Badseed's Bottomline #374:
ECW: Itís All That Matters
Hey yo! I canít believe next week will be my 375th edition of Badseedís Bottomline . How many Internet writers can say that? Itís an amazing feeling and I owe it all to my readers. Seriously, what would be the point if no one read my column? I may not have the time to respond to all my readers, but I appreciate every hit, email, friend request and comment. Iím nothing without you.
The same can be said for ECW. The fans just would not let ECW die. As long as ECW wrestlers crashed tabled, fans would utter those three letters in a way no other company could achieve. You never hear WWE or WCW at any event. You hear TNA chants at times, but ECW continues to be chanted despite the companyís demise many years ago. In the time ECW faltered, WCW died, TNA prepared to celebrate its fourth anniversary, Steve Austin, The Rock and Hulk Hogan have put an end to their full-time reign in this industry, Brock Lesnar emerged as the Next Big Thing and then disappeared, HBK returned, John Cena exploded on the scene and went from nowhere to become a huge success and then had to relearn how to connect with the fans, Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon hugged and then eventually joined Paul Heyman on the stage for the first time ever, HHH got married, Stephanie McMahon got pregnant, Bret Hart agreed to work with the WWE on a DVD project and funny enough, WWE called Spike TV its home and then left and returned to the USA Network and ECW came back in the form of an alliance and then a reunion series of shows and PPV and even rumored brand, but through it all, ECW persevered.
Wrestling fans never gave up hope that ECW would return and unlike attempts to save failed shows like Birds of Prey or Firefly, ECW was actually on an upswing in notoriety when they closed shop, still carrying enough of a cult following to come back a la Battlestar Galactica, which the show will join on the Sci-Fi Network. Didnít think I would find a parallel to Sci-Fi, did you? It was a true shame to see them go, but now they are back and I am filled with excitement and fear. On one hand, RVD is the face of ECW, but for some reason, on RAW, RVD is not getting ECW over and Mick Foley and Paul Heyman are doing a better job; but RVD will be great on ECWís stage or has he lost that ability? On one hand, Kurt Angle did actually appear in ECW before the WWE and he brings a ground and pound amateur style of wrestling that fits ECW and a possible Ring of Honor outlook for the company, but does Angleís WWE superstar status threaten to bring the company down a peg in terms of authenticity to hardcore ECW fans? Isnít it great to see ECW on television again or is it bad that ECW is on a network with hardcore science fiction fans who could even be as bold as to boycott a network that puts on wrestling despite having reality programming and infomercials? Isnít it great that ECW is back full-time or is it bad that ECW will be filmed in larger arenas and will not always be on the safe East Coast region, sometimes being seen in areas where fans will not be into the ECW brand just because Smackdown happens to have a show in Anaheim? Exciting and scary, but ECW has always proven the critics wrong.
I remember back when I heard about ECW and I was curious. I caught the show when RVD was involved in an angle, funny enough, that had him attacking ECW as a representative for the WWE; even covering Tommy Dreamer with an old WWF flag. Ironically, last year, Kurt Angle was against ECW and is now one of the boys. Go figure. At the same time, Rick Rude was splitting time between the WWE and ECW. Shane Douglas was cutting HHH-length promos that had more drama and impact than anything HHH ever did. Raven had just left and I never got to see what he could do until I saw old videotapes. Tommy Dreamer was losing matches, as was Sandman, helping to develop new stars. The FBI was nothing more than a comedy act with no future and only one Italian. Tazz was just starting what would be a monster push. Lance Storm came out of nowhere. The Dudley Boys were really starting on the road to becoming the greatest tag-team since the Legion of Doom. Even an exploding ring match that involved Mike Awesome was shown on ECW, which was highlighting FMW. And we saw Nova and Chris Chetti vs. Danny Doring and Amish Roadkill over and over and over again and yet it remained something cool to see. I also remember Al Snow going from nothing to one of the most popular wrestlers in the company. What a surreal moment to see those foam heads bopping up and down. How about Justin Credible starting to make a name for himself and leading to his battle with Jerry Lynn that catapulted Lynn into superstardom and a match with RVD that helped put ECW on the map as a company that didnít just focus on tables, barbed wire or thumbtacks. And, you canít forget the Queen of Extreme Francine, Belulah and Kimona Wanna Laya. I mean, Sunny, Sable and Terri had nothing on them.
ECW was ahead of its time. They knew fans were smart. They knew we didnít buy the storylines of Angelic good guys or bad guys without honor; that fans didnít buy the fact that all good guys loved each other. I mean, ECW treated the fans like we were intelligent and it led to the WWF Attitude that put wrestling on every television in America. ECW did that. Vince McMahon just had the money to go from there. So, now we have the future. What happens next? We have CM Punk as a new wrestler that could make his star shine in ECW. We have the WWE signing SAT, which could be a risky move, but could also prove very fruitful. We have Kurt Angle, who could hit us some scientific classics, possibly involving Chris Benoit if he goes to ECW, too. What wrestler that was weak in the WWE will shine brightly in ECW? Will ECW take a page from Ring of Honor and combine it with the ECW atmosphere? What Ring of Honor star or CZW star will go to ECW? Could Test find a way to make it in ECW? Wouldnít it be smart for the WWE to sign Homicide and when Samoa Joeís contract is up, wouldnít Joe vs. Kurt Angle be the greatest ECW match ever? TNA better hold on to AJ Styles, because I know Heyman must be frothing at the mouth at the idea of RVD vs. AJ Styles.
Itís just sparked my interest. ECW made me love wrestling again. While the PPV is a little suspect at the moment, I think ECW will steal the spotlight in wrestling. Sports entertainment only gets better from here. ECWÖECWÖECWÖnuff said.
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