There is a long line of pro wrestling matches that were booked that seemed great on paper, but never delivered when executed. I immediately think back to such “classics” as the Dog Kennel match in the WWE or how about WCW’s Chamber of Horrors match. There are several others that we could easily name from the big promotions, but what about ECW?
Oh sure, ECW has had its fair share of regrettable moments…ie The Mass Transit Incident, or when Raven crucified The Sandman. Those were certainly embarrassing moments in ECW history. While ECW had some horrible incidents, the company was always known for having some of the very best wrestling matches anywhere.
Just look at Super Crazy versus Tajiri, Masato Tanaka versus Mike Awesome or Rob Van Dam versus Jerry Lynn just to name a few. Surely, ECW could never have a match so bad, that they would refuse to air it. Right?!?
The date was December 26, 1993.
The place was the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The event was Holiday Hell ’93
The participants were The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) against Badd Company (Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond) The match was something called a “Body Count” match. The concept of the Body Count match was one member from each team wrestles, in this case it was Rocco Rock and Pat Tanaka, while the remaining members of each tag team – Johnny Grunge and Paul Diamond – were locked in cages. The cages were rigged with explosives and the loser of the match had their respective cage blown up.
A little background before we get into the actual match and what went horribly wrong with it. First off, Public Enemy was the creation of Paul Heyman, who was made booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling in September of 1993. In an effort to get the team over as a legitimate force, Public Enemy were booked into a feud with former AWA world tag team champions Badd Company. The two teams had a series of matches at the tail end of ’93.
After exchanging a few victories, their feud with each other would culminate at the Holiday Hell event in the infamous Body Count match. My description of just how horrible this match went won’t do it proper justice. So, to describe exactly what happened in it, I turn it over to someone who was directly involved in the match: Paul Diamond of Badd Company. He was the wrestler who had the unfortunate task of being locked in the explosive cage.
“Well Paul did not get approval to use special effects fireworks, so instead when the match ended, I was the one to be blown up. There was no cage but just one side of it. So when it was time for the explosion, Paul just had some kind of paper lit up to create a bunch of smoke and the most ridiculous thing he used a recording a sound of an explosion.”
As you could imagine, the ridiculousness of that sight of smoke and a sound effect of an explosion riled up the rabid 800 fans in attendance. The crowd immediately crapped on the finish and started chanting in unison…”Money back! Money back!” Diamond added, “I had to pretend to be blown up from a sound recording! It was horrible and most embarrassing situation I was ever involved in.”
The Body Count match result was so bad and so embarrassing, there were some rumblings that Heyman was fearful that his job as ECW booker would be removed by owner Tod Gordon. Ultimately, cooler heads prevailed and the match, which was heavily advertised on TV, never aired. When recalling the match, Joey Styles, who called the action, could only laugh and say: “It went over like a fart in church.”
The Body Count match was never used again, nor was it even allowed to ever be mentioned on ECW television. From all accounts, the match is probably buried somewhere in WWE’s vast video vaults. You may even consider this match the “Holy Grail” of ECW matches. Much like the Tom Magee match against Bret Hart in WWE was considered the ultimate must see match, but for all the wrong reasons.