The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My First ECW Report Card
The Kingfish Arnie Katz submits his initial analysis of the latest New ECW.
About the Report Cards
Each month, I issue a report card for RAW. I examine and grade the promotion in all the vital areas. I discuss strengths and weaknesses and chart the ups and downs. The grades in parentheses are for the previous report card.
This is the very first time I’ve done a Report Card for ECW. I didn’t like it much or watch it often, It just didn’t seem to make much difference in the overall WWE empire.
The “big trade,” which reassigned 15 wrestlers, coupled with the “superstar initiative,” has remade ECW overnight. And though it definitely is not as good as it was before the trade, it now has a much higher upside potential.
I believe in giving WWE a chance to show that it does not have the Vorpal Thumb when it comes to taking over other promoti0ons and capitalizing on them. WWE botched both the WCW and ECW acquisitions, but this radical change gives them another shot to make ECW a viable and profitable brand.
They took away a lot of the spotlight performers, but only Jack Swagger is likely to become a main eventer on RAW or Smackdown in the near future.
On the other hand, there are some capable young wrestlers. They’ll be trying very hard to gain a foothold in the big time.
Right now, the main event group consists of Tommy Dreamer, Christian, Kozlov and Shelton Benjamin. They are positioning them so that each can beat any of the others under the right conditions, which guarantees months of highly competitive matches.
ECW will probably add a couple of younger guys to this elite group, most likely Tyler Reks and Yoshi Tatsu. They are the newcomers who have most excited the crowd, but WWE is likely to give either much responsibility until they demonstrate their reliability,
This group, with or without the rookies, is dim in star power. Good matches can change that situation in a remarkably short time, so expect to see a better grade in “Star Power’ in the next ECW Report Cared,
Some of the guys fresh out of the development promotion look a little tentative, but ECW is now smaller and faster than it was before the Big Trade.
Again, the grade in this area should improve as the rookies gear up – and the non-starters get weeded out.
Booking & Dramatics
The booking of the main event quartet has been excellent, making all of them look like elite players.
We’ll have to wait and see about the rest.
Grade: B (C+)
Matt Stryker is the best new color commentator in ages. In the unlike event that Jerry Lawler gets elected Mayor of Memphis, WWE should move Stryker to RAW. He is already that good.
Josh Mathews is newer to play-by-play and still finding his style. He tends to get pushed out by Stryker. He might do better teamed with someone a little less aggressive, but he is progressing fairly well.
For the first time in a long time, there’s hope for ECW. The next six months cold get pretty rocky, but the brand will be much stronger at the end of the break-in period.
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.
— Arnie Katz