As you may have gathered from my post about my trip to the hallowed halls of the ECW Arena, I am a massive fan of the ORIGINAL ECW. It provided some of my favorite moments in wrestling and created characters and figures I have come to idolize. In my eyes, Paul E. could do no wrong and churned out classic card after classic card.
And I only learned about the promotion after its demise.
You see, not being from the United States means that the only wrestling I had access to during the 90’s was the (then )WWF. And make no mistake about, at the time I thought it was the shit! I wasn’t even aware of WCW at the time; to me, wrestling was the WWF.
And then in 2001, I was introduced to a magazine called “Powerslam”.
My cousin had been reading Powerslam for a few years but was now starting to grow out of the whole wrestling thing(the fool). Knowing my love of WWF at the time, he thought the magazines might be of interest to me and so dumped a tonne of issues at my house, dating all the way back to 1995.
Powerslam blew my mind! For one, I was never aware of all the stuff going on backstage and behind the scenes. i was aware wrestling was rigged but I never knew how much more exciting it could be behind the scenes!
As my head nearly exploded with all this new information to absorb, I was constantly drawn to articles about about a small promotion from South Philly: ECW.
I was amazed by the pictures I saw: barbed wire, bloodshed, bodies flying through the air; I couldn’t help but be drawn to these wild images.
Reading about the storylines and the feuds going on also immediately sucked me in. these guys were fighting for legit reasons that could actually occur in real life. It was a reality based, hardcore soap opera; and I loved it.
There were two wrestlers in particular who I was obsessed with: Raven and Sabu.
These guys were like nothing I had seen on TV,let alone wrestling.
I legitimately believed Sabu was a lunatic. the guy used his body as a weapon in ways i couldn’t even imagine. I had never seen someone actually hurl chairs at opponents or drop them through tables. HELL, THE DUDE WRAPPED HIMSELF IN BARBED WIRE AND BODY SPLASHED HIS OPPONENT! Those scenes from Born to Be Wired both sickened me and amazed me and made me a life-time Sabu fan.
Raven caught my attention for entirely different reasons. Like Sabu, he stoo out from the crowd. however, it was his promo’s and they way he moved that struck a chord with me. “This is a bad dude” I always though when I saw Raven…but he was so damn cool! I loved how he always appeared so calm and in control yet you always knew that when he got in the ring he was going to hurt someone. I think I always found Raven more intimidating than Sabu, as Raven had the cold, heartless of a serial killer.
Having spent years imaging what ECW was like to actually watch and if it could live up to my huge expectations, I finally got the chance to see it. A friend of mine had gotten the “ECW Deep Impact” VHS. we popped it into the tv and watched, open jawed as we tried to take in everything we saw.
It was amazing. What I was seeing was a million times better than In had imagined it to be! We must have watched that video a hundred times and it just got better and better. This was wrestling.
When WWE released the ‘Rise and Fall” DVD, I was ecstatic. Now I could see the whole story, see all the memories and the legendary matches first hand and hear the stories told by the (majority) people who made ECW what it was. The Rise and Fall, along with “Forever Hardcore (which was another great release but lacked match footage and highlights due to WWE buying the ECW video library) quickly became my favorite wrestling DVD’s.
I also loved both One Night Stand events (the first one is my favorite wrestling event ever).These shows were the perfect send offs the company deserved and let it go out in a blaze of bloody glory.
But then they brought it back and shat all over the 3 letters that meant so much to me.
ECW 2.0 was a joke. While it left a bad taste in my mouth that they were trying to mold ECW into their own creation, I wasn’t too upset with it because 1) After the first few weeks I realized this wasn’t really an attempt to bring back ECW and 2) nobody watched it. i didn’t watch it the new ECW long enough to see the tradgedy that was December to Dismember so that apparently dreadful event had no impact on me.
Having wiped my mind clear of the ECW 2.0 with repeated viewings of ECW Bloodsport and The most Extreme Matches, i was happy ith the memories of ECW I had left.
But now TNA, 5 years after the first One Night Stand, have decided to bring back Hardcore once again with hardcore Justice.
At first, I was excited to hear the ECW guys would be coming in. When ECW original are involved, the angles always seem so much more intense and real. So I didn’t mind the ECW guys coming back in, especially because they had planned to bring in so many of them. A TNA vs ECW feud could have been really cool. it all got off to a a good start with the ECW/TNA brawl that closed Impact a few weeks ago. While the angle looked better in my head, based on spoilers I had read, it came across well enough on tv to get me excited
But that was the only glimpse of an all out war we got. What we’re getting now is possibly the gayest version of ECW I could ever imagine. The sight of Tommy Dreamer forcing himself to cry into the microphone while sucking Dixie Carters balls was the most pathetic thing I have ever seen the ECW letters be associated with.
These ECW guys are meant to be ruthless, sadistic, dangerous men who want to hurt others and use anything at their disposal to do so. they are meant to cause havock and shake everything up! What we get are a bunch of overweight, cry babys who come across as desperate for a last pay check.
The only thing i want to see is Sabu, who is the only ECW original that has stayed in ring shape and is able to pull off something close to his classic work.
The thing that really got me down about this final driving of the nail into the ECW coffin was Raven.
Raven has slowly gotten stranger and weirder looking (and not in a good way) over the last few years and hasn’t stayed in any form of ring shape. In short, he looks like a crack addict and even Mick Foley looked years younger standing next to him.
Will I watch Hardcore Justice after this rant? Of course. Like I said, I love ECW and will watch anything that may have even the slightest chance of reminding me why I love it. While TNA is more than likely going to shit all over my beloved 3 letters, I’m holding out a faint hope that they will provide something worthy of ECW’s legacy.
I won’t hold my breathe however and do take solace in the fact that the ECW name can’t be officially attached to this ‘project’.
Just leave ECW alone.It did more for wrestling in it’s short space of time than almost anyone or anything else. Just please, let it rest in bloody peace.