AS I SEE IT 6/12: More on the WW/ECW buildup
AS I SEE IT
Well, the WWE vs. ECW USA Network show this past week did a better job building the WW/ECW One Night Stand PPV than one would have thought. Too bad WWE didn't do that kind of build-up on their most-watched show, RAW.
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
RAW's buildup was better than expected, however, with the early show angle starting out with the Rob Van Dam-John Cena contract signing, with Van Dam claiming he'd rename Cena's belt the ECW World Title. Heyman did his usual masterful job of hyping the WW/ECW One Night Stand PPV in the middle of all this; as well as the USA Network WWE vs. ECW special two nights later.
Heyman then called out Balls Mahoney, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk. Cena then replied that "if he’s going down, he's going down swinging". The four gang-rushed Cena with Sandman going apeshit on him with his trademark Kendo Stick. Sabu then hit (almost) his top rope with a chair through a table spot and landed on Cena’s head. Big Show then hit the ring to make the save.
Later on that evening, we got the first of the two WWE "defections" as Kurt Angle came out as the "newest ECW superstar".
(Continuity alert: Wasn't Angle part of the ANTI-ECW group at One Night Stand last year? We won't even mention his first exposure to the product when he was on the old stage of the ECW Arena as the infamous crucifixion angle took place, with Angle visibly angry at the angle, upset which was cleary visible to the crowd)
WW/ECW or not, Angle got his usual psycho hometown pop in Pittsburgh. Mick Foley’s music then hit as he made his way to the stage. Foley said to wait a second, it’s one thing to stand out there as a proud member of ECW, but getting a cheap pop is his deal. Foley went on in his 1995 anti-hardcore shtick version about how "ECW is a bunch of second rate Mick Foley rip-offs…"
Angle responded that Ric Flair was right and that everything Flair said about Foley is true. Foley said that Angle had issued an open challenge for One Night Stand, and Paul Heyman has announced it, Foley assumed it was a lie.
Then things got weird. This transitioned to a match with Edge ("co-holder of the 'WWE Hardcore title'" with Foley), which was a good match. The weird happened when, at the end of the match, we got Randy Orton coming from nowhere and laying out Angle with the RKO.
OK...now let's explain ANY connection Randy Orton has to ECW's past. Or for that matter, what connection the Big Show has...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The WWE vs. ECW show on USA started with Rob Van Dam going over "World" Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio. OK..good so far...let the renegade promotion's wrestler go over in a big match (see the current Ring of Honor vs. CZW storyline for examples).
"ECW" wrestler Kurt Angle then got into dueling promos with Randy Orton; including Orton saying Angle's killing his career by "going to ECW", comparing it from starring in a blockbuster movie to starring in hardcore porn, then suggests that ECW fans probably enjoy hardcore porn because it is the closest they will come to having sex (given one of the rumored reasons for Orton's suspension...that might be a subject better stayed away from...even if it is only a rumor, at least the worst rumored cause for his suspension).
After a forgettable match with Jazz and Mickie James, Paul Heyman comes out to do a hard sell; outlining the matches; with the final clincher a well done highlight video package from last year's One Night Stand PPV.
This is followed by the WWE vs. ECW battle royal, done as a backdrop for...well, hold on. At the finish, Kurt Angle is eliminated, seemingly to give WWE a victory, followed by Randy Orton celebrating with Big Show. That is, until Big Show tears off his RAW t-shirt and reveals an ECW one underneath. Big Show then grabs Orton and throws Orton over the top rope to give ECW the win.
OK...renegade promotion wins...good.
But BIG SHOW? BIG SHOW is part of ECW's "new vision" and "new breed"? Oh, Lord. What will Big Show become... ECW's 911 version 2.0? That's the only role I can see for him.
Edge went over Tommy Dreamer (some things don't change for ECW...Dreamer's putting over someone for business sake again); which was most notable for the potato shots that Terry Funk nailed Mick Foley's eye with for realism's sake. Talk about old school....wonder when they bring out the sandpaper?
Complete with swollen eye and a bloody head, Mick Foley did a tremendous interview to plug the Funk/Dreamer-Edge/Foley match (amazing what happens when you let people that can cut non-formula sounding promos...well, cut promos).
In part, Foley said he loved ECW, but ECW didn't love him back, and said that ECW was "like the girl he couldn't get away from, but the girl that makes him sick each time he saw her" He said he was a whore, that Tommy Dreamer wasn't, and that he got famous by pulling a sock out of his pants for Vince McMahon. He then put over Terry Funk as "the most dangerous man in ECW", concluding by saying he would "go to war with the sick twisted whore known as ECW".
We then got an announcer's brawl with Tazz cutting off Jerry Lawler on the mic, with Lawler and responding by telling Tazz he"has more wrestling ability in one of his farts than Tazz does". Tazz and. Lawler go at it, brawling over the ECW announce table. WWE referees start to break it up. In the middle of the scuffling, it appeared that Paul Heyman swatted Jim Ross's cowboy hat off.
The show concluded with the John Cena-Sabu match, with a non-finish coming after Big Show ran in to spoil the fun, followed by the ring filling up with WWE and ECW talent to close the show.
USA aired excellent ads for the WW/ECW show on Sci-Fi Network. Let's hope they air on programming other than WWE related programming, unlike the ECW ads that ran on TNN...primarily during ECW on TNN.
Finally, there's the interesting situation regarding the June 24th and July 4 WW/ECW dates at the ECW Arena that seems to have finally been worked out.
I was told last weekend by someone within WWE that the ECW Arena show was being moved to July 4. My source asked me not to make it public...which I agreed to. Lack of public knowledge of this report lasted online for 30 minutes, as Dave Meltzer and PWinsider.com had it up by then, although (my guess) from a different source.
ECW Arena (aka New Alhambra) management denied the next day that the show had been moved. The source and other websites repeated the story, yet no changes were made on the New Alhambra website or the WWE-sponsored ECW.com website. This concerned a lot of people who have July 4 plans, and didn't want to buy tickets they might not be able to use...and who still weren't sure when the show was.
Last Friday, it seemed to become clear that the June 24 show was on, and a July 4 show for a live Sci-Fi Network taping would also occur (even though Arena management wouldn't admit this as late as the CZW house show Saturday night, only acknowledging that there was a "second date").
Come Sunday afternoon, lo and behold, the ECW Arena's management claimed on their New Alhambra.com website that "because of the demand, we're scheduling a second ECW show on July 4".
Um, yeah. Right.
For some reason, it seems that all this occurred because was there was some odd fear they won't sell out if people know there's 2 shows. Another potential reason that came out was that Paul Heyman wanted to have "the first show back" at the ECW Arena be special, and not just be a house show...thus the attempt to move the show to July 4.
But one way or the other, you'd think decisions would have been made earlier on so this bizarre situation didn't occur.
This IS wrestling, however..and it IS ECW.
Until next time...
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