Cheap Heat: ECW Episode 1.3

Is it possible to drive away an audience in three weeks? One wouldn’t think so, would they?

I mean, I’ve had a column for five weeks now, and my readership has staged up in each of those three weeks. Granted, it hasn’t gone up by much, but it has gone up. 10 the first week. 15 the next week. InsidePulse is a good place to write a column. The audience knows what they’re going to get and I try to deliver it. I was a columnist for a quite a bit back on 411 and then I took a hiatus. In that time, I’ve become a more seasoned writer (so I like to think) and am more in tune with what the audience of this website likes. Once you’re in tune with those things, you can generally deliver a better product to your audience.

Or, you can deliver the same old dreck.

I like to think I don’t deliver the same old dreck. I like to think that I’m not delivering the same crap I delivered back on 411. Let’s take a look at ECW this week. I’m trying out a new rating system here, rating a show on a point scale per segment. I don’t know how it’s going to work, but we’ll try it out together.

First segment, Big Show calls out Paul Heyman and demands a title Match. I have no problem with this. Sometimes you need to dispense with the storyline aspects of a match and just have a good old school call out. We know RVD needs to drop the title with no buildup, we just need to know who it was going to be. It’s The Big Show. No problem here. (+1).

Second segment, we get a(nother) striptease by Kelly broken up again by Mike Knox. This leads into a quick garbage match between Mike Knox and Little Guido, which the Philly crowd promptly turns on. Meanwhile, Joey and Tazz try to sell the match as good while the Philly crowd, as they’re wont to do, pisses on the match and Mike Knox specifically, doling out a “you can’t wrestle” chant and a “boring” chant. In the old days, Joey would have acknowledged these chants. Today, Joey and Tazz try to explain away the chants and defend the wrestlers’ abilities. They don’t realize the ECW fan doesn’t particularly care about hearing Tazz defend Mike Knox’s ability, and it only makes Tazz seem disingenuous. Tazz has been too indoctrinated by the WWE School Of Broadcasting for the ECW fan to take him seriously. “Sell, sell, sell the match. Ignore the crowd.” They need to remember who their fanbase is. (-1).

Third Segment, Sandman Squash of the Week. This one is the wrestling priest gimmick, squashed by the White Russian Leg Sweep. OK, we get it, he’s getting the gimmicks out of ECW. (0).

Fourth segment, RVD Slaps around the Big Show to build up some heat for the match. (+1).

Segment Five, Test vs Al Snow. As Scott pointed out in his already-final ECW rant; this is a Smackdown filler match from five years ago. The E killed Test dead multiple times. They constantly built him up, putting him even in the centerpiece angle of the federation, and shunted all of it to Triple-H. Bringing Test to ECW to get him over isn’t helping anyone. If anything, the crowd would have liked to see Al Snow win this match. No one cares about Test, no one ever has. The funniest part of it is: the WWE has done everything in their power to ensure no one cares about Test, and now they place him in ECW and expect the ECW fan to swallow him. Not going to do anything without tweaking the character. While “Andrew Martin” isn’t the most intimidating name in the world, it’s better than “Test”. (-1).

Next: Sabu video package. Sabu doesn’t talk, guys. (-1).

CM Punk is Straight Edge. This could go either way with the ECW fan base. This character might actually work as he’s not a WWEcycled Superstar. (+1).

RVD vs Big Show. If anything should tell the WWE Brass about the difference between the two fanbases, it should have been the chants during this match. A WWE crowd would never have chanted “Marijuana” during a match. An ECW crowd not only did it, but did it with vigor. Secondly, why do we have to explain when matches are being contested under “Extreme Rules”? Why do we even have to define them as “Extreme Rules”? ECW Rules are ECW rules. The fact that we not only have to specify certain matches are being contested under the rules of the federation, but we have to name the “EXTREME Y’ALL!!!!11!” is irritating. Look, ECW Rules are ECW Rules. Explain this. There’s no disqualifications and no count-outs. Not only this, but we are still, every week, dealing with ref bumps and the ref having his backed turned. The WWE fan deals with this as part of the show, the ECW fan doesn’t need to deal with this because THERE’S NO NEED FOR REF BUMPS… EVER. This is why everything in ECW ended on a clean finish.

What was the purpose of the ref bump? To get the Ref out of the ring so Paul could make his heel turn. Was there any reason Paul E couldn’t have come down and smashed RVD with a chair or, God forbid, the Paul E Cellphone to help the Big Show win the title? The referee doesn’t disqualify and we don’t deal with the ref bumps.

So now we’re left with a heel-turned Paul Heyman, an angry fan-base, a hot Philly crowd, and a general mess in the booking. I understand since RVD was jobbing both titles in two days, they had to do it such that he would look strong, but this? The Evil Owner Incarnation 173? What would have been wrong with another WWE guy helping Big Show win? Like… I dunno… Test? Run some storyline about how the WWE guys want to crush ECW from within to prove themselves to Vince. They’re heels, it’s believable, and we don’t have to deal with Paul E McMahon. (-1: ref bump, -1: style of the match, -1: evil owner, +1: since I think they can go somewhere with all of it. -2)

Overall Show: -2, more bad than good.

Scott Keith said in his Rant of this show that the “new breed” is pretty much the same as the old breed. Ref bumps, evil owners, and Big Show and Test pushes. At this rate, there’s really not much to hope for. The writing is on the wall for where they plan to take this promotion. It’s a place to push and season failed WWE Superstars, using all the same boring, formulaic crap they are using in the WWE. You will never see an ECW style main event match in this promotion because a real ECW style main event match will make the WWE main events look like garbage in comparison. ECW style main events were exciting, unpredictable, and never involved bearhugs. I have no problem with The Big Show dominating a main event, but it should have involved a lot more catching RVD’s offense and throwing him into things. It should have involved a lot more RVD trying to man up against the big show and failing until he had to resort to hardware. It certainly shouldn’t have involved a ref bump and God help us it shouldn’t have involved Paul E McMahon, the Evil Owner.

For the immediate future, this column will be a Thursday review of the Tuesday show, because I find myself not really wanting to talk about anything but the ECW Show at this point. So help me, I want it to succeed, but I really want it to at least pretend to be a shadow of the old show. I don’t need guys trying to kill themselves in the ring, but I do need decent storylines and a pretense of an ECW style main event. I’d also like some semblance of ECW announcing.

Links

Syed gives a shout out to Angel, and therefore earns himself a link.

Brasher hearkens back to the days of the RTC. Way back in the day, I had my own theory on how to Disband The RTC while keeping Stevie over. I still think it would have been a good idea.

That’s it for me, till Monday when I’ll be back with an all new East Coast Bias, where it’s time to check in on the beginning of the year baseball season predictions and maybe some World Cup thoughts.

Till then.