That's a Wrap
By: David Stephens of

Ousta! Welcome back to the only WrestleView column covering topics both nowhere yet everywhere at once. If you are new to the column you are probably going to hate us for the first couple weeks, but then you are going to hit a point where you say ?oh wait a minute, I think he gets it?. Don?t worry, that’s exactly how it is designed to be. This column is all about gut reactions and traveling thoughts. As the great Andy Kaufman once said: ?I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut, or get angry from the gut?.

State of the Brand (ECW)

I received a special request this past week to ?evaluate and grade? the members of the so-called ?New Talent Initiative? started by Theodore Long and continued by the current GM Tiffany. Now as many of you know I?m not a fan of ?grading? because for the most part it seems absurdly subjective to me. That being said, I think there is definitely validity in this request so I am going to tackle it in my own way.

Using my system of ?Power Rankings? which tracks the progress of a Superstar over a 3 month basis I?m going to add on some addition components. Something important to understand is that I am ONLY looking at what a Superstar does on ECW. What they do on another show or even for this instance on a PPV is irrelevant. That also eliminates historical context, which while usually important, is not that useful for understanding how a Superstar is stacking up with the competition TODAY. Keeping that in mind, let us explore the roster.

There are five ?categories? I?ll be ?gut-reaction grading? on. Crowd Reaction, Ring Ability, Look, Mic Ability & Utilization. I?ll be giving these scores with 10 being the max and 1 being the lowest. I shall be grading on the good ?ole curve, so whoever on the roster does the particular trait the ?best? will receive a 10. That does not mean they are the best in the world at that trait, simply that on the ECW roster, they are currently doing it the best. That’s very important for you to understand or else my reasoning may not make sense to you.

Once all five of the grades are in I?ll package it in a nice little fashion of addition where 50 is the maximum possible score. Oh a quick bit of math that is boring but I have to explain real quick. In order to make the ?Utilization Ranking? I took out the PPV points and saw which wrestler had the most points on weekly TV. It ends up being Christian with 30 pts. so his score became the max. Everyone has their score divided by Christian’s raw score then multiplied by ten to fit the 10 point scheme. (Don?t worry it looks pretty below and that’s really what counts). This isn?t a perfect system, but I do believe it gives a decent snapshot of the current ECW roster.

The best score out of 50 that a wrestler received was ?45? by Christian. That has become the ?class best? if you will, and it is what I?ll be curving to as a ?perfect 10?. (I really should have brought Anthony Valvo of ?From the Desk of Mr. V? here on WrestleView to handle all of this number crunching and grading) So let’s jump in!

Christian: Util: 10; Crowd: 10; Ring Ability: 8; Look: 7; Mic Ability: 10
ECW Power Points: 10
No surprise that the Champion ends up at the top of the class. He has a wide variety of skills and is doing a solid job carrying the brand right now.

William Regal: Util: 5; Crowd: 8; Ring Ability: 10; Look: 8; Mic Ability: 10
ECW Power Points: 9
He’s really had a resurgence since coming over to ECW. He is sporting a scruffy but majestic look that benefits his character. The addition of his Roundtable Henchmen have only catapulted him further into the realm of legitimacy. He is deserving of a Title run at some point.

Shelton Benjamin: Util: 8; Crowd: 7; Ring Ability: 8; Look: 8; Mic Ability: 8
ECW Power Points: 9
Shelton was brought over as a result of the Donald Trump initiated trade. He’s made a splash with a couple minor feuds as well as sporting solid mic work which I didn?t have the chance to see from him in the past.

Kozlov: Util: 10; Crowd: 7; Ring Ability: 5; Look: 9; Mic Ability: 6
ECW Power Points: 8
I?ll be the first to admit that I was not happy when Kozlov was brought to the brand. I immediately threw my arms up in dismay and complained to all that would listen. I thought he would destroy the show by ransacking the roster and dominating the Title scene. Instead, the writing team is doing a great job of building him up along with Jackson. He fits well at the moment.

Sheamus: Util: 7; Crowd: 6; Ring Ability: 8; Look: 8; Mic Ability: 4
ECW Power Points: 7
A true ?new talent? in the WWE. His unique look (the man is ridiculously white), and intimidating style has caught the attention of many. He could go on to great things down the line.

Tommy Dreamer: Util: 7; Crowd: 8; Ring Ability: 7; Look: 4; Mic Ability: 7
ECW Power Points: 7
While a Title reign and better than usual wrestling work helped him in the rankings, he is definitely on the way back down. He is a wrestler who is either ?on? or ?off?. I?ll be surprised if he sticks it out till the end of the year as an active on screen character.

Zack Ryder: Util: 7; Crowd: 5; Ring Ability: 6; Look: 9; Mic Ability: 5
ECW Power Points: 7
The new #1 Contender for the ECW has turned many a head. If there was ever a superstar that got over thanks to look and theme alone, this is the guy. When ?Oh Radio? blasts through the arena you can?t help but sing along. His half and half outfit immediately draws heat. A solid gimmick at the moment.

Goldust: Util: 5; Crowd: 6; Ring Ability: 7; Look: 7; Mic Ability: 6
ECW Power Points: 7
Another older talent which has found himself rejuvenated. He seems more limber than he has in years. Goldust has managed to establish himself as a ?legitimate jobber?. He has the ability to get guys over while still maintaining his own standing with the fans.

Ezekiel Jackson: Util: 7; Crowd: 5; Ring Ability: 6; Look: 10; Mic Ability: 1
ECW Power Points: 6
THE Brian Kendrick’s former bodyguard is simply a beast. His body is jacked and just a glance is enough to make you cower with fear. Separating from Kendrick ultimately turned out to be the right move for Jackson.

Paul Burchill: Util: 5; Crowd: 5; Ring Ability: 6; Look: 8; Mic Ability: 5
ECW Power Points: 6
Burchill finds himself in the middle of the pack. Despite decent matches and feuds, at times he remains forgettable. Personally I think it would be great if he brings back the Pirate Gimmick, though that would probably be career suicide.

Shane Helms: Util: 5; Crowd: 7; Ring Ability: 6; Look: 7; Mic Ability: 3
ECW Power Points: 6
Stand Back! There’s a Hurricane Coming Through! The masked crusader is back, and has impressed in the ring. It was a great move to pull him from backstage announcing because he was awful and awkward.

Yoshi Tatsu: Util: 7; Crowd: 8; Ring Ability: 4; Look: 5; Mic Ability: 2
ECW Power Points: 6
This man is insanely over for whatever reason. I like some of his faster moves and he provides definite entertainment. I don?t see him ever holding the ECW Championship, but it is fun to watch him wrestle.

Abraham Washington: Util: 2; Crowd: 8; Ring Ability: 1; Look: 5; Mic Ability: 7
ECW Power Points: 5
Oh Abe, where to start with you? A lot of people hate him, and a lot of people love him. His show’s success seems to rely on who he has as guest. Weeks with Christian or Dreamer were great, while the week with the Bella Twins was excruciating.

Tiffany: Util: 3; Crowd: 3; Ring Ability: 1; Look: 9; Mic Ability: 6
ECW Power Points: 5
Without a doubt the most attractive General Manager ECW has ever had. She doesn?t do much besides flirt and talk, but her performance is decent. She gets better on the mic each week and is beginning to hold her own against the likes of William Regal and Burchill. If all else fails she?ll always be great to look at!

Tony Atlas: Util: 2; Crowd: 2; Ring Ability: 1; Look: 8; Mic Ability: 8
ECW Power Points: 5
Tony has definitely suffered since the removal of Henry from the brand. I doubt that Atlas will find himself in the ring, so you wonder how long he?ll last in the company. His addition to the Abraham Washington show as a human laugh track is glorious.

Tyler Reks: Util: 5; Crowd: 2; Ring Ability: 4; Look: 7; Mic Ability: 3
ECW Power Points: 5
Flat and forgettable right now. His only purpose seems to be flirting with Tiffany. From the audience’s perspective you question why she even gives him the time of day. Reks is by no means a lost cause, but he hasn?t been able to get over with the fans.

Katie Lea: Util: 3; Crowd: 1; Ring Ability: 1; Look: 8; Mic Ability: 7
ECW Power Points: 4
Katie serves as the mouth piece for her ?brother? Paul Burchill. Her look and mic ability are great, but her wrestling skill is being wasted. With several Diva wrestlers out on injury I?m surprised she hasn?t been added to another brand.

Bella Twins: Util: 2; Crowd: 1; Ring Ability: 1; Look: 6; Mic Ability: 2
ECW Power Points: 3
I have absolutely no idea why they are on the ECW roster. They need to go back to a brand on which they can do? something. From what we have seen of them on ECW they are terrible on the mic, terrible in the ring, and a general waste of space.

What’s in the News?
All news is gathered from unless otherwise noted

Umaga’s 90 day non-compete clause with WWE has expired and he is said to be interested in wrestling in Japan reports The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He did work as a headliner for All Japan as Jamal before he was brought back to WWE under the Umaga gimmick. It should be noted that there is become much less work in Japan for American wrestlers and more so in All Japan which tends to focus more on natives and a select few of foreigners.
-Connections are everything so if the bridges are still there, he?ll have a nice run

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that CM Punk is currently dating former WWE Diva Amy “Lita” Dumas. It isn’t know how long they have been dating, but they were able to keep it quiet for some time now. Dumas attended a recent swing of Carolina WWE house show events and was later spotted attending SummerSlam with Punk two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
-Oh CM Punk, you had Maria! What happened to your judgment? For a straight edge superstar Lita doesn?t seem like the logical fit, but who am I to judge? Here’s hoping she at least remains faithful?

WWE Diva Kelly Kelly is working on an injured right knee reports PWInsider. Kelly had an MRI done on her knee yesterday, although the results are not known at this time. She was spotted wearing a knee brace at the Raw taping this past Monday in Chicago.
-Seems like her and Jeremy Piven are having some fun

PWInsider is reporting that WWE Divas Champion Mickie James recently suffered a popped breast implant in the ring on Raw. While not confirmed, the belief is that James will be undergoing a procedure as soon as this weekend to fix the issue.
-In all honesty I did not know she had implants. Obviously those knockers are huge, but I didn?t catch this one. She most have gotten them pretty early because her work from several years back in the Indies doesn?t show much change.

Kip James is now working as an agent for TNA reports The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. They have kept him as an on air TV character on Impact in what looks to be a push to have him return as a wrestler.
-Sweet, he is working as an agent for TNA just like BG James! Oh, more on that later?

The Undertaker was described as moving noticeably slower since making his WWE in-ring return at last weekend’s Smackdown/ECW house show events in Puerto Rico reports The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. While out, Undertaker had hip surgery and the belief was it would help his movement in the ring. However, those within the company remarked how he still looked to be hurting just as he did before he took time off.
-It’s amazing that after all these years he can still bring himself to work great matches. I only hope that he doesn?t seriously hurt himself by working on injuries has an article at this link regarding John Cena receiving an award from Make-A-Wish Foundation. The article notes, “The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America today announced John Cena as one of five recipients of its 20th annual Chris Greicius Celebrity Awards. The honorees were selected for their exceptional dedication to the Foundation’s mission by helping grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.”
-Congratulations to you Mr. Cena, a class act through and through

According to a report by PWInsider, WWE has released developmental talent Espiral aka Lucha star Sicodelico Jr. This release joins others in WWE’s Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory cut by the company this past weekend including Fletcher Chase (Jason Garrison), Troy Jackman (Ian Richardson), Aiden Frost (Jason Riggs) and Kris Logan (Brian Cage).
-Damn, I was actually looking forward to his debut. Though admittedly just because I thought ?Sicodelico Jr.? was an awesome moniker

TNA has released BG James, the former “Road Dogg” from DX. James had been working as an agent. TNA has also severed ties with former manager Jim Cornette.
-Ah, so Kip WON?T be working with him. James & Cornette have been with the company for a very long time and it is sad to see them go. Looks like the rumors from a month back about the two of them being seated on the chopping block due to their connections with Jeff Jarrett proved to be accurate

According to a report by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, former Ring of Honor stars Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness are expected to bypass WWE developmental and go right to the main roster. Of course, we have heard that in the past with other developmental prospects.
-Regardless of how they end up coming in, I wish the best to them both!

TV Ratings
RAW ? 3.8
ECW ? 1.0
Superstars ? 0.8
Impact ? 0.9

WWE Stock Update
Week Ending September 11th 2009
Open ? 14.38
Close ? 14.17
Low ? 13.91
High ? 14.66
Volume ? 769,563

Quick Results

RAW September 7th
-Montel Vontavious Porter def. Chris Jericho
-Evan Bourne def. Chavo Guerrero
-John Cena def. Cody Rhodes by disqualification
-Mark Henry def. Big Show in a Body Slam Challenge
-D-Generation X def. WWE Champion Randy Orton & Chris Masters

ECW September 8th
-The Hurricane def. Paul Burchill
-Shelton Benjamin & Sheamus def. Goldust & Yoshi Tatsu
-Zack Ryder def. local competitor
-Vladimir Kozlov & Ezekiel Jackson (w/ William Regal) def. ECW Champion Christian & Tommy Dreamer

Superstars September 10th
-The Miz & Jack Swagger def. United States Champion Kofi Kingston & Primo
-Dolph Ziggler def. Slam Master J
-Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) def. Katie Lea Burchill
-Sheamus def. Yoshi Tatsu
-Kane def. Jimmy Wang Yang

TNA Impact September 10th
-Tag Team Gauntlet Match: British Invasion def. Scott Steiner & Booker T. vs. Beer Money Inc. vs. Team 3D
-TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles Tournament 1st Round: Sarita & Taylor Wilde def. Daffney & Alissa Flash
-?The Pope? D?Angelo Dinero def. ?Black Machismo? Jay Lethal
-TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championships Tournament 1st Round: The Beautiful People def. Madison Rayne & Roxxi
-?The Monster? Abyss def. Stevie Richards
-MMA Rules Match: Cody Deaner def. Tara
-Phenomenal Angels (AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels) w/Sting def. ?Olympic Hero? Kurt Angle & ?Samoan Submission Machine? Samoa Joe w/Matt Morgan

Smackdown September 11th
-Finlay def. Mike Knox (Belfast Brawl)
-The Great Khali vs. David Hart Smith (No contest)
-Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show def. Cryme Tyme (Non-title)
-Intercontinental Champion John Morrison def. Charlie Haas (Non-title)
-Layla def. Melina.
-World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk def. Matt Hardy (Submission Match) (Non title)

Must Read WrestleView Column of the Week
For Queen and Country #29 by: Daniel R. Browne
During a time in which everyone and their mother tackled the Jeff Hardy arrest, Daniel quite possibly did it the best. The column is worth reading solely for his writing ability. I?m becoming a big fan of his style.

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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.

David Stephens

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