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ECW: Extreme Rules (2007)

DVD Cover (WWE Home Video)
Movie Connections:
Wrestling: ECW
> ECW: The Night The Line Was Crossed (1994)
> Barbed Wire, Hoodies & Chokeslams (1995)
> The Rise + Fall Of ECW (2004)
> Forever Hardcore: The Documentary (2005)
> Extremely Crazy Wrestling Fans:... (2005)
> ECW: Blood Sport: The Most Violent... (2006)
> ECW: Extreme Rules (2007)
Genres:
Sports, Wrestling, Wrestling: Hardcore
Starring:
Mike Alfonso Mike Alfonso
Terry Brunk Terry Brunk
Adam Copeland Adam Copeland
Steve Corino Steve Corino
Tommy Dreamer Tommy Dreamer

8.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Extreme Championship Wrestling is back with a vengeance. After a four-year hiatus, the maniacal Paul Heyman and his band of Extremists have returned, delivering the "anything goes" Extreme Rules matches that sports-entertainment fans have come to love. ECW: Extreme Rules will deliver some of the best matches of today, mixed with incredible early ECW matches that set the standard. This two-disc collection is hosted by Tazz and Joey Styles, and includes their alternate commentary of the legendary Extreme Death Match between Tazz and Sabu from Living Dangerously 1999 to unify the FTW and ECW championships. Also, Tommy Dreamer and Jonathan Coachman provide alternative commentary of the jaw-dropping Scaffold Match between Dreamer and Brian Lee from High Incident 1996. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: February 02, 2007
Before getting into this review, I should probably give a highly-condensed history of the subject matter at hand since this will come into play later on in the review. Wrestling fans probably already know everything I'm about to say, but since this isn't exactly a site geared towards fans of the "sport", I thought it would be a good idea to spell a couple of things out for those with no knowledge of it.

ECW was a small wrestling promotion that, while not on par with the bigger companies (WWE and WCW) in terms of money, big-name stars, or production values, managed to carve out a sizable niche in the industry thanks to their combination of extreme violence, solid wrestling, and innovative storylines. It wasn't uncommon for the bigger companies to raid ECW's talent pool and steal their storylines, but it didn't matter - the fans couldn't get enough of this particular product. However, due to bad business decisions on the part of owner Paul Heyman and a lack of cash, the company eventually folded in 2001 with WWE owner Vince McMahon purchasing their tape library and assets.

Now, wrestling promotions have came and went over the years, and although some of them were quite popular, none of them have left as much of an impact on the industry as ECW. Fans would attend wrestling shows put on by other promotions and chant the ever-popular "ECW, ECW" (or, more appropriately, "EC-dub, EC-dub") at the wrestlers, videos of old shows were still in high demand, and it was quite obvious that the fans wanted more of this Kool-Aid. Vince McMahon, having total control over all of the footage and dollar signs in his eyes, decided to cash in on this in 2004 with the release of a documentary entitled The Rise + Fall of ECW. It went on to become one of the best-selling DVDs in WWE's history (which was definitely no small feat), but instead of quenching the fans' thirst, it only made them want to see more of this little promotion that could.

So, in 2005, Vince decided to put on a reunion show entitled - appropriately enough - One Night Stand, which would feature most of the old ECW stars together again for a single night of bloodshed, action, and memories. The arena sold out, the pay-per-view drew huge numbers, and the fans almost unanimously agreed that it was one of the best shows of the year. It was around this point in time that Vince, realizing that he basically had a license to print money on his hands, decided to put out some financing and restart this promotion under his control... and that's about the time that things started going downhill.

It started out innocently enough: Paul Heyman, the man largely responsible for the original success of the company, was given creative control without having to worry about the financial side of things, a television slot was secured, and a fair number of the original stars were signed to exclusive contracts on this brand. Then, Vince decided to change a few things. Again, it started out simple enough: adding cartoon'ish characters to appease the Sci-Fi fans (since the show was airing on the Sci-Fi channel), wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown (the flagship shows of WWE) were sent over to help boost ratings, and other seemingly minor things were changed to better fit in with today's market. However, enough things were eventually changed so that this was no longer ECW, but instead, something along the lines of a development and training promotion for the aforementioned flagship shows. Paul Heyman was given the pink slip and plenty of other bad decisions were made, and eventually, the majority of the original fans of ECW turned their back on the product while the WWE fans saw it as nothing more than a second-rate "b-show" and tuned out. The show is still airing on a weekly basis, but not even half a year after it was brought back, it's already rumored to be shutting down when the television deal ends.

So then, that brings us to this two-disc release. The theme behind the disc, as the title would imply, is to show the viewers some of the most gruesome and extreme matches from throughout the history of this promotion. Well, most of them anyway - the 2006 release of Bloodsport - ECW's Most Violent Matches featured the first picks in regards to the topic at hand while this set features the items that didn't manage to make the cut on that release. Disc one features eight matches from the glory days of the promotion along with a few bonus segments which showcase some of the wrestlers who made the company famous, while disc two features nine matches - four from the reunion pay-per-views and five from the relaunched television show - along with a look at some of the wrestlers who round out the new version of this brand. The lineup of the discs are as follows:

Disc #1:
* The Sandman vs. Cactus Jack (Singapore Cane vs. Barbed Wire - Hardcore Heaven '95)
* The Gangstas vs. The Eliminators (Natural Born Killaz Cage Weapons Match - 1996-08-24)
* Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee (Scaffold Match - High Incident, 1996-10-26)
* Sandman vs. Sabu (Stairway To Hell - House Party '98)
* The Dudley Boys & Big Dick Dudley vs. The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer & Spike Dudley (Extreme Street Fight - Heatwave '98)
* FTW Champion Sabu vs. ECW World Champion Tazz (Title Unification Match - Living Dangerously '99)
* Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka (White Plains, NY - 1999-12-31)
* Steve Corino vs. The Sandman vs. Justin Credible (Tables, Ladders, Chairs & Canes - Guilty As Charged '01)

Disc #2:
* The Dudley Boys vs. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman (ECW One Night Stand)
* Rey Mysterio vs. Rob Van Dam (WWE vs. ECW Special)
* Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu (ECW One Night Stand II)
* Mick Foley, Edge & Lita vs. Tommy Dreamer, Terry Funk & Beulah (ECW One Night Stand II)
* Rob Van Dam vs. The Big Show (2006-07-04)
* The Big Show vs. Ric Flair (2006-07-11)
* Sabu vs. Rob Van Dam (Ladder match - 2006-08-16)
* Rob Van Dam & Sabu vs. Test & Mike Knox (2006-09-05)
* Rob Van Dam vs. Hardcore Holly (2006-09-26)

Disc one is the true highlight of the release, containing nearly every reason one would consider purchasing this set. This disc features everything that made the company as widely-known as it has come to be: plenty of violence, plenty of bloodshed, plenty of "holy shit" moments, and above all else, plenty of "extremely" entertaining action. Although I might have selected a couple of different matches (though to be fair, I doubt any two fans would come up with identical listings), I have no complaints with the contents of this disc.

Disc two, however, is a different story. It starts out with the excellent main event from the first One Night Stand, and although this same match has appeared in two or three different DVD releases already, watching it never fails to put a smile on my face. RVD vs. Mysterio is another good match which was nice to get on DVD, but as for the rest of the lineup... well, they didn't fare quite as well. For starters, why put two matches on here from a pay-per-view that's not even a year old yet? I could understand if they were exceptional matches, but they weren't - they weren't bad, mind you, but certainly not the best that they could come up with. Then we have five matches from the relaunched television show, and again, none of them are flat-out awful, but with the years upon years of footage that Vince has locked up in the vault, why bother with putting these average-at-best matches on a DVD release?

The other problems that I had with this release may not be exclusive to this particular set, but since my experience with WWE DVD releases is limited, I'll point them out. Before we even hit the DVD menu, we're "treated" to a disclaimer telling us that this program was specifically designed for adults and that nobody under the age of seventeen should watch it. Fair enough; with all of the foul language and bloodshed, that's not an unreasonable statement. However, all of the profanity is bleeped out (save for some of the colorful chants that the crowds started). Why? The disc is, as the disclaimer mentioned, "specifically designed for adults", so why was it necessary to cut out these naughty words?

Then we have the commercial breaks on disc two. Now, you obviously don't actually see the commercials, but it still cuts away where the original television broadcast did and resumes where it picked up, leaving out a good five minutes of the match. This footage was taped as was made perfectly clear by the occasional "here's what happened during the break" clips, so why not actually include the entire footage on the DVD release? Anyone purchasing this set probably has at least a passing interest in watching some wrestling, so cutting out portions of the actual wrestling is pretty silly in my view.

The first disc is well worth the purchase for anyone interested in reliving some of the glory days of ECW, but as for disc two: skip it unless you haven't already seen the first One Night Stand pay-per-view. I'm going to go with a 9/10 for disc one and 3/10 for disc two, which rounds out to a 6/10 for the overall set.
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XPW: Cold Day In Hell XPW: After The Fall The Best Of Deathmatch Wrestling, Vol. 3: The Legendary Japanese Tournament XPW: Freefall ECW: The Night The Line Was Crossed
WrestleMania 23 The Best Of Deathmatch Wrestling, Vol. 4: Queens Of The Deathmatch The Best Of Deathmatch Wrestling, Vol. 5: Double Death Tag Team Deathmatch Tournament The Best Of Deathmatch Wrestling, Vol. 6: West Coast Warfare WrestleMania X-Seven
Crispy #1: Crispy - added 02/02/2007, 09:46 PM
I think I'll skip this one. My two favorites from ECW were New Jack and Raven, both of which seem to have gotten the shaft here.
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