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BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #36 - The Tazz vs Mike Awesome on ECW on TNN Segment

With the majority of my Hot Takes, I always try to revisit obscure and unique moments of all different types of pop culture. However, there is always one topic that I always seem to go back to: Extreme Championship Wrestling.

ECW is like my security blanket. I always try to find a way to watch or procure footage to watch, either online or physical media.

There is one segment I always wanted to write about:


The story of this match is simple: Mike Awesome, due to contractual issues, leaves ECW and signs with WCW on April 10, 2000. Only problem: Awesome is the ECW Champion. With rumors and fears Awesome would throw the ECW title in the trash, ECW Owner Paul Heyman filed a legal injunction on WCW, forcing Time Warner to comply with certain demands in return of Awesome signing with WCW. WCW forced Awesome to come back to ECW in Indianapolis, IN to drop the ECW championship on April 13, 2000. However, he didn’t know who he’d be losing to.

Meanwhile, Heyman then called Vince McMahon and brokered a deal to have former ECW Champion Tazz fly to Indianapolis to be the man to unseat Awesome.

The segment itself is legendary. Within three minutes, Tazz makes his shocking return, the two men brawl around the ring, the ref gets the literal bump. Awesome calls for a table, but just before it gets to him, Tommy Dreamer, who Awesome had taken out the previous week, levels the champion with a DDT. Tazz then chokes out Awesome with his Kata Hajime, his Tazmission, and wins the title. Awesome, just like he did at “Anarchy Rulz” on September 19, 1999 when he won the title, left through the crowd after he lost it. Dreamer then raises Tazz’s arm in the air, signifying more uncertainty and chaos.

WWF vs WCW in an ECW ring for the ECW World Heavyweight championship might have been the greatest interpromotional moment in modern day wrestling history. It has been more than 23 years and fans, like myself, STILL talk about this to this very day. It showed that, even under intense situations, that thanks to luck, creativity, and a little bit of magic, professional wrestling is a beautiful thing.

I remember as a fourteen year old being mesmerized by what was happening on television. Seeing all three companies - two aligning together while one was being forced - involved in an angle blew my mind.

To understand the time, there was legitimate hatred between WWF, WCW, and ECW. By this time in 2000, Vince McMahon had risen back to the throne of the wrestling industry. Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff were brought back to WCW television as a tandem to save the promotion. Paul Heyman was trying to unleash his rebellious promotion on a national level. All wanted to be and remain King. Locker rooms were fiercely loyal to their organization.

And all the while, the wrestling fans ate it all up. There was never more of a mainstream buzz about professional wrestling than the late 1990s and early 2000s. It fits with the era of creativity, angst, and edgy content.

And that is something I miss about not just professional wrestling, but life in general. Before the era of bland, corporate culture currently on airwaves, television and art, in my opinion, was smarter and fun. We need that more than ever today, and from a creative outlook, entertainment has never been more stagnant.

The Tazz/Mike Awesome segment from 2000 was the peak of what I like to call the “wild west” of creativity. This was unpredictable, shocking, and epic. It gave wrestling fans dreams of supercards, company vs company, and hope of more.

Sadly, by the end of 2001, those dreams would be dashed forever. And the more wrestling evolves, it is less likely. I can hold solace in my heart knowing that WWE and AEW will never make a memory like this. It will just never happen - never in this time period.

On a personal note, I wish I had a time period to take today’s wrestling fan back to these days. It will make your hair stand up on end. It was incredible.

Thank you ECW for making a tough time into an incredible memory. It will never leave my memories. It was that good.


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