Last night on RAW’s Backlash PPV, viewers at home (but not in the arena) got to see a commercial for the ECW “One Night Stand” June PPV, featuring Paul Heyman’s voiceover, for the first time.
As reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription information here — recently commented on in a post by Ken Anderson on TheWrestlingBlog), WWE is hoping to give this event a very “true ECW” feel, with Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer having a lot of say in the creative and booking aspects. There’s been no word on whether or not storyline ECW owner Stephanie McMahon will have an on-screen role in the PPV, but it’s not likely since that hasn’t been addressed since the ECW/WCW Alliance was broken up at Survivor Series 2001.
PWInsider.com and the Observer have been reporting the following details on the ECW event:
– WWE is not planning on giving much, if any, promotion within the storylines for the event. This will be a standalone branded event, outside of WWE angles, that ECW fans will find and buy as they did the DVD.
– The show is to have an “ECW” style to it, with some hardcore wrestling, and extreme female spots thrown in. It will also be produced like lower budget ECW shows, less polished than WWE, with fewer camera angles.
– WWE has made attempts to talk with Joey Styles about doing the announcing, but Joey has spoken out against WWE a lot recently on his Web site 1wrestling.com.
– Vince McMahon wants Mick Foley to do a Cactus Jack match, but Foley is leaning towards instead doing what he’s done lately on the indie circuit and bringing Mr. Socko out for a few laughs. Foley, as he ages, knows that he doesn’t have many Cactus-style matches left in him, and he’d prefer to save them. Plus, a possible full-time run in WWE is on the table, with Foley wanting to have full creative control over his character (something McMahon is reluctant to give), and a deal may be worked out where Foley gets that control only if he caters to Vince’s demands with regards to the ECW show.
– Tommy Dreamer and Paul Heyman have been running things for the most part, with Dreamer being the key point person for booking and trying to bring back some ECW alumni who are not currently under WWE contract. Heyman has submitted several scripts to the creative team so far, as well. Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis and Jim Ross are also involved heavily, with John dealing with legal and other issues, and JR being Vince’s main consultant in times of conflict.
– Vince, Heyman and Dreamer are all pushing for an authentic feel to the PPV, including no real tie-in such as “WWE Presents.” Of course, the Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC, location held a few ECW events towards the end and is a smaller, more authentic-looking venue.
– No final decision has been made regarding TNA talent such as Raven, Shane Douglass or Jerry Lynn, and this is Vince’s final decision. Rhyno will likely be asked to participate despite his recent WWE release.
– ECW security, refs, and ring announcers will most likely be used.
– Some old ECW rivalries will be brought back, with Rey Mysterio vs. Psicosis or Juventud Guerrera and Tajiri vs. Super Crazy being possibilities.
– WWE wants to have a good mix of ECW nostalgia and great wrestling, with Benoit and Guerrero likely being used to help the latter goal.
– Masato Tanaka has been saying in Japan that he’s signed for the show, but is having visa issues.
– RVD is hinting on his Web site that he’ll wrestle, but he may not be cleared medically. He’ll likely participate somewhat, and if there’s a second show — which the Observer is saying WWE really wants to do — he’ll be the center.
– Tazz will not likely wrestle on the show, but may announce.
– There is interest in most ex-ECW wrestlers, except for a few such as Johnny Grunge of Public Enemy.
– The current WWE roster contains the following ex-ECW wrestlers: Benoit, Super Crazy, Dawn Marie, Dreamer, Eddie, Bubba Ray, D-Von, Spike, Juvi, Rey, Heyman, Lita (Miss Congeniality), Simon (Nova), Psicosis, Rhyno (will still be under no-compete), Stevie Richards, Tazz, Rosey (Samoan Gangsta Tribe), Al Snow, Dean Malenko, Lance Storm (who’s said he will only do it if teamed with former valet Dawn Marie), Tajiri, and Rob Van Dam. Steve Austin also had an ECW run, but his in-ring status is up in the air at this point. Wrestlers who have had different ECW and WWE personas will appear on the show with their ECW ones.
– Paul Heyman’s WWE contract is said to expire in early 2006 (he originally signed a five-year deal when ECW folded in 2001), and this show and the future of any ECW “brand” owned by WWE could say a lot about his future with the company. His current duties outside of the ECW show planning include only helping OVW wrestlers with their promos a few times a month. While many in TNA have high hopes that he could be their savior, WWE may keep him just so he doesn’t go to TNA … he may not be hired by TNA due to the possibility of strong personality conflicts with the Jarretts (as he’s had with many inside WWE) … or he may simply decide that working with WWE at this stage in his career and his age is better for his long-term security.
Credit: PWInsider.com, Wrestling Observer