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.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view
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.
Obviously this was a recipe for disaster, and the ringside crew tried to extinguish the blaze. But the wrestlers weren’t having any of it and began fighting with the chair and throwing it around. Someone was bound to get hurt, and someone did. The chair was flung into the crowd and scalded a fan. The flaming chair incident resulted in a flaming fan. Unsurprisingly footage of the incident has allegedly long been destroyed – no wonder, after such a crazy moment.
14 When It Rains, It Pours!
Cactus Jack and Terry Funk feature on this list again, which should come as no surprise – their in-ring antics certainly grabbed the headlines often. This time, the year’s 1994; it’s been two years since ECW’s inception, and the wrestling promotion is getting ever more daring, edgier, and are pushing the bar further to shock and amaze. But in this instance, it’s difficult to tell whether the event was scripted, and if it was, it was one hell of a performance from the perspective of everyone in the arena. So let’s set the scene. It’s August 13, 1994 and the Hardcore Heaven event is taking place. Cactus Jack and Terry Funk, both of whom loved to wreak havoc, were at it again, this time waging a war with The Public Enemy. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge were lying prone, with Cactus and Funk standing in opposite corners, and then suddenly, out of the blue, the crowd began chucking their steel chairs into the ring. Chair upon chair flew on top of the Tag Team Champions, burying them in metal. For about 10 minutes, it was raining chairs in the ECW area, a crazy and surreal visual that has to be seen to be believed.
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.
Benoit wasn’t allowed to forget the incident either – Paul Heyman made sure of that and nicknamed Benoit the "Canadian crippler," a nickname that stuck for life.
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.
His bicep was ripped to shreds, and Sabu tried to tape up the 10-inch gash. Needless to say, the tape didn’t do much good. Sabu continued, and at the end of it, both fighters were so badly ripped up in the wire, it resembled something of a murder scene. They had to be cut free and needless to say this was the last match of its kind to be staged by ECW.
11 The Sandman-Sabu Feud
The long-running Sandman-Sabu feud came to an end in horrific circumstances. On January 10, 1998, the seven-month feud ended with the first ever Stairway to Hell match staged by ECW. Again, not learning from the gruesome Born To Be Wired Incident, the ECW decided to use barbed wire on the stage – not as much as in Born To Be Wired, but still enough to cause damage. It tends to be the case that if there’s wire, even a small section of rolled-up barbed wire, Sabu will fall through it. In this instance, the wire hung on top of the ring, making it even harder for them to do so, but it happened nevertheless. Both Sabu and Sandman made the viewing audience grimace as the ring turned into a bloodbath. Sabu had his jaw smashed to pieces and Sandman was virtually skinned alive. When Sandman finally emerged victorious, blood was seeping into the ring – hardcore, gruesome and totally off the hook crazy. Now that’s what you call putting your body on the line.
10 Sandman Gets Blinded
This was simply the best worked shoot – a scripted event that’s meant to look unscripted and accidental – that the ECW bosses came up with, possibly one of the best moments in wrestling history. I give it an "A" for effort, shock factor and realism. This event took place on October 1, 1994 in an I Quit Match – a match that can only be ended when a wrestler says "I Quit." These matches are interesting, often tactical events, because you can’t just go for broke and attempt to knock a guy out. This match involved Dreamer and Sandman – real enemies before the two buried the hatchet. Sandman was dominating this match when he decided to light up a cigarette. After a scuffle, the cigarette got stubbed into Sandman’s eye, blinding him, making him stumble about the ring in agony. The fans were horrified because it just seemed so realistic, but the ECW later revealed that it was scripted and that Sandman was unhurt. It still seemed crazy to all those who witnessed it.
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.
What added to this was Tommy Dreamer was with Beulah on screen and was livid when he found out Beulah was having an affair. When he found out it was Kimona, he seemed alright with it, and planted one on both women.
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.
Unfortunately, when it came down to cutting himself and staging a bleed, he really didn’t have a clue. He hadn’t prepared to get cut, so when New Jack attempted to draw blood, he had to swipe at the young Kulas extra hard with something that resembled a machete, and the wound gushed with blood. Kulas tried to sue the ECW. Needless to say, nothing became of it, but because of the incident, ECW lost its prime-time spot on pay-per-view.
7 The Ring Collapse
The ECW always tried to get the fans involved as much as possible, and it was appreciated, but sometimes things just got way too out of control. On certain occasions, such as the chair chucking incident of 1994, fans feel as if they’re obligated to get involved and get carried away, leading to something of a fan frenzy – very difficult to control. At one stage, the ECW even allowed fans to bring weapons into the Arena and toss them to the wrestlers for them to use, without restrictions. But in the early years, there was one incident that kick-started this whole fan involvement aspect of ECW, and the moment did not end so well. In this instance, the fans were invited to get involved. The Public Enemy had just made their ECW debut in 1993 on Ultra Clash and emerged victorious. Eager to celebrate, they did so but wanted to share the moment with their fans, so they invited the crowd into the ring. An uncapped number of fans piled into the ring screaming, dancing and celebrating, and consequently, the ring collapsed. It was a truly crazy scene, but one which miraculously didn’t result in any injuries.
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.
But while everything seemed rosy, Raven smacked Sandman from behind and with help from Blue Melanie and Stevie Richards, tied him to a wooden cross and carried him out of the arena. The backlash from the event was immense, though ECW claimed its intent was not to offend or mock Christianity. Still, ECW and even Raven were forced to apologize – so in many ways a miracle did occur as a result of the event. The incident was so offensive that Kurt Angle, who was present at the event, demanded ECW not use his likeness on the event and threatened to sue them if they did. Angle would have been a great ECW signing but this event ruined their chances of landing the Olympic hero.
5 As Good As It Gets
Now, we’ve discussed how the crowd involvement at ECW events sometime went a little too far. There have been some crazy moments involving the crowd, and this is one of them, simply because what happened turned the event into a real spectacle – a surreal moment and one of the most memorable and iconic moments in ECW history. In As Good as it Gets in 1997, Bam Bam Bigelow was dominating the contest involving Spike Dudley. At one point, Bam Bam pressed Spike Dudley over his head in a military press position, and tossed him like he was a packet of spuds, sending him sailing many rows back into the crowd. What happened next was a truly awesome scene. Instead of parting and letting Dudley fall, the crowd caught him and then proceeded to body surf the little guy all over the ECW arena. The wrestlers were shocked and footage of Dudley body surfing became a poster incident for the ECW.
4 Humiliating The NWA
ECW -- Extreme Championship Wrestling but known as Eastern Championship Wrestling at the time of this incident -- was just starting out and was beginning to make a name for itself and gain a dedicated fan base as the NWA --National Wrestling Alliance -- was fading. Wrestlers fighting with the ECW realized this and one in particular wasn’t afraid to let everyone know. In August 1994, the ECW was still affiliated with the NWA, but this alliance was to be broken in a rather abrupt fashion. The finals of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship were held in an ECW arena – part of the reason for this was because the NWA knew that they’d get great TV coverage. Shane Douglas defeated 2 Cold Scorpio to clinch the title. He grabbed the belt then bellowed that he was the ECW Champion, an obvious slap in the face to the NWA. He said that the NWA had died and he didn’t want to hold a title with such a company. No one had any idea Shane was planning to humiliate the NWA, but this incident burned all ties between the two companies and Eastern Championship Wrestling company was subsequently renamed and re-branded as Extreme Championship Wrestling.
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.
Vince has had his fair share of crazy, and frankly despicable moments. He’s put together many disastrous nights in WWE, events that viewers will never forget for all the wrong reasons. When Vince acquired the assets of ECW in 2003, many people instantly feared the worst. But no one could have contemplated Vince actually winning the ECW Championship – a title reign that was nothing short of ridiculous. After a feud with Bobby Lashley, McMahon gave him a beat down – with Shane McMahon and Umaga in his corner, I might add. A 3 on 1 handicap match – hardly a fitting fight for a championship title Mr. McMahon. As a result of McMahon’s win, many fans became disinterested in ECW. Many were vocal in their opinions and even some of the wrestlers who were on the night’s roster were eager to have their say and ridicule McMahon – understandably so.
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.
Shane then turned his attentions to PB1, shook the halo that was implanted around his head and threw him to the ground, even as PB1 was still licking his wounds from the incident that occurred three months previously. Shane would learn that giving an injured man a beat down is never a wise move. The fans were sickened and a riot took place, causing Shane to flee the scene.
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.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!