The Night An WCW Star Defended the ECW Title Against An WWE Star 

The Night A WCW star defended the ECW Title Against a WWE star. In the twisted crazy world of professional wrestling, anything can happen. That fact was never proven better than on this day in pro wrestling history on April 14th, 2000; the ECW Championship was defended by when a WCW superstar against a WWF Superstar. It is the one and only time all three highly competitive wrestling promotions agreed. WWF, ECW, and WCW were the hottest promotions in the United States in the ’90s. 

After entering the business’s second Renaissance period, pro wrestling became the new American pastime.  WWF was unquestionably the leader, WCW was closing in, and ECW offered an extreme alternative to the big two that fans found refreshing. It was a very rare occasion when the three would work together.

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An Awesome Career Move 

Mike Awesome was the current Extreme Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Masato Tanaka to climb to the top of the extreme mountain. Awesome may have been the ECW heavyweight champion, but he was far from happy. For weeks he wasn’t receiving his pay. It was common knowledge in the ECW locker room that Paul Heyman would tell his boys the “checks in the mail.” However, weeks would go by without a check. Awesome stated that

“to be Heavyweight Wrestling Champion is great, but it’s even better being able to provide for your family.”

Mike Awesome did what any father would do and sought employment elsewhere. He started contacting World Championship Wrestling through his Cousin Horace Hogan. He and Hogan had been a tag team in Japan. Hulk Hogan was Horace’s uncle. As a favor to Hulk, Eric Biscoff, then acting as WCW Executive Producer, signed Awesome to a contract. On his podcast 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff elaborated more on this. Bischoff made it clear that Mike Awesome contacted WCW first, not the other way around. In no way did WCW try to steal him from ECW. Mike Awesome didn’t have a contract, and he wasn’t getting paid to put his body on the line. He did what anyone would do. 

Heyman’s Retribution 

Awesome made his WCW debut on the episode of Nitro attacking Kevin Nash. Keep in mind that he was still ECW champion appearing on a competitor’s tv show. Awesome never bought the ECW title on tv with him; WCW did not feel the need to deal with a lawsuit. Back at Extreme Championship Wrestling, Paul Heyman had to find a way to get his title off of Mike Awesome. It has recently been revealed that Paul Heyman was always a business partner with Vince McMahon. That explained how ECW talent would so easily get brought into the WWF.

Heyman asked Vince McMahon if he would allow former ECW star Tazz to come to ECW for one night only and take the ECW Championship off Mike Awesome. Vince McMahon 100% agreed. Vince knew an opportunity would present itself down the line. It definitely did do that, but more on that game plan later. 

Tazz vs. Mike Awesome - ECW Championship Match: Hardcore TV, April 14, 2000 | WWE
Photo / WWE

The Night A WCW Star Defended The ECW Title Against A WWE Star
Survive If I Let You 

WCW agreed to allow Mike Awesome to go to ECW and drop the title. Biscoff said that he really did think that having a WCW  superstar do that would impact any part of WCW’s working environment. He believed that since ECW had such a small fan base, it wouldn’t matter in the long run.  Awesome was planned to start a feud with Nash in WCW that would make fans forget about his ECW run.

It was decided by all three companies that Mike Awesome, a contracted WCW star, would return to ECW to defend the ECW Championship against a WWF Contracted Superstar Tazz on April 14, 2000. Mike Awesome walked to the ring with fans shouting, “You Sold Out.” To make matters worse, Joey Styles, ECW commentator, said that awesome had “sold his soul to WCW.” Tazz arrived at a round of applause. ECW’s Human Suplex Machine and come home.  The match was very short, but it was intended to be.

Tazz and Awesome battled each other by the guard rails, repeatedly using them to maim each other. When the action finally spilled into the ring, Tazz was accidentally thrown into the referee knocking him out cold. During this chaos, ECW alum and next in line for the championship Tommy Dreamer DDT’d Mike Awesome.

The referee woke up as Tazz slapped on the Tazzmission. Awesome tapped, leaving Tazz, a WWF Superstar, the ECW Heavyweight Champion. Paul Heyman had his title back, and Eric Bischoff could go on to promote Mike Awesome as a Giant Killer in WCW. The question still remained as to why Vince McMahon would allow Tazz to wrestle on ECW television. A few days later, on Smackdown, that question was answered.

ECW on TNN Mike Awesome vs Taz ECW Title breaking news - YouTube
Photo / YouTube

The Night A WCW Star Defended The ECW Title Against A WWE Star
Vince McMahons Extreme Game Plan 

On the April 20th, 2000, episode of SmackDown, Tazz walked to the ring. Jim Ross, SmackDown’s lead commentator, said that Tazz won the ECW title on his day off. Tazz looked like he was in the push of his life. Later in the program, WWF Champion HHH cut a promo on how he is the greatest champion in any promotion. Directly after The Game made that statement, the mood was about to change. The ECW champion Tazz challenged HHH in a nontitle match. Not one to back down, the cerebral assassin agreed. This was another short match.

Tazz definitely looked like he had the game beat until HHH used a low blow and a pedigree to get the win. ECW champion Tazz still looked strong because Triple H had to use a low blow. WWF Champion HHH was looked at as the superior champion.

The real winner was Vince McMahon, who in one week had a WWF Superstar defeat a WCW superstar and had his WWF Champion HHH defeat a former ECW star. In Vince McMahon’s mind, WWE was arguably the superior product. This is the tale of the night a WCW star defended the ECW title against a WWE star.