“IF CENA WINS WE RIOT”
That’s the sign that a lot of people will remember the most from ECW One Night Stand 2006.
The story here is that WWE did the ECW One Night Stand 2005 show as a one-time event that they thought would pay tribute to ECW. Since that show did so well in terms of the buyrate and the response from the fans, they felt the need to do it again.
The big difference between the 2006 and 2005 shows is that in 2006 the goal was to set them up for what was to come on the new ECW TV show that started on Sci-Fi channel two days after this event aired. In 2005, there was a sense of nostalgia as former ECW acts were put on the show to have traditional ECW style matches. They really thought it would be a “one night stand” or a one night only type of show. In this case, it featured some nostalgia although there was also more of an eye towards the future with signed talent put in matches to get them ready for the ECW brand.
I saw this show live at a movie theater with some friends. I didn’t write a review of it back then, so everything you see below is fresh and new. It’s time to take a look back to one of my favorite WWE PPV events from the month June ten years ago. It’s ECW One Night Stand 2006.
ECW One Night Stand
Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, New York
The show begins with the great Paul Heyman entering the area to a massive ovation with loud “ECW” chants.
Heyman did a promo about how a “tribe of extreme has risen again.” More “ECW” chants from the crowd. He said this time they’re going to pour their Kool-Aid down the throats of a new audience that will learn it all started here tonight.
Heyman said that they are live on pay-per-view and they are back on cable TV on Tuesday night in a much better deal than what they had last time. He said it didn’t happen because of Heyman or Vince McMahon (people booed, which is weird) and told the crowd that this happened because of you. He said the phrase “by popular demand” rang true for this. Heyman went on his knees to say “thank you” repeatedly to the fans in attendance. There’s the first closeup of that famous “If Cena Wins We Riot” sign.
Heyman was fired up as he said it’s better than Raw, it’s better than Smackdown and he said welcome to the rebirth of ECW.
Analysis: As it turned out in the long run, the WWE ECW brand wasn’t that great, but going into this show the excitement level was at an all time high. There was a lot of optimism that this was going to work well.
The classic ECW opening video aired.
The original ECW announcer Joey Styles welcomed us to the show.
Tazz made his entrance for the opening match. Jerry Lawler went over to Styles and slapped him in the face.
Analysis: Tazz was a retired wrestler that was an announcer by this point, but it made sense to put him in a match on this show since he was a former ECW Champion.
Tazz vs. Jerry Lawler
Styles went into the ring and jumped on Lawler’s back. As Lawler went to give Styles a piledriver, Tazz attacked Lawler from behind and put him in a Tazmission. Lawler passed out, so Tazz won the “match” at the 0:35 mark.
Winner by submission: Tazz
Analysis: DUD It was a simple way to pop the crowd by having Tazz win so easily. I’m not sure if he was even able to do a bump because of his neck problems. That’s why it was such a quick match.
A video aired about how there was a WWE vs. ECW show leading up to One Night Stand. Big Show turned on Raw and revealed himself as an ECW guy.
Randy Orton was booed heavily by the crowd. Lots of middle fingers flashed at him. Some fans even punched him in the arm and he didn’t look thrilled about it. Orton was suspended for 60 days prior to this match due to “unprofessional conduct.” Styles complained about Orton getting pyro at the event. Kurt Angle, who had an ECW mouthpiece, was cheered heavily because he was built as the face of ECW.
Analysis: Angle was out of WWE two months after this, so he didn’t have much time as the face of ECW like WWE wanted him to be. As for Orton, he was such a talented guy, but he did a bunch of stupid things backstage in the early days of his career and it got so bad that they had to suspend him for two months. The storyline explanation was Angle breaking his ankle.
Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle
Orton kept stalling, so the crowd chanted “pussy” at him. Angle went for the Ankle Lock, which led to a “break his ankle” chant from the crowd and as Orton escaped again, the fans chanted “Angle’s gonna kill you.” As Angle had him in a headlock, the crowd chanted “fuck you Orton.” Orton went to the floor again. Back in the ring, Angle took him down again. Angle gave him a belly to back suplex. Angle missed a corner charge, so Orton finally got control with some punches and kicks. Angle came out of the corner with a double leg takedown. Orton did an eye poke and then whipped Angle hard into the turnbuckle. Fans are chanting “you can’t wrestle” at Orton, which is stupid. Angle kept doing amateur wrestling holds to take him down, so Orton bit his hand. Headlock time for Orton leads to a “boring” chant. Orton missed a corner charge, so Angle dropped him with a release German suplex. Angle with a forearm to the back, clothesline and three German suplexes from Angle to Orton. Nice job by Orton as he countered an Angle Slam into an arm drag and there’s a dropkick by Orton. Loud “fuck you Orton” chant. Angle with a belly to back suplex dropping him on his head/neck area. Angle Slam hits for a two count. Loud “break his ankle chant.” Angle went for Ankle Lock, but Orton rolled through and sent Angle into the turnbuckle. Orton with the backbreaker for two. Orton went for RKO, but Angle shoved him off. Orton dropped him with a back elbow. Orton with a cross body block off the top that Angle turned into a two count and then Orton came back with a clothesline. Orton got a nearfall for two. Ankle applied the Ankle Lock, did the leg grapevine and Orton quickly tapped out at the 15:07 mark.
Winner by submission: Kurt Angle
Post match, Styles put over Angle’s first win as an ECW wrestler. Huge ovation for Angle after the match. Orton sold the ankle injury a lot after the match as the fans chanted “you tapped out” at him. Orton called for two refs to help him. Fans chanted “pussy” at him.
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a solid match with a good ending, but they were basically just killing time in the first few minutes. Once Orton took control, it was more of a traditional match and then Angle came back in impressive fashion. I had forgotten about some of those crowd chants. They were vicious, yet also an example of just how passionate the ECW crowd was about everything.
Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido Maritato & Tony Mamaluke) w/Big Guido vs. Tajiri & Super Crazy
When Guido was in WWE he was known as Nunzio, but I’ll call him Guido here. Fans chanted “welcome back” to Tajiri, who had left WWE by this point in his career and was just back for this show.
Slow start early on. Mamaluke did a key lock and Tazz said he’s used to a play by play guy that doesn’t know moves (hey Michael Cole). Dropkick by Crazy on Mamaluke with the crowd chanting “Nacho Libre” for the movie that came out around this time. Fans chanted for Crazy as Mamaluke did a short arm scissors. Crazy fought out of it with a suplex and nailed a splash for two. Tajiri faced off with Guido. They had a lot of history, so the crowd went wild for them. Guido applied an armbar for a submission, but Tajiri got to the ropes. Tajiri applied his own leg submission. Crazy with a dropkick on Mamaluke. Both Italians were upside down in the Tree of Woe so the faces did dropkicks at the same time. Crazy with a moonsault that didn’t really connect. Mamaluke pulled Guido out of the ring. Crazy with an Asai Moonsault onto both guys on the floor. Big Guido pulled Crazy out of the ring while the ref was distracted and nailed a clothesline. Crazy with a back body drop into a flapjack on Mamaluke gets two although may have been a botch as Tazz wondered “what the hell was that?” Double team dropkick by the FBI on Crazy, but then Tajiri runs in with a dropkick and hard kick. Flapjack by Crazy on Guido and here’s the hot tag to Tajiri. Nice spin kick by Tajiri on Guido for two as Mamaluke broke it up. Armbar by Tajiri, but Guido broke it up. Handspring elbow by Tajiri on both guys. Tajiri with a side kick on Guido gets two. Double Tarantula spot by the faces. Crowd loves it. Big Guido in the ring, the faces kick him multiple and a double dropkick sends him out of the ring. FBI hit clotheslines on both guys. Guido with a dropkick while Crazy was on the apron sent Crazy over the barricade into the crowd. FBI hit a double Fisherman’s Buster on Tajiri and Guido covered for the win at the 12:24 mark.
Winners by pinfall: Full Blooded Italians
Analysis: **1/2 A solid tag match with some slow spots in there, but they ended well. The crowd loved everything that Tajiri and Crazy did because they were popular faces in ECW that had success in WWE as well. The heels got the win because they were on the new ECW roster while the faces were not, so it’s smart to put over the guys that are going to be around more. I liked the double team finisher to end it a strong way.
Post match, Big Show made his entrance because he defected to ECW. He nailed Big Guido with a kick to the junk. Knee to Tajiri and he tossed Crazy out of the ring. Show with a backbreaker on Mamaluke and he tossed him out of the ring. Show with a boot to Big Guido knocked him out of the ring. The crowd cheered Show for cleaning house.
Analysis: That’s a classic ECW spot similar to what 911 used to do. Show is obviously a much bigger name than him, but it’s proof that the spot works really well.
John Bradshaw Layfield appeared in the balcony for the second year in a row. Fans chanted “you suck dick” at him as he tried to talk. He replied to that saying he didn’t see any women there, yet they’re talking about a male organ so tell him who is the fruit booty. Good comeback. JBL said last year he was in the ring beating on a flat blue haired guy. He talked about how he left him bloody (he means the Blue Meanie). He said people went on the internet about how JBL is a bully and a bad guy. He said nothing happened to him while the crowd chanted “shut the fuck up” at him as he tried to talk over them. JBL said that he’s the king of hardcore. JBL added that Kurt Angle and Big Show are “our” stars while adding that Rob Van Dam is a star because of WWE, because of Smackdown and because of Vince McMahon. JBL ripped on Tazz leaving Network television to go to the Sci-Fi channel on Tuesday nights. Fans chanted “Asshole” at JBL, so JBL said that people pay to see him and he doesn’t pay to see them. JBL added that he’s going to be the voice of Smackdown while telling Tazz to take his phone book because he can see over the desk. Tazz said Cole working with JBL is “the blind leading the blind.” JBL closed by saying he was a Wrestling God, kiss my ass and this show sucks. Tazz wondered why he showed up then.
Analysis: Good heel promo by JBL. He did a great job with it a year earlier. This one was solid too, but the promos in 2005 were better. I liked the Tazz line about the “blind leading the blind.” It’s ten years later and some people may think that’s still true. Anyway, good promo to break up the matches and get the crowd worked up too.
Sabu made his entrance for the World Title match. Mysterio was the World Champion on the Smackdown brand at the time. Sabu had a big scar on the left side of his face.
World Heavyweight Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu
Mysterio was booed even though he was a face from Smackdown. Both guys had chairs in their hands to start the match. They dropped them early on, but then they had a chair battle. Sabu knocked Rey into the corner and hit a flying leg lariat after leaping off the chair. Mysterio drop toe hold into the chair in the ring. Rey with the hurricanrana. Sabu avoided the 619, dropkick by Sabu and Sabu tossed the chair into Mysterio’s head. Ouch. Sabu set up a table that he bridged from the side of the ring onto the guard rail. Sabu played Mysterio on the table. Sabu ran the ropes, off the chair and Mysterio moved, so Sabu went crashing into the guard rail. Back in the ring, moonsault press by Mysterio gets two. Sabu knee to the face and a guillotine legdrop off the top gets two. Sabu with the Arabian Facebuster gets two. Sabu set up a table outside the ring. Mysterio dropkick sent him onto the table. With Sabu standing on the table, Mysterio nailed a seated senton splash that drove Sabu through the table. Sabu was pointed at his left arm while referee Nick Patrick did the “X” sign signalling an injury, but Sabu kept going. Mysterio springboard legdrop to the back of the head gets two. Sabu came back with a springboard leg lariat. Sabu with a triple jump moonsault gets two. The knee of Sabu went right into Mysterio’s face. Ouch. Sabu missed an attack with the chair. Mysterio missed a senton attack on the chair, which led to Mysterio hitting the chair hard. Sabu grabbed the chair and whipped it into Mysterio’s head. Ouch! Mysterio was on the floor, so Sabu put him on the table. Sabu off the chair, off the top rope, Mysterio was standing on the table and Sabu gave him a DDT through the table! Wow! What a spot. Doctors ran down to the ring. A doctor yelled: “No! They can’t fight anymore!” The crowd chanted “bullshit” as the bell rang to end the match at 9:10.
Match Result: No Contest
Post match, they replayed the ending a few times. Both guys were helped to the back while the announcers said that it sucked that it ended that way. Sabu was cheered by the fans as he was the second man to leave.
Analysis: **3/4 That was a fast paced, physical match with big spots and a crazy ending. What a wild finish. I remember that spot from ten years ago, but seeing it again today makes me cringe. It was brutal. I know people were mad about the finish because you don’t see things like that, but I think it was done to protect both guys. They weren’t going to hurt Mysterio by having him lose and they didn’t want to make Sabu look bad because he was going to be a part of the new ECW. That final move is something that likely wouldn’t be allowed in WWE today because of how unsafe it looked.
A video package aired about Edge & Mick Foley facing Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk. After Edge beat Foley at WrestleMania 22, Foley turned heel to team with Edge. Heyman set up Edge & Foley vs. Dreamer & Funk for One Night Stand.
Mick Foley, with a busted up eye, said that he did sell out – he sold out Madison Square Garden. He said he was sorry for trashing ECW because he loved it when it was run by a visionary and a true creative genius, let’s hear it for Stephanie McMahon. “Love live the Alliance!” He introduced Edge and Lita.
Analysis: That was a funny promo by Foley to get heat. The bit about the Alliance was hilarious too because Stephanie as the “owner” of ECW five years earlier was such a bad idea.
Edge did a promo insulting the fans. He said that the ECW fans Christmas is Jewish, fat and bald – he means Paul Heyman. Edge talked about how fans are going to text their imaginary girlfriend and then go on to the internet to pleasure themselves looking at his actual girlfriend Lita. Edge said it’s pathetic. Lita ripped on Funk and Dreamer thinking they had a chance of beating Foley and Edge. Fans are chanting “you’re a crack whore” at her. She talked about sitting on Dreamer’s face on the last show and that it was probably better for him than it was for her because of the skank he hangs around with.
Analysis: Another solid heel promo. Lita was at her best in this role. I liked her when she was a face, but she looked much hotter and was more confident as a performer in this role.
Terry Funk walked out with Tommy Dreamer and Beulah McGillicutty. Beulah is an ECW valent that was Dreamer’s wife. They married in 2002 and are still married, so good for them.
Beulah did a promo ripping on Lita for being a slut and said since Lita liked threesomes so much, let’s make it a 3 on 3 match. She said “it’s either put up or shut up, bitch.” Lita slapped her. Beulah hit back.
Intergender Extreme Rules Match: Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer & Beulah vs. Edge, Mick Foley & Lita
Dreamer started with Edge, Foley tagged in and wanted Funk. The two Hardcore legends went at it. Foley brawled with Funk while Dreamer brawled with Edge. It made sense that it would break down like this because there doesn’t need to be tags in a match like this. Dreamer hit Edge in the back with a street sign, then he nailed Foley with it and Funk hit Edge in the head with a trash can. Dreamer dropkick into the trash can into Foley’s head. Edge was able to come back with a ladder to the face of Dreamer. Foley worked on Funk outside the ring. Dreamer with an arm drag onto a ladder that was up against the ropes. Funk attacked Edge and Foley with the ladder. Funk climbed the ladder, but Edge pushed it over and Funk went crashing down to the mat. When Dreamer went for the Dreamer Driver, Lita ran in to kick Dreamer in the balls. There’s another “she’s a crack whore” chant for Lita. Foley and Edge and pulled out a table covered with barb wire. They tossed the table onto Dreamer in the ring. Funk tripped them up, so the table fell on Edge and Foley a bit. Fans chanted “we want fire” because they’re sick. Dreamer and Funk tossed Foley back first into the barb wire table. Edge crotched Dreamer on the top of the guard rail. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them as Foley tossed the barb wire table into Funk.
Foley was handed some barb wire by Lita, who got it from under the ring. Funk’s arm was trapped in the barb wire board. Foley put the barb wire on his arm and went after the face of Funk. Foley raked the barb wire against the head and eye of Funk. There was a lot of blood coming from Funk’s head. Doctors tended to Funk and took him to the back. The crowd chanted “we want Sandman.” The heels used a barb wire bat with Foley hitting Dreamer in the back with it. Lita did a leg drop on the bat on the groin of Dreamer. Beulah looked on from the apron as the crowd chanted for Sandman again. Foley took out Mr. Socko and applied the Mandible Claw to Beulah. Dreamer broke that up, but it didn’t slow them down much. Foley with Mr. Socko to Dreamer and Edge hit a Spear on Dreamer. Edge went after Beulah, put her in a pumphandle position and Lita taunted her. Funk emerged from the back with a barb wire 2x4.
Funk was all taped up with blood from his head. Dreamer with a double low blow on the heels. Funk with the barb wire wood to the chest and back of both Foley and Edge. Funk lit the 2x4 on fire. Funk with a fire 2x4 attack to Foley ribs and then he knocked Foley off the apron onto a barb wire table outside the ring. Wow that was crazy. Styles yelled his “OH MY GOD” catchphrase. Edge knocked Funk off the apron and he went crashing onto Foley outside the ring. Dreamer with a DDT on Edge. Dreamer with the barb wire wrapped around Edge’s neck and head. Lita saved Edge, but Beulah stopped her with a hair whip takedown. The girls battled in the ring with Styles doing his “CATFIGHT” catchphrase and the crowd chanted “ECW” for it. Dreamer hit the Dreamer Driver on Lita. Edge took down Dreamer with the barb wire to the head in a reverse DDT like move. Beulah checked on Dreamer, so Edge came back with a Spear on Beulah. Edge folded up Beulah in a sexual position with the ref asking “what he hell is wrong with you?” and the ref counted the pinfall to end the match at the 18:45 mark.
Winners by pinfall: Edge, Mick Foley & Lita
Post match, the heels left together. Dreamer picked up Beulah to help her out of the ring. Funk was still trapped in the barb wire. He was yelling at the officials to cut him out because he was stuck in the barb wire. The crowd cheered them.
Analysis: **** Awesome match. I loved it back then and I love it today. One of the wildest matches in WWE history, no doubt about that. I know it’s under the ECW banner, but it’s still WWE and was unlike anything else I had ever really seen in WWE. It’s another match that I remember well from ten years ago, but seeing it again makes me marvel at the stuff they did in terms of the violence. There were so many weapons used, there was blood, Funk looked like he had a legit eye injury and all four guys put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. Huge respect for all of them. Edge getting the win was the right call because he was a main event level guy by this point, so that’s what they had to do. I think adding to the girls to the match was fine, but they stood on the apron for much of it. I think they just did it so Edge could do the disgusting pin at the end.
The WWE Champion John Cena was shown standing in a stairwell. Elsewhere, Rob Van Dam was shown warming up.
Balls Mahoney vs. Masato Tanaka
They slapped hands out of respect because they are both faces. Tanaka’s right shoulder is taped up. Tanaka with a cross body gets two, then a forearm smash and Mahoney came back with a powerslam. The fans chanted “Balls” for the punch sequence that Mahoney did. Tanaka sent Mahoney out of the ring. Tanaka jumped on him, but Mahoney took him down. Mahoney got a beer and smashed the cup into Tanaka’s head. Then he did it again. Tanaka hit him with a water bottle, sent him into the barricade and Mahoney avoided a chair attack. Back in the ring, Tanaka with a superplex. Mahoney came back with a superplex of his own. Both guys had chairs in their hand. They had a chair duel. Balls won that and absolutely destroyed Tanaka with a hard chair shot to the head! Damn! That was brutal. He covered for the win after 5:03 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Balls Mahoney
Analysis: *1/2 It was fine for a short match, but it really didn’t have much in the way of psychology. Balls was signed to a WWE contract for the ECW brand while Tanaka was not, so that’s why they put Balls over. If you saw Tanaka’s match with Awesome a year earlier, he took way more punishment there and had a way better match, but this was about putting over the ECW regular in Mahoney.
The video package aired for the WWE Championship match between John Cena and Rob Van Dam. RVD won the Money in the Bank briefcase and said he wanted to challenge Cena for the WWE Title at this event. He announced it weeks in advance. RVD said he would win it and rename it the ECW Title.
Eugene walked out prior to the WWE Title match. He said he loved ECW and that his uncle Eric Bischoff said he was as smart as an ECW fan. Funny line. Eugene wondered if they were saying “boo” or “Eu” for Eugene. Eugene read a poem ending it by saying he wants to hug everybody. The crowd chanted “shut the fuck up” at him. Here comes Sandman with a cigarette in his mouth and a Singapore cane. He’s got beer of course. It took Sandman a few minutes to get through the crowd.
Sandman got into the ring with Eugene. When Eugene wanted a hug, Sandman nailed him with a cane shot to the head. Sandman kept attacking him with the cane. Sandman kept on attacking as Eugene ran away. They went all the way to the back. Sandman drank another beer on the stage to celebrate.
Analysis: That was a fun way to pop the crowd. People hated the Eugene gimmick, especially by this point, so it gave the crowd something to cheer about. Sandman was signed to a WWE deal for the new ECW. He didn’t have much success in WWE, but he was very popular, so it made sense for them to put him on the new ECW brand.
Rob Van Dam made his entrance. He greeted the fans all around ringside. Great ovation for the challenger, who was arguably the best performer in the history of ECW. Loud “RVD” chants for him.
The WWE Champion John Cena enters in his “Hustle Loyalty Respect” shirt. The crowd booed him almost unanimously. Plenty of fans giving him the middle finger on his way to the ring. There’s a closeup of the famous sign: “If Cena Wins We Riot.”
The crowd is really loud during he introduction for RVD. Loud “ECW” chants for him. Cena is announced at 240 pounds, which seems a little light. He tossed his hat and shirt into the crowd. They threw the hat back. Then they threw the shirt back. Cena tossed the shirt again and it was tossed back to the ring. Cena tossed the shirt to another section and the guy tossed it towards the ring again. It even landed on the top rope! Another toss by Cena and it was sent back again. Another fan tried to toss it back, but he wasn’t able to get it to the ring. A guy had the shirt, rubbed it against his ass and tossed it back. Then he gave the double middle finger salute to Cena! Crowd cheered it as Styles said he knows that guy – he had on some staff tag around his neck. RVD got in Cena’s face. Cena just dropped the shirt at ringside. There’s a toilet paper toss at Cena.
Analysis: That was one of the most memorable introductions I’ve ever seen. The t-shirt toss thing is pretty legendary in terms of something that doesn’t happen often and it was hilarious to see it.
WWE Championship Extreme Rules Match: Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena
The bell rings and a “fuck you Cena” chant starts up. More toilet paper tossed to the ring. They locked up and the crowd chanted “Cena Swallows” at the champ. Cena with a suplex as the crowd chanted “you can’t wrestle” at him. RVD with a spin kick sent Cena to the floor. They traded punches in the ring with RVD winning that battle while the crowd cheered for it. Cena with a powerslam gets two. Cena with a clothesline sent RVD to the floor with the crowd chanting “same old shit” at him. Cena jumped off the top with a punch to RVD’s back on the floor. RVD came back with a moonsault press off the steel steps to take Cena down. Cena sent RVD into the barricade. When RVD tried an attack, Cena shoved him into the crowd. There was a “Fuck You Cena” sign that Cena held in front of RVD’s face leading to a punch to the face. RVD hit his spinning leg drop off the apron onto Cena on the barricade and then RVD hit a guillotine legdrop on the apron.
RVD grabbed a chair from ringside. RVD with the corner dropkick into the chair for two. RVD with the Rolling Thunder onto the steel chair. RVD went for the split legged moonsault, but Cena got his knees and the steel chair up to block it. Cena with a DDT on the steel chair gets two. Fans chanted “you can’t wrestle” at Cena, which is a dumb chant in my opinion, but I know why fans do it. Cena with a slingshot into the chair that was wedged between the top and bottom ropes for two. Cena with the spinning slam. When Cena signaled for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, fans chanted “same old shit” at him and he hit the FKS fist drop. They even did an “asshole” chant as Cena saluted them. RVD fought out of the AA and hit a spinning dropkick. RVD with a boot to the face, then he went up top and Cena brought him down with a Powerbomb for two. RVD came back with a dropkick while Cena was on the apron to send Cena crashing to the floor. RVD brought a table into the ring. Fans chanted “Whole F’N Show” for RVD.
The table was set up in the corner by RVD. Cena recovered enough to trip up RVD with the STFU (the name before they went PG and it went back to the STF name). RVD got to the ropes. Cena was told to break the hold, he didn’t, so the ref jumped on him to break it. Cena argued with the ECW referee John Finnegan, the ref shoved him and Cena nailed him with a clothesline. Cena with a superplex off the middle rope. Cena brought the steel steps in the ring and nailed RVD in the head with them. Then he tossed the steps out. Referee Nick Patrick went into the ring, Cena covered and got two. Cena put RVD on his shoulder, then sent him over the top to the floor with a FU-like move that sent RVD crashing into the mat. When Cena turned around, somebody went into the ring with a leather jacket and a motorcycle helmet. That guy charged in and hit Cena with a huge Spear through the table that was propped up against the turnbuckle. In watching it again, Cena barely hit the table. The helmet guy knocked out ref Nick Patrick with a punch. The helmet was taken off and revealed to be Edge. Fans chanted “Thank You Edge” for him even though they hated him about an hour earlier. RVD went back in the ring, saw Cena prone on the mat and went up top. RVD hit the Five Star Frog Splash. He tried to revive the ref, but here comes Paul Heyman. RVD covered, Heyman counted the one…two…three and that’s it after 20:40 of action.
It was announced like this: “The winner and new ECW Champion: Rob Van Dam.”
Winner by pinfall and New WWE Champion: Rob Van Dam
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really great moment and one of the best WWE Title changes in the 2000s for sure. It wasn’t a clean win for RVD because Edge was there, but I don’t think people cared too much. It was about creating a special moment that people would never forget, which is what they did. In terms of the match, it looked like they were off a few times, but I liked the creativity that both guys showed. Cena was outstanding in this match as he played off of the crowd well, acted like a heel during much of the match and did a lot of offensive moves that he normally doesn’t do. RVD did all of his signature spots that made him famous first in ECW and later in WWE. You could tell he loved everything about that match and that moment. Since Edge had an ongoing rivalry with Cena, his presence made sense. WWE didn’t like to have Cena lose clean, so it was a creative way to do a title change at a time where the title change made sense.
Post match, RVD went into the crowd to celebrate with the fans. Other wrestlers and ECW personnel went into the ring. RVD went up to the balcony where he got a hug from his wife. RVD made his way back down to the ring as the crowd went wild for him. Tazz put over how hard RVD worked to get to the top.
When RVD went back into the ring, he was met by hugs by guys like Big Show, Dreamer, Angle and the entire ECW roster was in the ring with him.
They showed replays of the finish with a camera angle that showed that Edge got into the ring after he was hiding out under the ring.
RVD was on the shoulders of Big Show and Balls Mahoney doing the RVD thumb point and holding up the WWE Title in the ring. RVD posed on the turnbuckle with the WWE Title.
Analysis: That was a good celebration. I’m glad that they had five minutes to let him go up to his wife, then celebrate with the other wrestlers and make it a big deal. I’ve always said that titles are there to be a part of the story. In this case, the story was RVD finally reaching the pinnacle of WWE by winning the biggest prize in the company and that’s what he did. Titles are not there just to be something for people to win. It has to be part of an overall story. In this case it definitely was.
I really liked the show ten years ago and it holds up well today too. I’d give it a 8 out of 10 while I gave ECW One Night Stand 2005 a 9 out of 10. It wasn’t at the same level, but it was still very good and one of the best WWE PPVs in 2006.
I think it lacked one really great match to make it stand out more. The six person tag and the main event were clearly the most memorable matches while the rest of the show had some solid matches. With that said, in terms of creating big moments, they did an excellent job of that similar to the 2005 event.
While the Cena/RVD title match wasn’t one of the best title matches ever, in terms of the moment and the atmosphere it was incredible. I’ll never forget that match in part because of the crowd reactions and chants throughout the match. They helped make it feel special from the beginning with the t-shirt tossing.
That six-person tag was crazy violent. You won’t see anything like that in WWE today, which is fine with me because they put their bodies on the line too much in this match. It’s all in the name of entertainment, but we don’t want to see guys killing themselves out there when it’s already a risky business as it is.
As for the WWE ECW brand that was launched after this show, it failed. No question about it. There were a lot of mistakes and I’m sure a lot of people involved with it want to forget about it. However, if you want to know what made ECW great, watching this show and the 2005 version is a good way to remind yourself of why the ECW brand was so special to a lot of wrestling fans.
I enjoyed the show a lot. Check it out if you have three hours of free time because it’s worth your time.
Check out some of my other recent Retro PPV reviews including King of the Ring 1996, ECW One Night Stand 2005, No Way Out 2004, WCW Starrcade 1997 and plenty more.
Next up: WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 since the 20 year anniversary is close.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]