AS I SEE IT 2/7: Amazing what a little fan pressure can do...
On February 5th, ultraviolence of the traditional CZW style returned...in a creative way that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission can't regulate...via video screen live from backstage "after the CZW show is over" in a 2005 high-tech (and live) version of the old school Southern "non-sanctioned/lights out match".
After the "official CZW show ended", that is...
The lights in the Arena were turned out and..."after the CZW show ended"... ultraviolence returned to the ECW Arena in a traditionally insane CZW match of the type that fans have only been able to see in Delaware for the last three years.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has gotten considerable heat for allowing WWE to do its barbed wire cage match at this month's No Way Out PPV, despite there being a ban on the books in Pennsylvania against barbed wire and light tubes since 2002; including numerous contacts made to State legislators and to the Governor's office complaining about the one-way enforcement of these regulations.
I've suggested in this column over the last few weeks that fans should demand the Pennsylvania State Legislature remove any control over wrestling from the State Athletic Commission if they were going to blatantly allow WWE to do what other couldn't; and allow someone else to collect the revenue from the State.
I was told by one CZW staffer that the "Ultraviolent Underground" is what all concerned came up with as some form of compromise...thus giving fans what they want in some form, letting WWE get away with violating the State Athletic Commission's regulations, and winking at CZW's way of getting around State Athletic Commission regulations in a way they can't touch..
All those things will presumably now take place, not to mention preserving the gravy train for certain people with the State Athletic Commission. I'll allow readers to interpret what I mean by that.
The match was set up backstage in classic CZW style ultraviolence with a barbed wire cage (using the Cage of Death cage), light tubes, auto glass, and a scaffold. This "Ultraviolent Underground Title" (think CZW Death Match Title, version 2.0) was suspended from the ceiling backstage of the ECW Arena. The match was viewed by the live crowd from the CZWtron.
In the match, by the way, JC Bailey defeated Necro Butcher to win what is essentially the Death Match title, called the "Ultraviolent Underground Title".
If anyone had any doubts that this match wasn't live (unlike a remote death match taped [and advertised as such] from the CZW school and aired on the CZWtron at the March 5, 2004 show between Zandig and Joker, who was leaving to join the US military)....the mike going out and JC Bailey having to fiddle with it to talk to the crowd...proved it well enough, as well as the raw switches between the two cameras set up backstage...not to mention fans seeing Bailey come out bloody after his match after the show really ended.
As I've said before, there are times when being a wrestling fan doesn't just mean driving to a show, plopping your ass in a seat and popping for whoever you like on the show. It can also mean raising hell to get to continue to see what you want.
In 1995 and 1996, the New York-based fan group Strictly ECW got ECW back on MSG TV, almost entirely by itself. It's a fact that Paul Heyman publicly acknowledged more than once. Strictly ECW also played a major role in getting ECW on PPV in the New York market.
In 2001, Wrestling Fans Against Censorship (of which PWBTS.com was a large part) took on the Parents Television Council and their blatantly libelous campaign against the WWF, until the PTC was forced to collapse after a $3.5 million in a civil judgment against them and admit that they were "mistaken" about the allegations they made toward the WWF.
In 2004, wrestling fans literally scared the hell out of TNA after fans e-mailed Fox Sports Net and PPV carriers threatening to boycott advertisers and the PPVs themselves following TNA pulling talent from Ring of Honor, using the excuse of Rob Feinstein's involvement in a March 3, 2004 sex scandal.
This "compromise" with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and CZW may well have one more example of wrestling fans showing that they aren't the stereotypical mouth-breathers some assume them to be. They CAN, when they're willing to do so, use their keyboards, telephones and brains to get the kind of product that they want.
By the way, here's one more reminder about a way that you can use those things as a wrestling fan in a constructive way....
On December 26th, at 7:59 am local time, a 9.0 magnitude underwater earthquake struck northern Sumatra, the planet's most powerful in over 40 years. The earthquake in turn generated a major Indian Ocean-wide tsunami which devastated Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and Bangladesh, as well as parts of Australia, Africa, and the Arabian peninsula.
The tsunami has killed a number variously estimated from 170,000-200,000 as of this writing, with thousands still missing and presumed dead.
I'm running a cube banner on PWBTS.com that will directly link to the tsunami efforts of UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Fund), which you can see besides this text.
I selected UNICEF's graphic/link to post on my site, because of UNICEF's longterm role in helping those most affected by famine, war, poverty and natural disasters throughout the world...and because of the international readership of my flagship site, PWBTS.com. I also did so because I've felt haunted by the picture of the children, both tourist and native, who have been killed...or survived...but who lost one or more parents...and whose lives will thus be changed forever.
Please...as many of you as will do so, please feel free to use the code from the above graphic...and place that cube banner on your own company's website, your own fansite, or as a signature on any message board that will allow it.
For those readers that are concerned that their donations go to the victims of the disaster, and not to charity bureaucrats; here is a list of other organizations reviewed by the group Charity Navigator for their efficiency in delivering service to those they serve, with links to the websites of the organizations in question:
Please take some time to find it in your heart to send UNICEF (or another charity of your choice) some money to help those hundreds affected by this catastrophe; and find it in your heart to post the above link to the UNICEF site on your own website (or, again, another charity of your own choice) and help those hundreds of thousands affected by this catastrophe.
Until next time...
(Graphics courtesy of BBC and UNICEF)
Until next time...
(Graphics courtesy of BBC and UNICEF)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)