- 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 work beforehand were ECW bookers Tod Gordon and Paul Heyman, who hatched the plan in response to the NWA trying to take control of the booking away from ECW.
- Tommy Dreamer, a fan-hated pretty boy, lost a match against The Sandman in which the loser was to be beaten with a Singapore cane (playing on the news story where an American in Singapore was to be punished in a similar fashion). When Dreamer accepted his punishment, Sandman absolutely let him have it with the cane. After about the tenth shot, a beaten and bleeding Dreamer staggers to his feet, grabs the microphone, and fucking roars, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?!" This is the moment where Tommy Dreamer went from being a hated WCW-wannabe to "the heart and soul of 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. Instead of letting Spike back over the other side of the guard rail, the fans lifted him up and bodysurfed him throughout the entire arena.
- ECW superfans "Hat Guy" and "Kato" invaded other shows put on by WCW and WWF—in particular, WCW Slamboree 1994 and WWF King of the Ring 1995, both in Philadelphia. This troper was at the latter show; it was the first pay-per-view event he ever attended live.
- 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...well, of course you can guess what happened: The ring collapsed. And the fans loved it.
- At "One Night Stand" 2005, which took place in the Hammerstein Ballroom—known to be a hotspot for ECW and its fans, as well as the same building where ECW's final show took place—The Sandman comes down to the ring, Metallica's "Enter Sandman" blaring as his entrance theme. Less than ten seconds into his entrance, the entire building starts singing along, word for word and completely in time. Mick Foley even comments on it, showing his appreciation of the passionate ECW "Mutants" for doing so.
- In a blink-and-you'll-miss it shot, even Bubba Ray Dudley—one of Sandman's opponents for the main event match—gets in on it near the end of the song.
- 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 "Heat Wave" 1995. Tommy handcuffed Raven crucifixion-style to the cage, wound up with a steel chair, and obliterated the seat of said chair against Raven's skull. The spot earned the nickname of "The Chairshot Heard 'Round The World"; it is not only a regular part of ECW highlight reels, but it was put into 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 Dam
was injured at the hands of The Networkbroke 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 and pinned Rhino to win the title.
- At "As Good As It Gets" in 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—at which point it also turns into one of the most brutal bloodbaths in pro wrestling history as Beulah annihilates Fonzie (who did a bladejob deeper than expected and lost about a third of the blood in his body). By the time Beulah finally pinned him, Fonzie's blood had coated both his face and the ring.
- The 19th of September 1999 has a literal one, as Mike Awesome was Crowned ECW Champion at that event. [rimshot]
- So shouldn't that go on the Awesome Moment of Crowning page?
- Speaking of Awesome, his match at the first "ECW One Night Stand" event against Masato Tanaka deserves special mention. Awesome was not in the good graces of a lot of ECW fans (and former employees...) after his jumping to WCW while he was still ECW Champion. When he entered the arena for this match, he was met with nothing less than visceral hatred. How good was the match? Awesome received a standing ovation after he won; the match is considered by many to have been his redemption. And besides, when you get the notoriously hard-to-please Mutants to chant "THIS MATCH RULES!", you know you've accomplished something.
- That match sort-of doubles as a retroactive Tear Jerker, however, as it was Awesome's last match before he committed suicide.
- An incredibly awesome and historic moment occured when, as mentioned above, Awesome signed with WCW while still holding the ECW World Heavyweight Title. People in ECW had concerns that Awesome would backdoor his way out of the company with the title, so the higher-ups had concerns about who they would book to wrestle Awesome in case he tried to stiff his opponent on purpose. So what did ECW do? They found a ringer: ECW alumni Tazz, who was then signed with WWE. That's right: A WWE wrestler beat a WCW wrestler in an ECW ring for the ECW Championship. 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!"
- After that match, Tazz was allowed to carry the ECW Championship onto WWE programming as promotion for the ECW show where he ultimately dropped the title. He even wrestled a match against Triple H, then the WWF Champion. (Oh, and who did Tazz lose the title to? "The Heart and Soul of ECW" himself, Tommy Dreamer.)
- The Dudleys, leaving ECW for the WWF, are threatening to take the ECW Tag Team Championship belts with them. Tommy Dreamer decides to take them on by himself so he can keep the belts in the company. Though he fights valiantly, he is soon overwhelmed—until he is saved by a returning-from-WCW alumni and the last person anyone expected: Raven. After one well-timed Evenflow DDT, former enemies became the Tag Team Champions.
- Raven and Dreamer are defending the belts against the Impact Players in a tough match. Thanks to Rhyno, the heels have gotten double pins, covering the champions...and the lights go out. The fans buzz for a long moment before a single spotlight hits the back of the arena. Standing atop a riser is recent WCW defector the Sandman, to a monster pop. He comes to the ring and uses his cane to clean out the heels. You have not lived until you've seen hundreds of fans singing the lyrics to "Enter Sandman" in unison and then breaking out into a huge "WELCOME BACK!" chant.
- Any Joel Gertner promo arguably counts. Any of them.
- If you're gonna bring up ECW promos, there is 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.
- How can anybody forget Paul Heyman's classic tirade from ECW Hardcore TV? "Hey, Network! I dare you! THROW ME OFF THE AIR!"
- Aside from being a solid match, Rob Van Dam vs. Tommy Dreamer from "November to Remember" 1997 is known for an infamous piledriver spot. Dreamer piledrives RVD right into the mat, at which point Van Dam 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 RVD knows how he did it!)
- Terry Funk vs. Sabu. The Barbed Wire Rope Match. It is the match that secured both Sabu and Terry Funk as two of the most hardcore men in wrestling history. Paul Heyman considered the match so extreme that he never booked another match like it—he thought no one could ever top it, and he didn't want anyone to ever try.
- But no one ever told Shane Douglas not to do one. He booked a Barbed Wire Three-Way-Dance between himself, Sabu, and Funk for "Hardcore Homecoming", and it was just as disturbingly brilliant as the original.
- The ECW World Tag Team Title Two-Out-of-Three Falls Double Dog Collar Chain Match between the Heel Champions Raven and his flunky Stevie Richards and the Pitbulls (#1 and #2) from "Gangstas Paradise" (15th of September 1995) had a stipulation that if the Pitbulls 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, so to be fair, the match should be made two-out-of-three falls. Pitbull #1 went to the back to find Richards, bringing him back already bleeding, while Raven piledrove Pitbull #2 through a table to win the first fall. But because the match was made a two-out-of-three falls match, Raven ultimately hoisted himself by his own petard; if the match had been kept as a standard one-fall match, he and Richards would have won, retained the titles and disbanded his former lackies all at the same time. The Pitbulls won the second fall by putting Richards through a table with a Super Bomb. The first two falls were merely formalities, of course, as the REAL excitement came in the third fall.
At one point, Raven uses an ether-soaked rag on Pitbull #2 (a Take That! to Jim Cornette's booking techniques, as Paul Heyman and Cornette had a long-standing feud), to which commentator Joey Styles says, "Of all the low down, old time, take that crap to Smoky Mountain!" Raven then sets up Pitbull #2 on two tables outside the ring. He hits an elbow drop to send Pitbull #2 off the first table and onto (and through) the second table; by 1995 ECW standards, that 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 Pitbull #2 is being wheeled to the back, Raven's Arch-Enemy, Tommy Dreamer comes down, puts the other collar on, nails Raven with a low blow, hits a DDT, and pins him. Dreamer and Pitbull #1 celebrate, as Dreamer had been trying for months to score an official pin on Raven without any success. Ring announcer Bob Artese isn't sure whether to announce the Pitbulls or Pitbull #1 and Dreamer as the new champs.
This confusion brings out evil referee Bill Alfonso, who invalidates Dreamer's pin by saying that he approved thw two-out-of-three falls stipulation (which wasn't in the contract) and that the match is over because the Pitbulls cannot 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, who was a member of Raven's Nest at the time, makes his way down to the ring 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 finishes talking, "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winter Group plays over the sound system—much to Fonzie's dismay.
After keeping the fans waiting for four months, 911 finally chokeslams Fonzie—to the utter delight of the crowd. 911, Dreamer, and Pitbull #1 celebrate after the chokeslam, all while Pitbull #2 makes it back to the ring under his own power. Pitbull #2 climbs to the top turnbuckle, so Pitbull #1 and Dreamer put Raven up in his arms, and 911 puts poor Stevie on Raven's shoulders for extra effect. One double Super Bomb later, the Pitbulls get the final pinfall and the titles to boot. This match, above many other masterful performances, is often called the best match in ECW history by fans and pundits alike.
- RVD vs. Jerry Lynn at "Hardcore Heaven" 1999 is possibly the only match that can stand up to the one talked about above. It is also the single best argument in favor of the promotion as something more than "Garbage Wrestling". Some fans even hold this match up alongside the famous "WrestleMania 3" match between Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "Macho Man" Randy Savage as a standard of wrestling psychology.
Awesome / ECW
THIS...IS EXTREEEEME...ly AWESOME!