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OO BYTE THIS RECAP
Byte This, the ECW Episode:
Must See TV
November 19, 2004

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Anyone who has followed this column for longer than… well, this one, knows that I’m pretty damn anal-retentive about The Language. Maybe it’s because I’m a freelance writer; maybe it’s because I’m just the world’s biggest dork. Either way, grammatical and spelling mistakes bother me. (Let’s not get started about my opinion of Maven’s way he managed to twist “J.R.” into “Randy Orton.”)
 

So it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been consistently blowing the spellings of the two hosts of Byte This!, which is terribly embarrassing. I do sincerely apologize to Marc Loyd, whose name I’ve been spelling as “Mark Lloyd.” I wouldn’t have even known the proper way had it not been for the name plate he got prior to Survivor Series.  

 
I’ve also been misspelling Josh Mathews’s name; I’ve been spelling it with two T’s, not one. The thing is, I do NOT apologize to Josh. He annoys me to the point where I don’t CARE how I misspell his name. He just sucks THAT much. But I do give props to OO’s own The Cubs Fan. Not just because of his phenomenal taste in MLB teams, but because he pointed out this mistake too me.

One more thing… I have to take the brunt of the bad words for letting down the team. Rick hasn’t addressed it yet for some reason, but OO lost the PPV battle against WrestleLine. The thing is, I did some math that Denny didn’t even do, and we lost by literally the narrowest of margins: had any of us managed to get ONE MORE PICK, we would have won the contest. And I’m the one who picked Heidenreich to go over the Undertaker. So, yeah…

That all said, let’s get to the action. With any luck, I won’t want to give Josh 16 sac-punches this week, but I’m not that much of an optimist.

PyroFalkon’s hindsight aside: Yeah, I know I’m pissing off everyone typing in all bold right now, but you have to read these paragraphs if you read nothing else. Not only do I not owe Josh ANY sac-punches this week, but I may owe him an apology or something as well.

This episode, without a doubt, reminds me why the hell I became a wrestling fan in the first place. It was all ECW, and if you consider yourself any kind of fan from the Attitude Era, you need to check out this episode. This is FANTASTIC supplemental material to the DVD, if you’re lucky enough to have it.

Complaints have been lodged by long-time fans that Byte This! is no longer a quality show, that there’s no insider information. This episode has “insider” dripping from every single orifice. It was so great (despite being 42 minutes longer than usual) that I make this public challenge, and I’m extremely serious about it: I want Rick Scaia, our wonderful boss/webmaster dude, to at least listen to it within the next week. If he doesn’t like the episode, I shall resign from doing Byte This! recaps because then I would obviously not know what the hell makes a good episode.

Because I’m afraid that it may be edited before it’s archived, I’ve saved the recording in MP3 form. It’s available on an FTP server, the info of which will be listed at the end. The file is almost 100 megs, but get it, especially if you have the DVD.

Late start… at about 8:05, the opening video played without sound. Everything died for a moment, then the video played again with sound. In other words, the program hasn’t started yet, and we have damn technical problems.

But it’s all good, sorta. This is a special edition of Byte This!, an ECW edition. Not only are Josh and Marc there, but the third host (sitting between them) is the one and only Paul Heyman! Paul opens by saying that just like ECW, we started late and with technical issues. Ah well, right?

Josh doesn’t dick around here. He says that this episode of Byte This! is basically an infomercial for The Rise and Fall of ECW. But it’s going to be a hell of a ride, because with Heyman hosting, not to mention a BUNCH of guests, we’re going to be having a lot of fun tonight.

There’s an awkward pause, and Paul says to Marc, “Get out of here, you’re crowding me.” Marc laughs and says that he loves Paul because he’s always in character. Paul says, “Nice hat, it says ECW… look at the camera… there you go. Yes, it’s a great ass-kissing move. You make this show. You’re the next Gene Okerlund. [Josh snickers here] But you’re crowding me. So get out.” And Marc takes his mic off, gets up, and leaves. Damnit, why couldn’t Paul have ejected Josh?

Well anyway, Josh asks Paul the first question: did Paul watch it, and what are this thoughts? Paul is nothing but complimentary to it, saying it was difficult to watch because he tries not to dwell on the past. He wasn’t sure how good the DVD would be, and whether it would do justice to ECW, but he says it was the most authentic documentation of ECW ever. Period. As best as it can be for being only three hours, anyway.

Josh asks what Paul’s favorite part was. After a long thinking pause, Paul answers that it was the later stages of the brand, seeing how it – the characters especially – evolved and came to fruition. He also loves seeing how the fans, wrestlers, and so on still have the passion and everything for it.

Paul follows up with the fact that he wishes there was more time on the DVD to talk more about how large it grew, how it became the global phenomenon it was when it died, and things like that. He says he doesn’t regret the fact that such stories were not in there, but he just wishes there was even more. He even says that he would have told certain stories differently if he had another chance, but overall it was just a fantastic product.

Josh asks how much editorial control Paul had over the DVD. Paul says zero, because the WWE decided that it would become The Rise and Fall of ECW According to Paul Heyman, which it shouldn’t be. Paul says he was glad it was kept out of his hands for that reason. Josh asks then is it The Rise and Fall of ECW According to World Wrestling Entertainment? Paul says no, because ECW and its people get too much credit in the WWE. He says that there are people, even some in the WWE, that won’t admit (or refuse to accept) that ECW was as large as it was.

Josh asks if Paul misses ECW. After a few seconds, Paul answers that he does now that he watches the DVD. He doesn’t dwell on it because he learned as a kid not to. He says he doesn’t even watch the old tapes of ECW because of that. Watching the DVD makes him miss the rush of building something, the rush of the brotherhood he gets from the talent before starting a show, and so on.

The first video break is now, and it’s nothing but a commercial for the DVD. Not inappropriate though.

We’re back, and Droz is on the phone. He says he was part of ECW for a little while when the WWE sent him there for a bit. Droz says it was a great experience, because the fans and wrestlers were rabid. He says he watched the DVD and said it was a great timeline of what happened, the challenges ECW had to overcome, and just everything rocked.

Josh asks what the WWE wrestlers thought of ECW in the late 90s. Droz doesn’t REALLY answer the question, but says that everyone in the WWE loved it because ECW started the whole Attitude Era, and when WWE guys watched ECW, they tried to figure out how to work it into their own matches.

Josh asks Paul if ECW did start the Attitude Era, and Paul replies that if anyone denies that, they’re a liar. Paul says wrestling in the mid-90s was dominated by cartoonish characters who were not getting across to the fans, and the demographics were obscured. Then ECW entered the scene with adult action, sexy story lines, and so on. That forced WCW and WWE to follow suit, because those companies realized that following ECW was the way to appeal to the bigger audience.

Droz is asked what his favorite match was from the ECW era. He liked everything that had to do with Al Snow and Head, especially because he was personally nailed with Head. He has great memories of an evening gown match he had with Al, getting stripped down to his thong and so on. Josh wraps it up by saying that it seems everyone from ECW has some great memories of it, and Droz clicks off.

Josh says that they’ve got three DVDs to give away, which will be autographed by Paul, and Paul can do the giving. Paul is all, “This is YOUR show!” and Josh is all, “But you’re taking over! You HAVE taken over!” Paul says that he hasn’t taken over completely, because if he had, there would already be dancing lesbians in the studio. And I’ve just lost Erin, if she’s actually reading this.

But anyway, Paul’s going to be firing some trivia questions. As is my custom, I’ll put the answers at the bottom of the document in case you don’t want to ruin it for yourself. The first question is: What was the date when an ECW fan was set on fire?

The two have a little (and very droll) one-sided catfight here. Paul cracks on Josh for giving the Byte This! phone number too fast. It has to be heard to be appreciated.

Bubba Ray Dudley is on the phone now. Josh asks what his favorite ECW moment was. BRD says he suffered so many concussions that he doesn’t remember his entire five-year career there. Josh prods a couple out of him, though. He remembers his and D-Von’s first title reign, and his match from Barely Legal where he wrestled the whole thing on a broken ankle. He says he had so many great memories that he couldn’t think of anything; his whole career was one gigantic great memory.

Josh asks about the atmosphere surrounding an ECW event. BRD says that it was just pure energy. The fans would have tailgate parties and chat before the events, getting way into it before it even started. It was akin to the feeling you get when you know you’ll be at a great punk rock concert when you’ll be right next to the band. He says it was the same way in the back, and D-Von summed it up best on the DVD: “Every night was Wrestlemania for us in ECW.”

Josh says guys in ECW were not just in-ring talent, that they had other jobs outside of just performing. He asks for BRD to give some examples. BRD says he got to be a promoter: booked buildings, dealt with advertising, and dipped into practically every aspect of the wrestling business except merchandise, which was Tazz’s and Dreamer’s jobs.

Josh asks about the Dudleys. BRD says that after ten years of constantly wrestling and being on the road, after taking a chokeslam through a table a few weeks ago, he and D-Von were too banged up to keep going. He says that they’re coming back for sure, but they felt they earned a break and are just laying low to let their bodies heal. He says that when they come back, it will be the next chapter for the Dudley Boyz.

BRD is out, and Josh says they should put barbed wire ropes and so on as the backdrop for Byte This!. Paul says that Byte This! should just go away like Marc Loyd did, and have the ECW Internet Show instead. Josh argues that the studio is in Titan Towers. Paul says yeah, part of Titan Towers was partly built on Attitude, and the Father of Attitude was ECW. Josh says, “Okay…”

A caller from Arizona is in, and incorrectly says the date. Paul says he’s REAL close, so Josh says he can guess again. The caller nails it on the second try, and Paul starts busting up laughing. “This is in such poor taste! This is so us! ‘When did we set our fans on fire? YOU let us know!’ ” Josh laughs and said that the caller gets a DVD, and that Paul Heyman will deliver it personally. Paul refuses loudly, bitching that Arizona is way too warm, and has a big immigration problem.

We’re off to a vid break of a match between Tazz (or Taz as he was at the time) and Bam Bam Bigelow. An amusing sight is Bam Bam busting his ass when he slips on the wet floor while attacking Taz outside the ring, but he sells it by getting back up to a knee and gives Taz a low blow before they get back into the ring. This is capitalized by a Tazplex through the ring, followed by an ECW chant. Awesome moment.

We’re back, and Tazz is on the phone. Josh tells Tazz that Paul is signing the DVD for the caller, and asks if Tazz wants to know what the trivia question was. Tazz replies by bitching out both of them, saying that they should have opened by asking where he was. After all, Tazz is the expert commentator who learned it all from Paul, and Josh is part of The Company and should know what he’s doing. Paul pacifies Tazz and asks the question, who replies that he’s in Titan Towers, getting recorded for hosting duties on 24/7.

Paul turns to Josh and says, “Now, this is called a follow-up.” Then he asks Tazz how that’s going and how he’s liking it. There’s a couple glitches, and Josh says that Tazz knows how it is on Byte This!. Tazz says yes, because no one at Byte This! knows what the hell they’re doing, but not to get him started on it. Paul informs him that Byte This! was like ECW, starting late and with problems. Tazz laughs and says it’s like an ECW pay-per-view, which gets a snicker from Josh.

Josh asks what precisely Tazz is doing with 24/7 right now. Tazz says he’s doing VOD (Video On Demand) hosting, like introducing ECW matches and history that led up to them, and so on. Josh plugs 24/7, and Tazz does so too. Josh says that Tazz must be friends with Tom Barreca, the lead guy of 24/7. Tazz says “Tom who?,” and Josh says “Tazz, let’s talk about ECW then,” followed by Tazz wetting himself with laughter.

An extremely funny exchange happens next. Josh starts by saying that Paul should help him. Paul asks what with, and Josh says with Tazz, because Tazz isn’t doing what he should be doing. Paul says that’s because he’s Tazz, and he never follows directions. “Oh, Tazz is SO coachable.” Tazz is all, “Yeah, I did some stuff earlier for [I couldn’t understand him here] and they hate me now too! Everybody hates me, and I don’t care!” Good stuff!

Josh asks how many times Tazz watched the DVD. Tazz answers three times, and Josh wants to know all his thoughts on it. Tazz says that honestly, he and ECW were portrayed properly. It was all accurate he says, and the WWE did a great job of it. He hates the title, and fought against it when he first hurt it, but that’s the way it goes. He doesn’t need to sell it because it sells itself. Paul followed it up by putting Tazz over, saying that’s why he loves Tazz: the honesty. He says that Tazz says he didn’t like the title but did like the content, and that’s why he really likes Tazz.

Josh thanks Tazz for being “so candid,” and Tazz laughs and says, “Josh, you’re so disingenuous, you fit right in.” (Good lord, I spelled that right on my first try. I didn’t even think it was a real word.) Josh tries to defend himself, and Tazz just laughs at him.

Tazz says he really wants to talk more, but he has work to do. Josh cuts him off and tells him to stick around for a phone call. A caller is in immediately and asks Tazz what the chances are for Tazz to come back to the ring. Tazz basically says it ain’t happening, much to the disappointment of the caller. Josh gets pissy because they always ask that question whenever Tazz is on. Tazz is all, “Stop PMSing, Josh. It’s because people care.”

Josh asks what the difference is between Taz and Tazz. Tazz says that Taz (with one Z) would have been fired from the WWE five years ago. Paul agrees. Josh asks why Paul never fired him. Paul said that it’s because Taz gave ECW his life. Josh asks why then Taz would have been fired.

PyroFalkon’s second, much shorter aside: Pay attention to this part, because if you ever doubted Rick’s main thesis from his Character vs. Gimmick column, Paul Heyman will shut you up.

Paul answers that part of Taz giving his life to ECW was the freedom to allow him to tell the boss (i.e., Heyman himself) to fuck off. He says there were times when Paul and Taz would lock the door and go nose-to-nose on subjects that were minor by all pragmatic accounts. Both he and Taz loved the product, and they cared enough about it that they would have differences of opinions, but it was okay. He says “some people don’t like guys that close to your face saying this-and-this doesn’t work.” Tazz follows up by saying that it’s tough to know without actually being there, working for the company. He says that everyone in ECW were a team, and Paul didn’t even have an office: he had a table in the middle of the room. Paul was accessible to everyone for everything. Tazz wraps up by saying that the DVD does a good job showing all that.

The subliminal message here is the one Rick correctly says: the WWE is afraid of criticism. Even I agreed with that in my rebuttal column; my point was that the fear of criticism wasn’t the whole reason. But let’s not get into that… the point is that Paul is basically, to me, taking a minor underhanded attack at the WWE’s brass, which I have to give him credit for.

Paul finishes by saying that the best thing about the DVD relating to Tazz is that people who may know Tazz only by his current, SmackDown! commentating self, get to see the human part. Paul says it’s interesting to see Tazz break down and how compelling it is to see Tazz say some of his stories. Tazz sincerely thanks Paul for his words, then says he needs to go because they guys at 24/7 are really cracking the whip and trying to get him to work. Tazz says that Josh and Paul at Byte This! know what production guys are like: just a bunch of animals. He wants a simple glass of water but that’s too much to ask. Josh replies, “And that would be Tazz with two Z’s,” which garners another good laugh out of Tazz.

Tazz clicks off, and Paul and Josh make fun of Tazz’s Brooklyn accent for a couple seconds, then Josh asks a question of Paul. Vince says in the DVD that Paul Heyman was on the WWE’s payroll for awhile in the mid-90s. This ends up going on a couple asides, but they’re worth it. Paul says that in 1996, they were in a desperate situation because WCW was sucking their talent left and right. Apparently, Eric Bischoff says on the DVD that that accusation is a lie, but Paul insists it’s not, and even that is discussed on the DVD.

Paul says that he likes the DVD because it’s TV-MA, the first TV-MA product the WWE has put out. He says it’s graphic not only in content (that is, the matches), but also graphic in language because it’s blunt and true. In it, Paul says he discusses some things that will awaken people close to Bischoff, or will make them resent Paul for being so truthful about it.

But back to the point, Paul says that in 1996 WCW was just killing them because they were offering six-figure bonuses to jump ship from ECW. WWE, meanwhile, wanted to bring in three specific guys. Paul says that there’s a lot of good and bad to Vince McMahon and will never sugarcoat anything, but to Vince’s credit, Vince said, “I’m not Eric Bischoff. WWE will never be run the way WCW is run. We don’t just take, we give back. We support you and encourage you to take us on if you want.” Paul says that Vince’s point was that Vince was not afraid of competition, and to just taking talents was “raping the ECW landscape.” So Vince put Paul on the payroll initially to find talent and groom them to become WWE stars. Instead, Paul asked for Vince to give that money to ECW itself. Vince agreed, and a grand per week went to the ECW bank account in exchange for the WWE to send talent to ECW to be developed, and for the WWE to have the right to ask an ECW star to be taken. That is, the WWE never said “We want This Guy, so send him up.” To that end, guys like Rob Van Dam actually declined initial offers from the WWE, and they – the stars themselves – would have the final say in whether they moved to WWE or stayed in ECW. Paul says that that was one the many things Vince did right by the company, like getting a loan from the WWE in the dying days.

Josh asks what are some of the things Vince did wrong. Paul relates the story of when Tazz returned to ECW and won a title from Mike Awesome, who went to WCW and caused some legal problems. Vince apparently admits that that whole mess, which also puts Triple H in the ring with Tazz too, wasn’t in the best interest of any of the three companies. Paul is also slightly bitter about WWE basically taking TNN (now Spike TV) away from ECW. Paul posited that if he had managed to get ECW on TNN (or USA for that matter), it would be a different industry even today.

Josh asks if Paul saw WCW as direct competition. Paul says he hated everything about WCW. Josh asks if Paul saw the WWE like that too. Paul replies that he says he saw them as a hill to climb, and he had managed to get ECW on USA, then he would have loved to have the chance to compete.

Josh asks if NWATNA is competition today, and Paul immediately (and sincerely) says no. Paul said that Jerry Jarrett is one of the smartest guys in the industry, and is putting a spin on their current situation the likes of which Paul never saw. Paul reports that ECW lost a total of 7 to 8 million dollars when it was all said and done, but TNA has already lost more than that, despite being in business far less time and under a less competitive situation. He guesses that TNA may have lost 10 to 15 million, but Jarrett goes down as a “brilliant businessman” because even though he’s losing money, it’s money from Panda Energy, and it has enough money that they CAN lose that much. Paul sounds bitter because he’s looked at as the “dumbass who destroyed ECW,” even though Paul lost his personal bank account in the process. Paul says Jarrett is brilliant for the spin he’s putting on TNA, so much so that he could be hired as spinster for practically anything in the country.

Paul follows up by saying that the short answer is no, TNA is not competition. However, he really wishes there was competition, because it’s the best for the industry. Josh agrees and says a lot of other people wishes there was competition too. Paul says he’d love to see someone, anyone, even TNA be competition, but it isn’t happening now.

We’re off to a video break of Rob Van Dam going toe-to-toe with Jerry Lynn. Damned if I know what PPV or whatever it was from.

We’re back, and Bob Van Dam – I mean, ROB Van Dam – is on. Josh asks RVD for one word to describe ECW. RVD says he doesn’t want to be too obvious, but the best word he can think of is “extreme.” Josh asks what RVD misses most and misses least from ECW. RVD replies that he most misses the artistic freedom that he could use in his matches, and he doesn’t miss the bouncing checks.

Josh says that he loves the things like the Vandaminator, back when Paul and Joey Styles hyped it. RVD rambles here, basically following himself up. (This is first time in the show so far (and we’re 55 minutes into it) that what is said isn’t worth typing.) RVD finishes his monologue by saying that he loves seeing the fans who call him “the whole f-ing show” because he knows they’re the ones who have followed him since ECW. He says that he appreciates the people who have jumped on the bandwagon and are following him now, and that the new fans (the ones who weren’t around in the ECW days) especially need to get this DVD.

Josh says that he asked RVD to use a single word to describe ECW, so he wants Paul to use a single word to describe RVD in ECW. Paul answers with “Wow,” because that basically sums it up, and that was the reaction watching any of his matches. Paul says there’s a complete match on the DVD against Jerry Lynn, and that that match was the best match in the ECW style. He calls bullshit on the fact that some people think that ECW was nothing by weapons and blood; that this match was the absolute epitome of what ECW was about. He says that you need to see it to see what RVD is capable of “without handcuffs.”

Josh plugs a DVD specifically for RVD coming out in January. RVD puts himself and the DVD over, saying there are going to be great matches on it from all eras (WWE, WCW, and ECW). He says that his match with Lynn was the best match ever, and the only one that comes closest to it was possibly his match with Jeff Hardy. Without the Hardcore title anymore in the WWE, RVD feels completely out of his style and that no match he’s had for all these years are not up to his old style.

Josh asks why RVD’s matches with Lynn were so symbolic of ECW itself. RVD replies that it was his and Lynn’s chemistry that just clicked and really let them show off their skills. In their first match, RVD said that it was suggested he basically do a 7- or 8-minute squash match, but RVD saw something in Lynn that could elevate them. Lynn apparently wanted to test RVD that night too, and what resulted was a 30-minute match that went all over the ECW arena that resulted in a lot of blood and insanity that the crowd was way into. The quality kept getting raised because everytime RVD would do a move, Lynn would figure out a way to counter it. Then RVD would counter the counter, and Lynn would counter the countered counter, and so on. RVD is gone, and we go to another break.

Tommy Dreamer fires out a Death Valley Driver to Raven, and gets DDTed, but refuses to lose.

We’re back, and Josh asks why there’s no theme music on the DVD for any of the wrestlers. Paul says that the music licenses were exclusive to ECW, but were not picked up when the bankruptcy happened, so the licenses dissolved when the company did.

Josh asks Paul for another trivia question, and this again we’re treated to great comedy. Paul says that Tommy Dreamer was involved in a storyline that had a cliffhanger (i.e., “To Be Continued…” style) like every great TV show: Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Dallas, or Knots Landing. Josh chimes in “Wonder Years,” and Paul responds with dead silence and an evil stare for a moment. Josh says, “Was that out loud?,” and Paul says, “What’s wrong with you?” Even without video, this is EXTREMELY funny. Paul goes on and finishes the question: during this storyline, what was The Incident that got ECW booted from every single TV station that was carrying it?

Tommy Dreamer is on. Josh openly wonders why Tommy, who occasionally co-hosts Byte This!, isn’t there. Tommy says that he wasn’t invited, and that it’s typical to just low-blow him whenever possible. Paul says that there are people want to make sure people don’t want Tommy and Paul in the same room together. Tommy says that when he and Paul are together, something good can come from wrestling, and that’s not good. Heh.

Josh tries to push on, but Tommy points out that Josh has won more matches in two weeks than Tommy has in three years. Josh fires a non sequitur statement and says that the last time Tommy was there, he kept hitting Josh with a kendo stick, so he’s actually glad that Tommy isn’t there. Tommy randomly says that the DVD rocks and that he actually wants to take the time to give props to WWE for doing ECW justice with it, and calls it phenomenal.

Josh says that they touched on the Mike Awesome mess with Tazz, and he asks Tommy to explain what happened. What happened was that a contratcted WWE wrestler (Tazz) took on a contracted WCW wrestler (Mike Awesome) in an ECW ring. That was the first-ever inter-promotional thing that happened, and Tommy said that Paul loved it and started suing everyone because of it.

Tommy says that he had a fight with Paul about the ECW World Title, and he had one of the shortest title reigns of all time, lasting only 18 minutes. Justin Credible came down to the ring just after Tommy won it, then beat him for it. Paul explains further that what happened was they decided Tazz would make a good interim champion with Mike Awesome leaving. Then Paul decided that Tommy getting the belt would be more meaningful than Tazz getting it, but it was not in Tommy’s character – and oppressed guy fighting against the oppressor – to be on top. So Justin Credible interrupted a 10-bell salute for Tommy’s grandfather to run in and beat Tommy for the belt, because Tommy had the greatest moment of his life, and Justin destroys it.

Josh asks what Tommy’s favorite part of ECW. Tommy answers that every single moment he woke was his favorite part, because he was actually making a difference to the wrestling world. He says it would be an injustice to name a single memory. Josh follows it up by asking what Tommy’s least favorite memory was, and Tommy replies (to Josh’s prediction) that it was when ECW closed its doors. Tommy says he was there longer than even Paul, because he was the stupidest person in ECW.

Paul asks Tommy the first trivia question, which Tommy gets. Paul then asks him the second question, although Josh is sure to tell him not to answer it since a fan hasn’t had a chance. A caller is in and nails it perfectly. Tommy then asks if the caller is an old-school ECW fan, and the caller says yes. Tommy says to reward the caller for his great answer, Beulah, who is sitting beside Tommy, will break her silence and speak. She gets on the phone and basically exchanges what’s up’s with the caller. Beulah hands the phone back to Tommy as the caller clicks off.

Even Paul is shocked that Beulah spoke, as he explains. He says that Tazz was the first to tell Paul that he had the DVD and watched it, but after that many of the former ECW stars started telling Paul about it. Eventually, Tommy said that he and Beulah saw the DVD. Paul said that in 1998, the Dudleys did a 3D through a table to Beulah, which broke her neck. Because of that, Beulah said “I’m done,” and retired. Dawn Marie then came in through Lance Storm and was marketed as “the new Beulah,” and Paul wanted one more appearance out of Beulah. He offered her ten thousand dollars for one 3-minute catfight, and she turned it down. She said that her word meant something, and she said she was done, so she was done, and that was it. She didn’t even want to deal much with the ECW bankruptcy nor the ECW video game. Yet what compelled Paul to watch the DVD was that when Tommy called and was choked up about the DVD (and nothing moves him), he said that Beulah was choked up too and moved by the DVD. And she even started talking to him about ECW history, Paul knew he had to watch it. Paul knew that she understood better than Tommy or Paul how to move on and become a different person, so for her to be moved by it, Paul knew damn sure it was worth him watching it.

Paul follows up by declaring Beulah the best valet ever. He says there’s a writer on SmackDown! and one on RAW who came to ECW events and even said she was the best ever. Paul said they tried making her a heel, but it didn’t work. They hooked her up with Raven, and people hated Raven but loved her. She was Miss Elizabeth times ten. All that is said with a very understated tone; very sincere.

Josh asks if Tommy has anymore to say. Tommy asks that if there are these ECW fans on the writing staffs, why the hell isn’t he on RAW or SmackDown!? He follows himself up by saying the reason he’s stuck in an office is because of that very reason: his big fat mouth. But that said, Tommy spoke to a bunch of former ECW stars – Raven, New Jack, Sandman – and they’re elated that the DVD came out. He said that the DVD is a story of David vs. Goliath, and Goliath won, but David kicked some ass along the way. He said he’ll probably be in trouble for some of the comments he’s made, but he doesn’t apologize and doesn’t care because he cannot change who he is. Tommy wraps up by saying he wanted to kill Paul sometimes, but he thanks him for all the things he did with Tommy himself and ECW, and that Paul is the craziest person he knows, but still deserves a bunch of respect.

Tommy’s gone, and Paul said he and Tommy really can’t be in the same room at the same time, but the reason is on the DVD. Josh says he doesn’t know what Paul is talking about, so Paul says he has to watch it again. Josh asks if this all means there’s going to be a Volume 2, and Paul just starts crying “Oh, God!” Heh. Josh says that there’s a ton of stuff in the DVD, but Paul and everyone are talking about things that aren’t in the DVD. He asks again if there’s going to be a Volume 2, and Paul says he doesn’t make those types of decisions. Josh asks why not, and Paul says it’s because he’s not allowed too. Heh again!

Video break to Rey Mysterio Jr. taking on (and losing to) Psicosis in a Best 2 of 3 Falls match.

They’re back, and Paul says that the clip is indicative of ECW for one reason. Despite the fact that Rey lost, he wouldn’t mind having that clip shown before his interview. The thing with ECW is that they always ended with pinfalls or submissions and everyone who left the ring came out a little better than when they went into it, win or lose. Paul then asks the third trivia question: name six of the Dudleys aside from Bubba Ray, D-Von, and Spike.

Rey Rey is on, and he’s calling from the 619 area. Josh asks if Rey would have been accepted in the States as much as he is if he hadn’t been in ECW first. Rey doesn’t really answer it straight, saying that he really thinks his move to ECW was the stepping stone to WWE and WCW. He, the character, was born in the States there in ECW. It was good because fans who didn’t know the lucha style from anything but TV shows got to see it live first from him and Psicosis.

Josh asks how ECW influenced the cruiserweights as a whole. Rey replies that ECW really did it right. He says that while WCW claimed their cruisers dominated, the division was not run correctly. He said that ECW really helped introduce the States to cruisers like Rey himself.

Paul says that the man to thank for that is Konnan. In one night, ECW actually lost Chris Benoit (who was getting primed to be ECW World champ), Dean Malenko (who was getting primed to be ECW TV champ), and Eddie Guerrero. Paul realized that WCW was gobbling up anyone who wrestled the “pure” wrestling style, so they needed to go a different direction. So Paul called up Konnan, who said he’d do anything to help out ECW if possible. Konnan replied that Rey and Psicosis would be on the first plane to ECW’s next event, and they’d be closely followed by La Parka and Juventud Guerrera. That act revolutionized ECW and really added a lot to the product. Paul said that with no disrespect to Benoit, Malenko, and Guerrero, after Psicosis and Rey finished their match, no one in ECW cared about their losses. Paul says that Konnan deserves public credit and gets it both on Byte This! and the DVD.

Josh asks Rey if the cruiserweight division is being done right now on SmackDown!. Rey replies that we all know what’s going on: it’s under-pushed with a too small roster, and could be MUCH MUCH better than it is. He says there’s talent everywhere, like Shannon Moore, Funaki, Billy Kidman, and Chavo Guerrero. Even Spike got transferred from RAW, but he implies (but does not say) that it’s not enough. He says that they have the talent to really do greatly, but again implies (and does not state here) it could be better.

Josh asks if Rey thinks that the WWE has the greatest selection of cruisers. Rey says yes, but there’s always someone better who can innovate moves better. That said, he believes that the WWE has the people to bring the cruiser division “back on top.” That implies that while Rey may like the talent, he thinks the division is terribly mishandled, which seems pretty correct.

Josh’s next question is who and why Rey would face if he could have one final ECW match. Rey says it’s tough to pick one, but he never got a chance to wrestle Sabu, and thinks they would rock it. He says the reason is because he misses wrestling with chairs and tables, going into the fans, busting through the arena’s emergency exit doors, wrestling through snow and on cars, going back in, and so on. And he says he could bring that style with Sabu, and would want to do it.

Josh says that there’s a flash in the DVD that shows Rey doing a Hurracanrana from one car to another car, and how cool it is. Rey shares a memory of ECW, saying that when he first arrived he asked what his limits were, and Paul had said to just tear it up. So Rey’s first match out they did and used practically everything from everywhere in the arena. Rey said the match was so great and ECW itself was so free that if ECW still existed, he would be a part of it right now.

Josh says that Rey pretty much summed it up, that everyone in ECW just “tore it up” for seven years. Rey agrees and says that no matter how long guys were there, from a year to just a couple months, they gave it everything they had, and left a lot of memories in the process. Rey wraps it up by thanking Paul for brining him to the States, and Paul thanks him back for everything.

Rey is out, and Josh asks Paul that conversely from Rey being brought into the States, he had heard another cruiser, Supercrazy, got deported while in ECW. Paul laughed and explained that Supercrazy went to Mexico to visit family one day and had the wrong visa, so he was stopped at the border and wasn’t allowed back into the States. Paul says that Supercrazy had some of the best three-way matches ever, between him, Tajiri, and Little Guido (who is now Nunzio).

Paul follows that by saying the best memory he has of Supercrazy is thanks to the fans, which is really another epitome of ECW (that is, the fans made ECW what it was). Everyone knows that when a wrestler is in the corner, and another gets on the ropes to punch him, the audience counts along with “one, two, three…” and so on until the big one of “ten.” In one match in the ECW Arena, Supercrazy got on a guy to do that move, the fans without missing a beat started counted “uno, dos, tres…” and so on. Supercrazy laughed so hard that he had tears in his eyes. He appealed to the crowd before making the final strike, which the audience roared “dies!” at. As the guy sold it, Supercrazy went to the middle of the ring and, while still crying from how hard he was laughing, gave a bow to the fans. Everyone in the back was dying too, and were all as shocked as they were amused.

Paul pounds in again that ECW was all about the relationship between the fans and performers, and that ECW was as big for wanting fans’ acceptance and bond as it was the fans wanting the performers’ acceptance and bond. He says that as big as the WWE gets, there are never chants of “WWE, WWE, WWE” in the crowd. He says that then again, ECW never managed to get anything like 70,000 people to see Austin vs. The Rock, so success can be measured different ways. He takes a random potshot at WCW, saying no one chants “WCW” unless “sucks” is part of it.

He goes on and says that he knows guys with the last name that starts with a W, like he knows a guy named Walterson, who named his son Edward Charles so his name was ECW. Along with that, there are guys with tattoos and so on of ECW. Paul says a bond like that can’t be bought, hired, or trained, and happens only for a special moment at a special point in time. He again stresses that that’s what ECW was always about, and he hopes (and believes) that the feeling comes through on the DVD.

He says that it should be obvious that for all his compliments he’s fired tonight, he’s not just speaking to suck up, because there would be no point. It’s not like he’s trying to suck up to the fans because there’s nothing to sell. There’s no more ECW shows, no more ECW-specific videos (aside from the DVD), and so on. He just hopes that he gave back to them in DVD because of all they did for them.

A caller is in, who correctly names six other Dudleys. The caller says that they’re sold out of the DVDs where he lives, and Paul says he can buy it online. Josh asks where, and the Byte This! crew tell him from the site. Paul makes fun of Josh for forgetting about wwe.com (and Josh calls himself on it because he says he’s Mr. wwe.com), including saying that Josh is going to get a memo from the WWE marketing departing, condemning him for not recommending the site. Apparently, it’s not called ShopZone anymore; it’s simply WWE Shop. Here’s a link for the DVD, since we’re on the subject.

The caller is done, and so is the show. Josh and Paul both finish out the show with a plug for the DVD, and we leave with a video clip of Tazz going against Sabu from November To Remember (1996). Good crap, hear the pop when Sabu appears.

Guys, listen. Last week, Byte This! was so terrible I did almost resign. It was comprised of 45 minutes of suck, followed by 15 minutes of “barely adequate,” with only 70 seconds of true goodness. Josh pissed me off for the entire second half (30 minutes), and it was extremely boring.

This week, Byte This! goes 1 hour and 42 minutes including the opening and ending noise. And goddamnit, it could have gone longer as far as I was concerned. I never laughed AT Josh, always WITH him, and I finally understand why the WWE keeps him on. His timing and hosting was impeccable, and I’m glad Marc was tossed because there was something going on between Josh and Paul that I’m not sure I wanted Marc to be a part of.

This was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest experiences in pro wrestling I’ve ever experienced. This does make me want to buy the DVD, but don’t get me wrong; the show was not JUST an infomercial. The stories that were shared, the passion in all the guests’ voices… words don’t do the episode justice. The only hiccup was short ramble by RVD, but it’s more than forgivable when it was buried in tons of grade-A material.

I am actually afraid the WWE may edit it before it gets archived, but if you’re willing to take a chance, grab it once it is so. To make sure it lives forever, though, I saved the recording. (I always record Byte This! for recapping purposes, but I usually don’t have justifiable cause to keep it.) This MP3 file is 1:41:38, almost 100 MB, and has taken a permanent place on my hard drive.

And because I do not want this episode to ever fade away, I’m making it available (in audio form only) on my personal FTP server. If you know how to deal with FTP clients, grab it from me just in case the WWE does edit it. I’ll check the archive and tell you next week if it was in fact edited.

A word of warning if you do download it from me. There are a couple artifacts in the recording due to sound effects from my computer when I clicked here and there for whatever reason. It’s nothing major and barely noticeable, but it’s not there. On the off-chance the WWE does NOT edit it at all, I’m going to save a video and audio version and make those available for download too.

Either way, this audio version will be available through Sunday, November 21. I may bring it back though if I can, or hopefully find a permanent host.

Thanks for reading this deeply into the document. My usually recaps are like 5 to 7 pages, but this one is about 14-1/2. I do not apologize for the length, though, because the freakin’ perfect quality of the episode warrants the special attention.

Here is info for the FTP server:

IP Address: 67.39.3.235
Username:
wwe_guest
Password:
bytethis

Also in there is an MP3 of the Rock/Eugene/Coach skit from earlier this year, although it has an annoying buzz throughout the whole thing. (I’ll get a better version of it sometime.) And now, here are the answers to the trivia questions:

Q1: What date was the ECW fan set on fire?
A1: October 28, 1995 [the caller’s first guess was October 27]

Q2: What happened to cause ECW to get pulled from every single TV station that had been carrying it?
A2: A lesbian kiss between Beulah McGillicutty and Kimona Wannalaya
     

Q3: Name six Dudleys aside from Bubba Ray, D-Von, and Spike.
A3: Big Dick Dudley, Chubby Duddley, Dances With Dudley, Dudley Dudley, Sign Guy Dudley, and Snot Dudley

Guys, I’m telling you, this episode is more fun than anything the WWE has produced in the past… long time. DOWNLOAD IT, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE THE DVD. Here’s hoping that we get more episodes of this quality in the future.

Oh, next week, Byte This! will not be on due to Thanksgiving. I think I deserve a break after this one anyway. So I’ll see you in two weeks’ time. Happy Thanksgiving all, and take care on your holiday trips if you take them.

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON

BROWSE THE BYTE THIS RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 

 

 


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