Taz vs Bam Bam Bigelow – ECW Heatwave 1998

Taz (c) vs Bam Bam Bigelow

Falls Count Anywhere Match for the FTW Heavyweight Championship

08/02/1998

Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio, United States

(reviewed 08/29/2018) A fair bit worse than their first match, not that this is necessarily bad. The first match is still within Bigelow’s big semi-unstoppable run and tells that story, with this huge, capable monster dominating one of ECW’s all time heroes but slowly being overcome by these bombs from Taz. Here they’re meant to be on even footing, or at least moreso than in the first match, and that dynamic is much less interesting. What’s more most of the match is this crowd brawl throughout the arena, something I’d never say either man here is suited to. Eventually they fight up onto the long entrance ramp and Taz reverses a suplex into a tornado DDT that sends them crashing through a comically fake portion of the ramp in a repeat of the finish to their previous bout. On top of just looking worse visually it’s so much more obvious and hollow, as it doesn’t cut short this valiant Taz comeback or feel like a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Bigelow’s the first man to escape and starts to limp back toward the ring but before he gets too far Taz practically leaps from the pit, seemingly no worse for wear, and leaps on Bigelow for the Tazmission for the laughable finish.

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN VS TAKER FROM WM25: Can’t really think of any way that this is better than Shawn/Taker. I might not like the 2009 match as much as at least one of Shawn and Taker’s earlier meetings, but it’s nowhere near the step down that this match is from the first Taz/Bigelow. Shawn/Taker might likewise be obvious but it actually hits in some of its unsurprising moments in a way this match just doesn’t. The return of fake tough world-beater Taz is a way less interesting way of telling a story of two equals than Shawn/Taker’s battle of legendary veterans. In every way this match feels worse to me.

VERDICT: Worse than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25

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