Having attended both "Hardcore Homecoming" and "ECW: One Night Stand"
this weekend, I find it extremely difficult (pun intended) to come up with
an answer as to which one was the better show.
Match-wise, I'd say it was a tie. Hardcore Homecoming (HH) delivered
huge, particularly Jerry Lynn vs. Justin Credible and the brilliant main
event between Shane Douglas, Sabu, and Terry Funk. But One Night Stand (ONS)
offered up some gems as well, notably Chris Jericho vs. Lance Storm, and
possibly the match of the year so far in Mike Awesome
vs. Masato Tanaka. Of
course, not having heard the commentary, both shows will be worth a second
look on DVD. But, for now, it's just too close to call.
Both shows were filled with emotional moments. HH's in-ring tribute to
recently-fallen ECW stars was a classy touch, and having Tammy Sytch there
to pay respects publicly to Chris Candido was especially moving. ONS
countered with a tribute of its own, but somehow, after seeing the one just
days earlier, the cynic in me thinks it may have been added in as an
afterthought. What did move me, though, was seeing Paul Heyman get all
choked up from the reception the crowd gave him, and Tommy Dreamer shed
tears at the end of the show. Maybe more than anyone else, those two lived
for ECW, and to see them openly and unashamedly show us what they were
feeling in their hearts made me proud to be a fan.
How about those extreme moments that ECW is known for? Again, I'd say it
was a draw. ONS was full of them, from Super Crazy's balcony moonsault, to
the various weaponry used in the main event (a cheese grater AND a flaming
table? Talk about hardcore heaven!), to the entire Awesome-Tanaka match. But
HH wasn't anything to sneeze at either. The three-way barbed wire dance was a
complete gorefest. And, hey, you want hardcore? Two words: New Jack.
"But what about the fans?" you might ask. "Surely they made the
difference." I might have thought so, too, especially after being part of
the Philadelphia crowd. After all, those are some of the most passionate
fans in the world. Heck, they're the ones that invented such creative chants
as "Where's my pizza? Meanie ate it!" or "F*** 'em up, Sandman, f*** 'em
up". And I'm not being sarcastic, either -- compared to the completely tired
"You suck" and "What?", ECW fans are almost Shakespearean in their
eloquence. But, on Sunday night, those of us in the Hammerstein were on our
game as well, filling the rafters almost non-stop with respect applause and
cheers for those who deserved it, and drowning out the others with curses so
blue that they could have made the devil himself blush. No, the fans
wouldn't be the deciding factor here.
Nor would it be the list of stars who were at either event. Sure, one
could make the argument that ONS had the greater marquee power, being that
they had exclusive access to many of the former ECW stars. That without some
of those guys like Rob Van Dam, the Dudley Boys, Dreamer, and Tazz, it could
never be an authentic ECW show. But, on the other hand, you could argue the
same point about guys like Douglas, and Raven, and Funk, who were HH
exclusives. Even a comparison of how the other (ie: not necessarily
top-tier) stars were used doesn't give either show the duke. Yes, HH
arguably used guys like Danny Doring and Roadkill, and CW Anderson, and
Mikey Whipwreck better by putting them in matches. But at ONS, all of them,
in fact, every former ECW star, was allowed to shine, even embarrassing the
invading stars from Raw and Smackdown in the big face-off at the end of the
show. Again, it's too close a call to give either show a hands-down victory.
But, you know what? Maybe that doesn't even matter. Maybe the whole point
of the weekend wasn't to choose a side and pick a winner. Rather, maybe it
was just a chance to look back fondly on the company that changed the face
of wrestling. An opportunity for fans to reminisce about all of the good
times and the magical moments that made ECW one of the best things about the
industry. To honour the legacy of the little company that could. To remember
why you became an ECW fan in the first place... and why you always will be.
Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!
Pre-order ECW One Night Stand DVD
For your ECW lesson: Order The Rise and Fall of ECW
HARDCORE HOMECOMING LINKS
June 11, 2005: Hardcore Homecoming a memorable night
June 8, 2005: Hardcore Homecoming worries Funk
June 6, 2005: Jerry Lynn ready for return
June 4, 2005: Francine pumped for Hardcore Homecoming
Hardcore Homecoming website
ECW ONE NIGHT STAND HOMECOMING LINKS
PPV review June 13, 2005: One great Night of hardcore hostalgia
June 12, 2005: ECW adds breath of fresh air to WWE
June 11, 2005: RVD primed to talk
June 5, 2005: RVD ready to rock at One Night Stand
STORIES ABOUT BOTH SHOWS
June 13, 2005:
Torn between two ECW shows
June 9, 2005: SLAM! Speaks - ECW weekend's best
Devine column: Jealous over ECW nostalgia
"Bloodthirsty" Bob Kapur is a die-hard ECW fan from Mississauga. He publicly
wants to thank the following people for helping make his extreme weekend a
truly memorable experience: Steve Kaufman, Dave Blezard, Erin Landis, Johnny
Grunge, Annihilation, "Shutterbug" Kemp, and the lady at the Hilton hotel in
Philadelphia whose name he didn't get.