AS I SEE IT 5/22: Lousy webhosts, "ECW", and your thoughts

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

First, for all of you who e-mailed, or even called yesterday, thank you. PWBTS was down from 6:15 EDT am Sunday until 8:30 am EDT. From there, only a shell site was up from then until 3:15 pm, when we could finally post and do admin work on the website.

We can thank our current webhost Tera-Byte, who managed to crash our newsboard for the second consecutive Sunday morning because of their incompetence and basic lack of customer service.

To add to things, hardworking PWBTS webmaster and owner Paul Nemer was on Canada's "Long Weekend", Victoria Day weekend (Canada's equivalent of Memorial terms of the beginning of the summer season). So he wasn't home to fix things. I got him at his hotel in Montreal. Between probably a dozen phone calls to him from Philadelphia to him in Montreal, and countless calls by Paul and I to Tera-Byte in Calgary; it took until 3:15 pm EDT before the website was fully up and running for the first time in 9 hours.

Paul certainly deserves an award for putting up with me today...much, much thanks to him for helping so very, very much on his Long Weekend. If any of you have a product or service, give him a yell and talk to him about advertising on their website. He earned it today.

If any of you have a webhost that could host PWBTS in mind, give me an e-mail at the above address. Clearly, I'm not the least bit interested in going through another day like today.

Back to our originally scheduled column, with more on WWE and their ECW project...

Dave Meltzer reported back on May 17 that The Sci-Fi Network is preparing a press release announcing that the WWE ECW project will start on the network with a weekly time slot in mid-to-late June.

Sci-Fi Network even had a forum on their channel's message board for ECW, until it got reported online, which resulted in the forum's quick disappearance.

The latest story, as of late Sunday evening, is that WWE's ECW project will air on Sci-Fi Network, and that there will be an announcement of a Tuesday night slot. Stay tuned.

From Nick Martin:

"Am I excited for ECW?? Yes. I am from Canada, and was only exposed to ECW back in their TNN days and that stuff blew me away. Being only a watcher of WWE and WCW, I really was blown away by this faster-paced, no bull#*$t promotion that had wrestling in it...

Now that its just WWE running the show, I rarely watch wrestling on TV anymore. I try to watch TNA, but only watch the X division matchwa and turn it off (I swear with Steiner, Sting, Nash and talks of Goldberg coming, the end of TNA is near).

But if this version of ECW is true, and Heyman is running it, his vision of creating new talent is gonna be a fresh new style. I am really not looking forward to seeing the old ECW crew (most of them arent what they used to be), I want bright new stars that will be molded by Heyman instead of them jumping to WWE as green as grass, WWE has a chance to give a dying breed of wrestling fan another go, and hopefully they will run with it."

By the time ECW hit TNN, it had already passed its creative prime. Get unedited footage of the old-school ECW stuff (not the sometimes edited WWE 24/7 stuff) if you want to see something.

WWE is going to have a tough time getting those old school ECW fans who want to see an old school ECW product to watch this; because they want to to relive the past, which is impossible for Vince McMahon to do. If we're talking old school ECW style, then my guess is that the mix of sex, violence... not to mention a ton of high-flying and technical wrestling...isn't going to happen with a WWE product.

If, on the other hand, WWE is trying to reach out to fans of TNA, they desperately need to feature new faces and appealing booking; not the same stuff that is turning off a lot of the old WCW fans and old ECW well as the WWE fans who were only fans when it was cool to do so. If they do so, they'll have a chance. If they don't, fans will turn off quickly.

The real problem is going to be in reaching both audiences, which is what I think WWE is looking for. I think they're going to be unpleasantly surprised in what results in terms of audience unless they area really ready to consider a bigtime departure from what they've programmed on WWE TV.

From "Sigmamafia":

"I personally fell in love with the ECW product when I first saw it. It was a throwback to the days of realism in wrestling that was heartfelt from Jim Crockett's NWA.

In WWE you had huge spectacles and guys who were simply characters; where in NWA you had guys who made their characters realistic. Guys like the Horsemen would team up to beat you half to death and take your title and women, tag teams like the Road Warriors would beat down teams like the Midnight Express. The Express were smart, and had Cornette with them to make mental manuevers while the Warriors had Paul Ellering to back up the tough talk they always initiated.

ECW had that same feel with lunatics like New Jack who were just out there to make you bleed, and guys like Benoit and Malenko, guys who personified excellence in their craft... and guys like the Sandman, who has the most electrifying entrance to date in any venue....

IF ECW is anything like WWE is now, then I'll just stick to TNA and wait for more WWE stars to wise up and jump ship. And truth be told, who would want to go back to ECW after Vince McMahon stole your name with trademarks and made it impossible for you to continue to make a living under the name you molded into significance?"

"Who would want to go back to ECW after Vince McMahon stole your name with trademarks and made it impossible for you to continue to make a living under the name you molded into significance?"

The Dudleys don't, for one.

The difference between old school WCW and WWF/WWE has always been the amount of wrestling content. When WCW started trying to be a WWF style when ECW, lucha, and other styles started gaining traction with fans who wanted to see wrestling flavored with characters and storylines, not the other way around.

From Brin Lowden:

"...ECW was something that cannot be recreated; but could be someting special again. I don't think we'll have Asian girls hanging from the rafters,but barbed wire baseball bats and tables of fire,sprinkled with thumbtacks sounds OK to me.

But, the most important thing would be the ECW World Title,and who would be the champ. RVD is of course the MAN. He was the MAN back in ECW. I know Tazz was a badass, but RVD had the skills, looks, and the fans. The whole RVD chant was created in the ECW Arena and is still going strong today. So I hope the new ECW will be able to at least be about wrestling (hardcore or not) and not so much about the story or show. In the old ECW the matches became the story...."

Exactly...the matches drove the storyline; and not the other way around. There are too many times where WWE PPV matches have been created because of a quick skit on Sunday Night HEAT, when it aired on USA, MTV, or SPIKE. Now, we get matches cooked up in a three minute skit on RAW or Smackdown, with no backstory to lead up to the match whatever.

From Steve Moore:

"As a fan of the 'old' ECW, I'm looking forward to seeing what WWE does with the trademark. If it turns out unlike what the fans (and myself) wanted or hoped for, I'll just do what I've done during RAW broadcasts many, many times the last several years due to the writers' inability to entertain: I'll change the channel.

Speaking of RAW, I think I kinda like this new 'evil' Mick Foley. He was never considered to be one of the greatest 'workers' of his time...but he can bump and bleed with the best of 'em. Great wrestler, he might not be...but he's always good for a promo. The segment between he and Terry Funk was definitely one of those segments where I just could not turn the channel. Though I will admit on a personal level, I think they went a little too far with Terry calling Foley's wife a 'whore' and Foley's kids 'bastards'.

However, I like the way they used the segment to continue the build to One Night Stand, and the new ECW brand. I smell a deathmatch on the horizon...or at least an ECW-style hardcore bout..."

Actually, in the original version of this promo...Funk called Foley's son DEWEY a angle which was hilarious in a perverse sort of way when it happened originally at the ECW Arena.

Even with everything I've said above and below I'll watch Terry Funk anywhere and everywhere he appears, including on Vince McMahon's TV shows.

From Basil Mahmud:

"I like the fact the WWE is bringing ECW as a minor promotion. It will have a national TV or show so that everyone is able to watch it (unlike OVW). Its bringing something back to the mix up storylines every once in a while, you could have a yearly WWE vs ECW special (to hype up an ECW PPV), and get people excited. And that they are bring people back from TNA such as Rhino, and getting people from other indy scenes (ala CM Punk and other ROH wrestlers) Its going to be a new breeding ground for WWE and giving the fans more than WWE wrestling, and bring in an old revolution that is long missed.

Actually, we'd have been better off watching unedited OVW on national TV.

From "Jamal":

"As much as I hate the idea of Vnce making a dime off of anything called ECW, I do think it's a good idea to run it as a minor league. I'm sure he knows that he has gone too far into the realm of garbage soap opera smut with WWE, to ever turn it around and make it a wrestling based company that could compete athlete vs athlete with TNA. Plus I'm sure he thinks his show makes more money this way. (I doubt it though) anyhow he wants ECW to be a wild show that can grab some TNA fans, that won't happen and this project will not be ECW, ECW is dead and gone.

But it is going to give more wrestlers a chance to collect a paycheck doing what they love, and it will make the opportunity for more people to become stars....

I agree with Heyman this show has got to be a TNA style show where older stars are used to help launch a new generation, you can't just have old worn out guys that we used to watch in the 90's running around main eventing every show. If you do that the new ECW will look like the old WCW (I loved WCW but at times it did look like a nursing home!) So in any case we just have to see what happens, but remember anything Vince touches turns into trash. (He has a reverse midas touch) So the only way this show will succeed is if he never ever has anything to do with it, and I dont know if there's any chance of that!

Think Vince McMahon's ECW project will ever approach the real ECW?

If you do, then watch the famous February 17, 1996 angle from the ECW Arena. That night, as one of Paul Heyman's "lights out" surprises, Brian Pillman was suddenly standing in the middle of the ring. The ECW Arena crowd went wild that night; figuring that one of "them", the guy who was breaking the unwritten rules of wrestling by breaking kayfabe...or so they thought, and making an ass out of Eric Bischoff...or so they thought... was coming to ECW.

In an piece of absolute artwork on the mike, Pillman's classic derision of "smart marks" at the Arena had the crowd cheering his name, to hating his guts in 30 seconds flat. Pillman used the word "smart mark" to the crowd as such an insult; you'd have thought he'd just said he had sex with Mother Teresa from the pulpit at St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was one of the most memorable moments in ECW Arena history and one of the most memorable moments of ECW TV ever...even the edited version (watch the unedited version if you want to see white hot crowd heat)

Watch the tape of that night, and tell me anything Vince McMahon gets his hands on will EVER approach that kind of spontaneous crowd reaction.

Until next time...


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