AS I SEE IT
This one is personal. Damned personal.
Last night at the Mount Holly Armory, someone went over the line. WAY over the line.
Not Dennis Coraluzzo, who set up the "ECW Invasion" angle at his last show in June, and got what he wanted, asses in the seats...Not any of the former ECW workers who took part in last night’s angle (It was nice to see Stevie Richards in seemingly great shape, and able to get physically involved in the angle)... Not any of the NWA staff who clearly worked their asses off for the better part of the last month to make sure this show came off well.... Not any of "the boys", who worked the tightest, best put-together NWA show I’ve seen in years.
The person who went over the line in that way was Tod Gordon.
When Tod Gordon did his shoot interview, a condition of his participation in the ECW angle, it went from being a shoot interview, and instead turned into a self-indulgent, rambling, occasionally incoherent 45 minute rant. Beneath the worked storyline, Gordon came off as someone who was having a delightful time being a mark for himself. Gordon went after the usual predictable targets Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff, and how they’d treated ECW workers who’d gone to New York or Atlanta, with some elements of truth in what he said.
But he made one mistake. He got personal with me. As I sat there in the front row, Tod Gordon decided to single me out. Looking me clear in the eye, I was referred to as "an immature motherf---er". He then tried to bait me to jump the rail, and go after him. Sorry to disappoint, Mr. Gordon...I wouldn’t embarrass my friends in the company, and I wouldn’t embarrass myself by doing such a thing. I know the difference between fantasy and reality.
Now before anyone reading this thinks that this was all a nice work, and part of the angle... you couldn’t be more wrong. There is a very real personal history here.
So to use your buddy Paul Heyman’s line to Jerry Lawler... "You want to shoot?"
Fine, Mr. Gordon, let’s do just that.
Let’s go back ten years ago, back to when you were just one more mark in the seats at the Philadelphia Civic Center, going to the NWA/WCW show that ran there monthly. Then Joel Goodhart’s Tri-State Wrestling Alliance started in 1990, with you getting to play money mark...er, man... with no public role but ring announcing.... the TWA, where Joel Goodhart spent your money like it was water, drawing $20,000 houses at the Civic Center but spending $25-30,000 to get them. In January 1992, you finally said enough. Joel Goodhart had spent enough of your money.
In February 1992, you finally got your dream. Instead of just being the money mark, you got to be a promoter. You started Eastern Championship Wrestling from the ashes of the TWA, running once a month bar shows. Nothing spectacular, or different from dozens of other small indy promoters. Many of us in the Philadelphia area rooted for the young promotion, because we knew the people in it.
We thought we knew you, too. We were very, very wrong....
In 1996, you made one of the worst mistakes of your life. You allowed people within ECW, including Paul Heyman, Debbie Beaumont, Damien Ferren, and Michael Ferren to push out someone who had worked like a dog for you since 1992, Kathy Fitzpatrick. You ALLOWED it to happen even though you KNEW what Heyman, Beaumont and the Ferrens had alleged was a blatant lie. You did nothing about it.
Mr. Gordon, remember the night in 1996 at an ECW show in Plymouth Meeting? When you took my brother and I to the back. As Paul Heyman began his attempt to spin doctor the situation, you stood there and did nothing. You sat back and allowed Paul Heyman to try and convince us that defending a friend was the wrong thing to do. You stood by as a person who treated you like a father figure was thrown aside by the company you founded, and left with serious scars that have, fortunately, since healed.
If what I’ve outlined above was all you had done, that would have been bad enough. But we could even go back to 1994 through 1996, when you did far more serious things...things that out of respect to Fritz Capp, I’ll force readers to use their imaginations rather than describe. We’ll just say these are things that your wife would be very interested in. So would the law.
It seems very, very ironic that despite all of your best efforts and those of others, Kathy Fitzpatrick was standing at Dennis Coraluzzo’s door on July 31, 1998, working for a company that has given her more responsibilities; and without question, treated with more respect than you or Paul Heyman ever did.
With all of that, it seems to me, Mr. Gordon, that the "immature motherf---er" on July 31 was the one in the ring. You see, I haven’t forgotten the line between fantasy and reality. You have. I wasn’t the one who forgot friends and people who loved him. You did. I’m not the person who makes himself out to be something he isn’t. You are.
Oh, and Mr. Gordon.... the "mark" in this little encounter wasn’t the one it should have been, me, the fan in the stands. It was you, going on and on for 45 minutes, being a mark for no one but yourself. Dutch Mantel said it very well when he said "I liked it (the business) better when the marks were on the other side of the rail". So did I, Dutch, so did I....
Until next time....
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.