– Hey, it’s another show I’ve never seen, so now’s as good a time as any to watch it, I guess.
– Live from the Hammerstein Ballroom. This one’s certainly got the ECW look down pat. And with the entire show being done in one part on 24/7, the picture is pretty shitty as well, really adding to the low-rent ambiance that ECW put forth so well.
– Your hosts are Joey Styles & Tazz.
– Paul Heyman comes out and cuts a promo thanking the fans for bringing ECW back to life, although his tune would change when he’d get fired yet again a few weeks later and his creation turned into the joke it is today.
Tazz v. Jerry Lawler
Totally forgot about this mini-feud. Lawler bitchslaps Styles on the way to the ring to really put the heel heat on himself, but Styles jumps him in the ring and Tazz finishes with the Tazzmission at 0:30. Well it’s not like either guy is in the kind of condition to be doing long matches anyway.
– Let us take you back to the WWE v. ECW special, as Big Show defects to ECW for some reason.
Randy Orton v. Kurt Angle
Angle was representing ECW, as the brand was supposed to be built around him until he fell apart and got fired. The classy crowd chants "Pussy" at Orton and Angle goes for the leg early, but Orton pulls himself out of the ring to escape. Back in, Angle takes him down with the headlock, but Orton runs away again. Back in, Angle takes him down with the double-leg and rides him on the mat, and the crowd lets Orton know that he got bitchslapped. Man, the WWE wishes they could have crowds like this for TV. Maybe with cleaner chants, but still. Orton makes the ropes, so Angle challenges him to take his best shot at a headlock. Orton tries and Angle casually takes him down with a suplex, but misses a charge and hits the post. Orton slugs away , but Angle takes him down again before running into a back elbow. Orton gets two and then whips Angle into the post and drops knees for two, quieting the crowd. So we have proof: Randy Orton can bore even the hottest crowd. Orton hits the chinlock, but Angle reverses to a half-nelson and turns him over for two. This was a really interesting period for Angle, as he was trying to work a realistic style, which made the contrast against the homogenized WWE Main Event Style of guys like Orton all the more striking. Orton goes back to his favorite chinlock and the crowd immediately starts the boring chant. Angle comes back with a german suplex after a couple of false starts, and they slug it out with forearms. Angle wins that one and gets the rolling germans, although you can really see his dwindling power at this point. Orton counters out of the Angle Slam and gets his dropkick for two. Orton’s neckbreaker is countered into the Angle Slam, and the straps are down. Angle Slam gets two. Anklelock, but Orton rolls out of it and gets his neckbreaker for two. Angle counters the RKO, but runs into an elbow and Orton goes up. Angle pops up and Orton elbows him down again, and the high cross follows, but Angle rolls through for two. Orton levels him with a clothesline and sets up for the RKO again. Angle catches him and tries the anklelock, but Orton cradles for two. Angle reverses to the heel hook and Orton taps at 15:05. Weird match, with Orton trying to work a WWE match and Angle off in whatever universe he was working in at the time, but the crowd heat was off the charts and it was technically really good. ***1/2
Tajiri & Super Crazy v. Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke
Mamaluke is pretty roided here, almost looking like a normal sized person now. Crazy takes him down with a headlock to start and they trade wristlocks, but Tajiri breaks it up. Frankly I’m shocked they let Tajiri on TV wearing a big ad for Hustle on his pants like that. Crazy wins a wrestling sequence with a fireman’s carry and gets two, then takes him down with a hiptoss. Mamaluke comes back with his own hiptoss into a cross-armbreaker, but Crazy powers out of it. Faceplant and a standing moonsault get two. Tajiri and Guido tag in, resulting in Guido getting kicked in the head a few times, but he reverses a backbreaker into an armbar takedown. Tajiri escapes and wraps him up on the mat, then fires a kick in the corner and hangs him in the Tree of Woe. Mamaluke comes in to interfere, so Crazy hangs him up in the other corner and we get stereo baseball slides. That gets two for Tajiri, and Crazy comes in for the triple moonsault, but Tony pulls his partner out of the way. Crazy hits them both with a moonsault from the apron, but Big Guido trips him up on the way back in. After a beating on the floor, the FBI takes over in the ring and Mamaluke gets a couple of submission moves, but Tajiri just kicks the hell out of both FBI. It’s so nice to see Tajiri having fun again. Hot tag Tajiri, and he hits a spinkick on Guido for two. He wraps up Mamaluke with the standing armbar called 8 Seconds Magic in the AKI videogames, but Guido breaks it up. Tajiri goes after Guido again and flattens him with a superkick for two. We get stereo Tarantulas, and Big Guido comes in to break it up, so the faces double-team him with kicks and dropkick him out of the ring. The FBI clotheslines them from behind, however, and Guido boots Crazy into the front row. Tajiri fights off the FBI alone, but gets trapped in the corner and hit with the double Fisherman’s Buster and pinned at 12:22. That one kind of deflated the crowd, but the FBI were the guys they were going to push so it’s not a big shock that they’d go over. This was a lot of fun, hearkening back to the mix-and-match cruiserweight matches on the early ECW PPVs. *** And then Big Show comes out and destroys everyone, just because.
– JBL joins us, cutting a promo from the balcony and getting the crowd to chant "Shut the fuck up" at him. If he had the stuff inside the ring to back up his money promos I don’t think anyone would have had a problem with pushing him after a speech like that one.
Smackdown World title: Rey Mysterio v. Sabu
I think they were thinking Rey would play as an ECW guy, but he’s become so associated with his family-friendly WWE image that the fans just see him as a WWE guy and totally turn on him. At least that’s my theory. They do a chair-swinging duel to start and Rey falls victim to Air Sabu, but comes back with a drop toehold into the chair. Sabu retreats to the corner, but Rey takes him down with a rana. Sabu ducks away from the 619 and hits him in the face with a chair, then they head out and Sabu sets up a table on the apron. Sabu tries the dive, but goes at half-speed and misses, hitting the railing. Back in, Rey gets a moonsault press for two. He tries a sunset flip back in, but Sabu blocks him with a kneelift and hits the guillotine legdrop for two. Sabu goes to the camel clutch and then retrieves another table, but stops for an Arabian facebuster for two. Sabu heads out to set up the table again, but Rey puts him through it with a springboard senton. Nick Patrick makes the clichéd X sign, but Rey keeps going with a springboard legdrop for two back in the ring. Air Mysterio misses and Sabu springboards back at him with a spinkick, and the triple jump moonsault gets two. How did he not crush Rey’s face with that? His knee landed square on his nose, it looked like. Rey comes back and springboards at Sabu, but misses and crotches himself on a chair. Sabu throws the chair at him to put him on the floor. Rey’s letting it all hang out here, I’ll give him that. Rey goes back on that table again and Sabu succeeds this time, putting Rey through it with a springboard into a DDT. And now just as the match is getting going, some suits run down to ringside and declare the match over at 9:13 because they can’t continue. WTF? We’re supposed to buy that Sabu, the guy who ripped his bicep open and then GLUED IT SHUT so he could finish the match, would be sent to the hospital after that relatively tame spot? Match never really got going the way it should have and the stupid ending killed any goodwill it was building up. **
Edge & Mick Foley v. Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk
Edge and Foley do hilarious promos before the match, as Foley longs for the days of the Alliance and Edge talks about how all the loser fans in the crowd will run home and post reviews on the internet and then jerk off to pictures of his actual girlfriend, Lita. It’s funny because it’s true. Man, they even dragged Beulah out of mothballs for this one. And she’s aged very well, in fact, with that older Elizabeth thing going on. And so they make it a six-person match. Edge starts with Dreamer and they do a wrestling sequence, but we all know that they’re just killing time before the crazy stupid hardcore stuff begins. Foley and Funk go next and Terry smacks him around, but the Mickster doesn’t want to fight back, so he hides in the ropes and lets Edge do it instead. And everyone goes to the floor to begin the REAL match. Dreamer finds the magic trashcan full of plunder and starts hitting Mick with a road sign, and Funk tosses the can at Edge. Dreamer baseball slides the trash can into Foley’s head and they all brawl outside again. Mick and Funk fight up the aisle while Edge hits Dreamer in the face with a ladder, but gets hiptossed into the ladder to follow. Funk grabs the ladder and hits everyone with it, and then sets it up in the corner and climbs up top. Edge, wisely, just pushes it over to bring Funk down. Dreamer tries to set up Edge for the Dreamer driver, but Lita kicks him in the junk to break it up. With Dreamer down, Foley and Edge retrieve a barbed-wire board from under the ring, and suplex it onto Dreamer. The crowd, not happy with just that, wants fire. Dreamer and Funk regroup and whip Foley at the barbed wire, but he stops himself, so they slug him down and then toss him into it. Edge gets rid of Dreamer by dropping him on the railing, allowing Mick to come back on Funk by hitting him in the face with the barbed wire. And then Lita finds another length of it for Mick to wrap around his forearm, and he uses it to brutalize Funk further. And now the blood starts flowing, as Mick rips at Funk’s face and the crowd is so impressed they chant "You sick fuck" at him. Now that’s a sign of respect. And now the stick-in the-mud suits drag Funk out of the ring because apparently he can’t continue either. This leaves Dreamer alone with Mick and his best friend the barbed wire baseball bat, which Lita legdrops onto his nads. Mr. Socko appears in ECW for the first time, but Tommy sacrifices himself to save Beulah from it. Edge spears him and goes after Mrs. Dreamer, but Funk returns from the dressing room with his own barbed wire 2 x 4, despite the crowd clearly chanting for Sandman. They dropped the ball on that one. Funk hits the heels with the wood and then sets it on fire for good measure. Foley, on fire, gets knocked through the barbed-wire table, and the crowd goes nuts for that of course. Edge, however, hits Funk from behind and puts him onto Foley, before Dreamer DDTs Edge and chokes him out with the barbed wire. Lita breaks it up, but Beulah triggers a catfight until Tommy breaks it up by giving Lita the Dreamer Driver. He stops to pose, however, and Edge takes him out with the barbed wire, and then spears Beulah for the perverted pin at 18:43. Edge, playing the Raven role, fit right into that crowd as he was on the "rocket up the card" tour at this point. And yeah, to quote the crowd, this was awesome, totally stealing the show thus far and giving the fans all the crazy shit they wanted to see. It was big and stupid, but it made Edge look like a superstar and it was a nice bit of nostalgia, not to mention being entertaining as hell. ****
Ballz Mahoney v. Masato Tanaka
Ballz fights for the hiptoss to start and they trade armbars, but Tanaka gets a crossbody for two. Tanaka hits him with a running forearm in the corner, but Ballz powerslams him for two. Ballz slugs away so the fans can sing along, but he charges and ends up on the floor. Tanaka follows with a pescado that’s pretty weak, and they do some brawling, as Ballz hits him with a fan’s beer and Tanaka responds in kind. He charges with a chair, but Ballz moves and they head back in, where Tanaka brings him in with a superplex for two. With that wrestling out of the way, they engage in a chair duel and Mahoney puts him down for the pin at 5:03. Well I guess smashing a guy in the face with a chair is a pretty good way to finish, but it felt like they were rushed there. **
Eugene v. Sandman
Well now the fans get their wish, as Eugene cuts a goofy promo to turn himself heel and Sandman comes out and canes him to death until he runs away. Not actually a match, I guess. Kind of mean-spririted, actually, since Eugene is portrayed as not knowing any better.
RAW World title: John Cena v. Rob Van Dam
Man, if you think crowds boo Cena normally, that’s nothing compared to the reaction he gets here. Just total venom from the crowd, as they throw his hat and shirt back at him. Cena, to his credit, goes with it right away. The crowd adds "Fuck you Cena" to really make sure he understands who they’re cheering for. They fight for a lockup, and the crowd alleges that Cena swallows. Cena slugs away and gets a fisherman’s suplex for two, and the crowd informs him that he can’t wrestle. Cena knocks RVD down and ducks the enzuigiri, but Rob hits him on the rebound and Cena bails. Back in, they do the staredown and do the boo/yay slugfest to unbelievable heat. Cena gets a powerslam for two and clotheslines RVD to the floor and the crowd just gets all over Cena with "same old shit", so John goes up and hammers Rob from the top with a forearm. Hey, that’s new, give him that. They brawl on the floor and Rob hits him with a moonsault from the stairs, but Cena comes back and whips Rob into the cameraman in a unique spot. Rob tries to springboard off the railing, but Cena pushes him down into the crowd to counter. Rob comes back with the legdrop onto the railing. Back in, Rob takes over with a guillotine legdrop, and then dropkicks a chair into Cena’s face. That gets two. Rolling Thunder on a chair gets two. Split-legged moonsault, but Cena gets the knees up and gets two. Catapult into the chair gets two. Backdrop suplex and five knuckle shuffle sets up the F-U, but RVD escapes and spinkicks him. He goes up, but Cena brings him down with a powerbomb and gets two. Crowd lets him know that he still sucks. Boy, they’re not good for the self-esteem, are they? Weird spot as they fight for a backdrop suplex and Cena gets caught up in the ropes to block before Rob dropkicks him off the apron and into the railing. Rob gets another table, but Cena blocks him and takes him down into the STFU. Rob makes the ropes and the ref pulls Cena off, so Cena takes him out with a clothesline. Cena continues on by hitting Rob with the stairs, which brings in another ref to count two. Cena tries another F-U, but Rob holds the ropes, so Cena dumps him instead. But now Edge runs in and spears Cena (dressed like Mystery Man Rick Rude in a nice touch of continuity), leading to the frog splash. Still no ref, so Paul Heyman comes in to finish things by counting the pin and giving RVD his one and likely only WWE World title at 22:36. The heat was amazing, but they couldn’t back it up with a suitably epic match ala Rock-Hogan, where the guys involved were so good that they turned the crowd into a part of the match. Cena and RVD are both very good workers, but they got overwhelmed by the atmosphere instead of playing off it, and it hurt the match a lot. It was begging for Cena to go full-blown heel, but he just wouldn’t take it over the line like he needed to. Plus the finish was pretty lame. ***
A very fun show overall and one I’d recommend without hesitation if you’ve never seen it before. Although some of the finishes were suspect and the "ECW rebirth" didn’t really lead to anything of the sort as far as what fans were expecting from it, this was a nice bit of "what could have been" as far as the third brand goes and really shows Edge going from midcard guy to main event superstar. Too bad it didn’t do the same for RVD.
Tags: ECW, WWE