Thursday, 12 July 2007

Hardcore Homecoming - DVD Review

As anticipation towards the re-launch of Extreme Championship Wrestling continues, what better time to take a look back almost a year to the other ECW reunion show of 2005, Shane Douglas’ Hardcore Homecoming.

Disc one begins with an introduction from the voice of ECW, Joey Styles, as he runs down the three main event matches. We then hear from Terry Funk, in a segment that was also part of the Forever Hardcore documentary, where he gives his reasons for choosing Hardcore Homecoming over One Night Stand.

Moving on to the arena, ring announcer Bob Ortiz introduces former ECW co-owner Todd Gordon to the crowd. Todd is clearly very emotional as he addresses the crowd, and thanks them for making ECW what it is, before
we go back to Joey Styles, who tells us how long he’s been waiting for this reunion.

Back to the arena, Joey Styles and Don Callis come to the ring, and Styles looks very emotional as he delivers his trademark phrase, and is about to speak a little more until he is interrupted by the stud muffin himself, Joel Gertner, as he gives us one of his usual entertaining monologues as the crowd goes absolutely ballistic. Callis then takes the mic, and after first complimenting Gertner, ends up insulting him, which results in an impromptu cat fight between the two. A great segment to get things rolling here.

On to the first match, a tag-team affair as Simon Diamond and C.W. Anderson go up against Chris Chetti and Mikey Whipwreck. Anderson and Diamond spend a great deal of time doubling-up on Chetti, who actually hadn’t wrestled in four years, before he was able to get the hot tag to Whipwreck, who then took Diamond out with a whipper-snapper to get the win for his team in a good opening match.

We then hear words from the Blue Meanie, before we move on to our second match, as Tracey Smothers, accompanied by his fellow Italian J.T. Smith, takes on the Blue Meanie. After some great comedy spots involving referee John Finnigan, we get the obligatory dance off in which Smothers attacks the Meanie from behind, and then gets a little help from his fellow Italian. Meanie fights back briefly, but Smith clobbers him as he is about to for the Meanie-sault, with Smothers getting the pinfall victory.

Following the match, we get a brief video tribute of the ECW stars who have passed away, before Johnny Grunge, “Pitbull#1” Gary Wolfe, and Tammy Sytch come down to the ring. After Grunge and Sytch speak, Roadkill and Danny Doring come down to the ring, and after exchanging a few words, Doring and Roadkill attack Grunge and Wolfe, only for Sytch to go backstage and get 911, who proceeds to choke slam the two interlopers. Wolfe then helps Grunge put Roadkill through a table in another great segment.

More words from Kid Kash, who gives us a few memories from his time in the arena, before we go back to match action, as Kid Kash takes on 2 Cold Scorpio. Joey Styles described this as the sleeper match on the show, and while he may have been wrong in some respect, it was still a good bout, with some great wrestling in the ring, Kash diving off the stage onto Scorpio as he stood in the crowd, before they moved back into the ring and unleashed their impressive arsenals, which lead to Scorpio getting the win after a 450 splash.

Another video segment follows with Axl Rotten talking about the legacy of ECW, before we return to the arena as Axl and Ian Rotten take on John Kronus in a handicap match. The Rottens proceed to beat the hell out of Kronus, until the odds are evened up when New Jack arrives to help his old partner out. It then literally turns into a bloody brawl, with chains, scissors, and forks being used, and everyone bleeding for their art, and the end comes, although no pin was counted, when New Jack climbed a scaffold that had been brought down to ringside, jumped off, and put Ian Rotten through a table. He then grabs the mic and gives the sort of passionate speech that only he can, as disc one comes to an end.

On to disc two, we get a few words from Jerry Lynn, who tells us how he requested his opponent.

Then it’s straight back to the action, as Justin Credible, with his manager Jason, takes on Jerry Lynn, in Lynn’s first match back for nearly a year, having been out recovering from rotator cuff surgery. A great match that proves what a tremendous wrestler Lynn still is. These two threw everything they had at each other, with great wrestling throughout, and interference from Jason, who was eventually chased away by Jazz. Both men kicked out of the other’s finisher, before Lynn got the win with his variation of Credible’s finisher, a cradle tombstone piledriver.

Another great rivalry is then renewed, as Raven, with the Blue Meanie and the Musketeer, goes up against the Sandman, who makes his usual entrance through the crowd, and busts himself open with a beer can in the process. Before the match begins, Raven insults the crowd, and announces that the Sandman must face the Musketeer first. It doesn’t take long for the Sandman to deal with the Musketeer, before Raven gets into the action. It then turns into a great hardcore encounter, with Raven and Sandman beating the crap out of each other, some interference from the cronies, a surprise appearance from ECW jobber Don E. Allen, and a surprise move by Mikey Whipwreck as he comes to the ring, seemingly to help the Sandman, but turning on his friend by taking him down with a whipper-snapper, with Raven getting the pin moments later.

Terry Funk then comes to the ring, and reveals the three-way dance main event will now be a no rope barbed wire match, much to the delight of the fans. We then get a video package, previewing the main event.

Then it’s time for the big one, as Shane Douglas, who has reunited with Francine, Sabu, along with Bill Alfonso, and Terry Funk go at it in the no rope barbed wire match. The best word to describe this bout is brutal, as all three combatants knock seven sorts of you know what out of each other, as well as getting entangled in the metal several times, which caused the usual damage. After both of the referees got taken out, Mick Foley arrived on the scene, complete with referee’s shirt, and helped Funk take out Douglas, Funk scoring the pin with a roll-up. A few moments later, the ladder that Funk was climbing collapsed, and Sabu got the final victory after a chair-assisted Arabian face buster.

Disc two is where the extras are located, and there’s quite a lot of them, featuring commercials first shown on the internet, Shane Douglas meeting Francine for the first time in five years, interviews with the Queen of Extreme, post show interviews with the Blue Meanie and Axl Rotten, scenes from inside and outside the arena, and a post-show Q&A featuring Shane Douglas, Terry Funk, Francine, Tammy Sytch and Todd Gordon.

In conclusion - Hardcore Homecoming certainly compares favourably to it’s WWE counterpart. From an in-ring standpoint, not all of it was pretty, but the overall atmosphere of the event made up for that. Production-wise, this was certainly better than the other shows held in the ECW Arena, including those made for DVD by CZW and 3PW. Joey Styles again proved why he must be considered the best announcer in the business right now. So in all, Hardcore Homecoming is a just for the die-hard ECW fans out there.