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DVD Review: ECW One Night Stand

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It's all about the crowd. Simply put, if you're watching an ECW event and the crowd doesn't begin a vulgar chant every few minutes, it's a blatant rip-off. Everything about ECW's charm comes from the crowd, and the entertainment value comes from its roster of insane pro wrestlers. Inside the Hammerstein Ballroom, the true ECW arena, One Night Stand 2006 was a wild night, and the DVD is absolutely worth it.

For a second year in a row, there is far too much WWE cross over here. Non-ECW wrestlers like John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and Edge have little business being in the ring. However, they all do their part, and as it ends up, there's not a bad match on the card aside from the opening squash between Jerry Lawler and Tazz.

As usual, it's not the main event that takes the award for best match. It's a six-way tag team melee between Tommy Dreamer, Terry Funk, Edge, Mick Foley, Beulah, and Lita. Barbed wire, fire, tables, chairs, ladders, razor wire, and numerous pints of blood later, this match finally comes to a stunningly gory finish.

Rey Mysterio battles Sabu in a superb spot fest that sadly ends on a sour note. Randy Orton and Kurt Angle spar in a classic technical match, and the crowd went all out on this one. "Orton swallows" is an unforgettable chant you'll only hear at an ECW event.

The main event between Rob Van Dam and John Cena wasn't a bad match, but it's mostly memorable for the over-the-top reaction given to Cena by an unwelcoming audience. Not only did they toss his otherwise "headed to eBay" shirt back after he gave it to them, they litter the ring with toilet paper, threaten to riot if he won, and ridiculed his style with a chant of "same old shit" multiple times. Nothing Cena did elicited a cheer.

That was a wild way to finish the night after seven unforgettable matches. It's a shame this same intensity and heart failed to carry over when ECW debuted on the Sci-Fi Channel a few nights later. This is a classic event.

As is the norm, compression artifacts ruin most of the video. The crowd is hard to make out against the thousands of little blocks that fail to hide the obvious problem. To be fair, it's almost impossible to keep them hidden in an area of small details, but there's been no improvement since the company's first DVD effort. Otherwise, close ups show fine detail and clarity.

The ECW audience comes alive in 5.1, and it's a massive step up from the lower budgeted efforts before the true ECW went bankrupt. The influx of cash from the WWE for the resurrection of the company truly comes into play here. The ring screams on a decent audio set up, adding to the impact and brutality. It's the perfect way to hear the event, aside from actually being there.

Extras on the actual One Night Stand disc are limited. There's an ECW vs. WWE Battle Royal from June 7th 2006 that's a throwaway, some post-show comments from fans, the beginning segment of the first ECW on Sci-Fi.

The true extra is ECW Barely Legal, the first PPV the company ever offered. Highlights here include another Terry Funk classic against Raven (purely for the blood), a Tazz vs. Sabu brawl, and a six-man tag match with some of Japans best that remains one of the greatest high flying matches in company history.

One only has to look to this DVD to figure out what went wrong with the revival of ECW. The current effort on Sci-Fi has featured very little violence, high spots, or original moves. Most importantly, the show is generally filmed in front of an audience too large to create the needed atmosphere. Without that, it's simply not ECW.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Ty

    Nice review. I too am beyond disappointed with ECW on Sci-Fi Channel.

    I was under the impression that Vince would let Paul Heyman have full creative control of ECW, and that Vince would merely cut checks and reap huge profits.

    Instead Vince has full creative control, Paul Heyman is present merely because of his link to ECW, and the ECW looks like, well, the WWECW.

    It’s not just the matches, or the wrestlers used. You may have heard that Vince has had long talks with Joey Styles about his play-by-play style. Styles calls like a sporting event, when Vince wants it to be much more story. Styles is pretty ticked off about it, but seems to be complying. If you watch ECW now, you see that Styles doesn’t get to show off his impressive knowledge of moves and ECW history, but has to “call” matches in this stupid Vince-approved story form.

    All of this is funny because Vince brought back ECW because of the PPV buy rates and how well the ECW DVD’s he put out were selling. He KNEW there was money to be made with the ORIGINAL ECW style. Instead he is trying to bring the mainstream WWE fan into ECW and f**king up ECW royally.

  • Big D

    I can not believe how much Vince has completely screwed this orginization up….i even read in a article about a comment made by Paul Heyman directed towards the negative remarks about the new ECW….”The thing that people got to understand is that ECW can survive without Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu, and Paul Heyman. If the don’t agree with the way things are then they will get left behind b/c ECW is moving forward.” I couldn’t believe it. But the only reason he would say that is b/c Vince is his boss now and he has no choice but to agree with what Vince does or he won’t have a job anymore. he feels the same way everyone else feels and that is Vince is screwing ECW over by turning it into absoute crap. The DQ’s, only one “Extreme Rules” match per show, the absolutely dead crowd….that’s not ECW. I saw an episode of TNA and they had Rhino up their talking about how ECW is dead and you can’t revive something that is already dead and i guess in Vince’s case, he was right. Vince McMahon doesn’t understand what made ECW so popular b/c he took all that was ECW and threw it out the window. He even said that the upcoming ECW PPV in December called “December to Dismember” wasn’t going to be held in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York b/c he didn’t like the way the crowd acts and their reactions in that arena. in my opinion, that’s bulls**t. i think he is afraid that if he makes ECW like it use to be, then ECW would beat out Raw and Smackdown as the top WWE brand show on TV b/c Raw is ok but Smackdown is nothing but a waste of time to watch on Friday nights and if the old ECW was brought back the way it was when Paul Heyman had control over it, then Vince’s shows, Raw and Smackdown, would not even compare to ECW. The “new” ECW is just another XFL idea if you ask me.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    And the sad thing it’s pulling down HUGE ratings every week. They’re even confident with putting RAW on Sci-Fi this week because the audience is so large for it.

    The biggest loss really is the crowd. The botched angles, DQ’s, and wasted WWE talent being shoved in there is nothing in comparison to the loss of the audience.

  • http://URL Tl

    I think the new ECW is a waste of time because if you look at it has turned into a little mini-me of Raw.Some of the tables look like fakes. Extreme Rules is like a Smackdown hardcore match one chairshot and it’s over.I’m not suprised all the old ECW people have not gone to the new ECW. Compare and contrast ECW now:One Catfight,Old ECW one year, dozens of Catfight. Joey Styles even says”I agree with changing ECW to what it is now”. I wasn’t around for the Old ECW but when the first One Night Stand came and the old ECW invaded Raw and WackDown I decided I wanted to learn more about it. I brouht 1st One Night Stand and looked at all the memoirs and the vinnents and smile a little while and then I think about the new ECW and I just frowned. Some times they don’t even have a Extreme Rules Match. ECW shoule be turned into ECB:Extremely Crappy Brand.