As the global lockdown continues for us all, I still continue on and embark on a journey to uncover some great matches us time-strapped grapple fans can all enjoy in under five minutes.
But don’t fear, if you are sitting twiddling your thumbs with not a lot to do, don’t worry you can also enjoy these excellent little chunks of brilliance.
Part 1 of my journey had us all over the place within WWE, with matches from the Attitude Era right up to the Women’s Evolution and modern-day WrestleMania title matches. So to stick to a more genre-based structure I have sent my search party far and wide and have collected matches from different promotions, and “eras”.
This week in Part 2 of my collection I will focus on the land of extreme with Paul Heyman’s ECW. A promotion that gave the world wild rides, table spots, surprises and chaos on a nightly basis. It was the land that collected the weird and wonderful, the crazy and fearless, but most of all the downright insane.
It was not all barbed wire, blood and guts though. These five matches should give a nice sprinkling of what ECW gave us. There were flashes of brilliant technical masterpieces in between the flaming tables and swimsuit-clad catfights throughout the years, and some of the names listed here put on some of those great displays. But if you just need a small sample of what ECW can give you, look no further, as here are five great ECW matches all under five minutes.
Al Snow & Lance Storm vs Shane Douglas & Chris Candido – ECW Living Dangerously 1998 (4 minutes, 50 seconds)
This event was where Taz and Bam Bam Bigelow crashed through the ring during their ECW TV title match, so this tag match was contested post mat break with security tape cutting off one corner of the ring.
This was really more of an angle than a match – but that was the norm for ECW at the time. We had Sunny (Candido’s real-life and on-screen on/off girlfriend) tease that she was Storm’s partner as a way to minimize Candido’s involvement in the ring (there’s no way Candido would let Douglas lay a hand on her), but this was all a ruse. She turned her back on Storm by smacking him in the face with a cooking sheet.
Al Snow then made the heroic save and was greeted by a sea of Styrofoam heads in the crowd. Storm hit a beautiful springboard crossbody from the top rope to the floor, before Douglas was sent crashing into the hole in the corner of the ring before succumbing to a Snow Plow on top of many Styrofoam heads. This was organised ECW chaos at its finest.
We had a swerve, a surprise tag partner, a wild brawl, a teased catfight, a heroic save, mayhem involving a battered ring, and a triumphant babyface that sent the crowd home happy: all within five minutes.
Sid vs John Kronus – Guilty as Charged 1999 (1 minute, 31 seconds)
I remember watching this on VHS and to be honest, it has aged just fine. This was the best use of Sid: a dominating squash with little time to uncover or showcase any weaknesses.
John Kronus was the best opponent here too. He bumped perfectly and was big enough to pose a (slight) realistic threat but was also big enough to make Sid look more impressive as he tossed him around the ECW arena with ease. The extreme setting was perfect for Sid too. He had the fans in the palm of his hand after tossing Kronus over the top rope and exploding a ringside table in the process.
He smacked him around with a steel chair at ringside before a quick powerbomb had this one all tied up. In the timeline of pro wrestling, Sid’s stay in ECW was only slightly longer than this match. But hey, if you ever thought there is no way you could have 91 seconds of fun with Sid Vicious, think again!
Taz vs Chris Candido – Hardcore Heaven 1999 (1 minute, 11 seconds)
In what was advertised as the main event of Hardcore Heaven 99, this ended up opening the show with an impromptu main event taking place later on. Candido stacked the deck against Taz in the hope to deny just exactly what ended up happening to him.
He had brought the Dudleys out in an APA style insurance protection scheme to help him defeat Taz and win the ECW World Title without it being a quick squash with lots of interference. Well, there wasn’t too much interference (other than Taz laying waste to the Dudleys almost straight away) but Taz did make quick work of Candido here. Before Brock Lesnar made Suplex City was a pro wrestling landmark, Taz took a trip and dragged Candido along for the ride.
Three suplexes, a dodged diving headbutt and a Tazzmission were all it took for Taz to hold onto his title and scratch Candido from the contender’s list. The Dudleys left Taz in a heap after the match with a 3-D, and Bubba ended the night challenging Taz for the title, but in the end, the night belonged to Taz as he walked away with two successful title defences under his belt.
Little Guido vs Nova – November to Remember 1999 (4 minutes, 12 seconds)
A great sprint here for the future WWE’s Simon Dean and Nunzio. Nova flew from the top rope to the floor with a crossbody and Guido landed a middle rope guillotine legdrop, but moments later Nova dropped Guido with a Samoan drop from the top rope then looked to have the match won when he flipped Guido while up in a powerbomb and caught him with a cutter.
Big Sal E Graziano stopped the count and got involved, but Nova got rid of him with a tornado DDT but walked right into an Unprettier for Guido to pick up the win. A great showing of what these two athletes could do – just a shame we did not see this Nova when Simon Dean came to our screens a few years later. This Nova would have fit in with the likes of Guerrero, Mysterio, Tajiri and Kidman on SmackDown.
But instead, we got a Segway scooter, the Bashams and a gym instructor gimmick.
Mike Awesome vs Kid Kash – Living Dangerously 2000 (4 minutes, 44 seconds)
It was a real shame that Mike Awesome did not amount to more in the pro wrestling world. This was a great showcase of what the big man could do. If you want insanity, have a look at Awesome vs Masato Tanaka, but if you want to see the highlights of the big man moving around like a cruiserweight one minute then throwing Kash around like a monster the next – this one is for you.
Kash had his own fair share of spectacular moments. He hit his amazing top rope springboard dive into the crowd that had the ECW fans on their feet. He then made quick work of Judge Jeff Jones as Awesome made his way back into the ring- but by way of a slingshot, shoulder block directly into Kash’s face.
One Awesome Bomb was not enough. He had to put the lifeless Kash through a table with a second. But a normal powerbomb through a table? No. He had to lift him WITH ONE ARM on the top rope, CLIMB TO HIS FEET WITH KASH IN HIS ONE ARM WHILE ON THE TOP ROPE and powerbomb him through the table. Unbelievable. One to watch just for the “what if” potential of Mike Awesome.
So that was that. Five great matches from ECW each of them under five minutes long. As I will no doubt end up saying each week, if your looking for me to tell you to watch RVD vs Jerry Lynn, or RVD and Sabu vs Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki by all means go and watch those, they are great.
But if you want quick, impactful, exciting and straight to the point matches worth spending your hard-earned five minutes on? Keep an eye out for next week’s quintet as each week I will be sending you nuggets of gold to help you through these lockdown times.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @oli_iai. Thanks for reading!