The Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion has seen its fair share of drama and crazy moments. Founded in 1992, the company really revolutionized the wrestling industry and helped wrestling reach an entirely new, vast and varied – often rowdy and very vocal - fan base by showcasing something different. ECW features different styles of wrestling from the Mexican lucha libre to the Japanese Puroresu and more hardcore wrestling. The company was therefore responsible for bringing a lot of worldwide talent to the U.S. – the likes of Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio made names for themselves in ECW before getting snatched up by the WWE.
ECW was daring and was prepared to take risks, and from a wrestling point of view, there couldn’t have been anything better for the fans. Week in and week out, fans would turn up at the venues or tune in on TV to see some crazy moments, good and bad – truly breathtaking moments, that would take until the next show to fully sink in. The ECW accomplished their goal of wowing audiences.
It's a shame no one was looking after the financial side of things. Otherwise ECW could have grown into a corporation that could have rivaled WWE – not be acquired by it. Nevertheless, despite the tumultuous backstory, here are the craziest moments in ECW history.
15 The Fire Incident of 1995
The company known as Extreme Championship Wrestling certainly went to the extreme during some of its events. You think Vince McMahon’s done some crazy stuff? Well some of the things that went on in ECW would make McMahon’s antics seem childlike. One such crazy moment was the infamous fire incident of 1995 – October 28th to be exact. It all resulted from a long-running feud between Tommy Dreamer, Terry Funk and partners Cactus Jack and Raven – a feud that came to a head during another stormy ECW show. Not content at just letting his fists do the talking, Cactus decided – using his intelligence and imagination – to set a chair wrapped in a towel on fire.
14 When It Rains, It Pours!
13 Sabu’s Horrific Injury
Sabu, portrayed by Terry Michael Brunk as an Arabian daredevil, had his fair share of injuries when fighting with ECW. He broke his jaw and his ribs, but one of his most outrageous injuries was inflicted upon him by Chris Benoit. On November 5, 1994, Benoit tossed Sabu through the air and he landed right on his head. Those who were there recoiled at the scene as it was evident that Sabu had broken his neck. Due to Benoit’s tragic actions in 2007, footage of this almost fateful showdown never really gets shown anymore and is gathering dust in the ECW archives. Amazingly, Sabu was able to return to the ring eventually, and broke his neck a second time in a match with Tazz a couple of years later.
12 The Gruesome Scenes At Born To Be Wired
Sabu was certainly in the wars during his tenure with ECW. An infamous match that was truly gruesome to witness was the No-Rope Barbed-Wire match in 1997 at the Born to be Wired event – true hardcore wrestling that was still a little too over the top. Terry Funk was also involved in the event, an event that nearly cost him his life. Despite the extreme nature of the night’s entertainment, it was certainly one of the craziest and most memorable moments in ECW. It all started with the "Air Sabu." Sabu attempted his signature move – a heel kick on Funk who was in the corner of the ring. But at the last second, Funk moved – as most would – and Sabu instead got entangled with the barbed wire.
11 The Sandman-Sabu Feud
10 Sandman Gets Blinded
9 The Beulah - Kimona Affair
In today’s day and age, seeing two women kiss doesn’t seem that shocking. Bra and Panties matches later became part and parcel of WWE, matches that also included plenty of on-screen romance. Who can forget the Torrie Wilson-Sable kiss, or the Mickie James-Stratus smooch? But ECW was the promotion company that really started it all off. The Beulah McGillicutty and Kimona Wanalaya kiss took place in an era when the whole girl kissing girl and guy kissing guy thing was still a highly taboo topic. The ECW really went all out to shock and didn’t seem to care about the consequences. The fans, initially shocked, some of them horrified, were left in awe after the incident, but the company’s affiliates and sponsors certainly weren’t impressed. Several sponsors pulled out of ECW events. ECW lost TV time and prime-time spots, and the incident was one the major factors in the ECW becoming bankrupt and defunct under its then-owners.
8 Mass Transit
Axl Rotten, for some unknown reason, didn’t show up to one of his fights on November 23, 1996 at an ECW show in Revere, MA. Therefore, a replacement had to be found. Erich Kulas, later nicknamed "Mass Transit" was at the time only 17 years old and therefore underaged, though he did look older than he was at 6'2 and over 350 pounds. He was allowed to fill in for Axl, but you’d have thought someone would have checked his credentials. Instead, Kulas, who was eager to impress, threw himself wholeheartedly into everything that was asked of him without being properly vetted.
7 The Ring Collapse
6 The Crucifixion Angle
This storyline was one of the craziest ever to be conceived by the ECW management. It all started because of a long-running feud between Sandman and Raven, a feud that lasted pretty much throughout the entire year of 1996. Raven defeated Sandman to win the Heavyweight title and then got Sandman’s son – real life son – Tyler, to shun his father and come over to join forces with him. Raven launched a barrage of psychological abuse upon the Sandman, all of which led to a lot of blood shed between the two, but perhaps the most notable moment of this feud was the crucifixion that took place on Oct. 26, 1996. Sandman’s son actually helped his father in this match and the two sorted out their differences.
5 As Good As It Gets
4 Humiliating The NWA
3 Vince McMahon – ECW Champion
This one will have to have an asterisk next to it because by this point, WWE had stripped ECW of its heart and ruined it with their own version.
2 Shane Douglas Loses The Plot
Shane was an accomplished fighter in his day and held a dozen championships between the different wrestling promotion companies. In ECW, Shane was known as the company’s franchise player and many wrestling stalwarts even said that without Shane, there wouldn’t have been ECW. But on occasions, even wrestlers of the caliber of Shane lose their cool. On October 5, 1996, just three months after the infamous neck snapping incident during which Shane snapped Pitbull #1’s neck with a failed finishing move, Shane was at the forefront of another incident, this time involving Pitbull #2. PB2’s partner, PB1 was at ringside. He must have had the neck snapping incident still fresh in his mind because he decided to throw in the towel – some may say prematurely – when Shane was getting the upper hand.
1 Barely Legal
This will be remembered because it turned into a crazy event. It was the first professional wrestling pay-per-view event held by ECW, and a hugely successful one at that. The company organized a memorable night of wrestling, one in which those in attendance at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia will never forget. A total of seven matches were on the roster for the evening, each one crazy and memorable in its own right. It got kicked off with John Kronus and Perry Saturn defeating the legendary Dudley Boyz to win the World Tag Team Championship. But it was the Six-Man Tag Team match that would ultimately wow the fans.
Finally, to round off a crazy and unforgettable night of ECW action, The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, and Masato Yakushiji defeated bWo Japan -- Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy, and Dick To. This event is arguably the best in the company’s history.
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