The Morning After (ECW News and Views) 6/14/06

Hey everyone. I’m Tom Pandich, usual writer of Inside Pulse’s Live Raw coverage. This week though, I’m picking up a new mantle and doing a post show ECW rant. I have no idea how it’s going to look in the end, but I’ll probably end up ripping off Eric S at some point. Rather then bore you with what happened as you’ve probably read all the other reports, I’ll do a simple good/bad break down of the evening’s events. Let’s break this down.

The Good

The Sandman Canes Monsters: In case you missed it, the running joke on the net was that the Raven/Dreamer matches of the old ECW would be replaced by Alien/Predator in the new ECW. ECW did a lot to assuage my fears as The Zombie was utterly hilarious. Equally hilarious was the beating that he took from The Sandman. Next week, he’ll beat the shit out of a vampire followed by maybe a wolf man, Frankenstein’s monster, a Creature from the Black Lagoon, a Critter, a C.H.U.D, a pod person, and Stevie Richards. It certainly seems like Sandman is having fun too. Then again, this is probably the first time he hasn’t had to rob a liquor store in six months.

RVD Still Champ: After ONS, everyone (myself included) smelled a title being stripped come Raw. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Rob is still champ, and the ECW faithful are still faithful (at least for the first ten minutes of the show). Plus, him spinning the belt was hilarious.

Kurt Angle Will be Able to Walk in 12 Months: I know, I’m stretching, but Angle’s new style will keep him relatively healthy if he avoids being in garbage matches every other week. Wrestling fans should be happy to have Angle around in any form, wrestler, sports entertainer, or color commentator. Angle is one of the five best total packages in wrestling history.

Taz and Joey in the Booth: Sure, it wasn’t up to either of their standards as commentators, but man, it is a sight for sore eyes. They have great chemistry together. Joey brings everything that was great about ECW in the first place while Taz adds a sort of bad ass credibility. It’s a wrestling geek’s wet dream as WWE has placed its two best commentators in one booth together. This was an off night for them though, but the effects of this dream becoming a reality will take a few weeks to wear off.

The Bad

Justin Jobber: Kurt Angle, as much as I love him, made one of ECW’s greatest heels look like a fool. ECW’s #1 problem is going to be the lack of wrestlers, and even more so, the lack of heels, particularly non-WWE heels. Justin Credible is the natural choice as top singles heel wrestler as, well, he knows how to piss off the ECW faithful. Other then moving JBL over (isn’t happening) or hiring Mike Awesome (much more possible, but still hasn’t happened), ECW will be heelless once the WWE vs ECW angle ends. Credible jobbing hard and fast to Angle killed any chance he had of being taken seriously by marks. Other then having Angle return the job after his Orton match or having him get a win over Show, RVD, or Sabu, Credible will be dead in the water.

Please End the Interbrand Shit: ECW vs WWE was needed to draw some of the casual fans over. To make this product not completely awful though, ECW needs to establish itself as “not-WWE”. Mark N mentioned it in his ECW report, but it’s worth repeating. The first half an hour of the show consisted of Edge vs Cena, Heyman wanting to invade Raw, a DX promo, a cheesecake segment and The Zombie.

The last half of the show wasn’t much better. It closed out with the tried and true “how the hell are we going to eliminate the Big Show” battle royal wasn’t interesting at all, nor was Tommy going through a table… again. At least it was all ECW wrestlers though competing for the shot to take on… John Cena at Vengeance. I give it three months minimum before you have an ECW show without Cena, Edge, or Orton on it while under a “WWE” contract.

Mismanaged Time: It took two commercials to get through the ECW entrances for the battle royal (since they cut right back to commercials at the beginning), three if you count Heyman announcing the battle royal. They reshowed the least exciting match of the Two Night Stand. They reshowed Cena decking Heyman and Edge spearing RVD. All of that time could have been used for some sort of non-WWE related promo, another match, or even some sort of ECW flashback segment that introduces marks to what ECW was about back in the 90s (through highlights of classic matches or promos). For only an hour long show, you’d think that something would actually happen.

The Rest of the Show: This was a rather shitty show all together for a lot of reasons. The pacing was exceptionally bad. The segment with Kelly the Exhibitionist would have worked better as a “amuse the audience during the commercials” segment or if Tommy Dreamer piledrived her for no reason in particular. Sure, she was hot, but she’s sports entertainment. This segment could have been used to establish some heel heat for the FBI or even Steven Richards, but alas, it was for not.

Besides that, the new music for most of the wrestlers just isn’t good. The Big Show has an even more horrible theme song then he did before. Angle’s theme has lost all of its charm. The only new music that was halfway decent was Dreamer’s sound alike for “Man in the Box”. The ECW wrestlers had exceptionally generic music. I thought I was watching TNA with how awful some of the music was.

The Crowd: Blame it on the edits, or blame it on most people showing up to see Smackdown. This was one of the most hideously bad crowds ever in the history of wrestling. Not only did the majority of the crowd not “get” what ECW was supposed to be about, but they even went so far as to boo both Heyman and Rob Van Dam. The one saving grace for the crowd was the few guys chanting for Rob to pull a Shane Douglas and throw out the spinner belt. If you are reading this, thank you for having some idea about what the f*ck you were watching.

Final Assessment

The debut of ECW took a sharp drop off from Wednesday’s WWE vs ECW show and One Night Stand 2: The Standining. Even the segments that I found amusing (the Zombie, the Vampire, opening RVD promo) were largely flawed and really not ECW. The saving grace for this show is that it’s only the first night. A lot of ground can still be covered once ECW signs more then four wrestlers. Still though, this was a painfully disappointing reintroduction to ECW.

Final Grade: D+

So that’s my first crack at ECW’s new solo show. This is a work in progress so expect news to eventually be added along with links and such. Send some feedback on what you liked, didn’t like, and what you thought about this show and the direction of ECW and I’ll toss them up here. See you all next week.