ECW: Breathing new life into wrestling or demonspawn of the XFL and WBF?
Thursday, May 08, 2008
10 Thoughts on ECW - 05.06.08
It’s the 100th episode of the NEW ECW, and boy does June 13, 2006, seem like ages ago. Time for this week's 10 Thoughts, cross-posted over at Pulse Wrestling…
1. Mike Adamle’s speech was fine, but what was the point to the whole thing? Getting the IWC to talk about it the next day? Driving traffic to WWE.com? Who knows, maybe Vince was just cranky and legit pissed at Adamle, then changed his mind because he realized Coach was on his way out, Styles was already taken off of TV and… I donno, Josh Mathews must have pissed someone off over the years, ‘cause he’s actually not half bad on Heat (and Velocity before that).
2. I liked the Dreamer/Knox match, and think ALL ECW title matches should be held with Extreme Rules. If done right, it can make the division seem different enough (without making it the joke the “hardcore” division ended up back when that title still existed) and when plunder is allowed, random people like Chavo holding the belt is more believable.
3. By the way, if they’re not going to push Stevie Richards, they have to make this guy a full-time announcer or manager. He’s so underrated on the stick. RTC anyone?
4. I miss The Zombie :(
5. I wonder where they’re going with this Shelton Benjamin/Kofi Kingston feud. I like both guys, and would rather see Shelton challenge for the U.S. strap and Kofi moved over to Raw to form an improbable stable with Carlito and Santino… (and if Monty was still around, how awesome would THOSE promos be?)
6. I know I’m not the first person to say this but (a) Kelly Kelly can’t can’t dance dance… BUT her body is smoking. Am I naïve to be surprised that WWE’s never had her ACTALLY strip on ECW or PPV yet?
7. Speaking of bodies, Armando Alejandro Estrada’s more surprisingly-ripped than anyone since… Michael Cole.
8. I still think ECW could have really gotten back on track after the December 2 Dismember debacle if they moved the Hardyz over to the brand and put the tag belts on the show back then.
9. Although, between RVD totally screwing up his push when he got arrested, Kurt Angle being released, Big Show taking a year off and the Benoit tragedy, it’s amazing ECW’s still on the air.
10. To wrap this one up, as much as I hated ECW during the Lashley and McMahon title runs, I liked it at the beginning as a nostalgia act/venue for the ECW Originals to show their stuff, and I think it has potential today as an hour of television each week for hardcore WWE fans to see up-and-coming stars get experience and hopefully grow. In fact, I’d like to see veterans on ECW used primarily to work with and put over the younger guys, and a nice championship division built around the Punks, Benjamins, Dykstras, Bulldogs and maybe even Londons and Kendricks that can make the most out of the opportunity.
As always, hit BLATT up and I’ll see you next week…
Welcome to the first “10 Thoughts on ECW” -- thanks to Daniels for the concept, which we are extending to ECW and, yes, even TNA beginning this week -- and the first episode of WWE’s third brand that I’ve watched in full since the beginning of the Mike Adamle Experiment. I'll be cross-posting this over at Pulse Wrestling. Let’s go…
1) The Wrestling Observer Newsletter a week ago said that Kofi Kingston got called up to ECW due to a company-wide directive to add more African Americans to the roster (particularly with Cor Von, Booker, Lashley, Kristal and others no longer with the company), and he’s turned into one of my favorite parts of ECW. Not sure if it’s the song, the flashy style, the magic of WWE pushing him as undefeated, or a combination of the three, but I’m definitely a fan and can watch Kofi/Shelton every week.
2) Speaking of Shelton, you know what he needs? Yeah, a manager to talk for him. But I guess we’ve known that for quite some time, haven’t we? I hear Jonathan Coachman might need a role…
3) Two title matches on Smackdown eh? Colin Delaney again competes for a contract, and Knox vs. Dreamer in an Extreme Rules match next week on ECW? Those, along with an awesome-as-usual “Raw Rewind” video package = really solid promotion of the next three shows by WWE. Good stuff.
4) First Trevor Murdoch sings Garth Brooks, then Mike Adamle covers The Drifters? Really?
5) Ya know, I’ve always liked Mike Knox, and – assuming the drug issue from a few weeks ago is cleared up – hope his push continues. He has a unique look, does some smart little things (™ Haley) like the slap to Colin Delaney as he tended to Dreamer, and his stiff offense looks good, despite the rather generic finisher. (Seriously, don’t five or six WWE superstars use that spinning neckbreaker/roll-the-dice-like finishing move?)
6) The return of The Classroom… not a bad role for Striker with Viscera out, although like Coachman, I think he can better be used as a smarmy heel manager. “Begin the day with a friendly voice a companion unobtrusive.” Now they’re quoting Rush? Really?? That said, he threw in a nice jab at Adamle, used the word “uvula,” referenced Gore Vidal (twice?!) and… well, any excuse to give Mick Foley mic time is fine by me.
7) I always liked Sean O’Haire better, but Chuck’s been decent since coming back to WWE… yet, after an interesting program with Jamie Noble and Michelle McCool, what happened? He’s pretty much just a Jobber To The Stars I guess. That said, Punk needed the win and I saw this match more as a placeholder than the start of any big feud, so what do we get? The beginning of a completely random feud that does nothing for your Money in the Bank winner. It’s just the beginning, so I’ll hold judgment, but that’s my initial reaction.
8) Not that Tazz can’t call the show on his own -- he pretty much seemed to be doing just that for most of the hour -- but Adamle just up and leaving before the main event was quite… bizarre. And no, not as bizarre as Bam Neely wrestling in a suit. Wait, and now Tazz is leaving the announce table? Is King Regal screwing around again? Um… the match actually has an interesting dynamic with no announcers talking over the action. I wonder if TNA’s Tenay and West are watching.
9) So the Chavo/Kane feud continues… Ya know, I had no problem with Chavo as ECW Champion, figuring the brand would benefit from a more athletic, “cruiserweight/X division” style, but the feud with Kane did nothing for me.
10) Another WWE show, another odd ending. Really???
Looks like that's it. Don't forget to check out Blatt's Live ECW Report and I'll see you next week for the “historic” 100th episode of ECW!
Welcome to my worst impersonation of BLATT, as ECW comes to us LIVE YET TAPED from the UK, with rumors of an alliance between ECW and Smackdown in the air...
We're in the UK, so we open the show with a shot of a trolly, the subway, and a nice, warm plate of haggis! Wait...
John Morrison, the Shaman of Sexy, comes out to SLOW-MOTION HEAT~! Okay that's a cool entrance. Joey and Tazz encourage fans to vote on WWE.com for who ECW Champion CM Punk's opponent will be at Cyber Sunday: John Morrison, Big Daddy V or Mike Mizanin.
"Shhh. Do you hear that? That is the buzz. At Cyber Sunday, you the WWE fans make the matches. And that sound is everybody rushing to WWE.com to choose me to take on CM Punk at Cyber Sunday. My time has come, so dream, love, scream: MORRISON! And if you need any more of a reason than this (shows body), then vote for me, check out what I did to CM Punk last week (shows video of last week's pretty awesome match). I beat CM Punk last week because I am the Tuesday Night Delight, the New Face of Extreme, the Shaman of Sexy. So go vote for me, John Morrison."
The Miz comes out, sans Extreme Expose, to rebut!
"Whoa, hold on one second. Morrison we get it, you're a former ECW Champion and that's why people will vote for you. But, the Shaman of Sexy? Morrison, I get more girls in one night than you get in a year, two years, five years, a lifetime. I get so many girls, I'm bored with them. I'm a chick magnet. You see Morrison, chicks dig me, and their men - including you - fear me, and that's why the WWE fans are gonna choose The Miz."
"Hahahaha, wow, and I thought I was vain. Actually, Miz, I'm a bigger star than you can actually be. I'm bigger than sports entertainment, I'm bigger than the Beatles, and I'm bigger than anyone in ECW."
BUT WAIT! It's Viscera and Striker, and Styles even calls him a mastodon. He must be big.
"No superstar bigger than you? Yeah, huh? How about the fact that this man is bigger than both of you combined? You seem to have forgotten that this is the third choice to face CM Punk at Cyber Sunday. This is the most dominant force in the history of ECW gentlemen. This behemoth crushed CM Punk's ribs, and not for nothin, neither of you will ever beat him. The WWE fans have no choice but to pick this mastodon, Big Daddy V."
Wait, did Striker just call him a mastodon, too? Uh. Wait, he's gonna speak!
"THE ECW CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE MINE!"
Oh, that wasn't much.
"Gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, you all make extremely valid points as to why you should be chosen at Cyber Sunday, but remember, every last vote counts, even mine. So if I was me, who would I pick to face at Cyber Sunday? Big Daddy V, you did crush my ribs last week, you injured me. But on the other hand, John Morrison capitalized on that injury and he beat me last week. Good job buddy. Miz, as far as you go, man, nobody likes you. But I digress. Cyber Sunday is in two weeks, but tonight it is you three against myself and a tag team partner of my choosing. General Manager Armando Estrada said I could pick anybody I want, however he didn't say it had to be anybody from ECW. So I hope you're ready 'cause i know i am, boys meet my tag team partner..."
THROUGH HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE, IT'S KANE!
Match 1: Smackdown's Kane and ECW's CM Punk vs. ECW's Big Daddy V, The Miz and John Morrison - Reminder - I don't do play-by-play. Your ref is Scott Armstrong. - And the crowd loves Punk, taped ribs and all. - Match starts with Morrison attacking the ribs, but Punk turns the tables and flips Morrison like a monkey out of the corner -- a pretty cool spot that flips Morrison all the way over into a belly-flop rather than a back-bump. - Kane and Punk tag in and out and beat on Nitro, but Miz gets tagged in and gets pretty insane crowd heat as he rips Punk's rib tape off. - V tags in while a bumper along the bottom of the screen pimps a free replay of ECW, "uninterupted," tomorrow at 4pm ET on WWE.com. - Morrison in, working the ribs some more, reversed into a boston crab, but the heels again get the advantage. - Punk hiptosses out of the abdominal stretch for a minor comeback, but hiptoss = torn pec, so Miz again gets the advantage and dumps Punk to the floor as we go to commercial... - We're back, and I guess Punk didn't get counted out, 'cause Punk and Morrison are in the ring, with the heels maintaining control and keeping the champ away from Kane. - HOT TAG to Kane, as Miz tags in Nitro, and it's a house of fire? - Apparently Kane is a power tool, as Tazz explains that "Morrison is getting drilled by the Big Red Machine." - AND V is in, giving us a teased dream match of BIG DADDY/KANE!!!! - Miz tags himself in, but gets caught on the wrong end of a chokeslam, and that's all she wrote. 1-2-3! Winners - Kane and CM Punk (pinfall, Kane pins Miz after chokeslam)
Styles and Tazz go over the Cyber Sunday main events: - CM Punk vs. either Big Daddy V, John Morrison or The Miz - Randy Orton vs. either HBK, Ken Kennedy or Jeff Hardy - Batista vs. The Undertaker with special guest ref Mick Foley, JBL or Steve Austin
Punk and Kane pose in the ring and set the posts on fire as we head to...
Apparently the new Undertaker 15-0 DVD is available exclusively at Wal-Mart.
We get shots of a pub, then a replay of the end of the match, and Miz and Morrison backstage arguing about the loss. Morrison challenges Miz to a match later tonight so he can prove to the fans that he deserves the title shot at Cyber Sunday, but Miz says, "I just got chokeslammed by Kane, screw that" then DECKS Morrison with a sweet left. Ha!
Styles and Tazz recap the Miz/Balls Mahoney/Kelly storyline, reminding us that Miz owns Kelly's contract, showing footage from last week when Miz tossed Balls into the announce table and punted Kelly's teddy bear into the crowd.
Balls cuts a promo backstage in front of the Union Jack, leading to Kelly Kelly asking asking Balls Balls out out. YES!
Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero and ECW GM Armando Estrada are backstage. Armando: "Pleasure doing business with you, mucho gusto, and thank you for bringing Kane to ECW, muchas gracias." Vickie wants Armando to bring ECW talent to Smackdown, and also brought Jesse and Festus Dalton to ECW! Armando wants to know what's wrong with Festus' face, Vickie answers him in Spanish, then they exchange pleasantries in English and talk a little bit of nonsense.
Brooke, Eve and Lena are the only three left in the Diva Search, and we're reminded to vote now!
Randy Orton and Mr. Kennedy vs. Jeff Hardy and Shawn Michaels is the RAW main event next week.
Match 2: Smackdown's The Daltons vs. ECW's Elijah Burke and Nunzio - Styles confirms that there's "some sort of talent exchange" between Smackdown and ECW, and we'll now see Smackdown superstars on ECW and vice versa. - Your ref is some guy. - Ray Gordy's pretty good on the mic, saying they're happy to be on ECW, in the UK, and just watch to see what happens when the bell rings, and then when the match is over. - The bell rings and Festus turns into Angry Festus. - He beats on Burke who tags out so Nunzio can take a bit of a beating. - Nunzio tags out, then goes to interfere, but Jesse clotheslines him off the apron, and he takes a nasty bump to the floor. - Nice crowd pop when Festus tags in, and the fans seem to love his insanely awkward offense. - Rocket launcher into a shoulder block on Nunzio, 1-2-3, the bell rings, and Festus is back to... uh... "somewhat docile" says Styles. Winners - The Daltons (pinfall, Jesse pins Nunzio after a double-team shoulder block move)
We get a replay of the finish from the first match of the night, and Morrison vs. The Miz is next.
RAW Rebound shows Vince announcing the HHH vs. Umaga Cyber Sunday stipulation choices (street fight, first blood or steel cage match), and Umaga's three squashes. Tazz and Joey show us how to vote -- you're in control!
Match 3: John Morrison vs. The Miz - Miz comes out first, then Morrison, and ref Scott Armstrong calls for the bell. - "You both suck!" chants! Nice! - Morrison takes control early. Joey puts over the storyline that a miscommunication between the two led to Kane's chokeslam and pin on Miz earlier in the night. - Both men come off the top rope and are in pain on the mat when Big Daddy V comes out with Striker to give the Black Hole Slam to Miz, followed by a Samoan Drop on Morrison. It looks like the ref threw the match out before V touched anyone, so we have a no contest as V stands tall. Winner - No Contest
Thanks for joining me for a decent show. Pacing was good, and as long as the Smackdown talent gets sprinkled in here and there (and vice versa) this can be a good idea to keep things fresh on two rosters that have been hurt lately by injuries, suspensions, etc. BLATT will be back next week, so we'll see you in seven days, same Blatt time, same Blatt chann-- eh, you know what I mean.
No energy to write about ECW, especially since the Chris Benoit (alleged) double-murder/suicide, so just a note that I'm done with this for now. For updates, check out Pulse Wrestling and The Wrestling Blog. Otherwise, enjoy the E-C-Dubb.
If you haven't heard by now, Shelly "Ariel" Martinez was just released by WWE. I created this blog, calling it "wrestlers not vampires" with my tongue firmly implanted in cheek (beside my fangs?), but quite frankly I was finding the Kevin Thorn and Ariel characters pretty entertaining. Hopefully Fertig sticks around (PWInsiderElite.com is reporting he'll be getting some sort of makeover) and Shelly pops up somewhere (maybe in TNA to reprise her catfights with So Cal Val?) soon.
Of course, being a man, it would be unnatural to NOT link to some photos that have been circulating the 'Net since her release, but beware that most of these aren't work-safe...
If you saw my latest Till My Head Falls Off over at Pulse Wrestling, along with the news from Dave Meltzer that Dusty Rhodes pushed for ECW to add a tag team division, you shouldn't have been surprised by the title of this blog entry. I still feel that WWE should unify the two current (RAW's "World" and Smackdown's "WWE") Tag Team Championships into one set of straps, and I haven't given up on a possible MNM/Hardyz feud eventually happening on Tuesday nights. But Aaron Glazer made a great point: Paul London and Brian Kendrick are a perfect fit for ECW, and just the tag team that can breath some needed life into the brand.
After tonight's Smackdown it's even more apparent that Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, Melina Perez, Paul London, Brian Kendrick and Ashley Massaro are at their most exciting when in the ring against each other. London & Kendrick haven't lost a title match since beating MNM almost a year ago -- in fact, they're in the top four WWE tag teams of ALL TIME when it comes to length of their championship reign. MNM, on the other hand, have more of a "star aura" than the HooliganZ, yet seem to be mired in the mid-card until WWE has a workable plan to get at least Nitro into a spot further up on the card.
So why not just pull the trigger and put John Cena and Shawn Michaels' titles on MNM, and then let the new RAW champs go up against the HooliganZ Mania? If they want to include other teams in the mix, I'm fine with it. But there's no reason these four talented workers should be left off the card... and unfortunately right now they absolutely are.
If they DO go forward with 'my plan,' they should put the straps on MNM, have them jump to ECW to stir shit up and feud with the HooliganZ (who would also have to make the jump -- something WWE can easily do within the storylines). At some point, you get Mick Foley involved, playing off of his history with Mercury and Melina, and use Foley as a distraction that causes MNM to drop the belts back to their rivals, break up, and go their separate ways. I donno, it just makes sense to me to have Mercury head over to Smackdown to be in the cruiserweight division or stay in ECW as a midcarder, and Nitro can go over Foley in a big match before either challenging Lashley in ECW or heading back to RAW. But what do I know? Can't hurt to try.
Last night's PPV stunk, and this blog's suffering as a result of our apathy towards ECW2k6 (although we've TRIED to be optimistic!). That being said, here's some huge news I just posted on www.pulsewrestling.com --
Mike Johnson of PWInsider broke the following story:
Paul Heyman was sent home from today's Monday Night Raw/ECW taping in North Carolina following a meeting with Vince McMahon. We are still working on the story, but the word going around is that Heyman has been removed from the WWE's ECW creative team and looks to be entirely done with WWE at this point and time, although he's not (yet) been released from his contractual obligations.
Johnson reports that his sources tell him Heyman and Vince had a meeting, Paul was then escorted out of the arena, and the ECW talent is meeting with management about the situation. WrestlingObserver.com's Dave Meltzer hasn't said anything more than reporting on the below post by WWE.com:
Distraught by the results of December to Dismember, ECW Representative Paul Heyman appeared to be distant and depressed this afternoon at the North Charleston Coliseum hours before an ECW live event.
This condition was further exasperated by Mr. McMahon, who decided to send Heyman home. The WWE Chairman cited slumping television ratings and a disgruntled talent roster as causes for Mr. Heyman’s dismissal.
Check back with ECW.com for updates on the status on Paul Heyman and ECW.
UPDATE: Dave Scherer at PWInsider, in verifying Johnson's above story, has stated that "The word going around from everyone I talked to is that this is not a storyline in any way and he is legitimately done with the company." According to Scherer, after a 2pm meeting today with Vince and Stephanie, Heyman was seen leaving the meeting as if nothing out of the ordinary took place, and went about packing up and leaving the building. This all supposedly came to a head because Vince was angry about how bad last night's PPV was, and blamed Heyman due to being "stuck in the past" with regards to the brand; Heyman was also reportedly upset with the way the show was booked, saying as much both before and after the show.
ANOTHER UPDATE: PWTorch.com's Wade Keller's saying that "This is not an angle. Heyman is already on a plane on his way home." Keller goes on to say that "Heyman had a meeting today that included Vince McMahon in which he apparently expressed disappointment with the product. The product that aired on PPV was different than that which was originally booked by Heyman and submitted to McMahon. There were last second changes in the show that frustrated Heyman."
Also, PWInsider is saying that tonight will be the end of Big Show's tenure with WWE. Of course plans can always change, but Show has been working hurt and it is unlikely he'll stick around after tonight's match (taped for Tuesday) with Bobby Lashley. No word yet on whether or not he'll come back after his contract is up to participate in the rumored Wrestlemania match with Hulk Hogan, but the language PWInsider uses is that Show is "expected to finish up his WWE commitments tonight," so time will tell.
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