47. The Sandman (c) vs Cactus Jack (Barbed Wire match for the ECW Championship, ECW Barbed Wire, Hoodies and Chokeslams 1995)

I happened to come across another barbed wire match whilst perusing ECW matches on the WWE Network. Rather than Sabu or Terry Funk, this was pits ECW World Champion The Sandman against none other than Cactus Jack! This was two years before that bloody, ultraviolent match. Sabu tore his bicep open, and in the end both ended up so entangled in barbed wire that they could barely finish the match. How does this barbed wire match compare to that one?

If you want to see someone smoke and drink alcohol before and during the match, then The Sandman is the wrestler for you! From what I’ve seen from him (a limited perspective), I can’t say he’s a great wrestler. But he’s a great character, the everyman that captures the audience’s imagination. If he can be a wrestler, than why can’t I be one, sitting at home, munching on pretzels and drinking beer whilst watching wrestling? He epitomised the rough and ready nature of ECW. I’ve not seen much of Cactus Jack’s tenure in ECW (apart from so-so battles against Sabu and Chris Jericho), but he was a great wrestler. Yes, he’s more known for his hardcore antics and being thrown off the top of cages, but just look at his battle against Shawn Michaels at WWF In Your House: Mind Games for proof of that.

Hey, there are even a few wrestling moves on shows in this festival of ultraviolence! Sandman hits Jack with a vertical suplex and a bodyslam, whilst Jack hits a DDT (onto a steel chair) for good measure. But, it’s more about using the barbed wire to slice each other open. Each wrestler choose to slice open the other’s upper arm, prefiguring Sabu’s gruesome injury in his future barbed wire match. There’s a vivid shot that reminded me of a shot in Passion of the Christ, where Jack whips Sandman with some barbed wire and the barbed wire sticks in Sandman’s gut. Sandman seems to be the most sadistic of the two, attempting to (and succeeding) in choking Jack with the barbed wire!

There’s not just barbed wire used; chairs come out to play, and from nowhere, Jack shreds Sandman’s head open with a cheese grater! There are no tables, however. Even more so than the Sabu/Funk barbed wire match, this bout is very disjointed. It seems to result from miscommunication between the two wrestlers (or just Sandman being too drunk to follow Jack’s calls!). There’s a point where Jack punches Sandman in the head with a barbed wire wrapped fist, but Sandman is the one who ends up pinning Jack straight afterwards!

But perhaps bouts of this nature are supposed to be disjointed. It’s not about the wrestling, but about some ultraviolence wrapped in barbed wire. So, just like the Sabu/Funk match, this is a hard bout to recommend. Do you want to see people attack each other with barbed wire? If the answer’s yes, then go ahead and watch this bout! But obviously stay away if you are squeamish…

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

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