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THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT
 
You never forget your firsts.

First kiss? Marie Anselmo, age 12, at my 7th grade Halloween dance. She forgot to wear deodorant, smoked unfiltereds and wore the yuckiest flavor of Lip Smackers known to man.

First car? A gray 1987 Toyota Camry, featuring the single most bad-ass tape- deck in the history of mankind. I don't care if the technology was antiquated by 2002, that shit was BUMPING.

First time, well, you know? Angie Schmidt AND Becky Handt, age 19, parking lot at work. For the first and mayhap only time in my existence, I was thankful to be pulling a Saturday shift.

So, what point am I trying to make with all of those nostalgic musings (well, other than the notion that I ruled as a teenager)? Simple. When it comes to one's first experience with something new and startling, he or she is prone to remember the minutest of details of the moment. Per, I can't tell you the day of the week I began my first job, or my boss's name, or my actual job title, or hell, even the name of the company I was working for, but I CAN recall the notion that the secretary's desk had more green peppermints in her candy dish than red ones, that the second floor bathrooms were FAR cleaner than the ones on the first floor and that one girl with the wonky eye definitely WASN'T wearing a bra that particular evening. Perhaps an eternal enigma, that's just the way the human mind operates.

Now, this may come as a surprise to a majority of you, but you know that ECW that was around in the 90s? I kind of liked it. AGHAST, I am sure you all are. I've already written several articles on the topic of why I believe Paul Heyman's intended vision of the rassling form is more significant than all aspects of Christianity and the Bronze age combined, so I shan't bother traversing that tired ground again. What I can expound upon, however, was the first, and unfortunately, only Extreme Championship Wrestling event I ever attended.

As soon as I was informed that ECW was coming to the metro Atlanta area, I became more ecstatic than Fred Phelps catching word that the Village People's bus had careened off a mountainside (too soon?) But wait! Not only was my beloved E-C and Dub coming to my backyard, it was going to be a Pay Per View event, to boot!

As I attempted to explain to my mother, missing this show would be akin to skipping out on free tickets to Woodstock, or turning down a pass to Elvis' final concert. I pretty much told her that if she didn't drop me off by the Cobb Civic Center that evening, I would call Protective Services on her ass, a threat she responded to with a glare about as serious as the potentiality for a Disco Inferno world title run.

Thankfully, there was my uncle. Ever the ardent wrestling fan, he was the one responsible for introducing me to WCW; as a wee young lad, I thought that the terms wrestling and WWF were virtually interchangeable, alike "professional football" and "the NFL". Watching Too Cold Scorpio and Barry Windham put on a gajillion star bout at his abode, I suddenly realized that when it came down to matters of guys pretending to fight in their underwear, my uncle was the mother-fucking authority; if anybody would pay heed to my pleads, surely, it would be he.

After much finagling, he eventually agreed to drop me off by the compound. Now, of course, one was supposed to be eighteen to partake of the ensuing bloodshed and debauchery ECW retailed, but when you're fourteen, five foot ten and sporting a John Waters-esque pencil thin mustache, security will pretty much let you through the gate. The peculiar thing is, my uncle only agreed to give me a lift if I spotted him ten bucks, which went to some unrevealed expenditure. Sure, it could've been utilized to cover his gasoline purchase, but since my uncle was ALSO a reputed Quaalude addict, he could've equally been traversing the north Atlanta area for cheap crack rock. Either way, I got my ECW, so I was a happy camper.

The first thing one would note about the Cobb Civic Center is its slanted architecture. Perhaps designed by a Buckminster Fuller wannabe, the edifice sort of sloped at an angle from one end of the building to the other; this was noticeable as fuck on the exterior, but on the interior? Holy shit. Did you ever see that one episode of The Simpsons where the community got together to rebuild Flander's house, and the second floor basically narrowed to the point of a pencil prick? The same shit was going on at the building. It was freaking surreal, man.

A giant block of beige, the venue was the absolute LAST place one would wish to hold a wrestling event. Granted, ECW had a knack for transforming bingo halls and gay arts theaters into concentrated ground, but the acoustics and lighting of the building flat out sucked it. There was a gigantic transom stationed atop the second floor, of which sunlight basically obfuscated half of the action. I'm not quite sure how that turned out on camera, but in attendance, it was a major league pain in the ass. Also, the second floor, if you want to be that lenient with one's terminology, was essentially nothing more than a scaffold anchored by about half a dozen speakers. It looked tacky and unprofessional as all hell in person, so on live television, god knows how amateurish it appeared.

Then again, nobody tuned into to ECW for the production values, am I right? What's truly significant is the in-ring product, and for my sole pilgrimage to the Mecca of Extreme, did the night of tussling live up to my lofty expectations?

Well, as it turns out, we have an old VHS copy of the event conveniently lying around the premises: Without further adieu, I present unto thee. . . ECW WRESTLEPALOOZA 98!

We are coming to you LIVE from Marietta, Georgia, which is essentially Atlanta's East Rutherford, New Jersey. Marietta also just happens to be the third most funded city in all of the United States: obviously, this has nothing to do with the fact that it's Newt Gingrinch's old stomping grounds and home to a Lockheed firm that specializes in military aviation craft. NOPE, NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST.

Typical E-C-Opening, and it it's time to get this ball of wax rolling downhill.

We begin the show with The Full Blooded Italians making their way ringside. For those of you pondering, these week's incarnation of The F.B.I. consists of Little Guido, Tracy Smothers, and Atlanta's very-own Tommy Rich (Credit to Joey S. on that last one.)

HYUGE pop for the B.W.O as The Blue Meanie and Super Nova saunter down the entranceway. As loud as it sounds on the video, I assure you, in reality, it was even MORE voluble. But hey, that's what happens when you hold a 'rasslin card inside an aquarium-shaped civic center more suitable for regional vacuum cleaner expos than hardcore tussling. More on the acoustics of this particular edifice LATER, faithful reader.

Formal introductions are read, and it's time for some grappling. Funny, the Meanie hails from a reference to a Beatles ditty and Nova calls the California information-technology Mecca his hometown. Truth be told, I can't wait to travel to some of my favorite wrestling hometowns next summer; I'm considering a road trip from Parts Unknown to The Environment to A State Of Euphoria after graduation.

Rich berates the crowd, as Meanie placates the irked metro-Atlanta attendees by jiggling his fatness at them; the same way you're supposed to calm down babies, I suppose.

The future Nunzio and Simon Dean knot it up to begin. "Where's our pizza?" chant as Smothers dances to the rhythm of the audience's shouting. I'm not quite sure that's how the whole "being a heel" thing works, Trace.

Gazing about the first couple of rows, one gets to intake all of the latest fashion trends circa the second Clinton term of office; good lord, has one never seen as much Juggalo face paint, Dan Marino jerseys and Hawaiian shirts in one non-drunk tank environs before.

Nova whups the asses of both F.B.I. members before tagging in The Meanie. Curtly, Tommy Rich grabs the house mic and instigates an impromptu "dance- off" in THAT very ring. In riposte, Meanie "fat dances" as guys in cut-off N.W.O shirts and fellows that resemble John Tenta bust-a-move behind the guard rail.

Meanie attempts to teach ref John Finnigan how to cut a rug, but gets Pearl Harbored by Smothers. Well, Italy was one of the Axis Powers, so I suppose that terminology is fitting. Kind of.

Time to instigate a comedy spot in which Guido KEEPS hitting miscues on his own partner. At one point, Finnigan decides to body slam the F.B.I. himself a few times, as the crowd becomes absolutely molten. Peculiarly, I don't recall the concomitant pop being nearly as gargantuan as it sounds on my VHS copy.

First "E-C-Dub" chant of the night as Nova buries the Italians underneath a corkscrew plancha to the outside. Nova gets crotched on the metallic railing, and the tide turns in favor of Italy. . . Just like in W.W.II. Wait, that's all inaccurate and shit.

Nova eats a stiff kick, as opposed to his partner, whom eats EVERYTHING. Side Italian Leg Sweep (sounds like a salad dressing), premature celebration, no dice. Tandem elbow drop, just a however-you-say the number two in Italian. Electric Chair Drop (dubbed The Scream Machine by Styles. . . Is that perchance a reference to The Great American Scream Machine, a historic wooden coaster situated at Six Flags over Georgia? No.)

Hot tag for Meanie, as opposed to his usual Hot Pockets. Horribly fucked up transition segment in the ring, which leads to Meanie missing a moonsault. Guido attempts to bonk Meanie over the head with an Italian flag (although it looks more like the pennon of Mexico, from my perspective), which allots Nova the venue to hit his finisher, the Novocain (One shoot, and you feel nothing!) for the win.

Post bout, the victors dance to the stings of Y.M.C.A. QUICK: the first person to e-mail me the name of a song by The Village People that ISN'T the afore-mentioned ballad, "In The Navy" or "Macho Man" wins the privilege of being openly mocked on my behalf in the next installment of The Rocktagon.

Winner: The B.W.O., homosexual subtext.

An enjoyable little comedic detour. If you can't smile after watching that bout, there's nary a remedy on Earth for your dourness. Let's quantify it as a (THE 6TH DAY) bout and press forward.

Serenaded by the dulcimer tone of "El Phantasmo And The Chicken Run Blast-A- Rama (Wine, Women and Song Remix)", Uncle Paul recounts the Mikey Whipwreck / Justin Credible rivalry that has been brewing for a couple of months. The key plot point here is that a.) both competitors are 23, and b.) Justin has been trying to snap Mikey's Achilles' heel, his, uh, Achilles' knee, I guess.

Justin makes his way to ringside accompanied by Jason and Chastity. That's right, in 1998, surnames were a luxury. Crowd is dead silent for Credible's appearance. Oh well, it's not like Paul E. will ever place him in a vaunted predicament in which he becomes the spokesperson for the company. . .wait. . .

Mikey wastes absolutely no time at all before darting to the ring, as he immediately begins wailing on Justin to kickoff the battle. Credible takes a hellacious bump to the outside and ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves some scuffling. Fisticuffs, and Justin takes another nasty bump to the guardrail. Mikey sends Credible over the barricade, as Justin lands ass first upon the face of a scrawny, albino looking kid in the front row. Shit, that could've been a young Bryan Danielson getting his first taste of the wrestling limelight.

Mikey, eschewing his formal dragon tee regalia, is rocking some pretty badass Silver Surfer branded duds. Of course, I would never wear such a gaudy uniform in public, or even the privacy of my own bedchamber, but at least the artwork is neat, I guess.

"Fuck 'em up Mikey" chant as the subject of the sentence eats a back bump to the afore-mentioned guardrail. A chair enters the fray, and Mikey gets a dental appointment with D.D.S. cold, hard steel. The ever classy "She's got herpes" mantra roars up, as Mikey gets an ass-chair to the face. Hard to explain, you'll just have to envision it for yourself. Powerbomb, no deal. Cool exchange spot instigated in which Mikey goes for the Whipper Snapper and gets Inverted DDT'ed for his efforts. Is it just me, or is the ECW ref apparel virtually identical to the suit of armor worn by AutoZone employees? Just observing.

First dead table of the night, as both adversaries are draped by signage that reads "Blow Goats". No, really. Justin eats double chair, does his best Ric Flair impersonation, and kicks out of a neck breaker. Slingshot to a chair, and Credible kicks out again. Franken-Mikey, only a two. Whipper Snappers for all! Neat piledriver reversal segment, and Credible spikes Mikey with a Tombstone upon a steel chair to secure the victory.

Winner: Justin Credible, people that remember the band Prong

Definitely a guilty pleasure pick, right there. I deem it officially of (THE RUNNING MAN) quality as it is time to venture forth.

For some reason, Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten are harassing Joey Styles about Chris Candido and Lance Storm. Stranger still is the notion that Axl is wearing a shirt plastered by Dr. Evil's mug. FUCKING METAL.

For those of you too young to remember (or for those of you that are having difficulty recollecting due to an addiction to Nyquil and Dr. Pepper shots from the timeframe of 1999 to 2002), the rub here is that the tag champs, Storm and Candido, absolutely cannot stand one another, and to exemplify this, Candido elects to traipse back to the dressing room and come out to his OWN, individualistic theme as opposed to his mandated tag team ballad. In other words, God, Candido ruled.

If I hear ONE more AC/DC song, I'm going to strangle a kitten. Sheesh, a little variety in musical selection wouldn't hurt, Paul.

Candido and Axl to begin. Typical hiptossy and armdraggy beginning. Joey Styles calls Axl "the most underrated WRESTLER in ECW." Uh, I think instead of the word "underrated", you meant the word "a", Joe.

Lance and Balls get the tag. You know, there's a dangerous amount of ACTUAL wrestling going on here for a match featuring both Mahoney AND Rotten. Methinks shenanigans are at play. Storm misses a knee by a mile. OOPS. Sloppy power bomb - elbow drop tandem thing from Rotten Balls. ANOTHER shitty looking dropkick from Storm. I must be having a stroke or something, there's no way BALLS MAHONEY is putting on a more thorough performance than Lance freaking Storm. We're moving at a molasses pace now. Jesus Christ, Balls just landed a better dropkick than Lance Storm's. The end of the world occurred back in 98, apparently. Mahoney attempts his patented World's Slowest Spinning Heel Kick and gets dumped to the outside by Candido. We've reached full cluster fuck stature as Axl lands a senton slingshot to the outside on EVERYBODY, his own partner included. Lance Storm just CANNOT stick those dropkicks tonight for some reason. I guess there's something about the Atlanta air that's like Kryptonite to Calgarians. Is it the residue from when the Flames left town? Could be.

"Free Ric Flair!" chant starts up. Oh, references to things that occurred eleven years prior. . .

Truth be told, this match is about twenty times better than it has any right to be. Awesome finish has Storm FINALLY hitting the dropkick, nailing a sort of precursor to the Van Terminator, before Candido whacks him over the back whilst making the pin so that he can score the official fall for himself.

Winners: Lance Storm, Chris Candido, Chris Candido (let's face it, he deserves two paychecks for tonight's performance)

Post-bout, the champs scuffle. Of course.

A surprisingly decent (THE 6TH DAY) affair. Next!

Hey, what do you know? It's time for an EXTREME salute to the legends of Georgia wrestling! Out first, Joey Styles pays respect to the Junkyard Dog, whom received the absolute loudest pop of the evening.

It's quite sad actually, because this was just a few short months before he was killed in a car accident. At the time, JYD was something of a ubiquitous presence in the Marietta area; every time a new big box mart opened, he was there on opening day signing autographs. I actually had TWO signed black and white pictures of him on my wall at one point, and I can firmly attest to the fact that he was mayhap the most amicable wrestler I've ever had the pleasure of personally meeting.

Dirty Dick Slater is out next, rocking the gaudiest windbreaker in the annals of recorded human history. Looked kind of glum to be there.

The Masked Superstar makes an appearance, still sporting his silver mascara. There's something about sporting a lucha mask and business attire that looks so damned cool to me. . .

And of course, since a person can't fart in Cobb County without Bullet Bob making an appearance, out comes the Armstrong progenitor. Sizable ovation, but it's clear that the ECW faithful are in love with Thump.

Next up, Shane Douglas ambles to the ring listing enough injuries to qualify for a Six Million Dollar Man operation. The Franchise grabs the mic, which means we get to hear him talk about how much Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair suck for five minutes. According to Shane, the latter "sucks Bischoff's ass". I didn't know Eric B. was a donkey rancher! Shane states that he's the greatest champion in ECW history, and out comes Taz to refute his claim. The great Orange one is sporting a particularly white trashy ensemble for the evening; maybe he's trying to play it up for the yokels, no?

Anyhoo, Taz says "hand me the belt, Shane' and Shane ripostes "no, you can't have it" so Taz beats on him for awhile until Bam Bam Bigelow waltzes out and engages in fisticuffs with the diminutive aggressor. Eventually, Taz is arrested by guys that aren't really cops and shoved into a car that isn't really a police vehicle and begins to stomp out the windows.. Holy shit, you cans see the Steak N Shake I frequented post-showing in the background. FTW! As the rest of The Triple Threat congregates around a fallen Shane, Joey wonders if could he possibly be in any shape to defend his title tonight against Al Snow.

Yeah, you heard that right.

Al Snow. THAT Al Snow.

More on that LATER, Rocktagon patrons. . .

Anyway, Bam Bam Bigelow is just hanging out in the ring, desiring some competition, I guess. After a minute or so of stalling, "Natural Born Killaz" rings through the complex, which means GARBAGE WRESTLING IS A COMING.

Since this is a New Jack match, expect polarized opinions on the bout's quality; you can either decry it as the bane of existence or pass it off as a mildly enjoyable sports-entertainment romp. Your call, because wrestling is a democratic process. Highlights include New Jack hitting Bigelow in the nuts with Godzilla action figure and a blown El Kabong spot from the afore- mentioned shit-rafters. BBB wins it with the Greetings From Asbury Park, as New Jack is no longer Born To Run after his freefall, which landed him in a hospital on The Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow, Roy Orbison singing for the lonely

(END OF DAYS) caliber. Pretty memorable from my perspective, as I actually did get a smattering of New Jack's blood on my tee during his leap from the second floor. Well, that, or the guy standing behind me eating a hot dog dripped catsup on me. One or the other, I suppose.

Cue a promo set to one of my favorite songs ever, "River Of Deceit" by Mad Season. Watching The Sandman get carted off while Layne Staley's specter- like inflection drones "My pain is self-chosen. . ." is goose pimple material if there was such.

The ensuing match, betwixt Dreamer and Sandy against the Dudley Boys, is good old fashioned, straight up ECW anarchy: we begin with the requisite Joel Gertner bawdy limerick, segueing into a six and half minute long entrance for the faces. From there on out, it's basically alike watching The Three Stooges paint a barn, only instead of using water colors, they're utilizing Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote-style violence. We've got stereo moves at the asshole for the first half of the bout, and then Sandy gets wheeled out after a worked neck injury. The Dudleys throw in a chunk of the guard rail, and it's a good old fashioned face beat down until Spike enters the fray. Big Dick Dudley enters the arena, and it becomes a three on two mugging until The Sandman makes his triumphant return. Non-mono DDTs seal it for the fan favorites.

Winners: Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, ACME

Not a bad little diversion. (THE 6TH DAY) vaunting for some entertaining bits.

Hype video for Sabu vs. RVD, glossing over the sibling-like rivalry the two have shared. RVD's TV Title victory over Bam Bam is recounted, as well as Van Dam's AWESOME display of dickery in which he threw in the towel on Sabu's behalf during a number one contender's bout due to his stablemate's nosebleed.

Our ref for the bout is Jeff Jones, whom, according to Styles, is in Bill Alfonso's pocket. I guess that means if Alfonso's hands were in Jones' pocket, he'd be fishing out a tube of GHB, right?

The following bout has a TV time limit of 30 minutes. . . Uh-oh. You KNOW what that means, then.

Instead of giving a typical PBP for the bout (yeah, all half an hour of it), I'm going to utilize my print space to become something of an apologist for these kinds of matches. I've always likened RVD / Sabu bouts to being comparable to a ingesting a Whopper. Sure, each town's BK makes its slightly different than the one across the way, but for what it's worth, the ingredients are always the same and you'd have to be one hard pressed mother fucker to gustatorily differentiate any two hamburgers from venue A and venue B. Alike the grease bathed Whopper, also, is the notion that if you chow down on one too many RVD / Sabu matches, you'll end up a fat, slovenly hick sporting more acne than a junior high chess club president, or your aggregate ROH fan; either outlet works.

So, what if one day, you went to your favorite dead animal on sesame seed outlet and observe, to your horror, that a thick slice of cantaloupe had been annexed to your desired burger? Well, it's something different, and relatively, healthy considering the surrounding mayonnaise-coated elements of the sandwich. But the thing is, you DON'T want different; you're not searching about for high-output, low-caloric delicacies when you waltz through the double doors of a fast food chain. You want instant gratification, a runny slab of deep fried garbage that sinks to your stomach like a cement block and makes you want to do stuff like watch AMC and read Newsweek while splayed out upon your den settee. Sometimes, rehash IS refreshing.

And thusly, that's what this bout is: now that I'm an adult fan of the fake fighting form, I'm old enough to appreciate the subtle nuances, character development, plot structuring, chronological pacing and bodily psychology of stuff like Misawa/Kawada and RINGS, much in the same way that I'm mature enough a cinemaphile to grasp and appreciate fare like Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters, Wiseblood and The Virgin Spring.

HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that I'm an elitist hack that pisses on the stuff I adored as a developing aficionado. Sure, it would be incredibly easy to scrutinize this bout as a stilted spot match (hint, it is), but for what it's worth, it's also damn entertaining to boot. Do I want all of my cinematic experiences to be comparable to The Battleship Potemkin? Well, in that same regard, I don't want all of my experiences with worked matches to be like a Pancrase offering. This bout is a soggy cheesy burger and a late night screening of Night of the Creeps; unrefined, unpolished, unprofessional and satisfying as all hell.

By now, you should know what to expect from a matching betwixt these two. In short, this bout is, at times, all of the following: a cluster fuck, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, a kid playing Guitar Hero on expert really fast and then pausing the game to catch his breath, a game of Mouse Trap, the Schumacher Batman movies, an underachieving episode of Pete and Pete, a going out of business furniture store sale AND a junior high production of Macbeth in which the scenery keeps falling over. Pretend to hate this all you want, smarky: this is the professional wrestling equivalent of taking a date to a poetry reading of Holocaust literature to make her think you're all intellectual and brooding and then coming home and chuckling at a midnight cable showing of Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

And in case you're wondering, this IS the best match I've ever seen live. Sad, but true. Of (THE RUNNING MAN) quality.

Our final bout of the evening is World Championship bout betwixt title carrier Shane Douglas and Al Snow, and I can already tell that this one might need some exposition.

You see, before Al Snow was a one-joke premise, before being fed his pet Chihuahua by Big Bubba Rogers, before he was hanging out with Steve Blackman and trolling about a deer's head, he was actually a pretty talented performer with a legit martial arts background. In fact, he had one of the best matches in ECW history against Chris Benoit back in 95, before he, you know, went all murdery on us and what-not.

After that, Snow became something of a utility player in the WWF. Saddled with shitty gimmick after shitty gimmick (a ninja, Marty Jannety's interim Shawn Michaels in the ill-fated "New" Rockers, so on and so forth), he was cast away to ECW land, where as urban legend has it, Paul H. was betted by Vince Montgomery Burns himself to transition the human leg prop into something that may in fact sell action figures.

In a stroke of sheer genius, Paul H. decided that Al's gimmick was that he had been driven insane by his failures in Titan Land, and after being paraded about in so many goofy costumes, he turned to a mannequin's head to manage him, something of a physical manifestation of his inner psychosis. Granted a rave-like introduction, fans were presented with Styrofoam facsimiles and wouldn't you know it? Snow was officially over, to the point that he was decreed worthy of title contention.

There's a great (Ok, fair) promo by Snow before the bout that reminds me of Paul Dini's take on The Joker from the great Batman cartoon from the 90s. The insinuation here is that Snow really isn't crazy, he's just pandering to the crowd to believe that he's crazy so that he can push himself into the upper echelon. The teased angle on the spot is that Snow has been faking the psychoticness and by finally winning gold in the business, he can be looked upon as an authentic, respectable figure, basically stating that as soon as he straps on the belt, he's chucking the goofy head gimmick and acting like a real wrestler.

Despite the fact that Douglas has been walking around with an Erector Set duct taped to his arm for three months, the guy really isn't selling anything. So, if his pallet is really broken, shouldn't he be dropped to the ground unconscious by a right swing from Snow? Yeah, I'm guessing Shane never took Psychology 1101 in college.

A pretty good bout, for what it's worth; towards the end, the locker room empties out, as was the tradition for ECW title bouts. After Al almost sinks it with a couple of Snow Plows, Shane pops up and counters a bridging suplex for an out of nowhere three count, and as I FIRMLY recall, the crowd was PISSED. Bodies swarm the ring as about eight hundred mannequin heads get chunked at The Franchise; far removed from the anarchic days of the sweatbox in Philly, this feels more like a cross between Big Japan and a Gallagher concert. Hey, that ain't complaining on my part.

Winner: Shane Douglas, Styrofoam mannequin head producers circa early 1998

(THE 6TH DAY) quality, if perchance you're pondering.

Well, a lot of people reflect on this card as being the WORST ECW PPV ever. Of course, I'm going to be double biased on that, so I really can't make a flash rendering on whether or not such a claim is valid. That being said, in retrospect, this was a pretty entertaining card, although it was becoming apparent that at this point, ECW was beginning to slide into self-parody. Perhaps noting this, Paul H. switched gears for the next show, bringing back the humorless violence for the company's next offering, which many people consider to be the BEST ECW PPV ever (Hint: I'm recapping that one in August).

Overall, not a bad little experience, even if slurping back strawberry milkshakes with my uncle and his red-dyed pupils post showing was awkward as twenty kinds of fuck. . .

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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.).