Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
One Night Stand 2005
Date: June 12, 2019
Location: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, New York
Commentators: Joey Styles, Mick Foley
Oh boy this is a different one. So back in 2004, WWE put out an outstanding DVD about ECW called the Rise and Fall of ECW. It was one of the best looks back at a company that was certainly influential and had a heck of a cult following that you could ask for and made the fans want to see something more. Therefore, this show was born as a celebration of ECW’s history and legacy (which certainly exists and in many cases is a positive one). That leaves the big question: can WWE manage to screw this up? Let’s get to it.
Before we get started, a little background on my history with ECW. I did not watch most of it as it aired and had no connection to it when the Alliance was formed in 2001. It came on Friday nights at like 4am for me and I might have seen one show ever. The only thing I remember from a Hardcore TV was Joey Styles talking about how some guy named Tommy Dreamer had pinned Raven to end their feud. I knew Raven from WCW and they kept playing clips of Bam Bam Bigelow, who I knew from being a WWF fan.
Therefore, this isn’t going to have quite the sentimentality for me as it will for some others and there are going to be references that I miss or don’t get in the first place. It just wasn’t something I grew up on as I was a bit too young for it, though I have seen a lot of since then and know more than I did when I last saw this show. Let’s get….uh….back to it I guess.
The show looks like an old ECW show and the fans are out in force with their chants. The venue is great too as I can’t imagine WWE running the bingo hall.
Joey Styles gets a big introduction as they’re already off to a great start as you can’t do ECW without him. He gets choked up before the first OH MY GOD and brings out Mick Foley, thankfully in a Cactus Jack shirt. That’s way better than having Cole or Lawler out there and the fans will show him respect.
We get the ECW on TNN intro, which is still one of the best theme songs ever.
Lance Storm vs. Chris Jericho
And that’s Lionheart Chris Jericho, complete with the old WCW style gear. We even get some highlights from their ECW careers during the entrances. Well at least Lance does but he was a bigger deal in ECW. They start with the technical stuff that you had to expect and trade armdrags into a standoff. Lance’s manager Dawn Marie is affectionately (?) referred to as a crack w**** and it’s Jericho chopping him down.
A baseball slide puts Storm on the floor as Joey rants about the required floor mats. Jericho’s dive off the apron lands on the barricade and it’s Storm hitting a nice dropkick for two back inside. A delayed vertical suplex sets up a quickly broken chinlock so Storm goes to the first right hand. Storm tries to dive off the top but gets dropkicked out of the air for the first….oh you know what they’re chanting. Jericho hits an enziguri (Foley: “EN-ZU-GOO-REE!” Joey: “Nicely done Mickles!”) and the fans chant for Chris Candido.
Storm can’t hit a Jerry Lynn cradle piledriver so he settles for two off a superkick instead. He gets tossed off the top though and Jericho’s top rope elbow to the jaw is good for the same. The fans rant about John Cena as Storm gets the half crab. That’s broken up and Jericho knocks him down to set up the Lionsault.
Storm gets the knees up so Jericho steps to the side and grabs the Walls, only to have Jason and Justin Credible come out. With the two of them dispatched, Storm kicks Jericho right into a kendo stick shot from Storm for the pin in what Storm said might have been his last match. Joey isn’t sure about that but it wouldn’t be ECW without violence for the sake of violence.
Rating: C+. They had to find a way out of that one and it’s not like Jericho is ever going to be hurt by a loss. Storm cheating to win was a surprise and makes a bit of sense in a way, as he is going with the Impact Players side, which makes a bit more sense than the Triple Threat associate stuff, especially given Chris Candido passing away a month and a half before the show.
Post match the Impact Players post and Jericho gets a nice Lionheart chant.
With the fun opening out of the way, Pitbull Gary Wolfe gives us the roll call of ECW wrestlers who have passed away, which is far too long of a list when the promotion was open four and a half years before this show. The fans aren’t sure if that should be a CANDIDO or ECW chant.
Tajiri vs. Super Crazy vs. Little Guido
These three fought about a hundred times in a year and as usual, this is elimination rules. Tajiri has Mikey Whipwreck and the Sinister Minister with him, Guido has the entire FBI, save for Big Sal, while Super Crazy….well he has no friends. Guido is the first one sent outside so Crazy and Tajiri can chop it out, only to have Guido take Crazy’s place. That means a Fujiwara armbar until Crazy comes back in for the save. Tony Mamaluke breaks up the dive though, allowing Guido to hit the Sicilian Slice.
They fight into the crowd with Crazy getting into the balcony for the huge moonsault (Joey: “O DIOS MIO!”) and the place goes coconuts again. Back in and Tajiri grabs a quickly broken Tarantula on Crazy and it’s time for the interference. Mikey’s Whippersnapper to Guido lets Tajiri get the first fall. Tajiri gets two off a tornado DDT but Crazy kicks him down to set up the triple moonsaults. Mikey breaks up the third and a little miscommunication starts up the YOU F***** UP chants. Crazy knocks him right back down though and hits the top rope moonsault for the win.
Rating: C+. Very short form version of the crazy stuff that these guys could do, though as you can tell, the winners and losers are not the point here whatsoever. Crazy’s moonsaults always looked good and they got in the big dive out of the balcony for old times’ sake. I would get used to hearing that one on this show and it’s exactly the point of this show.
Here are some classic clips of the early years of the promotion. These are the days that made the promotion famous as opposed to the time where they were open to the masses and you can see how it became such a big deal.
Rey Mysterio vs. Psicosis
Psicosis works on a wristlock to start because we’re supposed to believe that’s where this match is going. Rey armdrags him out of the corner and climbs the shoulders for two off a victory roll. The fans implore Psicosis to put his mask back on and….well he is a rather odd looking human. We hit the sleeper on Rey and the fans are NOT pleased as they know what they want here.
Thankfully Psicosis gets the hint and takes it outside, with Rey being draped over the barricade for a top rope legdrop to the back. A running corner dropkick misses though and Rey hits a pop up X Factor for two of his own. Psicosis misses a charge into the post and falls over the barricade, meaning it’s the big top rope seated senton into the crowd. Back in and the 619 gets booed out of the building (Joey: “And he’s got free minutes on nights and weekends!”), followed by the West Coast Pop for the pin.
Rating: C. This had some moments of the stuff they could do but it felt more like a regular match at times instead of the lucha match that these two are capable of doing. Rey can still do the big dives and all that jazz while Psicosis only did a thing or two. It’s not bad, but there is only so much you can get out of a six minute match.
The Smackdown Anti-ECW Crusaders arrive.
More classic clips. The more I see of Bill Alfonso, the more I appreciate what a simple yet awesome gimmick he really was.
Joel Gertner shows up in the Crusaders’ balcony for some rhyming and….then JBL throws him out in about three seconds. Kurt Angle goes on a rant about how much he hates ECW and how stupid the fans are, having to talk over their rather rude chanting. JBL goes on about how stupid the fans are as well (“You email your buddy and say I’m hardcore and he emails you back and says I’m hardcore too!”), talking about how if you bleed, you’re ECW. He knows that he’s the reason people are buying this show….and here’s Rob Van Dam, still recovering from his knee surgery, to interrupt.
Rob thinks this is awesome and wishes Alfonso, next to him with the whistle, had gotten a job with WWE a long time ago. Van Dam goes on a rant about how sick he is of having the WWE wrestlers shoved down your throats. He’s shooting from the hip tonight and taking you back to a time before all he could say was “whatever” and “cool”. He misses the days of being TV Champion and runs through some catchphrases, saying the fans respected him back in the day.
Then he suggested an ECW pay per view to Vince and they wouldn’t even need a storyline or the lights on. The date was set….and then he had to have knee surgery. This is worse than missing Booker T.’s wedding, the tour of Japan or Wrestlemania. After the longest promo of Van Dam’s career, Rhyno runs in (making a one night only return after being fired in April) for the Gore but the lights go out and I think you know where this is going.
Sabu vs. Rhyno
Rhyno shoulders him down to start fast but gets a chair bounced off his head. They head outside for another chair shot but Rhyno breaks up the moonsault through the table. A running kick to the head has Sabu in more trouble but he’s right back with a hurricanrana. Sabu’s slingshot legdrop gets two and there’s Air Sabu in the corner.
Rhyno trips him up though and Sabu goes face first into the chair. The Gore hits the referee for some reason and it’s Van Dam coming in for a chair to Rhyno’s head. The chair gets skateboarded into Rhyno’s face in the corner and it’s table time. Sabu Arabian Facebusters him through said table for the pin.
Rating: C-. Your mileage may vary on this one and that’s pretty normal for Sabu. I know he isn’t for everyone but they absolutely had to have him on a show like this. Rhyno coming back in for one night only was fine too as he was a big deal in the final year of ECW. It’s a shame that Van Dam couldn’t wrestle but at least he got to do something, because it wouldn’t have been right otherwise.
Al Snow blames Head for bringing in the Crusaders and we get more classic clips, mainly involving breaking stuff. Like people.
The Raw Crusaders arrive, with Joey being glad he didn’t bring his wife with Edge in the building.
Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie’s heelish sneer is still incredible. They go to the technical stuff to start (of course) as the fans talk about someone having herpes. Eddie can’t win the battle of the wrestling so it’s time for a breather on the floor. Back in and Eddie hits a hard elbow to the face so Benoit lays in the chops, only to get poked in the eye. The fans are split as we hit the chinlock and Eddie’s nose is bleeding.
Benoit suplexes his way to freedom but misses a charge and falls out to the floor. Eddie cracks him with a chair and hits a top rope superplex to put them both down for a bit. The frog splash misses though and Benoit hits his running clothesline to take over. This time it’s Benoit hitting a superplex for two of his own and it’s time to roll the German suplexes. The Swan Dive gets two more and the Crossface goes on for the tap.
Rating: B-. Shortened version of the match that these two are capable of having but it was still good stuff with the violence not being a factor for the most part. These are guys who could have a good match in their sleep and it’s great to see them getting to do it one more time. I can’t even get annoyed at Eddie losing because that’s not the point of this show.
Gertner comes back into the Crusaders’ balcony because….he really needs a job. He begs Bischoff to bring him on before being yelled at and thrown out again in a funny bit.
Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka
This should make up for the violent quota. Joey erupts on Awesome for bailing on ECW back in 2000 with Foley sticking up for Awesome’s talent. Mike sends him outside for a suicide dive, with Joey saying it’s a shame he didn’t succeed in taking his own life. A hard chair shot to the head sends Awesome over the barricade (Joey: “NICELY DONE!”) with Foley suggesting that Awesome lost his power when he cut off the mullet.
Awesome hits a clothesline and leans a table up against the barricade, which can’t end well. The Awesome Bomb from the apron drops Tanaka through the table and on his head and an Awesome Splash gets two. Both guys get chairs and it’s three shots to the head to put Tanaka down…for about two seconds. Diamond Dust (always cool) drops awesome and a tornado DDT onto the chairs gets two. A top rope elbow with the chair gives Tanaka two more but Awesome is right back with a spear.
Awesome hits a top rope chair shot to the head and it’s time for a table as Joey and Foley take shots at Awesome’s WCW gimmicks. Fair play on that one. A superplex through the table is countered into a tornado DDT to give Tanaka two more and we cut to JBL talking about how that isn’t wrestling. Awesome takes him up for a super sitout Awesome Bomb for two, because ECW doesn’t know how to end a match. Another table is set up at ringside and it’s another Awesome Bomb over the top, followed by a slingshot splash for the pin on the floor.
Rating: B. Yeah this was fun, though the chair shots to the head are downright disturbing. They did what they were supposed to do here with both guys destroying the other all the way until the end. Awesome really should have been something else in WCW/WWF, or at least been given the chance to be something. Indeed he did sell out ECW, but how much of a high ground can that company take on financial matters?
Awesome has to be helped out.
Here’s Paul Heyman for the big speech and he’s not even trying to hide the tears on the way to the ring. He bows to the fans and soaks it all in, as he certainly deserves to do. To clarify, he isn’t crying but rather his eyes are watering because he was in the back smoking a joint with Van Dam.
Heyman thanks various people, including director Ron Buffone and the fans themselves as he sounds like he doesn’t know what to say. He was going to take the high road and just say thank you (Foley: “Don’t take the high road Paul.”)…..but he has something to say to the Crusaders. He’ll start with Bischoff, who has come to an ECW show instead of a WCW show.
Then hide your wives because Edge is here. Heyman has two words for him: Matt Freaking Hardy. The Crusaders decide that is three words in a funny reaction. Finally there’s JBL, who was WWE Champion for a year because HHH didn’t want to work Tuesdays. These were some great lines but the Crusaders laughing about them weakened things a bit. Still though, Heyman had to get in his big speech because this isn’t happening without him.
Dudley Boyz vs. Tommy Dreamer/Sandman
I can’t think of a much better main event. You can see the emotions here and as much as I can’t stand Dreamer at times, he belongs in this spot. Sandman’s entrance is still one for the age with the full Enter Sandman as he goes through the arena with the fans singing the song. It was always cool back in the day and this is no exception, with this one probably being his best ever for the pure emotion. Thankfully commentary is smart enough to just let the moment sink in for the most part as they are silent for a good two or three minutes straight.
We’re ready to go (Foley: “That’s right we still have a match.”) but it’s the Blue World Order, sending Joey into hysterics. Joey sums them up perfectly by saying “if any gimmick never deserved to make a dime and made a whole boat load of cash, this is it. And the best part is they couldn’t sue us because it’s a parody!” Stevie Richards has heard people about invading but you can’t do that without the BWO. They’re taking over and there’s a Stevie Kick to Sandman.
The beatdown is on until Kid Kash (Joey: “Mr. TNA: Total Nonstop Attitude!”) and the Hardcore Chair Swinging Freaks make the save, with chairs of course. Punches and chair shots ensue (Joey: “That’s more painful than having to be Simon Dean on national TV! Yeah I’m fired I know.” Foley: “There are some hideous looking human beings running around.”) until everyone heads outside, leaving Kash to hit the huge running springboard flip dive. The people not in the match leave so it’s time for some weapons. And then we get the opening bell, just for fun.
Bubba cracks Dreamer in the head with a metal sign and it’s time for the cheese grater. Dreamer is sliced open in a hurry, with the blood dripping down onto the mat. The middle rope backsplash misses but the belly to back neckbreaker takes Dreamer down. Sandman makes the save and Dreamer slices Bubba up a little bit, giving us one of my all time favorite lines of commentary from Joey: “You know I was going to say something classy like Dreamer wrestling here tonight is like Lou Gehrig’s last at bat at Yankee Stadium, but Gehrig didn’t whip out a cheese grater and start mutilating people.”
Sandman puts the ladder onto D-Von for the Rolling Rock but gets his head caved in by Bubba’s chair shot. Dreamer and Sandman grab stereo Figure Fours (Joey: “I’ll be d*****! Wrestling holds!”) but the Impact Players run in with barbed wire to break them up. Dreamer is COVERED in blood and it’s Francine coming in to kick him low. Beulah McGillicutty comes in for the catfight and a low blow to storm, setting up the big hug with the bloody dreamer. Joey: “Oh what a beautiful…sickening, bloody, graphic, sickening, nauseating moment that I never want my children to see.”
Tommy and Beulah hit DDTs on the Dudleys (in Bubba’s case it’s more falling down while Beulah grabs his head but fair enough) but Bubba gets all fired up and grabs a table. One heck of a cane shot to Sandman’s head sets up a double powerbomb through the table for two. There’s an old school 3D to Dreamer and it’s Spike Dudley as another table is brought out. Just for fun, let’s set the thing on fire. Joey: “They’re gonna throw us in jail.” Dreamer gets powerbombed through the fire and Bubba mercifully pins him to end the carnage.
Rating: B. Like the rating matters on this one. This wasn’t about the match or anything close to it really, but rather just getting the big names out there and doing one more ECW style match for the road. Joey kept emphasizing how much they love each other and that makes more sense as the show isn’t about storylines or anything close to them. This was a blast and the commentary alone helped make it work. It probably needed New Jack or something involving Raven, but for what we got, this was great.
Post match Sandman save Beulah from a 3D, asks for a beer, canes Spike in the head, and asks for a beer again. Cue glass shatter, with Steve Austin (ECW alumnus) in an XFL shirt of all things, and he wants the locker room to empty out for a beer bash. Before we drink though, Austin calls the Crusaders down here to the ring for a fight.
They get to the ring and, with Bischoff on commentary (Joey: “YOU WERE THE WORST GOD D*** PLAY BY PLAY MAN I HAVE EVER HEARD!”), it’s Tazz coming out to go after Angle. The fight is on with Tazz and Angle going to the floor for the Tazmission, all while JBL shoots on Blue Meanie, beating the fire out of him in what would probably be defined as a criminal attack. The ECW guys clear the ring with blood on JBL’s shirt and now it’s time to drink, with Austin wearing JBL’s cowboy hat.
Hold on though, as Austin would like Foley to bring Bischoff to the ring. Reality sets in for Bischoff in a hurry and with the Crusaders gone, plus a BANG BANG from Foley, he is carried to the ring. That means a 3D, a Swan Dive from Benoit and the 619 from Mysterio, all setting up a Stunner, to get rid of Bischoff, with the Dudleys carrying him out of the building. A lot of beer is consumed and Joey shouts ECW LIVES to end the show.
Overall Rating: A+. What else do you want me to say? This was presented exactly as advertised: an ECW reunion with almost every major name in the promotion’s history getting to make an appearance. What mattered here was that it was a celebration of ECW and not a WWE show that incorporated ECW. Other than better equipment and production values, very little about this show felt like it was from WWE and that would have ruined the whole thing. This is one of my favorite shows ever as it feels like something special, which you never get in WWE. Check this out, though watch Rise and Fall first to get in the mood.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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