Thursday, 20 September 2012

PPV Review: ECW One Night Stand 2005

Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
June 12th, 2005


Even after the original Philly-based outfit's demise, the name Extreme Championship Wrestling still resonated fondly in the hearts of die-hard wrestling fans. Looking to captalize on this unwavering popularity for the hardcore favourite, World Wrestling Entertainment revived the brand for, well, a One Night Stand.

Here's what went down.

Receiving the kind of ovation that sends chills down your spine, a clearly emotional Joey Styles welcomed fans to the show before introducing his broadcast colleague for the evening, a man no stranger to ECW, Mick Foley.

Then, with the introductions out of the way, it was on with the action

Match 1: Lance Storm (w/ Dawn Marie) vs. Chris Jericho 

Having begun his career in a match against Jericho back in 1990, Lance Storm looked to bookend his career by facing his long-time friend in what was then to be his final match.

Eschewing the idea that ECW was a promotion focused solely on ultra violence, the two seasoned stars gave a fine account of themselves as technical wrestlers in a stellar opening contest.

Jericho received a thunderous ovation from the New York faithful as he took it to his former Thrillseekers partner, but ultimately it was Storm who got the upper-hand, picking up the win thanks to interference from a kendo-stick wielding Justin Credible.

Your Winner: Lance Storm

Having stolen a victory from his best friend, Storm made a hasty exit from the ring, leaving Jericho to soak up the adulation from a crowd following as a good an opening contest as anyone could have asked for.

Then, after Joey Styles teased the impending arrival of a host of invading WWE stars, Pitbul Garry Wolfe introduced a video to those members of ECW sadly no longer with us, a video featuring more names than many would have liked.

Match 2: Three-way Dance - Tajiri (w/ The Sinister Minister & Mikey Whipreck) vs. Little Guido (w/ The FBI) vs. Super Crazy

Billed as an 'International Three-way dance' this fast-paced contest soon spilled to the outside, allowing Super Crazy to give us our first real 'extreme' moment of the evening by taking out The FBI with a moonsault from the balcony, much to the delight, and 'ECW! ECW!' chants, from the masses.

Things faired no better for the Italians back in the ring when, following a run-in from Tajiri's men, the Japanese Buzzsaw eliminated Guido from the contest.

Yet it was the Insane Luchador who finally triumphed, planting Tajiri with a swift moonsault to end the contest.

Your winner: Super Crazy

Following a look at some of the more memorable moments in ECW's history, it was on with the action.

Match 3: Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Though similar in style to the previous outing, this battle between two of the most recognisable luchadors in North America managed to go one better with a fast-paced, high-impact offering which delivered everything you might expect, and then some.

Both men traded the advantage several times, enlivening the crowd with crisp, jaw-dropping offence before Mysterio finally put his opponent away with the West Coast Pop.

Your Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.



Interrupting what had been a fine show thus far, Kurt Angle and JBL led a small army of Smackdown stars to a private viewing box, greeted by fevered chants of 'You suck dick!' and 'Fuck You Smackdown!' from the Hammerstein crowd.

Even now, this writer isn't convinced that this invasion angle was entirely necessarily, especially when Kurt Angle took to the microphone with a rather juvenile anti-ECW promo which consisted of little more than repeating the words 'You people suck and can kiss my ass!'

JBL faired a little better on the mic, though his speech, basically refering to ECW as a garbage promotion full of people taking cane shots to the head made little sense following three first class wrestling matches.

Thankfully, an injured Rob Van Dam arrived on the scene, lambasting the WWE crew and cutting an impassioned promo in which he praised the fans, the spirit of ECW and, of course, himself. Before he left, RVD discussed his knee surgery, claiming that missing the PPV due to the surgery was worse than missing Wrestlemania.

Then, for seemingly no reason, Rhino ran in and gored the hell out of RVD. Sabu then popped up, and we had our next match.

Match 4: Rhino vs. Sabu 

Sabu took the advantage in the early going, battling Rhino in a short, passable contest complete with chairshots aplenty and an awesome plancha onto the outside.

The master of the gore turned the tide, pummelling his foe with some stiff offence, but when the referee took a tumble, RVD returned to the fray, planting Rhino with a chair and helping Sabu land an Arabian Facebuster through a table for the three count.

Your winner: Sabu

Backstage, Al Snow yelled at Head for a while before introducing another video montage, this one mostly featuring people falling through tables.

Following this montage, the 'Raw Crusaders,' led by Eric Bischoff and Edge made their way to their own private box.

Match 5: Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero

Prior to the match, Joey Styles insisted that this match would be a firm middle finger in the face of everyone who claimed ECW was nothing more than chairshots and tables (so, the previous match then?) and that we would witness 'as good a pure wrestling match as you'll see anywhere.'

He wasn't wrong.

Going at it in a vicious, aggressive wrestling contest, the two now-deceased superstars lit up New York with a thrilling performance that could have easily stood as the main event of a much larger show.

Benoit scored the victory thanks to the Crippler Crossface.

Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Up in the stands, Joel Gertner begged Eric Bischoff for a job. Unsurprisingly, the Raw GM refused before cutting a scathing promo on ECW which put the earlier efforts by JBL and Angle to shame.

Match 6: Mike Awesome vs. Matsato Tanaka 

Throughout the show, Joey Styles had held nothing back when it came to his commentary, shooting when necessary and giving his honest opinion whenever the opportunity arose, yet in the early moments of this brutal-yet-enjoyable contest, Styles went off the rails as he lambasted Awesome for defecting to WCW whilst still ECW champion back in the 1990s.

In one uncomfortable moment following a Mike Awesome suicide dive, Styles commented that 'it's a shame Awesome didn't succeed in taking his own life.' Of course, two years later, and Awesome did just that.

On this night in New York however, he and Tanaka stole the show, planting each other with some vicious offence as the battered each other around the ring, transitioning well from one violent spot to the next until Awesome powerbombed his long-time rival over the top rope and planted him with a second suicide dive for a pinfall on the outside.


Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Overwhelmed by the standing ovation he received from the ECW diehards as he stepped into the ring, Paul Heyman took centre stage next to cut a very personal, very real promo. Thanking Todd Gordon and others who had helped ECW along the way, especially the fans, the former owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling then turned his attentions the WWE stars.

Tearing shreds out of arch-rival Eric Bischoff, Edge ('I have two words to say to you; "MATT FREAKIN HARDY!!"' ...erm, Paul, that's three), and JBL in what would have been a classic promo for the ages had the targets of Heyman's venom sold anything he had to say rather than goofing around and treating the man with the microphone like a silly child.

Match 7: The Dudley Boys vs. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman

What with The Sandman's usual hour-long entrance and a host of interruptions from The BWO (causing Joey Styles laugh manically), Kid Kash (who took out everybody with an incredible suicide dive), Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney, tonight's main event took more than a fair while to get going.

When it did however, what came was a wildly entertaining, brilliantly bloody brawl. Bubba Ray and Dreamer tore at each other's flesh with a cheesegrater, The Sandman battered D-Von with a trashcan and ladder shots, chairs flew, chaos ensued and the crowds let rip with appreciative round of 'Holy shit!' chants.

Things turned even more violent with the arrival of The Impact Players as Justin Credible drilled The Sandman with a That's Incredible atop a sphere of barbed wire.

Fans were then treated to an impromptu catfight between Francine and Beaulah McGuilicutty before Beulah reunited with her real-life husband Dreamer to deliver a couple of DDTs to the Dudleys.

Bubba and D-Von fought back, taking out their foes and having Spike Dudley join them in the ring as they sent Tommy Dreamer flying through a flaming table for the win.

Your Winners: The Dudley Boys

Bringing the show to a riotous finale, ECW alum Stone Cold Steve Austin made his way to the ring, rounding up the troops and leading the ECW originals into a hectic brawl against the invading WWE stars. Whilst your reviewer still feels this could have been a perfect show without the Raw and Smackdown involvement, this was a fantastically fun fisticuffs which ended with Mick Foley bringing Eric Bischoff to the ring, Austin leading the charge as The Dudleys, Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio hit their finishing moves on the former WCW Main man.

Things finally came to a close with a rousing beer bash, the ECW Originals united in triumph.

Overall, a stellar show from start to finish with a string of enjoyable matches, entertainment, comedy and pure emotion. Only the Sabu/Rhino bout failed to surpass expectations, yet even that was enjoyable for what it was. The 'invasion' angle wasn't entirely necessary, but even that did little to detract from what was otherwise a first-rate show. 

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ECW Collector's Pack
Enjoyed this review?
See the action for yourself with this special
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