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THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT

ECW. . . as good as remembered?

Ostensibly, this is the pro wrestling equivalent of stating heresy. How dare thee, mere mortal, attempt to belittle the reputation of our most holy (shit) of holies!

This is a pretty fair question that's been circulating amongst the Intraweb community since the, "rebirth" of WWECW back in 2006, or as that summer night has been labeled by many an overzealous fan, "The night my youth died, had its corpse dug up and sodomized by post-bubble corporate America". Never mind the fact that the brainchild of the beloved promotion was on the mother fucking payroll of the evil entity the base was supposed to vehemently abhor during the company's glory years, but what the hell ever.

I'm biased as shit in this department, because I love ECW more than any member of my actual family. That's not bullshit folks, as I credit Paul Heyman with wielding more impact on my adolescent development than my own parents, and I really can't ponder my character expansion sans ECW influence. That little bingo hall operation changed the way I dressed, the music I listened to, the movies I watched, the way I spoke and instilled in me a semblance of individualistic, fervent independence that I brandish to this very day. So yeah, I would say that ECW fans really don't get much bigger than me.

So, is it time to question my own allegiance? Is my faith in Paul H.'s vision an act of blind faith, of retroactive self omission? Is ECW really the inspired high water mark of our mid 90s youth, or are we all living in the mire of nostalgic sightlessness?

Hmm. . . that gives me an idea for an experiment. What we'll do is take a look at two ECW shows. We'll go with a late 90s installment of ECW on TNN, which was the company at its "mainstream" peak and a show from the promotions' artistic pinnacle, circa summer 1995, which is considered by the Intranet Fans to be the veritable zeitgeist of Extremeness. We'll gauge, compare and contrast and judge once and for all if ECW was the cavalier genius we espouse it to be, or an Ecco The Dolphin like slice of meandering wistfulness, nothing more, nothing less.

Fire up the fucking VCR. . . it's time for a Tale Of Two ECWs!

We'll begin by covering the 12-17-99 broadcast of ECW on TNN first, as we are coming to you LIVE from Richmond, Virginia on YOUR Nashville Network. Is it just me, or are we hitting a lot of Virginia venues here at The Rocktagon as of late? Regardless, I still stand by my high school yearbook mantra of "Fuck Dave Matthews and anybody that likes him". Seriously, I'm close to getting that tattooed on my torso a la Brock Lesnar's shittily designed chest sword.

As always, our tandem play by play unit consists of Joey Styles and Joel Gertner. Tonight's Gertner-ism? A reference to an archaic Bullet Boys anthem from the 80s. My old boss W.P. must be marking out at that one. Our main event for the evening is The Impact Players taking on Chris Candido and Rhino, which segues into a backstage promo featuring Lance Storm, Justin Credible, Dawn Marie and Jason. Hey, did he ever reveal his last name? THE WORLD MUST KNOW, PAUL! Lance Storm states that he will VICTIMIZE his adversaries this evening, because he isn't looking past them, he's looking THROUGH them. Who'd thunk that Bodydonna Skip was composed of translucent molecular structure, huh? Justin Credible uncaps his bottled water, says some stuff about the upcoming PPV, "That's not just the coolest", "Calgary, Alberta", you know the drill.

I always found it amusing that the opening ECW theme intro often lasted longer than most of the matches featured on the show. Tonight, I guess we are being treated to the special, extra-long iteration, featuring a moment from a Mike Awesome / Mikey Whipwreck bout that, for some peculiar reason, I've never witnessed. (EXTREME TIDBIT #1: Did you know that the ECW theme music actually has lyrics? And much like the enigmatic libretto from "Star Trek", you DON'T want to hear it).

And in case anybody is wondering (and let's face it, you SHOULD), I consider the opening jingle from "Family Matters" to be the best television theme of all time. Growing up as the son of a black cop in Chicago whose neighbor was a mad scientist capable of creating robot warriors and DNA altering transporter pods, it's a tune that I could TOTALLY identify with.

To kick off the show, Da Baldies are making their way ringside, led by a cigar chewing Devito. Get it; he's short, just like Dom Delouise! COMEDY! He'll be taking on New Jack after a commercial break, which Joey promises us will be both extreme AND violent. Because there's no way I'm taking "extreme" without a dollop of "violence" on the side. I mean, get real with that shit.

Promo for Guilty As Charged 2000. Did you know that the establishment once decried ECW as the ruination of society? Yeah, that's right; fuck lackluster healthcare, bureaucratic governmental expansion and continual class stratification, a bunch of New Jersey guys hitting each other with broomsticks is what led America ASTRAY.

Pretty lackadaisical night for the Hardcore Hotline. Insider information on Miss Kitty nude shots and Steve Corino crashing Limp Bizkit concerts? No thanks, I'll be downing Pepsi and kicking the ass on Sega Bass Fishing instead, H.

If you're going to work at Geico, you better bring industrial strength earmuffs, because customer satisfaction is DEAFENING.

Nothing says "Yuletide romance" quite like Pep Boys and aluminum tire covers.

Hey, remember when Little Caesar's was doing good business, and then they went away for awhile, and now they're kind of back in admirable operations? TEN YEARS FORWARD IS TEN YEARS BACK, MAN.

Remember iwon.com? Neither do they. UNSTABLE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS FTW.

An AT&T spot featuring David Arquette and one of the Wayans brothers that sucks. The WCW title, as far as I can note, is not on the line.

I'm totally going to track down Turok: Rage Wars, right after I get 100% complete on Monster Truck Madness.

AND WE'RE BACK FROM COMMERCIALS. Backstage skit involving Nova, Kid Kash, and Chris Chetti. Nova says Chetti isn't wrestling tonight, because he has a bad back and could end up like Ricky Steamboat and Shawn Michaels, who haven't had wrestling matches since. . .

(Also, some gay jokes and a light rib at Taz from the future Simon Dean.)

Back in the ring, and Devito is cutting a totally (NOT AT ALL) threatening promo, which in turn leads to New Jack coming out with trademark bucket of plunder en tow. Lots of excellent chain wrestling to begin, with New Jack utilizing such intricate, scientific maneuvers as hitting Devito over the spine with a wooden crutch and subsequently conking him over the head with an "ECW" scrawled keyboard. (Which provokes this Gertner funny: "I think he may have swallowed an asterisk!") New Jack silences all the naysayers by breaking out an ACTUAL wrestling hold (a clothesline) before dropping Devito with another catch-as-catch can standard, the metal cooking sheet headshot (the same move Verne Gagne used to put down Billy Robinson on so many a St. Paul winter eves!) Keyboard + Kendo Stick + Crotch = Bad. New Jack concludes his performance by doing his best Jeff Jarrett impersonation, meaning he runs into his father's arms, cries to get his childhood neighbor's daddy to bankroll a shitty promotion and cons and wheels an energy solutions company into bankruptcy. Well, that, or he just hits him over the head with an acoustic guitar. Either one works, I state. Post bout, New Jack threatens incivility with the dreaded FORK OF DOOM, which instigates Baldies interference. New Jack gets his ear pierced with a staple gun, and it's time for another commercial break.

Armorines, Project S.W.A.R.M. Yeah, that sounds like the title of a 1999 Nintendo 64 game, all right.

At one point, I had an unofficial count of 15 Black and Decker Pivot Drivers at my domicile, and that's a LIBERAL estimation.

I don't know about you, but I STILL have wrenchhead.com bookmarked.

Toby Keith and Terry Bradshaw DEMAND that you use 10-10-220 for long distance calls. Because it's not like cellular phones will become the predominant format for the industry within ten year's time, right?

Anybody remember that South Park game, Chef's Love Shack? Eh, the racing game was better, IMHO.

It's still Thrill Zone Friday in my heart, TNN.

BACK TO THE PROGRAM OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING: Da Baldies, still gloating from putting New Jack out of action, issue another open challenge, which is answered by ECW world Heavyweight Champion Mike Awesome. LOLOOPS. It's a mass ass whipping on behalf of Michael Awesome, or should that be "mass whipping"? German Suplex and outside plancha on Vic Grimes (the fat one, as opposed to the short one or kind of black one). Grimes eats chair (hey, he'll apparently eat everything else!) before he takes a vicious whip to the guardrail, culminating with the crown of his noggin hitting the Richmond concrete with a stomach churning squish that sounds equivalent to the noise of a steamroller paving over a tomato. Awesome Bomb, table, fatness, three count.

Postbout, Judge Jeff Jones (sans GHB for the evening) verbally fellates Awesome, and wouldn't you know it, this leads to another impromptu challenge. . . from Spike Dudley. Acid drop, chest thump, and my favorite facsimile of Artie from "Pete and Pete" bushwhacks his way to the dressing room as quickly as he strutted out. Time to pay some bills.

Iwon.com. It's like Google or Yahoo, only every time you search, you can win outlandish sums of cash. And oh yeah, the company went bankrupt a decade ago.

Quick! Name all three of the Pep Boys! (Manny is voiced by Killer Carlson firom Slap Shot. No, really.)

Howie Long and Lois Lane shop at RadioShack. What the. . . a Raider. . . that cheats? Get out of here! Yeah, I actually owned that one Dukes Of Hazzard game for the Playstation. Your Nintendo machine can thusly go fuck itself over such a notion of inferiority.

Syntec. It just isn't as tasty as Diet Syntec.

Starting January 12th, Wednesday nights are now ACTION Wednesdays on The Nashville Network. Could you possibly afford to miss the debut of "18 Wheels Of Justice"? Clear your calendar!

Back. Time to recap all the stuff that happened like a minute ago. Backstage, Danny Doring tries to get in the shower with two nasally Jersey broads and a fat Amish guy. Was that a menstruation joke I just heard? COMMERCIALS.

David Arquette: Using 1-800-Call-ATT is like bowling a bunch of gutter balls. Huh, what?

Geico: Paying too much for car insurance is equivalent to getting crushed by a giant mallet or sucked into an oversized vacuum of some kind.

Iwon.com: bitches love money.

Turok: Rage Wars: shitty.

Syntec. It cures cancer. Or causes it. One or the other.

What the hell: An ECW on TNN commercial during ECW on TNN? Fucking META!

Netcarrier.com. Psh, this "Internet fad" will never catch on.

BACK IS WHAT WE ARE. More shower humor. Yeah. We're joining a triangle bout betwixt Super Calo, Tom Marquez and IKUTO HIDEKA in progress. Jesus Montgomery Christ, that is the most eclectic triad ever assembled. Gertner scores more funny points by calling Ikuto "Pokemon". This is basically an X-Division impact match ten years before the fact, which means watching the bout is like counting dots on a leopard: you know, spot, spot, spot. BETCHA DIDNTKNOW: Super Calo's moniker is a tribute to a Mexican rap group. Oh, here comes a hobbling Sabu to spoil the fun. You know, for a guy that's purportedly injured, he seemingly had no problem stacking three guys on top of a table and consequently leg dropping them. If I were Sabu's insurance provider, I'd suspect shenanigans are indeed afoot. Break.

Plug for Big Ass Extreme Bash 96. Of course, I'm sure that has NOTHING at all to do with Foley's concurrent WWF title campaign. NO, NEVER.

ECW action figures. . . that's just weird man. Damn weird. Unfortunately, the breakfast cereal never made it to production (strawberry blood drops, blueberry steel chairs and marshmallow bounced checks. . . it's a bowlful of EXTREME!)

Howie Long, eff tee double you.

Man, I'd strangle an ox for some mushroom and banana pepper pizza right now. That's why I'm not allowed at the local petting zoo as well, but I digress. Rollerjam: because nothing says "eight grade reminiscence" like midnight choking it to chunky blonde chicks in black lipstick and purple fishnets.

TNN is your country home. What are those guys doing dressed as ghosts, though?

BACKSIES. Justin Credible is out first, accompanied by the strings of Grinspoon's rendition of "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck", which is one of the few cover songs I can think of that totally and completely kicks the ass of the original ditty. Cue the techno White Zombie tune, as Lance Storm soon makes his way to the ring. Styles runs over the events that transpired two weeks prior while Joel goes on a tirade about enemas. Seriously.

"Back In Black" spills forth form the speakers, as Rhino and Chris Candido strut to the ring. Tammy Lynn Sytch actually looks halfway not AIDS-infested at this point. Most of the time, I would construe that as being a positive. Short clip is shown from two months before the bout, featuring a rare appearance by Miss Congeniality. I wonder what she went on to do?

Rhino and Credible begin all headlock-y to initiate the match up. Justin eats a wheelbarrow slam and rolls to the outside. Candido and Storm tag in, and this bout gets respectable. Superkick for Candido courtesy of Target's Employee Of The Month. Chair-DT for Justin. Rhino in, Justin gets stomped in the corner. Flair. . . err, Credible flip and Justin gets gorilla press slammed by the Rookie Monster. Spinebuster for Storm. No dice on the pin attempt. Good stuff from Chris and Lance. CATFIGHT~ betwixt Tammy and Dawn Marie. Credible lands a Singapore Cane shot on Candido, miscue, and Chris gets GORED. Superkick for Rhino courtesy of Calgary. . . Alberta. . . Canada. Credible sneaks in and scores the pinfall over a downed Candido.

Winners: The Impact Players, communication breakdowns

[The 6th Day] for some glimmers of give-a-damn. Post-bout, a schism is teased between Rhino and Candido as Storm rouses the ire of THE SANDMAN. Yeah, who WOULDN'T want a kendo stick brandishing Gary Busey look-a-like pouring beer on them? Jason dies for our sins as Credible Pearl Harbor (9/11s) Hak from behind. Miscue, and Credible receives the White Russian Leg Sweep. End result: Rhino returns and gores his ass through a table that was conveniently set up in the corner. The odds, I'm telling you.

ECW is coming to Chattanooga State College AND TNT Tanning. Just wanted to let you know.

And we end it on a Raven promo. As always, it's awesome, and you should see it.

OK, not too much to complain about there. Granted, it is one of the weaker entries into the show's TNN run, but if given the option of this for a year or whatever Vince, Panda Energy or Adam Pearce is squatting out on a weekly basis, I say but this: STAY TUNED FOR MOTHERFUCKING ROLLERJAM, VIEWERS.

OK, so that was ECW in its waning years. You had four matches, with only one of them resembling an actual attempt at athletic competition and a smattering of sports-entertainment-y side product in between. So, what was ECW television like in the promotion's so-called "glory days"? Well, start tuning the UHF dial, because the second tape in our ECW double header is the 07-21-95 broadcast of ECW Hardcore Television, emanating from HOGAN country, Tampa, Eff El Aye. We begin with absolute bedlam from a prior show in Fort Lauderdale. No commentary, no exposition, just Tommy D and The Pitbulls beating the ever-loving shit out of Raven (sporting a Suicidal Tendencies tee) and Stevie Richards with toilet seat lids as Luna Vachon runs across the ring with bullrope. Also noteworthy/hilarious is a moment in which a pudgy Gangrel starts swinging at fans in the crowd. Looks like somebody needs to switch over to Diet Plasma, am I right?

Joey Styles is in the command deck, promising us a TAMPA BAY BRAWL. Whatever that is. Sigh, what is Woman doing with such a cantankerous sociopath as The Sandman? Oh well, I'm sure you'll end up with a nice guy. . .

Time for the TAMPA BAY BRAWL, joined in EXTREME progress. Wow, what a star studded battle royale, featuring such notable figures as Dudley Dudley and Ian Rotten. By the way, the winner gets a title shot at the Sandman IMMEDIATELY following the bout. 2 Cold Scorpio gets eliminated, leaving us with our final two combatants; the lovable loser Mikey Whipwreck and. . . . Marty freaking Jannetty. Obviously, the Tampa crowd is in favor of Mikey. Sandman grabs the house mic and begins to berate the competitors, which acts as a catalyst for in-ring action. Superkick, jump cut, and Jannetty gets eliminated. Marty raises Mikey's hand in congratulations, and here comes The Sandman, Singapore Cane in hand. Sandman bats Mikey around like a puppy at Mike Vick's house, reminding Mikey that he isn't "extreme" enough to hang with him. Piledriver, and Sandman picks up the easy ace.

We'll give all of that an [End of Days] for some effort. "Some" of course, being the operative term.

Back to Joey Styles in the war room. A disheveled Mikey enters the frame, and challenges Sandman to a Singapore Cane match. If Mikey loses, he'll willingly receive ten lashes from the titular weaponry. He then tries to prove his "hardcoreness" by smoking. He's not very good at it, apparently.

Call the ECW Hardcore Hotline! C'mon, it has a shitty Steppenwolf cover as its theme song!

Get ready to DIE from nostalgia: It's time for Live Event Update with LANCE WRIGHT. I haven't seen his mug in YEARS. Crank up the "Sad But True", Jim Thorpe, PA!

A crestfallen Joey relays the information that Sandman has accepted Mikey's challenge to the fans at home before taking a gander at Taz's latest neck injury, wrought by a 2 Cold Scorpio piledriver. This segues into a promo featuring Taz and THE STEINER BROS., whom out of the confines of ultra-P.C. mid 90s WCW, get away with saying things like "ass". Weird wardrobe in that last one. Was Scott Steiner really sporting a Rocket From The Crypt tee? And somebody please tell Taz that the Arizona State Sun Devils and The New Jersey Devils are NOT one in the same.

Lance Wright hawks the upcoming WrestlePalooza '95 card. Listen to this shit: You've got a 6 man featuring Scorpio, Malenko and Benoit taking on The Steiners and Guerrero, Sandman versus Jannetty for the ECW Title, and Rob Feinstein (Yes, THAT Rob Feinstein) swearing vengeance against 911. Holy fuck, I'm about to begin work on a time machine. You can hardwire a flux compacitater with a toaster and bug zapper, can't you?

Plug for the Malenko \ Guerrero Classic Videotape. God, if there's one piece of ECW memorabilia out there that I direly wish I would've snagged when I had the opportunity, it would be that VHS cassette right there. Yes, even more than the Francine 4:69 "I just licked your ass" tee. If any readers out there have the tape around, send me an e-mail. Piss on the Holy Grail, that's my long lost sacrosanct relic.

Absolutely awesome Scorpio promo time, featuring an old school Atlanta Falcons cap, gratuitous utilization of the term "ass" and two, count 'em two, references to the phrase "it's on like neckbone". In a just world, Scorpio would've been among the biggest names in the industry, instead of getting jobbed out as Flash Funk and forced to dick around in Japan for a decade. Sigh, I can only pray that somewhere, there's an alternate reality where Trips is getting pinned by Bison Smith on a nightly basis while Too Cold buries the bone in Stephanie McMahon while wearing the WWE title. What dreams may come. . .

. . . and the wrestling gods have decided to smile down upon us, as Eddie Guerrero defends his TV title against Dean Malenko RIGHT FREAKING NOW. Eddie is rocking the lime green zebra striped pants, but is that enough to overcome Dean-O in his own backyard? Let's give it a look-see!

Basic collar and elbow tie up to begin. Quick headlock and a takedown attempt that transitions into a standing stalemate. Eddie shoots in for a takedown and slaps on the hammerlock. OUTSTANDING mat work to begin the bout, and Dean-o makes his first escape. Tie up and a fucking beautiful hammerlock exchange that fuses into a seamless leg sweep near-pinfall exchange. Stalemate #2, and the crowd is eating this up. Think of it as kind of like being RVD and Lynn, except, you know, good. Killer knuckle lock sequence (how often do you get to vociferate that utterance?) which leads to a neat-o monkey flip spot that sends Eddie a flying. Stalemate #3, fans go shit of the ape variety. Dean takes it to the ground while some absolute mongoloid in the front row shouts "boring". Guerrero manages to contort his body like BJ Penn eating a pretzel and sinks in a picture perfect backslide counter for a two-count. Stale 4, as Joey utilizes the airtime to verbally jiu-jitsu choke the exiled "Dean" Douglas. Full speed ahead, as Eddie lands a dropkick and a subsequent over-the-top-rope somersault splash. Another fantastic hammerlock exchange that leads to Eddie dropping the back elbow, Euro uppercut and Flair chop combination. Irish whip, half a dozen reversals, and Eddie drops Dean with a beautiful flying head scissors takedown. Malenko pops right back up, takes a running dive and puts down Eddie with a flying head scissors of his own. Eddie lands another dropkick, as Dean takes a light breather to the outside while the camera pans to a guy that looks suspiciously a lot like Joe Rogan holding up a sign that reads "Art Barr Lives". Knee shot, and Guerrero works the leg with a grapevine. STF, Dean fights out, and makes it to a rope break. Dean squelches Guerrero's momentum with a stiff knee to the solar plexus before downing him with the patented Malenko Gut Buster. Malenko works the ribs with an abdominal stretch. Quick pin attempt by Guerrero nets no gain. Pump Handle Back Breaker, and it only scores a two count for Eddie. Not-Joe Rogan holds up another sign that reads "Dean Malenko: The Real Excellence Of Execution". After reading Bret's comments about Dean in his autobiography, I don't quite think the intended target of that jab would agree whole heartily with the penman's sentiment. GORY SPECIAL! Malenko counters into a near fall. Not happening. Power slam, frog splash, and Dean STILL manages to kick out. Cross body from Malenko almost seals it. Eddie's luck isn't all that much better after landing a neat looking Supplex. Sunset flip off the top, and Eddie STILL can't finish off Dean. Slam attempt, and Dean almost pins Eddie on the follow through. Malenko powerbomb? Not finishing this one. Brainbuster? Still not doing it. Eddie makes a comeback with the hurrancanranna, but you guessed it! It only registers a two. An attempted electric chair drop leads to a spill to the outside. Guerrero sticks a dropkick to the back of Malenko's skull and follows it up with a stiff (well, stiff by American standards, anyway) German. ONLY A TWO. This is so freaking great. Eddie drops a Fisherman Supplex, and Dean responds with a Tiger Bomb. AND EDDIE STILL KICKS OUT. Eddie rolls up Dean with a hurrancanranna, and after some mat reversals, Malenko knots up Eddie for the sudden-death three count!

Post bout, Eddie congratulates the new TV champion. . . by short arm clotheslining him and rewarding him with a snot rocket, as Joey reminds the viewers at home that his feud is FAR from finished.

Winner: Dean Malenko, WRESTLING

Well, fuck, that was terrific, and to iterate just how great these two guys were in ECW; this may very well be their worst match in the promotion. Think about that for awhile. Anyhoo, this was tremendous, outstanding, technical WRESTLING. No outside bullshit, no hardcore shenanigans, no sports-entertainment flavored nonsense, just a pure, athletic clinic that made the form look like an actual SPORT for a change as opposed to camp theater. Sad to say, but those days are LONG GONE now. A must-see [PREDATOR] bout, and well worth going out of your way to dig up.

Joey Styles: Well, that was awesome. Time for some commercials. AND WE'RE BACK!

The Singapore Cane match is under way, with Mikey cheap shooting (that is the correct form of the verb, right) Sandman before the bell. Mikey lands some weak dropkicks, and continues to roll on offense until a Sandman fist takes Whipwreck to the canvas. Sandman is doing a fantastic job as the "asshole older brother bully" role with this one. Mikey peppers Sandman with a flurry of dropkicks, and even lands a piledriver at one point. Whipwreck climbs the top rope, takes a tumble, and Sandy capitalizes for an easy pinfall.

"HEY MIKEYYYYY!" Time for the lashes. Sandman gets to number five while Woman spews forth a tremendous amount of ridicule. Both the ref and the ring announcer volunteer to take Mikey's lashes, but he refuses to avoid his retribution. Hmm. . .yeah, nothing that can be construed as Messianic going on with this storyline, right, Uncle Paul? It wouldn't be an ECW show without some kayfabe breaking, so Joey drops this rocket buster of a line: "I'm feeling pretty sorry for Kevin Sullivan right now!"

After seven head shots with the Cane, Commissioner Todd Gordon (well, not really, he had his promoter's license yanked ? worked, by the way) and puts Mikey on a stretcher. Corrupt ref Bill Alphonso runs out and uses his authority to allow Sandman his additional three lashes. He takes a plancha dive to the outside, and gets his requisite lashes and a couple of extra shots while he can. Marty Jannety makes an attempted save, but eats Cane (no, not what Glen Jacobs wife does on particularly romantic evenings) before we go to the post-show wrap-up with Joey S. By the way, the name of the show was "Sunshine State Slaughter", if you were pondering, as the show closes with Marty Jannety and Whipwreck PROMISING REPRISAL.

Well, hell that was awesome. If you're keen and read my article about the Tao of Heyman from earlier this year, then you were able to pinpoint all of the elements that made ECW so, well, ECW in that show. You had energetic, revolutionary camera work, compelling, structured storylines, excellent pacing, a wonderful mishmash of entertainment elements (the promos) and genuine athleticism. It was funny, entrancing, absorbing and you had NO idea what to expect next, a far cry from the paint by numbers predictability of today's mundane offerings. In a word, it was great.

So, I suppose now would be the moment to unveil my verdict, huh? Well, my conclusion is this: ECW was ECW. When you walked away from a show, you felt as if you got your money's worth, and I never, EVER left an ECW show sans a smile on my face. Was the wrestling the absolute pinnacle of the industry? Were all the storylines cutting edge? Were there some goofy elements? Yes to the third power, but you know what? All of that means Jack and a goose shit, because the product was just so unbelievably FUN to be a part of. You watch WWE, TNA and ROH. You may feel NOAH, or All Japan or AAA and EMLL. But ECW? It felt like an extension of your own being, as if the product and you, the fan, shared a symbiotic, blissful marriage, and that's something that a million dollars worth of pyro and dirt sheet star ratings can't replicate, and more than likely, never will again.

Watching that first episode of ECW on Sci-Fi was like seeing the girl you fell madly in love with in college get raped and forced into a loveless marriage with an abusive investment banker. There's a lot of things in the world of pro wrestling that make me mad, but that initial airing actually made me depressed, as if the above scenario transitioned in reality. That should tell you something about the power of ECW, and in a far greater vacuum, the passionate, D.I.Y. ethos of the human psyche. Mayhap that's the great intangible that ECW exhibited, and extolled? Perchance the real reason for ECW's prolonged worship is that palpable tinge of spiritualistic autonomy? Could be. All I know is this:

E-C-Dub was E-C fucking Dub, and that'll always be good enough for me.

SEND FEEDBACK TO JAMES SWIFT

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).