SmarkNation- HEY YO !
One of the things you should know about me is that i am a RABID ECW Fan and I always will be. The little engine that could, that came out of a bingo hall in Philadelphia, changed the landscape of professional wrestling forever. I will always remember the times I spent back in the late 90's, going to ECW shows at the "Madhouse of Extreme", the Elks Lodge on Queens Boulevard. For me, there was nothing better.
I was in attendance for some of the most memorable moments in the company's history. One specific night comes to mind, the night the Dudley Boyz returned to ECW. The Dudleyz were a mainstay in ECW since its inception. They left for the WWE in 1999, but made a return to the Elks Lodge for one night only. After a heated contest, Bubba Ray Dudley aka Bully Ray, grabbed the microphone and said something that will truly represent how amazing this promotion was.
"Where else can you spend; 30, 40, maybe 50 bucks...cram into a small ass building; sweat your ass off for 3 or 4 hours, and have the absolute best time you've ever had in your entire life" ( I'm paraphrasing but that is pretty damn accurate if memory serves me correctly)
When ECW closed its doors, It always left a little emptiness in my wrestling soul. It was something truly special. If you were able to experience it up close and personal, then you know what I am talking about. Needless to say I've been on the hunt to fill that emptiness. While I have to been WWE events and other independent shows, I still never found what i was truly searching for. That was until 2 weeks ago.
House of Hardcore is a promotion run by the "Innovator of Violence" Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer was the backbone of ECW. No one has literally bled more for this company than Tommy. When I found out House of Hardcore was coming to Long Island, I knew this was the opportunity I was looking for. I drove out to Smithtown,where the event was taking place, & as anxious to watch some of the wrestlers I idolized watching. House of Hardcore combines some of the mainstays of ECW with the current stars of independent promotions. It also helps build new stars that are looking for a chance to make it in he wrestling business. As I stepped into the arena, I realized what makes this promotion so special.
The intimacy. No..not that intimacy.
Every wrestler on the card that night made themselves available to the fans; in fact they promoted it. Within striking distance was The Sandman, Bully Ray, "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes, and the man himself, Tommy Dreamer. There are few individuals I can think of that I am truly star struck for. These guys had me floored. I was legitimately in wrestling heaven;. I am always in awe of what these athletes are able to accomplish in the ring. I spoke with the Sandman about gambling & sports, traded ECW stories with Bully Ray, and voiced my appreciation to Tommy and Cody. You can't get that interaction at a WWE show. As you can see from the pictures below, it was truly an awesome event.
From start to finish, the wrestlers showcased their talents. House of Hardcore promotes fan interaction. For those lucky enough to be seated near the entrance way, there are very few barricades; barely any at all. When every star came through the curtain, there were the fans, ready to be greeted. Again, very special and very cool to witness
One of the main bouts of the night was Bully Ray versus EC3; Ethan Carter. Carter is one of the main draws for Impact Wrestling. As the match went back and forth, Carter tried back pedaling to the locker room early, as Bully was dishing up an ass whooping. Before EC3 could make it, a silence hushed over the crowd. A familiar face appeared. That face was none other than the hardcore icon himself, MIck Foley ! The arena exploded. After the match, Foley stuck around to speak to his hometown crowd. Foley explained to the fans that he told his family he was out grabbing a pizza, which got a nice reaction. After Foley exited the ring, Bully Ray asked one of the younger fans in the audience to join him in the ring. He made sure this fan didn't go home empty handed, and gave a piece of the table used in the match; in true ECW fashion.
The main event of the evening was Tommy Dreamer versus Cody Rhodes. When I got to meet Rhodes earlier in the night, I explained how happy I was to see him doing so well in Ring of Honor & New Japan. Nobody deserves it more than Cody. He is a true class act and a special kind of talent. He said he appreciated the compliment and it means the most coming from fans like myself, which was amazing to hear.
Dreamer & Rhodes put on a great match. Cody sealed up the victory, but not without proclaiming his appreciation for Tommy. He told the crowd in Long Island a personal story about how Tommy had signed him to a deal originally in WWE, and how Tommy always spoke highly of him and his father, The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. Cody explained that Tommy was a personal hero of his. Dreamer responded to Cody, proclaiming his appreciation for appearing in House of Hardcore that night, and explained that Dusty will always be one of his heroes. It was a great exchange of respect and amazing to witness live. That was right up until Cody pulled off a Cross-Rhodes on Dreamer and held up the Bullet Club sign. Always staying in character, well played Cody.
As the show ended, I left with a sense of personal satisfaction. I felt like I got sent back to my days of ECW; even it was for one night. My adrenaline was racing and it was hard for me to get to sleep, being on such a high from what I just witnessed.
So to you House Of Hardcore, I say thank you. Continue doing what you're doing. You're giving the next generation opportunities to exploit their talents and learn from the old school on how to make it in this business.
While I'll always chant ECW ! ECW !.....I can definitely get used to chanting HOH ! HOH !