Monday, June 12, 2006

That ECW Pay Per View....

That ECW Pay Per View....

Watched the ECW Pay Per View with the Brother in Law and the Dirty Hippy yesterday.

I enjoyed the show--still better than anything the WWE has put out since last year's ECW Pay Per View--but after watching, I somehow felt let down.

The Good?

The crowd was easily the best part of last night's show. Good energy. They came to play...crowd participation being a big part of those old ECW shows. And they were funny. The "Boo/Yay" tradeoff when Cena and Van Dam traded punches was great. I think this crowd is indicative of why ECW, at least for the first few months of its promotion, needs to tape in the Northeast. Consolidate in the old territory. See if we can recapture a little bit of that regional magic, before spreading south. Smart people in the crowd. They knew what to expect, and they wouldn't accept much less (Won't keep me from going to see them when they're over in McMinnville in August...)

Oh, that bit where they threw Cena's shirt and cap back? That was terrific....

My favorite match was the F.B.I vs. Super Crazy/Tajiri. Nice, solid, quick action from everybody involved. Tajiri's always been a favorite, and I hope the crowd reaction last night might convince him to stick on this side of the Pacific, or at least visit enough to be a presence in the new ECW from time to time.

I even enjoyed Big Show's appearance. I'm still a little dubious at having Kurt Angle and Big Show play such big rolls in this mess, as much as I like them both. But there was something enjoyable about having Big Show break out a couple unique moves, trashing everybody in the ring.

I also enjoyed the Rey Misterio/Sabu title match. Really nasty stuff. Misterio is much more suited to Sabu's style than some of the other WWE guys (John Cena)...they meshed well. Had a good pace going (even if there was a miscommunication or two). I found myself a victim of my fantasy booking. One of the problems I end up having when I watch ECW is that I see all these nasty bumps, and I see guys get up and keep's hard to distinguish the injury-causing bumps from the less injury-prone. Yeah, the DDT through the table looked nasty, but I figured somebody'd get up. The doctor coming out and crying loudly "There's no way I can let this match continue" only lent credit to my thinking....I was going by the logic that "if they let you see it, then it's part of the show...."

Still, that table DDT was, for my money, the "Holy Shit" moment of the show. I'm not the type who screams and yells at the TV, but I yelled like a TV car salesman when Sabu and Rey went through the table. If you can get that kind of rise out of me (or Jeff or Bill, who were also saying "Holy Shit"), then you've done something.

Maybe it was part of the show, and that's how they copped out of neither Rey or Sabu having to lose. If that's the case, then it's a little more chintzy than I'd have liked.

You know, I like that Jerry Lawler didn't tap to the tazmission. From a storyline standpoint, it lets Lawler be beaten without being a puss, necessarily. We wondered why this match opened the show, and we joked that Taz had to do commentary tonight. We turned out to be right...

I've been hoping somebody would cane the shit out of Eugene.

The bad:

I like Balls Mahoney, and I like Masato Tanaka, but that match just seemed thrown together. Mostly I'm pissed at not getting to see Tanaka muscle out of a couple chair shots.

Boy, they robbed Sandman of half his character last night. Maybe more. I hate to say that a song is that important to a character, but for Sandman, that entrance with "Enter Sandman," where he wanders through the crowd, is at least as important as anything he does in the ring. Dammit, you're the WWE, you're a billion dollar company. You can spring for the rights to "Enter Sandman."

I didn't like Angle/Orton, though I may turn the page on that one. I'm still thinking on it. Mostly I hated it because of Orton. The crowd hated him, but not in that "He's fun to hate" kind of way. It was more in the "you're a poser and a prick" kind of way. If we can put him in ECW for a while, and let him get booed out of the building for a few months because he is a poser, maybe we can finally get him out of wrestling....

How do you let Bradshaw cut a 10 minute promo, and not have some manner of ECW retaliation? Wouldn't it have been perfect for the Blue World Order show up as he finishes his rant, and punk him out? At the very least, have Al Snow punk him out with Head, or let Justin Credible cane him. But he went on and on, basically saying only that he's taking Taz's place in the commentary booth on the wrestling show that became "third most important" with ECW's return. That's bullshit.

The Ugly:

Damn. That Edge/Foley/Lita vs. Funk/Dreamer/Beulah match was scary. And I don't mean to say it's bad, because I enjoyed it. I just don't like anything that ends up involving barbed wire. As a quasi-country kid, I've ended up caught in barbed wire more than a couple times in my life...Don't like seeing folks fall into on purpose.

I've decided that I didn't like the Cena/Van Dam match. It made Van Dam look like a chump. And I understand that Cena's been built up into a superman in his title reign, and I can understand it if we want aid for Van Dam. But why not do it in the form of an ECW guy, like Tommy Dreamer, who wants to see the WWE title in a ECW camp.

I understand wanting to further the Edge/Cena storyline, but that's a WWE story.

Add to that the fact that there's a Rob Van Dam celebration after winning the title, and it's all feel good and that jazz.

But why not do something to start an ECW story? See, all three of us, when we saw Bill Alphonso and Big Show hurrying to the ring, thought maybe Big Show was going to take this opportunity to start some shit, maybe chokeslamming Van Dam, saying he's the first challenger to his ECW title.

I suppose that's part of why I've ended up feeling let down by the pay-per-view. You're restarting a promotion. Why not start a couple of stories? It bugged me that with the exception of the FBI tag match and Mahoney/Tanaka, none of the matches were pure ECW matches. They were all WWE vs. ECW matches. Generally, closure will come to this stories at this show. Why not leave something a little more open. One or two things, to lead into the show, starting Tuesday?

My other thing? Yeah, it's small venue, and a different kind of crowd. But this felt like a WWE show. It made me wonder how much creative input Heyman actually had. Because with the exception of a couple of the promos, everything felt very cut and dry with how the matches were supposed to end. With the exceptions of the F.B.I. tag match and possibly the Foley/Edge/Dreamer/Funk craziness.

Not much on the show felt spontaneous. The performers seemed less willing (or able) to ride the tide of the crowds' emotions.

And there wasn't a big curveball. That's what's made me question how much control Paul Heyman had. Usually, there's an attempt at a curveball. But everything went down fairly predictably. And the surprises that were there (Edge spearing Cena) don't lead to much good in ECW.

Think how apeshit the crowd would have gone if somehow Raven had gotten out of his TNA contract, and had shown up under the helmet.

Not that I think that would have happened. But I'm looking for something along those lines, something that'll have a bit more impact in ECW.


I'm still interested to see where this whole new ECW things goes.

I'm a little dubious--Vince McMahon can't let anything he didn't create outdo something of his own.

But I'm still interested....


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