My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Rise & Fall of ECW....in 6 Days

The hype behind the revival of ECW was really low up until the WWE VS ECW Head to Head special. The way the show was handled gave many hope that WWE's version of ECW actually had a chance of making it.

The second One Night Stand PPV could not and should not be compared to last year's nostalgic event. This year's event was to kick off the launch of the new ECW brand, and was a success if you looked at it that way.

Tazz VS Jerry Lawler - Your nuts if you were expecting this to be any kind of classic in the first place. I was a bit dissapointed we didn't see more than just Tazz clamp on the Tazmission for the 30-second victory, but I guess it just means Tazz's neck problems are worse than expected.

Randy Orton VS Kurt Angle - There were some people who were long time ECW fans that actually expected Angle to get booed and were shocked that he wasn't just cause he isn't an ECW pure-blood. Like his nickname, Angle is a Wrestling Machine, and he's earned the respect of pro-wrestling fans EVERYWHERE. And there were others who pointed out this match was boring due to all the mat work. Funny, I thought the critics were expecting more wrestling on the show? I think they are nuts if they just watch the match and silence out the audience cause the live crowd helped make this match fun and enjoyable. Don't tell me there are actually people who watch wrestling with the volume OFF on their TVs.

The FBI VS Super Crazy & Tajiri - The one match almost everyone can agree on as having an true-born ECW feel to it and was entertaining throughout.

World Championship: Sabu VS Rey Mysterio - The fact that they decided to end this match in a no-contest is a complete travesty since it was a PPV dream match that many tuned in to see specifically. Having the match end just because of one sick bump is being hypocritical to everything ECW stood for, especially since it seemed ok to have Terry Funk come out again after taking what looked to be a serious injury during the tag match later. Some people complained that Sabu is over rated And can only do big spots after watching the match, but hey, it's better than being a tiny world champion that jobs on TV EVERY WEEK. Sabu's style has never changed. Deal with it.

Mick Foley & Edge VS Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer - A lot of complaints that they never should have added Beaulah & Lita to the match, but isn't that really like ECW's style to switch things up on the fly? The match was brutal, and we got more out of Terry Funk than any of us really expected he had in him after the way he was hobbling around on TV leading up to the PPV. The finish of Edge pinning Beaulah was the best way to continue Edge's push as a bastard heel who really would do anything to win a match and live up to his moniker of the Rated-R Superstar. If this show was like last year, no doubt the face team would have won to send the fans home happy, but this was more to set up storylines for the new TV show they have coming up and I really don't have a problem with it if taken in that perspective.

Balls Mahoney VS Masato Tanaka - They had to cut this one short due to time constraints, but seriously, after the MOTY caliber match and all the sick spots it took to take him down last year, they should have let Balls clobber Tanaka a few more times with the chair to finally put him down, no matter how sick that one shot was.

WWE Championship: Rob Van Dam VS John Cena - Again there were complaints about the fans not being "true" ECW fans since "true" ECW fans would have accepted Cena since the man really does bust his ass in the ring to do the best he can, just like in this match. Instead he got busted with "You can't wrestle" and "Same old sh*t" chants for his efforts. I really don't see the problem since Cena has been booed almost everywhere, and ECW fans at the Hammerstein was a high-concentrated dose of people who really had up to their necks with WWE cramming Cena down their throats and wanted Van Dam to get his due. Proven even more by the fact that they would cheer Edge for costing Cena the match near the end.
The one point I would agree on is of course the finish of the match with Heyman making the 3 count as back in the day you never saw anything like that on actual ECW television, and like many, I was expecting something to happen after the match that would either reverse the decision or continue the match, instead the decision stood.
And Vince obviously couldn't care less about his company's top prize since he agreed to let Heyman's decision stand on RAW the following night while he went off on his power trip seeking revenge against Triple H for exposing Vince's ass on TV last week.

So obviously, the PPV went off with a bang, and all the hope had been restored that ECW was indeed going to be something special when it made it's debut on Tuesday night on Sci-Fi Channel. If only we knew better then.


Any hope that WWE were going to do ECW right were completely dashed on Tuesday with the debut of ECW on Sci Fi Network. Even though some changes were to be expected, there was just so many thing wrong with the show.

The biggest problem was obviously the crowd. While it's good to see ECW in bigger venues compared to their past, the problem with doing ECW TV tapings before Smackdown! tapings is that you get a mixed crowd of ECW & WWE fans, resulting in ECW wrestlers getting booed during the ECW tapings, like Paul Heyman and Rob Van Dam were during the opening promo and presentation of the new ECW World Title. Add to that, why hasn't RVD been paired up again with Bill Alphonzo, the Manager of Champions? Fonzie was at One Night Stand, but he didn't accompany either RVD or Sabu for their matches.
And then we had Edge come out and play RVD like a fool before punking him out, along with John Cena. How the heck Joey Styles & Tazz could play it up like they didn't see it coming is beyond me considering just days earlier we saw Edge spear and dry hump Beaulah at One Night Stand. Heck, as laid back as he is, RVD should even have seen it coming.

And then there was the first official match on ECW TV. THE ZOMBIE?!? I understand it's the Sci Fi channel and all, but come on! The first match should have been something powerful and memorable, not having Sandman cane some jobber back to the grave. You could even see it on the faces of the fans as the Zombie made his way to the ring, this was the last thing anyone wanted to see on an ECW show.

And in the second match we had Kurt Angle squash former ECW champion Justin Credible in mere minutes with almost zero offense from Credible. Credible was the biggest heel of ECW at one time and one of the longest reigning champions. They could have at least let him get some offense in. And I think Tazz was legitimately shocked when Kurt almost used a Tazmission like choke to win the match.

Then we had another big time waster with the Kelly the Exhibitionist striptease segment. Some say it was a homage to Kimona from years back, but to me this was simply NOT the right time for it. I'm sure all the parents in the audience were happy they brought their kids with them that night too.

And finally the battle royal for the right to face John Cena at Vengeance. ECW was hardcore. But for ECW, hardcore was more than just garbage matches where you slapped each other on the head with a garbage can lid or cookie sheet. And despite Sabu winning it, that one match alone put over the fact that NONE of the ECW roster, including Big Guido, stood a chance against the Big Show.

And while we're on the subject of the roster, you could see how really thin the roster was last night. And we still haven't established a rank and file of the wrestlers. Who's a face and who's the heel? If they are all united, does that mean it's going to be ECW getting their butts kicked by WWE superstars every week?

The sooner they can get away from any inter-brand angle with WWE, the better. This was supposed to be an alternative to WWE programming, but in the end, it ended up as just another extension of everything we see on RAW and Smackdown every week, only worse. They didn't even give the live crowd anything to chant "ECW!" for.

Sci Fi Channel have given ECW praise for it's high debut TV ratings, but wasn't that the same as the XFL before it went downhill, crashed, burned, and became a black eye in the McMahon Hall of Achievement? Sci Fi might be happy now, but I'm guessing it'll be a different story next week when no one tunes in to watch after that debacle that was presented on Tuesday.
Some have said to be patient and wait it out, unfortunately, I think it's already too late for that. Next time Jerry Lawler calls it Extremely Crappy Wrestling and deters fans from watching the show, they just might listen to him.



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