ECW Shoots Itself Again
by: Fritz Capp
To bring this into perspective first allow me to reprint part of a post I found on 1wrestling.com :
8. Well, this is where things got really ugly. Joel Gertner, Sign Guy Dudley, Jeff Jones with a Beulah McGillicutty blow-up doll, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley and Big Dick Dudley came to the ring. As Big Dick came down, he grabbed a glass of beer that a guy in front of me had. He poured the beer on the guy and broke the glass. Buh Buh Ray Dudley came over and got into a heated argument with the guy. His wife began cursing at Buh Buh Ray also. Security then got in the middle of it. However, that was nothing compared to what happened later. Buh Buh Ray got on the mic and challenged anyone who was man enough to step in the ring and fight him. On the floor, D-Von was jawing with a fan. Big Dick came down as did Buh Buh Ray. I was sitting across from this incident and didn't get a clear view. I'm not sure who threw the first punch, Big Dick or the fan. However, a mini-riot broke out and the Dudleys began pounding on some fans. The brawl spilled into the vestibule of the SportsFest. From reports I've heard, Big Dick pounded the living crap out of four people.
Ambulances were called in for these people, but I'll address that in a moment. During this melee, I watched Paul Heyman standing on top of a van with a concerned look on his face as the fighting began. Things got really ugly when people began throwing chairs from the back towards the ring. I saw at least two people that got hit. Fans continued to throw bottle water, cups, and other debris into the ring. When the Dudleys finally returned to the ring, Buh Buh Ray again incited the crowd. Finally, Joel Gertner got the mic and did his routine. Their opponents for the evening were Spike Dudley (now with blonde hair), Tommy Dreamer, and The Sandman. These guys got one of the loudest pops I've ever heard. The entire crowd was singing "Enter The Sandman" much as they do at the ECW Arena.
After close to thirty-minutes of pre-match hoopla, the bout finally began. Typical six-man tag involving these guys. Weapons galore including chairs, ladders, and brawling into the crowd. I'm 100% sure, but I think Buh Buh Ray hit the Buh Buh Cutter on Tommy Dreamer for the win. The
reason I missed it was because Jack Victory ran in. After the Dudleys got the pinfall, New Jack's music began and the place erupted again. New Jack cleaned house with the trash can of weapons. As the faces cleared the ring, the crowd had one last "ECW!" chant as the night.
As I was saying above, ambulances were called in. I saw the four people or so that were attacked. They were in the ambulance parked right by the SportsFest entrance. Over 30 cops showed up in about 10-12 cars. I do not know if anyone was arrested, but do know that Big Dick Dudley was questioned by police. It was a crazy night in Staten Island, NY. It was hot as hell in the SportsFest as they didn't have the AC on and they didn't have any fans. They didn't announce an exact return date, but did say they would return within three months. That was before the riot however, so Paul may have changed his mind." Thanks Chris.
Pete Grassi was also at the Queens show and had this to add. "I was at the Staten Island show last night also, and I must contradict Chris' take on Paul E. I was standing right by Paul, who was standing on the truck next to Tommy Rogers. Paul turned around to Tommy during the brawl in the crowd and said "Hey, it's just like Japan, just like Stan Hansen in Japan". And he said it with a big smile on his face. After the first set of fights the Dudleys got back in the ring, Bubba looked up to Paul as if to say, "can I keep going", and Paul just shrugged his shoulders. If anyone is to blame for this, some of it has to fall on Paul E. He could have stopped the card, or told Bubba to stop, but he did neither. I understand that fans should never make contact with wrestlers, but the
Dudleys do take it too far. Don't get me wrong, the fans weren't right for throwing things at them, but the fans aren't 100% at fault here. This was bound to happen eventually, and it is just a shame that it had to happen in my hometown of Staten Island, I am sure ECW and Sportsfest will never work together again, and it is a shame."
To allow an all out brawl between workers and fans and to stand there with a smile on your face "marking out" because it resembles something that happened previously has to be the most irreprehensible action a promoter could make But then we are talking about Paul Heyman and ECW. Long gone are the days when ECW could get over legitimately with just it's product. Today's ECW has to rely on nothing but controversy to get people's attention.
That is called "cheap heat" which is what Heyman seems to be the king of today. Heyman in his not so infinite wisdom allowed this to go on because he needs the press. His product is nothing compared to what it used to be. All you have to do is check out any ECW tape from 1994 and 1995 to see that. Paul wishes he had a locker room as strong as he did back then. Since he does not he has to resort to " cheap carnival hype and tricks" to get over.
I have received many letters from once avid ECW fans asking why ECW is the way it is now. I can only offer this explanation:
"Paul Heyman, a once great innovator, has decided that it is far easier to get cheap unwarranted heat for what his workers do than to actually put on a consistent product which is what ECW was built on."
To allow a melee to happen shows that Paul Heyman is now banking on this to help hype his PPV's. He needs something to generate interest because of his lacking product. Time and time again I have traveled the websites and newsboards only to read about how bad the ECW card that was just attended actually was. But is this the kind of interest that Paul Heyman wants now?
I have been involved with a campaign to get the NWA on Fox Television. While I was traveling around this morning I now see that someone is trying to get all ECW fans to do the same for their beloved promotion. When I read that all I could do was laugh. Let's take a look at this for a second:
Rupert Murdoch (who is not too fond of wrestling to begin with) is considering having a half hour daily wrestling show on FOX. Now can someone explain to me why he would want to show ECW? Could it be for all the senseless blood they have to show to put themselves over? While wrestling has condoned the use of blood for years to "put over" an angle, ECW's use is because they really have nothing else anymore. Sure, they are bringing is a few great workers now but for the past year how many times have you seen New Jack or the Dudley's bleed? Now there is some great family programming there isn't it? Maybe FOX will be interested in the way that ECW allows a 300 lbs. moron to berate and intimidate fans, fans that even helped them with their gimmick. This I am sure FOX would want to show right after their Pinky and The Brain cartoon, don't you agree? Talk about your everyday role model huh? Maybe FOX would be interested in showing this wrestling show on Sunday mornings thus allowing ECW to give you that ole time religious feel by replaying the Sandman being crucified on a wooden cross thus allowing ECW to religiously bond with so many of it's viewers.
Now I will NOT be like Wade Keller or Bruce Mitchell and start an anti-ECW campaign at FOX like they did with the PPV companies trying to shut down ECW's first PPV. Nor will I be like promoters who went into municipalities that ECW was planning to run and show them tapes of the most violent that ECW had to offer thus shutting them down before they had a chance to start. I do not have to do that. FOX TV has built itself a reputation that I am sure they would not want to compromise by showing something along the lines of ECW. Paul Heyman would have to water down it's product even more than it already is. How exciting would ECW be if they had to cut out all the language, blood and stupidity? It would nothing more than any other indie promotion.
With that put behind me now, let's look at Staten Island for a minute. Way to go Paul. Was it worse than Jim Thorpe? It sounds worse than Plymouth Meeting was by far. There you only had wrestlers attack one fan who got out of line. But you "popped" for this didn't you Mr. Heyman? Is it exciting to see your workers attack fans? You prey on the fact that your fans are drunk and thus are susceptible to acting out. Fans have thrown things into the ring for the 30+ years that I have watched this sport. That is part of this business. Every worker knows this and should accept it. If your going to be a heel you get heat. You "jaw" with the fans, that is also part of the show. But to attack fans? I know, this person physically intimidated Big Dick and Dick had to fight for his life correct? For those of you who have never seen Big Dick Dudley he is a monster with an attitude problem. Of course ole four eyes Bubba Ray had to get into it also. Here is a man who thinks he is it and with his size he can usually intimidate most. But intimidation is the sincerest form of stupidity isn't it? The one who I feel bad for is D-Von. D-Von is not only a great worker in the ring but has fabulous microphone skills. He could be a hit in any promotion. He knows what it takes to get the crowd going without having to get physical with them. D-Von is hurting himself by staying with this promotion.
Now usually the wrestling promotion has "trained" security that supposedly should be able to take care of any problems that would arise with the fans. Why is that not the case at ECW? Because it is the workers who are starting the problems that's why. Paul had to do or allow something to happen to put over what looks to be another one of ECW's mediocre cards. If this would not have happened would anyone be talking about ECW and the Staten Island card? I highly doubt it.
ECW's wrestling fans sooner or later have to wake up and realize that they are being duped. They are not getting to see the legendary ECW of old. They are also not getting to see a superior product. While it is their right to spend their money as they see fit and are allowed to support anything they want what they are supporting is Paul Heyman's mortgage payments and that's about it. ECW's substandard product will catch up with it one day leaving a lot of people out of work while Paul and his daddy count their take. Like it or not that is what is going to happen, but as long as Paul can rip off his fans by convincing them that ECW is still the same or better than it used to be ECW will have a spot in pro wrestling. Pretty much the same way the "garbage promotions" have their spot in Japan. Good for a few wows but nothing else. What's next Paul, gonna let Bubba rape someone's grandmother for press?
Fritz Capp is the editor for Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets - for comments or opposing viewpoints please e-mail to Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets