Welcome cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the hardcorniest of the hardcore, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as TNA has opened the floodgates for an ECW reunion to (allegedly) end all ECW reunions. Tommy Dreamer has been given carte blanche to assemble a show of his very own, even though he can’t use the letters “ECW” or half of the roster’s known names, lest Jerry McDevitt and WWE sue the everyloving shitcookies out of everyone within a 10 mile radius. Regardless, the gang has all turned up, the tables are laid out, and the fans are ready to chant, so we’re going to open our arms wide and let the scourge of Extreme into the Cewsh Reviews Headquarters. God only knows if we’ll ever be the same.
Vice: Normally I’d save something like this for my overall thoughts, but I’m actually going to start off with it because of the hatred I’m sure that everyone is giving this show. This is extremely important to say right off the bat..
This was structured, booked and performed like an ECW show. You know, like the ones they used to put on when they were still in business. It honestly baffles me to think that everyone expected an epic super card, and are judging this show based around the fact that it wasn’t. Obviously this show is going to be compared to the original One Night Stand and that’s understandable, but this is a very different beast. If you look at the card from One Night Stand, it’s clear they were going for a super show to put on the very best matches they possibly could have, and that’s pretty awesome. I enjoyed that show. This show, on the other hand, wasn’t about putting on a super card. It was about reliving the past and putting on more of an actual ECW show. That means you get the scrubs, the wackiness, the shenanigans and everything else that took place in ECW.
This show was all about nostalgia. Now let me tell you a story about nostalgia. In middle school I’d hang out with my friend all the time at his house, and his house always had one floor board that was always screwy, and every single time I went over there, I’d find some way of tripping over it. No matter how much I avoided it and consciously thought about exactly where I was in proximity to it, I’d be drawn to it like how wrestlers are drawn to the middle rope in a Rey Mysterio match. Every single time, without fail, I’d hit that floor board and fall flat on my face, and it hurt every single time. The house also had a fairly weird smell. Kind of like some odd combination of pine and fresh biscuits out of the oven. The toilet always got me, too. I’ve always had toilets where you quickly push down on the handle and that’s all she wrote. The handle of their main toilet, however, had to be forced down and then held for two or three seconds for it to really begin flushing, and then it’d go. So I’d always tap it and it’d always be like “gjkslfjdksa”, which made me wait a few seconds to try again. Not once did flushing it ever become second nature. Plus there were numerous other little quirks about everything, and it gave me fond memories.
Fast forward over a decade ,and I find myself back in that house for the first time in absolutely forever. As soon as the door opens, I get a whiff of pine biscuits and it’s comforting despite being a really wacky smell that I could never imagine actually living in. Having not taken a piss in a while, I went to the bathroom and gjkslfjdksa went the toilet as I fucked up flushing it. I cracked a smile. When I was done washing my hands, I walked out and started telling my friend all about how the toilet hasn’t changed a bit and it still messes me up. About halfway through it, I hit that motherfucking asscunting shitbag floor board and torpedo to the ground, bashing my skull against the floor harder than I had ever hit it on that floor before. After the second or three it took to regain my senses, I started laughing my ass off on the floor even though I was knocked absolutely silly. The point of this story is that the house smelled like shit, the toilet constantly irritated me and I was guaranteed to smack my head into the wood floors, but those were the things that gave me the memories which stuck with me for half my life. If those flaws weren’t there originally, then what memories would I have? If I went back over a decade later and the house had no smell, the toilet flushed perfectly and my face didn’t end up on floor.. then I wouldn’t have felt right at home as soon as the door opened.
This was a nostalgic ECW show with all the good and the bad that came along with the shows put on when ECW was still alive and kicking.
Cewsh: …with honor.
Let’s put this out there right now while we are on the subject. I never saw a single episode or PPV from ECW while it was running, so much like our WCW reviews, this will involve a good amount of nostalgia from Vice, and absolutely nothing but what I see in front of me from me. Adjust the complaint emails that you are already crafting accordingly. I’ll also be showing pictures of what these guys look like now and i’ll be providing some backstory on these guys to give people not best acquainted with ECW, or who haven’t seen the guys in awhile, a chance to catch up. Alright then, let’s get down to business.
Cewsh: As you might expect, this has a tad bit of nostalgia stapled to it. Of course, since TNA doesn’t own the rights to one single solitary second of ECW footage, they had to make due with either footage from, essentially, yesterday, or still photos fro 15 years ago. Then there’s a flame graphic which I suppose is suppose to be totally extreme and badass, but kind of also looks like the exact same flame graphic in Samoa Joe’s entrance video. But hey! Nostalgia time!
The major players all talk about how they were all members of history, despite not being celebrities or pop stars. Which isn’t really fair, because RVD totally starred in a movie recently, and I haven’t checked, but i’m pretty sure it tore up the charts.
On Pace To Beat Avatar In 1,763 Years.
Vice: I’m glad the Impact Zone didn’t look like the Impact Zone for this event. I figured they’d make a change or two, but wasn’t expecting so much change. The ropes were black, the canvas was blue, and the lighting was very different. The arena was much darker and the lights were blue. From the hard camera, everything looked really awesome. Not too blue, not too dark. Looked pretty damn sweet. The other angles weren’t as good, with things looking way too blue and far too dark, almost like an Undertaker entrance.
But still, I was afraid that the Impact Zone would just look like the Impact Zone, and they went very out of their way to make this seem different. Not only appearance-wise, but production wise. Different way of shooting, different camera angles, and other little things here and there. I wouldn’t want to see this all the time, but for one night it was very refreshing. Kudos.
Cewsh: We kick the show off by having the ring announcers throw to Taz as he comes out and gets the crowd fired up by talking about how ECW (without saying those letters) was super great and that tonight would do the legacy proud, and that all the fans were in for a treat. Then he hits his catchphrase and basically acts so much like old Taz, that when he heads to the announce table, it seriously is saddening that he’s not actually wrestling. Stupid breakable necks and backs. Cyborging can’t get here soon enough.
Cewsh: Ah, here we are, the opening match of this monumental event of epic proportions. As such, they have lined up 6 of the biggest stars that have ever come through ECW on their way to enormous success in the world of professional wrestling. Now I know that you’ve very likely been living under a rock and may not know who these legends all are, let good ol’ Mr. Cewsh break them down for you.
Back in ye old days of yore, wrestling was a funny place. Women weren’t encouraged to wrestle, blood flowed like wine, and stereotypes weren’t just familiar, they were ever present. From this culture was born the single greatest stable in the history of professional wrestling, an outfit known simply by the 100% literally accurate, Full Blooded Italians. With respected mat wrestler and Jersey Shore pioneer Little Guido as their leader, they wrecked havoc on such luminaries as Super Crazy and Tajiri (which, funnily enough, so did every member of the WWE roster at some point or another). The workers of the team are Guido and Mamaluke, with Tracey Smothers, the adorably racist old man, and Big Sal (who is big) backing them up.
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger.
You may know Simon Dimond as the manager of a tag team that only Vice, in the entire world, managed to enjoy, TNA’s Diamonds In The Rough. Once upon a time, he was also a cocky heel in ECW. Assumedly, things were done in regards to this back then. Johnny Swinger might easily be remembered as…err…well….hmm. You might know Johnny Swinger as that guy who has always been around in every company ever, and never made it at all in the slightest. You can find both, if you’re lucky, at your local Bob Evans eating Cinnamon Hotcakes.
Once touted as one of the most exciting crusierweights in the world with the brightest potential, Kash never truly seemed to put it together enough to become successful. Maybe it’s because his fellow wrestlers were jealous of his very real talent. Maybe it’s because he has creepy Children of the Corn eyes. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that dozens of people refer to him as an enormous prick. Who knows? What does he care? He’s a kid who has some kash. Dude probably goes through acres of candy a day.
Now then, with all these legendary combatants in the ring here to begin the newest and last representation of an ECW show, they proceed to…kind of fuck around. They wrestle for a few minutes, and the Diamond cuts a promo about nothing in particular. Then they have a dance off. The some more wrestling happens for awhile. Then Little Guido hits the Killswitch on Simon Diamond and picks up the win. In between these things happening, Kid Kash runs around all over the place actually doing a great job, and showing that he still has a lot in the tank, which surprising the hell out of me, since he’s gotta be in his 40s by now.
I could break down for days all the elements that went into this match and critique them for all the usual things, but frankly this match wasn’t intended to be anything but a primer for what was to come, and they at least tried to inject some humor into things to lighten the tone of what is almost certain to be a very violent and bloody rest of the show.
In summary? Kid Kash and Little Guido look like they haven’t aged a day. Everyone else and this style of match? Not so much.
54 out of 100.
Vice: For an opening match, this was really fun. Yeah, I said it.
It had a little bit of everything. It started off with some fairly good mat wrestling and a few people show of their skills, and then Simon Diamond grabs the mic and stops the match to cut a promo. Personally I love mid-match promos, as they tend to be completely absurd. IMMEDIATELY the entire Impact Zone is screaming “SHUT THE FUCK UP” at him. In a moment that honestly couldn’t have been scripted better, Simon Diamond, completely calm and collected, tells the fans to come in the ring and make him shut up, and the Impact Zone goes silent. Dead silent. The ECW crowd of old would probably chant it even louder and maybe even have a few people look like they were going to jump the barricades, but not the TNA crowd. They were absolutely defeated. Simon Diamond – 1, Impact Zone – 0. Pwned.
And you know exactly what’s coming next: a good ol’ fashion dance off. Some people will probably roll their eyes at this, but it was just fun even if the dancing was beyond horrible. This is what ECW did back then. They had fun. Then business picks up as everyone spills to the outside. Everyone but Kid Kash. He orders the ref to get down on all fours, and then runs and jumps off his back onto the top rope, and follows it up with a fucking beautiful dive to the cluster of people. Then the match just gets pretty wild. You have a tower of doom spot with everyone dying, and then you have a sequence with everybody hitting big moves, including Kid Kash fucking DRILLING Tony Mamaluke with one of the sickest looking butterfly piledrivers I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring. Fucking hell it was a work of art. Then a minute or so later, Guido picks up the victory for the FBI.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. Like I said, there was a good bit of everything here and it was a fun way to kick off the show.
Cewsh: We go to the video, where Pitbull Gary Wolfe, The Blue Meany and an incredibly large and in charge Tod Gordon both express regret that they couldn’t be at the show, and talk about how much they miss ECW, without, of course, saying anything about ECW. Somehow in all of this none of three manages to answer the actual question of “Where Are They Now”, but that’s okay seeing as the answers would probably either be depressingly sad, or something along the lines of “in the parking lot outside right now because they won’t open the door”.
Of course Tod owns a jewelry store quite famously (it was the unofficial ECW offices as well, where Gabe Sapolsky and Stevie Richards answered phone calls in the attic all day). So he is exempt from this. And Meanie was married to a porn star once. And Wolfe is…um…let’s just move on.
Hey, At Least He Has His…Um…Health?
Then some TNA stars (AJ, Angelina, etc.) talk about what it was that they loved about ECW to remind you that you’re still watching a TNA PPV. Of course none of them can say “ECW” so they all refer to it as either “that hardcore company” or “the promotional from Philadelphia” or some such in a way that made it clearly awkward, both for them to say and for us to watch. Still though, its good to hear some of their own wrestlers having nostalgia like many of the viewers, and it reminds me that they should TURN AJ STYLES FACE RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
Then we get MORE backstage segment, as we find Al Snow backstage talking to head like old times. He is awesome like always, and Stevie Richards (portraying a normal dude for the first time in ever) is a good foil, and they have a nice little conversation before Nova shows up and tries to convince Stevie to reunite the BWO with him and the Blue Meanie tonight. You might remember from earlier, however, that Meanie is not here. That’s true. Instead they have one of the…err…corpulent Main Event Mafia security guards dress up as the Blue Meanie. Then they are accosted by a nose picking punk kid holding a blowup doll who wants to know where Raven is. This is apparently Lupus, one of the members of Raven’s Nest from the original ECW. Except that it isn’t him, see, because the original guy retired, so this is a young rookie portraying a guy who nobody remembers. Got that? Great.
There Is Nothing Not Ridiculous In This Picture.
So if all of this is representative of ECW, I think I can begin to understand why all of you loved ECW so much.
You were all incredibly, incredibly, incredibly high.
Cewsh: If you don’t know who 2 Cold Scorpio, your life is a depressingly barren place full of misery and woe and you don’t even know it.
2 Cold Scorpio.
What about Scorpio makes him so awesome? Let’s make a short list:
- Has a cock so big he holds the nickname “Baby Arm” amongst his fellow wrestlers.
- Invented the 450 Splash by going for a front flip off the top rope and BEING TOO AWESOME.
- Once brought Buff Bagwell to a barbeque in the ghetto, and managed to keep him from getting killed.
- Is the man who broke up the Arn Anderson/Sid Vicious scissor fight.
- Once got heat with Ric Flair for running down the beach in a thong and having his enormous junk fall out in front of Ric’s then wife.
- Can do every MC Hammer dance. In roller skates.
- Finds the time to be a damn fun to watch wrestler.
CW Anderson, on the other hand, is an individual who is associated with ECW without having ever done anything to truly make an impact on that company. The best comparison I can give would be to suggest that he was the Hardcore Holly of ECW, but that wouldn’t be entirely correct as Hardcore Holly was over. He is a solid wrestler with a not much else to give, but he is well thought of in general, so he won’t be bringing this match down.
These two get started and you can immediately tell that at this point in their careers, they are miles ahead of the vast majority of their peers when it comes to in ring ability. There is some really great back and forth, with Anderson trying to keep Scorpio grounded and completely failing because he’s motherfucking Scorpio. Anderson bounces around and tries to look menacing, and he does a great job of highlighting Scorpio, but even so 2 Cold steals the show here with a vengeance. Not only can he move like no man his age should logically be able to move, and not only is he fucking Scorpio (motherfuckers), but he is capable of putting on a legitimately amazing high flying show and keep his moves in the context of a match without it devolving into a spotfest clusterfuck. He’s one of a kind, and he’s in rare form here as he finishes Anderson off by soaring through the air with a picture perfect backflip legdrop off the top rope. It would be a hard move for Jack Evans to pull off effective, and in his fucking 40s, Scorpio makes it look so easy that it defies belief.
Somebody cut Scorpio open already. I swear he the key to the super soldier serum.
As you might have guessed, this was a very nice match, with Scorpio emerging as the star of the match and quite possibly the show here. If all the matches on this show were this good, and all of the performers as in shape as Scorpio, you would see me standing outside of Tommy Dreamer’s house with an ECW shirt on and tears in my eyes thanking him for bringing ECW back. Unfortunately…
79 out of 100.
Vice: 2 Cold Scorpio’s body never ages. Sure he looks a bit older and gets creepier and creepier as time goes on, but the dude is almost 45 and has not slowed down one bit in the ring. He’s still fast, agile, active and can do all the flips he wants with as much ease as when he was young. High flyers generally end up grounded in their 30s because of all the punishment their bodies take from the high risk offense; especially their knees which often turn to dust, shatter, or need surgery every year to be rebuilt. But like I said, the dude is almost 45 and puts a lot of the indy fuckers these days to shame. The way his career is going, I think he might hit his physical prime when he’s 65, and will be doing 450’s well into his 80’s. It’s amazing.
CW Anderson is a boring bastard, but these two put on a fairly good match. Nothing earth shattering or mind blowing, but just a solid match between two wrestlers. This right here is just a typical match between two midcarders and succeeds to fulfill expectations that nobody had for it to begin with.
It was exactly what it needed to be. No more, no less.
Cewsh: We go backstage again for another round of wrestlers talking about their experiences with “that Philadelphia based promotion” which makes me glad, because I thought that TNA and Ring of Honor were NEVER going to bury the hatchet. Then we move into a locker room where a pantsless Rob Van Dam and a very yellow Bill Alfonso talk about how Jerry Lynn got injured and isn’t going to be able to be in the main event match. Since RVD apparently has match booking powers, he decides on Sabu, and he and Alfonso have a discussion about how Alfonso (who managed both of them back in the day) shouldn’t take sides, and should be impartial. Alfonso answers this by looking directly into the camera and giving a huge smarmy wink while agreeing.
Shown: Subtlety, Pantslessness.
So either Alfonso plans on causing some shenanigans, or he just wanted us to know that he could see us out here. Oh god. Bill Alfonso is watching me looking at monkey masturbation videos again. I can explain! I can explain!
Vice: Just like the previous match, this match was pretty much exactly what it needed to be and nothing more. The craziest thing about this match is how little both men have changed. In a way it’s the opposite of Scorpio. Both men have slowed down a bit, but they more or less look exactly like they did years ago. I’ve never been high on the work from either of these guys and the definitely didn’t wow me with their match, but they also didn’t offend.
Just another typical midcard match that did its job. I really wish I had something more to say about this, but I don’t.
Ok, I guess I could be an ass and say that PJ is probably better at his job at Olive Garden than as a wrestler.
*Vice heel turn*
Cewsh: PJ Polaco is Justin Credible.
Stevie Richards is Stevie Richards.
I really don’t have much to say about this match, and I can’t imagine how anyone possibly could. Stevie and Polaco (the former Justin Credible) go out there and have what may very well be the single most mediocre match in wrestling history. This match is so average and devoid of spice that you could set your watch by it.
The most interesting part of this match involved the audience, which we haven’t mentioned much yet, despite their rabid involvement in the show all night long. One of the most important things related to the audience before the show, according to those who were there live, is that they really, really, really needed to not chant thing that might get TNA sued. Things like “ECDUB” and the wrestler’s former ring name if they no longer own the rights to it. So within 10 seconds of this match starting the crowd busts into an enormous “Justin Credible chant” which, since it’s Justin Credible after all, would seem to be in direct defiance of what they were asked to do. Though of course if TNA got sued or were unable to release DVD footage of the event because of this, it would be TNA’s fault and not the fans. Of course.
Ah smark fans. Don’t ever change.
I suppose it is also worth mentioning that after the match Polaco attacks Richards only to be attacked in turn by the Sandman, who we should all be grateful didn’t actually wrestle on this show. Sandman busts him up to a great response, and everyone is happy. The end.
65 out of 100.
Cewsh: We get another of the “Where Are They Nows”, except without the pretense of that being what it is about, as we go to Francine busily feeling her small child (not like that, pervert), as she tells us how said she was that she couldn’t be here at the show and how ECW was good times and she misses it. She seems sincere and much more grounded in reality than the others, and between us guys (and girls, and cephalopods), she looks better now than she ever did back then. Of all of the people associated with the original ECW, who would have guessed that a valet would come out looking unscathed? The world is full of wonders.
Not mutually exclusive.
Cewsh: At this point in the show, past the halfway point, we’re starting to get to the guys that really are synonymous with ECW and its history. Each of these three guys has at least one moment that goes on the eternal ECW highlight reel. But who are they really? Well…
First we have Rhino, because we might as well get him out of the way. He was the final ECW World champion and the final Television champion, and was generally considered to be one of the hottest rising stars in wrestling at one point before he went to WWE and got lost in the shuffle and exposed as a somewhat one dimensional act who couldn’t really be counted on for great matches or promos. But this is light years ahead of what he’s become since coming to TNA. Starting with a title victory so dubious and backhanded that the Fingerpoke of Doom surpasses it in terms of credibility, he has just been mired in feud after feud that exposed his weaknesses (long matches, talking) and his his strengths (short matches, Goring people). That he’s as much of an afterthought as he is now is a testament to bad booking and a failure to realize talent.
Then we have Al Snow, who went on to some of the biggest mainstream success of the people on this show. In the ECW scheme of things he may not have been the biggest star, but he went on to big big things during his run with WWE, including heading up Tough Enough and being something like an 800 time Hardcore champion. Al Snow is a damn good guy and a damn good wrestler. Dammit.
Finally we have Brother Runt, who has had a career of wildly varying quality and content. First he was a Dudley in ECW where he got benchpressed into the crowd by Bam Bam Bigelow every night. Then he was Spike in WWE, the mildly challenged little brother. Then he became the fountain of niceness and pleasantry during the whole Alliance period, and then he floated his way on down to TNA where he became a drunken embarrassment to his brother, got stomped into thumbtacks by Abyss and disappeared until tonight. He gets his ass kicked better than anybody, and there will always be a place for a guy like that.
Vice: I’ve become a huge Al Snow fan over the past few months. Aside from the horrible kennel in a cell match which I had to sit through (..again..) not too long ago, I’ve come to really appreciate his work. I recently went back and watched the early seasons of Tough Enough again, and the dude is just so awesome. He’s never been super flashy in the ring, but he’s so damn solid and knows the business. One of his speeches at the end of Tough Enough made my eyes water a bit. He is just a great guy.
Then there’s Spike Dudley, who I’ve never really gotten. He takes a beating better than most, but that’s about it. Though I suppose that’s what his character has been for most of his career.
Oh and Rhino. I liked his ECW work and his early TNA work and the—well, I don’t exactly need to elaborate. You know how I feel about Rhino.
That being said, this wasn’t exactly a good match by any means, but it also wasn’t bad by any means. It was kept to a very short 6 minutes and that was a good thing. There was a one minute sequence which I’m sure had everyone scratching their heads a bit. ECW is no-DQ by default, yet they did a ref bump and pulled out weapons while he was down. When I was watching this, I raised an eyebrow at this for obvious reasons (while giggling at the humor), but then Cewsh hit me with a very good potential reasoning for this. It’s very possible that they were paying tribute to Eddie Guerrero by doing all of this. So even though it was probably still no-DQ, they just had a bit of fun and giving respect to a legendary performer who put on a ton of great matches in ECW and is, unfortunately, no longer with us. So while it played out in a quirky fashion, it’d be pretty shitty of people to complain about it.
The end sequence was very fun. Spike hits the acid on Al Snow by climbing up Rhino and gets the pin. With Al Snow eliminated, he celebrates a bit before eating a fucking MONSTER of a gore. Jesus Christ. Rhino wins, which I expected, and I really can’t complain.
Cewsh: In fairness, I don’t KNOW that they did the chair thingy as a tribute to Eddie Guerrero, I just wanted to believe it because otherwise it didn’t make any goddamn sense whatsoever.
This match is exactly what it looks like on paper. Al was solid and fun, Runt was surprising and took a beating and Rhino Gored somebody. You can see the match in your head without ever having to actually watch it yourself, and frankly given the quality of the match, that’s a strategy that I recommend.
64 out of 100.
Cewsh: Describing who these two teams are is simple. One of them is the most decorated tag team of all time, and the other one spends half their yearly income on doughnuts. The trouble is deciding which is which…
Team 3D And Joel Gertner.
Team 3D are Team 3D, or the Dudley Boys to those not commonly affiliated with the TNA product. They’ve won every tag team championship in every promotion everywhere about a dozen times each, and to this day they can still be counted on to deliver incredible heel promos to fire the crowd up against them, and when they have motivation they can put on matches as good as any they had in their prime. Brother Ray especially is becoming an incredibly well rounded talent as he gets older, being a tremendous promo guy, a great bumper, and a guy who can tell a story in the ring using every tool in his arsenal. They are also, however, capable of stinking places the fuck up if they don’t care or if their opponents are terrible. You just never know.
Axl Rotten And The Ghost Of Kahoneys.
Kahoneys, or Balls Mahoney as well all know him best, is a hardcore motherfucker who does not give a single fuck in the world and walks around looking like the friendliest metalhead drug dealer you could ever hope to meet. Axl Rotten is not Ian Rotten, and that is really the extent of the information you need to know about him.
Before the match gets started, Joel Gertner grabs a microphone and proceeds to sincerely make me wish that he had not, spouting inane, obscene drivel that meant nothing and had nothing to do with anything. If this is the act that made his name, then I regret that anyone ever handed him a microphone in the first place.
Then we get on to the match. These four men are all noted for their ability and tendency towards hardcore brawling, and we can all safely assume that those are the activities they get down to as they brawl into the crowd immediately following the opening bell. Unfortunately this is really hard to determine since they do this really bad split screen thing that makes it impossible to figure out what is going on in either picture, and results in 5 solid minutes of unclear crowd shots. Eventually they come back to the ring and do their things for awhile, before somebody whips out some goddamn LIGHTSABERS. Thus taking hardcore extreme as a concept up about 8 billion notches. They do some really fun and entertaining stuff with that for awhile, and finish up the match strong with Team 3D winning by putting Mt. Kahoney through a flaming table. Now i’m going to spare you a rant on while I hate using fire in wrestling, because it doesn’t take a ton of explanation for you to see my issues with it. But everything goes fine here and nobody is hurt, so we’ll just let it slide for now.
Then Team 3D proclaims themselves to be mega hardcore, and the Gangstas emerge to challenge this belief. There’s a tense standoff, and then hugs go all around, proving that even New Jack is susceptible to nostalgia from time to time.
This is not a good match. It’s a meaningless brawl with a 5 minute block of confusion plopped in the middle. The lightsaber thing was cool, and I suppose the ending was meaningful to the right kind of fan, but this is a great example of Team 3D just having uninspired brawls with any team that doesn’t challenge them to do better. And ECW or not, boring is boring.
53 out of 100.
Vice: The opening few minutes of this match were pretty terrible. Can’t lie about that. It was just a typical dumb brawl that carried into the crowd. It was extremely difficult to see anything that was going on because 1) it was incredibly dark and 2) they decided to go split-screen for it all. And, really, split-screen has never once worked in professional wrestling and I don’t think it ever will. I can understand why they try, because if you have four people fighting in two different parts of the crowd, the chance of missing a good spot is increased exponentially. And there is nothing worse than seeing something awful on your screen while something huge happens elsewhere and you can only hear about it. Still, split-screening is awful.
The match picks up a ton once they get back to the ring. In a moment that had me pissing myself laughing, Balls slides into the ring with a fucking LIGHTSABER. He twirls it about as the crowd chants “USE THE FORCE”, and even though I’d rather praise IWA:MS than watch a Star Wars movie, I was having an absolute blast.
Duel Of The Fates – The Remix.
Wait. That gives me an idea.
MUSTAFA and NEW JACK come out, and their music plays as they beat the shit out of the Dudleys and Gertner.
After the madness, Bubba and Devon recover and have a bit of a staredown before hugging each other. New Jack and Devon aren’t nearly as quick to hug each other, but that’s because there’s real life tension between the two. Eventually they embrace each other, and it seemed like an honest to god burying of the hatchet between the two. It was fairly emotional. Everyone in the ring joins hands as a thank you chant erupts. Aside from the first few minutes of this match, it became really goddamn fun on a number of levels.
Cewsh: We head back to the backstage area one more time to find Raven cutting a promo that actually has something to do with a match on this here show. He talks about how Tommy’s kids with Beulah should have been his, and about how this huge rivalry that they’ve built up between each other has to come to an end, and he will win because that’s how things need to be. It’s a good promo and Raven is really on his game here, slipping into his role in the familiar feud with the greatest of ease, to the extent that you’d never believe that any time had passed at all.
Then we get another round of TNA people congratulating ECW for having existed and finally a montage of ECW guys wishing the very best to Joey Styles and talking about how much they missed him and how it wasn’t the same without him there. Joey, for the record, is still employed by World Wrestling Entertainment running their website, and Mike Tenay is doing his job tonight since he obviously couldn’t make it. It’s worth taking a second to mention just how happy Tenay seems to be getting the opportunity too. He’s like a kid in a candy store, and if Taz weren’t so fucking placid (flaccid?) throughout the entire show, it would be downright exciting to listen to.
Cewsh: Here’s the thing, if I need to tell you who Tommy Dreamer and Raven are, and you’re reading this review, I would be incredibly surprised. But with all of its twists and turns, you may not know the details of the storyline that led them to this point. So let’s find out how Tommy and Ravey, and why today in 2010 they’re blowing off a storyline that started almost 15 years ago.
According to legend, when they were younger Tommy Dreamer and Raven both went to the same summer camp together. Tommy was the handsome jock who everyone liked and was super popular, and Raven was a geeky little outcast kid. Tommy never treated Raven very well (though alternate tellings have them as friends who had a falling out as well, either way works), and Raven spent the remaining years until adulthood awaited the chance to get his revenge. There was also a chunky girl at that summer camp who Tommy wouldn’t give the time of day to named Beulah McGillicutty, and she grew up into a total bombshell. Now, with all of them in the same place in ECW, the past rose up to bite Tommy in the ass, as Raven and his cultish group of flunkies beat and mocked and interfered in Tommy’s life time after time after time, and no matter how hard Tommy fought, or what he tried in orde r to fight back against the overwhelming odds, he never won. Somehow Raven would always snatch that one symbolic victory away from Tommy, not letting him blow the thing off and have any peace.
For years and years this kept on with various twists here and there (Cactus Jack got involved at one point and cut some of the greatest promos of all time as a result for one thing), until finally some contract issues caused Tommy to finally beat Raven. It wasn’t as climactic as i’m sure the fans would have liked it, but after ECW closed, several years later while a face Raven was embroiled in a feid with a young CM Punk in Ring of Honor, Tommy Dreamer came to his aid and they embraced in the ring and became friends, putting the past behind them. That is, until now.
Now Raven is back to his old ways, driven to evil when he looks at Beulah and a happy Tommy and thinks about what could have been for him that Tommy has instead. So this is the War to Settle the Score, and Mick Foley is here to make sure there’s a winner.
You may notice that there isn’t another match on this card that I gave this much backstory and attention to, and there’s a good reason for that. Not only that no other storylines really exist on this show, but also because this is truly one of the great rivalries and feuds in wrestling history, and that’s coming from a man who doesn’t even like ECW or Tommy Dreamer particularly. So there you have it. But despite the history between the two, they still have to have a match, and it needs to blow off something bigger than words can simply describe. Can they pull it off?
Vice: Raven and Dreamer. Yikes. This was one of those epic feuds in ECW, and while I didn’t see the majority of it, it’s just amazing story telling on paper. The feud was resolved in, oddly enough, Ring of Honor of all places, and then it started up again just in time for Hardcore Justice. Now most people will say that them going at it again is just beating a dead horse, but this feud was an absolute staple of ECW and they brought it back in an actually very decent, logical way. The great part about it all is that it’s pretty much become REAL. Dreamer is the good looking, grounded family man that’s generally very respected in the industry, and Raven is the ugly, burnt out junkie with health problems, and is more of an afterthought these days. That is one of the real beauties of these two guys right here and their feud.
With so many ridiculous battles and sick moments these two have shared, these two really had to go out and do some crazy shit to impress, and yeah, I’d say they did. There was a lot of gruesome moments in this match, namely Tommy Dreamer’s absurd bleeding. He came as close to a gusher as possible without going the extra mile. There are four major types of blade jobs in wrestling. You have the surface cut which creates a fair amount of blood, and it has that good thin blood that covers the face rather well. Then you have a relatively deep cut which creates that gooey, dark, rich, thick blood that just looks incredible. Then you have the cuts that are way too deep and blood is just spilling out everywhere, making the ring look like a crime scene (think Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL). And then you have MUTA blood, which is more or less its own scale of horror. Dreamer did the second one, which is about the best blood you can get without it becoming dangerously unsafe. It just looked so good, especially as various parts got smeared off.
There was a lot of emotional stuff here, with Dreamer’s wife and kids sitting ringside, and Raven dragging the bleeding family man over to them and absolutely destroying him for all to see. It was brutal and vile. To make things even more realistic and emotional, Beulah is forced to cover her little girls’ eyes and hold them close to her so they don’t have to witness their father being ruined in front of them. Not long after, she has to take her kids to the back. Sure it could be argued that this all was actually pushing it and that her kids didn’t need to actually see all of this and be a part of it, and I’d understand that. However, there is something legitimately emotional about doing all of this in front of his actual wife and actual kids. Plus it fits Raven’s character brilliantly well.
Ok, I need to go on a rant here about Mick Foley. I was deathly afraid that he was going to pull out that fucking SOCK during this show, and he most certainly did. I hate the sock with a passion and think it’s one of the dumbest things ever at this point. See, for years and years he’s switched between funny Foley and demented Foley/Cactus Jack. Basically he is all jokes, then someone gets in his face and starts something, and not long after he changes characters, goes crazy and does insane things, and more or less tells the other person that they will feel a new kind of pain that will change their lives forever, etc. etc.
…and then during the match, he pulls a SOCK out of his pants and shoves it down their throat. Seriously, it’s so fucking stupid. When I was watching WWF back in the attitude era, yeah, I got a kick out of Mr. Socko when he first showed up, and within a few days people at my school would randomly pull socks out of their pockets and parade it around in silly ways. I could kind of understand Socko sticking around for a few months or so, but Mr. Socko has now been horribly, horribly stale and awful for over a decade and yet he keeps pulling him out. Just let Socko die for fuck sake. Nobody gives enough of a shit about it and it instantly takes me out of anything Foley ever does. Considering how much I’ve loved him during my years as a fan, it pains me that I constantly have to roll my eyes at him and not give a shit about pretty much everything he does these days. It goes beyond the sock, of course, because I’m not completely irrational like that, but it’s definitely one of the factors. Nothing will ever make the sock cool. Not even wrapping it in barbed wire like he did at this show. And boy do I hope that was the plastic-tipped barbed wire that Hak/Sandman used in WCW and that he used a blood capsule to get the bloody mouth. If it was legit, then fucking hell.
Speaking of bloody mouths and barbed wire, man there was an amazingly sick spot. Dreamer basically had Raven in a crossface, but instead of hands across the face, well, he was yanking his head back with BARBED WIRE. IN THE MOUTH. Insanity.
There was a lot of overbooked madness in this match. Tommy had the match won, but Blue Lovers Outfit Wearing Society (I don’t want to get sued) interfered, and caused the ref to not see Raven tap out when he did. Why might they interfere, you ask? Well, Stevie was a member of BLOWS and was Raven’s little boy, so it’s possible that he made sure that Raven didn’t lose by sending his peeps in. Was there an official explanation? No. But hey, LOST never explained stuff and people think it’s one of the best shows ever, so ECW can surely get away with this. LOW BLOW! HAND FULL OF TIGHTS! VIC(E)TORY! Anyway, there was all kinds of shenanigans here that most people will hate, but it fits the Dreamer/Raven feud. Tommy would always be within a millisecond of victory and SOMETHING would screw him out of the win. So in a number of ways, it’s quite fitting. And he also booked this himself, so clearly it made sense to somebody.
There was a really awesome spot where Tommy gets his arms handcuffed behind his back, his wife low-blows Raven, and Tommy wrecks him with a DDT, cuffs and all. I seriously loved it. Raven isn’t put away, and goes the smart (though somewhat dishonorable) route and attacks Tommy’s legitimately injured leg, and kills him with a DDT. In a very emotional moment, you have Dreamer’s wife at ringside staring on. She could have interfered, but the feud isn’t just about a win for Tommy. It’s about HIM getting the win. She tried protecting him earlier, but this time she just looked on, praying that Tommy would kick out at 2.9999999. When he didn’t, you could see that she was broken up about it.
This was a good match that had a lot of emotion behind it and it played out well, even if the shenanigans weren’t everybody’s cup of tea. The blood, the violence, the heart, the wife and kids, the history between these two.. it was good. If this truly was the final chapter, they ended it well.
Cewsh: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
This match is something special, and it had every reason to not be. The pressure to be the sole truly meaningful match on a show of this magnitude, reopening a feud that hasn’t been visited in half a decade. And overbooking the likes of which seem crazy by today’s standards, this match weathered all of that and came out of this having been one of the most emotional matches of the year, and a gorgeous shining example of what hardcore wrestling COULD be if anybody knew what the hell they were doing. There were handcuffs, but they knew how to use it and never let Dreamer escape them, rather than the guy just getting the damn key after 12 seconds. They had barbed wire that wasn’t just for show, it was there for a purpose and was used for one. And they had 4 separate bouts of interference which all (okay maybe not so much the BWO) made since in the context of the story they were weaving.
I just said it, the key word here is story, and they told one. They conveyed this feud with their every move, their every tactic and with every single bump they took. They were both willing to take such incredible punishment simply to be rid of the other, and it was just a race to see who would reach the limits of their endurance first. In this case Raven won, but not definitively, meaning that I don’t think this is the last chapter at all. Rather than be disappointed by this, though, like I was sure I would be going into it, I eagerly look forward to seeing the new paths these two can blaze, and to find out exactly how it is that they can progress this even further into the future with all of the new elements in play.
You may hear someone dismiss this match as hardcore garbage nonsense. Don’t listen to them. If every single person who wants to get bloody and use weapons in a match had to watch this match first as a teaching tool and a disclaimer, the wrestling business would be immeasurably better off for years to come.
84 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Cewsh: In this segment it is heavily implied that Mustafa is going to rape So Cal Val and New Jack is going to rape Jeremy Borash. One is played for laughs and the other one is presented as deadly serious. Guess which is which.
To this I say: Fuck whoever’s idea this was. Fuck you and your misogynistic bullshit. I don’t even care if rape wasn’t the intended implication. The attitude that ECW had towards women was reprehensible at best and sickening at worst and this, the only female interaction with the men at any point in this show, shows exactly where they’ve placed their priorities in that regard.
Fuck this fucking bullshit, and fuck the cuntbricks who decided it was acceptable. That’s all.
Cewsh: Shit, what is there to say about Rob Van Dam and Sabu?
That you couldn’t read about in High Times magazine I mean.
Rob Van Dam was a kickboxing high flyer who had been around the block a bit, but had never really found a place to fit in until he fell into the laps of Paul Heyman and Tod Gordon. After awhile toiling in the undercard, RVD got paired up with Sabu and they became this crazy team or high flying daredveil shitkickers who didn’t give a fuck and who were managed by the ever indomitable Bill Alfonso. He blew his whistle and lost his shit and went nuts, and when the tag team inevitably broke up it was like the changing of the guard for ECW, as RVD took over Sabu’s role of the top high flyer in the company, and did a damn fine job of it.
After ECW closed, Sabu did some stuff here and there, though the magic of his persona was so wrapped up in the ECW brand, that he was just never the same without it. Whereas Rob went on to enormous success with WWE and with TNA that solidified him as one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling. He will always be the one ECW original who truly hit it big and represented them all. And it all started with RVD and Sabu. In real life they’re great friends, and in wrestling they had great rivalries. Now, on perhaps their last chance ever to do so, they need to have themselves a great match.
Vice: This was originally scheduled to be an epic RVD vs. Jerry Lynn rematch, but unfortunately the old man went down with a hurt back. The logical replacement here was Sabu, who obviously has a ton of history with RVD and is one of the biggest names in ECW history. He has amazing music, by the way. In one of the biggest swerves in TNA history, Sabu takes off his head piece to reveal that it’s not Sabu at all. It’s.. Sir Ben Kingsley!?! What is he doing here in TNA!?! OH MY GO– oh wait, Sabu just shaved his head. In yet another case of “wrestler looks better with short hair than long hair”, I instantly approved of Sabu’s look. He no longer looks like a crazy savage anymore, but rather just a really tough bastard.
It’s good seeing Fonzie again, and he’s.. well.. Fonzy. Ok, so, now comes the question. What is more annoying/awesome during competition?
Bill Alfonso’s whistle or..
I’ve never really been fond of Sabu, truth be told. He has a brilliant look to him (and did I mention amazing music?), but aside from him just THROWING CHAIRS AT FACES, I’ve never liked much of his offense. He’s very spotty and tends to only work well with a chair. He’ll jump up and put the chair under his legs, or he’ll jump off it to moonsault someone or jump off it to do something else, and jump off it to do something else. Basically he needs a chair in the ring and those spots have all gotten old. Plus he’s just incredibly sloppy most of the time. Every match of his has like 10 botches. So even when the work would be good, it’s just so poorly executed that I cannot get into it. Having said that…
He doesn’t botch anything in this match. This may not be his best match to date by any means, but I think right here was the best that he’s ever worked. His execution was crisp, his offense looked amazing (especially a fucking GORGEOUS swinging DDT) and he just seemed to move so much better than he has in, well, a long long time.
I’m not sure if he was super motivated and trying to get a job, securing his legacy, or if he is more aerodynamic and can actually see for the first time in his career without the long wet hair in his face. But regardless, he was on top form at the show and really went out to put on a great match with RVD. With RVD’s string of underwhelming matches (including a 25 minute PPV match with AJ STYLES), this was time for RVD to really step it up as well. Sure you could say that Sabu is one of the worst of his opponents he’s faced, but if RVD can’t put on a good hardcore match with him at an ECW reunion show, then that’s the sign that he’s no longer cut out as a main event champion. Kudos to Rob for delivering.
This wasn’t a brilliant match, but it was everything it needed to be with both men putting on great performances. It was also a treat seeing Alfonso. This was just a great way to close out the PPV. I only have ONE complaint about this match and it’s not even a big one. I was just sort of wishing that RVD would win via Van Terminator, since that’s just such a great move. Buuut, the Van Terminator was outlawed in ECW back in the day, so in theory it still wouldn’t be kosher. +1 for historical accuracy.
Cewsh: This isn’t my kind of match.
It isn’t that i’m incapable of enjoying a good ol’ fashioned spotfest from time to time, but this match had seriously no flow or purpose to it except to get to the next flippy spot or hardcore move. They had great chemistry while doing the spots, and Sabu crisp and entirely botch free performance had me wondering whether he was some kind of freakish anti-Samson after cutting his hair off, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of flow, the lack of story being told, and the complete lack of show stealing from these two guys who have spent their whole careers excelling at that very thing.
I guess maybe the main thing here is that I had the highest of expectations for this match to have capped off the night, and be the last official (well, unofficially official) ECW match of all time, and all they did was give me a match I could have seen between them anytime, where the best thing I can say about it is that they didn’t fuck up.
Now one thing to note is that Sabu probably had about 8 seconds notice that he was going to have to do this match, and RVD had prepared to face Jerry Lynn who works a totally different style, so maybe they just put together a very basic match and did familiar spots. That’s totally possible and entirely understandable. But i’m not going to lie to you. I wanted better and I did not get it. Whether the issue is with me or them, you decide.
73 out of 100.
Cewsh: This was a show that I was not expecting to like. They didn’t announce anything ahead of time, the main event canceled, and I don’t have the kind of nostalgia for ECW that I thought would be necessary to weather the storm. But at the end of the show, looking back on it, I had fun. And more than that, I got to see through a crystal clear window into the days a decade gone, and I treasure that as someone interested in the history of wrestling. I know Vice has belabored the point by now, but it’s true. This was an ECW show. Not a show about ECW, or even for ECW. This was simply what a 1998 ECW show looks like in 2010, which all of the positives and negatives associated with that idea.
So depending on which side of the coin you fall on, that’s either a ringing dismissal or a hearty endorsement. And regardless of who you are or what you like, that is the way you’ll feel towards it. Either it will touch something in you or it wont. But damn, when it hits, look at Vice. That is truly something special going on right there. And more power to you all.
Vice: Overall this show was a lot better than I thought it would be. Everyone was thinking it was going to be a train wreck of epic proportions, and many said “told ya!” after watching it, but I just don’t see how this could be a terrible show. Possibly if you had your smark score card in front of you and took everything way too seriously. If you just sat back and watched it to have fun, it was exactly that: fun. There were two really good matches, some decent matches and a lot of really entertaining moments. For the most part, this was very similar to actual ECW shows back in the day. It definitely wasn’t a “dream card” like WWE did with One Night Stand, so the matches weren’t as good, but in terms of matching the ridiculousness and emotional aspects of what they were giving tribute to, it’s pretty goddamn similar. This was by no means a necessary PPV, but it wasn’t a disaster by any means. I had a blast throughout most of it.
Alright, that’ll do it for us this week boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our attempt to go all extreme on your faaaaaaaaat asses (Thanks Mr. Steiner). This may very well turn out to be the most polarizing and argumentative show we’ve ever reviewed, so we’re looking forward to your comments, and we’re looking forward to see where all of this wackiness goes from here. As for next week, we’re going to cross on over to WWE as they unleash their second biggest show of the year (in theory) in WWE Summerslam 2010. Nexus vs. Team WWE, Sheamus vs. Orton, Hornswaggle vs. A Raccoon, we sure aren’t going to miss it, so you shouldn’t miss us. In the meantime, as always, keep reading and be good to one another!