June 12, 2005
New York, NY
Buy Rate: .81
Announcers: Joey Styles & Mick Foley
Fun Fact: The concept for an ECW reunion show came from the mind of Rob Van Dam. He posed the concept to Vince McMahon, who bought the pitch and decided to run with it. Also playing a role in the decision was the overwhelming success of the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD that had been released the year prior. Tommy Dreamer was put in charge of organizing the show and booking the talent and Paul Heyman was given fill control of the event. McMahon would be present at the show and in the Gorilla position, but had very little say in the product itself. In addition to the ECW wrestlers that were booked, Dreamer and Heyman also brought in the old ECW referees, ring announcers and security team to really add to the feel of the show. There were also many legendary ECW fans at ringside, including Hat Guy, Vladimir and Faith No More guy.
Fun Fact II: In the weeks leading up to the show, there was a serious question about who would handle commentary duties. It was leaked that Mick Foley would be part of the team, and there were rumors that WWE was trying to bring Joey Styles on board to handle play-by-play. Styles had always sworn that he would not work for WWE and refused initial feelers. Days before the event, Styles caved, not wanting to miss out on the reunion. This was a major coup as Styles added a lot to the broadcast and it likely would not have been the same with someone else handling the role.
Fun Fact III: While Paul Heyman was given full control of the show, McMahon did want some WWE involvement to help ensure that fans unaware of ECW’s history would purchase the show. He gave instructions to have members of Raw and Smackdown invade the program to fulfill his wishes.
Fun Fact IV: On the 5/9 Raw, Eric Bischoff referenced the upcoming One Night Stand PPV and claimed that he would squash ECW like a bug. A week later, Tajiri and Chris Benoit agreed to compete in an Extreme Rules match, but Bischoff stopped it and banned anything ECW-related from Raw. He also proclaimed that he and a group of Raw superstars would invade the PPV. On 5/23, Bischoff had planned an ECW funeral, but Mr. McMahon interrupted that and spoke of his past financial support of the promotion. Heyman then came out and said he was in control of ECW and welcomed Bischoff’s invasion before lighting a funeral wreath on fire. Finally, on 5/30, Benoit and Edge competed in a tables match which Edge won after numerous Raw superstars came down and assaulted Benoit. On 6/6, Benoit was wrestling Snitsky when Tommy Dreamer led Rhyno, Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney and Sandman amongst others to the ring where they would assault the Raw invaders. Switching gears, on the 5/26 Smackdown, Kurt Angle said that ECW was a low class organization and announced that he would lead a Smackdown invasion of the PPV as well. The next week, JBL joined Angle’s cause. Angle then tried to convince Tazz to join him, but Tazz turned down the offer. Angle responded by assaulting Tazz and leaving him bloodied in the ring. On 6/9, Benoit faced off with JBL. Benoit had the ECW Originals in his corner while JBL had the Smackdown invaders in his. A huge brawl was triggered and brought the show to a close. In addition, while multiple matches were announced on WWE.com, the only PPV build on weekly TV focused on the WWE invaders.
Fun Fact V: With this show being in Manhattan, New York has now pulled even with California at seventeen PPVs apiece hosted.
*** Joey Styles gives an emotional introduction to the pay-per-view. It was a great moment as the fans were red-hot from the start and welcomed Joey with open arms. Styles would then bring out Mick Foley, who would be providing color commentary duties. ***
1) Lance Storm (Lance Evers) defeats Chris Jericho after a Justin Credible (Peter Polaco) kendo stick shot at 7:21
Fun Fact: This is the final mainstream match of Lance Storm’s career. He had gone into semi-retirement in 2004 but returned for this reunion. After this show he would make the Indy rounds in different capacities and would compete in a few matches here and there. He continues to run his wrestling school and make local appearances, but for the most part he has stayed out of the limelight. His final PPV record is 4-11, losing his first SEVEN PPV appearances before getting his first victory at Vengeance 2002.
Fun Fact II: This is also Justin Credible’s final WWE PPV appearance. After the show, Credible would make brief stops in TNA and MTV2’s WSX. He would return to WWE a year later for a brief stop in the resuscitated ECW, but that run would also be short lived. He continues to compete around the New England Indy circuit, also capturing the BTW Heavyweight Championship from John Walters in a match where Ric Flair was the special referee in early 2009. Credible was inducted to the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in the summer of 2009.
Fun Fact III: Lance Storm and Chris Jericho had a long history together, having met while training at the Hart Brothers Wrestling Camp. They would have their debut match against each other in 1990 and would also team as the Thrillseekers in SMW.
Scott: I must say before we begin that the energy inside the Hammerstein Ballroom was absolutely palpable. Everyone in this place knew that this was legit, and not a WWE-drummed up pimpfest. This was the one, and many thought last, night that we were about to see legit ECW, the way it used to be. Also seeing Jericho come out to his old school ECW tights and his Lionheart vest shows that even the big stars are taking this seriously, knowing that most of them started their careers in the bingo hall in Philly. I honestly was always a fan of the athletic guys in ECW, the Lance Storms, Benoits and Shane Douglases. This is a great opener from two guys whose careers started as partners in Smoky Mountain Wrestling as the Thrillseekers. They may not have seen each other since the Invasion days, but in the ring it’s like riding a bike again. It was a fantastic match of crisp strikes and fluid chain wrestling. As Jericho was about to win with the Liontamer, in come Jason Knight and Justin Credible and it was a reunion…of the Impact Players. Credible cracks Jericho with a Singapore Cane, and Storm wins what Joey kept mentioning as his last match. The crowd is hot, and the opener was sizzling. Grade: 3.5
Justin: In his final large scale pro match, Lance Storm heads to the ring with Dawn Marie by his side, ready to face his longtime friend, Chris Jericho. And speaking of Jericho, he takes the nostalgia up a notch by breaking out his old school tights and vest and being introduced as “Lionheart” once again. The crowd was smoking hot here and the two friends got off to a fast start, really setting the pace for what would be a frenetic show. These two had some tremendous chemistry and worked in some snug believable offense, including a nice snap dropkick by Jericho. Storm would hit a Superkick for a near fall, but Jericho hung in there. After some great wrestling and non-stop action, Storm’s old ECW running buddies Justin Credible and Jason Knight hit the ring to assist. Jericho would fend them off for a moment, but Credible would crack him with a kendo stick to give Storm a win in his farewell match. This was a great opener and a nice send off for Storm, who deserved it after a long, successful career of being a loyal soldier in multiple promotions. Jericho takes the loss, but moves on unscathed. Grade: 3
*** Pitbull Gary Wolfe introduces a special video retrospective of deceased ECW stars. Wolfe began his career in the Northeast and hooked up with ECW alongside his partner Anthony Durante as the Pitbulls. They would have a great run in Philadelphia, including a heated feud with Shane Douglas in which Wolfe’s neck was broken. Durante would pass away in 2003 from a drug overdose, so he was unable to join Wolfe here. Wolfe still works the Indy circuit under the Pitbull name as well as training at the CWZ academy. The video retrospective ended with Chris Candido, who had just passed away on April 28. As they cut back to the arena, a loud “Candido” chant echoed throughout the arena. ***
2) Super Crazy (Francisco Rueda) defeats Tajiri and Little Guido Maritato (James Maritato) in a Three Way Dance
Tajiri pins Maritato at 4:09
Crazy pins Tajiri at 6:12
Fun Fact: James Mitchell makes his WWE debut as he accompanies Tajiri to the ring. Mitchell briefly competed in SMW before turning his attention towards managing. He would migrate to WCW in 1996, becoming heavily involved in the Blood Runs Cold angle, managing Mortis and Wrath. After the creative team ran out of things for him to do, he was sent home and paid for two years. He moved to ECW in 2000, as an evil priest dubbed the Sinister Minister. He would manage Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck until the promotion folded. After this appearance, he would move onto TNA as a manager, eventually being released in 2008.
Fun Fact II: Also making his first WWE appearance alongside Tajiri was Mikey Whipwreck. Mikey began training on 1993, eventually signing with ECW after a referral from Joey Styles. A natural underdog, Mikey would be involved in some memorable storylines, especially one where he teamed and feuded with Cactus Jack. During his time in ECW, Mikey would hold the TV, tag and Heavyweight titles. In 1999, he jumped to WCW but his stay was brief as he was upset with his lack of push. He returned to ECW in late 1999, teaming with Tajiri and Mitchell. After ECW went under, Mikey would bounce around, spending time in TNA, ROH and various Indies. In 2010, he would admit that he was having serious issues stemming from neck injuries, leading to numbness in his limbs, and was unsure if he would ever compete again. He also claimed that WWE had offered him a trainer position, but he was unsure if he would accept due to the injuries.
Fun Fact III: This is Super Crazy’s WWE debut. Crazy began wrestling in Mexico in 1988 at age fourteen. In 1997, he had a brief stop in the WWF as Super Loco before moving over to ECW under the Super Crazy moniker. Crazy had a solid run in ECW, winning the TV title and having great matches with other wrestlers his size. When ECW folded, Crazy worked the Indy scene as well as tours of Japan and Mexico. He was signed to a WWE deal prior to this PPV and would move to Smackdown after the show.
Fun Fact IV: The Full Blooded Italians were formed in ECW in 1996 as a comedy group consisting of African-American wrestler J.T. Smith and Big Val Puccio. They eventually added Southern stars Tommy Rich and Tracy Smothers, who helped perpetuate the joke, as well as Little Guido and Big Guido. The group would act as stereotypical Italians despite most of them clearly not being Italian. The group eventually became more serious as it was pared down to Guido teaming with Tony Mamaluke and being managed by Big Sal E. Graziano. Mamaluke and Guido would win the ECW tag titles and hung around until the promotion closed. Smith, Smothers, Mamaluke and Big Guido accompany Little Guido here.
Scott: Where’s Jim Molineaux? Well John Finnegan’s doing this match, so we get some old school ECW referees. Well you go back to the old days and these three guys used to beat the shit out of each other, so why not just go out and beat the shit out of each other one last time. I miss Sally Gratz, that fat bastard as part of the FBI but we do have Tony Mamaluke, Big Guido and Little Guido, along with hangers-on Tracy Smothers and that hump JT Smith, who was always known for botching moves and forcing the fans to invent the “You Fucked Up” chants back in the day. Well it wasn’t long when before Super Crazy went to the second frigging balcony and hit a moonsault onto the entire FBI. Tajiri mists Guido and then we have Tajiri and Super Crazy together. They should have had an extra five minutes to just smack the crap out of each other with every move they can possibly invent. This crowd is not going to let up tonight and with the help of a small, contained area the noise level will be off the charts. Even with the help of the Sinister Minister and Mikey Whipwreck, Tajiri couldn’t stave off the Mexican Mayhem of Super Crazy. A quick but fun match with no lost pace. Grade: 2.5
Justin: The FBI reunites here as they accompany Little Guido to the ring. It was good to see the original group back together and also to see this three way feud reignited. The match was non-stop energy as they brawled in and out of the ring. They would eventually move into the crowd, where Super Crazy would ascend a balcony and come careening off with a crazy moonsault. The match was just a wild brawl that saw everybody from all sides get involved at one point or another. Mikey Whipwreck would help his partner out by dropping Guido with a Whippersnapper, allowing Tajiri to eliminate him. Crazy would be the star of the match, wowing the crowd and busting his ass to validate his recent contract. The mach on a whole was fluid and energetic with a nice spotlight shining on everyone. Crazy picks up the win, gaining steam for his new WWE career. Grade: 2.5
*** We get a quick ECW video retrospective on the early years of the promotion. ***
3) Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) defeats Psychosis (Dionicio Torres) with a West Coast Pop at 6:21
Fun Fact: Psychosis made his debut in 1989, working the Mexican scene for the early part of his career. He would make a name for himself in the US when he performed on the When Worlds Collide PPV and then capitalized on it with a brief stay in ECW, where he had a great three match series with Rey Mysterio. Both men would move to WCW in 1996, and would feud on and off during their time there. Psychosis would have a solid career in WCW that included losing his mask in a match with Billy Kidman. After being released in 2000, Psychosis spent time in ECW, TNA and Mexico before signing a deal with WWE in 2005 alongside Super Crazy.
Scott: The best way to book this show was exactly as they did it. Just reunite all of the exciting, most vicious feuds that ECW ever had. This was one of them. Unfortunately with all of the other stuff that will have to be done tonight, the matches aren’t getting the lengths they deserve. This match deserved at least five-six more minutes. We finally have a Jim Molineaux sighting as he’s reffing this battle of Lucha Libre legends. The match was kind of slow, and not what we would have expected. Mind you this is ten years later from their 1995 wars so I’ll give them a pass in that aspect. Psychosis took his mask off as a sign of respect, of which the fans chanted Put Your Mask On, but Rey smartly kept his on. They do go back to 1995 when Psychosis was whipped into the crowd and Rey West Coast Popped into the crowd onto his opponent. To prove how picky these ECW crowds are, they booed Rey’s “619” move. Overall a pretty good match, but maybe add a few more minutes. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Since the show began, the ECW fans had been red hot and eating everything up with a spoon. Until now, that is. Rey Mysterio makes his way out with his WWE music and look, seemingly not making much of an effort to bring out that nostalgic feeling that others had done. During an early stalemate, the ruthless fans would call for Psychosis to put his mask on, which Foley mentioned, making it even funnier. The opening part of the match was bland, but things picked up a bit when Psychosis dropped a stiff guillotine legdrop on Rey, who was draped over the guardrail. Rey would answer the challenge with a tremendous seated senton onto Psychosis, who was standing in the crowd. Unfortunately, that goodwill was quickly erased when Rey broke out a 619 and was booed by the fans for using another WWE spot. Rey would hit the West Coast Pop and pick up the win. This match was a bit disappointing and the crowd turned on it because of all the WWE tie-ins. Both men would have better days and this is but a minor speed bump in what will be an epic show at the end of the day. Grade: 2
*** The Smackdown Crusaders arrive at their seats in the balcony to tremendous crowd heat. JBL was great in egging them on as well. The team is comprised of JBL, Orlando Jordan, Kurt Angle, Carlito, Matt Morgan, and Doug and Danny Basham. After a quick ECW retrospective video, Joel Gertner appeared in the balcony. Angle ripped the mic from his hand and JBL shoved him to the floor. Angle and JBL then cut scathing promos on ECW, interacting with the vulgar fans as well. Gertner was an ECW announcer that morphed into a heel commentator and eventually into an overweight, foul-mouthed manager for the Dudley Boys. After the Dudleys left for the WWF, Gertner became a face and feuded with Cyrus and the Network until ECW closed. He would make a brief stop in TNA and is also involved in promoting for MXW in Connecticut. ***
Fun Fact: Bill Alfonso got into wrestling as a referee in the early 80s, first popping up in the NWA during that time. He would also have a referee stint in WCW and the WWF before moving to ECW in 1995. He assumed a role as a trouble-shooting referee that worked for the athletic commission and played the heel role, strictly enforcing the rules and rallying against the extreme ways of the promotion. He would then begin managing Taz before turning on him to manage his rival Sabu. He eventually added Rob Van Dam to his stable. He may be the most famous for his bloody brawl with Beulah McGillicutty in 1997. He would hang in ECW until it closed and then would work the Indy scene in various roles.
*** A rehabilitating Rob Van Dam makes his way to the ring alongside his old manager Bill Alfonso. RVD cut a passionate promo, talking about how he was injured and forced to miss not only Wrestlemania, but One Night Stand as well, which was worse to him. He talked about finally being able to cut loose and show the promo skills he had exhibited in ECW instead of the stilted one-liners he was forced to say since arriving in the WWF. In addition to shooting on the creative team, he also took shots at JBL and the office. As RVD spilt his feelings to the world, Rhyno hit the ring and took him out with a spear. As Rhyno was pouncing, the lights went out and when they turned back on, Sabu was in the ring. He went after Rhyno, a referee hit the ring and the bell sounded. ***
4) Sabu (Terry Brunk) defeats Rhyno (Terry Gerin) with an Arabian Skullcrusher at 6:28
Fun Fact: This is Rhyno’s final WWE appearance. He was actually released on April 9 after he got into a fight with his wife during the Wrestlemania after-party and tore up the hotel lobby. He would return for the show only before moving on to TNA in July, where he still competes as of 2010.
Fun Fact II: The legendary Sabu makes his WWE PPV debut after a long, violent and prosperous career. Sabu trained under his uncle, The Sheik, and cut his teeth in Japan before heading to ECW in 1993. He became an immediate underground sensation due to his crazy maniacal matches where he put his body and life on the line every time he entered the ring. After a two year run, Sabu hopped to WCW in 1995, but his stay was brief and he returned to ECW in 1996, where he would remain until 2001. He would make a brief appearance in WWF during their inter-promotional feud in late 1996 and early 1997, even competing on Raw. He would spend some time in a few Indies and TNA before being brought in for this show. This would not be the last time we see Sabu on WWE PPV.
Scott: This was an impromptu match as Rhyno gored Rob Van Dam during his awesome shoot promo. RVD couldn’t wrestle because of a knee injury but the crowd was very happy to see him cut off the awesome promos of Kurt Angle and JBL ripping ECW and the crowd. This show has been spot on so far, with everybody playing their parts perfectly. Rhyno was the last ECW World and TV Champion, and Sabu…well he’s Sabu. Who gave a shit what titles he had. My vision of him was beating Terry Funk for the ECW Title after picking pieces of barbed wire out of his frigging crotch. It was a quick but incredibly violent match. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Sabu kicked this impromptu match off with a vicious chair shot to Rhyno’s head. This was as basic as a brawl gets, with Rhyno bumping around for Sabu’s usual daredevil spots. RVD would return to the ring and nail Rhyno with a chair shot and a running chair dropkick to his face, allowing Sabu to nail a sloppy Arabic Skullcrusher through a table to put Rhyno away. This was a nostalgic, yet disjointed and sloppy mess, which was typical from Sabu. We now say goodbye to Rhyno, someone who seemed to have so much potential upon debuting but things just never really clicked for him after 2001. Sabu wins here and we quickly move along onto other things. Grade: 1.5
*** Backstage, Al Snow blames Head for Smackdown invading the show. This is Snow’s final WWE PPV appearance as well. He would remain under contract until early 2007, but was mainly used as a jobber and trainer for the duration of his deal. After being released, he would spend some time with OVW and TNA as well as some other Indy promotions. ***
*** Back in the arena, the Raw crusaders arrived, led by Eric Bischoff, the poster boy for the anti-ECW movement throughout the late 90s. Bischoff was great as he smugly mocked the fans that had hated him so much when he ran WCW. Backing him up were Jonathan Coachman, Edge, Christian, Tomko, Snitsky, William Regal and La Resistance. ***
5) Chris Benoit defeats Eddie Guerrero by submission with the Crossface at 10:37
Scott: Joey Styles said at the beginning of the match, that Paul Heyman could never book these two in the ring at the same time during ECW’s heyday. This is where Joey and Mick start pseudo-shooting about how their stars left in the mid-90s for more money in WCW. The ECW crowd pulls no punches as they start pointing at Edge while chanting, “I fucked Lita.” Hilarious. The crowd is split as they now have dueling “Let’s Go Benoit/Let’s Go Eddie” chants. The match is slow and deliberate, but its carried by the “Fuck You Bischoff” chants in the middle. The crowd is spot on with all chants and audience participation tonight. Then my favorite part of the match was when they were just chopping the crap out of each other with viciousness. The smacks continued until Benoit ratchets up the Crossface and finally tap out. Benoit gets the victory, but Eddie, who looked like he may dog this one, didn’t. The longest match of the night and it almost lived up to expectations. Grade: 3
Justin: Still hot from his heel turn, Eddie Guerrero stalks to the ring with a tremendous heel swagger. These two warriors that knew each other inside and out would deliver another rock solid match to add to their catalogue. As the two worked on the mat, the crowd diverted their attention to Edge, taunting him with Lita chants. Once they turned their attention back to the ring, they were fairly split on whom to root for. They would work a slower pace than normal, as Eddie, busted nose and all, would try to grind Benoit down to the mat. As Eddie took Benoit over with a sick superplex, the crowd turned their attention to Bischoff with more taunting. Benoit would drop Eddie with a nasty superplex of his own. This wasn’t the flashiest of their matches, but it was an intense war and a violent struggle. Benoit would hook in the Crossface and force the tap from Guerrero, ending this hard fought battle. Grade: 3.5
*** Joel Gertner would make his return, showing up in the Raw balcony, begging Eric Bischoff for a job on Raw, with a reel and folder of headshots in tow. After a great spit take, Bischoff shoved Gertner to the ground, sending him scurrying. Eric would then cut a great promo on the ECW fans. As they cut back to the ring, Mick Foley hit the line of the night when he lamented that Bischoff didn’t even look at Gertner’s headshots. ***
6) Mike Awesome (Mike Alfonso) defeats Masato Tanaka with an Awesome Bomb through a table on the floor at 9:51
Fun Fact: This is Masato Tanaka’s WWE debut. Tanaka had made his pro debut in 1993, where he competed for FMW. He left Japan and headed to ECW to reprise his Japanese feud with Mike Awesome. After a solid two year run, he would return to Japan, where he continues to compete.
Fun Fact II: This match marks Mike Awesome’s final WWE appearance. In February 2006, Awesome retired from wrestling, claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family and feeling underpaid for his appearance at this show. Things would end tragically for Awesome when he was found hanged in his home by a group of friends. There are stories that Awesome was driven to that point due to an upcoming divorce and after spending time in jail for physically assaulting his estranged wife.
Scott: The undoubtedly surprise match of the night as they two thick powerhouses bludgeon each other like they did back in 1999. Joey Styles has no love lost for Awesome, as we remember what Awesome did with the ECW Title and his walkout to WCW. Awesome does hit the Awesome Bomb on Tanaka off the apron and through a table. Tanaka is a Japanese legend, and a sick bastard to boot as witnessed by the sick, flush chair shots Awesome is pasting him with, and he’s liking it. At one point, all these two guys are doing is pasting each other with one chair shot after another. Flush, stiff and something I wouldn’t recommend you do to anybody. Tanaka hits Awesome with a sick power bomb through two tables. Awesome hits a crazy Awesome Bomb off the top rope and Tanaka kicked out. Insane, that’s all I can say. Awesome gets another table, and throws Tanaka out of the ring and onto another table, and gets the three count. No question, the match of the night. Grade: 4
Justin: As Mike Awesome makes his way to the ring, Joey Styles goes into an epic rant on him, tearing him apart for the way he walked out of ECW as champion back in 2000. As Styles continued to rip him, Awesome looked super motivated in the ring, moving non-stop and risking his body to put on a classic ECW brawl. At one point, Awesome flew to the floor with a suicide dive and Styles said what might end up being the most regrettable line of his career when he said, “it was a shame that he didn’t succeed in taking his own life.” These two longtime nemeses would tear into each other with stiff brain rattling chair shots. Things would get uglier when Awesome sent Tanaka flying through a table on the floor with an Awesome Bomb off the ring apron. The fans were going nuts as Awesome unleashed more nasty chair shots to the skull of Tanaka. As the violence continued, we would get some funny shots of JBL marking out and rooting on Awesome. Styles surmised that JBL was pulling for Awesome because of the way he turned on ECW. Awesome would continue to bring the fight to Tanaka as he dropped him off the top rope with another Awesome Bomb. He would finally put Tanaka down for the count when he dropped him with yet another Awesome Bomb from the apron through a table. He then dove out to the floor on top of Tanaka and got the win. Awesome certainly made a statement here and I thought for sure the outing would earn him a contract, but there must have been enough bad blood with WWE to prevent it. This was a relentless brawl that unexpectedly stole the show. Grade: 4
*** As the crowd was still buzzing from that wild brawl, the mad genius of ECW, Paul Heyman, walked down to the ring. Heyman would an emotional promo with tears in his eyes and the crowd saluting him throughout it. He would thank everybody and then turn his attention to the WWE crusaders. After calling out Bischoff, he warned everybody to hide their wives because Edge was in the house. He then told Edge that he had two words for him: “Matt Freakin Hardy”. Edge joking that it was actually three words was equally as funny. Then, Heyman turned his attention to JBL and hit the best overall line of the night when he told JBL that he was only World champion for a year because Triple H didn’t want to work Tuesdays. As JBL feigned being offended, the crowd backed Heyman up and he soaked in the adulation before marching to the back. ***
7) Dudley Boys defeat Sandman (Jim Fullington) & Tommy Dreamer (Tommy Laughlin) when Bubba Ray (Ray LoMonaco) powerbombs Dreamer through a flaming table at 10:12
Hollywood Nova, Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie, Kid Kash, Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, Justin Credible, Lance Storm, Francine and Beulah McGillicutty
Fun Fact: This is the final WWE appearance for the entire Dudley family. After being released on July 5, it was revealed that WWE informed Bubba and D-Von that they now owned the trademark to their in ring names, having purchased it when the bought the bankrupt assets of ECW. In September, Bubba and D-Von signed deals with TNA where they were forced to assume the names Brother Ray and Brother Devon. As of 2010, they continue to compete in TNA’s tag team division. Their little brother Spike was also released on July 5. He would work the Northeast Indy scene before also heading to TNA in 2006 as Brother Runt. He would remain there until 2007, when he returned to the Indy scene as a competitor and trainer. The Dudley Boyz’ final PPV record as a team is 16-27, going 2-3 at the Rumble, 0-4 at WrestleMania, 1-1 at the King of the Ring, 2-2 at both SummerSlam and the Survivor Series, and 9-15 at other events. Their best year was 2001, going 9-2 for the year. Add in Bubba’s PPV record as himself, which he went 3-0 in 2002, and the record goes to 19-27, a decent yet surprising (and disappointing) record for one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
Fun Fact II: The Sandman, yet another longtime ECW stalwart, also makes his debut on this show. Jim Fullington, who joined ECW in 1993 playing a surfer turned wrestler, portrayed the Sandman. After ditching the surfer gimmick, he briefly played up a pimp gimmick, and begun to have long time wrestling valet Woman escort him to the ring. He was a multi-time Heavyweight Champion and was involved in many memorable storylines, with the most popular including his ex-wife and son being brainwashed by Raven. In 1999, he had a brief run in WCW but that quickly nosedived and he migrated back to ECW in 2000, staying there until the promotion closed up shop. He would then spend some time XPW and TNA before being brought in for this show.
Fun Fact III: We also see the debut of Axl Rotten, who interferes in the match before it gets going. Axl began training in 1986 and would work the Northeast scene alongside his fictional brother Ian. Axl would have a brief stop in WCW and a longer visit in the GWF before heading to ECW in 1993. He would be on and off with ECW, finally leaving in 1999. He would spend some time in XPW and Japan prior to being involved here. A year later, WWE was considering picking him up but he no showed a Raw and those hopes were squashed.
Fun Fact IV: Joining Axl Rotten in his chair wielding run in was his buddy Balls Mahoney. Balls began training at age fifteen in 1987 prior to working the Indy scene in the early nineties. He would join SMW in 1994 as Boo Bradley and then moved on to the WWF in 1995 where he portrayed the legendary Xanta Klaus. He would find his biggest success in 1997 when he signed with ECW under the moniker of Balls Mahoney. He would remain in ECW through 2001 and then went back to the Indy scene until this show.
Fun Fact V: Also making her WWE debut was the Queen of Extreme, Francine. She debuted in ECW in 1995 after training at the House of Hardcore for two years. Her most famous role in the promotion was as Shane Douglas’s manager. After Douglas left in 1999, she would spend time in the corner of Tommy Dreamer and then Justin Credible, where she remained until ECW closed. She had a brief stint in TNA in 2002 and then hit the Indy circuit prior to this PPV event. She would return to WWE for a brief stint a year later before finally leaving the business in late 2006.
Fun Fact VI: Trisa Hayes started her career with a brief appearance in Stampede Wrestling in 1988 as she was dating Brian Pillman at the time. In 1995, she would head to ECW as Beulah McGillicutty and she was booked as a former childhood friend of Tommy Dreamer and Raven. The story was that she was a fat teenager that was in love with Tommy, but he ignored her so she slept with Raven instead. Steve Richards then brought her in to ECW to help Raven vanquish Dreamer. In 1996, Beulah claimed she was pregnant with Tommy’s baby and left Raven to manage Dreamer. She would remain by Tommy’s side until 1998 when she wanted to leave the business. She was written out with a broken neck courtesy a Dudley Boys 3D. Beulah and Tommy would marry in 2002 and this is her first wrestling appearance since 1998.
Fun Fact VII: In the post match brawl, there was a nasty incident between JBL and Blue Meanie. Based on a few reports, Meanie and JBL had some heat from Meanie’s previous stint with WWF back in 1999. After being released, Meanie ripped into JBL in various interviews. According to JBL, Meanie was shooting on him prior to the brawl in the ring. The tape shows JBL then targeting Meanie and peppering him with legit punches to the face, bloodying Meanie up and opening fresh stitches. Other wrestlers contend that JBL was fuming over Heyman’s comments earlier in the night and that he assaulted the weakest target in the ring, unprofessionally taking liberties on him. If you continue to review the tape, you can see JBL getting stomped down and Bubba Dudley actually saving him by pulling him from the ring. There were reports that the WWE office was angry with JBL but nothing would come of the incident, as Vince didn’t really care about Meanie’s well being. Backing up his friend, legit tough guy Tracy Smothers later challenged JBL to a fight, but that challenge went unanswered. In an attempt to avoid a potential lawsuit, WWE hired Blue Meanie shortly after the show. On the 7/7 Smackdown, Meanie and JBL squared off in a match that saw Stevie Richards gain revenge for his friend by crushing JBL with a vicious chair shot. Richards later verified that it was a receipt for the PPV assault. Meanie would win the match and the incident would quickly blow over shortly afterwards.
Scott: Our final match brings back a couple of stalwarts from ECW’s golden years, the Innovator of Violence and the original beer drinker. Of course we needed an appearance from the BWO, as well as some other ECW alumni. This is typical ECW, a scheduled match that turns into a clusterfuck. Kid Kash planchas over the ropes onto the entire group. Finally we have some order, and yes my favorite ECW weapon of all time comes out: the cheese grater. Bubba Ray rips Dreamer’s face with it, and then later Dreamer returns the favor. The rest of the match is one bloody weapons shot after another. Ladders, chairs, blood, stiff shots, from four guys who fought for this company like brothers for years. They pulled everybody out, including Francine and Beulah fighting in the ring. This last match was just a fun, sick brawl with everything including nut shots with a chair. Yes you read that right. We finish with the obligatory Dudley power bomb through a table…on fire. Damn right. What a fitting last match, just a disgusting brawl of great proportions. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Our main event features four of ECW’s biggest and most memorable stars. Tommy Dreamer’s entrance was emotional and great to watch, but Sandman’s entrance was epic to watch. He slowly made his way through the crowd, pounding beers as the fans all sang along to Enter Sandman. It was great that WWE used the actual song and even better that the fans sang right along with every word. Sandman was clearly drunk when he hit the ring and he also had a huge beer gut here, as it was clear he hadn’t been hitting the gym much during his down time. Before the match starts, the BWO comes down, does their thing and helps the Dudleys. That was following by more run ins, kicking off what would end up being a wild weapons filled brawl. The violence was kicked up a notch right from the start, when Bubba and Tommy traded off using a cheese grater as a weapon. Outside of a double figure four spot by Tommy and Sandman, this was a prototypical ECW street fight, with a red-hot crowd and blood flowing from everywhere. Lance Storm and Justin Credible would make a return, also helping the Dudleys. As they worked over Tommy and Sandman, Francine made a surprise return to help assault Tommy as well. The surprises continued as Tommy’s old manager, and real life spouse, Beulah McGillicutty made her first in ring appearance since the Dudleys took her out back in 1998. She would reunite with Tommy and they shared a blood soaked hug, thanks to Tommy’s five alarm blade job. Of course, that embrace came after a vintage ECW catfight that Joey Styles freaking out on commentary. Spike Dudley would then come down and aid his brothers in lighting a table on fire. Bubba would grab Tommy, powerbomb him through it and pinned him for the win amidst raucous chants from the fans. This was a stiff brawl that was loaded with more nostalgia and lots of weapons and blood. The Dudleys win their final WWE match but the show was not quite over yet. Grade: 3.5
*** After the match ended, Steve Austin made his way to the ring to celebrate ECW’s rebirth with a beer bash. As all of the ECW stars poured into the ring and shared a brew, Austin decided to call out the WWE crusaders, baiting them into coming to the ring for a fight. After some hesitation and threats from Austin, the crusaders hit the ring for a big showdown. As Eric Bischoff joined Styles and Foley on commentary, Tazz’s old ECW music hit and he stalked down to the ring, towel over his head. A huge brawl erupted between both sides as Tazz took out Kurt Angle, playing off their interactions heading into the show. Tazz would choke him out in the aisle as the fight raged on in the ring. ECW would win the brawl, but they weren’t done yet. As Styles and Bischoff sniped at each other on the mic, Austin asked Mick Foley to bring Bischoff down to the ring. Foley obliged and Bischoff would take a rough beating as numerous ECW wrestlers punished him with their finishers. The celebration then continued in the ring as the show faded out. ***
Scott: This is one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen. Top to bottom it was a fitting one-night tribute to a phenomenon, to a promotion that we all watched and appreciated throughout the 1990s. They were the wild card of the Monday Night Wars. If you didn’t want the cartoony WWE, or the old fart WCW, you had this. ECW. Great wrestling, sick brawls, hot chicks and great swerves. The best part of this entire show was the fact that WWE didn’t touch it. No phony nonsense, no Triple H, no Cena, none of the WWE that didn’t belong there. Sure the Raw/Smackdown guys showed up, but it was only the heels. Speaking of the WWE guys, a lot of credit belongs to Eric Bischoff, JBL, and Kurt Angle for going in there clearly with the possibility of getting shanked in the hallways, and playing their anti-ECW, snotty asshole attitude to the hilt. It got the crowd even hotter and kept the energy level at 100%. Now the matches were ok, except for Awesome/Tanaka, which was fantastic with some ridiculously stiff chair shots throughout. This was about the real emotion that guys like Paul Heyman and Rob Van Dam felt about the legacy of ECW and Eric Bischoff too, who legitimately hated ECW and never minced words to back it up. This is a great time capsule for a promotion that will never be forgotten. This may be one of the few shows in history, Wrestlemania III being another one, that I can throw in at any time and never get sick of it. My only regret is that Steve Austin didn’t come out to “Jesus Christ Superstar” wearing an orange tank top like his ECW days in 1995. Oh well. It doesn’t hurt the grade. Justin and I usually don’t tell fans to definitely watch or not watch something, but if you’ve never seen this show, see it. If you have seen it, watch it again. You’ll get emotional, and excited to relive the last great night in Paul Heyman’s career. Grade: A+
Justin: Well, this may be the easiest final analysis that I have had to write yet. This show was an easy win on all levels. It was so well done and so entertaining that it just flies by and the energy and excitement never slows down. It was also so different than anything else in wrestling at the time and that made it feel even more special. It was really the perfect prototype for a nostalgia reunion show and the execution was picture perfect. Sure, there are a couple of things you could nitpick, and I will do just that, but those are mild annoyances that don’t affect the show as a whole in any way. Two things that annoyed me are as follows. I like Mick Foley and I think he has the chops to be a good announcer, but the issue here is that he never stopped talking about himself. He tied every wrestler, every moment, every move into something he had done as well. A few anecdotes here and there are fine, but I felt like he never stopped referencing his own career. Second, I hated that Austin came out with his Stone Cold look and music. It is a minor complaint but everyone else tried their best to bring out the old ECW feel, but his whole shtick was just a big WWE reminder. I think they should have left him out and had Heyman or RVD run the final segment, or go all the way and have him come out to Jesus Christ Superstar and revisit his roots. Anyway, those are minor things and they don’t stop this show from reaching perfection. If you haven’t seen this show, see it now. If you have, well go watch it again because it never gets old. Final Grade: A+
MVP: Rob Van Dam, Paul Heyman & Vince McMahon
Runner Up: ECW Fans, Mike Awesome & Tanaka
Non MVP: Rey Mysterio & Psychosis
Runner Up: Rhyno