June 12, 2005
New York City
Whether this show was intended as a one-off or not, it grew into much more. By 2005 it was clear there was still equity in ECW brand, as the ECW DVD that WWE released set records for DVD sales. Vince McMahon used Tommy Dreamer as a middle-man to reconnect him with Paul Heyman, and they struck a deal to run an ECW reunion show. Everybody won on this one, and it’s a nice moment in wrestling history. If only it had been the end for WWECW it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, they kept coming back to the well. But that’s a story for later.
We cut straight in without a video package. Wish every show would start like that. Joey Styles gets a pretty badass entrance here and a big response from the crowd. Joey welcomes us to the show and introduces Mick Foley as his co-commentator for the night. Then we kick it to a video package.
Lance Storm vs. Chris Jericho
Former tag partners go at it, as these two broke into the business together as the “Thrill Seekers.” Storm is accompanied by Dawn Marie. Jericho has his old-school tights on and is introduced as “Lionheart” Chris Jericho. They’re pulling out all the stops here. Joey drops a great nugget of information that these two faced off in their first match in front of 100 people in a tiny town in Alberta.
They run through some basic mat wrestling and counters. Jericho lands a second rope Dropkick and then Baseball Slides Storm to the floor. Styles comments that there are only mats on the floor because the New York State Athletic Commission mandates them. Storm connects with a Dropkick and a very impressive Stalling Vertical Suplex.
Jericho tries to whip Storm into the corner, but Storm jumps to the top rope. He tries to come off and eats a Dropkick. Jericho scores with an Enziguri, but then a series of counters leads to a Jericho Tiger Suplex. That gets a two count and a “holy shit” chant from the crowd. Storm scores with a Dropkick, but Jericho counters a Pile Driver attempt. Storm hits a Side Kick, but Jericho gets out at two. Jericho counters a Superplex attempt and scores with a Diving Elbow. Storm locks on the Single Leg Calgary Crab, but Jericho gets out and connects with a Catapult. Bulldog by Jericho, he goes for the Lionsault, but Storm gets his knees up. Jericho catches the legs and locks on the Walls of Jericho! Awesome sequence there. Dawn Marie distracts the referee so that he doesn’t see Storm tap out.
Jericho fights off Jason Knight and Justin Credible, but Storm kicks out of an O’Connor Roll, allowing Credible to blast Jericho with his Singapore Cane and Storm to get the pin.
Analysis: ***. Perfect opener. They packed a ton of action into less than eight minutes. Exactly the match you would expect from these two studs.
They introduce the running storyline for the night, the fact that a group of anti-ECW WWE wrestlers will be attending the show tonight. They have a balcony reserved, but haven’t shown up yet.
Pitbull Gary Wolfe introduces a package honoring ECW wrestlers who had died at this point. It’s way, way too many. And there are even more as I type this nine years later.
Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Little Guido vs. Super Crazy
I feel like these guys faced off about 1,000 times in the last year of ECW. Tons of guys at ringside here: Sinister Minister and Mikey Whipwreck with Tajiri, Tracy Smothers, Tony Mamaluke, Big Guido, J.T. Smith with Guido. This one is so fast-paced it’s hard to do play-by-play. The match quickly spills out of the ring and into the crowd. Crazy climbs up onto the balcony and does a Moonsault off of it. Solid ten foot drop there. Pretty insane thing to do. That gets an “Ay Dios Mio!” from Joey. I swear ten seconds later Crazy and Tajiri are back fighting in the ring and Tajiri has Crazy in the Tarantula. These matches were never much for psychology.
The FBI get involved as Big Guido goes for a Powerbomb on Tajiri, who manages to Mist Little Guido. Tajiri beats up the FBI, then Mikey Whipwreck hits the Whipper Snapper on Guido and Tajiri gets the pin. This is ECW, so Guido is eliminated and the match continues between Tajiri and Crazy. Crazy immediately hits a Springboard Moonsault. Crazy goes for a Powerbomb, but Tajiri responds with a DDT. Crazy hits a move that looks like Wade Barrett’s Wasteland and then a second rope Moonsault. Mikey Whipwreck prevents Crazy from landing another Moonsault, but Crazy ducks the Buzzsaw Kick. Powerbomb by Crazy, then a Moonsault for the win.
Analysis: **. Decent match, but nothing special. Too many spots without any selling or psychology for my tastes.
We get a video package highlighting some of ECW’s greatest moments.
Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
These two had some absolutely classic matches in the mid 1990s in Mexico, ECW, and WCW. Mysterio gets booed. I don’t have much an an explanation for that other than him having become a WWE guy at this point. They go through a lucha sequence, but it’s a little slow and a little sloppy. These guys are both a lot heavier than the last time they faced off. They go outside, where Psicosis hangs Rey across the guardrail and hits a Leg Drop from the top rope. That should really be the end of Rey, but the match continues. A few minutes later Rey throws Psicosis into the crowd and hits a Seated Senton from the top rope into the front row. That was pretty impressive.
Rey hits the 619, which the crowd boos the shit out of. Rey hits a Springboard Hurricanrana for the win.
Analysis: *1/2. That didn’t quite work for me. They just couldn’t go the way they did back in the 90s, but tried to work the same kind of match they would have back then.
The anti-ECW crusaders enter the arena. We then go to another highlight package. When we come back, Joel Gertner tries to talk and gets beaten up by Kurt Angle and JBL. Angle and JBL both run down ECW, with JBL’s promo dragging on a bit long. He’s interrupted by Rob Van Dam, who was on the shelf with a knee injury at this point.
RVD fires off the best promo I’ve ever seen from him, though there isn’t much competition. The key is, he went out there and said what he had on his mind. Although it does drag on a little bit. Too bad Van Dam couldn’t wrestle this year, but he more than made up for it the next year. Rhino shows up to interrupt the promo and hits Van Dam with the Gore. Sabu comes out to take the save and we have an impromptu match.
Rhino vs. Sabu
Early highlight is Sabu hitting Rhino with a devastating chairshot that knocks Rhino off the top. He follows up with a chair-assisted springboard Plancha. Rhino counters an Asai Moonsault attempt and goes to work on Sabu in the ring. Sabu comes back with a Super Frankensteiner and a slingshot Leg Lariat. Air Sabu lands in the corner, causing Rhino to fall into the chair. Sabu’s Leg Drop from the chair gets two. Rhino counters the Triple Jump Moonsault and hits a TKO onto the chair. That gets two. Rhino accidentally Gores the referee, then hits a Piledriver on Sabu. RVD limps into the ring and hits Rhino with a chair. He hits a gimpy skateboard kick into Rhino’s face, then sets up a table. Arabian Facebuster from the top rope puts Rhino away at 6:30.
Analysis: **1/2. Fun short match. Pure brawl, but it’s hard to expect anything else from these two.
Al Snow is shown backstage arguing with Head. I never got that joke as a kid. It’s only slightly funnier now than it was then.
Another highlight package is shown. This one includes the Blue World Order, Sandman’s son joining with Raven, Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee in a Scaffold Match, the first Van Terminator, and Sabu returning to confront Taz.
Now it’s the bad guys from Raw who enter the building. On the plus side, this brings Edge, Christian, William Regal, and Eric Bischoff. On the minus side, it also brings Snitsky, Tomko, Jonathan Coachman and La Resistance.
Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero
Now that sounds like something I would be interested in. Guerrero comes out to a really terrible song that was designed to stop the crowd from cheering him, as he was playing heel at the time. A three way dance with Dean Malenko would have been nice here. A really loud “I fucked Lita!” chant breaks out. Welcome to 2005. They go through basic stuff and Eddie stalls. Eddie gets a Headlock, but Benoit escapes with a Back Suplex. Benoit escapes a hold but gets dumped through the ropes on a charge. Eddie goes to the floor and hits Benoit with a chair shot to the back.
Eddie goes for a Superplex and connects. Eddie goes to the top but misses the Frog Splash. Hard chops by Benoit, then a Northern Lights Suplex. Benoit with a Superplex! Rolling German Suplexes from Benoit, then the Diving Headbutt. Guerrero kicks out and goes for a roll-up, but Benoit counters with the Crippler Crossface for the submission win at 10:37.
Analysis: ***. Not the classic you would hope for, but very good nonetheless. Probably dragged down a little by Eddie having to play the heel character he was using at the time instead of just letting him and Benoit go at it.
Joel Gertner tries to interview the Raw crusaders and asks Eric Bischoff for a job.
Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka
Awesome starts with a Belly to Belly Suplex. Styles just absolutely rips into Awesome on commentary, calling him a piece of garbage. Awesome hits a Suicide Dive, leading Styles to remark that “it’s a shame he didn’t succeed in taking his own life.” Awkward in retrospect given that Awesome did kill himself a few years later. Massive chair shot to Awesome’s head. Awesome quickly regains control and Powerbombs Tanaka off the apron through a table! Holy shit! Awesome hits a Frog Splash, but Tanaka kicks out at two. Another Powerbomb from Awesome. Awesome finds a chair and hits Tanaka with a sick shot to the head. Unprotected. Three of them, actually. That’s insane and disgusting. Tanaka hits the Diamond Dust and then a Tornado DDT onto a chair. Awesome kicks out at two.
Tanaka puts a chair on Awesome’s face and hits him with another chair. Top rope chair shot to a prone Awesome gets two. Tanaka misses a Cyclone Punch and gets German Suplexed, then Speared. Thunderous top rope chair shot by Awesome. These guys are just complete fucking morons. Awesome brings in another table but ends up taking a Tornado DDT through it. Tanaka goes to the top and gets Powerbombed! Holy shit. Tanaka kicks out. I mean, they could just get shotguns and shoot each other at this point. Awesome Powerbombs Tanaka over the top rope through a table on the floor, then dives over the top onto Tanaka! Apparently falls count anywhere, because Awesome gets the pin on the floor at 10:10.
Analysis: ****. If there was ever a match that was entertaining in the same sense that a car wreck is entertaining, it would be this. The stuff these guys were doing to each other was completely insane. It’s hard to watch knowing that it probably contributed to Mike Awesome killing himself a few years after this. But it was a pretty damn awesome match.
Awesome Powerbombs the referee just to be a dick.
Styles and Foley thank the fans for buying the ECW DVD and the pay-per-view.
Paul Heyman makes his way to the ring for a promo. Heyman tears up, but then explains this his eyes are actually red because he was smoking a joint with RVD backstage. Paul says some thank yous, and then starts taking shots at the WWE invaders. He points out to Bischoff that it’s Bischoff at an ECW show, not Heyman at a WCW show. “Hide your wives, it’s Edge!” To JBL: “The only reason your were WWE Champion for a year is because Triple H didn’t want to work Tuesdays.” Fun promo from Heyman, nice way to break up the show.
The Dudley Boyz vs. Sandman and Tommy Dreamer
I’m watching this on WWE Network and they edited the music, which really ruins Sandman’s entrance. Before they can get going, the Blue World Order of Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards, and Nova show up. They attack Sandman and Dreamer, prompting Balls Mahoney and Axel Rotten to show up. Axel and Balls tune up the BWO and clear the ring. After a shot on Nova, Styles goes “that’s more painful than having to be Simon Dean on national TV!” Zing.
Kid Kash hits a Front Flip Plancha out onto everybody. Did I forget to mention he was there? It’s getting hard to keep track. Everybody but Dreamer, Sandman, and The Dudleyz clear out and the match can finally start. Dreamer gets cut with a cheese grater and bleeds within about a minute. Sandman finally comes back and he and Dreamer turn the tide. Lots of stuff happens, people get hit with chairs, Sandman hits D-Von with the White Russian Legsweep, and then Dreamer and Sandman lock on stereo Figure Fours for some reason. The Impact Players show up and beat up Dreamer and Sandman.
Francine, the Queen of Extreme, kicks Dreamer in the balls. Then Beulah McGillicutty shows up and we have a CAT FIGHT!!!! Beulah kicks Storm in the balls and Dreamer clears the ring. Beulah and Dreamer hit stereo DDTs on the Dudleyz! Well, that was awesome. Bubba goes “fuck this” and grabs a table. Double Powerbomb on Sandman through the table, then a 3D on Dreamer. They get another table, at which point Little Spike Dudley shows up…to light the table on fire. Jesus, you can’t do any of this today. None of this match is legal. Powerbomb on Dreamer through the flaming table! Mercifully, the match ends.
Rating: **½. Tons of fun, pretty silly. Sandman just kind of disappeared at various points. Overall, a pretty fitting main event for an ECW show.
The Dudleyz go after Beulah, but Sandman cuts them off. Sandman asks for a beer, at which point the glass shatters and STEVE AUSTIN comes through the curtain! Austin calls out the whole locker room for a beer bash. You know this isn’t an old ECW ring because it can actually hold everyone’s weight. Austin calls out the invaders, telling them to come get some.
The ring fills, the battle lines clearly drawn. And then… “War Machine” hits. It’s TAZ! Now shit is going to get real. Everybody goes at it as Taz chokes out Kurt Angle on the floor. This is where JBL apparently infamously shot on Blue Meanie and busted him open. He got his comeuppance on Smackdown a few weeks later with a wicked chair shot from Meanie. Everybody went after Bradshaw, thankfully for him Bubba pulled him out. The invaders retreat as Austin calls for Eric Bischoff, who was up in the booth. Foley grabs Bischoff and drags him down to the ring.
Bischoff gets the 3D, Diving Headbutt, 619 (boo!). Bischoff defiantly goes “fuck ECW!” with a mic in front of his mouth and gets a Stone Cold Stunner. Joey Styles exclaims “ECW LIVES!” and indeed it does. Awesome ending to the show.
Overall: That was damn good. Showed there was still life in the ECW brand. They didn’t have quite everybody (no Raven, no Shane Douglas) but they were pretty close. A fitting tribute to the brand. Awesome match was Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome, and some other good performances. The commentary from Styles and Foley was great, and the show looked and felt like an old ECW show. They gave Heyman freedom to do it his way, and he delivered.