ECW One Night Stand 2006 is the latest of WWE’s DVD releases. This was an entertaining pay-per-view event back in June, although watching it just a few months later, it already seems kind of dated. The ECW ppv show itself, brought back as a result of the original ECW Reunion show doing so well the previous year, occurred at a time when it had just been announced that WWE were also bringing back ECW as a full time brand, and would be debuting a new ECW tv show on the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. just a few days later. Of course, we all know what has ensued since. In short, the old ECW and the majority of its’ signature traits have been killed off. A combination of sharing its weekly taping with Raw and/or Smackdown, and the new ECW tv show itself following a set WWE-format has resulted in its uniqueness being lost. The few ‘ECW Originals’ who have remained (Sabu, Sandman, Balls Mahoney, Tommy Dreamer) have all been given WWE-esque tweaks. Sabu now speaks. Sandman has generic theme music. Balls Mahoney and Tommy Dreamer are side acts. Most of the guys getting the real pushes are existing WWE lower carders, shipped in from the other brands – Rene Dupree, Matt Striker, Hardcore Holly, Test. There are some bright spots, in that new guys such as CM Punk, Mike Knox and Kevin Thorn are getting significant pushes, as is Rob Van Dam. But the ECW Champion is Big Show. As hard as he’s been working as champion, he hardly signifies anything radically different about ECW, other than it’s just another WWE brand, and just another WWE-produced weekly tv show. The uniqueness has been eroded somewhat.
Length: 5 hours 50 minutes Approx. 18.
Disc 1 Chapters: 11 chapters. These are entitled:
- Paul Heyman addresses the crowd;
- Tazz vs Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler;
- Randy Orton vs Kurt Angle;
- F.B.I. vs Super Crazy & Tajiri;
- John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield addresses the crowd;
- WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Rey Mysterio vs Sabu;
- MIXED EXTREME TAG TEAM MATCH: Mick Foley & Edge & Lita vs Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer & Beulah;
- Balls Mahoney vs Masato Tanaka;
- John Cena/RVD history package;
- Eugene addresses the crowd;
- WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: John Cena vs Rob Van Dam.
Disc 1 Extras: Three extras, entitled:
- Battle Royal – WWE vs ECW: Head-To-Head, June 7, 2006;
- Post-show fan comments;
- Opening segment of the premiere episode of ECW on Sci Fi.
Bonus Disc 2 Chapters: 20 chapters. These are entitled:
- Joey Styles promo;
- The Dudleys promo;
- Barely Legal open;
- Joel Gertner promo;
- ECW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: The Dudleys vs The Eliminators;
- Sandman package;
- Chris Candido promo;
- Lance Storm vs Rob Van Dam;
- RVD promo;
- INTERNATIONAL SIX-MAN TAG MATCH: Great Sasuke & Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs Terry Boy & Dick Togo & Taka Michinoku;
- Stevie Richards promo;
- ECW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Shane Douglas (with Francine) vs Pitbull #2;
- Shane Douglas promo;
- Shane Douglas post-match surprise;
- Raven promo;
- ECW GRUDGE MATCH: Tazz (with Bill Alfonso) vs Sabu;
- Tazz post-match promo;
- Joey Styles introduces Tommy Dreamer (with Beulah);
- 3-WAY DANCE: Stevie Richards vs Sandman vs Terry Funk;
- ECW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Raven vs Terry Funk.
No Extras were included on this Bonus Disc 2.
Highs & Lows
The reason why I brought up the above synopsis of the past 3-4 months is for the benefit of hindsight. Everything above is what the original ECW fanbase – so loyal, so passionate, so vocal, and highly prevalent on this DVD – would, and have, found hugely objectionable. With the benefit of hindsight, it makes watching this DVD all the more fascinating. The crowd are so hot, so rebellious, so into the ECW wrestlers and matches. They were hugely anticipative of the ‘new’ ECW. In hindsight it seems such a shame that WWE apparently decided to squander such a unique fanbase by going in an opposite direction, yet at the same – this is still a very entertaining pay-per-view, even if it is somewhat toned down from the previous year.
Starting off the show, Tazz vs Jerry Lawler was something of a disappointment. Through excellent back-and-forth mic work on the previous few WWE tv shows, both guys had built up anticipation for their match. However, the match turned out to be way too short, and amounted to a mere scuffle rather than a sanctioned match. Kurt Angle vs Randy Orton was probably the best wrestling match on the show. The crowd certainly reacted favourably to Kurt Angle as an addition to ECW, and enjoyed catcalling Orton over his out-of-the-ring and behind-the-scenes activities. Super Crazy & Tajiri vs FBI was an entertaining lower card match. However, the first signs of a more WWE-esque product than the previous year were shown, when Big Show made an appearance, chokeslamming everyone after the match. That was a textbook example of the kind of stuff an ECW fan didn’t want to see, smaller wrestlers getting laid waste by Show ‘just because he could’, and you can see it in the muted crowd reactions after the incident. In a similar vein, John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield came out for an unannounced promo, where he basically cracked jokes and insulted the audience. This seemed out of place and had no business being on the show.
Moving on to something the crowd definitely did want to see, Rey Mysterio vs Sabu was an entertaining match with a seriously sick finish. For a few seconds I thought Mysterio had legitimately hurt himself. The ‘no-contest’ finish was something of a cop out, but necessary in hindsight, given their plans for the world title. Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk & Beulah vs Mick Foley & Edge & Lita was the most controversial match on the show and an incredibly brutal match at that. The sight of Foley’s back briefly on fire before he landed on the barbed wire boards will live long in the memory. All six worked so hard, perhaps too hard. Following this, Balls Mahoney vs Masato Tanaka was almost a token ECW nostalgia match, given the larger scheme of things. This was an enjoyable brawl.
Next up was another neon-sign of the imminent WWE-esque makeover that ECW was to receive. Eugene came out and did his gimmick, and even for comedy purposes, he was the wrong person to put before this live crowd. Just not what they wanted to see at all. Sandman came out to new generic entrance music, which noticeably deflated the crowd, who were expecting another ‘Enter the Sandman’ singalong. Then came the main event, John Cena vs Rob Van Dam in a WWE title match. This was very entertaining, made so largely by the crowd, who were awesome. They were vehemently anti-John Cena, far more than any WWE live crowds to date, and to them, he was the ultimate heel, and RVD the ultimate babyface. The involvement of Edge and Paul Heyman seemed unnecessary, and somewhat diluted the effectiveness of the finish, with RVD winning the title on something of a screwjob. The crowd didn’t care though, and in this instance, it still resulted in the feel good ending they wanted and received.
A grand total of three DVD extras are included on Disc One. Lucky us! I’m sure most of you remember my rant about WWE DVD extras on the previous DVD review I wrote for this fine website, so suffice to say, this amount of extras is nowhere near good enough, and in my personal opinion, WWE/Silvervision may possibly be losing potential customers over this.
Anyway, the three extras ranged from significant (the WWE vs ECW Battle Royal, from a tv special that had aired a few days earlier, and featured Big Show ‘defecting’ to ECW); to mundane (a bunch of ECW fans post-show, proclaiming how this was the greatest show that they’d ever seen); to the insignificant (‘the opening segment of the premiere episode of ECW on Sci Fi’, which basically amounted to Edge vs John Cena being presented as a more important feud than new ECW World Champion Rob Van Dam, and made Paul Heyman look lame, taking a punch from Cena). But thankfully, there’s more….
Comments on additional bonus DVD
A second bonus DVD disc, containing the very first ECW pay-per-view event, ‘Barely Legal’, is included. This event, from April 13th, 1997, is an excellent show, in my opinion better than ECW ONS 2006 on disc one, and is the real reason to purchase this double DVD set. This event was the culmination of several years of ECW being the best underground wrestling promotion in the country, and certainly amongst the most innovative and influential wrestling promotions around. Amongst the highlights on this show are:
The international six man tag team match, featuring wrestlers from the Japanese ‘Michinoku Pro Wrestling’ promotion (one of the most state-of-the-art promotions around at the time, similar to how ROH and Dragon Gate are regarded nowadays) was a fantastic match, and was so impressive, that two of the wrestlers in the match, Great Sasuke and Taka Michinoku were offered WWF jobs off the back of it. They wrestled each other at WWF’s July 1997 pay-per-view, ‘Canadian Stampede’, and despite Sasuke being the wrestler mostly favoured for a roster position, Michinoku was the more impressive of the two and ended up with a five year WWF contract out of it.
Tazz (billed with two ‘Z’s on this DVD) vs Sabu was also another stellar bout, with a killer twist in the match finish. Just an excellent, classic ECW match.
The final part of the show saw Stevie Richards vs Sandman vs Terry Funk in a three-way dance. This was a fantastic brawl with weapons shots and was so well received by the crowd. Funk winning led directly into his show-closing ECW title match with champion Raven, and this was also another excellent match, with the almost necessary feel-good finish of Funk winning the title. Other matches on the show include names that most current fans will be familiar with, such as the Dudleys, Rob Van Dam, Lance Storm and Shane Douglas. There really is something for everyone on this show.
If there was one downside to the presentation, it has to be that a lot of the original ECW entrance music on the show has been dubbed over and replaced with more generic songs. This isn’t that noticeable unless you’ve seen the original version of this show, or are aware of how much The Offspring’s ‘Come out and play’ song was a part of Raven’s character, ditto Metallica’s ‘Enter the Sandman’ (Sandman), ‘Perfect Strangers’ by Deep Purple (Shane Douglas), and ‘Desperado’ by The Eagles (for Terry Funk).
The ECW One Night Stand 2006 ppv on disc one is an entertaining show, that differs somewhat from the typical WWE fare currently out there, and is worth watching. The ECW Barely Legal 1997 ppv on disc two is not only a tremendous show with historical ramifications, but also a show that has withstood the test of time, and serves as something of a reminder of the legacy of ECW in its prime, what it truly stood for, and why its fanbase remained so loyal and so passionate for so many years.
Buy this double disc set for disc two.
Points: 8 / 10