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WRESTLING COLUMNS

ECW: Join The Revolution... Again
May 9, 2006 by Ian Daniels


I have watched professional wrestling for 22 of my almost 27 years on this planet. When I first started watching, the matches on WWF TV usually consisted of some no-name, baby face jobber getting beat by the likes of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper or King Kong Bundy, or the heel jobber like "Iron" Mike Sharpe getting squashed by Hulk Hogan or Tito Santana. I was also exposed to Bill Watts' UWF on local TV. The UWF was my first "Alternative" to Vince McMahon's product. The UWF had the same type of faces and heels as the WWF. It was also my first exposure to wrestlers like Sting, Terry Taylor, and Ted DiBiase. The WWF was like the New York Yankees and the UWF was like the Durham Bulls, not quite major league. But the one thing the UWF had that the WWF didn't was blood. I saw Texas Death matches, Barbed Wire cage matches, Bull rope matches, and Lumberjack matches. Compared to Hogan shaking his then balding head and making fish faces at his opponent, I watched as "Dr. Death: Steve Williams and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan team with Terry Taylor take on Ted DiBiase and The Sheepherders in six man bloodbaths that would both scare me and at the same time leave me waiting impatiently until the following Saturday morning so I could see the aftermath.

I always looked forward to watching wrestling even as the sport lost popularity in the early 1990's, but something was missing. I still watched Hogan do his "Hulking Up' routine, but I was burned out on the gimmicks of the day. WCW was a nice change of pace, but only because I had never heard of half the wrestlers. I spent the first half of the 1990's in a very anti-wrestling mindset. I didn't watch an entire WWF or WCW TV show for almost 4 years.

I had been channel surfing in 1995 and stopped to see who was wrestling on a very low powered station late one Saturday night, half expecting to see Hogan making fish faces, half expecting to not really care about it at all. I saw neither. What I saw made me a wrestling fan all over again. It was ECW and I had never heard of it so I watched, hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed. I can't recall the exact matches that were showed, but I do remember that they had shown a commercial for some of their videos and the clips that they showed had me hooked. Chris Benoit dropping Sabu on his head, Brian Lee falling off a scaffold, and Shane Douglas singing one of the Pitbulls around by his halo after he had broken his neck. I started watching ECW every time it was on and not only did the hardcore aspect of it impress me, but the technical wrestling displayed was top notch. I had always made a point of watching great technical wrestlers in the ring, telling a story with their moves and their ability always impressed me more than screaming into a microphone or painting their faces. Bret and Owen Hart, Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, Ricky Steamboat, those were the wrestlers I went out of my way to watch. ECW had it all, old fashioned technical wrestling, innovative matches, and shock value. I never knew what to expect. ECW got me to start watching WCW and WWF TV again. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were the top guys in the WWF, WCW had the nWo going strong. I felt proud to admit I was a wrestling fan.

When ECW died in late 2000, part of the landscape of the sport died with it. WWF and WCW both had decided to "borrow" some of the edgier aspects of ECW for their own gain over the latter half of the 1990's and WCW had liberally raided ECW's roster. Ironically, it was not WCW "raiding the locker room", or the lack of fan support that killed ECW. In my personal opinion, ECW committed suicide. I had been witness to suicide on a grand scale. Eric Bischoff had taken a great deal of ECW's talent and buried them like he had done with so many others, Vince McMahon had cut ties with the USA network and reached a deal with TNN which was ECW's national media outlet. ECW had backed itself into a corner with a bad deal with TNN, not being able to keep guys like The Sandman, Raven, and Shane Douglas from Turner's money, and Vince is Vince. ECW had carved out a nice spot in the sport and had allowed itself to be eaten alive to stay alive. I had hoped ECW would have survived, but it didn't. Then again, neither did WCW.

Fast forward to July, 2001. The WWF had acquired the rights to ECW and WCW and were in the middle of the Invasion angle and ECW had some momentum. But when the angle died, ECW died again. Last year we got ECW: One Night Stand and ECW was reborn. ONS seemed like a great idea, but the entire PPV was in my opinion marred by the whole "Bischoff Crusade" angle. For the third time in five years, ECW was dead. Next month, ECW rises again. Will it be another short lived wrestling angle, or has Vince McMahon finally realized that what ECW had done was truly original and brilliant in its simplicity. ECW gave the fans what they wanted, Blood, Guts, Wrestling. WCW forgot how to do it. WWE sometimes forgets how to do it, but ECW ALWAYS knew how to do it. If ECW comes back for an extended period, as a separate entity, it is a good thing for wrestling. Vince will have finally done something that millions of fans can agree on, Wrestlers like Rob Van Dam will be able to do what they do best, go balls to the wall, entertain the crowd, and once again revolutionize the sport that more often than not, becomes stale. I hope that The WWE and Vince realize that ECW will be a good thing for not only the fans, but for the legacy that guys like Tazz, Raven, Shane Douglas, Sabu, The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer, and Paul Heyman have left behind. The Revolution is about to begin again, and this ECW fan hopes it will make it around more than once or twice.

Please feel free to email me if you need any extra information from me.

By Ian Daniels


Jose Aguirre wrote:
I love your article. I love how you mentioned UWF, because when I started watching wrestling 6 years ago, I became an addict, and UWF reruns and UPW reruns were here in Texas. ECW was truly innovative, unlike TNA which calls itself the future of wrestling but has not established itself. ECW didn't need to have big names because they were hardcore and every match was a good match. I know I am going to be very biased against TNA but it makes me mad how the Ultimate X match is called innovative or six-ring is called progressive, and guys like Don West make the product look gritty and cheap in a bad way, unlike ECW which took pride in being dirty, gritty, and crude. I think the problem with ECW was TNN, and also Joey Styles, the most overrated announcer ever.
Ralph wrote:
Another great Article. I just can't give my oponion anough on my thought about ECW comming back. I strongly agree with everything said about TNA. It's not as bad as WCW. But it's close. The only advantage is they have guys like AJ Styles, Chris Sabin and Jay Lethal, who I'm sure will all be a part of the ECW Roster when it comes back...I now finally have a chance to see a ECW event in person, and that excites me more then anything I have seen in the near 20 years that i have been watching wrestling...I for one support ECW. and Unlike WWE and TNA, I never once lost interest in it once I started watching it. You can thank Newjack for getting me hooked. Cuz if it wasn't for that Crazy S.O.B. duct taping Mustapha to a table and diving off a balcony and going through him, I may have never been hooked...And I will never forget the day I met Newjack at a USA Pro show and got to tell him that...I had waited 5 years to meet him and tell him my thoughts...

Thank you ECW for giving me somthing to look foward to...can't wait to see you guys back on TV...Just to name a few...Joey Styles, Joel Gertner, Paul Haymen, Taz, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno, Nova, Kid kash, Impact Players, ( The greatest tag team of all time)-->The Dudley's, Sabu, RVD, Steve Corino, Balls Mahoney, Axle Rotten, Super Crazy, Little Guido, Tajari, Mike Awesome, Raven, Newjack, Jerry Lynn, Danny Doring & Roadkill, Mikey Whipwreck, Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie, the Pitbulls, Perry Saturn & Kronus, Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, Rey Mysterio, Steve Austin, Chris Beniot and last but not least the Late Great Eddie Guerreo who is watching down on us all...Wish you were around to Join The Revolution... Again...

ECW...ECW...ECW!
Ben Quan wrote:
Nice read, it put a smile on my face!!! I am to hoping the Vinny Mac won't SCREW things up with ECW, and let Heyman run it(idea wise not financially) they way he did back in the days because if so, wrestling fans will rejoice and the industry will pick up again.

TNA is a excellent alternative but they need to change a few things, such as tape shows elsewhere other than the Orlando and PLEASE have Don West stop talking because he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about half the time.

To Jose Aguirre - The Ultimate X maybe not be innovative but it is quite unique, you have to give it that much right" as for Joey Styles being the most overrated announcer ever" He was the voice and always will be the voice of ECW. Do you think Tony Shavonie was a better announcer, even though all he ever did (during the peak of WCW) was talking about the NWO and Hollywood/Hulk Hogan.
Jose Aguirre wrote:
I don't know who Tony Schiavone really is, I have seen some old NWO stuff but I don't really know anything else about WCW except for Sting. Joey Styles is not a bad commentator but he doesn't deserve all the praise he gets, all he did in ECW was call the match, put some emotion into it and swear, in a very feminine voice and plus I think I have heard him say Oh My God!! on more than one occasion, that quote belongs to JR. Of course he isn't as bad as Michael Cole, or Don West, who get impressed too easily.
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