I’ve wanted to look back at a wrestling show for a while but like seats on the bus, all the good ones were taken (yeah, thanks Thomas Hall). So let’s look back at ECW on Sci-Fi.
Prelude: The name and video library to ECW were bought out by WWE in 2003 and an upsurge in ECW material was released, including The Rise & Fall of ECW DVD which is in the Top Tier section of WWE releases with CM Punk and Heyman’s DVDs. This resulted in the rollercoaster of blood, shoot comments and pissed-up JBL that was One Night Stand 2005 which did a buy-rate of around 390,000-430,000 (but WWE still reported it as 268,000 presumably because the Raw PPV Vengeance two weeks later only did 315,000).
Fast forward a year and WWE was in need of a third brand (Christ, this seems like a century ago) to shuffle mid-carders and warm up greenhorns so ECW was brought back to satisfy both desires, like Dreamer grabbing Beulah & Kimona.
In the space of one week in 2006 they went the whole hog and had three ECW TV shows: the WWE vs. ECW Wednesday Special, ECW One Night Stand PPV on Sunday and ECW on Sci-Fi the next Wednesday. Phew.
Setting the scene: Rob Van Dam announced he was cashing in his Money In The Bank against Raw Champ John Cena, Mick Foley & Edge started teaming up after their hardcore match at Wrestlemania 22 (and they sold lots of shirts as MICK EDGEY), and feuded with Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk, Kurt Angle was drafted to ECW via Paul Heyman and Cena got put through the contract signing table by Sabu. Oh and Sylvester Terkay was just signed.
WWE vs. ECW Head To Head 06/07/06
We start in the locker-room with Mick Foley telling the Smackdown & Raw guys (easily identified by their giant shirts that read either SMACKDOWN or RAW or in the case of Bobby Lashley NOT SHELTON) that this is their house and they’re not going to let ECW take it. We have a look at the ECW locker room where Heyman is hyping up the ECW guys (the ECW wrestlers are identified by giant shirts that read ECW and foreheads with more lines than Hamlet). The crowd reaction is 70/30 ECW/WWE. Usually I’m not a fan of the huge shirts but when it helps produce a split crowd reaction and turns into a football atmosphere I’m all for it (more Survivor Series 2005 than Bragging Rights).
The commentators are Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross for WWE and Joey Styles & Tazz for ECW. Tazz & Lawler waste no time insulting each other. Lawler: ”You look like a frog, why don’t you hop on over here?”
Rey Mysterio vs. Rob Van Dam (Non-World Title)
Ah Rey’s stellar World Title reign where he was beat up by everybody taller than him. Rob Van Dam enters through a separate entrance and through a section of the crowd. They really went all the way with the different brands here. Styles digs up history and reminds WWE that Rey started his USA career in ECW and both men are former tag champs. Both men demonstrate their quickness early on as Joey Styles brags about calling moves, which doesn’t really work when Jim Ross is a yard away. RVD busts out his gorilla slam into a standing moonsault but knees Rey in the face then slips off the guard-rail doing his axe kick, reminding us why he wasn’t champ in 2001. Rey moves out the way of the kick and springboards to the outside over the guard-rail. Nice. We got to break (and show the shitty ECW on Sci-Fi advert which gives absolutely no insight to what the show even was unless you knew already) and when we’re back, RVD nails Rey with a top rope kick as he’s sat on the top rope. He follows it with a springboard guillotine as this is clearly an ECW highlight reel match. RVD plants Rey with his giant jump w/ chair to a seated Rey in the corner. There’s been no mention of it being No DQ but I get that seals it as the match continues. Rey counters a monkey flip into a bulldog onto a chair for two. RVD flew across the ring for that move so that looked like a match-ender. Rey misses a leg-drop onto a chair and RVD uses that to finish the match with a Five Star Frog Splash.
Winner: RVD (All spots, no resting and RVD looked like the most exciting wrestler in the world. Rey lost again, so at least his title reign was consistent).
The locker room is shown applauding backstage. They should have had a huge wall-mounted TV for the WWE guys and a tiny CRT TV for the ECW guys.
Clips of Randy Orton returning from
suspension injury and attacking Kurt Angle on Raw.
Another ECW advert plays, the IT’S TIME FOR A NEW BREED TO BE UNLEASHED one with no mention of wrestling. What a weird combination ECW & Sci-Fi were.
ECW’s Kurt Angle (with remixed no suck music and mouth-guard) explains he wasn’t mad when Orton attacked him because he snapped Orton’s ankle two weeks ago. Angle: ”I enjoyed hearing Orton squeal…squeal like a pig!” Oh great, more bestiality comments. It’ll be their first every match at One Night Stand. Orton (with HEY, NOTHING YOU CAN WAY music) rubs in Angle’s demotion from Wrestlemania headliner to ECW, comparing it to starring in a Hollywood blockbuster and then doing hardcore porn. Bestiality’s pretty hardcore, I’ll give him that. Angle emphasise it’ll be a NEW ECW and A NEW BREED UNLEASHED and how he’s ECW’S KURT ANGLE. It’s hardcore branding but it works as Angle is convincing as a psycho who promises to break Orton’s ankle, his legs and his frickin’ neck. Orton starts rambling a bit but he’s supposed to be a prick so I guess it works.
Mickie James vs. Jazz
Tazz is relentless in mocking Lawler’s puppies call. Lawler: ”ECW women don’t have puppies, they have rottweilers.” Jazz comes off the apron with a Lou Thesz Press and the bickering escalates to the point of distraction:
Lawler: ”I hear they’ll be having drug tests in ECW. They don’t mind, they’ll test anything.”
Tazz: ”What page of the joke book is that?”
Mickie James manages to avoid getting pinned by The Jazz Stinger by grabbing a rope break and gets the win via swinging DDT.
Winner: Mickie James (Match was four moves, designed to get the commentators riled up against each other).
Clips of Sabu putting Cena through the contract signing table from Raw. Cena talks about how the title could go ECW and be renamed, which means Cena would be recognised as the biggest goat in sports entertainment history (goat?). Cena put over Sabu, RVD and the task of defending the title in ECW country. Fighting Champion Cena was the best Cena.
Heyman in the ring hypes One Night Stand and shows clips from last year. Poor guy’s wearing a huge black coat indoors, he must have smelled worse than a Sunny Sandwich.
Kurt Angle hypes up the ECW locker room. Then Big Show hypes the WWE locker room and reminds everyone watching that some people are from Smackdown and some people are from Raw (sadly not adding ”get over it”) and reminds them Kurt Angle BETRAYED WWE when he left. Oh boy.
Team Battle Royal
Smackdown/Raw: Big Show, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Tatanka, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Carlito, Bobby Lashley, Edge.
ECW: Kurt Angle, Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer, Stevie Richards, Al Snow, Balls Mahoney, Tony Mamaluke, Justin Credible, The Sandman, Nunzio.
So the WWE guys all have separate entrances but the ECW guys show up as a group (to show unity) but this doesn’t do anything to differentiate between them. Might as well be the Natural Born Thrillers coming through. Anyway it’s team vs. team so you need to eliminate everyone else from the other team over the top rope but it’s still a Battle Royal so don’t expect this to read exciting. Kurt Angle and Nunzio take out Mark Henry, Terry Funk eliminates Matt Hardy, Dreamer takes out Tatanka, Sandman eliminates Carlito (via dropkick!) Edge sends Mamaluke out via hip-toss (because Mamaluke was crazy, he lands on his knees).
Edge spends most of the match hiding outside because Edge is smart and smart bad guys are fucking great. Big Show sends Al Snow packing and makes sure Head goes too. Lashley hurls Balls, Angle hurls Lashley. Sandman and Finlay grapple on the mat (!!) and Angle denies a Shelton headlock attempt and simply flips him out.
We’re down to Angle, Finlay, Orton and Edge. Angle suplexes everyone because HE’S A WRESTLING MACHINE. Angle swings Finlay out, counters an Edge sneak-attack but Orton sneaks him out for the win for WWE…until Big Show rips his shirt to reveal he’s a member of ECW and tosses Orton out for the real win.
Styles: ”IT’S A NEW BREED UNLEASHED, FEATURING BIG SHOW!”
Winner: A NEW BREED UNLEASHED (It was a battle royal but it was pretty interesting seeing the mixture of wrestlers going at it. You can tell Sandman is sober when he’s trying to take down Finlay. Can’t believe Big Show turned.
Edge shows one of Foley’s Anti-Hardcore promos. Oh they’re so good and fuck the Network for not having them all online. And also fuck them for having them all as separate videos so you have to go through two videos (the WARNING, BAD LANGUAGE and THIS IS RATED WHATEVER FOR SOMETHING notices) to watch something sometimes less than a minute long. As great as they are, I fail to see how it support’s Edge & Foley’s image of being more hardcore than Funk & Dreamer but I’m probably over-thinking a feud based on who can go through the most shit.
Edge vs. Tommy Dreamer
There’s a bunch of crap in the ring already and Dreamer has a barbed-wire 2×4 as Jim Ross calls it an ”ECW style match.” Yeah, but ECW wouldn’t start the match with the weapons already there because even they knew what suspense was. Anyway, Dreamer irish whips Edge into the steps and he takes it knees first like Foley. That’s a nice touch. Edge goes to town with a cookie tray as Styles goes on a rant about how ECW signed guys like Benoit, Malenko etc. because WWE didn’t want them. Edge gives Dreamer the impaler a DDT on a trash can but the commentators are getting rabid with Styles bringing up J.R. being fired seven times. There’s no rest spots in the match, just shoot comments. The censors miss Tazz saying ”Goddamn” but they try their best as Dreamer sets up a table. Styles mocks Hornswoggle and Lawler appears to have no idea WWE has a leprechaun wrestler, to the delight of the ECW commentators. Lita tries to stop Dreamer putting Edge through the table but Funk interferes so Foley chokes Funk with barbed wire. Edge tries a top-rope powerbomb but Dreamer backdrops Edge…right onto his fucking head.
Oh that looked horrible. Dreamer gives him a Dreamer Driver through a table so I assume he’s alright. Lita breaks up the pin with a cane so Dreamer tries to powerbomb her, but Edge recovers quicker than Cena to spear Dreamer and pins him with Lita’s crotch in his face.
Winner: Edge (Like the rest of the matches tonight, it was a quick sprint of moves with absolutely no rest in between anything. In a way that’s a good thing but in a hardcore match you need at least some selling otherwise what’s the point in using the weapons? The point was to make Dreamer look on Edge’s level and make Edge look like a sneaky bastard so job’s a good ‘un.
Funk is still brawling with Foley around ringside, even with the barbed wire embedded in him which is a tremendously grizzled image. Funk is making the censors work double-time with his swearing.
Video package on See No Evil. “I do not have a 10-foot penis, I do not, seriously. Kane’s penis is not 10-feet but Jacob Goodnight’s is.” – Kane
Foley (sat down and bleeding from the temple) compares ECW to the woman he can’t let go of. The woman that wanted too much blood and life so he left her and found fame in WWE. Foley says there’s only one difference between him and Dreamer: he’s a whore and Dreamer isn’t (Eat Chef Boyardee). All Dreamer has is his heart and three letters. Funk’s slaps hurt more than most men’s punches but he’s an old man. He blew Funk up in Japan and set him on fire in ECW (sadly Heyman didn’t run out screaming NO HE DIDN’T, THERE’S NO VIDEO PROOF OF THAT, LALALALALALA) and he wants both men and ECW out his life. Typically beautiful promo where Foley insulted his opponents whilst also complimenting their strengths.
Afterwards, Tazz & Lawler finally brawl with the censors again missing everything that’s coming out of Tazz’s mouth. ”C’MON MOTHERFUCKER!” As referees break it up, Styles & J.R. go at it.
John Cena vs. Sabu (non-WWE Title Match)
I never thought I’d see this match, never mind on WWE TV. Cena dominates with his trademark cradle suplex, bulldog and loud spot-calling. A belly-to-belly from Cena gets two as the commentators put over the crap Sabu has been through.
Tazz: ”Shut up Lawler, the most you ever went through was a headlock and a tackle.”
Lawler: ”I’ve had girls hit me harder than you.”
Tazz & Styles: ”I’m sure you have!”
Sabu gets the advantage by kicking Cena in the dick. Hey, makes sense. Sabu dives over the rop rope and hurls a chair at Cena. The Triple Jump Moonsault gets two as the crowd gives a loud ”oooo!” Air Sabu gets another two as Lawler points out that hurts Sabu more than Cena and Tazz agrees. Ha. Sabu squashes Cena’s head against chairs and announcer tables but another Air Sabu gets caught by Cena and turned into the F-U. As Cena puts Sabu in the STFU, Big Show waddles in for the…DQ? wait what.
Winner: John Cena via extreme DQ (Match told us Sabu has the advantage in a hardcore match but Cena is the better wrestler. I’m happy with that.)
Everyone else runs out to brawl with each other in a sea of blue, red and black as the show goes off the air.
Overall: Show was all about selling the PPV & letting the customers know ”the ECW PPV is very different from WWE PPV so get ready for shitting and fucking” as both an advert and a warning. The top ECW guys got to look competitive with the top WWE guys but only had the advantage in the Extreme Rules setting, which is almost Pokémon-esque but it makes sense.
Hard to rate the show as anything other than an advert because the matches all felt like just the highlights of good matches. All it needed was the Pulp Fiction music playing over it.
Next Time: One Night Stand 2006 (I was going to include it in this post but 2,500 words is enough for any rant. Any and all feedback is appreciated).