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A Guy's Thoughts on the Death of ECW


1004Holds
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I wasn't around for much of ECW. I only saw the show on TNN once in a blue moon back in 1999, but I liked it though I didn't know why such an awesome program (for a teenager) was on at 11 PM on a Friday night. I never noticed the shabby production values though I wondered if ECW was the American version of FMW. To me it seemed toned down but I still watched it. When they brought back ECW in 2006 I started watching again but drifted away as it seemed to become more like Raw and Smackdown. If it wasn't for Christian and Shelton Benjamin I don't think I would have started watching it again. So I was hanging around on another forum I go to and I saw a interesting blog by a guy who grew up watching ECW. I thought it was pretty interesting and wanted to share it here.

 

http://www.camelclutchblog.com/e-c-done/

 

Sorry about the title. I didn't know this forum didn't support subtitles.

 

Wait, it worked after all. Maybe it's just my browser.

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The link has some internal consistency issues. Example:

 

* Rey in ECW taught him that a 140 pound man could wrestle

 

* it wasn't until Shawn-Taker in 2009 that he learned you could enthrall a crowd without juice

 

I don't know... ECW Arena could have spotty heat... but I'm thinking at least *one* Rey match in the bingo hall had strong heat that enthralled the crowd.

 

That's setting aside all the other ECW matches that got heat from the crowd without juice.

 

Not that ECW wasn't heavy on the blade. But... come on.

 

There are more than a few of those.

 

First post in this thread has some of it as well. The reference to FWM is interesting...

 

John

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My initial exposure to ECW came in 1995 via the America One network. I stumbled upon the program while channel surfing and was very familiar with it based on write-ups in the Apter mags. It was hard not to be hooked when one is thirteen years old and testosterone is surging. The MTV-style editing was hypnotic when compared with the ten-minute plus Bob Holly matches airing on Raw.

 

By 1997 I was way more interested in the "Big Two", WCW much more than the WWF. I wasn't a hardcore Internet fan yet, still primarily relying on the magazines and it started to seem I had to be a regular hotline caller and order everything from RF video to really understand what was going on in the promotion. I paid attention but wasn't enthralled with much that went on.

 

Admittedly, I have very strong feelings regarding ECW, which I won't share here. Suffice it to say I agree with John Layfield's promo from One Night Stand 2005.

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The article itself was barely readable. What a mess.

 

I actually started watching ECW back in 1993. Thanks to living in Pennsylvania, we got to see ECW's programming on Sportschannel 48. One of the first shows I watched featured an angle where the entire locker room ended up in a riotous brawl around ringside. And scantily clad valets, quite a revelation for a pre-teen. ECW had a wonderful run through 1995, but in '96 the product just became too violent for my taste. I think the final straw involved a foreign object and Tommy Dreamer's testicles.

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The article itself was barely readable. What a mess.

 

I actually started watching ECW back in 1993. Thanks to living in Pennsylvania, we got to see ECW's programming on Sportschannel 48. One of the first shows I watched featured an angle where the entire locker room ended up in a riotous brawl around ringside. And scantily clad valets, quite a revelation for a pre-teen. ECW had a wonderful run through 1995, but in '96 the product just became too violent for my taste. I think the final straw involved a foreign object and Tommy Dreamer's testicles.

That actually became a bit of a Dreamer staple. I believe the first time was the Harris Bros pulling him into the post, a few months later Brian Lee put a cinder block on his crotch and hit it with a pipe. The last time I remember seeing it was '99 when Storm did the same thing, only with a chair.

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How ridiculous was that ? Couldn't they *work* the cane shot so it only looked like he busted his balls ? I wonder if Lawler was blatantly unprofessionnal or if Dreamer was just a hopeless mark. What I really don't get with all this bullshit is why they would kill themselves. Onita did it for tons of money and legit stardom. Ditto Foley. What was Dreamer's point of getting his balls busted ?

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On his first night in ECW, Paul flat out told D Von Dudley that if he didn't lay into JT Smith with a chair, then Paul wasn't going to be using him. So I can totally see Paul telling Dreamer that if Lawler's cane shot didn't look good then the angle was going to flop, and if the angle was successful then ECW would get a huge buyrate for their PPV blowoff and they'd all make a shitload of money.

 

Outside of Bret talking about Lawler stiffing him with the scepter at King of the Ring and the crutches at Summerslam, I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about Lawler working stiff. I've only ever heard comments about his promos and how well he drew, has anyone ever talked about him being a stiff worker?

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How ridiculous was that ? Couldn't they *work* the cane shot so it only looked like he busted his balls ? I wonder if Lawler was blatantly unprofessionnal or if Dreamer was just a hopeless mark. What I really don't get with all this bullshit is why they would kill themselves. Onita did it for tons of money and legit stardom. Ditto Foley. What was Dreamer's point of getting his balls busted ?

The promos afterwards were quite uncomfortable. Dreamer suffered a legit injury, you can make money off that. But I REALLY didn't need to hear the details of the medical procedure.
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First post in this thread has some of it as well. The reference to FWM is interesting...

I saw a bit of it online years ago and I thought "Damn, these guys are crazy!" So much that when I saw ECW it just felt tame to me.

 

I'd be surprised if you saw any FMW "online" before you saw ECW on TNA "once in a blue moon".

 

John

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How ridiculous was that? Couldn't they *work* the cane shot so it only looked like he busted his balls ? I wonder if Lawler was blatantly unprofessionnal or if Dreamer was just a hopeless mark. What I really don't get with all this bullshit is why they would kill themselves. Onita did it for tons of money and legit stardom. Ditto Foley. What was Dreamer's point of getting his balls busted?

I'm not really sure the argument that Onita and Foley did it for the money and legit stardom holds water. Sure it was part of what motivated them. But I mean Onita wrecked his knees before he even became a star and Foley was taking plenty of stupid risks when he worked on the indy circuit between major league gigs. Part of it is a warped "respect for the business" and an insecurity that they're involved in simulated combat. It's the mentality where Rob Van Dam brags about taking unprotected chairshot because of his respect for the business and to prove his toughness in a macho culture.

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I think a case could be made for Foley doing it for the money and stardom. Foley doing the big bumps in Memphis and Texas early in his career always made him stand out. He could have been given a bigger push in both areas had the bookers been willing to do so. Unless you were Lawler, Dundee, or working a high profile program with them, then that wasn't gonna happen in Memphis and Embry's WCCW booking was pushing himself to the moon. When he came into WCW in '89, bumps like the Clash X dropkick from Mascaras quickly made Cactus Jack stand out from the rest of the JTTS crew in WCW. It was the same deal though, the bookers weren't willing to really do more with him.

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I'm not really sure the argument that Onita and Foley did it for the money and legit stardom holds water. Sure it was part of what motivated them. But I mean Onita wrecked his knees before he even became a star and Foley was taking plenty of stupid risks when he worked on the indy circuit between major league gigs.

Onita wrecked his knee by blowing a plancha in AJ, it has really nothing to do with anything. He was a junior. Junior do flying spots, it was no crazy shit. After he came back to wrestling, Onita developped the garbage matches because it was a way for him to make money and become a cult star. Hell, he even got a chair at the Diet as the result of his stardom. Onita was no fool. He was all about making money, he would get thrown into exploding wires to draw 30.000 people at Kawasaki stadium and get most of the money. Which is a lot different than Dreamer getting his balls busted for bounced checks from Pauly.

Foley, less so at the beginning, since he did take insane bump for not much reasons in TWA and the indy circuit like you said. That was a way to get noticed in the big leagues, and it did work. Taking insane bumps did make him a star in WWF though (well, when you add the charisma and promos).

 

Part of it is a warped "respect for the business" and an insecurity that they're involved in simulated combat. It's the mentality where Rob Van Dam brags about taking unprotected chairshot because of his respect for the business and to prove his toughness in a macho culture.

Yes, that's probably it for Dreamer and people like him. It's totally ridiculous.

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First post in this thread has some of it as well. The reference to FWM is interesting...

I saw a bit of it online years ago and I thought "Damn, these guys are crazy!" So much that when I saw ECW it just felt tame to me.

 

I'd be surprised if you saw any FMW "online" before you saw ECW on TNA "once in a blue moon".

 

John

 

 

I don't have any reason to lie to you.

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Foley lucked out. Lucked out that he had friends in WWE management that could convince Vince McMahon to give him a shot despite his misgivings of him as a talent. Really lucked out that his body held out for just about long enough that he could capitalize on the big money to be made in the explosion of WWE's popularity. There was no guarantee that Foley would end up a millionaire. And if it really was all about the money why do Foley and Onita prostitute their legacy by continuing to wrestle for comparative peanuts to this very day? They're addicted to the crowd pop just as much as Tommy Dreamer is! If anything, they may be dumber than Dreamer, because at least Dreamer still needs whatever cash he can get from abusing his body by continuing to wrestle; Foley and Onita have no excuse.

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I agree Foley was lucky that JR and Cornette were fan of his.

Onita didn't "prostitute his legacy" for peanuts, he got big money from NJ in late 90's early 00's. Then he promoted his Onita Pro shows, and if that wasn't that big of a deal, and if Onita sure did it to get a personal rush, it's not like Onita really busted his balls during those hardcore matches. If you've you've seem some of them, it's pretty tame. Then of course, "prostituting your legacy" doesn't mean shit, it's wrestling, you all know people retire then comeback then do goofy shit.

I don't get how Tommy Dreamer retiring from a secure office job he could have stayed in for life is smarter than Onita, who made shitloads of money. Onita didn't exactly worked that much during the last decade. Of course their all addicted to the rush of the crowds, they're pro-wrestlers, it's no different than the rest of them on that matter. But the thing is, at least clearly for Onita, he did garbage matches to draw shitloads of money and make himself rich. I don't see how you can even argue than Tommy Dreamer who was a mark for his little no-money promotion and would get thrown off balcony before 1000 people, then quit an office job just because the name on the marquee said ECW again, is smarter than Onita who draw 50.000 people to his first retirement match, got a deal to work in New Japan Dome shows thanks to his garbage matches gimmick and personna, and smarter than Foley who only came back working the E for big WM payday, and I'm pretty sure he gets a lot more money than Dreamer to do what he does in TNA, which is mostly comedy backstage work.

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I agree with you more on Onita than with Foley. Quitting a nicely paid colour commentary gig because he couldn't put up with Vince shouting at him is pretty dumb and almost on a par with Dreamer quitting his office job because he was a mark for ECW.

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