The Delco Elbow Drop

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hardcore comes home – House of Hardcore debuts at the ECW Arena

On Saturday, November 15, Tommy Dreamer’s promotion House of Hardcore made its debut in the building that Extreme Championship Wrestling made famous – the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia. Despite several announced wrestlers not being able to compete on House of Hardcore 7, the fans in the sold out crowd got their money’s worth with numerous unexpected wrestlers appearing and putting on an amazing show from top to bottom.

I was lucky enough to score front row tickets to House of Hardcore 7 and I’m glad I did because it was a show I won’t soon forget. I say “lucky” because the Arena was packed – I haven’t seen that many people in the ECW Arena since CZW’s Cage of Death 4 or 5, which was about 10 years ago at this point (I was too young to have gone to ECW in its prime). The show was a complete sell-out with an additional 200 standing room tickets sold at the door.

I’ve been to several shows at the Arena since it reopened (an Extreme Rising show in Dec. ’13 and Masked Mania in April) but neither had crowds as big as House of Hardcore 7.

Despite several wrestlers having to pull out of the show at the last minute, House of Hardcore 7 was still an amazing show – perhaps even better than the originally announced card. Davey Richards (with Eddie Edwards, who were to face Killer Elite Squad), Jigsaw (to take on Eddie Kingston) and Ethan Carter the 3rd (who was to face Tommy Dreamer) all were unable to compete at HOH 7.

Also, Matt Striker, former WWE Superstar who now does commentary for Lucha Underground, was on commentary for House of Hardcore 7 with another commentator.

Danny Doring opened the show taking on the first surprise of the night – Stevie Richards, who was dressed in full bWo attire! Richards got the win with a Steviekick and got a great reaction from the hot crowd and plenty of “Welcome back” chants. During intermission, I saw Blue Meanie at the merch table and I was a little surprised we didn’t see him during the actual show with Stevie.

In the next match, Christian York defeated Brian Myers, formerly WWE Superstar Curt Hawkins, with a swinging neckbreaker. This was another really solid match with some big moments, like York hitting a moonsault off the guardrail. After the match, Myers got on the mic and said he wasn’t leaving until he got another match. All of a sudden, Ricardo Rodriguez in full tuxedo appeared from the entrance way and the crowd couldn’t believe it.

Alberto Del Rio surprises the crowd
at House of Hardcore 7. Photo by Joe Arcidiacono.
Ricardo got to the ring to introduce “Albertoooooo” and the crowd finished “DEL RIOOOOO” and the recently released WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio, now known as El Patron Alberto, made his first ever appearance in the former ECW Arena. I’m also pretty sure it was the first appearance Del Rio has made in America since leaving WWE. Del Rio looked genuinely thrilled to be in the ECW Arena and said that in HOH “we aren’t sports entertainers but f***ing wrestlers!” Myers went for a sneak attack but Del Rio caught him in a cross arm breaker which sent Myers running to the back. Del Rio got a great reaction from the packed crowd at HOH and it would be amazing to see him actually work a match in the former ECW Arena someday.

Next up was a six-man match between three guys who I think are House of Hardcore students (Anthony Greene, Vik Dalishus and Ben Ortiz) and Team Tremendous with Little Guido (another surprise appearance). There wasn’t much heat at the start of this match, as it seemed not many were familiar with Team Tremendous or the opposing team. But the crowd quickly got into it because these six guys tore the roof off the ECW Arena. Even the ref got involved. Carr hit a big tope con hilo over the top rope followed by Dan Barry hitting a dive of his own. Guido set up for a dive but the ref, who was getting pushed around by Greene, Ortiz and Delishus all night, stopped him and hit a moonsault from the top rope to the floor. I might be a little biased but Team Tremendous really stole the show with their double team maneuvers and mix of high flying (though it was odd seeing Bill Carr with his hair cut short). Tremendous and Guido got the win when Guido rolled up Greene.

Eddie Edwards and Eddie Kingston had to follow the six-man match and though their match was really good and really hard-hitting, I think the crowd was still overwhelmed by the tag match and never really got behind this match. Kingston came out to what sounded like a cover of “Walk” by Pantera then laughed at all the fans who thought it might be Rob Van Dam. Edwards tapped Kingston with a single leg Boston Crab. I also read that Kingston injured his ribs in this match after Edwards hit a series of topes through the ropes which caught Kingston hard in the chest.

Following this match was a three way dance elimination match between Lance Anoaia, Alex Reynolds, and Tony Nese. Anoaia was dressed exactly like one of the Uso brothers in WWE and was getting “Uuu-Sooo” chants all match long and eventually was starting them himself. Lots of high flying and big spots in this match. Anoaia was eliminated first and Nese earned the win with a reverse hurricanrana from the top rope.

After that, Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) hit the ring. They cut a promo about how Davey Richards has a tummy-ache, which is carny for “he’s too scared to fight.” I had been wondering who the replacement team would be, but I never expected it would Bully Ray and D-Von, The Dudley Boyz! The Dudleys got a huge pop from the crowd with “Welcome back” and “Get the tables” chants. Bully got on the mic and said KES was in the wrong place at the wrong time and for some reason the crowd started a “We want fire” chant, which Bully explained to them meant “They want us to douse you in lighter fluid and set you on fire and since this is Philadelphia, they mean it!” 

The Dudley Boyz return to the ECW Arena! Photo by Joe Arcidiacono.

This match was a crazy brawl all over ringside and though KES are the current NWA World tag team champions, they never stood a chance against the Dudleys in the ECW Arena. Bully Ray and D-Von hit both Archer and Smith with 3Ds and put Archer through a table for the win. Afterward when the fans were chanting “Welcome back,” Bully Ray got on the mic and said “Don’t welcome back Team 3D…welcome back The Dudley Boyz!” With Bully Ray out of TNA and the future of that company still up in the air, it was an interesting thing for Bully to say and we’ll have to wait and see what’s next for The Dudley Boyz.

After this was intermission and Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio took pictures with the fans in the ring and even shook hands with people at ringside. It was such a huge surprise to see them there, I still almost don’t believe it.

After intermission, in the first of three main events, Austin Aries faced the man who accepted his open challenge – former WWE Superstar Drew Galloway. The Scottish wrestler has been making waves in the world of independent wrestling since leaving WWE, winning the ICW Heavyweight Championship as well as the Evolve Championship. Aries was giving up a considerable amount of weight and height to Galloway and it showed as Galloway battered Aries for most of the match. But Aries didn’t back down in this hard-hitting match, using his speed to keep Galloway off balance and eventually earned the win with a brain buster.

TNA Champion Bobby Roode put his
title on the line at House of Hardcore 7.
Photo by Joe Arcidiacono.
In the second main event, Tommy Dreamer was originally slated to face TNA star EC3. With Dreamer was his wife, Beulah McGillicutty, and this was advertised as her final appearance in professional wrestling. Since EC3 suffered an injury (or pulled out of the event, if you read his Twitter, because he hates marks) and wasn’t able to compete but Dreamer pulled some strings and got another completely unexpected surprise wrestler – TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode!

Before the match, Roode said there was no one who deserved a title shot as much as Tommy and put the belt on the line in an old school extreme rules match. While there wasn’t many crazy spots in this match, Roode was only the first of many surprises. After brawling inside the ring and out, Velvet Sky ran to the ring and low-blowed Dreamer which prompted Beulah into the ring and we have a cat fight on our hands! Soon after, CW Anderson runs in to attack Dreamer and stands over him until “Enter Sandman” plays and the crowd explodes as Sandman makes his way to the ring with a beer and trademark Singapore cane. He cracks the beer and hits Anderson with the cane once but CW ducks another swing and puts down Sandman with a superkick. But right after, “Highway to Hell” hits and Spike Dudley (sporting a bald head) runs to the ring and hits Anderson with the Acid Drop. Not long after, Rosita hits Dreamer with a moonsault but he no sells it and piledrives her. Roode retains the TNA title after all the shenanigans with a DVD onto a barb wire board.

Afterward, Dreamer cut a short promo on how the last few weeks of TNA have been some of the best wrestling on TV and that this show couldn’t have happened if TNA didn’t allow Dreamer to use their guys. He also said how he was born in Yonkers but Tommy Dreamer was born in the ECW Arena. Beulah even said a few words about how she truly appreciates all the love she’s gotten from the fans over the years and will never forget it. They even brought out their twin daughters and Dreamer told them this is the building where he met their mom. It was a really great moment.

In the main event, the Young Bucks took on the Hardy Boyz in an outstanding match. The crowd was split for both teams and were chanting nonstop for both teams. Both teams went all out and it was easily one of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time. The Hardys hit a More Bang For Your Buck sequence of their own and the Bucks even did a Twist of Fate/Swanton sequence and there were too many superkicks to count – including a crazy superkick to Jeff Hardy as he did a headstand on the ropes.

The Young Bucks won the match with a More Bang For Your Buck and afterward, the Hardys wanted a handshake as a show of respect. The fans booed it, perhaps sensing what was to come, but the Bucks accepted. Sure enough, the Hardys tried to kick the Bucks but both ate superkicks. That brought out the Dudley Boyz who attacked the Bucks and hit them both with a 3D. Bully Ray started putting over the Bucks, saying it’s obvious the crowd loves them but if there’s one thing he won’t stand for, especially in the ECW Arena, it’s disrespect (a point I didn’t get cause the Bucks won, went to shake hands, the Hardys were the ones who doublecrossed them on the show of respect but somehow the Bucks were being disrespectful?).

But Bully segued into how great a promotion HOH has become and said it’s because of the fans – that the fans want something different and they are giving it to them. Dreamer also talked about wanting to do more HOH shows next year, maybe 8 instead of just 4, and even hinted at trying to get on TV. The night ended with wrestlers filling the ring and drinking beers – provided by Sandman, of course.

Sandman, the Hardys, Tommy Dreamer and the Dudleys share a beer. Photo by Joe Arcidiacono.

Overall, House of Hardcore 7 was an incredible show. The wrestling was great, the atmosphere was amazing and the surprises kept everyone on the edge of their seats because you never knew what might happen next. It was a night filled with numerous memorable moments and great athletic performances which is exactly what professional wrestling is all about.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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