ECW's Crucifixion Angle: Raven and The Sandman

Tommy NolanContributor IOctober 29, 2009

On Jan. 27, 1996, Raven began a new feud with The Sandman after he defeated him and won the ECW Heavyweight Title. And the two would subsequently trade the title back and forth throughout the years.

During the feud, Raven allied himself to the returned Lori Fullington and brainwashed her and The Sandman's real-life son Tyler into joining his cult-like following, turning him against his father. Raven psychologically attacked The Sandman by having his son deny his relationship with his father, telling Tyler that his parents' divorce was The Sandman's fault, and making him perform Raven's trademark taunt and other mannerisms.

These actions started a series of many blood matches but it was the conclusion of this feud that shocked fans the most.

On Oct. 26, 1996, The Sandman's son interfered in a match between Raven and The Sandman and helped his father. After the match, the two embraced, but Raven came from behind with a kendo stick, and smacked his enemy. Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie came out to the ring, got a wooden cross out from under the ring, then tied The Sandman down to it, and then lifted it up and "crucified" him, and carried him out of the building.

This incident caused many fans to go silent as it happened, marking the first time even the ECW Mutants (as the fans came to be known) were left speechless. With ECW fearing possible backlash, Raven was ordered to break out of character and apologize.

To this day, Raven claims that the angle was not an insult to Jesus Christ, but an insult to The Sandman by using religious iconography to convey an artistic standpoint.

At the time, Kurt Angle had attended the show where the Crucifixion happened and he had even appeared in the ring to set up an angle with Taz, but threatened to sue Heyman and ECW should they ever show any footage of him at that show. The footage was later seen on a DVD called The Rise and Fall of ECW .