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OO DVD REVIEW
The Rise and Fall of ECW
June 10, 2005

by Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I’ve had this DVD around the house since the X-mas season, and have been meaning to recap it for Rick, but somehow never got the motivation to do it until the eve of the One Night Stand ppv.  Oh well.  I will tell you that I am only recapping disc one, which contains no matches, and just has interviews telling the story of the history of ECW.  For one thing, I have 

already recapped several of the matches on disc two…they are available on the multi-part “Best Of” column that I did January of last year.  Also, I’m going to be recapping the ppv this weekend, so I’ll get the chance to write-up plenty of matches then.  For this piece, I just wanted to have the chance to shine the light on what made ECW so special from the perspective of the people who worked there.  Anyway, each bold title represents a different chapter on the DVD, of course as you watch, it all basically blends together seamlessly, but to make it easier to both write and read I’ve broken it up into the individual chapters.  Enjoy!

First off, there are an annoying number of WWE commercials to kick things off…but luckily, I am able to ffw thru all of them except for the “Don’t Try This at Home” one.  The main chapter page shows the expected faces…put it this way, if their name appears in bold letters below, their images are featured here.  Before we get to the first listed chapter, Tommy Dreamer tells us that his time spent in ECW was the greatest time of his life.  Chris Jericho plays word association with ECW, and comes-up with “fun”.  Stevie Richards makes an appearance, as does some guy that was a producer/director, apparently.  Spike Dudley, Al Snow and Jerry Lawler discuss the rabid fans.  Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon chime-in and remark that ECW was doing things that WCW and WWE couldn’t or wouldn’t do, and they were making a go of it by targeting a niche audience.  Finally, Rhyno and Dawn Marie discuss the downfall…I have a feeling all of these remarks are clipped from elsewhere in the DVD, so let’s get on with it.

Early ECW – Tazz opens things up by discussing Paul Heyman’s entry into ECW.  At the time, it was Eastern Championship Wrestling, and was aligned with the NWA.  Todd Gordon was the owner, and Eddie Gilbert was the head booker.  Paul was a close friend of Eddie’s at the time, and when Todd and Eddie had a falling-out just before a big show at the ECW Arena, Todd turned to Paul for help.  Paul likens the wrasslin’ industry to the music industry of the early nineties…there were bands like Poison and LA hair bands dominating the industry, and then bam!, along comes Nirvana and changes the industry overnight.  Paul says that he felt as if the wrasslin’ industry needed to be shaken-up via similar means.

Public Enemy – Paul’s debut show was September 18, 1993 and the show opened with The Public Enemy.  Paul says that he had known Rocco Rock for a long time, and had met Johnny Grunge on an overseas tour when the two were opponents.  So Paul brought them both in, made them partners, and voila!, another two white rappers emerge!  They put their opponents through tables regularly…something that wasn’t happening at the time in wrasslin’.

Tazz – This chapter is actually titled “Tazmaniac”, but I’ll let it slide.  If you haven’t seen early footage of Tazz, you have to check this DVD out to see what he looks like with long hair and a fuzzy singlet.  Tazz had met Paul only a couple of times when Paul called to ask him to work an event in Philly against Sabu.  Tazz says he was just happy to work anywhere at the time, and after an intense brawl against Sabu, Tazz worked for Heyman for close to seven years.

Sabu – Sabu came from Japan after making a name for himself in FMW.  Paul says that he considered Sabu to be one of the poster-children for early ECW because his appearance alone was enough for wrasslin’ fans to look at and say, “That’s different.”  Of course, Sabu was basically a madman in the ring with little regard for his own body, which helped to make ECW stand out as well.

Terry Funk – The Funkster got behind ECW early, and Paul says that there likely would not have been an ECW without Funk.  In Paul’s mind, Terry saw that he had to help bring-up young talent so that there would be a wrasslin’ industry left upon the end of Funk’s career (whenever that is going to be!).  Too many veterans of the time were clinging to “their spot”, while Funk came in and worked with a variety of ECW talent, making future stars along the way.

The Night The Line Was Crossed – This event was 2/5/94, and featured the 3-way dance between Funk, Sabu, and Shane Douglas…for the record, they went to a 1-hour time limit draw.  Dreamer says that after that event, ECW started traveling to more cities.  We get footage of Douglas’ promo after the match, and he declares that he will eventually be ECW champion.

Paul Heyman vs. WCW – Paul Heyman left Paul E. Dangerously (one of my favorite mangers from my youth) behind in WCW, and to accentuate what that was like, we see footage from WCW Wrestle War of Paul E. coming to the ring dressed like a bull fighter.  Dreamer says that during the early days of ECW, Paul was hell-bent on destroying WCW.

Tommy Dreamer – Our first image of Dreamer shows a very ripped young man wearing florescent blue tights with yellow suspenders.  Huh.  Anyway, Dreamer was brought in when Tazz’s opponent cancelled, and like Tazz, Dreamer wound-up working for ECW from that night on, for more than seven years.

The Sandman – Paul calls Sandman the embodiment of ECW.  “Here is just a tough guy looking for a fight, and people loved him.”  From the music intro, to smoking cigarettes and drinking beer on his way to the ring, to smashing the beer cans on his forehead until he was bleeding from the head before his matches even began…for Paul, Sandman was a huge part of what made ECW unique.

Sandman & Dreamer feud – From the ECW Arena on 8/30/94 came the Singapore Caning Match in which the loser would be caned.  This occurred during the time when an American teenager was convicted of a crime in Singapore and was sentenced to be caned, of course.  Dreamer lost the match, and was caned repeatedly in the ring…even going so far as to whip-out the old chestnut, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”  Dreamer’s back was bleeding and covered with welts afterward, and he says that people in the audience were yelling for him to stay down.  He says the emotion was so high that when he got into Sandman’s face afterward, Sandman’s lip was quivering because of the excitement of participating in this moment.  Dreamer goes on to say that this was a turning-point in his career, as it was “Redemption thru Violence” for him.

As the feud continued, Dreamer and Sandman were used in other ways…during one match; Dreamer knocked the cigarette into Sandman’s eye, and then caned him in the other eye causing him to go blind.  Then, the camera followed Sandman to the back, where viewers saw (many for the first time ever) goodguys and badguys co-mingling over this injured wrassler, and Tommy Dreamer is off to the side apologizing and saying, “I didn’t mean to hurt him.”  That is something that no wrasslin’ company was willing to put on TV at that time.

ECW Evolution – This segment only lasted a couple of minutes.  The main point is that the wrasslin’ industry was driven by gimmicks aimed at young children, and ECW went after the 18-34 male demographic by offering  testosterone-driven asskicking, hardcore violence, hot women…and even the occasional hot woman as recipient of hardcore violence.  Oh, and blood, which was still taboo in both WCW and WWE.

Cactus Jack – Mick Foley says that WCW was attempting to create a relationship with ECW, and so he was sent “as part of a talent-exchange program” to battle Sabu.  We get footage of Cactus Jack’s promo from ECW when he spit on and threw down the WCW Tag-Team belt that he held at the time.  Mick contends that the people in-charge would not have been so upset if they had seen the promo, rather than just hearing about it.

Mikey Whipwreck – Paul tells us that Mikey started with ECW as part of the ring crew…working for free, just to get the chance to run the ropes before shows, hoping to get noticed.  Eventually, Paul did notice Mikey and brought him in.  Mikey’s gimmick was that he was never given an offensive maneuver, and eventually he garnered such sympathy from the fans that he was a fan favorite.  Later Mikey was able to land a punch or two, and went on to win the tag team belts with Cactus Jack.

The Extreme Begins – ECW was looking for something that would set them apart from the old-school of wrasslin’s past.  Shane Douglas was booked in the NWA World Title tournament that was to take place at the ECW Arena, and Paul says that they knew that the NWA represented the old-school wrasslin’ mentality that they wanted to get away from.  Douglas won the NWA World Title on 8/27/94, then shocked the wrasslin’ world by throwing the belt down and declaring the ECW Title a World Title, and himself the ECW World Champion.  Stevie Richards says that as a fan, he considered this to be the biggest moment in wrasslin’ history that he ever witnessed.  The segment ends with footage of Todd Gordon on ECW television stating that he has folded “NWA: Eastern Championship Wrestling”, and in its place will be “ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling,” and furthermore, he stated that they recognize Shane Douglas as their first-ever World Champion…and so the era of extreme began.

Philadelphia – Paul Heyman starts this segment by saying that he doesn’t think ECW could have grown to what it became in any other city than Philadelphia.  He says that during wrasslin’s heyday in the eighties, the WWF and NWA would come to Philly and put-on house shows on the same night…competing for Philly’s rabid fanbase.  By ’93 however, the entire industry had fallen on its face, when suddenly there was a homegrown promotion making waves in Philly.  It was something for the Philly faithful to take pride in, and eventually people from New York and Pittsburgh were making the trek to the ECW Arena.

The Technical Wrestlers – The footage for this segment begins with Eddie Guerrero v. Dean Malenko.  Chris Benoit debuted around this time also, and along with people like Ron Simmons and Too Cold Scorpio they provided the style that was different from the ultra-violence that ECW was known for.

Production Value – ECW was, in a word, revolutionary.  There was no way that ECW could compete with WCW or WWF’s production values…so why try?  Paul says that he had a simple philosophy towards ECW: accentuate the positive, and hide the negative.  Since lighting and production values were a negative, they didn’t concentrate on that and accentuated the positives: best promos, most action, wildest brawls, best wrasslin’, highest-flying cruiserweights.  They also encouraged fan participation, which helped to accentuate that ECW was different.

The Fans – Jericho says that there was a cult-like feeling to ECW, not just in the locker room, but to the fans as well.  Stevie says that in some ways the fans were as creative (if not more so) than the wrasslers themselves.  RVD talks about Hat Guy and the other guys that were always in the front row at the ECW Arena, saying that those fans had fans of there own!  I never thought of it that way, but he’s right!  Dreamer discusses the interactive aspect of having “Fans Bring the Weapons” matches, and how that helped to spread the name of ECW.  Al Snow tells the story of one of my favorite ECW images…Bam Bam Bigelow press-slammed Spike Dudley over the top rope and into the front row.  Now, at most wrasslin’ shows, the fans would spread out and get out of the way…but the ECW crowd caught Spike, and then bodysurfed him around the arena.

Raven/Dreamer – Here is where I am going to say that I wish this DVD had been made by an impartial third-party…because Raven was such an important part of ECW’s history, he deserves to be on this himself.  They’re able to cover-up the fact that folks like Sandman, Sabu and Mikey Whipwreck are not under WWE’s employ with moderate success, but dammit, “We Want Raven!” (clap, clap, clap clap clap).  Paul says that he loved the Raven character, and the character helped to bring further creativity out of Heyman.  Dreamer says that this feud was among the best ECW ever did for one reason…the feud lasted more than three years, and Dreamer never got the win.  Here’s the story for those that haven’t heard it before: Dreamer and Raven went to summer camp together as kids…in high school, Dreamer was the jock and Raven was the outcast.  Years later, Raven appeared in ECW to get revenge against Dreamer, and brought along Beulah, who was a fat girl at camp (where she had a childhood crush on Dreamer), but was now Playboy-Playmate beautiful…Beulah also wanted revenge on Dreamer.

Sabu Gets Fired – The footage begins at the Double Tables event 2/4/95 from the ECW Arena.  At that event, Sabu and Tazz became new ECW Tag Team Champions.  Tazz says that he and Sabu did not get along, and going into a major ECW event where they were booked to defend the titles in a 3-way dance Sabu told Tazz that he had been booked in Japan.  Tazz makes a long story short by explaining that before the show Paul went to the ring and publicly fired Sabu.  Dreamer says that while Paul may have lied to the wrasslers, he never lied to the fans.  Ha!

Tazz Breaks His Neck – In Florida during a tag match he broke his neck after a Spike Piledriver from Scorpio and Malenko.  He was able to finish the match, and Dreamer accompanied him to the hospital…where he says that the doctors could not believe that he had walked into the hospital under his own power with a broken neck.  Tazz was out for almost a year.  Tazz goes on to say that Paul paid him for the time he missed…bet you didn’t see that coming!

Monday Night War – “Please Don’t Go!” is the chant from the fans on Malenko & Guerrero’s last night in ECW.  Paul says that ECW was the first casualty of the Monday Night War, as WCW grabbed Benoit, Malenko and Guerrero in one swoop in 1995.  Bischoff defends himself, saying that what one person calls a “raid”, someone else calls an “acquisition”.  Vince chimes in, saying that he put Paul on the WWE payroll as a way of compensating him for the talent that he lost to the WWE…contrary to Bischoff, who gave nothing back.  You know, if Vince keeps it up with this type of talk, I just might like him before it’s all over!

Lucha Libre! – After losing the technical wrasslers, Paul made a call to Konnan and brought in the luchadores.  He names Rey Mysterio, Psychosis and Juventud Guerrera and says that he provided them the platform to display the luchadore style in an extreme setting.  Rey gives props to Paul, who was the first to bring Lucha Libre to the United States.

Austin Comes To ECW – “I’m going to be the superstar that I always knew I would be, because there’s no one that can stop me.”  Paul explains that he and Austin had worked together in WCW, and after Bischoff fired Austin, Paul was lucky enough to be the first person to call.  Paul’s description of the conversation is hilarious, but it boils down to Paul offering his TV show for Austin to air his grievances against WCW.  We see footage of Austin in a bad wig hyping “Monday Niquil” and the first-ever “Jeri-tol on a pole match” that is pretty funny, too.  Paul says that he wanted to put the world title on Austin in his first match for ECW, but Austin instead said he wanted to lose to Mikey Whipwreck so that he could come on TV and say that losing just makes him want the title even more.

Promos – Cactus Jack is featured in this segment, showcasing his promos deriding the ECW fans for demanding too much of the wrasslers.

Cactus Jack Leaves ECW – Mick’s last match was at the ECW Arena against Mikey Whipwreck, and his departure is glossed-over quickly with a little footage.

Tazz Returns – The Tazmaniac was gone, and Tazz became ECW’s ultimate-fight style signature star.  Paul says that Tazz matches helped to give each card a big-time feel, something he felt was missing from mid-90s wrasslin’.

Sandman/Raven – This footage begins with Sandman’s eight year-old son declaring he now worships Raven.  I don’t mean to harp on this, but this is another segment that would have been much better if WWE had gone outside their own payroll to interview the folks involved in the feud…rather than just people who were part of ECW when it happened.  Oh well.  Paul describes the scene when Tyler kissed Raven on the cheek, causing Sandman to break down crying in the ring.

The b.W.o. – “Say hello, to Da Blue Guy!”…along with Hollywood Nova and Big Stevie Cool.  Stevie begins with, “I have three simple words…We’re Taking Over!”  This was the culmination of a series of parodies for Stevie and the Meanie.

Beulah & Dreamer – Beulah was with Raven, and revealed that she was pregnant with Dreamer’s child.  In a later storyline, Shane Douglas told Dreamer that Beulah had cheated on him, and Dreamer initially accused Raven and other wrasslers that he was feuding with, but it turned-out that she had cheated with Kimona Wanalaya…wrasslin’s first lesbian angle.  Dreamer says that this angle got them dropped from just about every TV station that they were on at the time.  Dreamer’s response to learning that his girlfriend was having a lesbian affair?  “I’ll take them both on…I’m hardcore!”

ECW & WWE – We see footage from the King of the Ring in Philly, when Mabel was crowned King with deafening “E-C-dub” chants in the background.  So when WWE returned to Philly for Mind Games, Vince allowed Sandman, Dreamer and Heyman ringside.  Tazz tells the story of accidentally breaking a cameraman’s shoulder en route to the ring.

The Crucifixion – This is the footage that so disturbed Kurt Angle that he would not work for ECW.  Stevie Richards tells the story about tying Sandman up along with the Blue Meanie…both of whom were catholic.  Angle gets the final word, as the image of Sandman being carried out of the arena tied to the cross fades out.

The Importance of Pay-Per-View – ECW was not known too far outside of the northeast, and the only way to get higher exposure was to get on pay-per-view.  Paul thanks the fans for getting ECW on ppv, by writing letters.  He also says that several ppv carriers considered ECW to be in the category of ultimate fights (i.e.: real)…and therefore ECW was unable to secure a ppv deal during their hottest period.

ECW Loses Their Pay-Per-View – At a show in Massachusetts, Axl Rotten couldn’t make it to the show, and a local kid lied about his age in order to get on the show.  New Jack beat the kid up pretty bad, and the kid died of the injuries sustained.  New Jack was cleared of all charges.  The resulting backlash got ECW dropped from ppv distributors.

The PPV is Back On! – It took about six months, but the fans rallied behind ECW, and eventually ECW’s ppv was put back on the schedule…but it had to start at 9pm, instead of 8pm when all other wrasslin’ ppvs started.

WWE Co-Promotion – ECW and WWE worked together to help promote Barely Legal, culminating in ECW “invading” an episode of Raw in New York City.  Vince says that by helping ECW, he would be helping the industry as a whole.  Dreamer points to this as the beginning of the Attitude-Era, as it was the beginning of anything-can-happen-television.

Barely Legal: RVD vs. Lance Storm – Van Dam says that a lot of people took an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach to ECW’s ppv, not thinking that ECW was actually going to make it.  He says that he was a little bitter about not being booked until he was added last-minute when someone else (I think it was Chris Candido) was injured.  After the match, he had the chance to get on the mic and voice his grievances, saying that by wrasslin’ that match, RVD was now worth more money…elsewhere.

Barely Legal: Tazz vs. Sabu – “The Grudge Match of the Century” was more than a year in the making.  Tazz won the match via submission.

The Main Event at Barely Legal – One of the greatest matches ever.  Stevie Richards v. Sandman v. Terry Funk, with the winner to face Raven immediately for the ECW World Title.  Stevie says that he was just 24 years old, lived ten minutes from the arena, and couldn’t understand how he came to be in the main event.  The impossible dream came true for Terry Funk that night.  One thing you probably don’t know if you haven’t seen the DVD, the electric transformer at the arena blew-up mere seconds after the event ended…had any of the matches lasted less than a minute longer than it did, the show would have been cut-off.

Raven Goes to WCW & Jerry Lawler Invades ECW – “You Sold Out!” chants were common from ECW crowds now and then, and that is what begins this segment with Raven in the ring.  Paul says that Raven’s leaving was a creative mistake as well as a business mistake; because WCW would not give Raven the creativity to build his character.  On Raven’s last night in ECW, Dreamer finally got his win…then the lights went out, and when they came back on Jerry Lawler was in the ring.  One feud ended, and another began.  Dreamer tells a story about being caned in the testicles by Lawler, and having to have several cc’s of blood drawn from his nutsack afterwards.

A Locker-Room Mole? – Tazz says that some people believed that Todd Gordon was working to recruit talent for WCW.  Dreamer says that Paul broke into Gordon’s cell phone and played messages from Terry Taylor and Bill Alphonzo regarding “what a great deal” they would get in WCW.  Naturally, the footage ends with Paul Heyman explaining to the fans that Gordon is no longer with ECW.  Alphonzo was also supposed to get fired, but saved his job by having a great match against Beulah…a match in which he lost 20% of his body’s blood.

The Superstars’ Roles – Bubba Ray Dudley says that after Todd Gordon left, he stepped-up and offered to use his Business Degree background, and thus was placed in charge of the day-to-day running of ECW.  I knew a little about this before watching the DVD.  At a live event, I met Tommy Dreamer at the t-shirt table, and he couldn’t talk because he was busy taking inventory of the shirts!  In Al Snow’s words, if the company grew, then all of the individuals within the company would be rewarded.  Jericho says that Dreamer was booking the matches while Bubba Ray was in charge of booking the arenas…Tazz was in charge of designing the shirts and other merchandise.  Stevie says that he often manned the ECW phone-lines.

Paul Heyman’s Creativity – Al Snow and Bubba Ray liken ECW to a cult, lead all along by Paul Heyman.  For as much credit as everyone gives Paul, it was the fact that he gave so much freedom to the talent that made the big difference.  Bubba says that it was not uncommon to have an hour-long conversation regarding minor details of a character or match.  Tazz says that at any given event, Paul would set his desk up in the middle of the locker room, in order to be completely accessible to his talent.  Al Snow and Head is given an extended period to demonstrate.

WCW & WWE Imitation – Eric Bischoff gives a laundry-list of ways in which ECW could never have been considered the #2 wrasslin’ promotion in America…TV ratings, PPV buys, live gate attendance, etc.  Hey Eric, here’s one…they were putting on the best shows!  We see lots of footage from hardcore matches from WCW.  Vince says that while they adopted different aspects of ECW, he never considered ECW to be a real threat because their target audiences are so different.  Mick Foley lets us know that without ECW, the WWE Attitude Era would not have come to be.

Tazz & The FTW Title – Tazz was the World Television Champion when Bam Bam Bigelow debuted, and they battled for the TV Title in Bigelow’s hometown.  After locking-in the Tazmission, Bigelow fell backwards and through the ring to win the belt.  Shane Douglas was the world champion at the time, but he was injured, so

Tazz created the FTW belt…if you need to know what the “F” stands for, go ask someone else. 

The Dudleys: “The Most Hated Tag Team” – “If God was a heel, He’d be the Dudley Boys.”  Since everyone was already using tables, when the Dudleys needed something to kick things up a notch, Bubba said, “Hey, why not set it on fire?”  Balls Mahoney was the first to taste the flaming table, and he said that if he got burnt, then that would be good for the business.  The early days of fan riots is touched-upon briefly, and Bubba admits that it sometimes got out of hand…like at Heatwave from Dayton, OH 7/18/99 (incidentally, this was my first ECW show…and it would be several months later before I paid Rick for the tickets because somehow I got it into my head that he had gotten free tickets…good times).  D-Von says that it sometimes got so bad that fans would be waiting for them outside after shows.

Financial Woes – Paul likens the wrasslin’ industry to the dot-com industry, and says that the bubble had to burst eventually.  The only way that ECW could keep their talent was to get a national-TV deal in order to compete with the salaries being offered by WCW and WWE.  Several guys talk about how they continued working despite paychecks that bounced.  Lance Storm says that when he put his foot down regarding bounced checks, Paul started to Fed-Ex his paychecks every month.  Dreamer says that he wasn’t paid for more than six months.  D-Von hits the nail on the head when he says that Paul was a wrasslin’ genius, but could not be trusted with running a corporation.

The TNN Deal, & Tazz Leaves – Finally, ECW landed on TNN.  Vince says that he called to congratulate Paul, and advised him that he would have to make changes to his business model in order to get the ratings that would be expected by a cable TV company.  Beforehand, they were able to get by on small ratings to a niche market, but now they would be expected to get the lion’s share of ratings on Friday nights.  After landing a TV deal, ECW lost their World Champion and Tag Team Champions within a matter of two weeks.  Tazz discusses what was going through his head as he weighed his options at the time.  At Anarchy Rulz ’99, Tazz dropped the title in a 3-way elimination match against Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome.

The Dudleys Leave ECW – Vince likens the Dudleys to the heart and soul of ECW.  Before getting started, Bubba says that neither he nor D-Von was ever owed money.  When it came down to it, Paul said that there was no way he could compete with WCW or WWE financially, and wished them the best.  D-Von says that their last night in ECW was one of his favorite performances, because when they won the belts early in the show many fans thought that they would not be leaving after all.  Later, of course they lost the belts to Dreamer and Raven…I’ve already recapped this event for OO, so if you have never seen it, go get a copy right now!

Disappointment with TNN/RVD: “The Whole f’n Show” – Paul gives a laundry-list of things that TNN tried to demand, including elimination of the word “hate”.  Of course, TNN wanted only first-run programming, and because Paul didn’t like the footage they shot for the first show, he gave them footage of RVD v. Jerry Lynn from a previous ppv.  So from the very first show, Paul was not giving them what they wanted.  TNN wanted higher production values, while ECW wanted to keep it counter-culture.  Paul says that just to provide the production values was causing ECW to go broke…meanwhile, TNN doesn’t show any ECW commercials except for while you’re watching the show, no press releases, no radio advertisement, and TNN is publicly negotiating with the WWE at the same time!  The uncensored version of Paul Heyman’s comments that were censored by TNN are shown…basically he thanks the fans, and then rants on TNN for not supporting them, and for not having the balls to just throw ECW off the air.

Mike Awesome Controversy & Tommy Dreamer Wins the Title – RVD was the TV Champion at the time, and Paul described him as “the meal” that the people paid to get.  Just as RVD was starting a feud against Awesome, pitting the TV champ against the World champ, Van Dam broke his ankle.  Mike Awesome, for his part, went to WCW while still under contract with ECW, and the police were sent to the arena where Nitro was being filmed to get the ECW belt.  If you weren’t watching ECW at the time, well Tazz came back to take-on Awesome at an ECW house show…the only time ever that a WWE contracted wrassler took-on a WCW contracted wrassler in an ECW ring.  Tazz took the belt with him to Raw, and even fought a Champ v. Champ match on Smackdown against Triple H.  A week later, Dreamer beat Tazz for the ECW Title at the ECW Arena…his first time ever winning a singles-title.  Dreamer says that he was actually upset because he wanted to retire from ECW without ever holding the World Title.  For the record, Dreamer never got to wear the belt because Justin Credible came out after the match and goaded Dreamer into defending the belt against him, and Credible won the match when Francine double-crossed Dreamer and joined Credible…but if this DVD was your only exposure to ECW, you would probably get the idea that Dreamer was ECW’s last champion.

The Demise of ECW – Advertisers were afraid of ECW.  That’s really what it boils down to, advertisers and marketing executives and television censors were afraid.  ECW could not continue to serve the hardcore audience, and build a national entity at the same time.  To his credit, Vince says that he understands the thinking behind Heyman’s decisions to stick with his “us against the world” attitude.  Dreamer says that at some of the final shows, Heyman would tell the guys that he could only pay them out of what was made at the show that night.  Rhyno says that at the last show, he wouldn’t go to the ring at the end of the show when the rest of the locker room did, because he still didn’t believe that it all was really over.  He says that in the weeks followed, he even went onto ECW online to check and see if any new live dates had been announced.  Dreamer posits that ECW was the only company to go out of business at the same time that they were doing great business…sell-outs at all their shows right up to the day that the company folded.

Paul Heyman Debuts on Raw – That’s when it became real for a lot of folks.  Pretty much everyone that comments in this segment says that Paul is uncomfortable taking orders from others.  Vince gives him credit for wanting to remain in the industry.

Jericho says that he called Heyman for over a year because he wanted to work for ECW.  Mick Foley says he thinks that fans continue to chant “E-C-dub” four years after the company folded because it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling inside.  Paul says to succeed you have to be willing to risk it all and have no fear of failing…that was his business model, and unfortunately, he risked it all (at least) one time too many.

I don’t have much to add…I’m super-excited for One Night Stand this weekend.  I’ll be recapping it live as I watch it, which is a first for me…so, wish me luck!

PEACE

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In addition to enjoying pro wrasslin', Scotty is an avid photographer.  His family website contains over 700 pictures, and has a photo-album dedicated entirely to The Sport of Kings (including a picture from the night he & his wife met New Jack), and is available at: http://www.msnusers.com/TheSzantoNicodemusWedding.


  
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