Philadelphia, Pa. at the National Guard Armory
Report by Dot Net reader Gene Novak
As I write this preface we’re just hours away from the third Extreme Rising(Reunion) show and their second event at the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two months ago, I went to this brand’s first show and it left a bad taste in my mouth. The show suffered from various audio problems, booking issues, and long delays. A lot of fans chanted for refunds, and heckled Shane Douglas mercilessly. I wrote a report for this website in which I stated I wouldn’t be attending their next event. However, since then Shane Douglas has done some very good damage control and has assured the fans that the issues that plagued the last show would be rectified this time around. I decided to give them another chance.
I truly believe that the business is stagnant and in dire need of change and that change won’t come from WWE or TNA. I’ve listened to Shane Douglas in interviews and I tend to agree with him far more often than not, so I’m hoping he’ll prove a lot of his critics wrong. After the last show though, there are a lot of questions I have going in to tonight. Two months ago, EW drew in over 2,000 people with over 500 turned away…how many of those fans will show up tonight? Will the technical issues be rectified? Will all the talent show? Will Shane put on a hell of a show? Will Matt Hardy see a ghost and flee the ring during his match tonight? All of these questions will be answered in a few short hours. In any case, I expect the show to be phenomenally better than the show two months ago. From what I’ve read the show in New York was pretty good. However, I’m curious how the show is going to go, and how Shane will be treated, with the crowd that came to Extreme Reunion.
I arrived at the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia at around 6:15 p.m. The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was still decent but not nearly big as much as last time. I considered it disappointing but I forgot that anyone who purchased tickets up to a week ago was given the option to attend a free Q and A with Shane, Sabu and Saturn, so these were the last minute buyers. Unfortunately, I bought my tickets late this time around and missed the deadline. The first thing I noticed was a lack of any Extreme Reunion shirts and a decent amount of younger children in the crowd. One kid was wearing a Cena shirt, but surprisingly some ECW shirts in the mix. In any case I decided to talk to some of the fans to see what their thoughts were of tonight’s event and Extreme Reunion. The first thing I noticed was that the fans in front of me and the fans behind me both missed out on the last ER event. Both sides of fans didn’t even seem to know much about what happened last time around. These were fans that were turned away last time. One guy who stood out was a bald guy in a CZW shirt who kept trying to get an ECW chant going. He seemed angry while doing it and was turning red.
Once inside I noticed some changes to the Armory. The first thing was that one side of the bleachers (where the camera was located) was folded up, so the Armory’s size was cut down quite a bit from last time. The LCD TV that was mounted above the entrance was also missing. Merchandise tables were setup and the usual players were there.
In any case, I started to talk to a few more fans in front of me who were at the last show and at one point they said that they thought the Shane/Scorpio match from last time sucked while they were here, but later on they watched it and it was pretty good. I remember being at the event and I thought it was good as well but people were so jaded by this point Shane couldn’t turn them. Another fan I talked to while getting in line for some water was also at the last show and we were discussing the event. We both thought it was weak but we both wanted this show to succeed. His view was anybody but WWE. Mine was anybody but TNA. Two people brought together by blind hate for companies. The one fan from outside wearing the CZW t-shirt was trying to get another ECW chant going. The guy I was talking to said he’s been trying to get that going since before I got there and people have complained to him about wearing a CZW shirt.
The show started around 7:20 or so with a performance by Eat The Turnbuckle, some death metal band in Lucha gear. They freaking sucked! I thought I heard them say they were going to play for free for the next hour. Holy crap! I thought Shane was going to turn this crowd early. While playing their awful music they proceeded to beat on each other including one band member using a fork on another member. At one point one of the band members jumped off the van through a table. During this segment fans chanted, "You Suck Balls", "You Suck Dick", and "Shut the F--- Up!" One fan yelled "Shane Don’t Bring Them Back!" Eventually the segment ended in around 15 to 20 minutes. One fan asked me if it was as bad as the Raven/Sandman debacle from last time, I compared it more to the armbar fest that was Snow/CW Anderson.
The ECW music kicked in and people were pumped. The ring announcer came out (Bob Artese I think) and started the show. Last time around people booed him a bit but not this time. He announced a guy from CZW. I couldn’t catch the name and I don’t watch CZW. The fans hate this guy though. Last time around he tried promoting this show this time he couldn’t even get that far. People rode him hard and he just ended up arguing with some guys in the crowd. Joel Gertner came out next. Gertner looks pretty good and was wearing his trademark neck brace bow tie. He did his stick and left the ring.
1. Perry Saturn defeated The Greek God. The Greek God came out doing a vaguely homo-erotic type of heel gimmick. Fans chanted "f-----" to which the Greek God made the ring announcer announce that he wasn’t gay. Funny stuff! Saturn came out and was super over with the crowd. He was wearing street clothes and looked pretty good. Saturn passed by my section and a little kid tripped or got bumped by someone but Saturn picked him up quick. Saturn acted goofy as hell diving over the rail into the crowd and such. People were really happy to see him and he got some chants of "We Want Moppy!" and "Saturn’s Gonna Kill You."
Saturn stalled quite a bit playing to the crowd. The match wasn’t much until Raven’s overly muscular Flock member from the last show came out to help the Greek God attack Perry. Pitbull 1 then came out and helped Saturn. Saturn hit a sweep on Greek God and pinned him with a roll up. Short but sweet! Despite ECW fans ripping into Douglas last show(for working at Target) and Credible (for working at Olive Garden) nobody ripped on Saturn for being homeless for two years. I don’t know if it’s just taboo to them or that people were just happy to see Saturn turn his life around.
2. The FBI defeated Los Dramaticos. A possible candidate for match of the night. The FBI is usually used in comedy segments but they can bring their game when given the chance. These two teams worked very well together and had quite a few "Holy Shit" moments. The F.B.I. eventually won when the one Guido tripped the Dramatico causing Marmaluke to get a quick pin. The Dramaticos are over with the crowd and are a really nice addition to Extreme Rising. One thing I noticed during this match, and it was consistent throughout the show was Shane Douglas was standing off the side near the arena watching everything and taking notes. He was cheering, dancing occasionally, and gauging feedback. I feel this was a great way for him to run the show. So far the flow of the show has been much better than last time. The show has been good and the downtime has been minimal.
3. Balls Mahoney defeated CW Anderson. As soon as I saw CW I yelled out no more armbars, to which a fan next to me said that’s not possible. Mahoney came out with Blue Meanie of all people. Fans chanted "Blue Balls." Funny! People were singing along to Ball’s song and at one point it got cut off. People booed and it was resumed. Meanie has grey with blue hair. During the match CW Anderson was at one point out of the ring with Balls and Meanie doing punches with fans switching between "Blue" and "Balls."
C.W. got the advantage and then Sandman’s music hit. Sandman hit the ring quick and canned C.W., who left the ring. Sandman celebrated to Ball’s music. Some fans were called in to have a beer including a wet t-shirt spot. Enter Sandman played for awhile and people were all around happy with the segment. Some people complained last time to Sandman not wrestling, personally I feel this is the best way to use him. So far Shane has done a good job of protecting the originals who can’t go much and using them the best way possible. I noticed a fan holding up a sign to a porn site in our direction. I can’t understand the point. We weren’t in the direction of the camera and there wasn’t a ton of people there. I saw Stevie peaking out behind the currents during this segment.
Shane came to the ring next for an in-ring promo. He appears to have dropped some weight. During his entrance I saw a very young kid wearing a Triple Threat shirt hold up the sign of the Triple Threat. Shane cut a promo but I couldn’t make it out that well. Mostly ripping on WWE, TNA, Hogan, and Flair. Fans were pretty receptive to him and no one booed him. Plenty of "Thank You Shane" chants which was a nice change from "F--- You Shane" at the last show. Shane talked about the history of Lucha Libre in ECW and introduced Bestia 666 vs. Pesadilla.
4. Bestia 666 defeated Pesadilla in a best of three falls match. There was some barbwire chairs and a table added. This was probably the best match of the night. These guys both put on a hell of a match with lots of "Holy Shit" moments. At one point, I believe Pesadilla, did a flip suplex from the apron to the outside of the ring through a table. In the end Bestia 666 beat Pesadilla with a senton through a table on the outside. Chants of "This is Wrestling" during the match. Both guys got a standing ovation. After this match we went to break. During the break I saw Shane signing autographs over at a table with a decent turnout.
5. Stevie Richards beat Luke Hawx. This was a classic wrestling match with a couple nice spots. In the end, Luke came off the top rope with a chair and Stevie caught him with the Steviekick for the pin. Luke Hawx then attacked Stevie from behind and hit a Blockbuster on him. Hawx chewed out Douglas on the microphone before leaving.
6. Sabu defeated Devon Storm. Sabu got a lot of love from the crowd but both men put on a good match. Sabu has his hair back. Lots of spots with Sabu eventually putting Devon Storm away with an Arabian Face Buster. Both men got cheered, shook hands, and hugged. Devon Storm then attacked Sabu from behind. This proceeded with chants of "You Suck Dick" to which Devon Storm simulated doing so. Funny!
7. The Gangstas defeated BLK Out. New Jack came out throwing weapons into the ring all over the place some landed by the crowd. New Jack and Mustafa massacred BLK Out. Pure squash match and the music stayed on the whole time. The Gangstas work well together and it doesn’t expose either one since they’re both older now. BLK Out was pretty good. Strange to seem them beaten so decisively. Mustafa hit the powerslam and New Jack hit his chair elbow off the top rope. After the match, New Jack cut a promo talked about the new ECW. The match and promo went over well with the crowd.
For the final match of the night Reby Sky was introduced to the crowd as the new Queen of Extreme. She was booed heavily. She tried talking but during the entire time people were drowning her out with show your tits. She was definitely hot but too much diva for an ECW crowd. She introduced the next match which was Matt Hardy vs. Homicide vs. Jerry Lynn. I don’t understand why she announced the next match considering she was Hardy’s valet. She introduced the new F’N show and then I saw her look down at the cards to see Jerry Lynn’s name before she announced him. Hardy came out the old Hardy Boys music.
7. Homicide defeated Jerry Lynn and Matt Hardy (w/Reby Sky) in a three-way match. The match was good and had some nice spots. Hardy doesn’t look bad in this promotion and might have some staying power. Homicide is also another very nice addition to the roster. During one point in the match Sky tried covering Matt so Homicide wouldn’t hit him with a chair to which almost everyone in the building cheered "Hit Her!" Only in ECW! Homicide set her up for the Cop Killer/Gringo Killer and was stopped by Lynn before he could hit it. In the end Homicide managed to hit the Twist of Fate/Diamond Cutter on Hardy while he was attending to Sky and pin him. A good match.
People started to leave. Unfortunately for them the segment wasn’t over. Lynn and Hardy attacked Homicide got him on a table outside the ring and Sky jumped off the top rope and put Homicide through the table. People started chanting "She’s Hardcore." Sky and Hardy celebrated in the ring while people left.
On the way out the Blue Meanie was in the lobby signing autographs. I shook his hand and asked him if he was going to parody anyone new. He said he’d like to. I can see Meanie Cena getting over with the crowd! I’d also love to see the reaction if Cena’s music played over the speakers. Meanie gave me his card to follow him on Twitter. Nice guy!
After this, I left the Armory. Unlike last time, I enjoyed the show and plan to attend the next one (if I’m able to). Shane did a lot of things right this time around and I think he can eventually be a player if he keeps it up. Shane took the best elements of ECW and mixed it with a new breed who would fit well into the old ECW during its peak years. The originals were not overexposed and were used to their strengths well. The pacing of this show felt much better than the last show as well. With the exception of that awful band everything here was an improvement and this is the show I wished they presented two months ago. Unfortunately, the crowd was smaller this time around but I’m hoping people catch the show and give these guys another chance. Shane made more progress in his second show than I’ve see TNA make in years!
6/30 Extreme Rising results: Matt Hardy vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Homicide, Sabu vs. Devon Storm, Balls Mahoney vs. C.W. Anderson, correspondent who was highly critical of the first event gives the return show a chance
Jul 1, 2012 - 12:10 PM
Jul 1, 2012 - 12:10 PM
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