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Wrestling Ringside Roundtable
for June 2005
ECW EDITION
Featuring the Staff of The Wrestling Fan.com!

1) What was your favorite ECW match?

Harry Simon: Easy, Raven & Richards vs. Pitbulls at Gangsta’s Paradise. Click HERE for the write-up. It’s Match #1.

Doctor Gonzo: Favorite, although there were many, would probably be the Pitbullz vs. Stevie and Raven. Without a doubt one of the most insanely overbooked, trainwrecks that worked on every level. Honorable mentions go to Beulah vs. Bill Alphonso, Benoit vs. Scorpio, Malenko vs. Eddie, Psychosis vs. Mysterio I.

James Walker:Taz VS Masato Tanaka VS Mike Awesome, Barely Legal 99, ECW World Title. Originally, the match was just Taz VS Tanaka. It was Taz’s last night in ECW, and as champ, the fans ALL knew he was losing… but then, toss in Mike Awesome, and this proved why ECW was so great. They could be losing their top star and champion, and yet, before he’s gone they’re already creating more top stars that not only make the fans forget about the guy leaving, but gets them excited about their future programming. Not only this, but it wasn’t even the main event. As for the match itself, I thought it was absolutely BRILLIANT to have Taz’s ego get the best of him, as Tanaka & Awesome teamed up to squash him out of the match, guaranteeing a new champion. This might seem like an odd choice, but to me, the booking turned this match form predictable swan song, to riveting hope for a new future. (And boy, do I sound like a DVD cover)

Michael Melchor: This one took quite a bit of thinking. I’m sure the frontrunner is The Pit Bulls vs. Raven and Stevie (2/3 falls dog collar), and there’s also the four-way TV Title match (Shane Douglas/Chris Jericho/2 Cold Scorpio/Pit Bull #2), Taz vs. Sabu (Barely Legal...so many to chose from.

In the end, though, I have to say my favorite match is "Born To Be Wired" – Sabu vs. Terry Funk in a barbed-wire match for the ECW World Title. Those two men went above and beyond the call of "extreme" and put on a match that makes people cringe to this day. To me, this is what ECW was about – two men who would risk it ALL for the World Title. In the end, they had to be cut apart from each other because they were so intertwined in the stuff after nearly killing each other. Through it all, they went through with one of the most intense, violent matches ever seen on any continent at any time.

Justin Shapiro: (Prelude: Man, I tried to fill this out with a great deal of gravitas and thought-provoking thinking, and it just ended up being way too overwrought. So I started over and went in the opposite direction since I didn't have a ton of time. Sorry.)

What was your favorite ECW match?

Chris Benoit vs. Tajiri in an "ECW Rules" match, 5/30/05

Dave Gagnon: I have to say the best 2 out of 3 falls match between The Pitbulls and Raven\Steven Richards. It had drama, crazy bumps, blood, it had more storylines than a Seinfeld episode, it really exemplified what made ECW so great in its run.

Sean Carless: Truth be told, we didn’t get a lot of ECW up here in Canada, and because of that, during its formative years, I had to rely on the beacon of "wrestling knowledge" that was Pro Wrestling Illustrated for my earliest ECW fix. Yes, the same PWI that refused to ever write the name "Balls Mahoney" (instead always referring to him as "B. Mahoney" or the less imaginative "Mahoney") yet, they felt the swollen pumpkin-like head of Dusty Rhodes bleeding from every orifice was perfectly acceptable viewing material…

Anyway, since then, I’ve managed to play catch up through the miracle of video tape (and later DVD) but as far as seeing ECW firsthand, my favorite match was Masato Tanaka Vs. Mike Awesome for the ECW Title in late 1999. It featured some of the stiffest looking wrestling I had ever seen on TV, and the finish was just unbelievable as Awesome tiger-bombed Tanaka off the top rope through a table for the win. It definitely put any of the WWF’s ridiculously unrealistic Bob Holly and Steve Blackman-esque faux hardcore to shame, (I’ve always DESPISED the WWF’s overuse of obviously tinfoil trash cans passed off as "Hardcore".)

With that said, even though it obviously wasn’t the greatest ECW match ever, it was still the catalyst for me to go back and catch up on all that I had missed, and I was completely hooked again from there.


2) What was your favorite ECW angle?

Harry Simon: Mikey Whipwreck’s first TV Title reign. Poor Mikey tried GIVING the belt to his heel challengers, but they weren’t having it. They’d beat the bejeezus out of Mikey until they invariably got themselves disqualified, forcing Mikey to remain champion and endure more title defenses. Best comedy angle EVER.

Doctor Gonzo:Mick Foley's Anti-Hardcore angle was by far the greatest thing the company ever churned out. Let this stand as the first time that Gonzo has EVER been in favor of anything anti-hardcore, but god damn these things were brilliant, and played directly into the hands and the souls of the ECW fans.

James Walker: ECW was miles ahead of any of the mainstream wrestling programs out there, not only in wrestling, but storylines. There was literal years of great stuff, like Tommy Dreamer Earns His Stripes, Raven Brainwashes Sandman’s Family, or Jerry Lawler Invades, but for me, the best angle not only is original, entertaining, and well played… but it makes a character. And for that, it’s Mick Foley’s ‘I’m Hardcore’ angle. Mick had always been the bloody bumptastic brawler, but when ECW let him loose, we discovered he may be THE best promo man ever. Honestly, I can’t decide between Mick, Flair, or Rock. Either way, Mick was let loose on this angle, and with Paul’s brilliance allowing Foley to take charge and have a lot of say in it, it might have been the most dramatic epiphany for wrestling fans: Mick Foley was charismatic.

Michael Melchor: This I’m going to keep simple, because quoting the moment it happened brings back the memories of the angle, how intense the feud became after this, and the ground that was broken better than I ever could:

Beulah McGillicutty: ...Because I’m pregnant!

Raven: Pregnant?!

Beulah McGillicutty: What do you care? It’s NOT YOURS!!

[Raven goes after Stevie Richards and attacks him, but Beulah stops him]

Beulah McGillicutty: It’s not his, either – it’s TOMMY’S!!

Justin Shapiro: The Billion Dollar Princess buys ECW, becomes Extreme Queen in order to run her father out of business.

Dave Gagnon: Bill Alfonso trying to clean up ECW by enforcing WWF rules. For the record, I found Alfonso to be an awful and irritating manager with his fucking whistle but his initial storyline as the former WWF ref trying to clean up ECW was brilliant.

Sean Carless: Favorite angle? Probably the tight camera shot of Dawn Marie bending over when she’d get into the ring….. Oh you meant…umm, never mind….

Anyway, there has been TONS of great ECW angles over the years from Raven/Dreamer/Beulah all the way to Cactus Jack’s anti-hardcore movement; but my favorite angle was the subtle and awesome build-up of Taz. I loved Taz (and still do) and marked out for everything the guy did. And obviously, I wasn’t the only one. An entire legion of fans bought into the Heyman-scripted Taz hyperbole that he was indeed the baddest motherfucker on the planet, and for over three years, we were completely convinced that Taz was unbeatable (something that was also carried over to WWF for one night…before they fucked it up)

Hell, Paul was so steadfast in his quest to cement Taz as "legit" that he even brought in shoot-fighters like Paul Varleans to put the Taz myth over. (reportedly in exchange for a blowjob from Missy Hyatt(!) (That she apparently didn’t go through with for some reason) But still, WOW, who needs guaranteed contracts when "The First Lady of Wrestling" is standing by waiting to paint your tree? No wonder so many of these guys worked for free!…)

Anyway, it all culminated in a feud with Sabu, that was SO well built, that people were actually expecting the greatest match EVER to take place when they finally did lock up. Taz ultimately won (A good, not great match) and did indeed cement himself as ECW’s premier bad-ass. Great stuff.

3) What was your single favorite ECW promo? (and please explain why)

Harry Simon: Cactus? Mikey? Hell, I can’t decide, so I’ll just pick ‘em both. The interview after their first ECW Tag Title win over The Public Enemy was ECW in a nutshell. Cactus declared war on the tag division, but Mikey was terrified. "Cactus, my mother’s gonna kill me! I told her I’d never win another championship!"

Doctor Gonzo: Probably would be ANYTHING Joel Gertner ever cut because it was so damn creative and dirty, despite the fact that I never ever want to see him do ANYTHING like in his promos. 2nd place would go to the hilarious promo with Public Enemy and Mikey Whipreck where they were training him by having him grabbing beer that was hung in a tree. Public Enemy the proceeded to do it themselves and getting piss drunk. Classic.

James Walker:You know… I could sit here and ‘name drop’ some great promos done by ECW alum, but when it comes down to it, one ECW started it all: Shane Douglas Throws Down the NWA Title. This promo, right here, made ECW. THIS was the beginning of the attitude era, and THIS is what set ECW apart from the WWF and WCW. If there’s one thing Douglas could ever do better than anyone else, it was a scathing shoot promo among the men who held him down... and here, he proved it.

Michael Melchor: "The Franchise" Shane Douglas (and I’ll warn you now, that ’s a name you’re going to see quite a bit of out of me as you read this), after he broke the neck of Pit Bull #1 (Gary Wolfe), was public enemy #1 in the ECW Arena. He got in that ring and told the fans why and how he did it. During that promo, he gave the one line that spoke more truth and established his character more than anything he had ever done:

I held up a mirror and showed you the face of hardcore – and you turned away in disgust.

What Douglas said was true – he showed them how far he was willing to go and how far the fans thought they were willing to go. As thirsty as they were for blood and violence and to see someone hurt, Douglas gave them just that. What they couldn’t stand about it or him was that he was 100% right.

Justin Shapiro: "Paul, from now on you can just call me 'Boss.'" "Yes ma'am!"

Dave Gagnon: I had a hard time to choose but despite the brilliance of Foley's promos in ECW, I will go with the first heel promo of Taz. It was filled with such anger, you just don't see intensity like that anymore. It happened at November 2 Remember 95, the first ECW show I ever watched, and it got me hooked instantly..

Sean Carless: Easily ANYTHING Cactus Jack; be it his anti-hardcore shtick, or anything in between. (Trying to get the ECW crowd to sing "New York, New York" the night before he started with the WWF was always a huge laugh for me.)

You know, I was always perversely amused by Cactus’s promos in WCW (with a heavy heart...and a pained pancreas…) but it wasn’t until he got to ECW that I truly saw that he was perhaps the very best promo man in the business. Cactus could be funny, and he could be psychotic, and I loved every minute of it. However, by far, my favorite Cactus promo/moment was when he revealed his "Dungeon of Doom" T-shirt to a WCW-loathing ECW arena, and began to refer to Eric Bischoff as "Uncle Eric". No one could play with the emotions of a crowd as well as Cactus Jack.

4) Who was your favorite ECW wrestler and who was your favorite ECW tag team?

Harry Simon: (favorite wrestler) Oh man, that’s like asking who was my favorite porn star. Or who was my least favorite Von Erich. I’ve gotta go with Mikey Whipwreck. He hit on all levels. Comedy (see above), emotion (when Sandman caned him), and ultimately, catharsis (when he chairshotted Cactus, who had hung him out to dry). Plus, he’s a super-cool guy and I talked to him once online.

(Favorite tag team) Eliminators! The elims were wrestlers, brawlers, acrobats, and just plain exuded "badass." Total Elimination is my favorite tandem finisher of all time. That move should be immortalized in platinum on a museum on a pedestal somewhere, which is ironic because my sources tell me that John Kronus currently sweeps up in a museum after hours to make ends meet.

Doctor Gonzo: Wrestler would be Tajiri. I marked out like fucking nuts anytime he came out. I remember when he was clean cut Yoshihiro Tajiri from Japan and then started looking all rugged and drunk, and then started going nuts and kicking the shit out of EVERYONE. His debut match in ECW is probably one of the best I've ever seen.

James Walker: This answer might seem a little odd, for the only ‘regular’ ECW I watched was ECW on TNN. Living in western Canada, I never heard of the stuff, and I honestly just accidentally flipped it on one night, and watched every Friday night until it was gone. And while I could pretend to be an old school mark and say I was a big Sabu fan and my favourite team were the Dudleys, I can’t… I never truly saw them in their ECW prime. For me, my personal favourite ECW wrestler was Jerry Lynn. The guy could carry ANYONE to a good match, and I realized this before I discovered the IWC. On top of that, I really was into the whole Network angle, where Cyrus ‘chose’ Jerry Lynn as their leader, but Lynn hated them... so they’d help him behind his back… that is, until it was discovered to be a hoax & Jerry was along with it the entire time. Lynn can play a heel or a face so convincingly, it’s inspiring.

As for a tag team, I once again have to look into the ‘late’ ECW, and go with Mikey Whipreck & Tajiri. I don’t know what it was about these guys, but I loved the hell out of Tajiri’s repertoire, and his were the stiffest shots I’d ever seen. Mikey underwent a transformation from his early years, where he was now the brainchild of ‘The Sinister Minister’.. and god damn, I loved it. The Unholy alliance just had a chemistry that I couldn’t help but to enjoy.

Michael Melchor: Favorite wrestler is (of course) Shane Douglas. He personified that promotion as much as (if not more than) Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, or anyone else that graced the Bingo Hall. He was a sound (if not excellent) wrestler, a brilliant talker, and had the attitude that defined ECW.

I would be GREATLY remiss if I didn’t say that Sabu almost took this honor by a hair. He defied death every time he stepped in the ring to annihilate someone and wouldn’t let anything or anyone stand in his way. THAT man was extreme!

Favorite team is also a close call, but I have to go with The Public Enemy. With their comedic and nihilistic promos, this is the team that got me into ECW in the first place. God bless the memory of Rocco Rock (Ted Petty) and the heartfelt thank you I got back from Johnny Grunge when I sent an e-mail expressing how sad I was to learn of Petty’s passing away.

Honorable mentions go to The Eliminators (for being a team in every sense of the word, and re-defining tag team wrestling by actually wrestling like one) and The Gangstas (for being the lunatics from the street that didn ’t give a damn what they said or did) here as well.

Justin Shapiro: 7-11,

The FBI (Palumbo & The Bull)

Dave Gagnon: My favorite wrestler was Taz. The guy was fucking intense. He really had an aura of a tough motherfucker. The entrance, the cold stare before the matches, his gimmick of making big guys tap out, the FTW belt, the slow burn feuds with Shane Douglas and Sabu...I could go on and on..

My favorite tag team was, and I am not shitting you, the FBI. I love funny heels and they were a pretty good tag team to boot. One of the best entrances in wrestling..

Sean Carless: Favorite wrestler was Taz (see question number 2) and my favorite Tag Team was the Eliminators. Perry Saturn and John Kronus brought tag team wrestling back from the bottomless unending hole (not Lita) it was in during the mid 90’s, and brought me back to what I wanted from tag team wrestling: that being, a REAL team with tandem offense, a GREAT finisher (the Total Elimination… a combination leg sweep (by Saturn) rolling heel-kick (by Kronus) that made for one kick ass visual) and the fact that they looked like an actual TEAM (not just two random directionless hamburgers non-sensically thrown together for a few months.)

Unfortunately for the Eliminators, though just as the PPV universe was exposed to their work in 1997, Saturn went down with a brief injury (ACL tear) and eventually jumped to WCW, leaving poor Kronus behind to get fat, then eventually disappear faster than a stack of pancakes in front of Steph.

5) Which was your favorite ECW event? (and why)

Harry Simon: I’ve always had a fondness for Hostile City Showdown 95. The first Malenko-Guerrero match, plus a Cactus-Funk main event. Great times.

Doctor Gonzo:This would probably be the most obvious choice as i would go with Barely Legal 1997, not just because that's my favorite magazine (seriously I used to read it in elementary school). It was the most emotional Wrestling PPV I have ever seen in the fact that the wrestlers really busted their asses to make a great PPV, and even though the matches wern't classics, I marked out like a child discovering masturbation. This also leads to the next question...

James Walker: Easy, Barely Legal 97, the first PPV. This might sound like a stereotypical answer, but let’s be honest here folks: this was huge. Getting ECW on PPV was a massive achievement… Paul never had big money backing, and rarely could afford outside draws. Getting ECW on TV was big as well, but the PPV said something loud and clear to the WWF and WCW: We’re coming, fuckers. While the PPV buyrate wasn’t big (they all hovered around 0.25… that is, until the last one, which drew nearly a 1.0) the fact is a shitty bush league no name fed had made it to PPV with little to no backing. It was a glorious achievement, and the PPV itself was a celebration of this fact.

Michael Melchor: I think my favorite event has to be the "Big Ass Extreme Bash". This one had it ALL – Brian Pillman faces off with Shane Douglas, Rey and Psicosis go all the way live, Cactus Jack wrestles his last match, Raven and Sandman go at it again...name it and everything I loved about ECW was on this show. This was the promotion at its peak (save for "Barely Legal") and I would kill to have this on tape.

Justin Shapiro: The Night The Line Was Crossed (because it was the night that the line was crossed. at last.)

Dave Gagnon: Heatwave 98, from Dayton Please don't tell anyone that Rick Scaia was here , Ohio was packed with good to great matches. But I might go with N2R 95 because it's the show that got me hooked.

Sean Carless: Barely Legal (and with a name like that, is it any wonder why Jerry Lawler came in to work like 6 weeks later?...)

Anyway, Barely Legal was the first ECW show I ever saw, and was the culmination of all the hype people like me had heard about ECW for years. And while it had a few snafus, the show itself delivered, and the crowd reaction was something that had to be seen to be believed.

6) What was your second-favorite ECW feud (behind Raven vs. Dreamer, of course)?

Harry Simon: Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack. Great promos, great angles (like the classic Funk-In-The-Box), and great brawls. It’s what ECW was all about.

Doctor Gonzo: I LOVED Sabu vs. Taz just because you could cut the hatred with a hate knife through hate butter. This was one of the best feuds booked around someone who wasn't even there. This is like anytime someone wrestle's Triple H, they have to cut a promo for 2 people, Taz did that same thing here, and the moment when Sabu finally arrived and was heaven. The match was a let down, but the feud was amazing.

James Walker: Lynn VS RVD. Their matches were classic, and this feud really brought the best out of both men. While Lynn rarely won, the fact is fans believed he could win every match: and that’s what matters in a feud. This was simply two styles meshing perfectly, showcasing their talents to the world. These two can boast about being the very first ECW on TNN match, and it shows how much faith Heyman had in these guys. While it was never a hatred feud, for my money, it might just be the best ‘respect’ feud I’ve ever seen.

Michael Melchor: Raven and Sandman, because Raven went there. Seeing Sandman’s son Tyler turn his back on his dad smashed the heart of anyone who witnessed that – and that’s exactly what it was designed to do. My hat’s off to all involved for playing out one of the most emotional and intense rivalries ever seen.

Justin Shapiro: Sid vs. Jeff Jones

Dave Gagnon: Taz vs Sabu. Slow burn feud. When the match finally happened, it felt special.

Sean Carless: RVD Vs. Jerry Lynn. Sure Jerry spent more time on his back here than Lita did in the Mexican locker room, but still, these two seemed to always have a great chemistry, and always tried to outdo their previous encounter and bring something new and amazing to the table.

It’s also matches like this that cemented Rob’s status as "Mr. Pay-Per-view". You know, it’s really shame that Rob isn’t healthy enough, and Jerry is being kept bound and shackled in the Jarrett's basement somewhere, or we could have seen this awesome rivalry one more time at One Night Stand. Oh well.

7) In the long run, did ECW help or hurt the wrestling industry?

Harry Simon: Both. ECW helped by shining a spotlight on talent like Raven, Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero, Jericho, Rey, Juventud, Psicosis, Saturn, etc. Their exposure in ECW helped them to get big money contracts that they richly deserved (no pun intended). ECW also introduced us to Douglas, Scorpio, Cactus, Austin, and others who were never allowed to show just how good they were, thanks to WCW "creative." ECW rightly cemented Terry Funk’s status in the biz as the only "legend" who everybody actually LIKES. ECW was light years ahead of its time in character development, promos, and angles. Wrestling fans from the 80s grew up, and ECW was the only U.S. wrestling organization that grew up with them. The WWF had no choice but to follow suit, which led to their biggest boom period in history.

Doctor Gonzo: ECW re-invented wrestling to an extent. It ultimately helped and hurt the industry as they invented soap opera storylines that had susbtance, and they broke barriers in wrestling that never were broken before like back-backstage angles, and anti-authority aggression. This was great for wrestling in the late 1998s, specifically the WWF, and made for the two most successful angles in history (Austin vs. mcMahon and nWo), but these two angles totally oversaturated the idea that ECW perfected, as well as every other angle that ECW had as their own, and in the end it has left the industry where it is now, a drunken shell (as good as that sounds) of it former self.

James Walker: I don’t think you can say it did either. On one hand, it helped it by ushering a new era, where fans were begging for edgier programming more suited to modern lifestyles. On the other hand, people say ECW was like giving growth steroids to a 7 year old… it wasn’t ready, or fully developed yet. Personally, I think ECW didn’t hurt, nor help the wrestling industry… ECW EVOLED the wrestling industry. Who’s to say us humans developing opposable thumbs helped or hurt us? I mean, sure, nowadays we know so much more about the world, science, arts, and life in general… but we’ve created so many problems along the way, it might be nice to sit in some trees and fling our poo at each other. I think the same applies to ECW… sure, if we were stuck in the cartoony early nineties, happily cheering hosses with no technical talent, and most people would scoff at this idea. However, while the in ring product, much attributed to ECW, is far greater than before, there are a slew of problems arising.. injuries are far more frequent, fans have become complacent to things that once were over HUGE. (See: The Sleeper) The fact is, ECW did the inevitable. Good or bad, it happened, and I for one don’t think any judgment should be passed on the subject.

Michael Melchor: I could see the argument for the negative (too much violence and sex, Vince stealing the ideas and watering down the product), but I think ECW was better for the industry than anything else in the long run. Creatively, ECW showed and proved that more could be done with wrestling than two guys in gimmicks pretending to beat the snot out of each other. Every angle that ECW came up with that was stolen (that we can’t stand nowadays) broke new ground in storytelling and gave all new reasons to see guys go at it. Consequently, that spurred on the most intense action seen to this day. Taken as a whole, ECW was unique – and also a lifestyle that’s obviously remembered to this day.

Justin Shapiro: I suppose that depends on how long a run you mean. I'm going to say helped, because their style and concepts being appropriated -- not only in the most overt sense by WWF Attitude but even to an extent some aspects of how the nWo storyline was done -- predicated the b-b-boom period and the wrestling industry becoming ridiculously profitable and giving us so much bonerfied excitement from 96-01.

If you mean in terms of accelerating the HUMAN TOLL [destroy all humans] and upping the ante and desensitizing the fans, yeah that was probably not so good. But doesn't the former (my happiness) supercede the latter (other people's pain)? Why, almost always.

Dave Gagnon: It helped by creating talent and shipping them to the other two feds. And that's that. I don't see why anyone would think that ECW hurt the wrestling industry.

Sean Carless: Both. It’s innovative ideas and angles forced Vince’s hand, and pried wrestling back from the pudgy hands of stupid children with ridiculously oversized Hulk Hogan novelty items, and handed back to where wrestling TRULY BELONGED: the 18-35 male demographic.

HOWEVER, it also upped the ante so much, that wrestlers had to attempt to outdo every spot they had previously attempted, resulting in more injuries, and shortened careers. The fact is, because of ECW (and later Attitude era WWF) the bar was raised so high, that fans seemingly were unable to get into a match for the longest time unless it involved someone falling off a ladder or going through a table, and this took a physical toll on the talent. Only in the last couple of years have the crowd been once again re-educated to catch as catch can wrestling, without hurling the insulting "boring" chant at anything that builds slowly and doesn’t feature frenetic nonsensical spots. (Down with ADHD!)

But still, I think ECW’s influence was a NECESSARY evil, if only because without it, WWF and WCW would still be built around lumbering lummoxes, a reconstructed cyborg-like Hulkster, and wrestlers named after shitty blue collar jobs.

8) which one wrestler in your opinion was "Mr. ECW"? (i.e., whom do you think personified "ECW")

Harry Simon: You could make a case for Funk, Douglas, Cactus, Dreamer, Raven, Sandman, Taz, or RVD. However, Sabu was ECW before ECW existed. In one of the most brilliant promotional maneuvers in history, Heyman actually managed to scoop up ‘Bu at his peak and transfer the buzz from Sabu to the ECW brand as a whole. Overnight, the industry went from "You’ve gotta see this Sabu guy" to "You’ve gotta see this ECW stuff." Without Sabu and his innovative style that broke new ground and many pelvises, ECW would have been just another indy.

Doctor Gonzo:This would have to be RVD as the most obvious answer, but there was another man who deserves this title as well. Tommy Dreamer bled this company, even to the point of having to have his balls drained because of it (the first known case of "red balls"). RVD carried the company in the end, but Tommy Dreamer gave his career to it, and the personification of his greatness and love of the company : he wanted to put guys over, and never wanted to win a title.

James Walker: Tommy Dreamer. The guy was there from the near beginning, to its final show. Heyman ALWAYS knew he could count on Tommy, while Sandman, Taz, Stevie, and a slew of others left for money. Sure, some people like RVD never left either, and they’re viable candidates for this title, but Tommy had the heart like no other. When Tommy FINALLY pinned Raven, the fans felt like they pinned him along with Tommy. The night Tommy won his first ECW World Title, there couldn’t have been a dry eye in the crowd. (And losing it not 15 minutes later just proves how much of a company man he was) Long story short, Tommy Dreamer = ECW.

Michael Melchor: Woops – I guess I answered this prematurely in Question #4. Shane Douglas WAS ECW to me and probably always will be. His promos cut to the heart of his opponents AND the other two promotions. His actions stood as an example of what ECW was at its heart – a promotion with nothing to lose and everything to gain by putting itself completely on the line.

Justin Shapiro: I'm going with Raven because he runs the gamut in credentials: he was a huge part of ECW, huge enough to 'sell out' to WCW, ECW enough to be underutilized by WCW, extreme~! enough to quit WCW to go back to ECW after having left, reflective of the ECW/WWF relationship enough to use his second stint in ECW as a springboard to signing with WWF, ECW enough to not work the way WWF wants guys to, and fitting enough to end up out of WWE and getting good money for indy bookings essentially on the strength of the work he did in his original stint in ECW.

Dave Gagnon: Tommy Dreamer. If it wasn't for ECW, this guy would have been an absolute nobody. They took this guy, they hid his weaknesses and gave him terrific angles to work with and made him one of their top stars. He also personifies ECW by being one of the toughest SOB around. I am not really a fan of his work in the ring but I respect the hell out of this guy..

Sean Carless: Tommy Dreamer. Others have maybe had more significance while in ECW, or had popularity that transcended the company (like RVD),  but Dreamer EMBODIED ECW.

While others "sold out", Dreamer stayed loyal, never played politics, worked a slew of backstage positions, and even crippled himself for the company when his popularity quite honestly could allowed him to just phone it in. Hell, as Gonzo said, he even had his balls drained for ECW! (But if I was married to the lovely Beulah McGillicutty , I’d be draining my balls too….until I looked like that fucking kid from Road Trip…. And yes, I just wanted to make that joke :))

Anyway, Tommy Dreamer IS and always will be ECW.

9) What are you hoping for at ECW One Night Stand?

Harry Simon: I just hope that Paul and his boys can "wow" me once again for old time’s sake. I hope that once again, I will throw logic to the wind, and start chanting "ECW" at my TV set on more time. If that happens, I’m happy.

Doctor Gonzo:Easily, this can be answered in one acronym: E.C.W. That is what I want. I want blood, violence, swearing, raunchy Gertner, cat fights, Joey Styles, great camera work, poor special effects, rabid fans, weapons, and GORE! GORE! GORE!

James Walker: What ECW fans expect. Great wrestling from all styles, from technical, to hardcore brawling, to lucha libre, intense & riveting promos, and intriguing angles that challenge the viewers to think. I’m also hoping for Shane Douglas & TNA to realize that they’re being dicks by not working the show/not letting their workers on it. I’d KILL to see Raven VS Dreamer again, same with Lynn VS RVD. I want to see another Shane Douglas Promo. I want to see Funk. I’m sorry, I like Tony Mamaluke as much as the next guy, but on a nostalgia PPV, I need the people that will make me feel nostalgic! And sure, there are a lot of guys here that will make it happen, but not the full effect.

Michael Melchor: During the WWE/ECW brawl, I would absolutely love to see 911 emerge from the back and Chokeslam the living piss out of anyone that doesn’t support ECW. Kurt Angle, JBL, the Raw crew, the cabinet – ALL of them should go for the ride. Hell, bring out Bill Alphonso to take a Chokeslam while we’re at it!

Justin Shapiro: Three great matches, fun cameos, minimizing the ECW vs. WWE aspect of the show.

Dave Gagnon: Chaos. Mindless fun. I want them to work the entire PPV without wrestling the WWE style.

You know what? I am pretty sure that I'll have my money's worth. They are going out of their way to make this show authentic. With all the people involved, I believe it will be. I don't give a fuck if there's outside talent, they'll only show up for an angle and I'm sure it will create tremendous heat and that's a good thing. I am fucking tired of reading about how they will ruin ECW's legacy and shit like that. Shut up. Wait for the show to be done before you get all pissy.

They gave the booking duties to Dreamer and Heyman. They have the show in a small arena, a ECW hotbed (Hammerstein Ballrom). They got talent that doesn't (and probably never will) work in WWE. They got Styles (at a hefty price, I presume). They got the ECW ring announcer, the refs, the security. They got all that. And now, they decide to run an invasion angle with WWE talent and you have guys crying about how this will ruin the show? Fuck you. That's why I am so tired of these smarts. Always have to bitch about something. Jesus Christ.

Sorry if I am ranting but I just have to get this off my chest. The deal with the WWE guys will probably only be for the big brawl at the end (Sandman and Dreamer vs Dudleys). That's a small portion of the PPV, folks. Nothing to get mad about. That's why I tend to read less and less stuff on the net. I am tired of people pissing on stuff before they see the actual result..

Sean Carless: A completely authentic ECW experience, where for three hours I can get lost and relive all the great memories I have for this company, and not be constantly reminded of WWE every five seconds.


10) What should absolutely NOT happen at 1NS?

Harry Simon: I know they’ve announced Eddie-Benoit on the net, but it’s not official until either they push it on TV, or it actually happens. With that in mind, this may sound a bit strange, but if, in fact, they do another Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko match, it MUST end in a draw. On the surface, it sounds ridiculous to have a retired agent draw one of the industry’s top stars, but the reason Guerrero-Malenko was such a classic story is because they were too evenly matched for either to claim superiority. IF they do Eddie vs. Dean (even as a surprise, which has been rumored), they MUST have a draw. Anything else would tarnish the legacy of one of the best-wrestled feuds in the history of the business.

Doctor Gonzo: This better not turn into a WWE event. The last thing I want to see is Team WWE coming in and we get some shit like matches with the WWE wrestlers. I want them to come in, get beat down, and leave the event, just like that. No show long angle, no matches with WWE wrestlers, none of that shit. Keep it ECW, the worst thing would make this just another WWE PPV.

James Walker:ANYTHING WWE RELATED. I can’t express how overjoyed I was when original reports were coming out that Vince had decided to stay out of this project and allow Tommy & Paul to handle it… I regained so much respect for the man. But now, with this invasion, I’m just sad. The ECW DVD isn’t the best selling wrestling DVD of all time because of shitty WWE jobbers, and the ECW PPV would have been just as successful if it weren’t for Vince’s paranoia that anything not WWE can’t succeed. Face it Vince, ECW has more hardcore fans than you’ll ever have. Unlike YOUR product, people actually believe it’s the best stuff out there.

It seems like a predetermined conclusion that the WWE loyal will invade the ECW PPV. The ONLY way I’ll accept (and by accept, I mean not throw shit covered bricks at Titan Towers) this is if it’s the opening segment, where we see ECW run them out of the building, not before stiffing the royal fuck out of everyone, and getting on with the real thing.

Michael Melchor: The WWE faction should NOT dominate this show. If anything, let them come out at the beginning, take their ass-whuppin’ quick, fast, in a hurry and get cleared out of the building so we can see ECW the way it was meant to be one more time.

Justin Shapiro: Vince showing up to pat WWE's baby brother on the head for being so FUN~!

Dave Gagnon: The crusaders getting the upperhand on the ECW guys. And the return of Stephanie McMahon as owner of ECW. And it won't happen so I sleep well at night..

Sean Carless: As many have already mentioned, the WORST thing that can happen (at least for me), would be if the "WWE Invasion" is the complete focal point of the show. Likewise, I too hope the "beatdown" of the WWE guys should take place right off the bat, and should ABSOLUTELY not be the "main event" and especially culminate in some sort of match between the two factions. While I won’t rule that out as being perhaps a cool follow up NEXT TIME, this particular show is supposed to be an ECW reunion and should be as genuine as possible.

Now with that said, here’s a few little things I DON’T want to see tomorrow night….

-Any "WWE" stars actually wrestling. As mentioned, they should come out, cut a promo, brawl, get pulverized…then LEAVE. The show should then start from there.

-Call me greedy, but I’d kind of like to hear some genuine ECW theme songs. Consider me disappointed if Sandman comes out to ANYTHING other than ‘Enter Sandman’ And especially if he comes out to some digitized Jim Johnston midi-file shit. (see the TERRIBLE audio on the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD for an example of what I’m talking about.)

-I don’t want to see ANY "WWE style" matches. ECW was about just seeing where a wrestling match took you, and if it spilled into using weapons so be it. Despite what WWE revisionist history will tell you, there really were no "tables matches" (at least WWF's version) in ECW. If someone went through a table, it was just part of the ensuing action and not a match stipulation. So, to sum up, I want to see the over-the-top ECW I remember, and not a sanitized "WWE Production". I want moves and spots that WWE would never dare allow (like say FUCKING PILEDRIVERS) and adult language. What I DON’T want is a plethora of rest holds and REF BUMPS (a true staple of WWE unoriginality).

Now, if I see the ECW I remember so fondly, I’ll be happy, and put it over accordingly. If not, I’ll feel justified in my apparent "bitterness".

With that said, I’m choosing to think positively at the moment. I think Vince is more than capable of coming through, as the honesty (well, most of it) of the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD proved.

 
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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.).