Six of the Best – ECW November to Remember

This is the first time we look at ECW for this feature. November to Remember was ostensibly ECW’s equivalent to WrestleMania, but sadly the shows from the Pay Per View era of the company never really lived up to that billing. However, there were some great matches spliced throughout N2R’s history and I’ll be listing my six favourite today.

As always, this is just my own personal picks and it isn’t supposed to be some sort of objective list or anything. If I leave out a match that you think warrants inclusion then please feel free to put it down in the comments section below. As with previous lists, I’ll be listing the matches in chronological order.

So without further to do, let’s get to it!

November to Remember 1995
Mexican Death Match
Psicosis Vs Rey Mysterio Jr

As a general rule I don’t like these kinds of matches as I find the drama to be rather synthetic and also don’t like the fact that wrestlers have to get pinned or submitted multiple times in a 15-20 minute period. Case in point, Rey pins Psicosis mere seconds into the bout, which looks pretty silly considering it isn’t even a big move that he hits him with.

Despite the match type not being one of my favourites, this is still an excellent match and another fine entry in the eternal feud between the two men. The extreme atmosphere of ECW allows both Luchadores to really cut loose and up the ante when it comes to crazy dives and ludicrous high spots. The difference in height between the two men has always made for a good David Vs Goliath feel to their battles, which Psicosis extenuates by wailing on Rey with a weapon at one stage.

This was the blow off to a series of hot matches between the two in the latter months of 1995, which eventually led to both them and the rest of the Luchadores getting spotted and brought into WCW in 1996 once Konnan managed to get his foot in the door down in Atlanta. This really is an excellent spot fest with an extreme flavour and is definitely worth a watch if you’ve never seen it.

November to Remember 1995
Raven and Cactus Jack Vs Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk

This extreme brawl was set up by Cactus Jack accidentally setting Funk on fire back at the October 1995 event at the ECW arena. Cactus was deep into his “Anti-Hardcore” character at the time of this match and comes down to the ring wearing a homemade Dungeon of Doom T-Shirt to really ram the point home. As humorous as the gimmick was, Cactus could still be a scary and uncompromising villain when called upon, and he does that here by jabbing spikes into Funk’s cuts and just generally being as vicious as possible.

You name a weapon and it gets used here, with the assorted plunder including road signs, snow shovels and even a VCR getting used to inflict pain on the brave/stupid contestants. The big part of the match that people most remember is Cactus getting his Dungeon of Doom shirt removed, only to reveal a different one underneath featuring the visage of then WCW head honcho Eric Bischoff. Thus we get the surreal visual of Dreamer pulling the shirt over Cactus’ face before hitting “Bischoff” with a chair as the blood thirsty ECW Arena crowd vicariously live through him. This is one of the wildest fights in ECW history and is as emotionally draining as it is brutal.

November to Remember 1998
The Dudley Boyz Vs Balls Mahoney and Masato Tanaka

The story going into this match was that Balls and Tanaka had been seriously injured at the hands of The Dudley’s and were coming into this match with a litany of ailments,  the most severe being a fractured skull apiece. With such serious handicaps it seemed impossible that Balls and Tanaka would be able to wrest The Dudley’s ECW Tag Team Titles away from them. However, this being wrestling, the more impossible a task facing a babyface the more stirred they will be to overcome it, which is just what the plucky challengers do here.

What makes this match better than just your standard ECW Dudley’s match is the presence of Tanaka, who takes the heat for his team before finally unleashing his usual vast array of exciting dives, strikes and weapon shots down the closing stretch. It’s not just Tanaka who takes to the air though, as Bubba Ray even leaves his feet for an unexpected plancha to the outside! Eventually the match descends into wild overbooked madness, with Big Dick Dudley, Axl Rotten, Joel Gertner and Sign Guy Dudley all getting involved.

Eventually we get to the sickening chair shots to the challengers from The Dudley’s, which the faces somehow manage to survive and rally from. Tanaka even gets to kick out of the 3-D, which barely anyone got to do in ECW and gets a big pop from the surprised New Orleans crowd in response. We get the obligatory appearance from heel ref Jeff Jones, who tries to converse with Tanaka via the aid of a Japanese phrase book before getting taken out by Rotten in a funny moment.

This is a decent tag match that descends into utter chaos, but it’s the good entertaining kind of chaos that definitely has its place. The story of the challengers fighting from underneath with the odds stacked against them is well told and it also has a satisfying conclusion when all is said and done.

November to Remember 1999
Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Super Crazy Vs Jerry Lynn

The Extreme Three Way Dance was a fixture of ECW events throughout the company’s history, with most of the best ones including some combination of Tajiri, Super Crazy and Little Guido plus whichever guest opponent happened to be there that day. Lynn had been on the receiving end of possibly the biggest push of his career in 1999, having a series of great matches with Rob Van Dam as well as one of the best opening matches ever at Anarchy Rulz 99 with Lance Storm.

He meshes with both Tajiri and Crazy easily and the match is a high tempo and exciting bout right from the opening bell, with plenty of great wrestling on display. A three way brawl in the crowd does seem a little out of place at first, but then it ends with Crazy hitting one of his trademark moonsaults off the balcony onto his rivals. Lynn’s smooth skills, Tajiri’s evil sadism and Crazy’s unburdened insanity combine to make for a really enjoyable and fun match. The only down side is that it’s a bit on the short side, as you’re left wanting more when the match concludes.

November to Remember 1999
Mike Awesome Vs Masato Tanaka

The third Pay Per View meeting between these two heated rivals is probably the weakest one overall, but it’s still a thrilling collision as it’s seemingly impossible for these two men to have a boring match together. As with the Three Way Dance, this match suffers from feeling a little rushed. Despite this, the action on offer is the usual ultra-stiff table breakage you’d expect from these two warhorses, as they pummel each other with big chair shots and fling each other through furniture with reckless abandon.

The crowd in Buffalo are with the match throughout, reacting loudly to the big spots and near falls. It’s always impressive to watch a guy the size of Awesome fly through the air doing dives and top rope splashes, and Tanaka is a ludicrously tough man to be able to survive so many brutal shots to the head, not to mention tumbles through tables. When the contest finally comes to its crushing conclusion the amassed crowd give both men a standing ovation, and you can’t argue that the two wrestlers don’t earn it either.

November to Remember 2000
Kid Kash Vs CW Anderson

These two had surprisingly great chemistry together, with Kash’s high flying style meshing well with CW’s more grounded and strike based approach. CW also benefitted from having deceptive stamina, as well as a pretty good motor under the bonnet, which meant that he was able to keep up with Kash and have some high tempo and exciting matches along the way.

Kash brings his usual array of dives to the table in the early going before CW is able to slow things down and start brutalising his smaller opponent with a selection of his most punishing strikes, holds and suplexes. CW’s hanging brain buster from the second rope in particular is a great move that ends up getting a big reaction from the crowd despite CW’s heel status.

This is one of those matches that will really surprise you, as you think it’ll be a styles clash that just won’t work. But actually, the styles clash is what makes it work in the first place. By going out of their comfort zone against an opponent with a different philosophy, both men end up delivering a match just as entertaining as they would against someone who matched up to them more similarly from a stylistic standpoint.

Honourable Mentions

Hack Meyers Vs Sabu (November to Remember 1995), Big Stevie Cool Vs David Morton Tyler Jericho (November to Remember 1996), Raven Vs The Sandman (November to Remember 1996), Lance Storm and Chris Candido Vs Tommy Rogers and Jerry Lynn (November to Remember 1997), Tommy Dreamer Vs Rob Van Dam (November to Remember 1997), Da Baldies Vs Balls Mahoney and Chilly Willy (November to Remember 2000), The Unholy Alliance Vs The Full Blooded Italians (November to Remember 2000)

Well thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and please feel free to add your own opinions in the comments section below.

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That’s all I’ve got for this time out. That’s all I’ve got for this time out. I wish you all the best and thank you for reading!