A week before the Philadelphia Eagles look to win their first Super Bowl, House of Hardcore returned to the ECW Arena, kicking off a 21-person tournament to crown the first Twitch TV Champion.

Austin Aries aimed to add a fifth title to his current collection, as he faced Matt Riddle in the match of the night. After absorbing all of Aries’ trademark maneuvers, the King of Bros refused to stay down, hanging in the Last Chancery as the time limit expired. The passionate Philly crowd chanted for five more minutes, and after both competitors agreed to continue, the ref extended the match. Riddle hit a GTS and German suplex combo, but Aries kicked out. Then a nasty fall to the outside gave Aries control, and he hit a neckbreaker in between the ropes for another near fall. Somehow, Riddle fought back, trapping Aries in a submission but the time expired yet again.

As the crowd chanted for five more minutes, Aries asked Riddle if he was ready. But as the ref rang the bell, Aries kicked Riddle in the groin, and quickly hit a brainbuster for the victory.

Despite that classless display, Aries was not the most hated man in the City of Brotherly Love. That distinction went to Danny Maff, who donned a Tom Brady shirt in Eagles’ territory. The nearly 20-year veteran tore the house down with Ace Romero in a battle of the super heavyweights. After Maff tossed Romero outside the ring, he teased flying over the ropes only to stop in his tracks and flip off the fans. Romero capitalized, knocking Maff to the outside and defying gravity with a suicide dive to the floor.

“Acey Baby” chants echoed throughout 2300 Arena as the behemoths traded blows. With blood trickling out his nose, Romero tore the Brady shirt off and delivered blistering chops to Maff’s bare chest. In the end, Romero took one risk too many, as Maff grabbed him off the top rope and dropped him with a reverse Death Valley Driver to advance in the tournament.

The finals of the championship tournament will take place during WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans as part of WrestleCon.

In a highly anticipated tag team bout, Tommy Dreamer and Billy Gunn sought revenge against the nefarious trio of NWA Champion Nick Aldis, Joey Mercury and “The Franchise” Shane Douglas. The devious State Athletic Commissioner announced that instead of the promised “hardcore war,” the match would be a normal tag team bout, no doubt playing to the strengths of Mercury and Aldis. Blue Meanie appeared as a red herring, revealing Dreamer and Gunn’s mystery corner man as Bully Ray.

Mercury and Aldis isolated Dreamer as Douglas lurked at ringside, scurrying whenever Bully came close. Hot tag to Gunn and the New Age Outlaw turned back the clock to 1998, clearing the ring. A collision into the referee allowed Douglas to ram Bully’s head into the turnbuckle post, and the commissioner decided to reverse his decision, allowing weapons into the fracas.

Suddenly, “Enter Sandman” blasted throughout the arena and the Singapore cane-swinging madman attacked the commissioner. Aldis quickly attacked him from behind, and the trio went to work. Dreamer, Gunn and Bully evened the odds, bashing their foes with trash cans, cookie trays and a cheese grater. Dreamer hit Mercury with a Spicolli Driver onto the table, and then after chants of “One More Time,” finally drove Mercury through the wood for the win.

After the chaos, Dreamer thanked the crowd for their support and pointed out the Twitch employee who made the event possible. He also commended Gunn on being eight years sober, and Sandman for being one day sober.

In other matches:

Brian Cage def. Sami Callihan
Willie Mack def. Matt Cross & Luchasaurus
“Killer” Kevin Kross def. Little Guido
Crazzy Steve def. MJF
Alex Reynolds def. Super Crazy
Bull James def. Eddie Kingston
Kenny of The Squad def. Lisa Marie Varon
Swoggle def. Mikey of The Squad

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