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Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

From the trivial to the not-so-trivial…

So let me get this straight.

WWE owns the word “extreme”? Even EVOO….er, EV 2.0?

Everyone knows that they have the legal right to the letters ECW; but now WWE, not being content to annhiliate TNA in buyrates, PPVs revenue, weekly ratings, and pretty much everything else short of match quality from time to time, now has intellectual property/copyright lawyer Jerry McDevitt chomping at the bit… suggesting that even a reference to ECW may infringe on copyrights.

Late last week, WWE intellectual property/copyright attorney Jerry McDevitt said in an interview to Newsday’s Alfonso Castillo regarding TNA’s Hardcore Justice that: “WWE is the sole owner of the ECW marks, and as with all of WWE’s intellectual property it will be vigorously protected. TNA acts at its peril if it infringes upon WWE’s rights.”

(Note: this column is written and first posted on Sunday morning…) For God’s sakes…does McDevitt want to have a process server slap fans with a lawsuit if they chant “ECW”? Does Tommy Dreamer have to shush fans if they DO chant it?

WWE getting self-righteous about this reminds me of a little child breaking a toy when it’s about to be taken away by their parent, so no one else can play with the toy either. WWE couldn’t make money with their bastardized WWECW show, so any show that might give a few guys a payday (and trust me, TNA isn’t going to wind up making money off of this) should somehow be threatened. If it weren’t for the PPV industry probably telling WWE to back off, I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE would have tried to kill the show at the last minute to kill off TNA.

Hell, I use the phrase ECW Arena every time when referring to the building at Swanson and Ritnet in south Philadelphia. Becasuse that’s what it is. Mind you, I’m not trying to make money by doing it as McDevitt is alleging TNA is doing. But these guys DID work for ECW. That’s a fact. Is WWE going to say that Mike Tenay and Taz can’t acknowledge someone as a former ECW Heavyweight Champion? Pre-determined as a title reign may be, someone having the belt is a statement of historical fact.

Before I get the inevitable e-mails scolding me…yes, I understand the concept of intellectual property. And yes, I agree that this PPV won’t accomplish much, since it was no doubt done with the thought that Paul Heyman would be coming in alongside the former ECW talent…and without Heyman running the show , it’s little more than a payday for the former ECW talent. It won;t help TNA’s long-term problems with lack of coherent storylines and profitability

But isn’t this threat by McDevitt to sue if those those three little letters are somehow used WAY past overkill?

Now for the not-so-trivial…

I looked at the calendar earlier this weekend and thought…Lord, it’s been almost five years ago.

On August 18, 2005, that CZW wrestler Christopher “Chri$ Ca$h” Bauman Jr. was killed as the result of a motorcycle accident near his home. Bauman had been riding a motorcycle on Ellis Street in Glassboro, NJ when a Ford Taurus turned in front of it from Higgins Drive, striking the car on the driver’s side of a vehicle driven by Daisy Gwin of Glassboro, NJ.

Christopher J. Bauman Jr., 23, died at the scene, as did his cousin 27 year old Jeremy Bauman, 27, of Franklinville, NJ the driver of the motorcycle. Gwin, 68, of Glassboro, died en route to Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township, NJ.

Chris was always genuinely friendly in a way that a lot of wrestlers aren’t, but had the wild side we all had at age 23. He was a nice young man, in every sense that the phrase used to mean; and always felt obligated to call me “Mr. Magee” when I came to a show (even when I told him he didn’t have to), would
always say hello when I saw him at a CZW show and tell me he’d seen something or another on my PWBTS.com site.

Bauman worked for CZW from 2001 through 2005, with many non-CZW fans even taking notice of him at Cage of Death 5 in his absolutely psychotic ladder match with Blackout’s Joker (who left the promotion shortly afterwards to serve in the US military over in Iraq for one of his tours of duty). The oddest thing is that this match wasn’t even supposed to happen in the way that it did; as it was originally scheduled as a tag team bout, involving Deranged and Azriael, who were working the Jersey All Pro Wrestling show in Rahway, NJ, then come down to Philadelphia for CZW.

But in an almost unprecedented moment for those who know CZW… the show was actually running ahead of schedule. As a result, Deranged and Azriael were not yet at the building. Another version of the story had the two calling the building, telling CZW they were just leaving…and were told not to bother, because they’d never make it in time. In any event, this forced the promotion to go ahead with a singles ladder match, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, as it made two stars for CZW in one night with Cash and Joker nearly stealing the entire show. Psycho spots in this match included Cash bulldogging Joker while his head was inside a rung of a ladder off the ropes onto a chair, a top rope superplex onto a ladder stuck at a 45 degree angle into the rungs of another ladder; ending with one of the sickest spots I’ve ever seen in my years of shows at the ECW Arena, as Joker hit his Joker Driver (tiger driver from an electric chair position) off the top of a high ladder with Cash through a table for the pin.

Cash also main evented Cage of Death 6/War Games, as part of the babyface Team Ca$h (Nate Webb, Sexxy Eddy, Cash, JC Bailey) against heel team (turned babyface and heel again) Blackout (Ruckus, Sabian, Kingston, and Jack Evans. As usual, the match featured the daredevil spots for which Cash was known throughout his all-too-short career; including dumping Jack Evans via backdrop off the COD to the floor, and giving Sabian a Cashflow off of the scaffold through four tables, landing in the second row of the ECW Arena.

All I could think when I heard the news four years ago was: God…Chris was easily young enough to be my son. Sons aren’t supposed to die before the parents…or their contemporaries. At the same time, I can’t imagine Chris as a 40 or 50 year old. His spirit was too free and wild to have ever been anything but young.

Until next time…

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