One great Night of hardcore hostalgia
By CHRIS GRAMLICH - SLAM! Wrestling
Those three little letters ("E" "C" W!") mean more to me than any others in
wrestling. More than WWF, more than WWE, more than the NWA or TNA and a hell of
a lot more than WCW.
I was first introduced to this outlaw style of wrestling during a tour that took one of my former bands to New York City towards the mid/latter part of the '90s. I remember staying up late (2 a.m., I believe) at a friend's
house to catch my first glimpse of Taz, who was beating the crap out of his
cousin, Chris Chetti, for no real reason I can remember, on ECW's indie
cable show. I had only heard about Taz, and ECW, for that matter, on the
Internet, and although he was diminutive, he was unrelentingly brutal and bad-
ass, and the stiff style of wrestling combined with the hardcore violence of
the rest of the show (the chair-shot Raven took from Tommy Dreamer in ECW's old
opening montage may be the most brutal chair shot ever) was the perfect
alternative to the big two's product, and a near-mythical discovery for a
Canadian at the time, at least for me.
It's safe to say that after initial glimpses and merch buying (I still own my
Taz "Survive If I Let You" shirt), I was hooked, regularly travelling to
Buffalo (but never to the Mecca of Philadelphia, sadly) to catch ECW live
events and load up on tapes (both theirs and RF Videos'). ECW was more real,
violent, creative and engaging than any product the big two were putting out at
the time (keeping in mind that the WWF's Attitude phase was them doing ECW),
or, in WWE's case, since.
And by now, four and a half years after its
death knell, we all know the history (or should) of the outlaw promotion that
started small in a bingo hall, innovated and struggled, took runs at the big
two, revolutionized the wrestling industry and eventually folded under gross
So it was with a bit of nostalgia and even more trepidation (Vince McMahon has never
met an idea he couldn't ruin in attempting to put his stamp on it) that my
excitement in wrestling was marginally rekindled (unlike, say, my current love
affair with the UFC) by the announcement of a one-off ECW event. In fact, my
boredom with wrestling can be traced back to the death of ECW, which, coupled
with the failure of WCW, left the WWF without challenges and wallowing in its
own muck, stagnation and mire for years.
But in thinking back to what made ECW so special to me (and to so many other
people) in an attempt to discern if WWE's resurrection of greatness has any
chance in hell of holding a candle to ECW's legacy, it's clear that despite all
the hoopla, nostalgia and hype that surrounds this "one night stand" -- think
anyone would care about a WCW one night stand? -- it can't be the ECW of our
Why? Well, because it's not pure ECW if it's under the banner of the WWE.
Because it's not the '90s; it's 2005 and everything that made the company so
innovative, so cutting edge, so engaging has been done and/or stolen and done
on larger stages (a creative problem the company faced in its last days). Maybe
it wasn't done as well, but the shock and awe ECW generated back in its
formative years cannot be matched currently (I don't care how many times TNA
redesigns a ring). No matter how successful this PPV is, it won't revolutionize
the sport. At best, it'll be excellent nostalgia, at worst it'll be the unseen
funeral from Clerks.
That doesn't mean that One Night Stand is going to be an awful event. Despite
missing the likes of hardcore icons such as Terry Funk, Raven and New Jack, and
the absence of ECW's first champion and Franchise, Shane Douglas, given the
nostalgia factor and the likes of Sabu, Chris Benoit and the Dudleys being
allowed, hopefully, to showcase their skills in a true hardcore environment, it
could be superior to anything the WWE has done in years.
Of course, typing this a half-hour before its start, and knowing that the WWE
invasion angle will play a large part in the show, which is a bad, rushed idea
(if the WWE is serious about bringing back ECW in one shape or another to
generate a faux sense of competition, which rumours seem to substantiate, it
would have been a much better angle down the road), it very well could turn out
to be very bad idea, especially since all reports indicate that Douglas'
Hardcore Homecoming got it so right on Friday night in Philadelphia. But enough of the speculation; on to the
The show from the "Madhouse of the Extreme," NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom, opens
with those world-famous "ECW" chants and the ECW music.
Joey Styles (the voice of ECW) is introduced and walks to the ring.
I am currently feeling very nostalgic and may have something in my eye despite
my trepidation. I promise you, it's not a tear.
The fans chant "Joey," a lot.
Joey lets out a trademarked "Oh my God!" and welcomes us to ECW's One Night
Stand. More "ECW" chants ring out.
Mick Foley is shown some love in an introduction by Joey and comes out to do
colour commentary wearing a Cactus Jack shirt. They even share a manly hug.
That's right, manly. Nothing wrong with two guys hugging.
The ECW intro video is shown.
Match 1 - Lance Storm w/Dawn Marie vs. Lion Heart Chris Jericho
Joey hypes up the Impact Players (Justin Credible and Storm) during Lance's
introduction; there are even more "ECW" chants. God, it's good to hear Joey's
voice again. Mick interjects that this might be Lance's last match ever. Joey
gives some background info on Jericho and Storm.
The match opens with some good wrestling and reversals. The fans give an
ovation and more "ECW" chants. Jericho nails Storm with a nice dropkick and
baseball slide; "Lion Heart" cheers start. Storm nails Jericho with a great
dropkick, gets a two count. Joey thanks WWE. Sigh. Storm hits a nice
delayed vertical suplex. "Canadian whip"? Nice, Joey. Lance is thrown into the
corner, jumps to and off the turnbuckles and takes a dropkick in the back.
Chants of "holy s**t" break out, followed shortly by a "Chris Candido" chant.
The action goes back and forth, Storm hits a leg lariat; Jericho reverses a
cradle piledriver then takes a super-kick for a two count. Jericho hits a
flying elbow off the ropes. Holy nostalgia, Batman, they're even showing the
old split-style, crappy ECW replays. Storm gets Jericho in the Calgary Crab;
Jericho reverses, hits a Lionsault but takes the knees then reverses it into
the Walls of Jericho. Storm taps but the ref is distracted; Jason and Justin
Credible come out. Jericho takes a cane shot and Storm gets the "one, two,
three!" It's an Impact Players reunion. Hey, don't I own that Justin Credible
shirt? Foley and Joey play up the heel angle; Jericho sells the cane shot. More
"Lion Heart" chants ring out.
Winner: Lance Storm
Three out of Five chair shots for this short, but solid, Can-con match.
Cut to Foley and Joey in the booth foreshadowing the WWE invasion angle.
Remember how the WWE butchered the WCW invasion angle? Yeah, yeah.
Oh my God, it's Pitbull Gary Wolfe giving a promo that introduces an "ECW
Remembers" tribute for its sadly deceased wrestlers: Rocco Rock (Public Enemy),
Terry Gordy, Mike Lockwood (Crash Holly), the Original Sheik, Mike Lozansky
(guh?), Pitbull Anthony Durante (the bald one), Big Dick Dudley and Chris
Candido. No lament for the dead careers of the number of its wrestlers that
floundered in WWF/E and WCW though (Brian Pillman, Louie Spicolli, et al).
More "Candido" chants.
Match 2 - Tajiri with the Sinister Minister and Mikey Whipwreck versus Little Guido with
most of the past members of the Full Bloodied Italians versus Super Crazy, all
by his lonesome
Let the mayhem begin. Seriously, I can't keep track of the action. Super Crazy
nails Little Guido with a nice dropkick to the face after some action, then
Tajiri gets one as well. Guido hits the Sicilian slice on Crazy; the match goes
to the floor. Guido goes into the guardrail then the crowd. Super Crazy is
setting up on the balcony for a moonsault to the floor and hits it on all the
members of the FBI. Oh my God! Shockingly, "ECW" chants ring out. Crazy is the
first one up and back in the ring. Tajiri gets Crazy in the Tarantula. Guido
makes it back to the ring. Crazy gets jumped by the FBI; Tajiri mists Guido in
the eyes; mayhem breaks out. Whipwreck hits a Whippersnapper on Guido then
Tajiri pins him for the "one, two, three!" Crazy hits a springboard moonsault
on Tajiri. Tajiri DDTs Crazy off a reversal; "Super Crazy" chants start. Crazy
hits a fireman's carry and two moonsaults before Mikey interferes. "You F**ked
Up!" chants begin but I'm not sure why. Crazy hits another moonsault for the
"one, two, three!"
Winner: Super Crazy
Three out of five chair shots.
A good match, with an actual ECW "holy s**t" high-spot, but it was way too
short to properly allow the three to demonstrate their skills or build the
Joey throws to an "ECW Memories" package. Perry Como springs to mind:
"Memories, like the corners of my mind, misty, water-colored, memories of the
way we were!" [Editor's Note: If you knew what kind of music Chris was into, you'd be as shocked by the Perry Como reference as we were.]
We come back to more "ECW" chants. They'd probably chant "ECW" if I walked into
the ring. More foreshadowing from Mick on the WWE angle, then he pays some
Match 3 - Psichosis versus Rey Mysterio
Psichosis takes off his mask, which is apparently a great show of respect for
ECW's fans. Joey and Mick discuss amongst themselves and sell the history of
the match. Some back and forth reversals culminate with an arm drag on Rey.
More "ECW" chants. Rey hits a nice jumping victory roll. Don't worry, it'll get
(super) crazy soon. Rey hits a springboard splash but it's reversed into a
facebuster by Psichosis, who goes to work on him. Rey goes hard into the
turnbuckles; two count. Rey hits a moonsault for another two count; Psichosis
hits a sleeper, the crowd boos. Psi gets another two count and throws Rey to
the floor. Rey's on the guardrail and Psi hits an awesome Psicho Guillotine
off the top ropes to Rey, who's still on the guardrail. The crowd chants, wait
for it, "ECW" and "holy s**t." Two count. Psi wipes out while missing a flying
lunge in the corner. Rey hits a good facebuster for a two count. Psi goes
shoulder first into the steel, flies out and goes into the first row, Mysterio
decimates him, leaping off the top rope into the crowd. The crowd chants "ECW."
(Sense a theme?) Rey sets up the 619 and hits it, then hits a springboard
huricanrana for the one, two, three!
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Three out of five chair shots tonight but two-and-half when compared to their
past wars. Again, a way too short match to properly build an ebb and flow or showcase
The WWE wrestlers show up, yeah. The crowd boos, swears and gives them the
finger(s). Joey sells it old school. A "You Suck D**k" chant starts. God, I
miss New York. A "F**k You Smackdown" chant is also is started. JBL plays it
up. Another "ECW" chant is started.
A Roadkill and Danny Doring promo starts but is cut off by a tech issue; I
guess it really is old school ECW after all. Another "ECW Memories" pack is
shown. Man, and to think, I spent thousands of dollars on tapes for nothing. I
still have yet to see any real Raven action. He was only the ECW Heavyweight
champ, people. Wait, they just showed the Dreamer/Raven chair shot heard around
the world. Man, hopefully he'll show up.
The "Stud Muffin" Joel "I Used to Cut Ten-minute-long Promos" Gertner comes out
and starts to cut a promo but gets punked by Kurt Angle and JBL. Damn, now Angle has
a mic. Angle talks some smack on ECW, the crowd tells Angle he "Sucks D**k."
Angle talks more trash and threatens to beat up anyone who wrestles in the ring
tonight. I smell an Angle/Taz showdown. JBL takes his turn to talk smack. Geez,
is it me or is JBL utterly terrible? A "Shut the F**k Up" chant starts. JBL
runs down the fans. Man, where's Faarooq when you need him?
Thankfully RVD and Bill Alphonso come out to interrupt JBL's horrible promo. An
"RVD" chant breaks out; RVD still loves Fonzie, apparently. RVD talks smack to
the WWE Smackdowners. More "ECW" chants; RVD "shoots" for real it sounds like,
and he disses WWE's use of him -- now isn't that the sad truth, daddy? More "RVD"
chants break out. RVD reminds us that he's the Whole F**king Show, Mr. PPV, Mr.
Monday Night, etc. He puts over his ECW TV Title reign and takes another shot
at WWE and the credit for inspiring this ECW PPV. He does a funny Vince
impression too; more "ECW" chants. He sells his knee surgery and why he won't
wrestle tonight, saying it's worse than missing any WWE event.
Rhyno appears and gores the crap out of RVD and goes to work on his knee.
The lights go out to chants of "Sabu" and, lo and behold, Sabu is in the ring,
covered in bandages from Friday's Hardcore Homecoming show.
Match 4 - Sabu vs. Rhyno
The action starts and Sabu takes a belly to belly suplex. Mick puts over Sabu's
injuries; Rhyno takes a sick chair shot. More "ECW" chants; Sabu hits a
chair/top rope springboard dive onto Rhyno... on the floor! Rhyno goes into the
rail hard, takes a flying chair to the head. A table is set up. Rhyno and Sabu
continue to go at it with Sabu on the receiving end. Mick and Joey put over
Sabu. Two count for Rhyno. Rhyno gets caught on the turnbuckle and Sabu hits a
leaping hurricanrana and a springboard leg lariat. Here comes a chair; Air Sabu
on Rhyno, who then falls into the chair. Leg drop of the chair for Sabu; two
count. Here comes the triple-jump moonsault but Sabu gets tripped into the
chair. Rhyno hits a facebuster on the chair. Two count. Rhyno nails a reverse
powerbomb on the turnbuckle and goes for the gore but kills the ref instead of
Sabu. Rhyno hits a piledriver. RVD comes in, chairs Rhyno and surfs the chair
into Rhyno; in comes a table. "Whole F**king Show" chants start. Rhyno is set
up on the table, Sabu hits an Arabian Facebuster on Rhyno through the table
for the "one, two, three!"
Three Out of Five chair shots because it's awesome to see Sabu back in action
in a hardcore match, plus Rhyno is also wicked when used correctly. But man, if
only RVD was good to go...
Cut to Al Snow and Head in the back. Al blames Head for the WWE showing up; Al
calls the Smackdown wrestlers "a**holes." Al Snow is a wise man. Another "ECW
Memories" pack is shown. Another glimpse of Raven appears, this time he canes
the Sandman. Yes!
Eric Bischoff and the WWE Raw wrestlers show up. Joey disses Edge for stealing Matt
Hardy's girlfriend, Lita, in real life; but apparently it is okay to play up
his pain for an angle. He also plays up the "Bischoff trying to put ECW out of
business angle by stealing all their talent," which, truth be told, Eric did
Match 5 - Chris Benoit versus Eddie Guerrero
Benoit comes out and stares down the WWE contingent. Guerrero comes out. Joey
and Mick sell the history of the two. The two tie-up; Guerrero goes to the
ropes. They put over the fact that the two never fought in ECW although it
would have been a dream match. An "I F**ked Lita" chant starts. Nice, NYC,
The two circle and tie-up with some reversals; Eddie goes to the floor
for some stalling. A "You Screwed Matt" chant starts. Eddie breaks with the
science and starts beating on Chris. Benoit chops back, Eddie goes to the eyes.
A "Let's Go Benoit/Let's Go Eddie" chant breaks out. Eddie is bleeding from the
nose and takes a belly to back suplex. Benoit takes some chops; Eddie gets a
two count. A "F**k You Bischoff" chant starts while Eddie wears down Benoit,
who fights back but misses and goes to the floor. Eddie chairs Benoit on the
outside then sets him up on the top rope for a nice bouncy superplex (got to
love the ECW ring). Eddie goes for the Frog Splash but misses; both men are
down. If only John Powell and John Molinaro were here, it would be just like
old times. Benoit beats on Eddie; more chops. Eddie reverses. Chop fest '05;
Northern Lights suplex by Benoit. Benoit hits a superplex on Eddie, gets a two.
German suplex, make it two, no three. Benoit signals the end, hits the suicide
head butt. Two count only. Eddie rolls him up then gets caught in the Crippler
Crossface. Eddie taps after some selling. The Smackdown wrestlers applaud
Winner: Chris Benoit
Three and a half out of five chair shots, but given the build-up, this should
have been the match of the night.
Joel Gertner is back with a mic and instead of cutting one of his awesome
promos he asks Bischoff for a job. Bischoff does a spit-take. Bischoff calls
him a scab, talks a lot of smack, throws beer on Gertner and says ECW sucks. He
obviously hasn't watched Smackdown or Raw lately. Talk about a misuse of
talent; while I love Mick Foley, Gertner should have been doing commentary with
Match 6 - Mike Awesome versus Masato Tanaka
Awesome comes out; I guess all is forgiven for his screwing over of ECW to go
to the WCW while the ECW champ. Then again, maybe not, as Joey starts laying
into him and the particulars of Awesome's desertion. The Raw stars turn their
collective backs on the ring. Chops go back and forth, Masato gets thrown
around; Joey runs Awesome down some more; you go Joey. Mike hits a Suicide Dive
to the floor on Masato. Masato goes into the rail; Mike gets back-dropped into
the first row, Masato hits a nice running, leaping chair shot on Awesome.
Awesome is thrown into the rail but rebounds and clotheslines Masato. Joey
briefly runs down TNN, who dumped ECW for the WWE and basically killed ECW. (In
a twist of irony, it looks as if TNN are now set to dump the WWE for UFC).
Awesome sets up a table on the outside and powerbombs Tanaka off the ring apron
through the table to the floor. Chants of "ECW" ring out. A "holy s**t" chant
breaks out too. Awesome splash, two count. Man, Masato's neck looked like it
hit hard. Reversals, powerbomb by Awesome on Tanaka. Mike grabs a chair but so
does Tanaka for a chair battle, which he loses. Tanaka takes three sick shots
but keeps getting up. Masato hits a top rope reverse stunner then Tornado DDTs
Awesome on a bunch of chairs. Two count. Masato puts a chair on Awesome then
hits him with another, then does it again from the top rope. Two count. Tanaka
misses with the elbow, takes a nice release suplex then gets speared by
Awesome. Sick chair shot off the top rope by Awesome. Awesome gets another
table, has some problems with it then grabs another one. Masato Tornado DDTs
him through the table; two count. Awesome Bomb through the table leftovers; two
count. Standing O for the wrestlers. Another "ECW" chant breaks out. Awesome
goes for another table. "This Match Rules" chant. Awesome powerbombs Tanaka out
of the ring through a table then dives over the ropes and on to him for the
"one, two, three!" He then powerbombs the ref for good measure.
Winner: Mike Awesome
Four out of five chair shots.
A sloppy match that got insanely good with its violent ending(s). Masato and
Tanaka always put on exceptional, stiff hardcore matches, and while they've had
better, this was the best match of the night.
Paul Heyman comes out to the ECW music. Starts to cry. A "Thank You, Paul" chant
rings out. An "ECW" chant soon follows. Paul throws out "thank yous" to the ECW
staff and puts over the fans. Another "Paul-E" chant. Heyman runs down
Bischoff; Bischoff gives him the finger. More "ECW" chants. "Hide your wives,
it's Edge," nice, Paul. "You Screwed Matt" chant starts. Heyman runs down Edge
some more. A "You F**ked Matt" chant starts; Joel notes wryly that it wasn't
actually Matt but Lita who Edge... never mind. Edge seems good with it though,
the scumbag. A man without honour is no man at all. Heyman then runs down JBL,
tells him the only reason he was champ was because Triple H didn't want to work
More "ECW" chants. Paul again puts over ECW!!! I tell you, Paul could sell snow to eskimoes when he's passionate about something.
Someone at Rogers Cable loses it, as it looks like the PPV is over, with the
"thank you for ordering page" coming up. WTF!!! A "You F**ked Up" chant starts
at my house. Thankfully, it comes back before I light my cable bill on fire and smash my box over it The Dudleys come out.
Match 7 - The Dudley Boys versus Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman
The Dudleys emerge but don't run down the crowd. Damn! No one cuts a heel promo
like the Dudleys. Dreamer comes out and Mick and Joey rightfully put him over
as "the heart of ECW". The Sandman comes out and does the crowd thing and
drinks a beer while the fans sing along to Enter Sandman. The Sandman is
busted open and already drunk, and I'm getting incredibly nostalgic, as these
four men feuded countless times in ECW. He also spits beer at Bubba and drinks
beer off a girl's chest with Dreamer (apparently it's Elektra, an ex ECWer).
Women's rights have come a long way. Of course, the Sandman's intro may last
longer than this match.
Sandman stares down the WWE contingent then spits beer at them and makes a vulgar gesture not to be recapped here. The Dudleys and
Dreamer/Sandman share pounds. Joey puts over that this is Dreamer's "last
hurrah". All of a sudden the bWo music starts and the bWo (Big Stevie Cool, the
Blue Guy and Hollywood Nova) comes out; the fans don't seem as into it as
everything else but a "bWo" chant does ring out. Big Stevie Cool takes the mic,
talks some smack and puts over the bWo. Richards Stevie Kicks Sandman out of the
blue. The Dudleys beat on Dreamer. Kid Kash runs in and out just as fast.
bWo/Dudleys look teamed-up but Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten ("the hardcore,
chair-swinging freaks") come out and beat on the bWo; Hollywood Nova takes a
couple of chair shots before the Dudleys come in and it's an all out brawl. Kash hits a top rope springboard flip on everyone on the floor. "ECW" chants ring
out. A "New Jack" chant is also heard but sadly there is no Jack, neither new
The original match finally starts with weapons in the ring. Bubba
belly to back suplexes Dreamer. A ladder and a trashcan are in the ring; sign
shot on Dreamer. Cheese grater to Dreamer's head and he's busted wide open;
Bubba wears his blood as war paint. Bubba misses the Senton splash. Dreamer
takes a double team neck breaker, then the Sandman ladders the Dudleys; Dreamer
does the spinning ladder thing on the Dudleys, à la Terry Funk. A "He's
Hardcore" chant rings out for Dreamer, who takes the cheese grater to Bubba's
head. Sandman drop-toeholds D-Von into a garbage can; two count. Dreamer hits
Bubba with a baking pan. Dreamer gets bagged on the guardrail; Sandman hits a
rolling splash on D-Von, who's under the ladder then takes a sick chair shot.
"Holy s**t" chant rings out. Sandman is laid out on the ladder, takes a Frog
Splash from Bubba; two count. D-Von canes Bubba by accident, takes a White
Russian Leg Sweep; Dreamer is back in. Pair of figure-four leg locks on the
Dudleys. Storm and Credible run in with a barbwire orb. Justin delivers That's
Incredible on the Sandman on the barbwire. Oh my God! Francine runs in and
kicks Dreamer in the nuts. Beulah runs in. Catfight! Justin breaks it up;
Storm misses Beulah and hits Justin. Beulah and Dreamer reunion!
Double kicks and DDTs on the Dudley by Beulah and Dreamer. The Sandman is back in. Dreamer
hits a chair with a sign while it's placed on D-Von's groin. Bubba comes in and
canes everyone. A table is brought in. More cane shots. Sandman gets
powerbombed through the table; two count. Dreamer's in, beating on everyone.
Takes a 3D though. More tables. Spike comes in. Fans chant "LSD." He's brought
lighter fluid, which is being poured on the table. More "ECW" chants. Just add
fire and presto, flaming table. Dreamer gets powerbombed through the flaming
table. Yikes! Dreamer gives it the hard sell. Bubba gets the "one, two, three!"
They grab Beulah but Sandman saves her, calls for beer then canes Spike.
Winners: The Dudley Boys
Three out of Five chair shots.
A sloppy, muddled match to start but hell, it had a flaming table, the return
of Beulah, Francine and a freaking piledriver on a ball of barbwire, what did
your match have?
Stone Cold Steve Austin's music starts and he comes out. Sandman and Austin are
in the ring!!! I wonder if Austin is going to cut him a cheque for gimmick
infringement. Austin puts over the Sandman's alcoholism, invites all of the ECW
alum. out for a beer bash. The locker-room empties. No sign of Raven. What about
Raven? Where the hell is Funk, for that matter? Austin talks some smack, says
he's here for a fight then runs down Bischoff, JBL and Angle, challenges the
WWE contingent to come down and rumble. More chants of "ECW." Austin runs them
down some more. The WWE contingent finally comes down. A "We Want Taz" chant
begins and the fans are rewarded with his music.
Bischoff grabs a mic to
announce with Foley and Joey. Joey runs down Bischoff for real. The mayhem
begins. It's a pure brawl (i.e., mess). Joey goes crazy running down Bischoff
some more. Holy crap, Joey, tell him how you feel. I've heard of using real
life events/feelings for angles, but tonight they're not sugar-coating
anything. Taz locks Angle in the Tazmission on the outside; Austin laughs.
Foley takes his turn and runs down Bischoff as the fight continues. ECW clears
the ring. Bischoff runs down ECW in turn; "ECW" chants ring out.
the ring with JBL's hat on (funny) and tells Foley to bring Bischoff to the
ring. He does, eventually. More "ECW" chants. The Dudleys 3D Bischoff, Benoit
gives him a flying head-butt; Rey 619s him. Austin "interviews" him, but
Bischoff fouly refutes ECW's greatness; Austin gives him the Stunner. The
Dudleys throw Bischoff out of the building. Everyone celebrates with beer.
Everyone loves beer.
I must admit, I went into One Night Stand with a fair amount of scepticism, expecting a
watered-down version of ECW as constrained by the current poor and boring style
of the WWE. At best I thought it could be a badly photocopied version of ECW's
once greatness, but with the all the legitimate "shooting" (damn, Joey, you
"Bisch-slapped" Eric with that "I didn't return any or your eight calls"
line), the surprises (Beulah showing up, oh my God!) and the actual ECW
hardcore violence (even if the technical matches didn't live up to their
billings), One Night Stand is comparable in quality to ECW's final PPV offerings, if not
the company's glory days.
Sure, it seems the matches weren't given enough time to unfold properly and reach four- or five-star status, and a number of
important ECW figures weren't on the bill or allowed to wrestle (what about
Raven?) but for the sake of nostalgia and the gutsy efforts by the likes of
Tanaka, Dreamer, Super Crazy and Awesome, it overcame the limitations I thought
would constrain it to actually tug at the heartstrings without making you
cringe. Granted, it was dulled by the WWE invasion angle, but, if as rumoured,
ECW is actually going to return from time to time (which Joey and Mick both
hinted at), it could be a source of actual interest in the flagging WWE product
and might jolt them out of their mire.
However, that's still the problem and why this ECW revival feels so conflicted: while it is funded by/tied to the
WWE, it will never be the "outlaw promotion" it once was, just a reminder of
glory days gone by. Maybe some things should be left in the past. We'll see
where they go from here...
Overall Rating: Three out of Five chair shots.
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Pre-order ECW One Night Stand DVD
"Hardcore" Chris Gramlich was the original guy pushing ECW in the early days of SLAM! Wrestling. You can check out his old columns (on mostly old templates for more nostalgia) here: slam.canoe.ca/WrestlingGramlich/. During the day, Chris is the Managing Editor for Exclaim! magazine. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.