Although the build-up for the pay-per-view began in the middle of May, plans were in the works behind the scenes for several months in advance. Tommy Dreamer was in charge of organizing the event and getting ECW Originals to participate. He contacted several people, including The Sandman, Sabu, Justin Credible, and ECW commentator Joey Styles. Reports later stated that Paul Heyman was working with Dreamer to help prepare the event. Other ECW related wrestlers were later added to the PPV. The event was publicly confirmed by WWE through a Dish Network magazine in March 2005. In an interview with SLAM! Sports days before One Night Stand, ECW Original Rob Van Dam announced he had asked Vince McMahon about the idea of holding an ECW reunion event.
Although many of the individual matches on the One Night Stand card were announced weeks before the pay-per-view occurred, none of them got any build-up, with WWE choosing to focus on an "invasion" angle, with several Raw and SmackDown! superstars feuding against wrestlers from the original ECW.
The invasion angle began on the May 9, 2005 edition of Raw, when Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff made a statement regarding the pay-per-view, saying that he would "squash ECW like a bug." The following week, on the May 16 episode of Raw, Tajiri agreed to an Extreme Rules match with Chris Benoit. In the middle of the contest, however, Bischoff came out to stop it, and announced anything related to ECW was banned from Raw. He also vowed to "destroy" ECW with the help of the Raw superstars chosen to compete at the pay-per-view. Bischoff planned an ECW funeral for the May 23 episode of Raw but was interrupted by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. McMahon spoke of his support for the ECW reunion and his financial interest in bringing back the promotion. Paul Heyman then came out and reminded McMahon that, while he does not own ECW, he still has control of it. Heyman also said that he welcomed Bischoff's invasion, claiming, "You may light a fire that you can’t put out." Heyman then lit the funeral wreath ablaze. In a rematch from the previous week, Benoit defeated Tajiri in an Extreme Rules match after locking in the Crippler Crossface. The following week, Bischoff set up a Tables match between Edge and Benoit.
Benoit attempted a diving headbutt with Edge on the table, but Lita moved Edge off the table. At that point, Bischoff sent several Raw superstars to the ring to assault Benoit, with Gene Snitsky booting Benoit in the face. Edge then put Benoit through the table with a Powerbomb for the victory.
The feud between WWE brands also spread over to SmackDown!. On the May 26, 2005 edition of SmackDown!, Kurt Angle stated that ECW was a low-class promotion, that he would be part of the WWE invasion of One Night Stand, and that he would take SmackDown! volunteers with him. A week later, Angle asked Tazz to join him in the invasion. On the same episode of SmackDown!, John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) announced he would be joining Angle in invading the PPV. When Tazz rejected the offer, Angle reacted by assaulting Tazz and leaving him bleeding in the ring.
On the June 6, 2005 edition of Raw, Benoit defeated Snitsky in an Extreme Rules match by hitting a diving headbutt. The ECW Originals made their debut on WWE television as Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno, Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, The Sandman, and other ECW Originals attacked Bischoff's Raw invaders, with ECW Originals the Dudley Boyz hitting a Dudley Death Drop on Raw invader Maven. Benoit was drafted to SmackDown! on the June 9, 2005 episode, and he faced JBL in the main event with the ECW Originals at ringside cheering on Benoit. JBL's Cabinet was also at ringside, as well as Carlito, Matt Morgan and Kurt Angle. Benoit locked in the Crossface on JBL, but Angle interfered and broke the submission hold, resulting in a disqualification. A brawl broke out between the ECW Originals and WWE Invaders, with ECW coming out on top before One Night Stand.
Read more about this topic: ECW One Night Stand (2005)
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