title defense (Taz vs. Tanaka) became a 3-way after Mike Awesome and Jeff Jones stormed the ring. To the crowd’s surprise, the Taz-era ended about 3 minutes into the match after he took a Roaring Elbow followed by an Awesome splash. In my favorite ECW moment of all time, the crowd hushed to a silence knowing that a new champ was destined to be crowned that evening.
15) Rob Van Dam/Sabu vs. Jinsei Shinzaki/Hayabusa – 8/2/98 – I’m sure I’ll take a beating for not throwing this higher up on the list, oh well. I liked this match ALOT, but it didn’t really revolutionize the promotion as some may think. RVD is at his best in this one (his twisting splash blows my mind to this day). Fans of international wrestling may like this one more than U.S. fans, but you must be blind if you don’t “Holy shit!!!” at least once.
14) Taz/Sabu vs. Public Enemy – Double Table Match - 2/4/95 – The main event of a truly stellar evening of wrestling. Sure, the match itself is a touch sloppy and isn’t exactly Savage/Steamboat work-rate wise. But any ECW fan must admit that this bout will survive as a true classic. As Johnny Grunge bleeds like a dying pig, Sabu puts Rocco through a table to capture their first tag title. The match itself may look a bit dated, but to me this adds to its appeal.
13) Chris Benoit vs. Al Snow – 2/4/95 – This one’s a technical wrestling fans wet-dream. Two of the businesses finest workers put on a straight-forward match, no storylines, no angles, no run-ins, just non-stop action. Ironically, the lack of story is precisely what kept this one from breaking the top 10, but is worth seeking out nonetheless.
12) Super Crazy vs. Guido Maritato vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri – 4/8/00 – This 3-way dance for the TV title may have featured run-ins from three-quarters of the locker room, but the action itself shouldn’t be overlooked. Tajiri’s kicks seem to be as stiff is they have ever looked and he lands quite a few on nearly everyone who comes to the ring. Did you ever notice that every time these three are involved in a match, they take it up another notch? This is the pinnacle (at least so far...).
11) Eliminators vs. Rob Van Dam/Sabu – 11/16/96 – Looking back on the list, this one should maybe have placed a bit higher. This contest was years ahead of its time, in terms of both the innovation of the spots and the unrelenting pace of the moves themselves. The time limit was reached twice and Tod Gordon extended the limit each time. The winners of this bout were entitled to a shot at the Gangstas’ tag titles later in the evening, so when the time limit expired the third time, he declared the title defense a three-way dance. This was the two teams that fans wanted to see take it to the limit and they certainly did so on this night. Though they would go on to meet several other times with various stipulations, this was by far the best encounter out of them.
10) Terry Funk vs. Sabu – Barbed Wire Match – Born To Be Wired – 8/9/97 – Truly a brutal match for both men. This one must be seen to be believed, if only for the tearing of Sabu’s bicep. Upon rewatching this match, one wonders if the convoluted finish was intentional or not. Either way, it is quite a spectacle to see both men so severely entangled in the barbs. To add to the emotion, this match was for the World Heavyweight Title and marked the end of Funk’s second and final reign. This match raised the bar for “extreme” matches in the U.S., and while it may have been surpassed since, no one has managed to do so anywhere near as artfully. I am not typically a fan of these more brutal matches, but this one is beautifully executed.
9) FBI vs. Mikey Whipwreck/Yoshihiro Tajiri – 8/26/00 – This series of matches was responsible for creating some of the most brilliant tag-team wrestling EVER. The teams brought out the best in each other, and this match (though early in their feud) really captured the synergy between them. Some of the sickest double-team moves performed to date (Mikey and Tajiri’s wicked step-through into the double slam?!?!), a highly original spot launching chairs off of a table, and some comically-painful sell-jobs by Tony Mamaluke highlight this installment. Also recommended are their Anarchy Rulz ’00 match and their 2/3 Falls match from the ECW Arena.
Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka – 8/2/98 – This international feud was spoken of from overseas and this was the first chance that the U.S. would have to see “The Gladiator” take on his arch nemesis. These two certainly know how to work each other to their maximum, evident both in the action as well as the psychology. Admittedly, their matches all seemed vaguely similar towards the end of their feud, but being their first high-profile ECW encounter, the match was quite gratifying.
7) Gran Hamada, Masato Yakushiji, & The Great Sasuke vs. Terry Boy, TAKA Michinoku, & Dick Togo – Michinoku Pro 6-Man – 4/13/97 – Though some may argue whether this match deserves to even BE on this list, I think it clearly bears a significance to wrestling in the U.S. in general. On the eve of ECW’s first pay-per-view, these six men introduced a large chunk of the world (including myself) to Puroreso for the first time. For many of us, the action was unique in its timing and pacing and the familiarity the workers seemed to have with each other indicated a thick history between them (and who the hell is this Yakushiji guy?!?!). Some may think it is strange that a decidedly non-ECW match is considered to have “stole the show” at their inaugural PPV. That claim is debatable, but 5 years after the fact, this match is the standout.
6) Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera – 2/3 Falls – 3/9/96 - The concept of “extreme” lucha libre was introduced to the world a few moths before and this contest epitomized the idea. Rey and Juvi didn’t seem to have as much energy as the night before, but it did not stop them from crafting a highly original bout. The innovative spots were what separated this match from the numerous others these two had across the country (the hurracanrana off the car standing out among them).
5) Raven/Stevie Richards vs. Pitbulls – Double Dog Collar Match - 9/16/95 – This is ECW-style booking at his best. When it looked like Raven’s partner and co-champion was pulling a no-show, he asked the match be made two out of three falls (have you noticed that I’m a 2/3 falls mark yet?). It’s been said that Raven himself had a large hand in the booking of this match. If that was the case, he is an even smarter man then I give him credit for. In addition to settling a huge score, the match included the obligatory catfight, classic run-ins by Tommy Dreamer and 911, and one of the damnedest super-bomb’s ever attempted. A strong case could be made for this match to top this list, but I feel that the other choices are justified.
4) Shane Douglas vs. Sabu vs. Terry Funk –The Night the Line Was Crossed – 2/5/94 – The famous sixty-minute match that put ECW on the map. Hours before the match took place, Paul Heyman knew something extraordinary was going to take place and he was DAMN right. An hour in the ring is an awful long time and these three men gave it there all for every second. This match was flawlessly booked and well worked; even the botched spots towards the end seemed to add to the realism of the situation. These matches sometimes intimidates people by its length; but for a true piece of wrestling history with top-notch work and old-school psychology, pick up a copy of this tape. I guarantee you will not regret it.
3) Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn – 5/16/99 – As Joey Styles used to say, “You will not find any better wrestling in the world than Jerry Lynn vs. RVD” and he may be correct. This was yet another close contender for the number 1 spot, and in many ways it is deserving. To this day, this is the match I play for people that have never seen an ECW match before. For the record, I’m not the biggest Van Dam fan. His matches have the tendency to deteriorate into random spot-fests and a few of his moves seem downright silly. Having an opponent like Lynn certainly prevents this (in fact, Jerry seems to bring out the best in Van Dam). The two have had a half-dozen or so “Match of the Year” contenders and besides this one, their first pay-per-view encounter at Living Dangerously springs to mind as a true classic. Some people prefer the LD match to the one I have selected; I do not. While their first encounter may be more significant historically and had some great spots, the rematch came off as much more fluent and truly had me marking out like a seven-year-old first seeing Hogan at the Garden.
2) Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Psicosis - 8/19/00 – There was not much keeping this from being #1; in the end it was the lack of longevity that dragged it down. But I predict that 10 years from now people will refer to this bout as one of the all-time greats for many reasons. The action itself was unfathomable, ranging from mind-blowing mat wrestling to ridiculous aerial spots to high-impact power moves. The spots were well-arranged and both men seemed in perfect synch with each other’s movements. I’ve heard people complain about the crowd quality at the last few Arena shows, but it seems that the crowd was on fire on this particular evening. The whole building was marking out simultaneously; who could blame them in the face of such a match?
1) Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero - 2/3 Falls – 8/26/95 – Most people know this match as the famous Dean/Eddie finale before they left ECW. While that aspect certainly adds to the emotion of both the workers and the crowd, the action itself is what makes this bout so superior. In a company where frying pans and tables were as common as hip tosses and snap mares, the two future stars put on a show that proved to modern wrestling fans that technical action still had its place in a hardcore world. Scientific matches such as these always benefit from the 2 out of 3 falls format, really giving both workers the elbow room they needed to build to a powerful climax. Some feel the finish may have left something to be desired; to me the post-match speeches and ovation that ensued certainly provided the needed closure. This match is now available on DVD, not only a bonus for us fans who had been watching 19th generation copies with barely audible audio tracks, but also ensuring that wrestling fans will be enjoying this wrestling clinic for years to come.
Matches/Angles That JUST Missed
Mikey Whipwreck vs. Sandman vs. Steve Austin – 12/9/95 – Though not the best match of the feud between these 3, proves that a killer finish can save a so-so match.
Cactus Jack vs. Mikey Whipwreck – 3/9/96 – Cactus’s final ECW match. Solid action and his post-match speech is worth the price of the tape alone.
Chris Jericho vs. Shane Douglas vs. 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Pitbull #2 – 7/13/96 – Lengthy match, but worth every second. Words cannot describe the psychology behind this one.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Louie Spicoli – 11/16/96 – 2 Cold proved he was a class act at his ECW finale. Brilliant booking to have him pass the torch like this: after defeating Devon Storm, Hack Meyers, and J.T. Smith, Spicoli went over Scorpio in a loser-leaves-ECW-for-a-year match. Truly a touching moment from one of my all-time faves.
Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer – Loser Leaves ECW Match - 6/9/97 – So what if everyone knew Dreamer was finally going to go over his arch-nemesis, this was the match to end the greatest feud pro-wrestling had seen in 10 years. They had several good matches; this one stands out for historical reasons.
Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn – 3/21/99 – The beginnings of the classic feud. This one unexpectedly stole the show and nearly ended RVD’s reign as TV champ. After the time-limit was exceeded, referee John Finnegan declared Lynn the winner by decision (Lynn refused the belt and asked for 5 more minutes). Better action than their HH99 match, but just didn’t have the psychology.
Jerry Lynn vs. Lance Storm – 9/19/99 – These two put on several ***** matches in ECW. This is one of the best. I liked this series because they proved that good matches could be achieved without both workers killing each other.
Taz vs. Mike Awesome – 4/13/00 – Huge mark out moment when the One-Man Crime Spree returned to the company that made him. Not the best match (a bit short), but how often does a WWF wrestler beat a WCW wrestler for the ECW title?
Steve Corino vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri – 5/14/00 – Tajiri is at his most sadistic in this one. Corino bleeds buckets after a brutal brainbuster on the ramp (the camera itself is even soaked in blood).
Kid Kash vs. Rhino – 8/26/00 – Maybe not a match in the pure sense, but what an f’n angle!!! After putting Paul Heyman through a table, the locker room empties and all of Rhino’s past enemies come back to haunt him. A great way for him to drop the TV title.
Kid Kash vs. EZ Money – 10/1/00 – Best match these two had (and they had some great ones). Everyone talks about the finish, but I think the match itself is what warrants a second look.