That's a Wrap
By: David Stephens of WrestleView.com

ECW Retrospective

Welcome to a very special column dedicated to the life and times of ECW. To be specific I am speaking about the WWE incarnation which lasted from 2006 up until this past Tuesday night. The reason I am taking the time to put this together is due to the fact that it seems almost no one has anything positive to say about the product. I started recapping the show for WrestleView two years ago, and have seen nearly every episode during that time frame. I?ve been in the trenches, so to speak.

Is my opinion more valid than anyone else’s? No, absolutely not. I just believe that I have an interesting insight into the show simply because of the sheer volume of the product I?ve absorbed. Some would certainly comment on the issue without even watching the show, but that’s not I how I operate. I?m not an expert, just a fan and intense observer of the program.

I thought about 15,000 different ways to approach the show, and give it a proper retrospective. I have decided to settle on looking at each and every superstar who graced the ECW brand. For most I?ll just give a grade from my gut, and with some I?ll give my quick thoughts (quick, because this thing would be longer than War & Peace if I don?t refrain from superfluous details) on how the wrestler grew, or floundered, by being on ECW.

So here is how the ranking system is going to operate. I?m using the A ? F grading scale. This has ONLY do with ECW, so that is how the grade is based. You?ll catch on soon enough. Also, bear in mind that the grade is not entirely based on the wrestler’s skill, as I am focusing on the company’s usage of the talent. I will readily admit that I am definitely going to be accidentally omitting some wrestlers. This is because it actually quite difficult to find a list of every single Superstar. ECW will get a grade at the bottom of this column based on an average from all of its stars. Away we go!

ECW Champions

Rob Van Dam
June 13th 2006
Few moments will ever top the ECW One Night Stand in which the fans were rabid and on the verge of riot as RVD captured the ECW Championship. While his reign was cut short due to drug issues (he and Sabu were pulled over with marijuana amongst other things in their car), this moment alone awards him a perfect A.
Rating: A

The Big Show
July 4th 2006
A solid Champion, but his act began to grow old very quick on the brand as there were no reasonable opponents to challenge him.
Rating: B+

Bobby Lashley
December 3rd 2006, June 3rd 2007
This guy was pushed to the stars, yet his time on ECW paled in comparison to the rest of his run in the WWE.
Rating: B

Mr. McMahon
April 29th 2007
No comment
Rating: D

Johnny Nitro/ John Morrison
June 24th 2007
Before his breakout success, it all started in the land of extreme. (Well, except for being Bischoff’s lackey and all that jazz.
Rating: B+

CM Punk
September 1st 2007
People questioned whether or not Punk could actually make it in the WWE, it was in ECW that he began his quest towards stardom.
Rating: B+

Chavo Guerrero
January 22nd 2008
Not a very credible Champion. Ended up losing his Title to Kane in only 14 seconds.
Rating: C+

Kane
March 30th 2008
Kane had arguably been growing stale, and his venture in ECW was reinvigorating.
Rating: C

Mark Henry
June 29th 2008
Seemed like a terrible idea at the time, but actually really helped build the big guy up. He became a very real and legitimate threat in the ring.
Rating: B+

Matt Hardy
September 7th 2008
Personal feelings aside, Hardy took the face of ECW position for a couple of months which helped garner interest for the show, and display his own talent.
Rating: C

Jack Swagger
January 12th 2009
This guy came out of NOWHERE, and yet ended up winning the Title. Even with his lisp, his impressive amateur background allowed the ?All-American American? success.
Rating: B

Christian
April 26th 2009, July 26th 2009
Arguably the best Champion in the ECW revival period. Some wanted him to return to the WWE on one of the bigger shows, but he made a huge impact on Tuesday nights for the company
Rating: A

Tommy Dreamer
June 7th 2009
Based simply on his heart, the guy deserved the belt. His work both in the ring and backstage was crucial in helping developing talent. His work was far more important than we?ll ever fully appreciate.
Rating: B

Ezekiel Jackson
February 16th 2010
Eh, this reign should have come much sooner. I?m awarding him a generous grade based upon the work he did before becoming the Champion. He turned from body guard to monster over the course of only a couple of months.
Rating: C

Champion Average Grade: B

Current Roster (Final Roster)

Abraham Washington
Turned out to be a very entertaining personality.
Rating: A

Byron Saxton
Not around that long, but definitely has the chops to commentate.
Rating: B

Caylen Croft
This video game loving wrestler never really established himself as anything unique.
Rating: C

Goldust
Has been wrestling better in the past 6 months that in the past 6 years. Great resource for the young talents such as Yoshi Tatsu
Rating: B

Gregory Helms
Just terrible as an interviewer for some reason.
Rating: D

Josh Mathews
He has been really solid since his time on Velocity, and this was no exception.
Rating: B

Rosa Mendes
Believe it or not, her work with Ryder proved entertaining. That random Spanish is kind of hilarious as well.
Rating: D

Savannah
Slightly better than her predecessor Lauren Mayhew? slightly
Rating: D+

Shelton Benjamin
Good, better never did anything special on the show
Rating: B

The Hurricane
Yes, he gets a grade separate from Helms.
Rating: C+

Tiffany
This actually worked really well. Not sure how, but it did. Also, on an unrelated note that definitely did not affect my grade of her (yeah right), she is drop dead gorgeous.
Rating: A

Tony Atlas
Did two rewarding things on the show. Mentored Mark Henry, and provided the laugh track for the Abraham Washington Show.
Rating: A

Trent Barreta
See: Caylen Croft
Rating: C

Tyler Reks
Whatever happened to that guy?
Rating: D

Vance Archer
Didn?t have that much time to accomplish anything outside of defeating jobbers and Shelton Benjamin.
Rating: C+

Vladimir Kozlov
Very similar to Ezekiel Jackson. He grew and gained a decent following thanks to his time in ECW.
Rating: B+

William Regal
Very enjoyable work from the veteran.
Rating: A

Yoshi Tatsu
Impressively became a fan favorite almost overnight.
Rating: B+

Zack Ryder
He gets a good grade just for his theme song alone.
Rating: B+

Current Roster Average Grade: C+

General Managers

Paul Heyman
June 13th 2006 ? December 4th 2006
Nostalgically fun, but was unable to see his vision come to fruition.
Rating: B

Armando Estrada
August 14th 2007 ? June 3rd 2008
Spent the bulk of his time pronouncing his name and belittling Colin Delaney.
Rating: C+

Theodore Long
June 3rd 2008 ? April 7th 2009
Helped garner legitimacy for the brand in the eyes of fans.
Rating: B

General Manager Average Grade: C+

Commentator Teams

Joey Styles & Tazz
June 13th 2006 ? April 8th 2008
Crucial for the ECW feel when the brand was first re-launched.
Rating: A

Mike Adamle & Tazz
April 22nd 2008 ? July 22nd 2008
This caused so much frustration when recapping. These two NEVER called a move by name. Seriously, it was hell recapping under these two guys. That being said, I have a soft spot for Adamle because he always made me laugh.
Rating: C

Todd Grisham & Tazz
July 29th 2008 ? August 5th 2008
Decent team, nothing stands out as amazing or terrible.
Rating: B

Todd Grisham & Matt Striker
August 12th 2008 ? March 31st 2009
Without a doubt the best ECW combination. Definitely deserved the Slammy Award that year.
Rating: A

Josh Mathews & Matt Striker
April 7th 2009 ? October 20th 2009
A decent blend that brought Mathews back to the booth.
Rating: B+

Josh Mathews & Byron Saxton
October 27th 2009 ? February 16th 2010
Two young talents that were really starting to click.
Rating: B

Commentator Average Grade: B

Ring Announcers

Justin Roberts
June 13th 2006 ? September 18th 2007, September 29th 2009
The best in the company at the moment as far as I?m concerned. Definitely was doing great work during his time with ECW.
Rating: A

Tony Chimel
September 25th 2007 ? September 22nd 2009, November 24th 2009 ? December 8th 2009
He was a very consistent talent, with a great voice.
Rating: B+

Lauren Mayhew
October 6th 2009 ? November 17th 2009
I didn?t even think it was possible to be that bad.
Rating: F

Ring Announcer Average Grade: C+

Segments

Kelly’s Expose
Kelly Kelly
I?ll never forget the debut night of ECW when my friend told me I had to go turn on the TV because there was a Stripper on the show.
Rating: A

Striker’s Classroom
Matt Striker
Rating: C+

Extreme Expose
Kelly Kelly, Layla, Brooke
A shell of the original Expose.
Rating: D

15 Minutes of Fame
John Morrison Invitational
Did what it needed to accomplish
Rating: C

The Dirt Sheet
John Morrison & The Miz
Rating: B

The Peep Show
Christian
Entertaining when present, but only occurred a handful of times.
Rating: B

The Abraham Washington Show
Abraham Washington, Tony Atlas
Best. Talk Show. Ever.
Rating: A

Segment Average Grade: C+

Alumni

Al Snow
Rating: D+

Alicia Fox
Rating: D+

Ariel
Rating: D+

Balls Mahoney
Rating: C+

Big Daddy V
Rating: B

Big Guido
Rating: D

Brad Armstrong
Rating: D

C.W. Anderson
Rating: D

Chris Benoit
Rating: C+

Colin Delaney
Rating: B

Danny Basham
Rating: D+

Danny Doring
Rating: D

DJ Gabriel
Rating: B

Doug Basham
Rating: D+

Elijah Burke
Rating: C+

Evan Bourne
Rating: A

Fit Finlay
Rating: A

Gene Snitsky
Rating: C

Hardcore Holly
Rating: C

Hornswoggle
Rating: B+

James Curtis
Rating: D

Johnny Jeter
Rating: D

Justin Credible
Rating: D

Kevin Thorn
Rating: C

Kofi Kingston
Rating: B+

Macho Libre
Rating: D

Marcus Cor Von
Rating: C

Masato Tanaka
Rating: D

Mike Knox
Rating: C

Nunzio
Rating: C

Rebecca Dipietro
Rating: D

Renee Dupree
Rating: D

Sabu
Rating: C+

Sandman
Rating: C+

Shannon Moore
Rating: D+

Shawn Daivari
Rating: D+

Stevie Richards
Rating: D+

Super Crazy
Rating: D+

Sylvester Terkay
Rating: D

Tajiri
Rating: C

Terry Funk
Rating: D+

Test
Rating: C

The Boogeyman
Rating: B+

The Great Khali
Rating: C

The Miz
Rating: A

The Zombie
Rating: D

Tony Mamaluke
Rating: D

Trinity
Rating: D+

Alumni Average Grade: D+

ECW 2006 ? 2010 Final Grade: C
Having done all of the math, and considering my thoughts and the state of the product, for a three year period I do believe the grade is a fair average and insight into the show’s run. I look forward to moving into the future and will ask you to once again stop questioning your heart and join me, as we embark on the NXT adventure!

David Stephens

So ?that’s a wrap??. Love it? Hate it? Disagree with everything I said? Just want to chat wrestling? I?m always up for reading your thoughts so send them ?em on over.


Click the Icon to Join

The last time I freaked out, I just kept looking down
I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I’m thinking bout
Like I couldn’t breathe you asked what’s wrong with me
My best friend Leslie said, ?Oh she’s just being Miley?
The next time we hang out, I will redeem myself
My heart, it can’t rest till then oh, woah woah
I can’t wait to see you again

Why did I just close out my column with Miley Cyrus lyrics? Because I can