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OO BYTE THIS RECAP
Authentic ECW (Or, The Very Special
"Go Fuck Yourself, Bischoff" Edition)
June 9, 2005

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

No usual introduction from me this time… that is, no off-topic discussions. If you’re a regular reader of OO, you’ll know that Rick has a different ritual he goes through if he thinks RAW or a given PPV is going to be exceptional. For him, it normally involves Light Boozing and so forth. 
 
Normally with Byte This!, I set up my recording devices, and do my job (that I’m actually paid for) until 9:00 PM. After that, I pour myself a glass of V8 because I’m a pussy, and type my recap while I listen to the recording at 1.5x speed, until I slow it down to normal if there’s something interesting on.

 
But tonight, I’m preparing early. It’s 20 minutes till the show as I type this introduction, and my recording devices are ready to go. As soon as I’m done with this intro, I’m going to run out and grab a root beer, and make myself some nachos for this one. The last time ECW took over Byte This!, it was one hour and 42 minutes of pure, unadulterated goodness that made me wish I had paid more attention to the company a decade ago. I don’t expect this episode to be better, or even as good as that one. But, because I’m a sap (as well as a pussy), I’m hoping that it’s damn close.

So, okay, there won’t be as many guests as last time. And sure, the conversation will probably focus more on One Night Stand than ECW or its history in general. But damn it, I’m being optimistic, and I’m ready to enjoy myself tonight. Hopefully this will keep my brain occupied and the mark in me excited until this Sunday.

Intro: Before the show proper, we open with a montage of the basics of the storyline so far. The Vince/Bischoff/Heyman angle from RAW here, Kurt Angle’s whole deal on SmackDown! there, all intermixed with ECW footage… nothing unusual or anything. But after that, we go right to the studio. No opening theme, no WWE splash video. And then, no Marc Loyd and no Steve Romero. Already, I start feeling good.

Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer are quarterbacking today by themselves. Paul’s first actions and words are to pick up a sheet of paper, declare that it’s a format sheet, and proceed to rip it in half. Add this all to the fact that we’re starting eight minutes late due to technical problems (or maybe they were waiting for me to finish up my nachos), and I can safely say we’re in full ECW mode.

And in fact, Paul opens by saying this is ECW Byte This!, and just like usual, they’re disorganized and are being interrupted by people wanting to bring him down. But more on that in a second, because Paul tells us that the last ECW BT that aired (the one I already linked to in my intro) was downloaded more times than any other BT in the history of the show. I believe it; I think I got four readers of my recap instead of the usual two.

(Okay, I’m only joking… I actually didn’t realize how many people actually read my recaps, but my FTP server where I kept a copy of the show reported over 200 unique logins. So I had at least 200 people who simply read my recap and downloaded the show. That doesn’t include anyone who read it and didn’t download it, of course, so my readership probably is far better than I think it is. At least when ECW is involved anyway.)

Anyway, Paul says that his goal is to top those numbers this time around too. However, five minutes before show time, Eric Bischoff phoned into BT with the intent of bitching out ECW. Paul apparently invited Eric to stick around discuss things live, but declined. Instead, he’s just left a message on the machine, which will be played for us… um, now.

Except, wait! There’s another technical glitch and Eric’s message can’t be played! “It’s not just us that’s disorganized,” Paul says, “it’s WWE.com too. What a shocker.” Man, did that scratch me where I itch.

So instead, Tommy Dreamer finally speaks his first words by praising the opening clip montage. He says it reminds him of everything he went through in ECW and all the bones he’s broken, not to mention the weight he’s gained since then. He curses the BT cameras, saying it looks like he’s engulfing his chair.

Bischoff Gets Verbally Bitch-Slapped: As he wraps up his comments, Eric’s message begins randomly playing without warning. You’ve heard this shtick before 40,000 times, but just for the hell of it, let’s go over Eric’s points:

1. ECW is a joke, always has been, always will be.

2. Also a joke: Heyman standing in the ring praising ECW, while surrounded my thousands of fans live and millions of fans watching TV who know that ECW was never a competitor to WCW or WWE.

3. ECW is not a star-making platform when it only achieves 1.0 ratings on a fledging country music TV station.

4. WCW, not ECW, created Steve Austin.

5. ECW never sold out a big arena. The same 1500 people came to every single ECW event, so even though those fans were loyal, ECW was not a competitor.

6. ECW didn’t make enough money from its PPVs to pay its wrestlers, not to mention the bills of the company itself. In fact, Vince McMahon’s only business mistake ever was to subsidize ECW.

7. The ECW wrestlers were so poor, the only thing they could afford to eat (and the only thing they did eat) was Paul Heyman’s bullshit.

8. Just because Heyman was standing in the same ring as Vince and Eric doesn’t mean Heyman is their equal. In fact, the only person who is equal to them is the person in Paul’s mind.

The fuck did that last one mean? I understood Eric’s dumbass “out-ECW ECW” comment from a couple of RAWs ago, but that one made even less sense. Whatever.

Eric’s message clicks off. Tommy clicks his teeth, and calmly says that he has a message for Eric. The arena in Saint Louis where the last RAW was had been sold out at roughly 12,000 people, and all of them were on their feet chanting “ECW” at the end. So, on behalf of Tommy himself, everyone involved in ECW, all the ECW fans, and even all the WCW fans, “go fuck yourself and have a nice day,” verbatim. And you wonder why I prefer to record these live?

Paul decides to be a little less direct, and will address Eric’s points. Again, this is nothing new, but it makes a good primer for the storyline heading into One Night Stand.

1. It wasn’t 1500 fans who came to see every show, it was more along the lines of 4000-6000 depending on the locale.

2. ECW did not go out of business because of a lack of sales. It went out of business because the TV brass simply decided pro wrestling wasn’t “cool” anymore. He cites WWE’s TV jumps as proof, even mentioning (to some surprise by me) that WWE is going back to USA this fall.

(I’m not surprised by the announcement, since I read OO too and have known about it for a month, but I’m surprised he actually said this on the air. Still, it’s not like Paul to keep anything a secret from fans, even if the WWE would want him to.)

Money was the big cause… ECW went down owing seven million dollars over seven years, somewhat because it did not receive its just due from Acclaim Entertainment (which made the ECW video games) and In-Demand (the service responsible for ECW pay-per-views). WCW, meanwhile, lost 80 million dollars every year, proving that Eric was a worse businessman.

3. At the end of its life, ECW PPV buyrates were much higher than WCW PPV buyrates.

4. ECW was as successful as it was because of the passion and heart of its wrestlers like Dreamer and Sandman who wrestled through injuries of all flavors.

5. In summary, if the “source” (i.e., Eric) was reciting historical fact rather than historical fiction, perhaps the source would be credible. BURN!!!

Tommy wants to get in on the Eric insults, and takes a trip down memory lane. He takes us to Municipal Auditorium, an arena in Nashville, Tennessee. An ECW event was headlined by Tommy Dreamer vs. Justin Credible, and it sold out the arena. Meanwhile, a WWE, Eric Bischoff-sponsored tour had 4000 people there. ECW wins, and sold out an arena, which means Eric lied.

Um… Okay, I see where Tommy is going with this, but I see a logic hole in his… logic. By the time Eric had any involvement with WWE, wrestling had fallen off the “cool” list of American culture. I mean, it’s not like WWE pulls those great numbers now with or without Bischoff. Hell, they haven’t for years. When ECW was active, pro wrestling was a large part of American culture, so it naturally would draw better numbers. It’s like saying that the early 80s of wrestling was unsuccessful because it didn’t pull late 90s ratings… again, two different “eras,” two different expectations. A good night in the 2003-2005 era of wrestling is a barely mediocre night in the 1995-1999 era.

But, again, this is in no way a knock against Tommy or what he’s saying. To any retards ready to flame me, I understand Tommy’s point: ECW was far more successful than Bischoff is saying it was. I “get it.”

So anyway, Tommy has another train of thought, but has lost it. He says he just plain doesn’t like Eric, and if ECW had 80 million dollars, it would still be in business, and Byte This! would be called Blow Me or Eat Me. I don’t know why I found that as funny as I did, but I did laugh merrily.

Tommy goes on and says that everyone (fans, staff, wrestlers, Romans, countrymen) is excited for One Night Stand, and that Eric isn’t nice for trying to screw it up. Eric shouldn’t question the ECW wrestlers’ loyalty, because they all chose to work for ECW for no money. In a point that makes Tommy look like an absolute genius, he says “How many WWE guys would continue to work for you if they didn’t get paid?”

Dear crap… I think that line alone makes me completely understand the depth of ECW’s purpose and place in history. Why, oh God why, did not I not get it 10 years ago? I know it won’t be the same, but I wonder if my local video stores have any tapes of ECW PPVs I could rent.

Tommy wraps up a little rambley (I know that’s not a word… sue me), and apologizes for his voice going hoarse. He blames it on the fact that he’s already getting pissed off, and that he was out too late partying with Sandman, Axl Rotten, and Balls Mahoney, plus he slept in a van with all of them.

Paul now takes command again, and asks when he or anyone ever said ECW made Steve Austin? He said that ECW gave extraordinary athletes a forum for their concerns. He says that of course he knows Austin was in WCW, because Paul managed him there. (The fuck? Paul was part of WCW for awhile? I really need to bone up on my Big Three Era history.) He was there with Austin, grooming him along with Rick Rude and Brian Pillman.

Paul said that the only reason Steve came to ECW was because after Bischoff screwed him, Paul was the first one on the phone with him. Paul does a moderate impersonation of Austin as he says that Austin simply wanted to be himself in a pro wrestling company. (During this bit, Paul quotes Austin as saying “You’ve got Dean Malenko running around in black tights and black boots, and I like that about him.” Paul follows that up in his own voice with “Don’t know what else there is to like about Dean Malenko, but…”)

Paul calls the whole thing a promo spoken by JBL, written by Brian Gewirtz, to make it look like he’s shooting. Ouch. Paul says that Eric heard it on SmackDown!, and decided to use it with the intention of getting under Paul’s skin. Paul applauds, and declares that Eric accomplished his goal.

With Eric firmly put in his place (somewhere between the Ghost of WCW Past and his own asshole), Paul thinks it’s time to move on. I think that’s good, because I’m up to over 1800 words and we’re only 14 minutes into the show. (Viva carpal tunnel!) He suggests to Tommy that we start hyping One Night Stand, but Tommy doesn’t want to quite yet. He wants to keep giving Eric new orifices, because the BT chatroom is loaded with people who are ripping into Eric too.

Tommy says that Eric not only let Steve Austin slip through his fingers, but also another superstar who Tommy says draws more of a PPV audience than anyone. The man is some nobody named Terra Ryzing… but people from the modern era might know him better as Triple H. I’m not sure Mr. Stephanie McMahon draws more people to PPV than anyone, but what the hell.

Tommy says that from stories he’s heard, Trips doesn’t like Eric much either. Paul, oddly, disagrees, and says that he things Trips had more on his mind back in his WCW days than what Eric thought of him.

The Card: Okay, so now it’s time to get a little hype in. Both guys put over One Night Stand, saying its date and time and all that. If you’re reading this recap, I damn sure hope you know what time and day ONS goes live, or you really need some help. He goes over a couple planned matches, which you may already know by now, but you get Paul’s one-line commentary about it…

Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero: Japanese-style match. Rey Mysterio vs. Psychosis: Lucha-style match. Little Guido vs. Tajiri vs. Super Crazy, which is a rematch of what Paul calls the best three-way dance ECW ever had-not the most history-making, but the best in pure quality. The Dudleys vs. Tommy Dreamer & Sandman in an “extreme warfare” style, or, Paul says, what is being called “ECW-style” over on SmackDown!. Lance Storm vs. Chris Jericho in a Calgary-style match. I don’t know what the hell that is, but I’m excited either way.

Paul says that there are tons of other matches, but he’s not going to tell us they are. He says that was the beauty of ECW, the unexpected surprises for the audience. Differing from back then, however, Paul will actually know what the hell is going on before the show starts, but staying as true to the style as possible, he’ll be writing down his booking on a cocktail napkin or a pizza box.

Tommy says that in addition to those surprises, the people who are at the event live will get some entertainment that won’t be on the PPV, nor on the One Night Stand DVD. (Good to know that’s coming out.) Tommy does not give details, other than to say that he’s just going to have one shot with a live mic in his hand. Hmm…

Tommy goes on and explains that everyone should know that neither he nor Paul Heyman ever lied to the fans, and never will. He also tells us to trust him that he and Paul have given their stamp of approval to the show, and that it will be as close to the classic ECW feel as possible. It won’t be a “the next ECW” or “what ECW should have been” or anything like that. He says that Vince has given them more or less carte blanche to run ONS how they want to, and he thanks him for it.

Bubba Ray Dudley is scheduled to get an interview here, which kicks ass. While BT gets him on the phone, Paul says that Tommy reminded him of something he forgot to mention. He says that Rob Van Dam will be at ONS and has requested to have six to ten minutes with a live mic. The monologue will be unedited, unscripted, and its subject is to simply address his audience. Paul only follows that up by saying that he thinks RVD will be quite emotional during those minutes. Huh, I say.

Tommy says that instead of six minutes, RVD should be granted 4:20, because that’s more his style. Ha ha?

We’re actually going to a break now, to show the Dudleys’ return to RAW.

[break]

The “I Hate WCW” Fanclub: Bubba Ray is on the phone, and he says “If you want to make an impact, you jump over the guardrail, you get in the ring, you 3D… somebody through a table, and you make one of the best returns in the history of the WWE or ECW.” I amuse myself with the idea that Bubba Ray didn’t know Snitsky’s name.

The next bit of conversation is pretty cool, so we’re going verbatim…

PH: “I thought [the return] was stirring.”
BRD:
“That’s how you make an impact. That’s how one of the greatest tag teams that ever walked the planet-”
PH:
“Stop. Stop. I disagree with you.”
BRD:
“Why?”
PH:
“Why ‘one of’?”
BRD:
[laughs]
PH:
“Well, no, no, wait a minute; why ‘one of’?”
BRD:
“Because I have respect for all of the other tag teams that came before us, that’s why.”
PH:
“But you held 18 tag team titles.”
BRD:
“That’s all right. The Road Warriors were a hell of a team, the Rock ‘N Roll Express was a hell of a team, the Freebirds… yeah, they were okay.”

All three guys chat for a second about the tag teams for a couple seconds, then discuss how nuts the crowd in St. Louis was. Tommy says that he’ll mark out here and give credit goes to John Cena for firing up the crowd. He says the show just kept on rollin’, and just when he though the crowd couldn’t get more juiced, they saw “the fat guys from the crowd.”

Bubba says that someone told him he and D-Von got “the Road Warrior pop,” and Bubba thought that it was cool that the Dudleys were mentioned in the same breath as the Road Warriors. Tommy says that the live audience was so into it that the building was rumbling, and he says this with a minor catch in his voice that again punctuates the passion he (and presumably everyone from ECW) has for the company. He said that he couldn’t wait for Sunday after experiencing it.

Bubba follows up Tommy’s thought and contemplates the noise level for Sunday. “If 14,000 WWE fans can make that much noise,” he said, “think about how much noise 3000 ECW fans can make.” That’s slightly backwards logic, but I get it. “It’s going to be crazy, and off the charts, and it will be one of the greatest moments in my career.” Amen.

Tommy and Bubba proceed to give each other some good-natured trash-talking. Bubba says that regardless if they’re friends, and regardless if they’re fighting for ECW, the Dudleys are going to Bring It and aim to beat the shit out of Tommy and Sandman.

Tommy asks if Bubba went to bed over the last couple nights, and he answers no. Tommy repeats to Bubba that he slept in a van with Axl and Balls Mahoney, and Bubba says that that’s old-school and the epitome of hardcore. Balls apparently ordered 11 shots of tequila, downed them all, then ordered shots for the whole bar. (Hmm… drinking contest between Balls Mahoney, Rick Scaia, and Erin Anderson… who passes out last?)

Bubba laughs and says that the day before, he drove 250 miles with Sandman, and that was no walk in the park. Bubba says Sandman was snorting everything, even the upholstery. Paul laughs and wants to know where we’re going with this line of talk, and Tommy says that it’s all about delivering the authentic ECW experience. They partied with the fans last night at Kansas City, and are ready to do it again now.

Switching to talk about the fans, Bubba says that every fan he saw after the show in St. Louis was stoked for ONS. He said that the passion in their eyes was there, and I honestly wonder whether the fans’ passion actually outclasses the wrestlers’.

Paul wants one more thing out of Bubba before he goes: shoot comments about Eric Bischoff. Bubba says that he likes Eric as a person, but thinks Eric’s a dick for trying to sabotage ONS. Isn’t that a non-shoot though, since it’s really only Eric’s character that is trying to shut down ONS?

Bubba goes on and says that while he doesn’t really have a problem with Bischoff, Bischoff better not come to the ring while the Dudleys are in it because he might have a problem. He says that Eric didn’t get it even back when he tried to lure the Dudleys away from ECW to WCW with the promises of tons of money, even though the Dudleys kept turning him down because they knew they wouldn’t be as big of superstars if they had jumped ship.

Bubba then says that Angle and Bischoff can bring anyone they want to, but they will feel more electricity from those 3000 fans from New York than they would in front of 70,000 people in the Astrodome. Wow.

Bubba’s comment about Eric trying to undermine ECW gives Paul a reason to digress about a PPV called Barely Legal. It was scheduled in Philadelphia on March 30, 1997. WCW booked a Nitro in Philadelphia the next night to oppose them. However, the New Jack incident (or “Mass Transit Massacre” or whatever other name you want to call it) happened in November 1996, which delayed all PPVs ECW was going to do. They had to reschedule Barely Legal for April 13, 1997. Bischoff then rescheduled Nitro to April 14, 1997 to still compete with them in Philadelphia. Paul draws a parallel that it’s 8 years after their first PPV, and Bischoff is still trying to undermine them.

Bubba agrees, says Eric called the Dudleys “overrated,” and asks what tag team Eric was ever responsible for could stand toe-to-toe with them? Bubba calls out Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, and wants to see them at ONS. This also strikes me as funnier than it should, I think.

Paul then says that maybe the Dudleys would fear Vicious & Delicious (Sid Vicious and Buff Bagwell). Bubba laughs and says he’d cower in the corner just like Flair did in the 80s.

Paul and Tommy bids Bubba goodbye (with Bubba giving a fairly amusing final shot against Tommy), and we’re off to a…

[break]

E-Mail the First: Paul has in his possession a few e-mails from various fans that he will answer. The topics have the potential to be saucy, so let’s get to them!

But psyche! We’re going to another break first!

[break]

E-Mai the First, For Real This Time: The first e-mail asks three questions. What does Paul think of Shane Douglas’s comment that One Night Stand is a “bull with no balls”? What does Paul think of Terry Funk’s comment that RAW and SmackDown! fans are “wannabe ECW fans”? And what does Paul think of Shane Douglas’s Hardcore Homecoming show on Friday, June 10?

Paul ignores the first two, and just gets right to Hardcore Homecoming. He hopes, somewhat surprisingly to me, that they do great. Paul’s logic for this is rather solid, to be honest. He says that there is obviously a market for the ECW experience. The audience craves the honesty, the bond, the desire to see the performers surpass their own limitations, and the promotion’s desire to exceed the fans’ expectations of the show.

Paul says that Shane Douglas has done well to tap into that market, but if they fail, then the ideal of hardcore and the ECW culture dies at that point, which will effectively kill the crowd on Sunday for ONS. However, if they succeed, then that will feed the fans’ desires, which may open more business opportunities for WWE and ECW later on. Maybe even inter-promotional matches between Paul Heyman’s and Shane Douglas’s respective wrestlers.

Paul says that he doesn’t want a single fan who searches for the ECW experience to be let down at any time. If any attempt to replicate ECW falls short, then ECW’s legacy falls a bit with it. He posits that if Hardcore Homecoming bombs, it will be their only show because the disappointment will be so great, word will reach everyone’s ears and no one will show up to a second attempt.

Paul summarizes everything he just said, then asks for Tommy’s opinion. Tommy diverges from Paul, but opens with something straight out of the mouth of OO’s Benevolent Webmaster Rick Scaia: Tommy says that he feels especially happy for the wrestlers, because they get another paycheck, which they deserve. Tommy says that Paul has never been on the indy promotions (which Paul affirms), but Tommy has, and that they’re depressing.

All the indies try to recreate ECW, but it doesn’t and won’t happen. Tommy even declares that they won’t be able to recreate it, although they’ll come as close as possible. He says that the ECW Arena isn’t itself anymore, and is just a bingo hall. He goes for a metaphor, first saying that as a shark swims through the water, and leeches attach themselves to its body. Remember that.

Tommy says that ECW was purchased wholly by WWE, and that Vince can therefore do whatever he wants with it. Every other company, he respects for trying to turn a profit, but he says while Shane thinks he’s doing Hardcore Homecoming to replicate ECW, he’s not. In a strange but fairly true reason, Tommy says that if he or Heyman didn’t book it, it’s simply not ECW authentic.

Tommy lists a few companies that tried, such as XPW (Xtreme Professional Wrestling), MECW (Main Event Championship Wrestling), MLW (Major League Wrestling), and FUCK (no clue what that one is). His point seems to drift here, as he turns to asking why, if he doesn’t try to insult Shane Douglas, is Shane insulting them? Still, he wishes Shane good luck with Hardcore Homecoming.

After a few comments from Paul, Tommy reiterates that they are not trying to become ECW again with ONS, they are trying to get as close as possible. He says that it’s purely the success of the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD that led to ONS being real (although I’m sure Rob Van Dam would have some comments about that), and it’s all about thanking the fans for their loyalty even after all these years.

Tommy says that he, like everyone else who is going to be at the show, is simply going to aim to work his ass off and deliver; for him, it’s not about trying to prove himself to get onto RAW or SmackDown!. Paul interrupts here and asks if Tommy honestly aspires to get to one of the brands. Tommy replies that his only aspiration is to make it out of One Night Stand without being on fire or getting additional holes in his body. Heh.

Paul agrees that ONS is for thanking the fans. He lists a few of the guys who will be there, and says that none of them had to show up. They all chose to come because they want to show their appreciation for the fans and for the product.

Paul goes on a tangent about the success of Rise and Fall, and hilariously mentions that no one is clamoring for a WCW reunion. Tommy randomly says that he wants to see Shane Douglas come to ONS, as well as Chris Candido, Jerry Lynn, and Raven, and regrets they can’t for reasons beyond their control (though he mentions that Candido will watch from above).

The Injured Putz Talks: Without warning, they’ve got Stevie Richards on the phone. Tommy asks if Stevie would like to reveal where he’s been. Stevie obliges, and says he’s off TV with a knee injury suffered at the hands of the Masterpiece; Stevie hilariously puts a mocking tone on the name as he says it. Paul gets confused, and asks “Didn’t he hurt you with that Polish Hammer to the nose?” Tommy says, “Well, yeah, but he did a Polish Hammer to the knee and broke a bone in there too.” Could someone tell me why the fuck is Chris Masters is still on TV again?

Stevie starts in on his passion, citing that as his reason for wanting to do ONS. He says that fans around the world will get to see the true Stevie Richards, not the watered-down version “the WWE shows on HEAT or the occasional RAW.” We will see everything that Stevie Richards can be.

Paul asks whether we’ll get to see Clueless Putz Stevie Richards, Dancing Stevie Richards, or BWO Big Stevie Cool. After some hesitation, Stevie dodges, and says that no matter what form he may be, he and all the other ECW alums will Bring It and Take Over. Sweet.

Tommy says that he slept in a van with Axl and Balls. Stevie immediately breaks into an “E-C-Dub! E-C-Dub!” chant. Um… okay?

E-mail the Second: That’s all for the interview, and Stevie clicks off. Paul reads the second question, which asks if there’s any chance Beulah McGillicutty will be on One Night Stand. Tommy dodges and says that there will be video of anyone who ever made an impact on ECW.

Paul says that they will have some special guests, some of whom absolutely no one will expect. He summarizes that if anyone ever stepped into ECW, there is a chance they will show up at ONS. Personally, I’ll just die happy if Kimona Wanalaya shows up.

E-mail the Third… Psyche!: Paul immediately segues into the next question, but he says a curious thing. He begins reading aloud with “Hey Paul Heyman,” then says kind of under his breath to Tommy, “I’m bailing you out of this one… because you’re getting divorced tomorrow.”

Now, hopefully there’s just some sort of joke that Paul said that I didn’t get here (like bringing up Beulah’s name on BT is some sort of jokey sin since she left the business forever or something). Rick isn’t the kind to report a newsbyte like that without pressure, and I’d hate to start a rumor when Paul was just teasing, but… Well, I’ll say no more.

Anyway, the third question asks if there’s going to be any more matches that are unannounced at this point. However, this question is from the same guy who asked about Beulah, so Paul tears it up and says that everyone only gets one question.

Instead, Tommy wished to acknowledge someone who’s pissing him off. In the BT chatroom, some idiot by the screen name “EricBischoffForever” is dissing Tommy. Tommy says that he’s obviously a Bischoff lover, who is apparently saying that Tommy doesn’t deserve to wipe Bischoff’s ass. He says that EBF may hate him, but he just put him over, so there.

At this point, I jumped into the chatroom myself to see what was going on. (I tend to stay out of the chatroom because it just completely lowers my intelligence, and I doubt anyone from BT would ever respond to anything I had to say.) EBF immediately started spamming “Tommy sux,” followed by “Tommy, your career is deader than Crash Holly.” That lit up a flare under pretty much everyone’s ass, and just about everyone in the room started flaming EBF. Then, I left, because it was starting to ruin my enjoyment and distract me from listening. (Thank goodness for recording devices.)

After a little more bantering, Tommy reads another comment from the chatroom. Translated into proper English, it asks if there are any truth to the rumors that Vince McMahon will give ECW its own show and brand like RAW and SD. Tommy starts answering this with “If we do better buyrates than Wrestlemania 21…” and Paul laughs and says “Can you set the bar a little lower?” But, something tells me that ONS will achieve no fewer than 90% of Wrestlemania 21’s buyrates… we’ll have to wait for Rick’s report on the numbers for that prediction.

Anyway, Tommy says that if that happens, maybe RAW or SD will just become ECW. Tommy says that Vince is a genius businessman, and if it’s a huge hit, who knows how far it will go. Tommy hopes that ONS will be a huge success and leads to a reunion tour, but he’s just trying to concentrate on getting through this one PPV.

They talk about the different venues they have been to, and how cool the Hammerstein Ballroom is. This leads into a…

[break]

A Couple More E-mails: We’ve gone one hour of show (it’s roughly 9:10 PM ET), and I’ve typed 5200 words excluding my opening paragraph. But there’s still a little more left, and as always, I’ve got the stamina to go all the way.

The break showed a match between Tommy and RVD, and Tommy says that he did a move that went from the top rope to the floor. He broke his heel, and he says that that was God’s way of telling him he was too fat to do aerial stuff. That’s the third comment I found too funny, I think.

He goes on by saying that he was emotional with a Hardcore Title match in Madison Square Garden (not sure what he’s talking about here), because as heard the “ECW” chants, he knew that ECW was finished or something. He said that he knew if ECW had been run correctly, they would have been selling out those arenas. I perceive that as a minor slap in the face of Paul, but Paul and Tommy are 100% honest with each other, so I doubt it was anything malicious. Plus, I guess it’s true, and Paul can’t fault him for that.

Anyway, Paul goes onto read a question that asks if we’ll be seeing the clean cut Paul Heyman of today, or the baseball cap-and-trench coat Paul Heyman. He asks for Tommy’s opinion, and Tommy wants to see the grunge Heyman. Paul jokingly complains that after all the hard work he’s done to improve his image and how he’s totally comfortable being bald, he now has to go back to the slob look. He asks why he has to go back to that, and Tommy says it’s because he can afford nice clothes. Paul gets it, and says “Yeah, now that I can afford nice clothes, it’s fashionable to go back to being a slob.” Very, very humorous stuff here, folks.

Wrapping Up With Passion: I had to jack up my volume to listen to it from here on out, because both hosts had that natural dip in their voices all people get when they speak of something very serious and special to them. You’re warned if you download this episode.

Tommy is out of things to say, and starts reminding us that ONS will be on this Sunday. Paul openly wonders if they’re going to get in trouble for their comments, but neither he nor Tommy cares. Tommy then goes on and continues to hype ECW, challenging that if you were a fan or even slightly cared for ECW, you need to get the PPV.

Tommy passionately says that he has no career on Monday, and so he’s got one night to prove why he was a part of ECW, and to show the fans (probably mostly the fans like me who never saw any ECW) why he cared so much about the company. He says that all the other guys there will be doing the same probably, but for him, he guarantees us that we will see 100% of what Tommy Dreamer is, and what he can do.

Paul isn’t sure how to follow that up, but he tries. He talks about how he and Joey Styles would go into a booth to voice over the shows. Sometimes, that work took 20 hours… sometimes, it took over a day. Yet, they all loved every moment of it. He says that it’s not hype when they say ECW was a lifestyle choice.

Paul reminisces about an early moment in his WWE career. He was in a creative meeting sometime in the summer of 2001. During this meeting, he was in complete disagreement with the creative team (whoa, there’s a shock), and he badly pissed off Vince. He says that he remembered Stephanie pulled him aside and asked why he would confront Vince that way, since no one challenges Vince that way. Paul replied that he fully believes in himself creatively.

Stephanie then told him that people in the WWE brass did not understand how he was able to get ECW going, with workers doing their jobs for free for months at a time. Paul says that it was because ECW was a creative expression, and that they looked at it as an art form. The counter-argument is that they believed their own bullshit, but Paul said he had a great bond with the audience because they wanted to. They never wanted to tell a worker to “just go out there and talk for two minutes, and say these points.” They wanted to give the audience something that was special and barrier-breaking.

He mentions how Tommy and Sabu broke bones but never missed shows, and that ECW wasn’t about the paycheck. He acknowledges that the concept makes them all bad businessmen, but it doesn’t matter. To further drive the point, Tommy says that Stevie Richards is scheduled for surgery on Monday, because he didn’t want to miss the show. Paul says that Spike Dudley is hurting to the point where he’s been advised to take months off, but won’t until at least after One Night Stand.

Paul says that he knows what will happen after Sunday. He says that his contract is up at the end of 2005, and he has his doubts about re-signing with the WWE. He posits that if there’s another reunion show next year, he may not be a part of it. He gives a lot more if’s and maybe’s, such as Vince possibly wanting Paul so bad that Vince asks for the contract extension, or maybe Paul will be interested in other things and will refuse to be re-signed under any circumstances. He’s got a screenplay he’s written, and a TV show he’d like to see developed, plus he knows that WWE could use some competition.

His point? My words just will not do justice here, so I’ll go verbatim one more time…

PH: “This is, as far as I’m concerned, on Sunday, my last hurrah. Maybe there’s more… This is not Terry Funk in Japan going, ‘This is my last match,’ fifteen times over-with all love to Terry Funk; I love you to death, sir. But, for all of us, we don’t know what happens after this Sunday with the brand of ECW. It might show up the next night on RAW! I doubt it, but it might. But we’re walking into this like it’s a one-night-only thing. That’s not hype, it’s not promotion, it’s not advertising, it’s not bullshit, it’s the fucking truth.”

God that was beautiful, in a pro wrestling sort of way. He goes on to say that they’ve got huge matches and appearances that are so special, they don’t want to reveal them yet. They want to fully replicate the ECW experience as much as they can, including ditching the WWE-standard 20-foot-by-20-foot ring, in favor of the ECW standard that’s 18-by-18. He says that they didn’t want pyro or a bigger arena or an obscenely large ad budget, they just wanted to bring ECW back one more time to thank the fans.

Paul gets repetitive here (something I’ll touch on in a second), but really drills in what ECW is all about by saying that anyone who was not an ECW fan (like me) needs to be prepared to be blown away by a show that WWE cannot replicate. Because, Paul says, no company can exude the passion on all levels of the roster if the letters ECW are not attached to the name. (After what we’ve seen out of the WWE roster the past year, I’m inclined to agree with him.) This is the truth of all truths, Paul says.

Paul thanks Tommy one last time for everything, concludes the show, and cold-cuts to the last video.

Closing Comments: Best episode of Byte This! ever? No. That honor still belongs to the November 2004 episode. Best episode of Byte This! excluding that one? Fuck yes.

I have to do my closing comments in two parts, because even though I may not be paid and the attitude is extremely casual around here at Online Onslaught, I still want to act like a professional journalist at times to stroke my own ego.

Looking at this episode objectively, it ran a little long… not just purely on time, but because it was fairly repetitive. The November 2004 episode was a rolling stone of funny stories and memories, business aspects, many guests, and great banter between Paul and Josh Mathews.

In this episode, Paul and Tommy both tried way too many times to drill into our heads why ECW existed, and why we should care about One Night Stand. By now, ECW fans are getting this PPV no matter what. Some former fence-sitters like me are kicking their own asses for not watching ECW in its prime. And the people who are anti-ECW or fence-sitters who have not been swayed to this point are a lost cause and will never convert.

Stevie Richards’s interview was, again from a purely objective point of view, fairly bland. It was the Byte This! standard, which is not a compliment. It was too short, and too vanilla to really stand out in the show. Bubba Ray Dudley’s interview was great, out-of-character, and relaxed, as all good interviews should be. This ranks up there with Edges and Randy Ortons recent BT bits as damn good work.

Paul did a great job hosting, but (remember I’m still being objective here) was too one-sided about ECW. I will never knock someone for their passion, but in the November 2004 episode, he (and the guests) would admit now and then the bad points of ECW. It was not perfect, and while the Rise and Fall DVD and November 2004 BT episode showed the flaws, this one did not aside from a small comment by Tommy. Without showing all aspects of the topic, nothing BT produces can ever beat the November 2004 episode.

Now, I can flip the switch to far the more positive aspects. Subjectively, this episode is about as high in quality as anything the WWE has ever produced. You can tell when a person is shooting because, let’s face it, pro wrestling does not feature the best actors in the world. When Bubba Ray, Stevie, Tommy, and Paul spoke, you could hear the passion in their voices. When people talk about passionate subjects, they tend to repeat themselves, often to try to convey their emotions and memories to their audience. For that, the four cannot be blamed.

About the last segment… I had a conversation a couple weeks ago with Jeb Lund about Family Guy, and at one point Jeb mentioned that he knew some hard people who still got a little weepy during certain episodes of the Simpsons. I don’t consider wrestling a high form of art, but listening to Paul speak about ECW the way he did… no tears, but certainly goose bumps.

Look, I know there will be some people who will mock me or Paul for acting that way about ECW. “It’s just a wrestling company,” they will say. They will not be the ones who order One Night Stand, and they will not be ones to ever understand what made ECW tick.

As I’ve said several times in this column, I “get it.” I get ECW. I get what made it great, and I already feel a small inkling of why it had such a fanatical following. Retrospectively, I wish I had been a part of it, and if this truly is the last time ECW will get its share of the spotlight, fine; I will be there (though regrettably not in person) to have the “ECW Experience.”

People in the BT chatroom wondered aloud if the WWE would try to sabotage ONS. I tend to be a good judge of character, and I have a fairly decent mind for business. I know that Vince McMahon is genius when it comes to business, and that he’s not short-sighted. He must see that ONS can in no way reflect badly on the WWE. If it fails against all odds, Vince can chalk it up to the death of ECW four years ago as the reason. If it succeeds, Vince can say that it was great and it can open the doors for more, small reunion shows. If it’s a stunning success, Vince can simply kill all future plans for ECW, and bury it so it never upstages WWE again.

The point is that Vince and his cronies must see that there is no reason to sabotage One Night Stand. There is no good reason for him to interfere with Paul and try to make this anything less than a one-shot special treat for the fans. And if he tries, methinks Paul or Tommy will have plenty to say about it at a future time.

One final thought… just to prove to you how great this episode was, my word count should be the final say. This recap is longer than my recap for the November 2004 episode, despite that show being 30 minutes longer. Even though this one had some repetitiveness, it was interesting repetitiveness, and certainly a must-listen-to event.

Just like the November 2004 episode, I have a fear that the WWE will edit it. They didn’t the last time, but with three uses of “fuck” (not including Tommy’s mention of the FUCK promotion), I suspect they’ll edit this one at least a bit. However, I recorded the whole thing (audio only, no video), and will publicly make it available on my FTP server. It will stay running as long as possible; if the IP address fails, just e-mail me and I’ll try to get it fixed.

Use the following information to log into my FTP server:

IP Address: 68.253.225.123
Port:
21
Username:
ooreader
Password:
bytethis

You’ll only have access to one directory, which contains audio recordings of this Byte This!, the November 2004 episode, and the Rock/Eugene/Coach angle on RAW from last May. Unlike the other two, this BT episode has no sound artifacts in the recording. It’s 1:14 long and 63 MB.

I’m out of stuff to talk about, and have broken the 8000-word mark. I’m exhausted, and it’s 4:00 AM… how the fuck does a one-hour show end up taking me eight hours to listen to and recap?

Ah well, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably a lock for One Night Stand this Sunday. I will be cheering too, and toasting Paul Heyman and his wrestlers. Here’s to this not being their last hurrah.

ECW! ECW!

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON

BROWSE THE BYTE THIS RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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