WWE ECW One Night Stand
June 12th 2005
-From New York, NY. The show opens with a cold open of a jam packed Hammerstein Ballroom and our host, Joey Styles, is introduced to a massive pop and “Joey” chants. Styles busts out the “Oh My God” catchphrase and welcomes the fans and fellow host, Mick Foley as Cactus Jack. Cue the authentic ECW opening video.
Lance Storm (with Dawn Marie) vs. Chris Jericho
Memory serves that this was Storm’s final WWE match before going into semiretirement. Jericho is playing his “Lionheart” throwback character, differentiating himself from his Raw persona. The two old friends bump fists and engage in a chain wrestling sequence. The match restarts after a stalemate with Jericho taking control and playing a subtle heel. Jericho misses a dive off the apron and hits the barricade. Lance capitalizes with a drop-kick and delayed vertical suplex. Storm back springboards into a drop-kick. There’s a chant for the recently deceased Chris Candido as they trade pinning predicaments. Storm surprises with a super-kick for a near fall. Jericho blocks a superplex and nails a flying elbow for a 2 count. Storm rolls into a Calgary Crab, but Jericho counters with a slingshot and bulldog. Storm counters the Lionsault, but Jericho still applies the Walls of Jericho. Dawn Marie prevents the referee from seeing Storm tap, but Jason Knight, Justin Credible, and Dawn Marie interfere, allowing Storm to pick up the win at 7:19. Storm celebrates with the Impact Player posse, pleased to have won. This was a bit on the short side, with a screwy finish intended to add another nostalgic layer, but the in-ring work was tremendous, **ľ.
Winner: Lance Storm
-There’s an empty balcony, reserved for invading WWE superstars.
-Pitbull Gary Wolfe cuts a promo introducing a video package commemorating the fallen ECW veterans. It was already quite a long list in 2005. Chris Candido gets another chant, having just passed away following a staph infection from a broken leg suffered at the first TNA Lockdown pay-per-view.
Yoshihiro Tajiri (with The Sinister Minister and Mikey Whipwreck) vs. Little Guido (with Big Guido, Tracy Smothers, JT Smith, and Tony Mamaluke) vs. Super Crazy
Joey Styles is lamenting the pending interference before the opening bell. As you’d expect, this is a complete spot-fest, with the participants taking turns getting tossed from the ring while the others trade cool moves. Super Crazy sets up a dive, but Mamaluke trips him into place for Little Guido’s Sicilian Slice. Super Crazy and Guido head into the crowd, allowing Crazy to hit an obligatory moonsault off the balcony! Tajiri ends Super Crazy’s streak with the Tarantula. The FBI interfere, crotching Crazy in the ring post. Big Guido hosts Tajiri up for a double team but Little Guido gets a face full of green mist. Whipwreck hits Guido with the Whippersnapper and Tajiri pins him at 4:10 for an elimination. The match continues with Tajiri and Super Crazy trading near falls. Super Crazy goes for a moonsault sequence, but Whipwreck shoves him down. We get our first “You F’d Up” chant as they slightly botch a power bomb spot. Crazy finishes with a moonsault at 6:13. Fun train wreck match that checked off all the nostalgic boxes, **˝.
Winner: Super Crazy
-Video packages. Lots and lots of video packages.
Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Styles and Foley reminisce about when these two had the Feud of the Year in 1995. This could also serve for a WCW nostalgia show, but I digress. They bust out their “greatest hits” in the feeling out period. The fans get behind Psychosis as he delivers a face buster, but boo a chinlock. Psychosis drapes Rey on a guard rail, and nails a flying guillotine leg drop! Psychosis misses a running drop-kick, and Mysterio makes his plucky underdog comeback in front of a crowd that doesn’t appreciate him. That is, until Rey sends Psychosis crashing into the front row for a flying seated senton! If you destroy yourself, these fans will like you. The 619 and West Coast Pop finish at 6:21. This match was like hearing a great 12 minute prog rock song cut down to 5 minutes on the radio, but was still a nice tribute to their history, **˝.
Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.
-The anti-ECW crew of Smackdown Superstars arrive in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Kurt Angle and JBL are leading the group (also including JBL’s Cabinet, Carlito, and Matt Morgan) and the fans unleash a homophobic chant at them. Angle flips off the fans as they take their seats in the balcony. The fans chant “F*ck you, Smackdown” and JBL soaks it up, posing with his paid ticket.
-Joel Gertner shows up in the Smackdown balcony and immediately gets knocked down by JBL. Angle takes his microphone and cuts a promo tearing down ECW and the mutant fans. Angle promises that every ECW wrestler will suffer an ass kicking from them before the night is over. JBL further antagonizes the crowd by pointing out the dump they’re running in, while he claims to have sold out Madison Square Garden. If One Night Stand is a success, it’s only because JBL is here. JBL’s tirade is interrupted by some familiar music, and Rob Van Dam and Bill Alfonso make their way to the ring. JBL’s mic is cut off, giving RVD the chance to cut a more flattering promo about ECW. RVD says this will be one of the biggest shows of the year because fans are sick of seeing guys like JBL shoved down their throats on every other event. He talks about how he thrived in ECW and how it was the best time of his life. Also, he talked Vince McMahon into making One Night Stand a reality. Sadly, his injured knee is forcing him to miss working the show, which sucks worse than missing Wrestlemania and Booker T’s wedding. The promo ends suddenly when RHINO runs in for a gore and puts the boots to him. The lights go out and Sabu is here to make the save and give us an impromptu match up. Before we continue, I might add that I found this promo to be whiny, self-indulgent, and showcased the side of RVD’s personality that got in his way in WWE.
Rhino vs. Sabu
I’m fairly certain this was Rhino’s last WWE match until returning to NXT in 2015. He smashed a vase in a hotel lobby over Wrestlemania 21 weekend or something, so he had to go. The action starts off in third gear as Rhino nails a belly to belly suplex, so they clearly aren’t pacing themselves for a long bout. Sabu nails an unprotected chair shot to the head, and follows with his springboard leap to the floor. Sabu attempts a moonsault through a table, but Rhino cuts him off for the time being. Sabu comes back with the leaping rana off the top rope! Sabu leaps a kick off a chair and Rhino tumbles throat-first onto it. Rhino manages a TKO onto the chair and a power bomb into the turnbuckle. Pee Wee shields Sabu and absorbs a gore. RVD limps in to throw a chair at Rhino. Despite the injury, RVD drop-kicks the chair into Rhino’s face. Van Dam places Rhino on a table for Sabu’s Arabian Skullscrusher! Rhino is finished at 6:26. This was overbooked nonsense that only made me cringe a couple times, **.
-Al Snow is arguing with Head backstage. Apparently, Head was the one who invited the “Smackdown assh*les” to the ring. Cue another round of video packages.
-Eric Bischoff leads the anti-ECW caucus of the Raw roster into the building. This crew includes Edge, William Regal, Gene Snitsky, Tyson Tomko, Christian, Rob Conway, and Jonathan Coachman. They take a seat next to the Smackdown guys.
Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero
I remember hearing a story that Benoit and Guerrero got into an intense backstage fight/argument over the finish to this match, which was shocking considering their well-reported friendship. This was probably the first sign that something was seriously wrong with Benoit, and another sign that Eddie was cracking due to the physical toll his body was paying. Just a few months later, Guerrero would be dead, and Benoit’s downward spiral would worsen. Now that I’ve royally depressed myself, let’s get on to the match itself.
The fans chant “F*ck John Cena” as they go through the opening sequence motions. Eddie responds to a “We’re not worthy” chant by stalling for time on the floor. Eddie displays more aggression in his return, but Benoit answers with knife edge chops. Benoit breaks a chinlock with a back suplex, but Eddie maintains control. The fans entertain themselves with a “F*ck you, Bischoff” chant during another chinlock. There’s a shot of Coach covering a grinning Bischoff’s ears, and it cracks me up. Meanwhile, Benoit takes a nasty spill to the floor and Eddie capitalizes with a chair shot. Eddie’s superplex leaves both men down. Eddie misses a Frog Splash, allowing Benoit to make a comeback. Benoit’s Northern Lights Suplex gets 2. Benoit hits a superplex of his own and transitions into rolling German suplexes. Foley calls Benoit out for using a diving head butt after saying he wouldn’t post-neck surgery. Eddie succumbs to the Crippler Crossface at 10:34. This was a condensed version of their usual greatness, but outside factors really hurt my enjoyment, **ľ.
Winner: Chris Benoit
-Joel Gertner attempts to interview Eric Bischoff in the WWE balcony, but ends up pathetically begging for a job instead. Eric berates Gertner, calling him a scab.
Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka
Joey Styles is less than pleased to see Awesome, still feeling betrayed by Awesome jumping to WCW when he was the ECW Champion. Also worth noting is that the WWE guys are turning their backs to the ring in a show of disrespect. Awesome and Tanaka start exchanging stiff offense while Joey continues to complain about Awesome. I cringe as Awesome hits a suicide dive and Styles says it’s a shame he didn’t succeed in taking his own life. Well, Joey, seeing as Mike Awesome DID kill himself a few years later, I hope you feel properly bad for that statement. Depressing real-life circumstances are once again affecting my enjoyment of this show. Back to the action, Tanaka absorbs an Awesome Bomb off the apron and through the table, landing right on his head. The Awesome Splash connects, as does another Awesome Bomb. Tanaka takes a trio of unprotected chair shots to the head and I seriously hate this match now. Tanaka comes back with a sloppy Blockbuster, but Awesome nails a tornado DDT onto a pile of chairs. Tanaka no-sells and lands a flying chair shot off the top rope. Mike lands another dangerous head shot and struggles to set a table up in the ring. Tanaka counters with a top rope DDT through the table, but Awesome ridiculously kicks out. Awesome nails a top rope sit-out power bomb through the already broken table and it only gets 2. That spot earns a standing ovation from the crowd, which would have been awesome if the rest of this hadn’t been terrible. Tanaka power bombs Awesome over the ropes and through a table, and leaps onto him for a pinfall on the floor at 9:50. This match is a microcosm of everything that was ever wrong with ECW: human beings destroying their health and well-being to impress a small crowd of cynical nerds, *.
Winner: Masato Tanaka
-Bob Artese makes his way to the ring, followed by evil genius, Paul Heyman. Paul bows to the fans and gets emotional while soaking in the moment. Paul wants to know the fans that he isn’t really crying, it just looks that way because he was smoking a joint with RVD. Heyman puts over how great ECW and the fans are, and can’t help himself but mock Eric Bischoff for ECW being more relevant than WCW those days. Eric just grins and flips him the bird. Paul makes fun of Edge for the Lita affair and name-drops the recently released Matt Hardy. Edge sells this insult by spitting out his beer. He turns his attention to JBL, mocking him for only being WWE Champion for a year because Triple H didn’t want to work on Tuesdays. The crowd responds with a hilarious gasp and pop for that one. This was the most amusing promo work of the night by far.
Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley vs. Tommy Dreamer and Sandman
At the risk of repeating myself, I’m pretty sure this was the last hurrah for the Dudleyz in WWE (until Bubba showed up in the 2015 Royal Rumble). Even though this is an ECW-branded show, it’s still hard to believe this particular match-up ever main evented a WWE pay-per-view. Sandman’s entrance feels longer than most of the matches on the card, but it had to happen. The match is finally about to begin when the Blue World Order shows up. Stevie Richards says there can’t be a real hardcore invasion without the b.W.o. and drops Sandman with a Stevie Kick. Kid Kash runs in for a save but gets easily tossed. Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney run in next and clear the ring with chairs. Kid Kash recovers to wipe out everyone with a springboard senton.
The bell finally rings and Bubba Ray square off with Dreamer, ducking a cheese grater to nail a belly to back suplex. Dreamer is busted open with a traffic sign and Bubba nastily rubs the grater against his forehead. Bubba smear’s Tommy’s blood over his face as warpaint and then misses a back senton. The Dudleyz manage a double neck breaker on Dreamer, but Sandman makes the save with a ladder. Dreamer pays tribute to Terry Funk by swing the ladder around his shoulders and takes the grater to Bubba’s forehead. Sandman drop toe holds D-Von into the ladder for 2. Sandman nails a Rolling Rock onto D-Von and the ladder, but Bubba knocks him down with a wild chair shot. Bubba destroys Sandman with a Frog Splash onto the ladder. D-Von misses a cane shot and hits Bubba, allowing Sandman and Dreamer to apply stereo Figure Fours. Lance Storm and Justin Credible run in to save the Dudleyz, with D-Von suffering That’s Incredible onto some barbed wire. Francine joins the party, kicking Dreamer in the nether regions. Beulah McGillicutty runs in to initiate a catfight with Francine. Storm tries to clock Beulah but also suffers a low blow. A bloody Dreamer embraces Beulah and they both hit DDT’s on the Dudleyz. The match settles back into 2 on 2, with weapon shots flying left and right. Sandman goes through a table and Dreamer suffers a 3D. Spike Dudley arrives with lighter fluid and they set a table ablaze. Dreamer eats a double power bomb through the burning table! That’s enough for the Dudleyz victory at 10:12. This match served as a highlight reel of all the crazy violence and carnage ECW was known for, ***.
Winners: Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley
-The chaos continues as Stone Cold Steve Austin arrives in the Hammerstein Ballroom. The look on JBL’s face is priceless as he knows he’s in big trouble. Austin and Sandman host an ECW beer bash with the majority of the locker room spilling into the ring. Austin invites the Raw and Smackdown guys to bring their carcasses to the ring for an ass-kicking. The WWE guys hesitate, so Austin berates them some more and threatens to beat them all up himself if they don’t answer the challenge by a 10 count. Bischoff finally leads the troops to the ring and they take sides. Taz arrives on the scene and an enormous brawl breaks out. Bischoff joins commentary and Styles goes off the rails telling him off. Meanwhile, Taz chokes out Kurt Angle. After a few minutes, the WWE guys retreat in defense, while Austin cuts a victory promo while wearing JBL’s cowboy hat. Austin asks Foley to drag Bischoff to the ring, which Foley is happy to oblige. Bischoff suffers a series of finishing moves and gets laid out. Eric has enough piss and vinegar in him to declare “F*CK ECW!” and it earns him a Stone Cold Stunner. For many fans, this was a cathartic moment. The Dudley Boyz add one final insult by physically removing Bischoff from the building.
Final Thoughts: This is a show that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts. It’s a nice, self-contained, nostalgia show with a show-long storyline about the WWE guys crashing the party. I wish the ECW love-fest had ended right here as a year later it would be revived as a full-time brand and it helped spark an endless parade of wannabe independent reunion shows. This event paid tribute to everything that was great and terrible about ECW. Thumbs up.
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