This week’s Wrestling Classics episode is from the ECW One Night Stand Pay Per View back in 2005. One of my favorite feuds in ECW would have to be Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome. Both men seem to have this chemistry where it didn’t matter what continent they were wrestling on their matches were full of action at a fluid pace. Another reason these matches were interesting was due to the fact that physically Tanaka and Awesome weren’t looked at as guys who move so gracefully around the ring. Tanaka comes in at a height of 6 ft and a weight of 210 lbs.
Wrestling Classics Episode 8: Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome ECW One Night Stand 2005
Known as Dangan or “Bullet” in his native country of Japan Tanaka is known for his fierce strikes similar to the intensity and force of Kenta Kobayashi, another popular Japanese grappler. Not to be considered a one trick pony Tanaka moved around the ring fast, fluid, and with ease. Every action and body movement seemed calculated and place with effectiveness. He is best known for his work with Japanese organization Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling and obviously ECW but he currently splits his time between New Japan Pro and Pro Wrestling Zero1.
Mike Awesome to me is easily one of the most underrated big men in all of wrestling. Weighing in at 292 lbs. and standing tall at 6’6″ Awesome was an imposing figure who different variations of power-bombs could incapacitate his opponents at anytime. Not to be considered just a powerhouse Awesome could fly, literally fly. He would come off the top rope to deliver a Awesome Splash with such grace if Jimmy Snuka saw it he would give it a standing ovation. Awesome spent time in Japan, (where his feud with Tanaka began) the independent circuit in the United States, ECW, WCW, and WWF/E. Sadly, Awesome took his own life in the year 2007. Who knows what would be the state of the Masato Tanaka/Mike Awesome feud today if he were still alive.
ECW One Night Stand to me was a special night in wrestling. Die hard ECW fans were able to converge for one night in the Manhattan Center to relive nights spent in a bingo hall in Philadelphia watching men literally put their bodies and lives on the line to entertain the masses. As a wrestling fan, even in the hardcore world of ECW, watching Awesome and Tanaka wrestle was pure magic. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself: