May 31, 2009
Alexander Settee

One Night Stand 2005, June 12, 2005, Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
Announcers: Joey Styles & Mick Foley

The newly retitled Extreme Rules is coming up next on the PPV calendar so here’s a look back at the show that inspired that concept as well as the fact that their “C” show is now called ECW, although really any similarity between the current version and the original is purely coincidental. This show was a huge deal at the time and a lot of people were really excited about the idea. For me personally, it wasn’t because I never got the original ECW when it aired, and by the time I did get to see it when they got to TNN it was on a rapid decline anyways. Even having gone back and watched some stuff from the glory days now, it doesn’t impress me. Maybe you had to be there or something. Anyways, for this show they’ve booked as authentic a card as they could under the eyes of Vince McMahon as they obviously couldn’t bring back guys like Raven who were under contract to TNA, or guys like Shane Douglas who have heat with them, so lets see how this one holds up.

Joey Styles is introduced to a huge ovation from the very enthusiastic crowd, and he even looks like he’s going to break down and cry because of the reaction he gets. He then introduces his colour commentator Mick Foley, who also gets a good reaction. We cut to an opening video package and then it’s straight into our opening match.

Opening Match: Lance Storm (w/Dawn Marie) vs. “Lionheart” Chris Jericho
The announcers go right into the history of these guys. Although they were never in ECW together, they broke in at the same time, teaming as Sudden Impact on the Canadian indy scene as well as in Japan, and then went on to become The Thrillseekers in SMW. They also hype this as Storm’s retirement match, which turns out not to be true, but that’s par for the course in wrestling anyways. Jericho is rocking the old school yellow and black look and even has a “Lionheart” vest to complete the ensemble. They start out by trading holds and counters into a standoff to respectful applause. Jericho takes Storm down and hooks a bow and arrow, rolling him over for 2 in the process. He then gets a dropkick off the 2nd rope and a baseball slide to send Storm to the floor. He misses coming off the apron though and crashes into the barrier. Back in, Storm hits a nice dropkick for 2, and a delayed suplex which also gets 2. Storm gets sent to the corner, but leaps up and comes off, only to get hit with a Jericho dropkick. Jericho follows with an ensiguiri for 2. Cradle also gets 2, which Storm then reverses for his own 2. Jericho hits a dragon suplex for 2. Storm escapes a slam and nails a spin kick. He sets up a cradle piledriver, which Jericho escapes, but comes right back with a Superkick for 2. He sets Jericho on the ropes, but gets dropped back down. Jericho connects with a back elbow for 2. Jericho comes off the ropes, but Storm slides through the legs and hooks the Calgary crab. Jericho reveres and slingshots Storm to the buckle. He hits the bulldog and goes for the Lionsault. Storm appears to get the knees up, but Jericho grabs the legs and hooks the Walls of Jericho. Storm taps, but the ref has been distracted by Dawn Marie. This leads to another former partner of Storm’s, Justin Credible, as well as Jason running in. Jericho breaks the hold to dispose of them. He then rolls Storm up for 2, but the kickout sends Jericho towards the ropes where Credible nails him with the kendo stick. Storm covers and gets the 3 count at 7:24. The Impact Players then leave triumphant while the announcers express disappointment over the idea that Storm would do that to one of his best friends just to get a win. I’m not going to complain about booking or finishes on a one time reunion show because that’s not the point. All that matters is whether this stands out as good on its own or not and here it does. ***

Gary Wolfe introduces a video tribute to some ECW wrestlers who have passed away. Those included are: Rocko Rock, Terry Gordy, Mike Lockwood (of whom they apparently don’t even have footage of in ECW so they only use WWE footage), The Sheik, Mike Lozansky, Anthony Durante, Big Dick Dudley, and Chris Candido (who died only about a month earlier).

Yoshihiro Tajiri (w/The Sinister Minister & Mikey Whipwreck) vs. Little Guido (w/The FBI) vs. Super Crazy
Joey makes sure to remind us that this is a Three Way Dance as opposed to a Triple Threat Match, which really just means elimination style instead of one fall, although I think that way is always preferable in multiway matches. He also comes right out and says that we’re kidding ourselves if we expect no interference in this match considering how many guys are at ringside. They go at a fast pace with constant switching off to start. Crazy uses a baseball slide to setup a dive on Tajiri, but gets tripped up by Tony Mamaluke. Guido then gets him with the Sicilian Slice and they take it to the floor. Guido and Crazy brawl in the crowd with the entire FBI following. Crazy then runs up into the balcony and moonsaults onto them from there. Back in the ring, Crazy and Tajiri go now with Tajiri hooking the Tarantula. Crazy gets the ten punches in Spanish, but the FBI has returned and they drag him to the floor for an attack. Big Guido gets in the ring and sets up a double team with Little Guido on Tajiri, but Tajiri sprays the mist at Little, while Sinister Minister nails a low blow on Big. Mikey Whipwreck then hits the Whippersnapper on Little Guido, and Tajiri covers for 3 at 4:10. Crazy has made it back in the ring now and hits a springboard moonsault for 2. Tajiri counters a powerbomb to a DDT for 2. Crazy drops him and goes for the triple moonsault, but on the third one, Whipwreck gets involved again and breaks it up. Tajiri’s kick is ducked, leading to Crazy hitting a powerbomb and then getting that third moonsault for the 3 count at 6:15. This had the one crazy spot in the crowd, but really all it was was a series of moves and spots as opposed to something coherent. *

Next is a montage of clips from the original ECW, focusing on the early days of the promotion. Most of what you’d expect to see is here.

Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.
This is billed as an “Extreme Lucha Match” as a throwback to the matches the first introduced these guys to the North American audience in 1995. Psicosis wears his mask to the ring, but takes it off prior to the match. Mysterio was actually the guy he lost the mask to for what it’s worth. What they really need in WWE today is a heel masked Mexican wrestler that they can build up for a mask match with Mysterio as they’ve never really done anything like that in WWE and I think it would work provided they do more than three weeks of buildup. On to the match now as they trade some flippy floppy stuff to that looks kinda sloppy actually. Rey gets a springboard press that Psicosis rolls through, and then he picks up Rey and plants him. He covers for 2 off a corner whip which has Joey mocking him for going for a cover off of that. Psicosis goes to a sleeper, which draws a “boring” chant, so he drops Rey and covers for 2. He tosses Rey to the floor and drape shim on the barrier. He then goes up and drops a guillotine legdrop which gets 2 back in the ring. Psicosis then misses a dropkick in the corner leading to Rey getting a facebuster for 2. Corner whip is reversed, but Psicosis misses a charge and goes right out over the barrier. Rey dives on him out there. Back in, a springboard dropkick sets up the 619, which hits. West Coast Pop then finishes Psicosis off at 6:22. The crowd doesn’t really appreciate Rey, who just did all his WWE stuff instead of what they remember, but then again, even four years ago he couldn’t hold a candle to what he used to be able to do and probably would have hurt himself trying. Not really Lucha style at all, and really it was something that wouldn’t have been too out of place on a WWE TV show which is probably why it earned Psicosis a job. *

And now Team Smackdown arrives, led by JBL and Kurt Angle. They receive a less than warm welcome of course from the crowd.

Then we get another video package of highlights from the period where they had started to grow, but had not yet become too big for their own good.

Joel Gertner ventures into the Smackdown box, only to get kicked out just as quickly as he arrived. This leads to a Kurt Angle promo running down the promotion and the crowd. Angle seems legitimately pissed off at the reaction the he gets from the crowd. JBL then does the same thing, handling the reaction much better than Angle did, until Rob Van Dam interrupts and he and Bill Alfonso make their way to the ring. RVD was the guy along with Paul Heyman who pushed for this show to happen, but was injured and unable to wrestle. He actually cuts probably the most passionate promo I’ve ever seen from him. Great stuff. Finally Rhino comes out nails a Gore and stomps RVD down. The lights go out, and when the come back, Sabu is here. A ref runs in and we have one of ECW’s patented impromptu matches.

Rhino vs. Sabu (w/Bill Alfonzo & Rob Van Dam)
Rhino was the guy holding both the ECW World Title and TV Title when the company folded, but Titles don’t matter here tonight. Rhino controls with a shoulderblock and belly to belly suplex, then goes to the 2nd rope, but Sabu nails him with a chair and knocks him to the floor. Baseball slide sets up Air Sabu, which hits. He then whips Rhino to the barrier and nails him with a chair again. Table is set up with Rhino placed on it, but when Sabu goes for an Asai moonsault, Rhino grabs the leg to block. Back in the ring, Rhino beats him down for 2. After a slam he goes up, but Sabu meets him there again and nails a rana, followed by a slingshot leg lariat for 2. He leaps at Rhino in the corner off a chair and drops a leg for another 2. After setting up the triple jump moonsault, Rhino drop toeholds him onto the chair. F5 onto a chair gets 2 for Rhino. He sets up the Gore, but Sabu gets the ref in the way and he takes it instead. Rhino follows with a piledriver, but RVD has recovered enough to get in the ring, and in spite of his injured knee, he dropkicks a chair in Rhino’s face. He and Fonzie then set up a table in the ring which leads to Sabu hitting the Arabian Facebuster through it on Rhino for the 3 count at 6:29. Again, this was just a collection of spots with no flow or anything to it, but if nothing else I got the sense that these guys cared and were busting their asses to do what they did so I won’t fault them for that. *1/2

Backstage, Al Snow blames Head for the WWE guys being here, which then leads us into another video package of highlights from the past. The Team Raw, led by Eric Bischoff and Edge arrive and take their places in the box with the Smackdown guys.

Chris Benoit vs. Eddy Guerrero
Joey notes this as a match that Heyman always wanted to book, but didn’t get the chance to so we get it here instead. Problem is that Eddy is more worried about maintaining his WWE heel persona then about going all out in an effort to put on something great. He backs off on a couple of lockups and then bails off an armdrag. Eddy attacks, but Benoit comes back with chops. Eddy gets a thumb to the eye and hooks a rear chinlock as we see that he’s bleeding from the bridge of the nose. Benoit suplexes out, but Eddy maintains control and chops him down for 2. Back to the rear chinlock now, which Benoit escapes again and hits a shoulderblock, but misses a charge and goes out to the floor. Eddy follows and nails him with a chair, then rams him to the table. Back in the ring, he nails a superplex, but misses the frog splash. They trade chops and then Benoit takes control with a clothesline. He hits a northern lights suplex for 2, and then a superplex of his own for another 2. Triple German suplexes set up the diving headbutt for another 2. He then hooks the Crippler Crossface, which Eddy just sort of casually sits in for about thirty seconds or so before tapping out at 10:37. This was very disappointing considering who was involved. **

Back up to Joel Gertner again, this time looking for a word with Eric Bischoff. He actually ends up asking for a job, even pulling out a resume and headshots, but Bischoff tells him “Hell no”. Then Bischoff gets his turn to run down the product. I think that this stuff took away from the show more than it added. I mean with all the time they used up they could have had the matches go longer, or even added another one.

Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka
Does anyone think that Joey Styles might possibly not be a fan of Mike Awesome? He was kind of ambiguous here in his commentary so it’s hard to tell. Crowd only gives him a lukewarm reaction as well. Come on guys, he was punished enough during that WCW run by those gimmicks he was given. To the match now, which sees Awesome get backdropped to the apron, but come back in with a slingshot shoulderblock. He sends Tanaka to the floor and then nails a suicide dive, which prompts a pretty ironic comment from Joey as he says “It’s a shame he didn’t succeed in taking his own life”. Joey would, of course, have his wish fulfilled about a year and a half later. Awesome whips Tanaka to the barrier, then charges and gets backdropped into the crowd. Tanaka nails him with a chair and then whips him to the barrier, but Awesome comes off with a clothesline. Awesome sets a table angles on the barrier, and then Awesome Bombs Tanaka through it from the apron. Back in the ring, Awesome nails the Awesome Splash, but that only gets 2. Tanaka backdrops out of a piledriver, but Awesome rolls through and connects with another Awesome Bomb. They both get chairs now with Tanaka getting nailed a couple of times but shaking it off. He gets Awesome in the corner and takes him down with the Diamond Dust Driver, and then follows with a tornado DDT on a chair for a 2 count. Top rope elbow with a chair gets another 2 for Tanaka. Awesome comes back with a German suplex and spear, followed by a leaping chairshot off the top rope. He sets a table in the ring, but his superplex attempt is countered to another tornado DDT through it by Tanaka, and that gets another 2 count. Tanaka goes up, but Awesome meets him there and takes him down with a spinning Awesome Bomb on the broken table, but Tanaka kicks out again at 2. With another table setup on the floor, Awesome goes for the Awesome Bomb again and drops Tanaka right outside. He follows with a slingshot splash to the floor where the referee is nice enough to join them and count 3 at 9:53. This wasn’t really much of a wrestling match, but in terms of drama and the “holy shit” factor, this blew away everything on the show. Awesome even won over the crowd and Joey by the end. ***1/2

Now here comes Paul Heyman for a few words. He thanks a bunch of people for the opportunities he was given, and for the help they gave him along the way. He then turns to the WWE crew and shoots on them for a bit. He serves up the Kool Aid, and everyone drinks it up, no questions asked.

Main Event: The Dudley Boyz vs. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman
I don’t think there’s any particular historical reason for this match to be taking place, but this is what we get. The Dudleyz are back in tie dye for the occasion. Sandman goes through the whole entrance routine which is just as important as anything here tonight. WWE even got “Enter Sandman” for the occasion, so good for them on that. Before we get going though, the bWo comes out and declares that they’re taking over. Richards gets the Stevie Kick on Sandman and the brawl is on. We’re soon joined by Kid Kash, Axl Rotten, and Ballz Mahoney. Everyone brawls in the aisle, with Kash leaping off the referee onto everyone. Finally the non-participants brawl to the back and we get the actual match underway. Plenty of mindless weapons shots for everyone. Bubba uses the cheese grater on Dreamer who bleeds like nuts. Sandman gets a ladder in the ring so Dreamer can do the helicopter spot with it. He then gets back at Bubba by using the cheese grater on him. Sandman gets a drop toe hold on D-Von onto a trash can for 2 (A near fall in this match? Are you kidding me?). The brawling continues until Bubba hits a 2nd rope splash on Sandman onto a ladder for 2. Sandman then ducks a cane shot from D-Von and Bubba gets nailed instead. He then gets the White Russian legsweep on D-Von. Dreamer and Sandman then hook stereo figure fours (?), but that just sets up a run in by the Impact Players who have brought barbed wire with them. Credible hits That’s Incredible on Dreamer into the wire. Francine then runs out and kicks Dreamer low, which draws out Beulah for one more catfight for old time’s sake. Storm tries to save, but Beulah ducks the shot and Credible takes it instead. Dreamer takes out Storm and then he and Beulah hit a double DDT on the Dudleyz for 2. D-Von then gets nailed in the groin with a sign. Bubba nails Dreamer with the kendo stick, then gets a table in the ring and powerbombs Sandman through it. Dreamer tries a comeback with the stick, but takes 3D instead. They set up another table, and just to up the ante, Spike Dudley runs in with the lighter fluid. The table is lit and Dreamer gets powerbombed through it. That gets the 3 count to finish at 10:14. It wasn’t boring, and it didn’t suck, but I have no clue what to rate this as so I won’t bother. It wasn’t really even a match but more like an exhibition of what ECW was all about.

Well, that was interesting. I guess that if you had never seen ECW before, this would be something of a decent introduction to what they were. Like I said at the start, I’m not really a fan of ECW or hardcore matches in general, but as a one time deal they did a great job and put on a really good show. It’s not the kind of thing I would want to watch every week or even every month because this is the kind of style that becomes overexposed very fast, but done right it works. If they had just left it at this instead of bringing it back again, I would probably think even better of it. But in any case, I’ll go Thumbs Up for One Night Stand 2005.

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