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[1997-08-09-ECW-Born To Be Wired] Terry Funk vs Sabu (Barbed Wire)

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One of the better ECW matches, on par with the best FMW stuff. These guys didn't hold back one bit. Give Alfonso credit for taking a few shots too. Lots of spots I've never seen in a barbed wire match before, like Funk crotching Sabu on the top "rope" and wire cutters being brought into the mix to free them up to do more stuff -- both in terms of highspots and in terms of building drama around the wire cutting. I could do without the Van Dam interference because he just seems there to get himself over, while Alfonso is taking shots to get over the match. So much drama and violence. Gory as hell and I don't want all of my wrestling to be like this, but I don't mind it every once in a while. Sabu wins the ECW title. They embraced this gimmick for all its worth, to the point that this may be the best match of its kind.

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I really disliked this match on original watches. Sabu takes a crotch drop on the barbed wire which is insane and gets his arm ripped open which he has to tape up. Funk starts raking Alfonzo's back with a piece of barbed wire. Sabu's hair gets caught in barbed wire. Sabu is getting messed up. Terry ends up getting wrapped up in barbed wire which looks awful. Hard to judge the reaction to crowd after. Whether they are disappointed that Funk lost, shocked by match violence or didn't like match. There is a quick Funk chant but they are quiet except for a cheer or clap here and there. Sabu and Funk are locked together by barbed wire at the end and need to be cut apart. Match isn't as bad as I remembered but for reasons I can't really explain I'm still not a fan. We have seen 4 World Title changes in the US in less than a week.

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This just wasn't my thing. I can't fault their commitment to the gimmick. And I liked the early part of the match, before the barbed wire spots became too elaborate. But when they started cutting the wire and wrapping themselves in it, the match just ground to a halt for me. And I think that was reflected in the lack of crowd heat for the title switch. It was definitely a spectacle, but it ceased feeling like a fight.

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Graphic and brutal. This may be my favorite ECW match and feels like the culmination of Sabu. The spots and barbed wire made this a sick affair to watch and it is weird how they did this so close to the PPV. The early stages set the tone and the match got more graphic and queasy to watch. Sabu wins the ECW strap for the last time.

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Thought it was as logical as one could work a match with this stip. Good tension, with the drama and spots escalating at a fine pace.

 

Used alfonso and others coming out to stretch out the carnage (since Sabu was all messed up anyway) which was fine. Sabu still taping his arm in mid back bump through the chair was amusing.

 

At first I didn't like Funk kicking out of the first attempt after the leg drop but I started thinking more about the feeling I had when it happened (and I assume those "live" as well). That "Oh shit, this is going to continue?" and then being relieved when it was done considering how brutal it was.

 

I'm not a big ECW guy but I liked this a good bit.

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Well-worked but too long for the stip, and at times this veered into Rotten brothers territory. They did make sure to get this over as something special and extra-extreme, though--Styles actually did a good job of calling it. One of those '97 Japanese indy "worth watching once" matches, but that's it.

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This is one of the most grisly matches I've ever seen. Terry, doing a match like this a month after during 53, proves that he is both crazy and the toughest man who ever lived.
​At the very end, as the EMTs are trying to pry both of them out of that hellish barbed wire tangle they got themselves in, a camera man hops in the ring. Sabu, thinking quickly, tries to cover the camera with his foot in an attempt to maintain his character/kayfabe. Sabu, again, going that extra mile.

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ECW World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk vs Sabu - ECW Born To Be Wired

Barbaric. Makes you question what the point of all this is, but at the end of the day it is gore at its finest. I will say I am not very familiar with this era of ECW, but I have watched this match many times in the past and I would say it was my favorite ECW match. On this rewatch, I think slightly prefer the Sabu vs Sandman Stairway to Hell, but this is still a violent spectacle. I thought there were too many down periods in this match that ground it to a halt, but it was very smartly worked. 

I loved the beginning. Sabu was aggressive but more cautious than normal. Funk was at his counterwrestling best. Both men doing all they can to avoid the barbed wire. I like that it was a simple forceful kickout from Funk that sent Sabu into the barbed wire to draw first blood. In a way, Sabu had been lulled into a false sense of security by doing straight wrestling and then that kickout sends right into painville. Funk rips open Sabu's forehead on the barbed wire and then crotches him. The crotch was a great idea because it was both painful and it demonstrated the effectiveness of the barbed wire shredding clothes. This was clearly not a worked gimmick, but shoot barbed wire. The other thing they do really well is make missed moves mean something. It was a Sabu sidestep that caused Funk first to be stuck with Barbed Wire and it was a missed Air Sabu that caused Sabu's bicep to ripped open. Classic Sabu fashion, he bandages his wound mid-match. Love it. I love the missed moves as major momentum swings and the consequence of being stuck with barbed wire. Also I wanted to make sure I mentioned how good the punches were for both men. I thought match lost something once Fonzie got involved. Funk was tearing his body with barbed wire, but there was not the great visual of blood. It just felt heatless. The RVD thing felt forced and just really unfair. Dreamer saving later was better than nothing, but would have liked to see that earlier. The finish was as fucking insane as I remember. RVD had wrapped Funk in the barbed wire and Sabu crashed through him and a table with a legdrop. When that didnt finish Funk, Sabu wrapped his own ass in barbed wire and Legdropped a barbed wire wrapped Funk. They were just one bloody ball of humanity and barbed wire. Eventually Fonzie and a ref lift them into the ring and Sabu pins Funk. 

The finish sure was something and something you will never forget. Definitely a Top Five ECW match and something that you can never take your eyes off of. ****1/4

 

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This is a brutal, violent, and iconic match for ECW.  I enjoyed the beginning of the match much more than the ending portion.  The spots where they were whipping each other with barbed wire and wrapping themselves in it didn't really stick with me.  The finish is lame, but the beginning of the match is so violently beautiful that it makes up for it.

****

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