The year was 2005. John Cena wasn't yet totally hated by fans. Eric Bischoff was playing the evil figurehead general manager on Raw. And most importantly, ECW-mania was running wild, brother.
Sure, ECW had technically gone out of business four years earlier. But thanks to a kick-ass documentary DVD release by WWE (The Rise And Fall Of ECW), a companion book and of course the One Night Stand pay-per-view, everyone's favorite hardcore promotion was still very much alive.
WWE wasn't the only company to take advantage of the nostalgia factor. Shane Douglas, Jeremy Borash and Cody Michaels capitalized on the opportunity with a documentary and reunion show that coincided with WWE's offering.
Now.... I thought the documentary (Forever Hardcore) was phenomenal, especially given the fact that Borash couldn't use any actual ECW footage. And their show that took place the same weekend as One Night Stand (Hardcore Homecoming) was a lot of fun, too. Some would say their show outdid WWE's -- which is saying something.
And so, the company promoted a handful of other events, the final one being November Reign, which took place November 5, 2005 in the famed ECW Arena.
I probably should have known this wouldn't live up to the original event when I saw the DVD selling for $4 at a local Wal-Mart.Sometimes, you do get what you pay for.
Unlike the first reunion show (and WWE's ONS), this show really didn't have the same momentum as the others. For example, the "Taipei Death Match" rematch between Axl Rotten and Ian Rotten was probably as gory as their initial encounter in the original ECW. But that doesn't necessarily mean I'd want to watch it again, 10 years later.
Another example: Shane Douglas versus Pitbull Gary Wolfe was interesting to talk about, given their past back story and apparent legitimate "heat". But did it make for a must-see match? Nope.
Along those lines.... nothing against Danny Doring, Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley, but they really didn't have much to offer. It's not as bad as if someone booked them on a pay-per-view five years after this (no one would be dumb enough to do THAT, would they?), but it's definitely not a redeeming quality.
About the only match on this worth the price of admission (again, we're talking four bucks) was a steel cage match between Jerry Lynn and Justin Credible. These guys have a unique chemistry and it made for a main event that didn't feel like yet another nostalgia act.
Interestingly enough, the one match from this show I was curious about seeing isn't even included on the DVD! Team 3D, fresh from the WWE, battled Terry Funk and Sabu in a dog-collar match. But something about their TNA contracts preventing this match from airing on the DVD.... at least if Wikipedia is to be believed.
As far as bonus matches go.... the Hardcore Homecoming crew once again loads their disc with older matches featuring Sabu, Funk, Rey Mysterio and He Who Shall Not Be Named from promotions such as XPW. It's a nice touch, but hardly a game-changer.
Overall, I'd have to recommend skipping this 2-disc set entirely. While I loved the work Douglas and Borash did in 2005, this wasn't really the crowning acheivement.