Time to bring back the popular “Remember When…” series to Pro Wrestling Roundup. Time to look at some great classic memories from the month of August. In August of 1997, ECW was still running strong and was a major part of the glory years that were the late ’90s in wrestling.
At the ECW Arena, a make-shift main event was scheduled between ECW Champion Terry Funk and Sabu in a barbed wire match. The match was originally booked as a regular 6 man tag match but was changed due to injuries and other circumstances. This match really sums up a big part of what’s missing in wrestling today – you had Terry Funk who was the legendary icon of ECW and in his mid 50’s as ECW Champion taking on Sabu, who was the most innovative guy to come along in years and was a huge part of ECW rising to the popularity it did.
Basically, ECW wasn’t about good guys vs. bad guys, it was about great talent having great matches. Sure you can say CZW or any of the hardcore promotions, or even TNA could put on a barbed wire match, but in ECW the entire feel was different. A big part of it was that Sabu and Funk could have had a great regular match or any other stipulation match, they were great wrestlers, not just “hardcore guys.” On paper, the match sounds like another good ECW main event from that time, but a couple of occurrences in the match made it one of the most memorable in ECW history.
Early on in the match, Sabu was whipped into the barbed wire and his inner arm was hooked and sliced open by the wire. It was a deep cut, but Sabu being Sabu got some tape from his manager Bill Alfonso, wrapped it up, and kept on going. The match was utter brutality right down until the very end when both Sabu and Funk became wrapped together in barbed wire so bad that they couldn’t escape, and after Sabu somehow pinned Funk in the tangled mess and won the ECW title, they both had to be cut from the wire to escape.
With the ECW name being insulted by being the equivalent of a minor league for WWE, this match showed the wild, crazy, unpredictable spirit of the REAL ECW. These days, there is no promotion that is filling the ECW niche. No compelling stories with great workers who can tell a story, pull off great matches, and also have the ability to be put in a crazy barbed wire match and pull off a history-making match. Hopefully, someday someone will realize that the fans who loved ECW are still out there and still crave this type of promotion that is aimed toward entertainment for adults and gives fans an option that is NOT TV-PG.