Taz vs. Joel Hartgood

It’s so weird to me that there’s a whole generation of folks who only know Taz as a commentator. Don’t get me wrong – I love the guy in that role, he’s really good. But before he was only calling the action, he was inside the ring and he was great. I ain’t talking about his WWE run – I’m talking about his heyday in the original ECW, where he truly earned the monicker of “the human suplex machine.” And if you don’t believe me, you can ask his victim today, Joel Hartgood.

A quick lock up gets us going, and Taz shoves him to the ground with such force that Joel reaches back to make sure his head is still attached. It is, but it may not be for long!

We get some mat work next, as he is just schooling this fool. Meanwhile, former referee turned manager Bill Alfonzo screams at viewers at home. It’s almost mind boggling to believe this man was running around being Giant Gonzalez’ personal assistant just a couple years earlier. True story!

A clothesline follows, one that announcer Joey Styles compares to the Steiners. Not sure if it’s quite at that level, but y’all don’t want to know how much I’d pay to watch Taz and Rick Steiner go at it in a “nothing but clotheslines” match.

I usually save the SQUASH of the Week logo for the finisher. Actually, I ALWAYS do that. But when a doofus does a completely mistimed leap frog attempt that gets him maybe two inches off the ground and gets murdered for it? Yeah, that’s worthy of the logo.

Undeterred, young Mr. Hartgood keeps trying, this time with a sunset flip. He’s awarded with a brutal Tazplex that looks to have broke his neck. Did I mention this Taz guy was pretty good?

At this point, the Tazmission is academic and the tap out (with vigor!) is inevitable. I mean, I’d be begging for mercy any way I could too after that beating.

A lot of folks love Taz’s son Hook and compare him to his father. I love watching Hook too, but he’s got a looooong way to go to catch up to his old man! (PS – please never tell Taz I called him an old man. I like my neck just the way it is.)

Quick note from RD: Thanks to reader James L for sending in this information: “Awesome squash, but I’m pretty sure that his name was Joel Hartgood, which was a rib at Joel Goodheart, a former Philly promoter. Paul E tended to name jobbers after his enemies/rivals in the business.”

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