Recap from David Arthur:
Eric Bischoff would take all the credit for introducing mainstream American wrestling audiences to the Lucha Libre style, as he takes credit for everything ranging from Steve Austin’s success, the nWo, breathing, shoes, etc,. However it was ECW that first brought Lucha Libre talents from the AAA promotion in Mexico to the consciousness of the underground and or independent wrestling scene here in the States.
This is the second match between Rey Mysterio and Psicosis on ECW’s programming. Like most lucha matches it is a 2 out of 3 fall affair. Rey Mysterio may have only been 19 or 20 at the time. He his much smaller than we’ve known him to be in recent years, and he moves with exceptional grace and speed. After some tumbles, dives, and other trademark lucha based offense that I don’t know the names of, Rey wins the first fall with a Hurrancanrana (Joey Styles lets us know that in Mexico, that move’s name means ‘reverse victory roll’).
The second fall begins with Rey hitting a couple more ‘rana/headscissors on Psicosis, including one from the ring apron onto the floor. Psicosis manages to take the match back from Rey, and begins to approach the match with a very effective strategy: Don’t try and one-up him, just beat him up. He uses his size and power over Rey to his advantage and even hits him with a chair. We’re not in AAA tonight friends. It is ECW, after all. When in Rome…
Psicosis takes the second fall after he reverses a moonsault press attempt by Rey, turning it into a Tombstone piledriver. The third fall begins with Psicosis taking Rey outside the ring, powerbombing him on a table, tossing him over the guard rail into the crowd, and hitting a big dive from the ring onto Rey. These types of high-risk, daredevil maneuvers are common nowadays in independent wrestling, but back in 1995 it had almost never been seen or experienced by American audiences. The fans came to admire men like Psicosis and Rey Mysterio Jr. for their skill, heart, sacrifice, and guts.
Psicosis takes Rey back into the ring. He runs at him in the corner but Rey ducks and Psicosis tumbles over the top turnbuckle to the floor. Rey then hits a huge flip dive onto Psicosis. They scuffle on the floor, Rey decides to play Psicosis’s game and uses a chair, collering it around Psicosis head and running him into the steel ring posts. Following a return inside the ring and some more ‘ranas, headscissors, and dives, they end up back out on the floor. Psicosis runs Rey into the guard rail. He sets Rey on top of a table, climbs the top rope and crashes Rey through the table with a flying leg drop. I’d like to note that when this match began Psicosis was wearing a body suit that was shiny and white in color. At this point in the match, after all the rolling around on the floor so many times, it is no longer shiny, or white. Psicosis takes Rey back into the ring, powerbombs him, sets a chair on top of him, and hits a top rope twisting senton from the top turnbuckle for the victory.
I’ve never been a fan of Psicosis as a luchador. I always thought he was overshadowed by more talented competitors when working strictly that style. However this match is an excellent outing by him and Rey. Both men showcase their skills and use smart psychology, out of their normal element, by meshing the athletic spectacle of lucha libre with the violent, chaotic environment that was the old ECW. I’ve a new found respect for Psicosis now that I’ve seen him from another perspective. I wonder who else I should take a different look at now?
Thoughts from TJ Hawke:
This match is on “The Rise and Fall of ECW” DVD that the WWE produced. I mention that because, the match has gotten a lot of retrospective love as a result of that.
Anyway, I legit forgot how fucking amazing these two were once upon a time. I consider Mysterio to be one of the best professional wrestlers of all time, but I had genuinely forgotten what it was like to watch him when he was younger. Everyone must watch this match right now. I am not capable of expressing my love for this match much besides that.
Match Rating: ****1/4
Thoughts from Lee Goodfellow:
A highly important and influential match that’s still awesome to watch over seventeen years later. These two blew the roof off the ECW arena. An essential bout for fans of Rey Mysterio and high flying wrestling in general. That tombstone counter to the springboard moonsault that scored Psicosis the second fall was the coolest spot of the match for me.
Match Rating: ****