Friday, 16 August 2013

WWE ECW Unreleased Volume 2 DVD Review

WWE's latest DVD and Blu Ray release see's the company take another look back at Extreme Championship Wrestling library in ECW Unreleased Volume 2. Now available for purchase from priced at £19.99 for DVD and £22.99 for Blu-Ray. The set takes us from October 1993 to September 2000, expect to see some of ECW's most familiar faces like Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Bill Alfonso, Taz, Steve Corino and Rob Van Dam, alongside rare ECW appearances from Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton and The Steiner Brothers!

Content Listing

Disc One

We Are Back

Tommy Dreamer vs. Tazmaniac
NWA ECW Hardcore TV, 19th October 1993

Tag Team Match
Terry Funk & Arn Anderson vs. Sabu & Bobby Eaton with Paul E. Dangerously
ECW When Worlds Collide, 14th May 1994

Hardcore Legends

Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack
ECW Hardcore Heaven, 13th August 1994

“I Quit” Match
Tommy Dreamer vs. The Sandman with Woman
ECW Hardcore TV, 4th October 1994

Wrestling Machines

Six Man Tag Team Match
ECW Television Champion Eddy Guerrero & The Steiner Brothers with Tazz vs. Cactus Jack, 2 Cold Scorpio & Dean Malenko with Raven
ECW Wrestlepalooza, 5th August, 1995

ECW World Heavyweight Championship Number One Contender’s Match
Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven with Buelah McGillicutty, Stevie Richards & The Blue Meanie
ECW Holiday Hell Tour, 29th December, 1995

Tag Team Match
The Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas
ECW House Party, 5th January 1996

Disc Two

A good idea at the time

Extreme Hardcore Shoot Fight
Chris Jericho with Todd Gordon vs. Taz with Bill Alfonso
ECW Lost Battalion Hall, 13th April 1996

ECW World Television Championship Match
2 Cold Scorpio © vs. Shane Douglas
ECW A Matter of Respect, 11th May 1996

The Flagstaff

Sabu vs. Chris Jericho
ECW Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvannia, 2nd August 1996

Six Man Tag Team Match
Dick Togo, Terry Boy & Taka Michnoku vs. Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa & Great Sasuke
ECW Hardcore TV, 27th March 1997

Tag team wrestling done right.

ECW World Tag Team Championship Three Way Dance
The Eliminators vs. The Gangstas vs. The Dudleys (Devon Dudley & Big Dick Dudley) with Bubba Ray Dudley
ECW Buffalo, New York,17th May 1997

Disc 3

Real Heat

Eight Man Tag Team Match
The Sandman, ECW World Television Champion Taz, Tommy Dreamer & Al Snow vs. Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon with Bill Alfonso
ECW Hardcore TV, 5th January 1998.

ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Shane Douglas © with Francine vs. Al Snow
ECW Wrestlepalooza, 3rd May 1998.

ECW World Tag Team Championship Match
Chris Candido & Lance Storm © vs. Sabu & ECW World Television Champion Rob Van Dam with Bill Alfonso
ECW Hardcore TV, 29th June 1998

A Real Clash of Styles

FTW World Heavyweight Championship Three Way Dance
ECW World Tag Team Champion Sabu with Bill Alfonso vs. Taz © vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
ECW Arena, 8th August 1998

ECW World Tag Team Championship Match
The Dudley Boys © vs. Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney
ECW Hardcore TV, 23rd August 1999

Stepping Up

ECW World Heavyweight Championship
Mike Awesome © vs. Rhino with Steve Corino
ECW on TNN, 1st October 1999

Three-Way Dance
Yoshihiro Tajiri with Steve Corino & Jack Victory vs. Super Crazy vs. Jerry Lynn
ECW November to Remember, 7th November, 1999.

The Ultimate Underdog

ECW World Television Championship Match
Rob Van Dam © with Bill Alfonso vs. Mikey Whipwreck
ECW on TNN, 28th January 2000.

ECW World Heavyweight Championship Three-Way Dance
Justin Credible © with Francine vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino with Jack Victory
ECW on TNN, 29th September 2000

End of an Era


Firstly, I'd like to point out that I haven't seen Volume 1 of the ECW Unreleased Series so I won't be able to make any comparisons between this set and it's predecessor. I have however seen a number of other ECW DVD's that WWE has produced since purchasing the company back in 2003, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this three disc DVD set.

The set is presented by former ECW commentator Joey Styles and ECW Legend Tommy Dreamer. It's great to see Dreamer working with WWE once more, after a piss poor run in TNA. Styles and Dreamer work well as a pairing, and it's clear that the two get on well outside the studio as well, a lot of the time it feels like we're dropping in on two friends talking about how they used to live, which is a welcome change to the clinical feel of some of WWE's recent DVD releases. Styles and Dreamer not only give a good view of what was happening with ECW at the time, but feel balanced in their views, giving a good lead in for the match you are about to see. It's a shame then, that we don't see the pair before every match, as their insights into the feud always helps to bring the action to life for me.

What really stands out on this set for me was the variety of match styles that are presented. On previous ECW DVD's that I've watched, the focus has been very much on the extreme and hardcore matches. Whilst I'm a fan of these matches, watching nine hours worth of them does become a bit of an overkill, so I was pleased to see a sound mixture go into this DVD. Of course, you get your fair share of the Hardcore Brawls that ECW became known for with bouts like Public Enemy against The Gangsta and a classic "I Quit" match between Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman, but thrown in along the way are fantastic wrestling matches, like the Michonoku-Pro Six Man Tag showcase and a Three Way Dance between Tajiri, Super Crazy and Jerry Lynn.

Whilst a lot of the matches on the DVD are fun to watch, there are some that remind us that ECW wasn't exactly perfect. Take the bout on Disc 2, between Chris Jericho and Taz. Sounds like it could be a good match right? Think again, because this is billed as an Extreme Hardcore Shoot Fight. Now I've seen the match and I've still no idea what that means. It was essentially ECW's attempt to incorporate MMA in to wrestling and it failed. I hope TNA is taking notes here. Another one I'd throw on the heap would be Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas, it's violence for violence sake. I'm not a fan of this style of wrestling, there doesn't seem a whole lot of thought gone into the match, just grab the nearest object a hit someone in the head with it.

Something that caught my attention throughout the set, is the crowd. These matches are all helped tremendously by the crowd in attendance. ECW crowds were known for being wild and crazy, something that comes shining through on this box set. When compared to most of the crowds we see today at WWE and TNA shows, the ECW faithful were head and shoulders above the rest. Expect humorous chants, loud pops and fan interaction, that brings that extra edge and excitement to the matches throughout the set. The other thing that lifts a lot of the matches is the commentary of Joey Styles. Styles is much better at commentating alone, as it's clear to hear he doesn't enjoy being shackled by a color commentator trying to get his stuff in as well. Styles really helps to pull you into the match, and his ability to cover the back story of a contest whilst still describing what's happening in ring is second to none.

I also enjoyed being able to see some rare appearances in ECW from Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton and The Steiner Brothers, and whilst their matches aren't exactly the best that are included on the set, in terms of history it's nice to see them included here. The same goes for a number of wrestlers farewell matches in ECW, especially the Dudley Boys' ECW World Tag Team Championship bout against Spike Dudley and Balls Mahoney, as we all know how succesfull both Buh Buh Ray and D-Von went onto be in the WWF and later TNA.

Some of the earlier footage isn't of particularly great quality, making the matches a little difficult to get into, this can be said for later stuff that is shown via "Fan Cam" as well. No matter how good the action is in the ring, if you can't see what is happening then you can't really connect with what is going on in the ring. This certainly improves as the set goes on and once we reach the ECW on TNN era, the footage has improved ten fold.

To buy or not to Buy...

Personally, I would recommend this set to any pro wrestling fan. The variety of matches on display, along with the strong presentation from Joey Styles and Tommy Dreamer, plus rare matches from wrestlers not really associated with ECW are all selling points for me. There really is something for every fan to enjoy here.

My Top Three Matches From This Set

1. Sabu vs. Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, ECW Are a

2. 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Shane Douglas, ECW A Matter of Respect, 

3. Dick Togo, Terry Boy & Taka Michnoku vs. Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa & Great Sasuke ECW Hardcore TV,

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