Last week’s column featured my memories of the ECW Arena as we reached the Arena’s 15th anniversary.
First, some more memories of particular moments and matches…then your thoughts.
Jerry Lynn-Rob Van Dam, August 8, 1998 and August 28, 1999 – For two straight years these two created Match of the Year candidates. For whatever reason, Lynn and Van Dam seemed so perfectly matched with one another that they could turn the Arena crowd on, and made them remember the way they used to before the Arena crowd changed, and before the pure bloodmarks discovered ECW.Along with the moments of great action, there were the moments of humor; including the night that the bWo imitated KISS at the ECW Arena. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life at a wrestling show as to watch Stevie, Meanie and Nova doing “Rock and Roll All Night” in full KISS makeup. That’s another moment for readers to catch on tape if they can.
Now, your thoughts…
“I remember staying up late to watch ECW in Philly. The greatest moments from the PPV’s and begging my mom (I was young at the time) to drive me to the shows. We even convinced my friend’s dad to drive us and leave the four of us at the Arena just to see the shows. Thanks for helping me remember these great times.”
“Just a brief note concerning your column on the history of The ECW Arena. You really brought back some incredible memories. My son and I (he was in his late teens, early 20’s at the time) drove from Westchester County, NY (a .5 mile drive from Paul’s parents house, and 5 minutes from Tommy’s house) and really enjoyed the shows tremendously.
Thanks to Gabe we had front row seats (Section A, opposite your crew)…and met lots of great fans there (bought too many of those cheesesteaks along the way…lol).
The pre-show chants between my section (mostly all Philly fans) and the upper far corner of NY fans who took the bus down were usually priceless. So many great memories, including at the Travelodge and later at the Holiday Inn as we almost always stayed over and drove home the next morning.
If you liked those chants, you’d have loved the fun outside the building, when the New York fans who came in through organized bus tours got in before Philadelphia (and other) fans standing in line outside, sometimes in boiling or freezing weather. More than a few um….typical Philadelphia fan chants got thrown at those buses, along with beer cans and other things.
Honorable mention goes to the chants that were frequently directed by the Bleacher Bums at Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, all at once obscene, profane, creative and hilarious.
From a member of the staff of a local wrestling production company:
“I was reading one of the news sites today and I came across your ‘AS I SEE IT’ column about the 15 Year Anniversary of the first ECW Arena show.
I just wanted to take a brief moment to send you this message and tell you that I thought the column was a great read. I grew up only 15 minutes way from the arena but being 16 now was too young to attend their shows. It is the old ECW tapes as well as your column that help me become informed on what it was really like back in the old days in that building. For the past few months I’ve been getting up early before school with enough time to read at least one column archive from your website each day to learn about some of the old stories and events that occured a long time ago, things that I missed out on years ago. Your column as well as the others on there that have helped me through each day thinking about the events of the past in wrestling and how everything went down.
One of my favorite things to do is find old website archives and columns; and just read them and see what the past was like and the experiences of so many other fans at the time, especially the ECW stuff. I just find it really cool to ‘recapture the past’ in a way and experience now what I didn’t get to be there for at the time. Without going on for too long though, thank you for the great columns that have been put up on your website over the years who really give people like me another, experienced and knowledgeable point of view to see an event from.”
PWBTS and the AS I SEE IT columns back in the day tried to give fans a real view of what was going on with ECW…both the good and the bad, the exciting and the sleazy… both in public and private. We didn’t “drink the Kool Aid” in the sense that we thought Paul Heyman was infallible.
Talented, yes. Visionary, you bet. But a good businessman, never.
Nor was Heyman always the best of people to some of his staff. Along with the exciting, never-to-be duplicated ECW in-ring action ahead of its time, we told those stories, too.
From Elias Castillo:
What are the section C super fans up to these days, like Lennie?
Enjoyed the article…. good flashback.
I’m (obviously) running PWBTS.com and working in proprietary post-secondary education. My brother John (aka “Sarge”) is a computer programmer. We both still attend CZW, CHIKARA, Ring of Honor, and many other independent shows whenever we can, and the occasional WWE show in Philadelphia.
John Bailey (aka “Hat Guy”) is doing some independent managing with World Professional Wrestling and Atomic Pro Wrestling, which run shows in southeastern Pennsylvania. I actually had someone at the Combat Zone Wrestling show (as the carnage with going with lighttubes, fishhooks, barbed wire and glass was going on) ask me about Bailey; and remembering seeing us both at the show where Shane Douglas trashed the NWA Belt.
His brother, George, is still with him as well. Two of his running buddies have since passed away, though, which is the reason we don’t see him so much around Philadelphia shows anymore.
Mike Johnson is, of course, a longtime writer for PWinsider.com (with Dave Scherer, another former Bleacher Bum, running the site). Ray Sager and Frank Iadevia run Jersey All Pro Wrestling. Gary Walter is working with independent wrestling tape distributor Smart Mark Video.
Two folks we haven’t heard from in some time are Paul “Sign Guy” Mellows and “Lennie” (the Rob Zombie lookalike). Paul or Lennie, if you’re out there..give us a yell.
Until next time…
If you have comments/questions, or if you’d like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].