11th Aug2013

‘ECW Unreleased: Volume 2’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat


Following the success of the first volume of ECW Unreleased, the WWE delves even deeper into the ECW archives, delivering even more hardcore action once again hosted by the voice of ECW, Joey Styles, who returns to call the action on over 7 hours of previously unreleased matches with a little help from ECW Original Tommy Dreamer.

Featuring ECW stalwarts to WWE Legends’ stints on the hardcore circuit, this brand-new compilation contains matches such as the first ECW battle between Extreme Originals Tommy Dreamer and Tazz; WWE Hall of Famers Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) & Terry Funk squaring off; aerial warfare between Chris Jericho and Sabu; matches for the ECW Championship, Japanese death matches and Mexican lucha libre – all in the ECW’s inimitable style…

I get that the WWE want to release all their archival material to the fans eager to snap it up on DVD and/or Blu-ray but what I don’t get, at least in the case of “lost” ECW match footage, is why anyone would want to watch sub-par nth-generation VHS tranfers with picture and sound drop-outs? Because that’s what makes up a lot of the footage in ECW Unreleased: Volume 2!

Of course hardcore ECW fans will see past the dodgy picture quality and concentrate on the matches at hand – some of which are totally laughable and some of which are pure hardcore wrestling at it very finest. And surprisingly the best match in this entire collection features a tag team battle that is one of the best matches I’ve seen in ANY wrestling promotion – The Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas (House Party – 5th January, 1996). The match is the epitome of what ECW was all about: totally insane OTT wrestling action, as The Public Enemy and The Gangstas literally put their bodies on the line, all in the name of making the match the best it can be for the fans in attendance. It’s just a shame that this was the last ECW match for The Public Enemy – they left for WCW after this match and ended up as your typical mid-card talent that never really got the chance to shine in Eric Bishoff’s promotion.

Of course there are great matches and then there are terrible ones. Really terrible ones. Why the “shoot” match between Chris Jericho and Taz was included on this disc belies belief. Even Joey Styles, in his introduction to the match on this Blu-ray, says its a terrible match. To put it bluntly, if its bad, don’t include it. Give us another classic Taz match instead, or maybe some of Jericho’s more high-flying antics.

Honestly,t I was never the greatest fan of ECW. I appreciated what they did, bringing wrestling back to its roots in the age of “Hollywood” wrestling over at WCW and WWF but I never understood the need for such ridiculous bloodletting and obviously faked “hardcore” action (just watch the Sandman burn his eye with a cigarette during his “I Quit” match with Tommy Dreamer). Yet if you’re a hardcore fan of ECW’s hardcore style you’ll probably get a kick out of this release but for the more “mainstream” wrestling fans this is probably best left on the shelf.

ECW Unreleased: Volume 2 is out on DVD and Blu-ray on August 12th.


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