Hardcore Homecoming: November Reign
Written by: Arnold Furious
I tackled Hardcore Homecoming in July of last year. It was a decent show although the wrestling left a lot to be desired. It was more a nostalgia show. The original show was such a success that the company intended to run the equivalent of house shows for a while. They managed November Reign and then the WWE signed all the top talent for their re-do of ECW. So basically no one that worked for the WWE could work for this upstart promotion, which effectively killed it before it had any momentum. Not that it had much future anyway as all it had was re-matches and re-do’s of ECW feuds that had already reached their inevitable conclusions.
November Reign was actually the 4th show the Shane Douglas/Jeremy Borash collaboration did. The original was Hardcore Homecoming then they did a double shot in September with the “Extreme Reunion Tour”. Hosts for this November 2005 show are Eric Gargiulo and Buck Woodward.
The fans look like they’re having a good time and it’s obvious that the first show won the crowd over. We get a quick backstage promo from Team 3-D who torch a table. TESTIFY~!
Danny Doring v Blue Meanie
Meanie is working face, obviously. I’m immediately aware the commentary sucks. The level isn’t very good in terms of sound but what’s being said doesn’t really get me going like with Joey Styles at the first show. Doring superkicks Meanie and he lies there on the mat waiting to get beaten up some more. I’ve got nothing against Meanie because he’s a niche wrestler and he has his fans but he’s seriously deteriorated since ECW closed. And he wasn’t that good when it was still there. Doring is a sick fuck and licks Meanie’s nipple. I hate promotions that make me type these things. Dropkick to the groin. Wrestling is gay enough without matches like this existing. The only good thing about Meanie is he makes me feel really good about my physical condition. They make a horrible mess of a corner spot that the crowd boos. “You fucked up”. Meanie slams Doring and goes up top and the crowd EXPLODES. Meaniesault, which completely misses, finishes. -**. That was fucking awful.
PROMO TIME – a heavily pregnant Dawn Marie is out here. She says you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone and praises the Philly fans that despised her for her entire ECW run. Her promo bases on how bitter she is about getting fired by the WWE. If you’re pregnant you can’t work for nine months. Live with it. Crowd chants “that’s my kid”.
RINGSIDE – Vladimir, Hat Guy and that guy with the beard and sunglasses.
John Kronus v Balls Mahoney
Now what fucking retard thought Kronus could work a match still? Crowd chants for Saturn because he’s, yanno, good. Balls decides he should walk Kronus through this. At least Kronus has the decency to wear a shirt so I don’t have to look at how bad his physique is these days. Balls lights up the crowd with the punches. OOOOOOOOOH….BALLS! Kronus looks woeful so Balls is just working himself. Balls gets the chair and they run an ugly drop toehold spot into the rail. A side shot of Kronus shows how enormous his beer gut is. Somewhere Don Muraco leaned back and went “DAAAAAMN”. Balls blades. Kronus gets thrown weakly into the rail. Balls gets the ring bell and while he’s doing it Kronus blatantly blades as well despite not taking a head shot. Erm, excuse me, could you perhaps expose the business a little more? I hate you John Kronus! I hate seeing something I love being done so badly. Back inside Balls superkicks him for 2. AWWWW. C’mon! That looked like three to me. I just don’t want to see anything else. Kronus with a superplex for 2. This really is terrible. They must have sat down and said; “ok, punch, punch, punch, blade, blade, you hit a spot, I’ll hit a spot and if the crowd starts shitting on it we’ll go home”. Balls with a superplex and a frogsplash. Balls is at least trying but this is so disjointed. Balls grabs his chair and kills Kronus with it. Good. Kronus kicks out. BOOOOO! Ok, try stabbing him? Kronus gets a chair shot of his own that Balls tries to comedy no sell. Lou Thesz is turning in his grave. Kronus breaks out the X-Factor on the chair. Could you suck any more? Kronus misses some ugly splash off the top. He’s too fat for the 450 these days. Nutcracker Suite gets the win but Kronus was in the ropes. Jesus, can’t you even lie on the floor right? DUD.
CW Anderson v Matt Hyson
Hyson is Little Spike Dudley and the crowd chants “LSD” for him. “Somebody got a haircut” – Philly. Heh. Spike has a shaved head. He’s also wearing all black. “Welcome back”. At least Philly appreciated you if you busted ass there at some point. Spike gets the mic and says that CW was on his deathbed three weeks ago and doesn’t want to put him back there. CW does look ill and slightly underweight. Spike boots away at CW’s liver, which is where he had a problem. Spike, despite working heel, gets applauded. CW just KILLS him with a superkick. Spike falls out of the ring. “Cee fuckin’ Dub” – Philly. CW attempts to break Hyson’s elbow with a chair shot. CW, being an Anderson, works on the arm. Hat Guy has a few choice words for Little Spike. CW hooks up the cross armbreaker out of a sunset flip. That was pretty smooth. It’s about time some wrestling happened tonight. Spike goes for the Acid Drop off the rail but then switches to doing it ONTO the rail. Gargiulo blames “those people in Connecticut” for driving Spike insane. But he was COMPLETELY insane before he went to the WWE. He was nuts. He used to come out in tye-dye even with a broken leg and throw himself onto people. Then take press slams into the crowd and get powerbombed through tables. CW breaks out the big Anderson left hand for 2. Spike heels by going to the eyes and then headbutting the injured liver. Anderson spinebuster is countered into the roll up but Spike had the ropes, because he’s a vile little shit, for the win. **. That had some psychology and didn’t suck.
POST MATCH CW gets the mic. Some ignorant piece of shit shouts “keep drinking”. CW had liver trouble and he’s still yellow coloured. He thanks everyone for their support. The crowd respects that CW came and wrestled despite being half dead. I’ve had liver trouble I can’t believe that he’d be capable of wrestling two months after it. Especially as he was nearly dead and I was merely extremely ill. Crowd pop up the C W hand gesture as a sign of respect. This segues to an assortment of wrestlers paying tribute to Terry Funk. It’s from the Forever Hardcore DVD, which is a nice companion piece for the WWE released ECW DVD.
PROMO TIME – Tod Gordon inducts Terry Funk into the Hardcore Hall of Fame. I’m presuming he’s the only one in there. Tod talks about when he first started on TV in Philly in 1992. He rang Terry up and asked him to book his TV but Terry told him he couldn’t afford him. He says Terry made ECW. Crowd chants “Terry” and there’s a lot of emotion. He deserves the WWE Hall of Fame. I hope he goes in there sooner or later. Terry’s claim that the Alhambra has seen the best matches in the history of the business is a stretch. He says hardcore isn’t blood and weapons, it’s giving 110% every time you’re in the ring. Terry puts over Paul Heyman but says he didn’t make the company. Neither was Raven, Benoit, Sabu, and Balls Mahoney. It was the fans. He says it’s not bullshit. Crowd chants “ECW” LOUDLY. I’m getting chills from that. When that bloodthirsty Philly crowd loved something they chanted their heart and soul out.
Taipei Deathmatch II – Ian Rotten v Axl Rotten
The first one had great booking, which is why it was good. The whole thing with Bill Alfonso refereeing and calling it over after about 30 seconds. Ian with a shitty dropkick before he starts ripping at Axl’s head. He’s bleeding and just sits there letting Ian gouge at him some more. Ian breaks out a fork. Is he hungry? I’m not shocked. Axl ball shots him and grabs the fork before stabbing Ian in the arm repeatedly. Oh that is sickeningly horrible. Isn’t the gimmick of having broken glass attached to their hands bad enough? No, Axl stabs away at Ian’s head. I guess this is all to compensate for the fact that neither one of these butterballs can wrestle worth a damn. Crowd chants “ECW” because of the sheer bloodshed. Ian gets a dollar bill but Axl stops him and staples it to Ian’s tongue. Urgh. That is disgusting. He pulls it out and staples it to Ian’s cheek. Ian grabs another dollar and staples it to Axl’s groin. This is sick in a car crash way. Out comes the bag of thumbtacks. Ian gets backdropped into them. Axl with a splash for 2. That was the finish in the first Taipei Deathmatch. Out come the chairs. Axl lies around while Ian stacks them up. Duelling chants. Axl barely gets Ian up for a weak powerbomb into the chairs and that finishes. *. The spots were sickening in new horrific ways but the wrestling was brutally bad. I’ll give them points for sickness though.
POST MATCH Ian thanks Axl for everything he’s done for him and they hug.
Shane Douglas w/Francine v Pitbull Gary Wolfe – Dog Collar
Shane stands around looking smug as the crowd chant for him. Crowd then start chanting “shoot”. Shane reels off a load of profanity about how you can’t buy ECW because it lives here in Philly. Crowd chants “fuck you, Vince”. Shane moves on to Gary Wolfe still whining about breaking his neck. He promises to put him in a “fucking wheelchair”. We get clips of Wolfe talking about Shane breaking his neck. This would be a dog collar match. The psychology behind this is all screwy. Shane should be heel but because he put this show on and just cut a babyface promo that has Wolfe getting booed. Not that I had high hopes for it anyway because Shane hasn’t wrestled a good match in six years. Shane exchanges ‘fuck you’s with Hat Guy. Wolfe blades. Wolfe steals Hat Guy’s beer and smashes it over Shane’s head. They goof around with beer and chairs to cover for the fact there’s no wrestling in this one. None of it is particularly interesting. Wolfe pulls out a table. I like that there’s psychology tying into an angle that went down a decade ago but that’s a little long for a pay off. Francine jumps Wolfe who dumps her on the apron for some serious man on woman violence. Shane pulls him into the post. So much for that pay off. Crowd is so thrilled with this match they chant “show your tits”. Well Shane is wearing a shirt. Francine tells the referee that he shouldn’t count pins. Wolfe grabs her into the ring. Ah, I see she’s wearing a thong. Wolfe exposes one of Francine’s tits, as per the crowd request. I think it was taped over or she has a very large nipple. He exposes the thong a great deal as well but spends forever building up to a beating so Shane saves. Good on Francine for showing her stuff. Shane hits a belly to belly…for 2. Crowd doesn’t care. To be fair they didn’t care about the matches in this feud in 1996. They loved the angle but never really liked the matches because Shane always tried to improvise stuff. They reverse around and Shane gets suplexed through a table for the Pitbulls revenge and the winning pin. *1/2. Meh, it was ok. Considering how long they waited to do this is it had no sense of epic.
Jerry Lynn v PJ Polaco – Steel Cage
Polaco is Justin Credible under an enforced name change. Much like Little Spike. “Fuck you, Aldo” – Philly. Heh. This is a cage match. Dawn Marie is out here as the “keeper of the key”. She used to valet for the Impact Players. This isn’t mentioned. Lynn does his usual job of making PJ look credible. Gargiulo talks about how much he likes PJ because he used to ask everyone what they thought of his match in an attempt to improve. It never happened for him though did it? I guess some people are just born with it. Lynn comes off the ropes but gets caught in a nice superkick for 2. Like HBK-Shelton only less so. This match is mostly aimless brawling. Lynn bleeds and at last there’s some level of professionalism to a blade job. I didn’t notice the blading. Gargiulo claims that the crowd is dead because they’re admiring this match. A chop fest provokes many “woo’s”. Lynn takes a backdrop into the cage and that’s only the second spot of this match. It’s been very slow paced for an ECW cage match. I have issues with matches that don’t really contain any wrestling and seem to go on for ages. Lynn goes low and hits a few clotheslines. PJ takes a header into the cage and blades on camera. It was in mid air though, which he got off Shawn Michaels. Oh, then he ruins that by blading again blatantly on camera. Lynn with the swinging DDT for 2. Gargiulo keeps talking about the cage losing all his high spots like pescados. That’s not entirely true because he dive off the cage surely? PJ with the sunset flip powerbomb spot. They run some nice countering into the CRADLE PILEDRIVER…for 2. They run a lame ref bump, where the ref isn’t even bumped. THAT’S INCREDIBLE…for 2. There was no rhyme of reason for the finishers. They just threw them out there and then kicked out. Like it didn’t really mean anything. Crowd still doesn’t care. They head up top. Does escape count? They punch it out on top of the cage. Lynn takes a bump off the cage through a table. That was a bump for the sake of it. Dawn Marie unlocks the door. Doesn’t leaving the cage qualify as winning? No, apparently. Lynn has to be checked to see if he can continue. PJ heads out to attack him and throws him back in. PJ bumps John Finnegan. What’s the point in bumping the ref in a cage match? Lynn busts out Kryptonite Krunch. This brings out Jason Knight who barely gets into the ring without falling over. Lynn counters whatever Jason attempts into a DDT on a chair. PJ is up. That’s Incredible is countered into the Tombstone from Lynn. Ref is down, lights are out. They come back up with LANCE STORM in the ring. He superkicks Lynn. SPIKE TOMBSTONE. Lance throws the ref in and PJ wins. **1/2. So the Impact Players pose. This had a few nice bumps but there was no psychology at all.
POST MATCH Lance wants to be serious for a minute. He says he never got a chance to say goodbye and he says that this building has a special place in the industry. PJ puts Lance over and says he came back for the fans here in Philly. Lynn gets the chance to say he’s glad he had his first cage match of his career in Philly. “New F’n Show” – Philly.
Team 3-D v Terry Funk/Sabu
This is only on the bootlegged versions of the DVD because Team 3-D aren’t allowed on DVD releases from other companies thanks to TNA’s heel division. Fonzie is out here. This is just a big brawl. Bubba punks out some ringside fan by drinking his beer and then throwing it in his face. What an asshole. D-Von piledrives Funk and Bubba slaps at him. Funk gets pissed off and bitchslaps both of the Dudleys. Sabu is back in. Bubba smacks him about. “Fuck you, Sabu”. I remember it being really cool to see wrestlers swearing and all the blood and violence back in the 90’s but it seems like living in the past now. It seems so totally unnecessary. Sabu goes for the triple jump plancha and lands on Team 3-D. Fonzie tries to tell Funk what to do so Funk throws him over the top onto the Dudleys. Funk is up and he’s so old he can barely even stand on the ropes. He attempts but totally fuck up an Asai moonsault. Bubba had to push him back onto the ropes twice. I know Terry is 60 something but he looked good in the WWE match because they covered for his weaknesses. Here they don’t seem to care and leave it all hanging out. Bubba suplexes Sabu on the ramp and it breaks down into one of those random ECW crowd brawls. The “Use My Sign” sign that’s been at ringside all night finally gets used on Bubba. Fonzie is curious and opens it up. The camera moves so I don’t know what it was. It was a stop sign in classic ECW. D-Von goes to chair shot Funk but Terry breaks out the FIREBREATHING~! D-Von is ok though because he blocks it with the chair. Ohohohoho, psychology~! Sabu sees a table and suddenly gets really motivated. D-Von shoves him off the top. Sabu DDT’s D-Von on a chair. This match just has no kind of flow. It’s just brawling constantly until Sabu feels inclined to do a high spot. Sabu goes to legdrop D-Von through the table but D-Von sits up and Sabu tables himself. That looked cool because he missed by such a fine margin. Funk goes low on Bubba and hits that shitty looking Stunner of his. Spinning toehold and Bubba would give up and does but D-Von has the ref. Out comes a table and D-Von has lighter fluid. They want to put Funk through a flaming table. Oh boy. Fonzie begs them not to do it but D-Von lariats the poor guy. Bubba puts an entire can of lighter fluid on the table. Matt Hyson is back out here to turn on Team 3-D for some reason and Acid Drop D-Von. Bubba lights the table and powerbombs Spike through it. Holy shit! He lit it himself and then hit the powerbomb. That was pretty sick. Sabu totally fucks up the Arabian facebuster and then chair throws Bubba for 2. Triple jump moonsault misses. 3-D~! Sabu is pinned the Dudleys win it. ***. I have to award points for sheer ridiculousness. Spike coming out and taking the powerbomb through the burning table has to count for something. Crowd chants “great fucking match”. Yeah, it was pretty good. Better than it had any right being anyway. It was easily as fun as the best match on the first Hardcore Homecoming (Shane v Sabu v Funk barbed wire match with Mick Foley run in).
POST MATCH Bubba gets the mic and talks about how he was invited back to the New Alhambra one last time. Bubba threatens a heel turn and D-Von does some classic motherfucking. He calls one of the fans a “Grizzly Adams cocksmoking faggot”. He says as soon as he knew they were wrestling Funk & Sabu they said yes in an instant. Bubba says Funk is the most real man in wrestling. He says Sabu invented tables and paved the way for them getting so over. He says everyone that ever used a table “stole your shit”. Funk gets the mic and issues a challenge for a re-match. Funk says that no one in there needs New York City. Sabu hugging people is really weird to see. Crowd chants “please come back” as they fade to black.
Final Thoughts: The lack of Joey Styles hurt the commentary as he was really entertaining the previous show. It also had some serious star power shortages with no Sandman, New Jack or Raven. The latter of which was one of the few characters who walked into the original Hardcore Homecoming and had an entirely modern version of his gimmick worked out. This came off more as a reunion show. Even more so than the last one only with less star power. The main event was fairly equal in terms of quality and decent spots but some of the undercard was really tough to sit through on this one. The Bad Breed match was hard to stomach and so was the Meanie opener for different reasons. If you’re going to get this as a way to complete a collection of ECW tribute shows make damn sure you get the version with the main event on it. If it doesn’t have Funk & Sabu v Team 3-D there’s no point getting the DVD. In terms of a sliding scale it’s less good than any of the other ECW tribute shows I’ve seen but it still has a lot of good about it. The weird thing about some of these shows is they’re actually better than a lot of ECW’s shows from back in the day. Especially the Public Enemy era where every match would just be blood and brawls. There was a fair cross section of that on this show but it had enough high spots to redeem it. No wrestling but you don’t really expect it from the Hardcore Homecoming. They seem dead set on focusing on ECW’s more violent side. But hey, the fans buy it so why not. This show was ok but I preferred the WWE version, One Night Stand. Probably for the Heyman “shoot” alone. The shoots on this tape get repetitive in a hurry and the less said about Shane Douglas the better. Nice to see Lance Storm though!