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.