17 Years ago today, ECW Legend Taz (also spelt Tazz) wrestled his last match on TV for the WWE. The Human Suplex Machine had a fantastic career in ECW, being a former ECW Champion and putting on some of the most memorable performances the promotion had ever seen.
However, he retired in his mid 30s and could have had another decade in the business. His last match showed that he made the right call and that the memory of him going out on top was better than watching him suffering even worse neck injuries than the ones that forced him to retire.
Taz’s Last WWE Match
Taz’s last WWE match was at ECW One Night Stand 2005 on June 12th 2005, wrestling Jerry Lawler in a match that had been bubbling for a decade. For years, Lawler had been running down ECW and even appeared on the original incarnation of the promotion. He is famous for his hatred of the promotion and it’s wrestlers, humorously naming it “Extremely Crappy Wrestling”.
The match began with Jerry Lawler attacking and insulting ECW’s commentator Joey Styles before the pair began to brawl in the ring. Obviously, the former wrestler got the upper hand and Lawler got Styles up for his signature pile driver move. However, as he lifted him off the ground, ready to drill his head into the ground, Taz struck.
Coming up from behind and dressed in his classic orange and black, he locked his patented Tazmission submission move and flung Lawler to the ground. He grapevined his legs around his waist and choked Lawler out. He lost consciousness and the referee was forced to call the match. It was a short one and one which Taz didn’t take any bumps in – but it made the ECW fans happy and that’s all the mattered.
As this match was incredibly brief and barely an actual match, some may not consider it his last match. If not, then the last match of his full-time wrestling career. His final match before retiring to become a commentator was on the little-known show called WWF Jakked. On the 30th April, 2002 episode of Jakked, he lost a 3 minute match to The Godfather before finally calling it quits.
He wrestled on house shows for the next few months but decided to hang his boots up full time to start doing commentary on Smackdown, where he first made his name as a top class commentator. He then went on to be an announcer for TNA and now regularly performs commentary on AEW Dynamite, replacing Jim Ross in late 2022.
Will Taz Wrestle In AEW?
Taz has been rumoured to be coming back into the ring for one last match multiple times over the past few years. So far, he avoided the temptation of wrestling in the WWE, TNA or anywhere else. However, with his son Hook now one of the top young stars in AEW, the temptation could become too much for him to resist.
Sadly for fans of the ECW legend, he has no desire to step back into the ring. Despite retiring at a younger age than most, he has no desire to step back into the ring. His neck remains in pain from his original injuries and he does not want surgery to fix it and get him back into ring shop.
Speaking to WWE.com, the Human Suplex Machine re-iterated the decision to stay outside of the ring. Despite examples like JBL and Chris Jericho coming out of retirement in the past, Taz revealed he had no desire to return to the ring and is content with staying retired.
“I get asked that question a lot, and the answer is no. Not at all. I’m happy that JBL and Y2J came back; they have that burning desire, but I don’t. They’re doing what they want to do, as am I. The butterflies I used to get before I’d go to the ring are the same butterflies I get before I call a show now.
Even before Y2J and Bradshaw came back, I was asked that question. Many people thought I retired at a young age; I was in my mid- to late-30s when I left the ring. The truth is I didn’t — and still don’t — have a desire to wrestle anymore. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot as a wrestler that I’m proud of. Unfortunately, my strong wrestling accomplishments came outside of WWE — like becoming a World Champion, which happened in the original ECW. But probably the greatest moment of my career was debuting for WWE at Madison Square Garden against an Olympic gold medallist. I’ll never forget that. I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life.
I don’t get the bug anymore, and I knew it was time to hang up my boots when I didn’t have the urge, that burn to compete. Plus, my neck is still in pain. I never had surgery; I didn’t want to, and still don’t want to risk it.“