January ’16 Match of the Month. Mike Awesome vs Masato Tanaka for the ECW World heavyweight championship. ECW November to Remember.
If you wanted to see what ECW is all about this is the match that you need to watch. Ive always heard a lot of buzz around the matches that these two warriors had together, and this, the third time that they met exceeded all of my expectations. Nothing but hard hitting wrestling action at its best. Lots of power moves from these two, powerbombs, belly to belly slams, tornado DDTs, sit out power bombs; pro wrestling 101
The match is also enjoyable through the outrageously overlooked commentary team of Joey Styles and Cyrus the Virus, each calling the match with distinction and taking shots at the “other guys” with lines like “ most six foot six near three hundred pound wrestlers don’t even leave their feet anymore, brother, Mike Awesome flies through the air!” and I always was a fan of Don Callis’s Cyrus persona, a representation of the problems ongoing at the time with ECW and the TNN network, which aired ECW programing. He was always complaining about the extreme and violent matches that ECW was known and loved for.
Mike Awesome was a talent that was all around awesome, no pun intended. A power wrestler at 6’6, he was known as the “300 pound luchador” hitting moves and doing top rope maneuvers you would usually see Billy Kidman pull off. As for Masato Tanaka? Well, he’s one tough mother too, his chest shows battle-scars of the wars he has waged during his career in Japan.
The match itself was Fantastic. The ECW crowd responding to each of the Huge table spots, and yes there are multiple table spots. How many times do you see a guy like Mike Awesome hit a top rope suicide springboard clothesline nailing Tanaka dazed in the second row of the ECW faithful? And how about a Chair shot from the top rope? Yup it’s one of the crazy spots in this classic ECW match. Here are a few spots that made me do a Joey Styles impression of “OhmyGAWD!!”
-Mike Awesome Launching himself from the top rope hitting Tanaka with a suicide springboard clothesline.
– Mike Awesome nailing Tanaka with two crushing chairshots, one from the top rope and another straight shot, but this only makes Tanaka “hulk up”
-Masato crushing Awesome with a top rope tornado DDT onto a two chairs.
-I’m a sucker for SuperPlexes from the turnbuckle…especially if someone goes through a table. Tanaka hits Awesome with a Great superplex.
-Mike awesome countering a tornado DDT into a sitout spinebuster.
-Mike awesome plants Tanaka with a sit out awesome bomb from the ring apron through a table.
THE FINISH- Mike Awesome crushes Tanaka with Top Rope Sit out Awesome bomb to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Title.
Overall Grade-5 outta 5 stars- “one of the best ECW title matches in the companys history.