Background: Rob Van Dam was looking to truly make a name for himself in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Becoming friends with Sabu, RVD challenged Sabu’s rival Taz to a match with knowledge of “The Human Suplex Machine’s” in-ring intricacies.
December 7, 1996
Taz vs. Rob Van Dam
The overconfident RVD actually cross the proverbial line, leading to him being taken down and locked in the STF. Relinquishing the hold, Taz opted to simply pound RVD with his fists. The first suplex of the evening from Taz was a tiger variation. The fans were vehemently chanting for Sabu, distracting Taz long enough for Van Dam to recover and monkey flip Taz in position for his springboard side kick. Taz quickly exited the ring. RVD followed by somersaulting off the top rope, taking down the former ECW Tag Team champion! RVD actually waited for Taz to drag himself into the ring for a face buster. By throwing his knees up, Taz stopped Rolling Thunder – knocking the wind out of RVD before laying the boots in.
Big clothesline from Taz almost put Van Dam’s lights out. Pitching RVD to the outside gave Taz a chance to Irish whip his opponent against the steel guardrails. The action returned inside, but the results were the same as Taz suplexed Van Dam to his heart’s content. Taz’s manager Bill Alfonso was doing his best The Ultimate Warrior imitation as he watched his man almost suplex RVD into oblivion. The Sabu chants were getting to Taz, distracting him over and over again. Taking advantage of the situation the fans were creating, RVD kicked Taz in position for a chair shot to the head!
RVD was innovating, utilizing a chair-assisted running dropkick before unleashing the Van-Daminator … to gain a near fall!
The fans were going wild until Taz German suplexed RVD on his head! Taz immediately went for the Tazmission, trying to choke Van Dam out. The referee refused to break the hold even though Van Dam made it to the ropes; giving Taz a chance to cinch in the submission deeper until RVD passed out.
Winner: Taz (10:25)
Is It A Classic: A shockingly good match during a time when RVD wasn’t anywhere near Taz’s level. A nice mix of high flying, brawling and even submission wrestling highlighted this war of wills. Seeing Taz mentally cracking thanks to the Sabu chants really added another dimension to Taz’s character and made the fans truly believe he could be beaten. Not a classic, but a very good match.