AS I SEE IT 12/11: Back to reality...
AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Talk about back to reality.
On Thursday...I was standing on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, standing on sand dunes, and watching people surfing (yes, they were wearing wet suits), picking up driftwood, walking their dogs, and such; while I had a take out lunch out on the beach on an unseaonably warm day for San Francisco, and a nice day for December anywhere. It was the final day of a great six day vacation in San Francisco with this unseasonable weather until getaway day (Friday) where it started to rain just as I was on the tarmac leaving town.
I landed back home Friday night in Philadelphia to temperatures in the 20s...and needless to say, back to reality for the month of December.
For any wrestling fans that had any sort of delusions remaining about WWECW, they were taken back to a cold reality far more lasting than I felt last night coming from a vacation; and totally shattered after the debacle of a PPV called December to Dismember. The remains of ECW were truly dismembered as Paul Heyman was "sent home" by Vince McMahon after dissagreements regarding the booking of what was charitably called a WWECW PPV.
The PPV was a two match PPV with the six man "Extreme" Elimination Chamber making Bobby Lashley the "new ECW World Champion". Sabu, advertised as being part of the PPV, was "injured" (translated: punished for recent heat with WWE) and removed from the Elimination Chamber match, replaced by Bob Holly. Additionally, after his escapades in July, there was no way Rob Van Dam was getting the belt back.
So...your new Veloc...er... ECW Champion...Bobby Lashley. Yup....Nothing says ECW like Bobby Lashley.
I mean, why do something that reminds people of ECW, and build on your new star, CM Punk? Nah, that might remind people of ECW and Paul Heyman's booking style. As events later in the week would prove, that seems to be the very last thing Vince McMahon has any intention of doing.
You'll take Veloc...ECW... the way Vincent Kennedy McMahon gives it to you, and you'll like it.
I will add that there was one real match of the night, The Hardy Boyz-MNM, match that delivered on what it promised. It reminded me a lot of the old Rock and Roll Express-Midnight Express matches that led off a lot of WCW Clash of the Champions telecasts; back in the days when the concept apparently was to start with a hot match and go form there, and actually get fans interested in what was to come.
Viewers paid a full price of $39.95 for this 2 hour and 19 minute PPV. Along with the 2 matches I mentioned above, there were four other matches thrown in there to fill in time...such time as Vince McMahon bothered to fill in at all. 2 hours and 19 minutes. That's flat out ridiculous.
Way to go, WWE.
This $40 slap in the face to ECW fans and to wrestling fans in general, came in a period where there had already been four wrestling/MMA PPVs held within a month as of the Saturday I'm writing this column: TNA Genesis, WWE Survivor Series, the UFC 65 PPV, and WWECW December to Dismember.
TNA Turning Point takes place this weekend (after this column was written), and WWE Armageddon, which is scheduled for next week. If someone ordered each and every one of these PPVs, they'd be giving $119.85 to WWE, $79.90 to TNA, and $39.95 to UFC. This leads to a grand total of $219.70 in a six week period.
The victims in this are the fans, who sooner or later will start to make choices about what they will and won't buy. It IS possible that wrestling may kill off its golden goose, pay-per-view, if they keep giving us streaks like this...and nights like last Sunday.
The problem is that fans may well tune out of wrestling altogether, rather than be more selective...which would send a message to WWE when they put on a farce like thus. It's a suggestion you'd all do well to consider over the next few weeks.
Back to the thought of something named ECW without Paul Heyman. It's being handed over to Smackdown writer Paul Lagana. Yup, ECW without Paul Heyman. This has to insult the intelligence of even the most hardcore WWE fanatic to actually accept last week's PPV and the WWECW TV show as anything but an utter and complete joke.
I hate to say that I told some of you beack when this project was announced...and when I always referred to this as WWECW, rather than use the three letters than Vince McMahon has the legal rights to use, but hasn't done a damned thing to show any intention to attempt to use 5% of the spirit of during his presentation of it. When real ECW fans actually showed some real reaction at the Manhattan Center, they were punished by having a future PPV pulled. Seemed they were bothering the Sci-Fi Network representatives by actually acting like wrestling fan are supposed to act like.
Don't worry, Vince McMahon is doing his best to remove those inconvenient tendencies from your mind. He's also removing ECW from your TV screens, in anything but name.
Until next time...
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