Arena Report - Hammerstein Ballroom
Tonight, Extreme Championship Wrestling returns to the historic Hammerstein Ballroom in the heart of New York City for the first time since June's One Night Stand pay-per-view event. The ballroom was a favorite destination of ECW in the late 90s, serving as a base for several pay-per-view and TV broadcasts.
The famous venue, which is located literally just feet away from Madison Square Garden was the site of several ECW television broadcasts, including the last three pay-per-views. The most recent of those was this year's One Night Stand, where WWE fans and Superstars alike were overwhelmed by a seething crowd of rowdy ECW supporters who turned the ballroom into an uproarious, steamy, hostile environment.
In one of the most intensely fought matches of the year, John Cena put his WWE Championship on the line against Rob Van Dam in an Extreme Rules Match. Remarkably, Cena was able to maintain his composure while the crowd of 3,000 was quite literally in his face, leaning over the railings in the close-quartered ballroom and screaming expletives in unison. However, in a turn of events that has since become familiar, Edge invaded the match and speared Cena through a table, setting up a Five Star Frog Splash from RVD and an impromptu three-count from Paul Heyman.
The venue also hosted One Night Stand in 2005, and the pay-per-view proved to be one of the more memorable evenings in sports-entertainment history. Together for the first time in close to five years, the ECW alumni gave fans a night they would never forget. Among the matches on the show was a classic pure wrestling display from Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, an all-out brawl between Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka and a hardcore war between the team of Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman and The Dudleys.
In January 2001, Hammerstein Ballroom was the site of the Guilty as Charged pay-per-view. It was ECW's last pay-per-view before bankruptcy forced their first hiatus, and was highlighted by Tommy Dreamer's defeat of C.W. Anderson in an "I Quit" match.
A month earlier in December ‘00, the ballroom hosted ECW's Massacre on 34th Street. On that show, Danny Doring & Roadkill won the ECW Tag Team Championship when they knocked off the F.B.I.'s Tony Mamaluke and Little Guido. Later, Steve Corino retained the ECW World Heavyweight Championship in a Three Way Dance with Jerry Lynn and Justin Credible.
Though the Hammerstein Ballroom has been an ECW favorite in recent years, the venue was already a part of WWE history before the ECW promotion hit its stride. When Monday Night RAW first aired in its original form back in 1993, Hammerstein Ballroom (then known as the Manhattan Center) provided the intimate setting for the first ever live wrestling television program.
Tonight, the Hammerstein Ballroom will be jam packed with close to 3000 rabid ECW fans who will witness another battle of the brands as Batista challenges Big Show in an Extreme Rules Match for the ECW Championship. If you can't be one of the lucky fans in the building, the only way to catch all of the extreme action is to tune in tonight at 10/9 CT on Sci Fi.