Make no mistake; this show was financed by Vincent Kennedy McMahon and is not an ECW original production. And yes, I know I don’t have to type Vince’s full name so often. I just think it sounds way more powerful that way, so deal with it. I was going to say financed and run by Vincent Kennedy McMahon, but I don’t know that to be true. I don’t know who was behind any of the creative decisions made for this pay-per-view, whether it was Vince or Paul Heyman, which is the obviously much more likely scenario. I won’t pretend to have any insight into the behind the scenes of this night. All I know is it is one of my favorite wrestling pay-per-views of all time.
It began with Paul Heyman coming out to address all those who have worshipped at his altar for years. Heyman always knew how to get his fan riled up, and the opening of One Night Stand was a masterful display of that ability. The first match was the ECW familiar Tazz vs. WWE stalwart Jerry The King Lawler. The King was manipulating fans like the ones at ECW One Night Stand 2006 back before I was even a late night mistake my parents made. He was the guy they chose back in the 1990’s when Vincent Kennedy McMahon (last time) and Paul Heyman decided ECW and WWE should do business together. Google it. Jerry Lawler invades ECW. He had the crowd in the palm of his hands, the whole time. All it took was for Tazz to lock Lawler in the Tazz-mission. Game over. ECW fans exploded, psyched to see The King get some truly Royal treatment.
Next was Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton. This was an easily workable, if not a little scary scenario for all the WWE wrestlers. The theme going into this was ECW vs. WWE. It got to the point where, as per storyline, WWE guys would jump ship to run with Heyman. Kurt Angle was one of the guys. Randy Orton, already an arrogant heel, looked like he was having a blast messing with the ECW fans. The two put on a solid, mostly mat-based match that was a pleasure to watch. It genuinely was. I only just watched this in full for the first time earlier today. I didn’t know what to expect out of Orton versus Angle, whether they’d work well together or not, but their styles meshed into one. It gave the event its first actual match of the night.
The tag match was up next, The Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido Maritato and Tony Mamaluke) vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy. The most I can tell you to give you an idea of this match is that these four men saw their careers elevated after working this feud years ago. It seemed to fit back on like an old glove. Is that a saying? Fit like an old glove? I feel like it isn’t. I should look it up. Either way, point is, these four men knew how to work a match together and it showed.
After that was the first match I have ever seen come down to a no-contest.
Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu for The World Heavyweight Championship. This was a dream match for any wrestling fan of the time. As someone who grew up watching WWE and WCW in the 1990’s, and ECW whenever my mom wasn’t around, I can tell you that Rey Mysterio and Sabu are two names I have known for as long as I can remember. They were finally together and what do they do? They blow my mind is what they do.
Real quick. This is the first time I have ever had an avenue to address this problem I have with the YouTube culture. STOP PUTTING SH—Y ALT-ROCK OVER SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS! DAMMIT! I HATE IT! I F—ING HATE IT!
[editor’s note – alternative rock is used to disguise the audio of video files so that they are not taken down by YouTube administrators for copying officially licensed content.]
Anyway, if you have more time, watch the whole match. It’s definitely worth it. I included the highlights so that anyone reading can see the insane spot that Sabu and Rey pull off. I can’t even describe it properly. They either genuinely had to end the match after the spot because they valued safety first, or it was done to sell the viciousness of the spot. Whatever the case may be, it was fantastic work by everyone involved.
Stepping up on stage next, with the unenviable task of following Rey and Sabu, were four men and two women who weren’t sweating the pressure at all. It was an Extreme Rules Intergender Six-Person Tag Team Match. On one team were ECW favorites Tommy Dreamer, Terry Funk, and Beulah McGillicutty. Across the apron on the other team was Edge, Mick Foley, and Lita. Mick Foley was aggravating ECW fans years before this pay-per-view with his Cane Dewey inspired character change. It was easy for him, and his mentioning of the Stephanie McMahon run ECW (during the days of the alliance) was hilarious. Long live the alliance indeed.
It was a brutal match that brought out every trick possible. Mick Foley had given Edge his blessing as the new hardcore superstar in the WWE, but now he had to prove himself to the ECW fans. He did more than that, catching more than his fair share of the beating. The scariest moment for me involved the barbed wire covered wooden plank that was getting thrown around the entire match. Foley took a bump off it and it shot up, just narrowly avoiding taking Edge’s eye out. Oh, also, how about when the match ended with a sixty-plus year old man pinned down by barbed wire and screaming for someone to cut him out? That was pretty cool. I turned into Chris Farley there for a second. Hmmm.
Finally, we come to the main event of the night. John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam for the WWE Championship. This match is why I want nothing more for John Cena than for him to be allowed to work as a heel. Everyone flying the WWE flag went into ECW One Night Stand 2006 as a heel, but no one played it better than John Cena. He took every chant that the ECW fans could dish out and ate them right up. My favorite moment is when the fans chanted “same old shit,” at John Cena, only to have John Cena do something he had never done before, and hasn’t done again. For years, when John Cena comes into the ring, he takes off his shirt and hat and throws it into the audience. The ECW fans wanted no part and threw it right back. So Cena decides to mess with them and keeps throwing it back. It goes back and forth for minutes. I for one never got tired of it.
The match itself was phenomenal. My respect for John Cena is already well documented on here, and Rob Van Dam is a legend for a reason. If you are genuinely interested in wrestling, or even becoming interested in wrestling, you need to watch this pay-per-view. This is the best of what wrestling could be. This is interactive, this is crazy, this is bloody, this is extreme; this is ECW.