AS I SEE IT 5/15: More on "ECW", with your thoughts

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

More on WWE and their ECW project...

Sounds like there are differences already in what kind of product this WWE-sponsored ECW project should become. According to Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer last week, Tommy Dreamer suggests it should be a nostalgia act with largely the ECW stars of the past where Paul Heyman wants to create a developmental promotion with new stars and a handful of ECW talent (featuring RVD, Sabu, and others).

It's been reported widely that the first show of this ECW project is reported to be taking place at the ECW Arena on June 24. However, there is still no mention of this show on the website for the ECW Arena (aka New Alhambra Arena) at this link as of this writing.

At the very least, the ECW-themed PPV, One Night Stand, seems to be the actual launch of this ECW project. The ECW project website at (FYI: the original ECW website,, points to is solely a promotional vehicle for One Night Stand.

Your letters:

From Robert Schwabe:

"Your points were well put. This is not the ECW that I (and it sounds like you) loved so well.

Since the fall of ECW and WCW from the professional wrestling scene, I have wanted the WWE to create a televised, well-booked, minor league that they can use to develop talent. I think it is a very good idea to use ECW talent that is not ready for WWE television. I think it is a very good idea to use ECW creators and bookers to run this minor league. I also think it is a good thing to give this minor league the look and feel of ECW, as it was a fun edgy look that does not feel dated. And it is a good idea to run this minor league in smaller, traditionally ECW, towns and arenas.

All of these are good ideas. And though the WWE machine will claim that it is a continuation of the the independent wrestling federation that was ECW, I (and hopefully most wrestling fans) know differently.

However, I also hope that my fellow ECW fans do not dismiss this league (or brand or sub-federation) that the WWE is creating. If they remember the respect, the intelligence, and the fun that ECW ran with... If they can create the overall team spirit that was evident at every ECW show... If they can give the fans what they want despite being under the WWE corporate umbrella...and if they do not solely concentrate on the hardcore/extreme aspects of the promotion...

Then, the WWE's Extreme Championship Wrestling project could be a lot of fun.

Recreating "Team ECW" is simply not possible. That's not a knock on Vince McMahon. It's simply acknowledging that there is no way to re-create the time, the place, the atmosphere and the look of ECW, the fans of ECW at the time, and the backstage staff, all of whom made ECW that "Team ECW" christened by Dave Meltzer. It was the most unique relationship a wrestling company will lever have with its fans.

You CAN'T re-create ECW under a corporate umbrella, whether WWE or not.

As an aside, I've had a few people suggest that I'm stuck on the old ECW. Hardly.

If anything, I'm a realist, but one who remembers how unique the real ECW was. The realist in me and those of us who were at PWBTS at the time were willing to be critical of ECW at a time that no one else seemed to be. At first, only a few people were willing to discuss those situations...the backstage goings-on, the bouncing paychecks, and such. Most fans didn't want to hear that criticism. We received criticism by many.

But 1997 went into 1998 and 1999.... as talent left ECW for greener pastures, as paychecks started bouncing, as entering ECW venues just to see a show became a physical encounter... the truth became impossible to ignore. Suddenly PWBTS wasn't the only voice expressing these views about ECW. The voices grew into a chorus.

So I'm not idealizing ECW. I know the good and bad.

But even for what it really was, this isn't ECW.

From "Paul":

"Love the article. But I stopped watching WWE because of Vince all ways being on the show and that it is not wrestling or entertainment anymore. That was lost many years ago when Vince bought WCW and ECW. This God angle is stupid and with everyone talking about it just fuels Vince. I wish I could have seen Joey quit. I was watching hockey instead. I hope and pray that the WWE goes back to what made it great. That was wrestling(foremost) then adding storylines second to the show. Thank you for your time."

The fact that a wrestling fan is watching the Stanley Cup playoffs instead of RAW (yes, I'm one of them to a point as I go back and forth between OLN and USA) ought to concern Vince McMahon. Problem is that NHL ratings on OLN are 5% of what RAW's ratings are.

Really. So it's actually not much in the way of competition.

From Mike Gannaway of York, PA:

"I know I'm really late with offering feedback on the whole Vince/God thing, but what the heck? I'm a devout Christian who loves God, so you'd think the whole situation would've made me angry but it it didn't. Instead, it made me feel sorry for Vince that he believed he needed to create something this stupid to get attention. It's amazing how the most dominant wrestling promoter ever could be that insecure. God will always be greater than Vince, but the Vince I'm seeing now is pathetic.

As for the return of ECW, you're correct in saying that this is not the true ECW. The ECW that transformed American professional wrestling in the 90s at a time when it was dying out died in 2001. This ECW will be part of the WWE corporate machine. Nevertheless, it's bound to be more fun to watch than the stuff on TV right now. We'll just have to see what happens."

The whole "God angle" DOES make you wonder if it's part of Vince McMahon's insecurities that motivated the angle. Lord knows, drawing money by creating a coherent angle wasn't the reason...or at least, didn't appear to be the result.

From Danny Crane:

"Bob, just finished your column AS I SEE IT 5/8: Joey Styles and "ECW". Good job and I agree with you 100% that Vince McMahon should NOT be doing/should not have done that incredibly stupid storyline which amounted to nothing more or less than a sacrilege. Hard to believe Shawn Michaels went along with it.

I thought tonight's Raw was one of the sorriest I had seen in a while. To see Mick Foley, a man so many fans just loved, team up with that nutjob, Edge, and turn heel was about too much. And that Spirit Squad outfit and having "matches" with them where it's three on one or five on two (and even five on one sometimes) that just sucks...."

I really don't understand why Michaels went along with it, either. I'd love to hear how he explained it away to his minister, well known fundamentalist pastor John Hagee.

I really hope tonight's RAW has a great promo by Foley explaining his turn. While I understand the logic of keeping people waiting for something until next week...the turn seemed to lack logic without a promo to explain his actions. My guess is that Foley's doing a repeat of the anti-hardcore angle he did in ECW...and that HE will be the big heel in the ECW project that WWE's looking for, and not "Mister Kennedy".

From Christopher Gilmartin:

"I'm personally excited about ECW! Hopefully it will come off as good as ECW ONS back in October.

I remember people saying it was going to suck but all and all it was a good show from some guys that deserved to have it. As long as ONS 2 doesn't have Jackass Bonehead Lameass running around beating up Blue Meanie and calling himself a "wrestling god" I think it will be OK, too.

But, alas, I fear he is gonna win the title from Rey; and RVD will cash in at ONS 2, or Rey will get his rematch there.

Maybe RVD will win and rechristen it the ECW title. What a start to that brand that would be..."

Don't be surprised if Layfield is there, and for him to take the title from Rey Misterio ASAP, although we thought John Cena was to drop the belt imminently, too...and he's still got it.

I do hope like hell John Layfield leaves Brian Heffron alone. He's had enough health issues recently that he doesn't need someone sucker-punching him in a wrestling match again.

From a fan who didn't leave their name:

"Is any fan out there who considers VKM interacting on any level, humorous or not, with "God" entertaining? Are these fans really wrestling fans?...

Does anyone remember when the storylines used to revolve around the wrestlers? Does anyone remember when the commissioner of a promotion (yes,I said commissioner) seldom made an appearance on television? And when he did, it was actually important?

Plain and simple, WWE is sickening. And to any of the VKM cheerleaders who will say, "change the channel", I am ever so grateful for UFC and Law And Order.

Because the only time I even bother with WWE anymore is when there is an actual match on...with talented wrestlers. That's right, I used that dirty word...wrestlers...yet again. Because I simply cannot fathom how people find VKM flexing his ego week in and week out to be entertainment at all."

The thing is....angles and storylines are supposed to be the sizzle, and not the steak. Wrestling is supposed to be the steak with the angles serving as flavoring (or if you will, "sizzle"). WWE has lost that in recent years. I can live with the goofiest of characters and long as they aren't on 3/4 of the show.

Until next time...


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