Oh, hello there. How the devil are you? Ready to get back to business as usual after three weeks of fantasy booking delirium? Righto skip, let’s get cracking!
So, anyone else sick to the back teeth of hearing how the current ECW brand is a disgrace to the name of all things Extreme? Three years on and I?m still seeing these comments pasted across internet forums and chat rooms alike. Three years! Why continue to waste energy on a dead point when you could be out, oh I dunno, chasing skirt or seeing daylight?
Even when ECW messiah Paul Heyman was at the helm back in 2006 when the company was revived as the E’s third brand, it should have been obvious to anyone with eyes then that this was not going to be the same ECW as we had seen in the 90’s.
Did anyone honestly think we?d be seeing cheese grater wielding bounty hunters, Taipei Death Matches and women being piledrivered week in, week out on a WWE programme? For . sake, the only reason the likes of Sabu and The Sandman were kept around was for nostalgia value, so the die hard ECW hard on smarks wouldn?t mess themselves because their favourite botch monkeys hadn?t been included in the resurrection of the barbed wire brand.
Now, correct me if I?m wrong, but wasn?t one of the main selling points of the original ECW that young talent could gain exposure there when they wouldn?t get the chance to do so in the big leagues? Rey Mysterio cut his teeth down in Philly before moving on to Dubya See Dubya. As did Benoit, Malenko and Guerrero. Don?t forget Chris Jericho too. These are all disturbingly (I mean that in the best way possible) talented guys who went to E C Dub when there was no space for them anywhere else. And whaddya know? It’s the exact same scenario in the current ECW.
Take Jack Swagger for example. Just moved to Raw after nearly a year lisping his way past fools on SyFy (seriously? That’s what they?re calling it nowadays?). Now, rewind the clocks back to Swagger’s debut. Was he ready for Raw? Was he ready for SmackDown? The answer to both those questions is unequivocally NO! He needed the constant exposure he was guaranteed every Tuesday night. On the red or blue brand Swagger may have had to sit out a few shows here and there whilst the big guns ran wild. That’s the nature of the beast. But because of ECW, Jack was allowed to swagger (yeah I went there) around the land of Extreme, gain valuable main event exposure and hone his craft.
The same can be said for Evan Bourne and IWC pin up and former two time World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk. Both of whom are ECW alumni.
In the words of Peter Griffin, what really grinds my gears about the whole old school ECW circle jerk is apart from providing an amount of exposure to younger talent, what else was the original ECW (in)famous for? Incessant violence and profanity. Just look at the most notorious or well loved ECW originals. How many of them are or were great or . it, even decent wrestlers? And I?m not talking about the Guerrero’s and Jericho’s here, I?m talking The Dudleys, RVD, Sabu, Taz, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman and the like.
Well, without a suplex arsenal that would make even Kurt Angle blush, Taz didn?t do a whole lot. Sabu was always too pre occupied wondering how he could botch the simplest of moves, rather than focus on having a solid match. The Sandman was wetter than a Mexican whore before he ever reached the ring. The Dudleys are incapable of doing anything without tables and have been their entire career. Just for shits and giggles, check out D Von missing his trademark flying headbutt by a country mile at the New Japan Dome Show from this year. Jesus H Christ that was brutal. Dreamer’s always been good at putting rookies over and making them look good, but he’s about as over as a fart in church, as his recent run with the ECW strap proved. Then you?ve got RVD. Oh Rob Van Dam. The man Vince allowed the revamped ECW to be built around. The man who wore the ECW and WWE Titles simultaneously in the Summer of ?06. The man who subsequently smoked away the greatest push of his career and brought a ton of unwanted and unnecessary negative press on the WWE as a result also. Another guy who often looked stranded if there wasn?t a chair involved in a match.
What is this company’s long standing influence exactly? Sure they went some way to inspiring Vince to make his product edgier, but that inspiration is minimal. No matter what Paul Heyman and his ponytail tell you on the Heyman Hustle, ECW didn?t force the ?Attitude Era? upon the WWF. The N.W.O did that when they were helping WCW rim the WWF in the ratings every Monday. The N.W.O’s formation in 1996 led to D Generation X being formed in response. A raucous threesome who made more cock jokes than a horny 14 year old were the WWF’s answer to the N.W.O, and the smut just kept on coming (I really could have gone with . there, but I?m above that) for years after.
And by the way, I?m not discounting Steve Austin here just because he appeared in ECW for what was a little more than a cup of coffee. Stone Cold Steve Austin would have come along with or without ECW being around. Austin 3:16 would have still happened and Brian Pillman would have still tried to pop a cap in Austin’s bottom and Vince Mcmahon would have still pissed his pants in the middle of the ring.
So that’s DX and the Austin era which cannot be attributed to anything ECW based. Yet, they were probably the two biggest pieces of this ECW inspired era. ECW’s contribution towards the ?Attitude Era? was the superstars? new found ability to say the words ‘shit? and ?bastard? and ?piss?. That and hardcore matches becoming more prevalent. Big whoop for ECW. They influenced people to hit each other in the head with frying pans and cookie sheets.
In fact, ECW’s hardcore philosophies are more a curse on the world of wrestling than they are a helping hand. New Jack jumping off balconies and not knowing how to execute a headlock set about a chain reaction of yokels and ‘special? kids/creepy virgins setting each other on fire and smashing each other through panes of glass, all so they could pretend they were their favourite talentless arse much of a hero like they?d seen garbage wrestling in places like ECW and XPW etc.
I mean, how can anyone say the new ECW is a disgrace to Heyman’s 90’s vision? It’s an improvement vaster than Big Daddy V’s waistline.
Let’s see, the current ECW draws in more viewers than the old ECW. So therefore newer fans can begin to watch ECW, pick up the history of the brand and the company that came before it, and then familiarize themselves with the Philadelphia outfit, which means more and more people are checking out the original ECW and learning about it. More than ever cared for it back in the 90’s when Jasmine St.Clair and Jenna Jameson were popping up on their PPV’s to discuss who had more jizz lodged in their stomach on that particular day.
Secondly, in a modern world where wrestling related deaths are becoming all to frequent, isn?t it wise for the hardcore foolishness and blood letting to be restricted? That weekly kind of carnage saw it’s day during the Jerry Springer days of the ?Attitude Era?. The bar was set too high back then and thankfully it’s been brought way back down to protect the workers as much as possible. There’s no need for ?bring your own weapon? night because ECW is about the wrestling more than it is anything else. And, isn?t that what these ICW smarky tit .s cream themselves over? Pure wrestling without the cheesy angles?
ECW has evolved, and for the better. I mean, for Christ sake, Tommy Dreamer’s got to love being paid regularly, rather than seeing his Paul E endorsed pay cheque bounce out of the window every month. ECW was fun, a lot of fun, and it certainly has it’s place in wrestling history. I?m not going to deny that. I?m not going to deny the fact that Paul Heyman has a fantastic creative mind. But I am going to deny the fact that the ?new? ECW is a piss stain on the company’s legacy, because it simply isn?t.
Agree? Disagree? Or do you just want to send me weird love letters and some kinky photo’s of yourself dressed like your favourite superstar? Any mail is good mail in my book. Get it all sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow my Twittering arse on, well, on Twitter. My username is @JoeBaia. No porn bots please, I?m overwhelmed with them as it is. My credit card is maxed.
Until next time bambinos, when I?ll be discussing how a wrestling/Big Brother hybrid could work, it’s arrivederci from me.