Each and every Thursday I will look back at a different pay-per-view event from the past via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last time, I covered the WCW Halloween Havoc 1995
ECW One Night Stand 2005
Date: June 12, 2005
Venue: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York
Some random notes
So there is some backstory behind why this event came to fruition.
It started back in 2001 when the original incarnation of Extreme Championship Wrestling closed its doors. WWE, like it previously did with World Championship Wrestling, eventually purchased all of the promotion’s assets, including its video library.
WWE didn’t wait around to put ECW’s video library to good use, as it released The Rise and Fall of ECW in 2004.
The documentary was an instant hit with fans and is still one of WWE’s top selling releases in the company’s history.
The tremendous sales of the documentary showed that the fans’ undying love of ECW hadn’t wavered, but it also showed WWE that there was money to be made of the product.
Money always gets WWE’s attention.
Eventually, Rob Van Dam got the idea for WWE to do an ECW reunion show and pitched it to Vince McMahon himself. In Van Dam’s mind, it would be easy. WWE already had some of ECW’s top stars already on the payroll. Names like The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer, Taz, Rhyno were already working for WWE.
Heck, even people that only had short stints ECW like Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit were under contract in WWE and were big stars, which helped bring name value to the event.
Plus, WWE owned everything that was ECW and was the only promotion that could do a reunion show properly. WWE owned the logos, all of the intellectual properties and obviously the video footage.
McMahon agreed with Van Dam and eventually gave his approval to make the event a reality.
This wasn’t going to be a WWE event with ECW logos slapped on it. That eventually happened, but not for this event. This was an ECW event through and through. The announcers, the referees, the ring announcers, even the Atlas Security guards were all hallmarks of ECW.
The only thing WWE was the production. Sure, there were Raw and Smackdown wrestlers at the show, but this technically wasn’t WWE. For this one night, ECW had returned in all of its extreme glory.
The only thing that would have made it the quintessential ECW show would have been if it took place at the old bingo hall at Swanson and Ritner in South Philadelphia, which was dubbed the ECW Arena.
However, the building wasn’t what it is today. Today, the 2300 Arena is much better equipped to handle an event like One Night Stand. Back in 2005, it wasn’t even close to being up to WWE’s standards.
It probably shouldn’t have met ECW’s standards, but the promotion somehow made it work.
A clearly emotional Joey Styles opened One Night Stand by welcoming everyone to the event. He then introduced his broadcast partner for the night, Mick Foley, who came out to his Cactus Jack theme song.
Early in the show, there was a video package of the ECW wrestlers that had died between the time ECW had shut down and the event that night.
Featured in the video were Ted Petty (Rocco Rock), Terry Gordy, Mike Lockwood (Crash Holly), Sabu’s uncle The Sheik, Mike Lozansky, “Pitbull” Anthony Durante, Big Dick Dudley and Chris Candido, who had passed away a little more than a month before the show.
There were other video packages sprinkled throughout the show of some of the best moments from ECW’s heyday.
With that said, let’s get to the matches:
Lance Storm def. Chris Jericho
Storm and Jericho literally started in the professional wrestling business together in Calgary, Alberta, Canada back in 1990. They had their first match against each other and eventually became a tag team in Smokey Mountain Wrestling called The Thrillseekers.
It was only fitting that Jericho was Storm’s opponent in his final WWE match.
Jericho came out wearing his old ECW ring attire back when he was the “Lionheart.”
As expected, the match featured a lot of technical wrestling, which was a good way to showcase that ECW wasn’t all about blood and guts.
Although Storm and Jericho were good friends in real life, that didn’t stop Storm from using underhanded tactics to win the match, as his running mate in The Impact Players, Justin Credible, ran down and hit Jericho in the head with a kendo stick while the referee wasn’t looking.
Three-way dance – Super Crazy def. Tajiri & Little Guido
This was not a triple threat like the kinds we see in WWE. In ECW a three-way dance was essentially an elimination match.
ECW stalwarts Sinister Minister and Mikey Whipwreck accompanied Tajiri to the ring. A couple of weeks after this event, Minister — real name James Mitchell — began managing Abyss in TNA Wrestling.
The entire Full Blooded Italians crew — Tony Mamaluke, Tracy Smothers, Big Guido and J.T. Smith — accompanied Guido to the ring. Super Crazy came all by himself.
The funny thing about the F.B.I. was that Mamaluke, Smothers and Smith were not Italian. It was even acknowledged on television. Smith’s lack of Italian blood was more obvious than the others.
All three men in the match were working for WWE at the time although Guido did not work under that name for the company. Instead, he was Nunzio. Unfortunately, he was the first to be eliminated after Whipwreck hit him with the whippersnapper.
Super Crazy kept his name when he went to WWE and lived up to it on this night, as he did a moonsault from the balcony onto the F.B.I.
Super Crazy and Tajiri didn’t do a whole lot together once Guido was sent packing. Eventually, Super Crazy won after hitting moonsaults from all three turnbuckles.
Rey Mysterio def. Psicosis
Psicosis was teaming with Super Crazy in WWE as the Mexi-cools. He didn’t wear his mask in WWE after he was forced to unmask in WCW years earlier from some strange reason.
However, he wore his mask during his entrance on this night, but took it off once he got into the ring. The fans chanted for him to put the mask back on.
For an even stranger reason, Mysterio was also unmasked in WCW. Fortunately, he put it back on while in WWE.
Psicosis applied actual wrestling holds during the match, which drew the ire of the ECW fans, as they wanted to see the aerial acrobatics of traditional Lucha Libre.
Psicosis didn’t stray that far from that strategy, as he hit a guillotine leg drop onto Mysterio while he was draped across the guardrail.
Later in the match, Psicosis charged at Mysterio in the corner, but Mysterio moved out of the way, which sent Psicosis flying out of the ring and all the way into the front row.
Mysterio capitalized on the opportunity by climbing to the top turnbuckle and leaping onto Psicosis while he was still in the crowd.
Once back in the ring, Mysterio hit the 619 and followed that up with the West Coast pop to pick up the win.
After the match, members of the Smackdown roster showed up and sat in one of the balconies. They were supposed to be firmly against ECW and what it represented. Members of both Smackdown and Raw had been crusading against ECW leading up to the event.
Among the crusaders were Kurt Angle and John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
The ECW fans were not happy with this and let the Smackdown stars know by shouting some pretty obscene chants at them.
Joel Gernter, the quintessential stud muffin, attempted to interview the Smackdown stars, but was booted out of the private box by Angle and JBL.
Angle then took his microphone and ripped on the fans. JBL took the microphone and did the said same thing.
Van Dam, who couldn’t take part in the show due to a knee injury, interrupted the ECW bash fest. He said that JBL and the rest of the Smackdown stars had nothing to do with ECW.
He then said that he was going to speak for a couple of minutes, but was going to do so in an unscripted manner, as he was going to shoot from his heart.
He mentioned that he was going back to the days when he actually had a vocabulary longer than “whatever” and “cool,” which were words he frequently said on WWE television.
Van Dam eventually got emotional when talking about having the knee surgery that prevented him from wrestling on the show. He said that missing One Night Stand hurt him more than missing WrestleMania. It even hurt him more than missing Booker T’s wedding, which I guess he missed for some reason.
Suddenly, Rhyno appeared and gored Van Dam. Then the lights went out. When they came back on, Van Dam’s former tag team partner, Sabu, was standing in the ring. A referee jumped into the ring and were suddenly about to have an impromptu match.
Sabu def. Rhyno
Rhyno was actually released from WWE a couple of months before this match, but was brought back for this event. This was his last appearance on WWE television until 2015 with NXT.
The match was wasn’t very long, but it was definitely eventful.
Even on an injured knee, Van Dam got involved by kicking a steel chair into Rhyno’s face.
Van Dam then grabbed a table as Sabu climbed to the top rope. Van Dam placed Rhyno’s head on the table so that Sabu could jump off and drive his head through it with the help of a steel chair. Sabu did just that to pick up the win.
After the match, Eric Bischoff and a contingent of Raw superstars entered the building. Among the stars were Edge, Christian, Tyson Tomko, Jonathan Coachman, William Regal and Snitsky.
Gertner resurfaces and begged Bischoff for a job, but Bischoff turned him down in embarrassing fashion. He even threw his beer in Gertner’s face.
Chris Benoit def. Eddie Guerrero
This event took place only a block away from Madison Square Garden, where Benoit and Guerrero stood atop the wrestling business as world champions at the end of WrestleMania 20 in 2004.
By this point, however, Guerrero was no longer the lovable champion. He was a bad guy.
Early in the match, Guerrero suffered a cut across the nose early and blood ran down his face the rest of the match.
I’m not sure the fans in the building even noticed, as they spent most of the match hurling insulting chants at Edge and Bischoff instead of watching Benoit and Guerrero.
Given the talent level in the ring, this was a rather uneventful match.
Styles tried his best to make it seem epic, but it really wasn’t. It was just sort of there, which was surprising given how good Benoit and Guerrero were in the ring.
You could even see Guerrero tell Benoit after the match, “I owe you one.” I’m not completely sure what he meant by that, but I suppose he was taking the blame for having an off night.
Mike Awesome def. Masato Tanaka
Awesome and Tanaka were known to have some brutal matches and this one lived up to its billing.
But before the brutality got started, Styles tore Awesome a new on commentary. At one point, Awesome was the ECW World Heavyweight champion, but abruptly signed a lucrative contract with WCW while he was still champion.
That left a bad taste in the mouths of those associated with WCW, especially Styles.
After Awesome did a suicide dive early in the match, Styles quipped, “Suicide dive from Mike Awesome and it’s a shame he didn’t succeed at taking his own life.”
Unfortunately, Awesome eventually did take his own life in 2007.
Styles obviously had no way of knowing that was going to happen and probably didn’t actually mean anything by it, but it was still in poor taste, especially for the play-by-play announcer.
As for the match, it didn’t take long for things to get extreme. Pretty early on Awesome hit a power bomb on Tanaka from the ring apron through a table on the floor.
There were so many unprotected chair shots to the head I eventually lost count. Tanaka took two or three in a row and sold them as if they were nothing. He simply fired up like he was Hulk Hogan.
He then hit Awesome across the face with a chair while he lied on the mat. Somehow, these guys were kicking out of the crazy moves.
Awesome managed to recover and speared Tanaka, which caused the back of his head to bounce off a steel chair. Awesome then climbed to the top rope with a chair in hand.
He then jumped off and wacked Tanaka in the head with a chair. That wasn’t enough to keep Tanaka down, who eventually delivered a tornado DDT to Awesome through a table.
Awesome kicked out of that, too. He turned right around and hit the Awesome bomb on Tanaka from the top rope. That was as crazy as sounds, but Tanaka kicked out of it.
The fans loved every second of this.
Awesome then power bombed Tanaka from inside the ring through a table outside of it. Just in case that wasn’t enough to keep Tanaka down, Awesome also dove on him from the ring. That finally earned him a three count.
Awesome power bombed the referee after the match for some reason.
Before the main event, Paul Heyman came from behind the curtain and entered the ring. Once in the ring, Heyman dropped to his knees and thanked the fans with tears streaming down his face.
The fans chanted, “Thank you, Paul!”
Heyman thanked Todd Gordon for allowing him to be creative. He also thanked Ron Buffone for helping him put the old ECW television shows together.
Heyman said that he was just going to take the high road and thank the fans and leave, but opted to stay because he had something to say to the Raw and Smackdown superstars.
This is where things got good.
Heyman directed his first shot to Bischoff by saying that he noticed that he wasn’t tucking his tail between his legs while going to a WCW pay-per-view and said that Bischoff was in “our house, [insert word that rhymes with witch here]!”
Heyman had a point. For as popular as WCW was, it was never resurrected to the level ECW was.
Heyman then went after Edge, whose real-life love triangle with Lita and Matt Hardy had recently become public knowledge, making him one of the most hated men in professional wrestling at the time.
He said that he had two words for Edge: “Matt Freakin’ Hardy!” Edge and others were keen to point out that was actually three words.
Heyman was about to wrap up, but remembered to talk about JBL.
He then said one of the best lines ever said on WWE television:
“The only reason why you were WWE champion for a year is because Triple H didn’t want to work Tuesdays!”
Until 2016, Smackdown was taped on Tuesdays and aired on a different night. Apparently, Triple H didn’t want to work that day. He eventually did, though.
JBL took the jab in stride, as he did his best Fred Sanford impersonation by calling for Elizabeth.
Heyman then said that this wasn’t WCW, it wasn’t Monday Night Raw, it wasn’t Smackdown and it wasn’t even WWE. This was “E-C-[insert word that rhymes with ducking here]-W!” and left.
The Dudley Boyz def. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman
It is crazy to think that this was Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley’s final WWE television for a decade.
The Dudley Boyz made an uneventful entrance, but that wasn’t The Sandman’s style, as he made his usual epic entrance. WWE even let him use Metallica’s Enter Sandman on this night. However, the song is not the song that is used on WWE Network.
Sandman made his way from the balcony and through all of the fans without any security. Once he finally made his way to ringside, he and Dreamer drank beer off women’s chests.
Before the match could get underway, the Blue World Order went to the ring.
Stevie Richards, or in this case Big Stevie Cool, took the microphone and said the three magic words: “We’re taking over!” He then turned and super kicked Sandman.
The BWO and The Dudley Boyz joined in beating Sandman and Dreamer. Kid Kash then ran down to the ring, but was quickly tossed out.
Then Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney ran down with chairs and cleared the ring of the BWO. That was until The Dudley Boyz jumped back in and knocked them out.
A brawl broke out outside of the ring between all involved, which prompted Kid Kash to dive onto all of the brawlers.
The bell finally rang after Rotten and Mahoney fought the BWO out of the arena.
The weapons got involved right away, as Bubba Ray Dudley cut open Dreamer with the help of a cheese grater.
Sandman eventually got himself together and handed Dreamer a ladder. Dreamer used the ladder to knock down the Dudley Boyz. Dreamer then got a hold of the cheese grater and used it on Bubba Ray.
Dreamer and Sandman eventually put both of the Dudley Boyz in the figure-four leg lock. That was until Storm and Credible ran down to break them up. Then all heck broke loose.
Credible drove Sandman’s head into a ball of barbed wire. Francine then ran out and kicked Dreamer in the groin. That brought Dreamer’s real-life wife Beulah McGillicutty, who fought off Francine.
After Dreamer got rid of Storm, McGillicutty hugged the bloody Dreamer in the middle of the ring.
The Dudley Boyz tried to attack the loving couple, but to no avail. Dreamer his wife landed a pair of DDTs on the Dudley Boyz.
Later in the match Spike Dudley came out with lighter fluid. Bubba Ray soaked a table that he had set up in the ring with the lighter fluid and set it on fire.
The Dudley Boyz power bombed Dreamer through the flaming table and pinned him to pick up the win.
The Dudley Boyz attempted to harm McGillicutty, but Sandman fought them off with a kendo stick.
Sandman crawled over to Dreamer and begged for someone to get him a beer. Well, the right man came through the curtain as Steve Austin came to the rescue. Austin had a brief stint in ECW in between his time with WCW and WWE.
Austin walked out wearing a Las Vegas Outlaws jersey of all things and entered the ring. And although at one point Austin was the top star of the supposedly evil WWE, his character fit right in with the ECW mentality.
Austin being in the ring was not only a coup for ECW, but it was the much-anticipated meeting between Austin and his beer-drinking counterpart, The Sandman.
Austin invited the entire ECW locker room out to the ring to drink a few beers with him. He then invited the Raw and Smackdown stars to come down to the ring and fight the ECW stars.
After some goading from Austin, they left the balcony. Angle looked like he was seriously ready to fight people, as he was the first one in the ring.
Before they could go at it, Taz (with only one “z”) entered the arena. Taz and Angle eyed each other up and went at it, sparking an all-out melee in the ring. Taz choked out Angle outside of the ring.
In the midst of all of this, JBL searched for the Blue Meanie and got in some legitimate punches on him, which caused poor Meanie to bleed. Meanie and JBL apparently had a feud going at the time that has since been patched up.
JBL got a bit of comeuppance as about a half dozen ECW stars ganged up on him before Bubba Ray Dudley dragged him out of the ring.
Once the ECW stars cleared the ring of the WWE ones, Austin returned to the ring and kindly asked Foley to bring Bischoff, who sat through the brawl at the commentary table, to the ring.
Once Bischoff was in the ring, Austin kindly requested that the Dudley Boyz hit Bischoff with the 3-D. They obliged.
Austin then requested Benoit to hit a diving head butt. He also obliged. Austin’s final request for Mysterio to hit Bischoff with the 619. Mysterio did just off the principle of Bischoff taking his mask off in WCW.
After all of that punishment, Austin decided to conduct an interview with Bischoff so that he could get his thoughts on the evening.
Bischoff’s response: “[Insert word that rhymes with duck here] ECW!
Austin didn’t like that response and hit Bischoff with the stunner.
The Dudley Boyz dumped Bischoff out of the ring and carried him out of the arena, as the show went off the air.