Yesterday night was Shane Douglas' first Extreme Reunion event at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armoury in Philadelphia, which got some online buzz going last month when The Franchise turned up in disguise at the local WWE Raw tapings on March 19th, 2012 in a lame attempt to get the crowd to chant ECW when he unmasked during the opening television match between Kane and The Big Show. At the time my colleague Sergio Hernandez implored Douglas to "give up the ghost already", advice he should have taken to heart as even though the nostalgia show sold out with over 2,000 fans in attendance, it turned out to be a disaster of extreme proportions, being a harsh reminder of the very worst excesses that the phenomenon of Extreme Championship Wrestling brought with it.
The show was doomed before it even started, as the headliner, Sabu, was in no condition to perform and no showed the event. As TMZ reported, Sabu was hospitalised in the afternoon when he was found in an intoxicated state in his hotel room by local police after he had missed a Reunion Fanfest earlier in the day and failed to respond to phone calls. His poor health was blamed on "an allergic reaction to a medication he had been taking", which sounds like a likely story as he was partying with other wrestlers the night before and he was even photographed looking horribly wasted by Justin Credible, who was stupid enough to upload that embarrassing photo to his Twitter feed.
Speaking of PJ Polaco, according to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com (click at your own peril) he was kicked off the show too when he passed out backstage:
Over the course of the show, there was concern about Credible's condition backstage. At one point, sources claim he was "slumped over, passed out asleep" in a chair. He was asked to leave the building and was removed from the show.
Credible returned to the building and plead his case to the promoters, asking to be placed back on the show but was turned down. He came out and walked around in the crowd late in the show but was walked to the back and left the venue.
I guess Douglas was in no mood for giving him the benefit of the doubt after Sabu ended up being sent to intensive care from the time they spent bonding together.
The fans started viciously turning on the show after intermission when Ruckus and Jeez, two indy wrestlers who never worked for ECW, stopped The Gangstas from putting Angel of The Baldies through a table, leading to a three on two beatdown of New Jack and Mustafa. Fans started chanting "refund" as they had no interest in seeing their ECW hardcore legends being roughed up by some no names, even if it was an angle to set up a match down the line.
Then came a wrong turn down Bait And Switch Boulevard via Poor Taste Pathway. Raven came out for his match with Pittbull No. 1 Gary Wolfe flanked by a new Flock that included a legitimately disabled guy dubbed "Cripple H", who all worked over Wolfe for Raven after Mr. Nevermore had told everyone that reunions are for "fags and morons" and that ECW now stood for "Extremely Cunty Wrestling". Well, I suppose he was right about the last point. This was of course time for The Sandman's big entrance, which may have saved the day if he caused Raven to lose, but instead a muscular guy in Raven's entourage was pinned by Wolfe instead and Sandman caned the cripple into oblivion in an uncomfortable scene. Raven took no part in the match itself, eventually just walking out on the "pathetic" display, which meant the company failed to deliver on all three of the biggest bouts on the show.
Thankfully, 48 year old Jerry Lynn, despite planning to retire later this year, can still go and he tore the house down with Devon "Crowbar" Storm which saved the show from being a complete bust. Unfortunately Shane Douglas, though slightly younger than Lynn, his body is much more badly broken down, immobile and out of shape, and he couldn't come close to following that match even though his opponent Too Cold Scorpio was game and they had surprise run ins from Kevin Sullivan and Tod Gordon. The fans mainly spent the match amusing themselves by catcalling Shane on his bad physique, his prior job at grocery store Target and his lousy performance.
If all that wasn't bad enough, then the icing on the burnt cake was Extreme Reunion having technical difficulties taping the show meaning that they have had to delay the iPPV premiere of the event by a few days:
Due to technical difficulty with the original video / audio mixdown of the 4/28 Extreme Reunion event that we've encountered, we regrettably must push back the premiere of the 4/28 iPPV VOD. We want to offer the highest quality product to you the customer, therefore please allow us a day or two to get technical, and fix the remaining issues to upload the best possible iPPV VOD Video Download as possible. ***If you would like a refund please email us at email@example.com and we will be more than happy to accommodate your request --no questions asked!
I hope Shane cuts his losses while he's still ahead, as I can't see much return demand for their next show planned for the same arena on June 30th, 2012 after this complete fiasco. I think the night was best summed up by Dave Meltzer's arena correspondent on f4wonline.com:
It's not like we went for any other reason then the nostalgia, but to me this was more like a wake than a rebirth. One last chance for us to say our goodbyes to ECW, I'll give them credit for trying, but there's no way this thing is going to last with all of these guys completely out of shape. I think we've seen enough of these poor reunions now to know the dream is really over. To steal a phrase from the Undertaker, I think ECW needs to just rest in peace forever now.