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ECW One Night Stand 2006 Review
ECW. The name conjures up the days of yore. Those early Sunday mornings when something special came to my TV. ECW didn?t bring a flood of large ?roided up men looking to sell merchandise. It didn?t bring a mind numbing numbers of luchadors flipping all over the ring. No, ECW brought men, real men; men who smoke and drank; men who knew it was easier to hit an opponent with a chair than wear him down with a reverse chin lock. It brought bold and daring men who would put there well being on line to entertain a small group of fans and to collect a paycheck that might not even show up on time. Tonight ECW comes back, but this time it?s the WWE?s ECW. Will Vince leave it alone and let it be as pure as it once was, or will he ?tweak it? to suit his own purposes? In a few short hours we will know.
The show opens with one of the most raucous crowds I?ve ever seen. The ECW faithful were definitely in the building, and the year long wait to worship at the feet of Paul Haymund?s creation have left them ravenous. ECW chants thundered through the building, (as they would all night long), as Paul Haymund came to the ring. He gave a rousing ?Rebirth of ECW? speech, which served as a lead in to the opening credits. We are then welcomed to the show by Joey Styles and taken to the first match of the night.
Match 1 Tazz vs. Jerry The King Lawler
Prior to making his way to the ring, Lawler takes time to approach the commentary table and give Styles and complementary slap across the face that sent him sprawling out of his chair and to the floor. Once Lawler reached the ring, he began a stare-down with Tazz until Styles entered the ring from behind, jumped on Lawler?s back and attempted to apply what looked like a Tazzmission. Lawler easily threw Joey off of his back, but in the process gave Tazz the opening to sink in the Tazzmission and get the win by choke-out. Though it was fun seeing Joey in the ring, I was rather disappointed that Tazz and Lawler didn?t have a ?real? match.
We are then presented with a video package chronicling The Big Show?s jump to ECW, and Tazz joins Joey at the announce position to co-host the rest of the show.
Match 2 Randy Orton vs. Curt Angle
Although this is an ECW PPV, this match had a very WWE feel to it. That having been said, Angle did in fact wrestle with a markedly different style. Curt?s attack was almost completely ground based, and made use of several holds that I haven?t seen him use in the past. Orton on the other hand wrestled his typical style, and the difference between the two blended together quite well. The crowd was very into this match and were elated when Angle won by way of ankle lock. We had a rocky start to this show, but things are on track now.
Match 3 FBI w/ Big Guido vs. Super Crazy and Tajiri
It seems that these guys wanted to make it clear that Curt Angle is not the only one capable of putting on a wresting clinic. Shying away from much of the high spots one might expect here, Little Guido and Tony Momalook used a wide array of wrestling holds to offset Super Crazy?s acrobatics and Tajiri?s kicks. This was an entertaining match that came to a close with the FBI hit a double Fisherman?s Buster for the win. The show continues to pick up steam, the ?WWE style? is no where in site, and I?m loving every minute of it.
Following the match, The Big Show hits the ring and clears it of all of the last matches participants, including Big Guido. Perhaps Show will be getting a proper ?unstoppable monster? push in the future. Following The Big Show?s dominate performance, JBL makes an appearance to berate the ECW crowd and to announce that he will be the new ?Voice of SmackDown?.
Match 4 Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu
It?s amazing to see how convincing Rey can be when he is allowed to do so. In what was a great match filled with sick and disturbing high spots, both Rey and Sabu put on very memorable performances. Both men were firing on all cylinders, and hit a wide array of their trademark moves, and even add a few new ones in the process. In what I found to be a smart piece of booking, the match was ended due to ?doctor stoppage? after an insane DDT table spot. Normally, I would be opposed to endings such as this, but in this case it not only made sense, but due to the quality of the match it seemed appropriate that neither man lost. This was not your WWE Rey Mysterio tonight and I?m sad that I won?t be seeing this version of Rey anymore. That said, this PPV just crossed the threshold of greatness.
Match 5 Mick Foley & Edge w/Lita vs. Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer w/Bulla
Prior to the match, Edge and company do a little mic work which leads Bulla into making the match a 6 man mixed tag. Despite the mixed tag format, neither Lita or Bulla did much, leaving the lion?s share of the work to the men. The four put on a good hardcore match, with all the chairs, barbed wire, and flaming bats that entails. In a nice change of pace, Funk was removed from the match by the ringside doctor only to return later, flaming barbwire wrapped board in hand, to save Tommy Dreamer. In the end however it was all for not, as Edge speared Bulla to get the win. This match wasn?t as impressive as the last few, but it was good and I?m looking forward to what?s next.
We then go backstage for footage of both John Cena and RVD warming up for their match, before going back to ringside.
Match 6 Balls Mahoney vs. Masato Tanaka
After receiving a rousing ?Welcome Back? chant, Tanaka goes to work in what ended up in a chair swinging duel. As one might expect, getting into a chair fight with Balls is not a good idea; a lesson Tanaka learned after being laid out and pinned. This match really didn?t offer much. Both did some fairly basic power wrestling and a little brawling outside the ring, but neither did anything spectacular. That having been said, it was relatively short and the chair work was quite convincing.
A video package telling the story of how RVD earned his title shot is played before Eugene hits the ring. Eugene, delivering a speech that was obviously designed to turn the fans against him, is soon confronted by a Kendo stick wielding Sandman, who did what the Sandman does best, running Eugene out of the arena after several shots to Eugene?s head and back.
Match 7 RVD vs. John Cena
In my entire life, I have never, ever, seen or heard of a crowd so completely supportive of a performer. In what can only be described as a ?wrestlegasim?, the crowd erupted at the appearance of RVD, and chanted and cheered their way through every minute of this match. Every punch thrown by RVD was greeting by deafening cheers, and blow landed by Cena was met with equal jeering. It was only fair then, that the match itself lived up to such unprecedented fan participation. Though RVD wrestled his traditional ECW style, hitting a variety of signature moves, it was the change of style by John Cena that stood out the most. Cena quickly took to the ?no rules? format of the match, wrestling far more violently, and taking advantage of any weapon he could get his hands on. The two told a brilliant story, that is until the very end of the match. I don?t know who?s idea it was, but it seems that the WWE just can not let certain individuals win a major title without finding a way to diminish and cheapen the victory, and thus withhold the unfettered glory that should come with such a win. In this case, it was decided that RVD would not win the title tonight, but that Edge, through interference would with the title for RVD. In move obviously designed to prevent RVD from legitimately winning a world title, Edge speared Cena unconscious allowing RVD to get the frog slash and the pin. Though the crowd did go wild, and the locker room empty out to congratulate RVD, this match left me with a horrible empty feeling. Even at an ECW PPV, even though they will launch the company with RVD at the helm, they just refused to let him be a ?true champion?. They wouldn?t do this to Hulk, Hunter, Batista, or Angle, hell they didn?t even do it to Rey, but for RVD?
The ending of the show aside, I must say I did like this PPV. I did recapture a little bit of the ECW feelings of old, and even enjoyed the non ?WWE style? efforts of several wrestlers. If they continue to move into the direction of the ECW of old, I expect them to do very well. However, if the same old obstacles for WWE manifest themselves as they did at the end of the show, ECW may well find itself re-branded to WWE Light.
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