Back if only for a moment…..
I drove in front of that square building on the corner of Swanson and Rittner in Philadelphia. And the smile returned to my face, the chill ran up the back of my spine. I was back. Back at what is now called the The New Alhambra Sports & Entertainment Center . But we all know better, don’t we. The building may be torn down one day and a Baby Gap put in it’s place, but it will always be the ECW Arena.
I will not try to big league myself and tell you that I was a regular there. I was good for three or four trips per year to the place in my heyday. I could say what I saw, but plenty of people saw the same stuff.
ECW filled me with joy, week in and week out. When I heard that the WWE’s version of ECW would be at the Hammerstein, and that Hardcore Homecoming would be at the Arena in Philly. I knew which one I would be attending.
The mood was right. Me and my buddy Michael ate sandwiches at Tony Lukes. We waited in line with the other fans, sweated to death in the hot sun, bullshitted rumors and stories with the people in line. Stared at the hot chicks (dare I say ring rats) standing in line with us. And cheered as a few of our heroes showed up in the hot sun to say hello.
Kronus was there, much shorter than I had remembered him. Axl showed up, hardcore as always, but in a great mood. And finally New Jack showed up, to the utter delight of the crowd, as someone played Natural Born Killaz.
We got into the building pretty much on time, and without too much hassle, which is definately not ECW-like. The building was hot as hell. I had to stop chanting ECW once or twice, because I started to get a headache from the heat. (The five beers before the show might’ve helped with that).
The crowd was absolutely amped up. Ring announcer Bob Artese got a standing ovation, that’s how happy everyone was. Not to mention, Todd Gordon, Joey Styles, Cyrus, Joel Gertner, and all of the referees. I forgot how loud that place gets. The E-C-W chant is probably still echoing off the walls.
The card itself was enjoyable. A good wrestling show? Not as such, but I didn’t go for a good wrestling show. I went to remember. I went to be in that building one more time, with the wrestlers that I love watching.
Thoughts on the matches:
– Simon Diamond & CW Anderson vs Mikey Whipreck & Chris Chetti
Decent for what it was. Everyone hit their finishers. And it was good to see them.
– The Blue Meanie vs Tracy Smothers w/ JT Smith
Of all of the members of the FBI to get a match, Smothers gets the nod? I just wish they had let JT Smith sing.
– Tribute to the deceased ECW Wrestlers
Very moving in the audience. The Candido chant was absoutely off the chart.
– Entrance of Pit Bull 1, Johnny Grunge, and Tammy Lynn Sytch
I was surprised to see Tammy. She seemed very moved by the night. She has indeed gained a lot of weight. But also was very surprised to hear a “show your tits” chant. She was sweet
– Pit Bull & Johnny Grunge vs Roadkill and Danny Doring
It was okay. Johnny is VERY out of shape. 911 made the save to the delight of the crowd, even though they didn’t hit the music quite right.
– 2 Cold Scorpio vs Kid Kash
Great to see both of these guys back in the ring. Scorpio’s body is just all dis-proportionate anymore. But decent enough contest.
– Bad Breed (Ian & Axl Rotten) vs John Kronus & New Jack
I just love hearing the song, Natural Born Killaz. And to see the entire place with their arms raised in the air. New Jack moves like my grandfather, though. Don’t look for the WWE to hire him any time soon.
– Jerry Lynn vs Justin Credible w/ Jason Knight
Best match of the night. Justin is still young enough to move as he did back in ECW, and Jerry is just an amazing machine. The man is 42 years old, and still hoped around the ring like it was 6 years ago. Fun match too. Jazz showed up at the end for a good pop.
– Raven w/ The Musketeer & The Blue Meanie vs The Sandman
I love Raven, and maybe he was playing the gimmick, but he seemed bored to be there. However, I was having dreams in my sleep about seeing the Sandman’s entrance one more time in the ECW arena, and I was not disappointed.
– Terry Funk w/ Tammy Lynn vs Shane Douglas w/ Francine vs Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso – barbed wire match.
I liked that they went this way for a match, but I don’t want to see a man in his 40s, a man in his 60s, and a man who just had a tribute event to raise money for his medical bills play with barbed wire. That’s just me. Shane Douglas was puking in the ring, it was so hot. Mick Foley popped the crowd huge. I never expected it. And I have no idea how he got to the ring. When Funk went up on the ladder, the entire building told him to get off of it. We thought he was too old/concussed/much loss of blood, and didn’t know. Everyone came out of the backstage area to watch this one.
Standing ovations and hugs following the match, with a big “Thank You Shane” and “Please Come Back” chants.
It was great. Get the DVD when it comes out.
One last ECW weekend.
Time to Experience the Revolution