AS I SEE IT 6/13: A weekend to remember...
AS I SEE IT
First, some comments on last week's column on the real ECW:
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
From Elom Bowman:
Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your article. As a Philly native and longtime ECW fan, all of the stuff you wrote really brought back some memories. ECW came along at a time when the WWF/E was putting out cartoon characters (Doink the Clown, Bastian Booger, etc.), and WCW's product wasn't that much better. ECW not only kept me interested in wrestling, but reminded me of why I got into wrestling in the first place.
I e-mailed Peter Staniforth on a great ECW article that he wrote not too long ago, and I'll tell you what I told him: No promotion since the Jim Crockett NWA era meant as much to me or had as much magic as ECW.
Unfortunately, I won't be attending Hardcore Homecoming (didn't have the money when tickets went on sale..when I finally did have the money, it sold out!), but I plan to buy the DVD when released (Ironically i'm attending an indy show that Saturday at the arena). As far as the WWE/ECW PPV, I may buy it, but it won't be authentic (Smackdown & Raw wrestlers at the PPV? They've gotta be kidding!). I can't stand WWE and I know Vince is gonna ruin it.
Anyway, thank you for such a great article. I think i'll go watch some tapes from my ECW collection!
From Marti Funk, wife of wrestling legend (and PWBTS columnist Dory Funk):
"WOW... thank you for the most heart felt column I have read in a long time.
To give a history and give it in such detail, so vivid we all get to live the Fun and Excitement all over again. Our friend Masa Horie of Japan and respected columnist as yourself, can do a detailed account with the Japanese history, but that is the best and riches account of ECW we have read.
I think the ECW PPV is going to do very well... hopefully it will lead to a expansion of the talent for the the fans.
Take care , and always much thanks...
From Sammy Eanes:
Just wanted to say I loved reading this week's column on ECW.
I can't wait to go to the show this weekend. I love making the trip from VA for shows at the old arena, and reading your article brought back some great memories.
And from a couple of the people themselves, first from ECW referee John Finegan:
Yet another wonderful walk down down memory lane, provided by you.
Half of the stuff you mentioned I'd forgotten about until reading about it today.
Man, oh, man, there was some great stuff that went down in this building. What a wonderful time it was to be a wrestling fan; and what a wonderful time it will be Friday and Sunday night.
I can't wait to be part of something special again,. No matter how you feel about ECW or not, the shows will be filled with a lot of extremely talented people, and extremely loyal fans one more time...
Enjoy...see you on Friday and Sunday..."
And from Rocky Musciano (aka "Rocco"):
"Excellent article....I enjoyed the trip down memory lane!
Hope to see you Friday......".
As for Hardcore Homecoming...it far surpassed anything I thought they were capable of doing with this event. I was so afraid that the event would come off like an over-priced indy show. I couldn't have been more wrong.
To describe it if you weren't there...
Think of your high school reunion.
Then make it the biggest, loudest, hottest, profane, over-the-top high school reunion with people that you actually WANTED to see again, years later.
Introduce copious amounts of beer and every other form of alcohol legal in the United States (and probably a few things that AREN'T legal in the Unied States).
Then, add 1,200 or more other people who felt the same way.
Put it in the world's most infamous Bingo Hall.
Welcome to Hardcore Homecoming on June 10, 2005.
A few thoughts...
Just as in the old days...Bob Artese came out to do the opening comments; but this time went through the obligatory "we can't use those letters (implied, 'however YOU can') to tell you where we are because Vince owns the rights to them"; starting what was the first of what had to be 100 ECW chants through the night; then introduced Tod Gordon who then Joey Styles and Don "Cyrus" Callis coming out. Joel Gertner then came out with a MA-rated 2 minute "introduction" definitely not suitable for your local Baptist church (or even a Unitarian church).
Yep, felt like home, alright.
A real, honest, two-hankie moment took place when the video salute to those "fallen Hardcore Heroes" including Eddie Gilbert, Big Dick Dudley, Louie Spicolli, Road Warrior Hawk, Ted "Rocco Rock" Petty, Anthony "Pitbull 2" Durante, Brian Pillman, and Chris Candido. Johnny Grunge came out to The Public Enemy's "Here Come Da Highstepper" with the whole crowd waving their arms to the music, as in days of old. Gary "Pitbull" Wolfe came out to salute Pitbull 2.
Then, AC/DC "Back in Black" is played with what seemed to be the loudest reaction of the night, followed by Tammy Sytch coming out. With all that's been said about her...let alone with all she's gone through in recent weeks...she looked pretty damned good. Maybe not exactly like the same old Tammy...but then again, no one looks exactly the same as their high school reunion. But you always recognize those at your reunion all the same....and you welcome them home. What's better, the moment seemed to make her smile from the inside out.
There was the spectacle of 1,200 plus thundering back the words of "Enter Sandman"... word for word and louder than most arena metal crowds ever could.
And of course...there was Terry Funk. I'd probably travel anywhere to see him. There have been so many memories that have come from that man over the years...and that's just from ECW, let alone his earlier career. He and Mrs. Funk are always gracious...and the night would be more special because he was there...and WWE's ECW-themed attempt of a PPV will be less so without him.
The applause he got wasn't the wild pop that happened for other moments...but a longer, more sustained, even respectful applause...a tribute in the most real sense.
So that was as real an ECW moment as is possible to get after 2001...
Copyright that, Vince.
In other news for our UK and European readers...the second of UK's Ultimate Championship Wrestling three shows this month takes place at the Cheese and Grain, in Frome, UK. All money made will go towards breast cancer; and the walk that Chrissie Coles, fiancee of PWBTS writer Peter Staniforth is doing this September in London.
To donate directly to her cause, and to find out more, go to this link for more details.
Announced thus far for this benefit show:
For the UCW Championship
Atom © against the returning Jodie Fleisch
Gangster vs. American Allstar vs. James Tighe
Number 1 Contendership to UCW Championship/Ladder Match will feature the winner of Match 'A' vs. Winner of Match 'B'
Tournament Match 'B'
Chris Petherwick vs. Instinct
Tournament Match 'A'
Rocco vs. Dr. Stretch
Dream Boyz vs. Country Boy & Lone Wolf vs. Hubert & Spyke
A 4-3 Handicap match including Chiropractor and Anthrax
Tickets are £5 and family tickets are available. For more ticket information email RyanLister123@hotmail.com. Tickets can be ordered via TicketWeb at this link.
Until next time...
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)