by: Bob Magee

This time, thoughts on two different subjects....


ECW’s "Heat Wave" PPV last week may not have been the "PPV of the Year" or "home run" that certain newsletter writers supportive of the promotion proclaimed, but it was by far the most solid PPV effort by the promotion since Barely Legal. Perhaps "extra base hit" would be a better metaphor.

The "Heat Wave" PPV did not feature a bad match, which is more than can be said for WCW’s PPVs over the last year. It featured the North American debut of Hayabusa in the Ginsei Shinzaki/ Hayabusa-Sabu/Rob Van Dam match, with Masato Tanaka-Mike (Gladiator) Awesome, the final match of the Justin Credible-Jerry Lynn series, and the Chris Candido-Lance Storm match. These matches were reminiscent of the ECW of 1994-1995, where WRESTLING was still part of the mix, along with the hardcore blood and brawling style the promotion seems more widely known for today.

However, the biggest news of the PPV may well have been the announcement (after the "Heat Wave" PPV went dark) by Tamara "Sunny" Sytch that she was leaving Titan Sports to work full time with ECW and her fiancé Chris Candido. Used correctly, Ms. Sytch could be a merchandising bonanza for the company beyond Paul Heyman’s dreams.


The angle where Vince McMahon is portraying Mike Hegstrand (a.k.a. "Hawk") as being "impaired" during a match in some unmentioned way during a RAW two weeks ago, followed by an "apology"on the next week's show; is tasteless beyond words for more than one reason. As I've said before, drug use as a subject for storylines is totally inappropriate in my opinion. Paul Heyman and ECW have done it more than once, as did as the USWA prior to its closing with an angle portraying Wolfie D as a "drug pusher". It was also reported that WCW had contemplated doing a reunion angle with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, with Hall claiming his drug use as the "reason he turned on his friend".

A reasonable person could interpret this angle as being a not very-veiled slap at Tamara ("Sunny") Sytch and her reported substance abuse problems. As stated earlier, Sytch announced at the ECW Heat Wave PPV that she was leaving the WWF to begin full-time work for ECW and her fiancé, Chris Candido. Others have suggested this angle to be a slap at Scott Hall's widely-publicized personal and substance abuse problems.

It seems Vince McMahon's memory is very, very short. It was October 5, 1997, not even a year ago, that Brian Pillman was memorialized on the In Your House PPV, and the following night's Monday Night RAW. I can remember Tamara Sytch, Mike Hegstrand, and the remainder of the Titan roster standing in unison for the ten-bell count that night.

As I said in the AS I SEE IT I wrote about Brian Pillman: "After the tributes are over, and the memorials through, we will see if Brian Pillman's death will be a wake-up call for them". But it wasn't. Louie Spicolli died from the effects of soma use just months later.

Now drug use is AGAIN being made part of an angle. Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, and other promoters need to spend more time worrying about those working for their companies with substance abuse problems like Tamara Sytch and Scott Hall have had; instead of writing storylines using these problems, or taking veiled potshots at those who do.

At the very least, they ought to take a look at the example of the NWA's president, Howard Brody. While his online Wrestling Coalition Against Substance Abuse is only a symbolic step toward recognizing the problem of steroid and painkiller use and abuse, it’s more than McMahon, Bischoff, Heyman have done to publicly recognize the problem. An even better answer to the twin problems of steroid and painkiller use would be random drug testing and an employee assistance program for the three companies that can afford it. PWBTS broke the story of how easy and affordable it is to test for somas several months ago, contrary to the PRODIGY Chat comments of Eric Bischoff who claimed it was impossible to do.

Mr. McMahon, Mr. Bischoff, Mr. Heyman, it’s LONG past the time to do....Unless you want the responsibility for another needless death in a lonely hotel room, far from family and loved ones...Think about it.

A last thought for Tamara Sytch, Scott Hall, and anyone else with these types of problems...if Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, and Paul Heyman won’t help you get clean, do it for yourselves. The business has lost too many talented people who died far too damned young to lose anymore. Please do it today.

Until next time... .

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