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A note about the best *ECW* matches in particular. These, much more than their WCW and equivalents are very subjective, and ECW’s incredibly fluid taping structure (along with their depth and breadth of great matches) make a list like this the sort of thing you could have 10 different people compile and have many of the match-ups be completely different. That being said, here are my favourites – a couple towards the bottom very much qualify for their amazing post-match angles more than match quality.
Dates listed, where I can remember them, are from their airing date on ECW Hardcore TV.
1. Chris Benoit vs “The Snow Man” Al Snow – February 7th
The best matchup of 1995 in ECW, and one that tied best match in 1995 full stop in our end of year awards. Benoit and Snow wrestled a phenomenal long match which started out at an obscene speed, but guys combining speed and power in a way that you rarely see. The second half of the match is Benoit dominating with Snow clinging on before Benoit finally gets the victory with a bridging German suplex. Go out of your way to see this one.
2. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko – May 2nd
The now infamous match, with that double dropkick -> staredown that pops up on all of the highlight packages/DVDs. (Fun fact: despite the crowd giving that moment a standing ovation less than three minutes later Malenko/Guerrero completely lost them while fans were distracted by a fight/ejection elsewhere in the arena). Anyway, this is a technical wrestling masterclass in front of a crowd that wanted to appreciate it. The match went 30 minutes before going to a draw – leave the crowd wanting more.
Read More: The Guerrero-Malenko Classic in ECW
3. Raven/Richards vs The Pitbulls – 2/3 Falls Match Double Dog Collar Match – 19th September
There are probably hundreds of ECW matches over the years that you can say -> “That opitimizes what ECW hardcore wrestling is all about”. Two very quick and brutal falls to make it 1-1, before an amazing an utterly perplexing next 15 minutes that saw interference from just about everybody (Tommy Dreamer even pinned Raven during a false finish, before being cut off by the ). Not the most coherent match you’ll ever see – but I also don’t know that you’ll see a better snapshot of 1995 ECW than this match.
4. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko – August 29th
Another masterclass, this one set to the backdrop of the pair about to join WCW, the crowd did deafening “Please Don’t Go” chants a number of times. Another masterpiece of a match, these two buy this stage had wrestled each other about 20 odd times in ECW in the prior six months. Not quite as good as the first (The first will always be the first) but this will also be fondly remembered for an emotional post-match angle, the crowd came unglued when Malenko (who’d been silent for the year prior) took hold of the microphone.
5. Rey Misterio Jr vs Psicosis - September 26th
With Guerrero and Malenko were off to Atlanta, Paul Heyman found yet another pair of overseas stars to dazzle the ECW faithful. Misterio and Psicosis bought extreme and lucha together in a death defying, high flying fantastic match up. Both guys are barely 20-years-old at this stage, but this is a must see. Within a year these two will be lighting up WCW also, but ECW is where you saw it first.
6. Cactus Jack vs The Sandman – January 31st
This was a falls count anywhere match as violent as anything seen to date within the company. Jack and Sandman had a wild brawl in Florida, with weapons like a trash can, a cookie sheet and even a tiny, six inch toy guitar getting involved. Both worked incredibly hard and put themselves through some violent spots, including Sandman doing a bulldog-like manoevre from the top rope onto the deformed trash can. Jack wins with a trademark elbow to the outside.
7. Sabu vs Hack Myers – November To Remember (I'm not aware this is on the network, as I don’t think it ever aired on Hardcore TV).
Sabu returning from his six month absence from ECW, placed in the semi-main against perennial under-card guy Hack Myers. Sabu had spent a largely unsuccessful run at WCW, being let go for amongst other things – his style and his ability to keep to time. I think he learned something from that – he and Myers had a surprisingly even contest that lasted over ten minutes. The same great Sabu spots but given more time to breathe and a match that put over Myers even in a losing cause. One of my favourite ECW matches of the year.
8. Mikey Whipwreck & The Public Enemy vs The Sandman, New Jack and Too Cold Scorpio (standing in for Mustafa) in a Six Man Steel Cage Match – October 10th
This match happened at Gangstas Paradise, extended highlights aired on the October 10th show, but not the full match
Was this the moment where it was decided Mikey was going to get the title? A six man steel cage match where he became an honorary member of The Public Enemy. Not a classic but a wonderful story told that made 1,300 people in the arena believe that Mikey Whipwreck finally belonged. The match ended with Mikey doing a flying splash. Excellent stuff.
9. Bill Alfonso vs Tod Gordon – November 28th
Ok – this wasn’t a classic match, although for the few minutes it lasted it was a hell of a lot of fun watching Bill Alfonso being Bill Mother Fucking Alfonso. The match came down to Gordon wanting to pin Alfonso with the ref down, Taz ran out then aligned with Alfonso. His post match “Fuck Taz? Nah, fuck you” promo won our best moment of 1995.
10. Cactus Jack vs DC Drake – February 28th
The match was awful, but this is a necessary inclusion for the post-match angle – you can read all about that here. Terry Funk returns in a great surprise, great bit of story telling.