Legends of The Arena took place yesterday before crowds larger than most anticipated, for all the day's events the afternoon premium priced meet-and-greet, and the evening's show which had at least 600 in the building . Given that the event was a cancer fundraiser and charged a bit more, some were concerned about what the show would draw given the economy. The organizers of this event had nothing to worry about as the pre-show line (minus the SuperTicket fans, who were already in the building) extended down the block down past Forman Mills.
The event had a pre-show meet and greet. The talent and the fans clearly were having a blast; but truth be told, the talent had just as much, if not more fun than the fans. During the meet-and-greet, Balls Mahoney acted like a little kid at Christmas. Everyone (big shock) gravitated over to Terry Funk all day long.
The only sour note of the day was Shane Douglas's no-show. I've got to wonder what in the hell made Douglas no-show a cancer fundraiser. It could have been a medical problem. Maybe the local pharmacies were closed or he had an allergy to doing jobs. I hear Benadryl works wonders.
An unnamed but unquestionably source indicated to me on Sunday that Douglas gave Francine Fournier three different excuses. Douglas was one of the few wrestlers working the show who were paid trans, with Fournier paying and sending Douglas a plane ticket. Fournier called Douglas on Friday, when he should have been at the airport and he was home. The first excuse was that he indicated that he thought the ticket was for Saturday, not Friday. When she called Saturday, he had another excuse for not being on the scheduled flight. When it weas suggested he drive the six hours (because he missed a third flight Douglas had a third excuse.
As for the other two advertised that didn't work, Spike Dudley also didn't work on the show, but was in the building at least until the BBQ (one e-mail to me indicated he left the building with his gear after the BBQ, which would explain why his match was changed). No idea on Jack Victory.
The evening show began with a quick video running down the history of ECW and the ECW Arena before the show fully kicks off. Bob Artese is out to start the show, then is cut as in days of old by by Joel "first it was Cyberslam, than House Party and November 2 Remember, tonight's latest induction is my legendary member" Gertner! 2 Cold Scorpio over CW Anderson (with Referee John "PeeWee" Moore) at about 10 minutes with his somersault leg drop from the top rope. Decent opener that saw Scorpio land a moonsault legdrop after the match finished. Crowd was really juiced at this stage.
Bilvis Wesley defeats The Muskateer (with Referee John Finnegan) by pinfall at five minutes with a school-boy. Bilvis teased New Jack's music playing to swerve the crowd and the Muskateer, and rolled him up for a quick finish.
Chris Hamrick defeated Devon "Crowbar" Storm (with Referee John Finnegan) with an anaconda vice. Crowbar began the match by running down Taz (the two have legit heat, plus he cracked on Taza for not coming to a cancer fundraiser, then heeling himself out by putting over his WCW titles.
Rhino defeated Jamie. Dundee vs. Scotty "Riggs" Anton (with Referee John Finnegan) after goring Jamie Dundee. There was a lot more mike work than match here, as Dundee got on the mic and ran down both Rhino and Anton, referring to Anton as Bagwell's bitch and suggesting Rhino carrried Jeff Jarrett's bags. Rhino didn't seem to care for this promo, and kept giving Dundee dirty looks all during the brief match. Rhino quickly nailed a gore after Dundee and Anton try some comedy spots, and Rhino abruptly leaves ringside.
The Hardcore Hall of Fame induction follows... with Eddie "Hot Stuff" Gilbert and Chris Candido as memorial inductions; with Tod Gordon and Sabu inducted. The Shane Douglas induction was pulled for obvious reasons. No idea on why the Bigelow induction was. It was mentioned that both ECW and all that's followed in the Arena was because of people like Terry Funk (inducted two years ago), Eddie Gilbert and Tod Gordon...not to mention this guy named Heyman.
Balls Mahoney/Axl Rotten defeated Da Baldiez vs (with Referee John "PeeWee" Moore) in about nine minutes in the typical Axl/Balls blood bath/chair shot formula. Balls Mahoney legit lost a tooth (he was holding it in his hand after the match).
Following intermission, Nova and Meanie [as the bWo] defeated Sal E. Graziano and Little Guido Maritato [as the FBI] by pinfall (with Referee John Finnegan) in about 8 minutes. A lot of comedy as you'd expect, with a hilarious dance off erupting midway in the match with Sal E. and Blue Meanie, before Nova and Meanie took it home for the win. Another dance-off post match, with both teams said it's their last match at the arena.
Francine then came out to cut her promo and thanking the crowd for their support. Francine is VERY, VERY pregnant. The usual wits in the audience suggested she'd give birth in the ring anto a "She's hardcore" chant. Since that didn't happen, Francine talked about her sister and father who'd died of cancer, and her one sister (sitting in the balcony with the other family members) who beat cancer. The SISTER got the "she's hardcore" chant instead.
In the semi-main event, Al Snow defeated Jerry Lynn (subbing for the no-show Douglas) in eighteen minutes. The match began slowly, tyhen picked up well. It was the ECW Arena, and they actuallly GASP wrestled. The finish saw two ref bumps, two false finishes, and the expected "Head" shot to end the match. Guess Shane Douglas doesn't like getting Head.
Sabu (with Bill Alfonso) and Sandman defeated Raven (with Chastity) and Justin Credible (with Jason); and Terry Funk as special referee. Sabu and Sandman won at about 15 minutes when Sabu hit Credible with the Arabian face buster through a table after both of Sandman's sons (the fact that Tyler Fullington, the "little kid" in the Raven-Sandman storyline is now grown and teller than his father made a lot of people feel REALLY old). Storyline was that Tyler returned to the Arena to get a matter of revenge on Raven. Then, Sandman's youngest son hit a DDT on Raven as Sabu covered Credible for the pinfall.
At the very end of the show, Justin Credible finally let his inner heel down long enough to say in a surprisngly heartfelt way to the crowd "Thank you for giving me the best four years of my life".
Until next time...
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