Shane Douglas had just won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a very grueling tournament, defeating 2 Cold Scorpio in the final match at an Eastern Championship Wrestling event. After beginning a speech about how honored he is to accept the title, he starts running down the list of names of people who held the title... then he swerves everyone - including the NWA itself - by declaring the NWA "dead," throwing down the championship, and crowning himself the "new ECW Heavyweight Champion of the World". The NWA dissolved its association with the company and officially stripped Douglas of the NWA Championship, while Eastern Championship Wrestling officially changed its name to the name diehard fans know, love, and revere: Extreme Championship Wrestling.
This is also the night the "ECW!" chants were born.
According to several sources, the only other people to know about the speech before Douglas made it were ECW bookers Tod Gordon and Paul Heyman, who made the plan in response to the NWA trying to take control of the booking away from ECW.
Then there's the "Sandman gets blinded" storyline, where Sandman was supposedly blinded by Tommy Dreamer. For months, Sandman stayed at home, never having any contact with another human being except for his wife (who helped by answering the door or the phone for him); his commitment to the storyline was absolutely phenomenal. He was booked to come out, blind, to confront Dreamer. When Dreamer turned his back, however, Sandman pulled off his bandages - revealing that his eyes were perfectly fine - and lit up Dreamer with a Singapore cane.
Tommy would have another career-defining moment later in his ECW career. When his valet (and future wife) Beulah was revealed to have been cheating on him with Raven's valet, Kimona Wanalaya, Tommy's reply to the revelation helped to further cement his legacy:
The ECW fans (lovingly referred to as "The Mutants") have nearly, if not more, moments of awesomeness than the wrestlers themselves:
Cactus Jack signaling for someone, anyone, in the crowd to throw him and/or his opponent partner Terry Funk a chair to use on the NWA ECW Tag Team Championsthe Public Enemy, who had interrupted their main event match at ECW Hardcore Heaven 94, August 13.. What happens next? EVERYONE in the first few rows throws their chairs into the ring. Don't ask for folding chairs from the audience, because the audience will fucking deliver. This footage would be part of ECW's promo packages up until the end.
Bam Bam Bigelow picked Little Spike Dudley up over his head, and threw him from the ring into the first few rows. But instead of letting him back over the other side of the guard rail, the fans lifted him up and bodysurfed him throughout the entire arena.
Public Enemy invited the crowd into the ring to celebrate after one match. The ring was packed; fans were right up against one another. When they all started jumping up and down to the music - you guessed it! - the ring collapsed. And the fans loved it.
There's also One Night Stand 2005 where Sandman comes down to the ring with Enter Sandman as his entrance theme and the fans sing along to it
There was a moment that was both a Narm for two fans and a crowning moment for Joey Styles at the same time. Two fans held up signs denouncing Styles and his commentary partner Joel Gertner, claiming they were no Mike Tenay or Larry Zybysko. The narm was when the fans couldn't spell Larry's name properly. The CMoA came when Styles unloaded on them:
"First of all, I think I speak for Joel [Gertner] and myself, that we're thankful we'll never be Mike Tenay and Larry Zybysko. Why don't you go sell whatever decrepit little motor home you live in, trade it in for a $.50 wrestling magazine and figure out how to spell his name? See, I remember you; you're the illiterate moron who spelled it wrong last time, six months ago. You're the best argument for not sending my kids to a public school I have ever seen!"
Jim Ross may be unparalleled as a commentator, but he never got fans chanting "Fuck 'em up, JR, fuck 'em up! * clap clap* ".
The final match in the Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko series in 1995. Just...WOW. Watching those two amazing wrestlers perform for an hour straight, each trying to one-up the other, with the crowd chanting "please don't go" and "one more match"? It didn't get any better for this troper.
Tommy Dreamer got a measure of revenge against longtime rival Raven after Luna Vachon had defeated Raven's flunky Stevie Richards in a steel cage match at ECW Heat Wave 95. Tommy handcuffed Raven crucifixion-style to the cage. After getting him cuffed, Dreamer wound up with a steel chair and obliterated the seat of said chair against Raven's skull. The spot came to be known as "The Chairshot Heard 'Round The World"; it is not only a regular part of ECW highlight reels, but it became a part of every ECW opening package up until the promotion's demise. For some time, it was even a part of Tommy's WWE entrance video.
After holding the ECW Television Title for almost two years, Rob Van Damwas injured at the hands of The Network broke his ankle outside an event, and the title was vacated under the old "defend the title every thirty days" rule. The company held a tournament to crown a new champion, and Rhino (the Network's chosen representative) was given a bye in the semifinals, while Super Crazy won a tough semifinal match against his rival Little Guido. Crazy, with a little help from The Sandman, had one of the most epic come-from-behind wins ever, pinning Rhino to win the title.
At As Good As It Gets on September 20, 1997, Beulah McGillicutty and Tommy Dreamer were in a mixed tag match with Rob Van Dam and his manager, Bill Alfonso (aka Fonzie). Eventually, the match turns into Beulah vs. Fonzie - then it turns into one of the most brutal bloodbaths in the history of the industry as Beulah annihilates Fonzie (who, due to a rather deep bladejob ended up losing about a third of the blood in his body). Fonzie's blood ended up coating both his face and the ring in crimson before Beulah finally pinned him.
September 19, 1999. I mean literally, as Mike Awesome was Crowned ECW Champion at that event. *rimshot*
Speaking of Awesome, his match at the first ECW One Night Stand event against Masato Tanaka deserves special mention. After having jumped to WCW back in the days of the original ECW while still ECW Champion, Awesome was bitterly hated by many fans for basically stabbing ECW in the back. When he entered the arena for this match, he was met with little more than visceral hatred. How good was the match? Awesome received a standing ovation after he won and is considered by many to have been his redemption. When you get the notoriously hard to please ECW Mutants to chant "THIS MATCH RULES!", you know you've accomplished something.
An incredibly awesome and historic moment occured when Mike Awesome signed with WCW while holding the ECW World Heavyweight Title. There were concerns that Awesome would try and backdoor his way out of the company with the title, so ECW was a little concerned about who they'd have fight him in the event he tried to fight stiff (trying to hurt). So who'd they bring in? ECW alumni Tazz, who was currently signed with WWE. That's right, a WWE wrestler beat a WCW wrestler in an ECW ring for the ECW title. The crowd didn't even mark when they heard Tazz's music, so unbelievable was the situation, but the moment he walked out, they went ballistic, chanting "HOLY SHIT!"
The Dudleys, leaving ECW for the WWF, are threatening to take the ECW Tag Team Championship belts with them. Tommy Dreamer takes them on single-handed for the title, and fights valiantly, but is overwhelmed - before being saved by the very last person anyone expected, the man he had bitterly feuded with for three years before he left, now making his return from WCW: Raven. After one well-timed Evenflow DDT, former enemies became the Tag Team Champions.
If you're gonna bring up ECW promos, there's only one you need to watch: "Cane Dewey."
Another very good one came from Steve Austin - his "Superstar" promo, where he denounced WCW's handling of him and declared he was going to become the very top at ECW because nobody could stop him. It was so good that Steve got a standing ovation from the wrestlers watching off-camera once he cut.
Aside from being a solid match, Rob Van Dam vs. Tommy Dreamer from November to Remember 97 is known for its infamous piledriver spot. Dreamer piledrives Van Dam, who springs up three feet in the air before landing on his back. To this day, no one knows exactly how he pulled that off. (It's a safe bet that not even Rob knows how he did it!)
Terry Funk vs. Sabu in a barbed wire rope match. It's the match that not only secured Sabu as a hardcore legend, but it also secured Terry Funk as one of THE most hardcore men in wrestling. In fact, it was considered SO extreme that Paul Heyman thought he would NEVER book a barbed-wire match after it, as the thinking was that no one could top it and Heyman wouldn't want anyone to try. However, when Shane Douglas booked a Barbed Wire Three-Way-Dance between Sabu, Funk, and himself for Hardcore Homecoming... it was just as disturbingly brilliant as the original.
The ECW World Tag Team Title 2/3 Falls Double Dog Collar Chain Match between the Heel Champions Raven and his flunky Stevie Richards and the Pit Bulls (#1 and #2) from ECW Gangstas Paradise, September 16, 1995, with the stipulation that if the PBs lost, they would have to break up as a tag team. Raven's valet Beulah McGillicutty told the referee that Richards had broken his arm in a six-man tag the night before and that, to be fair, the match should be made 2/3 falls. PB #1 went to the back to find Richards, bringing him back already bleeding, while Raven piledrove PB #2 through a table to win the first fall. Because the match was made 2/3 falls, Raven ultimately hoisted himself by his own petard, since, if the match had been kept as a standard one-fall, he and Richards would have won, retained the titles and disbanded his former lackies all at the same time. The PBs won the second fall by Super Bombing Richards through a table. The first two falls were merely formalities, as the REAL excitement comes in the third fall. At one point, Raven uses an ether-soaked rag on PB #2, as a Take That to Jim Cornette's booking techniques, as Paul Heyman and Cornette had a long-standing feud, and announcer Joey Styles says, "Of all the low down, old time, take that crap to Smoky Mountain!" Raven then sets up PB#2 on two tables outside the ring. He elbowdrops PB#2 off the first table and he falls onto and through the second table which, by 1995 ECW standards, is enough to have the EMTs come out and put him on a stretcher and wheel him to the back, which is what REALLY changes everything. As PB #2 is being wheeled to the back, Raven's babyfaceArch-Enemy Tommy Dreamer comes down, puts the other collar on, knees Raven low, DDT's Raven and pins him. Dreamer and PB#1 celebrate, as Dreamer had been trying for months to score an official pin on Raven and not suceeding, and ring announcer Bob Artese isn't sure whether to announce the Pit Bulls or PB#1/Dreamer as the new champs. This brings out evil referee Bill Alfonso, who invalidates Dreamer's pin, saying that he approved 2/3 falls, which wasn't in the contract and that the match is over because the Pit Bulls can't continue. This brings out ECW Commissioner Tod Gordon, who says that the match is over when HE says it's over. Meanwhile, Big Dick Dudley, then in Raven's Nest, makes his way down on crutches. Gordon restarts the match and Fonzie shoves him down. Big Dick enters the ring, chokeslams Dreamer, and leaves. Fonzie, who had previously banned the chokeslam in order to prevent 911 from chokeslamming him, announces, "I'm allowing the chokeslam tonight, because Tommy Dreamer, you're dreaming, you've never pinned Raven, the chokeslam is on!" As soon as he said that, "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winter Group hit, bringing out 911. After keeping the fans waiting for four months, 911 FINALLY chokeslammed Alfonso. 911, Tommy and PB #1 celebrated the chokeslam. PB #2 made it back to the ring under his own power and climbed up to the top turnbuckle. PB #1 and Dreamer put Raven up in his arms with 911 adding Richards on Raven's shoulders and PB #2 Superbombed both guys at once, leading to the pin and the titles. It's considered by many to be the best match in ECW history.
RVD vs. Jerry Lynn - Hardcore Heaven 1999 - Possibly the best executed match ECW ever did, and pretty much the greatest argument against those who deride the promotion as nothing but Garbage Wrestling. It hangs in there with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat Vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage as a standard of wrestling psychology.