We continue our stretch of three consecutive Rewind-A-Wai shows to close out 2019.
This Tuesday, Wai Ting and I review the ECW on TNN episode from December 31, 1999.
This was selected by Espresso Executive Producer @POSTmaster.
Leave us your feedback and any ECW-related questions from 1999.
Link to the show: https://watch.wwe.com/episode/ECW-Wrestling-10336
ECW on TNN
Friday, December 31, 1999
White Plains, New York
*ECW title: Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome
*Super Crazy vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri
*Raven vs. Mikey Whipwreck
Lots of people in North America have said it was watching The Great Muta in NWA or Jushin Thunder Liger in WCW that got them interested in Japanese pro wrestling. For me that person is actually Masato Tanaka.
Was pumped to hear this episode reviewed the two weeks of this show with the Tanaka vs. Awesome matches was incredibly formative for my future wrestling fandom, I can’t exaggerate that enough. Their matches are the only thing I have vivid memories of watching on ECW on TNN when they originally aired.
After watching these matches I was intrigued by what Japanese pro wrestling had to offer. I even called into Dave Meltzer’s old Wrestling Observer Live show that used to be on Eyada back in the day to ask him more about Masato Tanaka.
I eventually sought out some stuff with him from FMW. While eventually my tastes in Japanese pro wrestling soon shifted to All Japan, New Japan and soon after this, NOAH, Masato Tanaka will always have a very special place in my heart for me as the wrestler that got me into puroresu.
Miles from Chicago
An enjoyable show - ECW felt like lightning in a bottle. I remember getting into ECW right around this time as the local Suncoast video store started carrying ECW dvds around 2000/2001 (Extreme Evolution being my first wrestling dvd) and a local Chicago cable channel started running Hardcore TV and ECW on TNN late on Friday evenings.
I always enjoy Lance Storm - I was a big fan of his growing up as I was still mainly a Nitro viewer in 98-99 and seeing him in these ECW episodes make me want to go back and rewatch some of his matches from his time there. Tajiri vs Crazy held up against anything you’re seeing on the weds night wars - amazing to think all of these talented performers working for a company like ECW - Heyman might not be the best with his checkbook but you cannot deny his eye for talent. I’ll always enjoy how they let the wrestlers out there and do their thing unscripted - that’s always wrestling at its best.
While I’d love to sing the praises of this show and the nostalgia ECW brings me - I found the main event difficult to watch. Tanaka and Awesome are both so incredibly talented and I wish we hadn’t of been so reckless with chairshots back in this time. Seeing such an over and talented worker like Mike Awesome take some much impact to the head and knowing of his fate not too many years later - makes it difficult to completely enjoy the match like the crowd did in 1999. Interested to hear your thoughts.
Not feedback exactly - but a point of discussion…
Tanaka is historically probably the best booked Japanese talent in a mainstream North American promotion ever, right?
Muta always had his WCW / NWA runs, but they always felt like he was a “guest”. Liger was the same.
WWE has never done it - Nakamura came sorta close, but he feels lost in a shuffle. Asuka had her NXT run - but everybody claims that’s “Developmental” so not at the same level as everything else. And even then she wasn’t the main star of the brand. And others like Chono, Inoki, Bull Nakano, again, all felt like special guests.
Tanaka was one of THE guys during his ECW run, and even if it was brief in hindsight, he impacted a generation of North American fans.