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.
-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.
-Video packages. Lots and lots of video packages.
-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.
-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.
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.
-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.
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.