TV REPORTS KELLER'S WWE-ECW HEAD-TO-HEAD SPECIAL REPORT 6/7: Ongoing coverage of live show
Jun 7, 2006 - 10:45:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WWE VS. ECW HEAD TO HEAD SPECIAL
JUNE 7, 2006
-The show opened with Mick Foley telling a group of wrestlers backstage that ECW is going to try to take over in their own backyard and they can't allow it to happen. Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Finlay, Big Show, and Matt Hardy.
-Then they went elsewhere backstage to Paul Heyman addressing the ECW crew including Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Kurt Angle, Balls Mahoney, Nunzio, Sabu, Al Snow, Rob Van Dam, Justin Credible, and Stevie Richards. Heyman said they can prove they are superior. He had everyone shout "ECW" over and over. Some of them were a bit cartoonish in their overacting.
-The opening aired, customized for the special "WWE vs. ECW Head-to-Head" program.
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. Lawler said he can't wait to show the clowns of ECW who's boss. They went to another ringside table to their right with Joey Styles and Tazz. They took turns previewing each of the scheduled matches. Tazz said Sabu vs. John Cena will be "off the charts." He then pointed at Lawler and said Sunday, he's going to punk his ass. Lawler told him since he looks like a grog, why doesn't he jump over there. Ross and Styles had to separate them.
1 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. ROB VAN DAM - Non-Title Match
During ring intros, Tazz said he'd shut his mouth and behave. Styles said it was ECW that gave Rey his start in the United States, which isn't true since Styles is ignoring the "When World's Collide" PPV and all of Mysterio's exposure on Galavision in the United States. But in spirit he's right in that it was the first promotion with "traditional American style wrestling" that integrated Mysterio into the mix. "ECW is thrilled to be sharing equal billing with WWE tonight," said Styles. He also added what an honor it was to work alongside Jim Ross for the first time, "for whatever that's worth." Nothing like giving ECW that "edge" by having the announcer who quit and ripped on the WWE product and its fans just a few weeks ago return to TV without explanation and say it's an honor for his brand to work alongside with WWE. Vince McMahon never can stick to his guns on this interpromotional stuff. It gets so convoluted and contradictory because he's gun-shy to go all the way with it with consistency. Logistics and short-term thinking get in the way of making it believable. Maybe one way is better than the other, or maybe both approaches would work (ECW hates WWE or ECW is a proud WWE-brand), but mixing the two is just confusing. All four announcers were part of commentary, so in essence it was a four-man announce team. Rey and RVD shook hands after an early athletic exchange. Tazz went after Lawler early for his anti-ECW bias. Lawler said regarding the ECW fans: "I'm sure they had to check with their perole officer to see if they could come here." Tazz responded: "I'm begging you not to use that worn out tired-ass joke again." Lawler told him to keep begging. This could be a double-Quotebook week. Styles called the moves by name, then bragged about not being a sports entertainment commentator. "I'm going to actually call the moves and analyze them," he said. Ross has to love the implication of that comment. At 2:00 they fought at ringside. RVD slipped on the security railing, then went for a guillotine legdrop on Rey. Rey moved and RVD landed in the crowd. Rey then dove off the top rope onto RVD at ringside. They cut to a break.
[Commercial Break: A commercial aired for ECW on Sci Fi. It focused on barbed wire as the backdrop. "Driven to the brink of oblivion," said the voiceover. "They have waited and watched. Now the time has come for the world to bow to their newfound power. A new breed unleashed. ECW comes to Sci Fi. Premieres Tuesday at 10 on Sci Fi." Pretty generic, but adequately slickly produced.]
RVD hit Rey with a sidekick off the top rope, knocking Rey back to ringside. RVD followed with a sling-shot guillotine legdrop. Tazz and Lawler argued about whether RVD was happy to be part of ECW. Styles said RVD was held back because of his ECW history. At 8:00 RVD grabbed a chair from ringside. Lawler called it "vintage ECW." Tazz responded, "You never used a chair on a guy in your illustrious career?" (with a snide tone). RVD basement dropkicked the chair into Rey in the corner. Tazz asked what happens when RVD does that to Cena. That sounds like something Vince McMahon on headsets backstage told Tazz to say. Rey came back by bulldogging RVD onto a chair in mid-ring for a two count at 9:00. Styles said ECW was all about their passion to satisfy their cult-like fans. RVD moved when Rey went for a Drop the Dime. RVD hit the Five-Star frog-splash on Rey a minute later. Styles counted aloud the three count. They cut to the ECW crew celebrating. Rey held RVD's arm in the air afterward. Styles said you don't see that kind of sportsmanship in WWE. When Styles told Lawler what the names of RVD's finisher is during the replay, Lawler said he's called it many times.
WINNER: RVD in 10:00.
STAR RATING: **
-They showed a replay of Randy Orton blind-siding Angle on Raw two nights earlier. Then they showed Angle live headed to the entrance tunnel.
[Commercial Break: It included another commercial for ECW on Sci Fi. "The rumors are true. There is something going on. The time has come for a new breed unleashed. ECW premieres live Tuesday at 10 on Sci Fi." So they're going with "A New Breed Unleashed" as their catch phrase.]
-Angle was introduced by Lilian Garcia (who is back already after being knocked off the ring apron on Monday). Angle said he isn't upset with Orton because two months ago he snapped Orton's ankle in two. He said he loved every second of it and it was his favorite ankle break of all time. Angle said on Sunday, Orton wouldn't face a WWE superstar or Olympic great Angle, but for the first time ever an ECW Kurt Angle. "And an ECW Kurt Angle doesn't take any sh..." said Angle at which point Orton's music interrupted. Orton stepped onto the stage. "Is that supposed to scare me or something, Kurt? ECW's Kurt Angle?" said Orton. "To tell you the truth, I feel sorry for you, man. You went from headlining WrestleMania to ECW. It's the equivalent of starring in a summer blockbuster and then going to hardcore porn. Granted, I'm sure a lot of you ECW fans love your hardcore porn, and you should because it's probably as close as you'll come to having sex." The crowd cheered, then booed. Orton said he knows what it's like to get drafted, because he was drafted to Smackdown last year. He said a year later, his contract has expired, and now he'll be facing Angle. Orton said he'll be facing Monday Night War's Randy Orton, revealing that he is returning to Raw, not Smackdown. Angle said Orton doesn't undercard what it means that he is ECW's Kurt Angle. He repeated the phrase, "A New Breed Unleashed." He said for the first time in his life he doesn't have to worry about offending corporate sponsors or even Vince McMahon. "All I have to concern myself with is kicking ass," he said. He vowed to break Orton's arms, legs, and a "broken freakin' neck." Orton interrupted him, calling him a "smug son of a bitch." He said he had to stay in rehab for two months, pondering how he'd pay him back. He said now is his chance. He said everything happens for a reason. Angle asked him, "What the hell are you talking about, Orton?" Orton said he's talking about destiny. He said he is going to use all of his pent up aggression to beat him within an inch of his life. Then all of the expectations of ECW will go down the tubes. "The success of ECW will fail," he said. Is that even possible for success to fail? "I am going to single-handedly kill the legend of ECW," said Orton. Tazz said Orton stands for everything ECW doesn't.
-Ross plugged Edge vs. Tommy Dreamer in a singles match later in an "extreme rules match." Lawler said that means anything goes. What it really means is it's a match Dreamer is capable of taking part in because he can't wrestle a traditional style match, but he can swing cookie sheets (which, despite what you may think, is not something just anyone can do).
-They showed two shots backstage, one of Mickey James and another of ECW's Jazz.
-They plugged upcoming ECW house show dates. "ECW: The Revolution Continues."
2 -- MICKEY JAMES vs. JAZZ -- Non-Title Match
Styles said Jazz has more matches against men than women. A fan held up a sign that read, "Lawler Must Die." Lawler said: "I hear they're going to drug test in ECW. They don't mind. Those guys over there will test any drug they can get their hands on." Tazz and Lawler continued to jaw back and forth. Lawler asked Tazz why he's so pro-ECW since last he checked he was a Smackdown announcer. Lawler said the last time he checked, Joey Styles was fired. Didn't he quit? Jazz got in a stretch of offense before Mickey finished her with an eye rake and an impaler DDT. Styles corrected Lawler that he didn't get fired, he quit Raw.
WINNER: James in 3:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Styles plugged Cena vs. Sabu, then a video aired on Sabu.
-A recap aired of John Cena being attacked by ECW wrestlers. Todd Grisham interviewed Cena backstage. Cena said history will be made on Sunday because for the first time ever the WWE Championship is on the line at an ECW PPV. Cena said this was the same title that had been worn by Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and Steve Austin could be gone and christened the ECW Championship if RVD wins on Sunday. He said every WWE fan will recognize Cena as the biggest goat in WWE history. "That's just a leeetle bit of pressure," he said. Then he added that the crowd will be full of ECW fans, not WWE fans. He said he will be in the middle of the single biggest riot scene in pro wrestling. He said he could whine about the deck being stacked against him or lose sleep, but instead he's going to fight like a man. He said he will make a statement beginning tonight against Sabu. He got super intense and shouted, "Sabu, I fear no one. I regret nothing. So you homicidal, suicidal, genocidal, dance recital, sheik off the week, understand you have now pissed off the wrong fire-breathing son of a bitch!"
-Lilian introduced Paul Heyman. He plugged that next Tuesday on Sci Fi, ECW returns to network TV with a live broadcast. He said it gets his heart pumping when he thinks of what a new breed of ECW will be released. He said it will be a whole lot more than they did in the past. Heyman then plugged the line-up for the ECW One Night Stand PPV with accompanying graphics. He said for those who aren't sold yet on the PPV, he introduced a video highlight reel of last year's first ECW One Night Stand PPV.
-They went back to the ECW locker room where Angle gave everyone a pep talk, telling them that they're the most intense group of people ever. He led a chant of "ECW, ECW." This type of locker room unity makes ECW feel more like a faction than a promotion. That can change as of next Tuesday, but right now it's exhibiting the same faults of the WCW vs. WWF storyline.
-Big Show told the Raw and Smackdown wrestlers that tonight they're all one big happy family under the WWE banner. He asked them if they were fired up and ready. They said they were.
-Styles said the battle royal was next.
3 -- 20 MAN ECW VS. WWE BATTLE ROYAL
Everyone from WWE got an abbreviated ring introduction: Mark Henry, Tatanka, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Carlito, Bobby Lashley, Edge, Randy Orton, Big Show, and Shelton Benjamin. It's interesting when they all stand in the ring next to each other because it breaks some impressions you have of who is taller than others, such as Hardy seeming to be taller than Lashley when one knock on Hardy within WWE is that he doesn't have the size for a big push. Finlay was smart. He kneeled down the whole time so you couldn't tell how much shorter he was than Big Show. The ECW wrestlers (Sandman, Nunzio, Tommy Dreamer, Al Snow, Justin Credible, Balls Mahoney, Steven Richards, Terry Funk, Kurt Angle) came out as one group. Tazz asked why they didn't get their own ring entrances. There are many reasons, including that most of them don't have their own WWE entrance theme. Styles said Nunzio's name is Little Guido. Henry and Hardy were the first eliminated. Hardy flew to Dayton and got dressed for that? Nunzio was the first ECW wrestler eliminated. It came down to Angle and Sandman vs. Edge, Orton, Show, Shelton, and Finlay.
Edge sat at ringside throughout the match. He gloated about ECW eliminations. He made his way to the announcers' table and laid in front of them. After Sandman was eliminated, Angle was left alone against the rest of the WWE wrestlers. He gave Show an Angle Slam. Finlay hit Angle from behind. Angle catapulted Finlay over the top rope to the floor. Then he belly-to-belly suplexed Edge out of the ring as soon as he entered. Orton then eliminated Angle from behind, giving Team WWE the apparent win. But then Show ripped off his Raw t-shirt and revealed an ECW t-shirt. He then chokeslammed Orton and threw him over the top rope. Show pounded his chest and the announcers said that gave Team ECW the win. After the match, Angle jumped into Show's arms to celebrate. Lawler called Show a traitor and accused him of drinking Paul Heyman's Kool-Aid.
WINNER: Team ECW.
-They went backstage where the ECW crew celebrated with Big Show.
4 -- EDGE (w/Lita and Mick Foley) vs. TOMMY DREAMER (w/Terry Funk) -- Anything Goes "ECW Rules" match
Before the match, Edge said Foley is hardcore. Edge said he had a surprise for him. Then a video aired from ECW TV in 1995 of a Cactus Jack promo. He said: "The Hardcore Life is a lie. These letters behind me are a blatant lie. Those fans sit there and chant 'he's hardcore, he's hardcore.' I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, you selfish son of a bitch." It was a reference to Foley's past where he rejected ECW and Hardcore, but there wasn't enough context to really have much impact. It more or less made the current angle feel like an 11 year rerun, actually. Dreamer brought a barbed wire baseball bat to the ring and backed Edge down right away at ringside. Lawler asked what the "W" stands for in ECW. Lita grabbed Dreamer's leg from ringside, giving Edge a chance to make a comeback. Tazz explained that ECW wasn't just about blood and guts. He talked about the great luchador styles, shoot styles, and great wrestling. Lawler pointed out that Tazz's choke is illegal in wrestling. Tazz said he'd find out about it on Sunday. Styles said: "It was ECW who brought the late Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio to television in the U.S. because at the time WWE didn't want them because they wanted six-foot-five stiffs like Lex Luger and the Ultimate Warrior." Tazz said back in the day, ECW was the land of the misfit toys. He said they were proud of that. Lawler said the new ECW better be new because the old ECW sucked. Tazz said his career was self-serving and all he cared about was himself. Ross told everyone to calm down. Styles yelled that he settled down for six months on Raw and he doesn't want to anymore. Ross said there's a match going on in the ring. Dreamer and Edge used a trash can against each other. When Dreamer stood on Edge's crotch upside down. Styles said he was standing on his nads, then he asked if he could use that word on USA. He said Ross is a cartoon with that cowboy hat telling him what to say. Tazz asked Ross if he was their principle. Styles said Ross doesn't like sports entertainment, either, and he's been verbal about it, which is why he was fired seven times. Styles said: "Sports Entertainment is the leprechaun WWE stuck Finlay with on Friday nights." Lawler asked him what he was talking about. Styles said, "Don't you watch Smackdown? I beg you to watch the product." Ross said everyone was having a personal anxiety attack. Tazz told Ross to go write a book about his BBQ sauce. Dreamer basement dropkicked a chair into Edge in the corner. Lita hit Dreamer with a cane on the back. Dreamer slammed Edge through a table. Lita hit Dreamer several more times with a cane. Dreamer grabbed the cane from her and lifted her for a powerbomb. Edge speared Dreamer, then Lita and Edge landed on Dreamer and scored the pin. Funk and Foley had a brawl at ringside after the match. Funk punched Foley's eye repeatedly, and Foley bled.
WINNER: Edge in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *3/4
-They actually aired a "See No Evil" promotional segment here, the same one that aired before on Raw and Smackdown.
-A promo aired for Raw next week with the main hook being whether Cena would still have the title after Sunday's PPV. No, actually, that wasn't mentioned. The promo was focused on the ramifications of Triple H attacking Vince McMahon.
-They went back live to the arena with a bloody Mick Foley rocking in the ring on a folding chair. He told the fans they had no right to call him a sellout. He said he loved ECW. He said ECW wouldn't love him back. He said he is like the girl who he can't let go of, but makes him sick upon seeing her. "She wanted too much of my blood, too much of my heart, too much of my life. So I left and I found fame and fortune in WWE. And Paul Heyman was right. There's only one real difference between me and Tommy Dreamer. I'm a whore and he's not. You see, about seven years ago, I pulled a sock out of my pants and made Vince McMahon laugh and the doors of opportunity opened wide for Mick Foley. But not for Tommy Dreamer. All he's got is his heart, his pride, and the initials ECW (and a front office gig at WWE headquarters, but let's not mention that)." He said maybe his match against Edge at WrestleMania wasn't quite as good as he thought. He said maybe he and Edge will have to be sicker than ever when they walked into the Hammerstein Ballroom and wrestle in front of 2,500 sick and twisted fans screaming for their blood. He said Dreamer will beat them up all over New York City and bludgeon them. He said Terry Funk is the greatest wrestler he ever saw. "When you look at Terry Funk, and you see an old man, you're not seeing the real Terry Funk." He said his slaps hurt more than most men's punches. He said he wakes up every day hoping for one last match. He said he blew him up in Japan and he came back and hugged him. "I set him on fire in Philadelphia and he put his arm around me," he said. "He doesn't put his arm around me anymore. I don't want your arm around me, Terry Funk." He said the only difference between he and Dreamer is he had the guts to go to WWE. He said he and Edge are prepared to take the beatings of their lives "and I will do that exorcise the sick, twisted whore that is ECW. I want her out of my life." He talked about being thrown off cells, thrown on thumb tacks, and crashed through burning tables, but it's nothing compared to what he has in store for Dreamer and Funk at the ECW PPV. He said he's going to rip out their hearts and shoved it down their throats in retaliation for making him fall in love with her. He said when he walks into that Hammerstein Ballroom as a WWE legend, Dreamer and Funk "will learn about loss. Have a nice day."
-Ross said he truly believes this Sunday, it could be the last match of one of those four, if not all four. Tazz the interrupted Lawler and said it will be his last match. "I've got more wrestling ability in one of my farts than you've got in your entire body," said Lawler. Tazz challenged him to show him. Lawler stood up. Tazz then threw his headset down and took off his jacket. Tazz punched Lawler to the floor. Lawler threw a punch back at Lawler. They rolled onto the announcers' table and swung wildly at each other. Referees and agents separated them. They did a solid job of making it seem unscripted.
-Order had been restored as Tazz and Lawler were back in their positions. Tazz and Lawler exchanged a few more words. Then Ross moved swiftly into a preview of the PPV main event between Cena and RVD.
5 -- JOHN CENA vs. SABU - Non-Title Match
Tazz put Sabu over as the toughest wrestler he's ever faced. Cena and Sabu exchanged punches. Sabu went down first. Tazz said: "Lawler, you're sitting there complaining. In your whole career, the biggest thing you did in there was put on a headlock. Relax. Our generation, Sabu's generation, was completely different than yours." Tazz said he just punched Lawler's plastic jaw from plastic surgery. Lawler said he's been hit harder by girls. Tazz said, "I'm sure you have. Seniors in high school." Cena just punched and punched and punched Sabu for the first several minutes of the match. Sabu came back with a low kick, then threw Cena to the floor. Sabu flipped onto Cena on the floor. An "ECW, ECW" chant broke out. Sabu threw a chair at Cena. Sabu did his triple jump moonsault off the chair and top rope for a two count on Cena at 4:00. Sabu hit an Arabian facebuster and then beat up Cena at ringside. Lawler jousted with Tazz and Styles over why ECW went out of business. Ross said this is a night they'll never forget on USA Network. Cena caught Sabu in mid-air and slipped into an FU. He followed with an STFU. Big Show charged into the ring and clobbered Cena from behind prompting the DQ. Everyone ran to the ring and got in a big brawl to end the show. Ross said the carnage there is only the beginning of what they expect to see Sunday. Styles closed by saying, "WWE opened the gates to their own hell when they relaunched ECW."
WINNER: Cena via DQ in 7:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- Acceptable match, although Cena relied way too heavily on just punching Sabu.
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