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The Best E.C.W. Matches in Wrestling History



Throughout its short yet distinguished history, Extreme Championship Wrestling became something of a cult phenomenon in the 1990s wrestling industry. A dramatic alternative to their main competitors in W.C.W. and the W.W.F., E.C.W. matches specialized in more violent brwals than their chief rivals, delivering some of the most extreme bouts in the entire history of pro wrestling.

Though it never achieved the same mainstream popularity as W.C.W., E.C.W. matches still garnered significant attention from diehard fans until the company folded in 2001.

One of the most innovative E.C.W. matches of the 1990s, Juventud Guerrera and Rey Mysterio Jr. closed out their tenure in E.C.W. with a bang in this explosive 1996 match. A perfect combination of lucha libre and mat-based technical wrestling, Guerrera and Mysterio set the standard for cruiserweight wrestling for the next decade (something that became apparent with W.C.W.’s cruiserweight division a few short years ahead).

In 1995, no one in America had ever seen the high-speed wrestling of Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psicosis in a prolonged bout. A star-making performance for both men, Mysterio and Psicosis brought the technical wrestling of their luchador background to E.C.W., combining it with the raw violence of the promotion and the strong style bumps of NJPW.

Anyone who claims E.C.W. matches had little more than mindless violence has clearly never seen Eddie Guerrero’s numerous matches against Dean Malenko. Perhaps the best bout between Latino Heat and the Man of 1,000 Holds, Guerrero and Malenko put on a clinic of pure wrestling know-who, cementing their place as talents to watch out for in the very near future.

One can’t mention E.C.W. matches without bringing up either Rob Van Dam or Sabu’s name. Recurring allies and rivals throughout the bulk of E.C.W.’s operations, R.V.D. and Sabu used their similar training and moveset to have several barnstormers in E.C.W. At Hardcore Heaven 1996, the two merged their high-flying offense with innovative weapons-based maneuvers, ensuring a bout unlike any other on T.V. at the time.

If names like Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio forever changed the nature of lightweight wrestling, E.C.W. talents like Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka played a serious part in influencing heavyweight bouts moving forward. With each man possessing impressive speed and agility in addition to their vast strength, Awesome and Tanaka ushered in a madcap match that blurred the lines between technical, hardcore, and strong-style wrestling.

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