Editors' Choice: Five must-see ECW matches just added to WWE Network
When sports-entertainment fans were looking for something a little different in the ’90s, they found it in spades in Extreme Championship Wrestling. With trademark commentator Joey Styles calling the action, a rabid fan base quickly developed, eagerly anticipating the next “OMG” moment. Step back in time and dive off the top rope now into 12 full ECW Supershows available for the first time ever on WWE Network!
Here are five of our favorite bouts included in this release that you will definitely want to watch.
Eddie Guerrero vs. 2 Cold Scorpio (ECW Three Way Dance 1995)
Eddie Guerrero was in ECW for less than five months, but his stay in The Land of the Extreme was transformative, and it began with this match against TV Champion 2 Cold Scorpio. In contrast to the cane-wielding Sandman and table-breaking Public Enemy, Guerrero and Scorpio brought a more scientific approach to the renegade company, giving ECW credibility in the eyes of purists who’d otherwise shun the revolution for its unabashed lawlessness.
Decked out in the regalia of his Los Gringos Locos tag team with Art Barr, Eddie put on a show in his new surroundings, winning over South Philly’s hard-boiled fans. Not that Scorp’s contributions should be slept on; he dug deep into his aerial arsenal to keep pace with Guerrero, even hitting his rarely duplicated Tumbleweed off the top. Without matches like this to set the table, it’s hard to know if technically minded extreme luminaries like Lance Storm, Jerry Lynn, Tajiri and Super Crazy would’ve ever found their way to the ECW Arena. – JOHN CLAPP
Terry Funk vs. Shane Douglas vs. Sabu (ECW The Night the Line Was Crossed 1994)
At a time when Three Way Dances and Triple Threat Matches were a rarity in sports-entertainment, ECW was revolutionizing the way grapplers battled and how fans saw in-ring competition. Part of that revolution can be traced back to Feb. 4, 1995, at the ECW Arena, when Shane Douglas, Sabu and Terry Funk clashed for the ECW Championship.
Like many ECW matches, you shouldn’t head into this expecting a technical classic, as this was a wild brawl from the start, and a sports-entertainment spectacle by the end. It did not take long for plunder to make its way into the battle, as Sabu crashed and burned through a table at ringside. Chairs soon followed, as did interference from The Bad Breed, Sensational Sherri, Paul Heyman and the towering 911. The bout drew on for a full hour, as all three battle-worn competitors scrambled to try to pick up the victory and the ECW Title. However, the grueling match proved to be their undoing, as the 60-minute time lime expired, leading to a draw and Funk holding on to the ECW Championship. – BOBBY MELOK
Rey Mysterio vs. Juventud Guerrera (ECW Big Apple Blizzard Blast 1996)
When many members of the WWE Universe think of ECW, their first thought is often of the extreme action and hardcore matches. But for longtime fans of Extreme Championship Wrestling, the real jewels from Paul Heyman’s band of misfits were technical masterpieces and lucha libre contests unlike anything ever seen before in sports-entertainment in the United States.
One of these unforgettable matches was Rey Mysterio vs. Juventud Guerrera for the WWA Welterweight Championship from February 1996. Though the two high-flyers would soon make their names on the global stage in WCW later that year, they first set ECW on fire in this epic confrontation. Lucha libre had arrived in the United States, and sports-entertainment would never be the same again. – JAKE BLACK
Rey Mysterio vs. Psicosis (ECW Gangstas Paradise 1995)
It’s rare for extreme commentator Joey Styles to be at a loss for words, but when Rey Mysterio and Psicosis debuted in ECW, Styles admittedly didn’t know what to call some of the jaw-dropping things they did inside – and outside – of the ring. There were springboard moonsaults, Tiger Bombs, Frisbee slams, split-legged splashes, flying dropkicks, flying head scissors and more. Ay, Dios mío! Despite crossing paths in Mexico, this was the first time Mysterio (just 20 years old) and Psicosis (23) did battle in ECW. This fast-paced, lucha libre bout had the ECW faithful on their feet and helped both young Superstars quickly make a name for themselves. – MITCH PASSERO
Sabu vs. Cactus Jack (ECW Hostile City Showdown 1994)
An ECW fan’s sign prominently displayed the takeaway from this out-of-control brawl: “Sabu vs. Cactus – This is hardcore heaven!”
In a Hostile City Showdown of arguably the two most unstable individuals ECW had to offer, Sabu and Cactus Jack used every weapon within their sights to dismantle each other limb from limb. Dubbed “The Cactus Slayer” by his manager Paul E. Dangerously and with the towering 911 also in his corner, Sabu had the numbers advantage from the jump, but that didn’t stop Cactus Jack from putting up a fearless fight and taking the full brunt of The Human Highlight Reel’s springboard moonsaults, slingshot leg drops and multiple steel chair strikes – all the while enjoying the relentless physical abuse. Hell, at one point, Cactus Jack whacked his own head repeatedly with a frying pan handed to him by one of the ECW devotees. In the end, it was the conniving Paul E. who landed the decisive blow by drilling The Hardcore Legend in the back of the head with his trusty cellphone, allowing a weary Sabu to get the three-count.
Fittingly, the mayhem would continue after the bout, with Cactus Jack, Sabu, Paul E., 911, and even intruding combatants Mr. Hughes, Shane Douglas and The Bruise Brothers all joining in the fracas, punctuated by moments like Cactus Jack piledriving Sabu through the concession stand, and Sabu returning the favor by cracking a glass bottle over Jack’s head. – TOM HERRERA