June 11, 2006
New York, NY
Buy Rate: .76
Announcers: Joey Styles & Tazz
Fun Fact: In April, news began to leak out that Vince McMahon had settled upon resurrecting ECW as a third WWE brand. Effectively replacing Velocity, which had recently been moved to WWE.com, it was decided that ECW would return as a brand on Sci-Fi in June. WWE officially confirmed the ECW rebirth on May 25th. To help build this PPV and the ECW rebirth, the company aired a special WWE vs. ECW Head to Head show on USA on 6/7. The first official episode of ECW on Sci-Fi would air on 6/13.
Fun Fact II: With his back quickly deteriorating, preventing him staying in ring shape, JBL decided to step away from the ring as an active competitor. On 5/26, JBL lost his US title to Bobby Lashley. Later that night, he lost a World title rematch with Rey Mysterio. Due to a prematch stipulation, JBL retired from the ring. With ECW starting back, Vince decided to move Tazz to Sci-Fi alongside Joey Styles and had JBL join Michael Cole to provide color commentary for Smackdown. He would announce his new Smackdown announcing gig at this show.
Fun Fact III: On 5/1, after a humiliating segment with the Spirit Squad, Joey Styles flipped out and quit Raw. After getting into a verbal sparring match with Jerry Lawler, Styles slapped the King in the face and King retaliated by shoving him to the ground. Styles then cut a scathing promo, stating he was angry about being pulled from Wrestlemania and Backlash and also tore into WWE for focusing on entertainment instead of wrestling. It was later revealed that Jim Ross would return to his Raw broadcast seat and that Styles would be taking over announcing duties for the new ECW.
Fun Fact IV: This is the Empire State’s 20th PPV, two more than California for most all time.
*** Paul Heyman marches to the ring to kick off the PPV. He fires up the crowd a bit and then talks about the return of the ECW brand to TV, beginning this Tuesday. He also thanks the fans for making it happen and rips into Raw and Smackdown to get things off to a hot start. ***
1) Tazz (Peter Senerchia) defeated Jerry Lawler by submission with the Tazzmission at :36
Fun Fact: In the weeks leading up to this show, Jerry Lawler ramped up his vitriol and tore into ECW like it was 1997 all over again. This time, though, he also started including Tazz in some of his jabs. On the 6/2 Smackdown, Tazz challenged Lawler to a match at the PPV. On the 6/7 TV special, Tazz and Lawler were both part of the commentary team for the show and they immediately started the fireworks as the show came on the air. What started as a verbal spat quickly escalated into a pull apart brawl between the two. They would brawl again at the end of the show. On the 6/9 Smackdown, Tazz cut another promo eviscerating Lawler and announced that he was quitting Smackdown to return to ECW as an announcer.
Fun Fact II: This is Tazz’s final PPV match and his first PPV bout since No Way Out 2002. Tazz will remain on screen as the color commentator for ECW on Sci-Fi and eventually Smackdown. We will cover his eventual departure from WWE when the time comes. His final record is 8-6, going 2-1 at the Rumble, 1-1 at Wrestlemania, 0-1 at Summerslam, 0-1 at the Survivor Series, and 5-2 at other events.
*** Prior to the match, Jerry Lawler stops by the announce table and smacks Joey Styles across the side of the head. Styles would retaliate by jumping on Lawler’s back as he entered the ring. ***
Scott: Say what you want about his love of puppies and his insipid commentary sometimes, but when it came to shitting on ECW, no one did it better than the King. The creator of “Extremely Crappy Wrestling” was an absolute heat missile for this one. The Manhattan Center was off its rocker, as Joey Styles runs down to the ring after getting pimp slapped by Lawler, then Tazz slaps on the Tazzmission and that’s that. A quick pop to get the crowd absolutely hot, and they wouldn’t let up all night. Just like a year ago, I feel we’re in for a very special night. Grade: .5
Justin: After sitting on the sidelines for over four years, Tazz makes his in ring return for this quick fight with Jerry Lawler, the anti-ECW crusade leader going on ten years. Due to being a natural ECW enemy, King generates some great heat that only grew when he cracks Styles across the face before the match. Joey would get some revenge by hopping on Jerry’s back as he got in the ring, distracting him briefly and allowing Tazz to hook the Tazzmission and get the quick tap out. I got to give kudos to the King here, for stepping into enemy territory and putting Tazz and ECW over strong by quickly tapping out. This was a hot start to the show and a nice blowoff to the weeks of verbal fighting between the two. Grade: 0
2) Kurt Angle defeated Randy Orton by submission with the Anklelock at 15:18
Fun Fact: On 5/29, Paul Heyman announced that Mr. McMahon allowed him to choose one wrestler from each brand to draft to the new ECW. Paul revealed that his Smackdown pick was none other than Kurt Angle.
Fun Fact II: On the 4/14 Smackdown, Kurt Angle defeated Randy Orton in a KOTR tournament match. Angle won via the Anklelock and would ratchet it in again twice after the bout. The next week it was announced that Orton’s ankle was broken and that he would be sidelined because of it. It was later revealed that the vacation was really a sixty-day suspension going back to Orton’s unprofessional behavior leading up to Wrestlemania. On 6/5, Orton made his return on Raw, dropping Angle with an RKO. On the 6/7 special, announced that he and Angle would square off at One Night Stand and that he would get revenge for the broken ankle and kill the legend of ECW as well. Later that night, Angle and Orton tussled in the Brand Battle Royal, with Orton eliminating Angle.
Scott: Our actual opener pits two WWE guys with two different sets of problems. First off the crowd is ridiculously pro-Angle. Orton, who has no business being in any kind of ECW setting, oozes heat just by strolling down the ramp and having his pyro go off in the ring. Meanwhile, Angle comes down and the crowd goes crazy. Now, to the problems these two have. Orton is getting a less than stellar reputation backstage for being a complete asshole to everyone around him. He calls the Divas names, he blatantly laughs at the Wellness Policy and is a douchebag in general. Unfortunately he has loads of talent and really can’t be fired. So he gets buried and hasn’t won much since late 2005. He even got pulled off TV for a couple of months. In kayfabe it was a Kurt Angle Anklelock that took him off camera. As for his opponent, well Angle has other physiological problems. First he’s pissed that he’s not being treated as well as he should be for someone with experience and seniority on the roster. Add to the fact he’s having a few too many HGH cocktails and we’re looking at a ticking time bomb. The match is pretty good, but any matches are just better when you’ve got 2500 insane fans in a small place getting completely amped up. It’s funny that ten years ago, Angle was disgusted at the Raven crucifying Sandman storyline and even a year ago at the first One Night Stand was completely anti-ECW. Now he’s insane, literally and figuratively. Finally Angle gets the leg grapevined and Orton must tap out. This is one of those shows where you have to be careful who you let go over in these matches, but more on that at the end of the show. Angle is soaking it in, but unfortunately his future with the company takes a sad turn. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Randy Orton makes his return from convalescing and walks right into the lion’s den where his cocky pretty-boy frat punk persona was the epitome of all that was evil to ECW fans. On commentary, Styles and Tazz gelled immediately and began taking bitter jabs at WWE. I really liked this marriage between Angle and ECW as he fit the image that that grittier, wrestling based visage Paul Heyman was trying to project. To help coerce Angle into jumping to the new brand, they told him he could go into full aggressive wrestling-machine mode, where he could bust out his amateur skills and just angrily destroy anyone put in his path. And another sign that this was a good fit: the fans were into Angle and his style from the initial bell. They were also really nasty to Orton the whole way through and Orton hammed it up by continuously bailing to the floor and stalling. Angle would ground Orton early and began attacking the ankle. Angle, in pure beast mode, began unloading his amateur arsenal, toying with Orton by slapping and paintbrushing him around as he rode him to the mat. Orton would finally gain some control, using his basic offense and even cranking in a chinlock, which really drew the ire of the fans. Angle quickly battled back and finished off the dominant performance by topping off a hot finishing sequence with an Anklelock. I really liked the style exhibited here, as it was presented more like a stiff amateur brawl and it really set the tone for what should be a nice Angle/ECW marriage. The match was well built and Orton did a great job hanging with Angle and also working the crowd. After the match, Orton demands that a few refs come and help carry him to the back and as the crowd chastised him for it, Orton played it up like they were cheering for him and beamed about “his fans”. It was some great character work to close out a hard fought match. Angle has officially been reestablished as a killer now as well. Grade: 3
3) Full Blooded Italians defeat Super Crazy (Francisco Rueda) & Tajiri when Little Guido (James Maritato) pinned Tajiri after a double Fisherman’s Buster at 12:25
Fun Fact: This is Tajiri’s final PPV and WWE appearance. After leaving WWE for good, he would return to Japan where, as of 2010, he still competes. His final WWE record is 5-14, going 0-2 at the Rumble, 0-1 at Wrestlemania, 0-2 at Summerslam, 0-1 at the Survivor Series, and 5-8 at other events.
Scott: Considering we have four ECW alumni here, we’re expecting some crazy shit here. I enjoy seeing Big Guido, but I do miss Sally Gratz, otherwise known as Sal E. Graziano. He was my favorite FBI member. The crowd chanting “Nacho Libre” is pretty hilarious as the movie was in theaters at the time. I always liked Super Crazy and thought WWE should have given him more to work with. Speaking of singles guys, Tajiri ended up having a pretty good career in the ring, and here the crowd is giving him the respect he deserves. These guys were in a three-way match, minus Mamaluke, in last year’s ONS, and it was pretty good. This match is a little more methodical, as they were given more time. I wonder why WWE never brought in Big Guido. He was a pretty imposing presence and would have been cool for the early ECW startup. Tajiri still unleashes the most vicious kicks I’ve ever seen. The match is pretty even as both teams really are bringing the stiff shots, and it ends with a pretty harsh double Fisherman-buster. Once again the Extreme Alumni show they still bring the goods, but then the fun is over when new ECW member Big Show, looking even more bloated and sick looking than the previous week’s Raw, and cleans the ring. He does debut the cool, jacked up hybrid of his entrance theme. Grade: 3.5
Justin: The always under-utilized Tajiri makes a one night WWE return for a stiff classic ECW style tag team match and he was as crisp and fluid as ever. After some mat based stuff early, Super Crazy kept his hot streak going with some high impact efficient offense in addition to some really good teamwork with Tajiri. The stiff-o-meter was through the charts here as Tajiri unleashed a bevy of nasty kicks and Guido upped the ante with a sick dropkick to Crazy while Mamaluke had him locked in a camel clutch. As well as Tajiri and Crazy worked together, they would fall to the FBI here, as Guido and Mamaluke would be sticking around on TV and it made sense to put them over. This was some solid stuff and it was fun to watch the two teams stiff the crap out of each other. Grade: 2.5
Fun Fact: On the 6/7 special, Big Show won the twenty-man Interpromotional battle royal by turning his back on Randy Orton and Raw and pledging his allegiance to the new ECW brand.
*** After the match, Big Show stomps down to the ring to his new theme music, looking to make a mark as an ECW star. Show would wipe everyone out of the ring with a vicious assault, establishing himself as a monster for the new weekly show. ***
*** As the ring is cleared out, JBL appears in the balcony and begins to shit on the ECW fans and Blue Meanie just as he did the year before. He then reveals that he will be taking over Tazz’s color job on Smackdown and makes a few cracks at Tazz’s expense. Tazz hits back, saying that Cole and JBL will be “the blind leading the blind”. The whole segment built some more great heat. ***
4) Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) and Sabu (Terry Brunk) wrestled to a no-contest at 9:09; Mysterio retains World Heavyweight Title
Fun Fact: On 6/2, it was announced that Sabu would challenge Rey Mysterio for the World title at the PPV. The next week, Mysterio lost a non-title match to Finlay thanks to interference from Sabu. After the match, Sabu continued to assault Mysterio, eventually putting him through a table.
Fun Fact II: After One Night Stand 2005, Sabu returned to TNA, where he competed through April. Shortly after his release, he signed a deal with WWE to compete here and become a member of the new ECW brand.
Scott: I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that sham of last year when Rey Mysterio wrestled his WWE style and even did the 619 which got vicious boos from the crowd. Now he returns, this time as World Heavyweight Champion and he’s getting booed even more. It does certainly feel like Rey pretty much ditched his ECW heritage, not that he was there very long anyway, although that may not be true. That’s my opinion. I will say that Rey’s outfit does feel more reminiscent of his ECW days, wearing long tights instead of his usual flared pants. Sabu on the other hand is ECW through and through. There’s no disputing that. The crowd is much more vulgar than the crowd last year, with plenty of “You Suck Dick” chants, and chants with “Fuck” in it as well. Sabu does open up a chair and Rey planchas onto it, taking both of them out. The crowd is definitely carrying these matches, as I’m not sure whether this match is as good as it would be in a regular WWE setting. Sabu did get a good pop from the crowd executing his Arabian Face Buster. The match ends when Sabu jumps from a chair over the ropes and DDT’s Rey through a table. It’s a pretty sweet move, and the crowd is off their rocker, but then out come the medical guys and the match is essentially over. As much as it was a great move, and a shitty ending, it had to work that way as having a big title change here would have been buried with what was later on in the show. Overall a pretty good match and a great finishing move but a cheesy ending. Grade: 3.5
Justin: Despite breaking out his old ECW gear, Rey Mysterio is soundly booed by the mutant faithful that were completely behind Sabu. As expected, these two kept up a wicked pace, riling up the crowd, a crowd that got even more rabid with every wildly vicious Sabu chair throw. Rey brought the heat as well with a great senton from the ring onto Sabu through a table and followed up with a sick senton onto an open chair after Sabu dodged him. Sabu’s offense was business as usual, sloppy, rushed and fun to watch. And that included the wicked chair throw that rattled Rey’s skull. The climax came when Rey was standing on a table that was laid from the ring apron to the guardrail and Sabu springboarded onto it and DDT’d Rey to the floor. It was a crazy spot that popped the crowd, but the cheers quickly turned to boos and things got ugly as the ref called for the bell and called the match a draw, as neither man could continue. Now, I understand why Rey couldn’t job here. Actually, he had been jobbing during his entire title reign; so another loss couldn’t have hurt. I also get not wanting to have Sabu lose either, as he was set to be a big time player on ECW. For as much fun as this match was, the draw completely killed the crowd and ruined the goodwill they built up during the bout. Both men are carted out and that is that. Rey’s run continues and Sabu is set for a big run with the ECW revival. Grade: 3
5) Edge (Adam Copeland), Mick Foley & Lita (Amy Dumas) defeat Tommy Dreamer (Tommy Laughlin), Terry Funk & Beulah McGillicutty (Trisa Laughlin) when Edge pinned Beulah with a spear at 18:45
Fun Fact: This is Terry Funk’s final in ring WWE PPV appearance. Following this show, Funk would head back to the Indy circuit and also made stops in TNA and Japan. In 2009, Funk was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his brother Dory. His final WWE PPV record is 3-4.
Fun Fact II: On 5/1, Edge had Mick Foley on the Cutting Edge, ripping on Foley over their Wrestlemania match. Foley then challenged Edge to a match and Edge accepted, saying Foley could choose the type of match and that it would happen the next week. On 5/8, Foley chose a triple threat hardcore match and brought out Tommy Dreamer as the third participant. Throughout the entire match, Foley and Edge brutalized Dreamer with a barbed wire baseball bat, pinned Tommy, shook hands and left the ring. The next week, Foley discussed the previous week and said Terry Funk had been calling him all week questioning his actions. Foley brought Funk out and told Funk that his Wrestlemania match with Edge was his best match and that ECW was beneath him. He said he would always defend his legacy as the greatest hardcore wrestler ever and he also vented his anger over Funk not showing up for the ceremony held in his honor, claiming that Funk had demanded more money to attend. Funk then baited Foley into a fight by claiming that Foley’s wife was a whore, his kids were bastards and…WWE sucked. During the brawl, Edge and Lita came down to the ring to help Foley and the three of them left Funk bloodied. On 5/22, Foley brought Edge out and announced that Edge was all that was right with hardcore wrestling and then attempted to award him the honorary hardcore title he had received in 2003 Edge said he wasn’t worthy and then had Lillian Garcia announce them as co-champions. As the love fest continued, Paul Heyman came out on stage and claimed that Foley was a prostitute, but Foley shot back that he was a real life action figure while Heyman was washed up. Heyman then issued a challenge for Edge & Foley to take on any two ECW stars at the PPV. Foley turned it down, but after Heyman took a jab at Lita, Edge accepted. Foley and Edge charged the stage but Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk met them at the entrance. A week later, Foley and Heyman had a face-to-face debate in which they torched each other with some barbs. Heyman then announced he had drafted Kurt Angle and Angle came out and took down Foley. Finally, on the 6/7 special, Edge defeated Dreamer with an assist from Lita. During the match, Foley and Funk brawled on the floor, with Funk busting Foley open hardway with his fist.
Fun Fact III: According to his third book, this entire angle was Mick Foley’s idea. He had some grand plans for it and wanted it to occur on a major scale and envisioned it also involving Vince McMahon. While the feud was green lit, it wasn’t quite as Foley had drawn up. Foley wanted to draw on his past, bringing up his past in ECW with Funk, even reliving his promos with Funk, where Funk ripped on WCW and Foley angrily defended it, drawing the ire of ECW fans. However, one major problem stood in Foley’s way and that was that a mainstream WWE audience didn’t really care about Tommy Dreamer or Terry Funk or weren’t really perceptive enough to rally behind Funk for ragging on WWE, although in their defense they were WWE fans. Adding to the mess was the fact that Raw was already booked for certain arenas, meaning the majority of this feud was built up in the southwest, where it really did not catch on like it may have in the northeast. It was a valiant attempt by Foley and his crew, but it just came across as too little, too late. It would now be up to the match to save the feud.
Fun Fact IV: This was originally supposed to be a tag team match, but it was expanded to a six-person tag when Beulah challenged Lita prior to the bout.
Scott: The opening promos were classic, from Foley saying the brains behind ECW was Stephanie McMahon, to when Edge said that all the fans will text their imaginary girlfriends after the show. Foley is a hardcore legend, and Edge showed his moxie at Wrestlemania when he took a pretty good beating and speared Foley through the flaming table. Then their opponents come down the aisle, starting with Dreamer, the Innovator of Violence man who’s taken more vicious beatings than anybody in ECW history, next to Hack Myers maybe. As for Funk, well we all know he’s fairly certifiable and has no remorse for his own well being. So you knew going into this match it was going to be fairly disgusting. Then the women officially join the fray, as Lita joins her team and Beulah McGillicutty returns to join her husband and the Funker. Beulah may have drawn the most blood of anybody at this table, if you remember the match where she destroyed Bill Alphonso and took about three pints of blood from him. After some dog and pony show action, things pick up when Edge and Foley pull a board out from under the ring with barbed wire on it, and they proceed to drop it on Dreamer. Anytime we can add barbed wire to a match the fun begins. Funk is busted open; his arm is ripped to shreds, his eye is cut, and Foley’s rubbing barbed wire over his face and he loves it. Funk legitimately looks like his eye is cut. Foley then goes back to his “anti-hardcore” storyline from 1996 by pulling Mr. Socko out of his crotch. Just as Edge was about to give Beulah a pumphandle slam, doing the old doggy style movements, Funk comes back with his face bandaged and blood oozing all over the place. This is awesome stuff. Funk is one crazy motherfucker, maybe the craziest of all time. Funk then sets a barbed 2×4 on fire, whacks Foley with it and puts him through the barbed wire board. Finally Beulah and Lita start rolling around and Joey can unleash the “Cat Fight!!!” line. Dreamer then DDT’s Lita, and the place is going insane. Edge then ends it by spearing Beulah, then rolls her up promiscuously, as Funk and Foley are bleeding all over the floor, wrapped in barbed wire. What a sick, demented awesome brawl. Grade: 5
Justin: After an in depth build up that would have set the world on fire in 1998, we get to witness one of the crown jewels of the PPV year. But before we get to the main course, we get a delicious appetizer as Mick Foley and Edge cut epic promos on ECW, toying with the drone fans in a classic spot. Despite the shaky reactions the feud had received so far, the crowd here was rabid and fired up and it brought this brawl to a whole new level. Foley briefly teased leaving after a slow start but from that point on, this match was pedal to the metal. A great stiff weapons-laden brawl set the tone, and Funk’s bumping added to it. Things got even uglier when Foley and Edge pulled out a huge piece if plywood that was covered in barbed wire. Funk got the worst of it early on, as he was quickly shredded into a bloody mess and was actually brought to the back due to the injuries. With Funk gone and Beulah on the apron, Lita came in and laid a barbed wire ball bat across Tommy’s crotch and then legdropped it in a cringe worthy spot. As if Foley didn’t already have enough heat, things got worse when he whipped out Mr. Socko and locked it on both Beulah and Tommy. Edge would top that by dragging Lita into the ring and began degrading her with pumphandle motions. It was then that a bandaged Funk came charging through the crowd, barbed wire bat in hand. Back in the ring, Funk lit the bat on fire, smacked Foley across the back and then again in the gut, this time sending Foley, who now had a flame on his back, crashing off the apron and onto the barbed wire board. Edge then shoved Funk into the board as well, but Dreamer caught him from behind and started choking him with a piece of wire. After a classic ECW catfight, Dreamer took out Lita, but Edge snuck up from behind, corralled Dreamer with barbed wire across his eyes and yanked him back to the mat. Then, in perhaps one of the biggest heel moments of the year, Edge sizes up Beulah, who has a tremendous look of fear on her face, charges and drops her with a vicious spear. Then, to top it off, Edge folds her up and thrusts during the three count. The finish was wild and the fans were going nuts and that capped off this awesome hardcore bloodbath. I went back and forth on the grade here, but I can’t justify giving this anything less than a perfect grade. All six participants were great, the spots were insane and the crowd was off the hook. It was really a tremendous piece of business and delivered a great payoff to this controversial feud. Grade: 5
6) Balls Mahoney (Jon Rechart) defeats Masato Tanaka with a chair shot at 5:04
Scott: A throwaway match to spell the crowd between the six-man and the main event. Mahoney was an ECW favorite and deserved a quick match to get a paycheck, knowing the crowd would give him a good pop. I did always like that Balls was from Nutley, New Jersey. One year ago Tanaka was in One Night Stand 2005’s match of the night when he and Mike Awesome bludgeoned each other with table and chair shots. This time the master of the chair shot takes out Tanaka. Not much more to say here, as the crowd is ready for their main event, and the heat is about to blow the ceiling off. Grade: 2
Justin: Well, talk about being in a tough spot on a card. After that brutal, hot, heated bloody brawl, Balls Mahoney and Masato Tanaka get to come out and keep the show rolling. Luckily for them, this crowd does not die easily. This was a basic slugfest between two grizzled veterans that knew how to work the ECW fans. After some stiff potatoes, Balls cracks Tanaka with a disgusting chair shot to the head to bring a quick end. This wasn’t nearly as violent as I expected, but after seeing that final chair shot, I think that is a good thing because who knows what these two would have done to each other. Balls gets the win, which again makes sense as he had signed on to stick around the new ECW. Anyway, there is nothing else to see here as Balls violently swings his way to a win. Grade: 1.5
*** After the match, Eugene comes down to the ring and starts kissing up to the ECW fans with a poem. Well, that went over as well as you think it would, but thankfully for the ECW faithful, Sandman arrived to save the day. He stumbled his way through the crowd, slid in the ring and cracked Eugene with a Singapore cane. He then drank a beer and called it a day. This came across as a way to just get him on the show and also introduce him to any newer fans that would be tuning into ECW. ***
7) Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) defeated John Cena to win WWE Championship with a Five-Star Frog Splash at 20:39
Fun Fact: On 5/8, Rob Van Dam came out an said that he agreed with all the things Joey Styles had said the week before and implored the fans to chant ECW in response. On 5/22, Van Dam came to the ring after a John Cena match and Cena assumed he was there to cash in his MITB shot. Van Dam told Cena that he didn’t want a match on Raw, because he assumed he would be screwed out of the belt. He informed Cena that he would be cashing in his shot at One Night Stand. The two would brawl, which RVD won with a Van Daminator. The next week, RVD revealed that he was Paul Heyman’s Raw pick to join the new ECW. On 6/5, the two men signed their contract and RVD and Heyman warned Cena that there would no members of the Chain Gang at ONS and that he would be in enemy territory. On the 6/7 special, RVD pinned Rey Mysterio in a non-title match while Cena defeated Sabu by disqualification.
Scott: Well, here we are. ECW’s favorite son, against without question the complete antithesis of ECW. Well, with the exception of maybe Triple H. We hear “One Of A Kind” hit, and in comes Mr. Monday Night, Mr. Money in the Bank. The Greatest ECW TV Champion of all time, and as Joey Styles just stated, the greatest wrestler, never to be World Champion. Clearly the biggest moment of RVD’s career. Then arrives the biggest, most volatile heel heat maybe in WWE PPV history. Just like JBL and Kurt Angle in 2005, kudos to John Cena for having the guts to walk into a place for fear of being shanked. And, maybe one of the coolest John Cena moments I’ve witnessed. He walked down the aisle, hat down, title over his head. In theory, he’s pretty much saying “Yeah, well I’m the champ …so go fuck yourself.” It got the crowd even more incensed. If John Cena ever turns heel, that’s the way he should be. But I digress. John Cena threw his hat and shirt into the crowd, like he does at any other show. This time, the crowd threw it back. Tremendous. The crowd’s chants are relentless, from “Fuck You Cena” to “Cena Sucks” to “You Can’t Wrestle”, the crowd is clearly unnerving him. As for the match, it goes back and forth for a while as Cena does start to get into a heel groove, shoving RVD over the railing and going into the crowd baiting the fans on. Good for Cena, I like that. Act a little heel here and go with the energy. All night we do notice the sign on the rafters “If Cena Wins, We Riot”. I wonder what would have happened if Cena did indeed win this match? Would the crowd have literally jumped into the ring and ripped him to shreds? I mean seriously these fans are quite imbibed. Cena’s in control as the “Same Old Shit” chants ripple through the Manhattan Center. Cena’s actually cackling as he waits for the FU. I love this, Cena’s actually a pseudo-heel. Of course he wouldn’t act anything near like this again from this point forward, as least as of this writing in January 2011. He doesn’t get it and RVD takes control. RVD gets a table, but Cena sneaks up and locks in the STFU. Everyone, including the announcers, is begging for RVD not to tap out. Since this is Extreme Rules, wouldn’t grabbing the ropes not really matter here? Oh well. Cena actually starts shoving the ref, and then clotheslines him. This is great television and drama. I applaud Cena for totally going along with this even though he could have been shot. As Cena’s in the ring while RVD is outside, a guy in sweats and a motorcycle helmet spears Cena through the table that RVD leaned up against the turnbuckles earlier in the match. Off comes the helmet, and it’s Edge. The crowd is beside themselves, and after a Froggie splash and Paul Heyman’s three count. Rob Van Dam has realized his dream and the crowd is going bonkers. What a great match, and kudos to both men but John Cena in particular, who knew how to do this right and play up all the energy and drama. Grade: 4
Justin: Walking out to perhaps the strongest ovation of his career, Rob Van Dam heads to the ring, looking to finally reach the potential and heights many saw for him back in 2001. After years of glass ceilings and burials, he was finally positioned as a major player in a major title feud. This match really had a big time feel and it was played up as having a lot on the line for both RVD and the future of ECW. Cena’s entrance was pretty epic, as he defiantly marches to the ring, head down and belt up high, amidst a sea of angry, hate fueled ECW loyalists. Cena was really great with the fans here, as he kept throwing his shirt in the crowd and they kept throwing it back at him in disgust. The crowd would just continue to ride Cena throughout the whole match, really ragging on Cena’s usual offense. Those chants would actually cause Cena to mix his offense up a bit just to shut them up. This whole brawl just had a great gang street fight feel with the angry crowd and the stiff strikes. Cena would control for a bit, but once RVD took over he unleashed his impact offense to the delight of the fans. In one particularly sick spot, Cena sent RVD crashing through a chair head first with a slingshot. I still don’t know how RVD survived that one. After some great counters, Cena locked in the STFU to the angst of the crowd, but RVD survived that as well. Cena would take the ref out after he got in his way, but unfortunately for him, that would be his undoing. With a table set up in the corner, a masked man in a long coat jumped in the ring and speared Cena through it. The man pulled his motorcycle helmet off and revealed himself to be Edge, finally gaining revenge on Cena for taking his title. As the crowd vociferously thanked Edge, he stoically left the ring as RVD ascended the top rope and flew off with the five star frog splash. With no ref in sight, Paul Heyman slid into the ring and counted three, giving RVD his first major World title. The fans went crazy for a great moment for both RVD and ECW. The only thing that soured me a bit here was Heyman counting the fall. It felt fishy and anticlimactic because there was a vibe from the crowd that some sort of Screwjob was coming. They should have just had a regular ref count the fall to eliminate any confusion. Alas, that is a minor complaint and doesn’t really take away from what was a great match in front of a great atmosphere. RVD finally gets his big moment and we have to give kudos to Cena for coming into an arena filled with hate to lay down and hand his championship over. Grade: 4
Scott: Just like last year, this show is fantastic from top to bottom. Sure there was some more storylines and WWE influence as compared to last year. However with ECW becoming a third brand, the show needed to be in tune with the WWE product and storylines. I thought that may take the energy and fun out of the show that last year, but it certainly did not. From all the bloodshed to the energetic and vulgar crowd, WWE once again knew how to placate the crowd and give them one night where the underground came above ground. However now with ECW being a full-time brand, the specialness and nostalgia is now gone from this show. So we take these two years, 2005 and 2006, and put them in that special section of wrestling shows, like Wrestlemanias III and XVII, and GAB 1989, where just everything fell into place and we had a couple of outstanding shows that will always stand the test of time. As for Edge and Cena, well their war continues. Rob Van Dam is finally on top of the world and took the greatest prize in the business. Edge overall has really turned his character and career to a whole new level. Mick Foley and Terry Funk cemented themselves as two of the craziest bastards in wrestling history. We also now have a third brand to contend with, and it’s not WCW. This is another one of the greatest nights in wrestling history. This show is maybe a notch below last year’s show, but its still close to perfect. Final Grade: A
Justin: For the second straight year, our ECW nostalgia show delivers big time. This year’s show is a little different from last year, however. In 2005, the show was focused on nostalgia, really playing up the history of ECW and giving the fans a farewell. This time around, there was less nostalgia and focused more on setting up the new ECW brand. And in its own way, this show was just as great as that one. The crowd was tremendous for the second straight year and the feel of the event again felt fresh and exciting. This show also had more build behind it and worked to get certain guys over and it was successful there. I enjoyed Styles and Tazz on commentary as well, as they mixed in their bitter emotions with great chemistry. The two major matches more than delivered and the show was capped off with a hot main event and historical title change. The excitement surrounding the rebirth of ECW also fueled this show and now it will be interesting to see if the brand can carry on the heat and excitement developed here. Regardless of that outcome, for the second straight year, ECW has been reborn and owned New York City and the wrestling world as a whole. Final Grade: A+
MVP: Rob Van Dam & John Cena
Runner Up: Six-Person Tag Match
Non MVP: Jerry Lawler
Runner Up: Eugene