ECW often brought in stars from abroad to showcase their unique styles to the hardcore faithful. But few adapted to the extreme technique like Masato Tanaka. A veteran of FMW, a hardcore promotion in Japan, Tanaka left the Land of the Rising Sun for ECW in 1999 and made an immediate impact. Showing that he could deal out chair shots just as hard as Balls Mahoney, the tenacious competitor teamed with the hardcore, chair-swinging freak to capture the ECW Tag Team Titles.
Tanaka then rekindled his biggest feud from Japan, standing up to monstrous ECW World Champion Mike Awesome. On the Christmas Eve 1999 edition of ECW on TNN, he was given a title opportunity against his rival. Tanaka leveled the giant with his trademark Roaring Elbow to become the first foreign-born ECW Champion. — B.M.