PHILADELPHIA — With the recent passing of ECW original Balls Mahoney fresh in everyone’s minds, it was a given that Saturday night’s House of Hardcore, held at the old ECW Arena in Philadelphia, would include a tribute to the fallen star. But, as Tommy Dreamer’s promotion is much more than simply a nostalgia show, he made sure that new memories were made along with those from the past.

The main event of Rhino taking on Rob Van Dam was a rematch from their battles from 15 or 16 years ago during the final days of ECW. RVD was his usual cool, looking great hitting his vintage moves like Rolling Thunder, while Rhino was his normal aggressive self and hasn’t lost a step from his ECW days. A big table was introduced early on, but didn’t come into play until the end. Rhino missed a GORE and crashed into, but not through it. Afterwards, RVD whipped him into it, which finally broke it to the delight of the crowd, and then hit the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the pin.

After the match, The Sandman made his way to the ring to his traditional beer-drinking, Metallica-singing entrance, looking to share a drink with his ECW brethren. Though it looked like Rhino wouldn’t join him in the ring, possibly because of the alleged real-life heat between the two, he eventually joined them, as did Tommy Dreamer. Rhino thanked the three others for being such an influence on his career, and helping him become the success that he is. Having quit drinking several years ago, he gave his beer to a fan that he had exchanged words with, and shoved, earlier during his match. After that, Dreamer thanked the crowd for supporting the ECW family and, tossing beers to the crowd, the four led the crowd in another singalong for Balls as they headed to the back to end the show.

Earlier in the day, there was an Icons of Wrestling convention at the same location. There was certainly overlap between House of Hardcore and Icons of Wrestling; for example, Platinum VIP tickets got you premiums at both events.

Much of the HoH roster appeared at both events but some only appeared at the show. Some big names, like Ricky Steamboat, Mortdecai, X-Pac, and Mickie James were unexpectedly a part of the wrestling show. Names that were at the convention only include Shawn Michaels, Blue Meanie, Abyss, “Cowboy” James Storm, Howard Finkel, Justin Credible, Paul Orndorff, Shane Douglas, Gorgeous George, “Outlaw” Ron Bass, Stan Hansen, Snitsky, Booker T, Kurt Angle, Little Guido, Joel Gertner, Amish Roadkill, Lex Luger, Sabu, Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan, and Dennis (“I’m not booked!”) Stamp. As well, Matt Striker and Homicide were backstage at the event.


Before the show started, the roster came out to celebrate the life of the recently-departed Balls Mahoney. Instead of the traditional 10-bell salute, Tommy Dreamer led the crowd in singing Mahoney’s theme song, “Big Balls.”

So Cal Val was the ring announcer for the evening, but ECW’s own Stephen DeAngelis took that role for the main event.

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat came to the ring — the first time he’d ever been in the ring in the ECW Arena — to thank the crowd for supporting House of Hardcore, and for supporting pro wrestling.

Vik Delishus interrupted Steamboat, berating the veteran, who was clearly happy with the crowd’s derogatory chants towards the less-than-athletic-looking Vik. He tried to attack the Steamer, who took him out with some vintage Dragon chops, showing that he’s still got it.

1) Rosita vs Jade. The TNA Knockout Champion Jade won after a decent match with a few rough patches.

2) Ben “Action” Ortiz and Vik Delishus came out. Vik announced that Eddie Kingston would take his spot in the tag match against Team Tremendous. TT won after a good match, featuring the first “Holy s***” chants of the night.

3) Bull James vs “Badass” Billy Gunn. Gunn pinned Dempsey after a Fame-asser. The match was fun, if not a bit sloppy, including Gunn’s finisher which looked weak. After the match, Mortdecai attacked both men. Sean “X-Pac” Waltman made the save and he and Gunn celebrated with a DX reunion.

4) Tony Nese won a Three-Way Dance over Alex Reynolds and Chris Dickinson. This was a very good match with lots of high spots.

5) Pepper Parks w/ Cherry Bomb vs Tommy Dreamer. Cherry tried to interfere at one point, so Dreamer brought out Mickie James as an equalizer. A lot of craziness with plenty of outside interference, including a big spot where Mickie dove off the top to hit a Super Thesz Press onto Cherry’s bodyguard on the floor. In the chaos, Pepper got the sneaky pin on Tommy using the ropes.

6) Sami Callihan vs Brian Cage. Cage won a hard-hitting battle. Highlights included a sequence where they exchanged multiple dives to the floor.

7) Colt Cabana and Chris Hero vs Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) – NOAH GHC Tag Team Championship. This was a good match, which saw lots of action in and out of the ring. The KES retained their titles after a double-team move on Hero.

8) Rob Van Dam beat Rhino.

House of Hardcore comes to Niagara Falls, Ontario on May 7. Eric Young vs Bobby Roode has been announced as the main event.