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ECW: A personal remberance

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ECW was special. People can cheer the Rock all they want, but ECW was a lineup of the craziest, most dedicated wresters in the world. These guys (and women) performed solely because they loved what they did. This Sunday, Vince McMahon is taking the reigns, letting his now grown superstars go back in time, yet it won’t be the same. The home grown, low budget production values will be eclipsed, and the personal experiences simply can’t be duplicated.

I was at the very first TNN taping here in Toledo (still have a promotional sign). It was the Dudley Boys against Spike and Balls Mahoney. The match still is, to this day, the craziest things I’ve ever seen in (and out of) a wrestling ring. Highlights included the entire popcorn stand being demolished, multiple chair shots, and the single greatest pro wrestling stunt I ever had the pleasure of seeing live:

Spike Dudley being power-bombed over the top rope through TWO burning tables on the outside onto CONCRETE. Still think pro wrestling is fake? Watch this match.

What’s TNN do with it? They decide not to air it because it’s too violent. They seemed to do this with all the great matches, and if you only seen ECW on TV, you really didn’t see ECW. If by some chance you have the first ECW DVD (Extreme Revolution), you can see this match and me in the front row.

My second experience was a match in Michigan, and I can’t remember which arena. Balls Mahoney blasted RVD with a chair and then tossed it out of the ring right under the guardrail where it slid right to me. The crew let me keep it. After the show, we went around to the back of the arena. I got it signed by Dreamer, Sandman, Lynn, and a few others, and then Balls came out. I showed him the chair, told him he made the dent and replied:

“Pussy put his hands up. You can tell by the dent.”

He then signed it “Balls” and drew two testicles. I’ll never forget it. Fan interaction made that fed, and that show proved it, even if a guy can make someone happy by drawing his penis. The chair sits in my kitchen, where it will stay, now signed by countless other superstars of pro wrestling.

ECW will always stay with me, and it’s all because those guys loved what they do, and didn’t want 50 bodyguards to mingle with fans. They pulled of moves unseen in any other federation, and things that no one else in their right mind would even try. They entertained, they created new fans, and they sent old ones home. They made wrestling memorable, they made it unforgettable, and that’s sadly something no attempt at nostalgia from the WWE can ever bring back.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    So, are you going to check out tonight’s show? Vince is already hedging his bets with all involved. If it does well, he can say it’s because of all the WWE guys being there, if it does bad, he can say no one is interested in ECW anymore.

    I hope it does well, I won’t be watching as I can’t justify the PPV costs, but if the word is good, I’ll consider the DVD.

    There is also going to be another ECW DVD of the best matches, I hope the overall quality is on par with the last disk.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    No, I’m not getting it for a few reasons:

    1. All Vince is doing is shoving some of his WWE guys out there who aren’t quite the young guys they used to be. I want to see the real ECW guys. I understand Guerrero and Mysterio were there, but I can now see them on Smackdown. Same goes for most of the guys on the card.

    2. $34.95, five matches on the card.

    3. RAW/Smackdown invasion. Keep this crap out of it.

    4. No barbed wire, table, etc. matches.

    Vince should be able to plainly see people want ECW from the sales of DVD’s. This PPV is NOT ECW. He should do this right or not do it at all. The DVD will come out June 28th according to Amazon and it’s $17. I’ll get it then.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan Hoang

    Sabu was amazing. I remember the first time ECW invaded WWF and Sabu did a flying suplex from the 2nd floor balcony onto a table. It was wild. ECW did put a little more excitement into wrestling.

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    Hey Matt, I think I may get this PPV on DVD, check out this review of the show HERE

    I generally agree with his writing.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    I borrowed a tape from a buddy, and needless to say, this is worth every penny they’re charging for the DVD. If I have to buy it twice to make up for not ordering it, I will. I’m taking back every word I said about the WWE involvement. It was brief and quick, and there wasn’t a bad match on the card.

    Masato Tanaka is amazing. He takes chair shots like no one else. I’d swaer Awesome almost killed him three times.

    I think this exceeded everyone’s expectations, but they did charge too much. Vince has the money to take a small loss, even if it’s to find ECW a new crowd or fan base.

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    Glad to hear the good word. I am going to make a point to get this disk.

    I read that there is going to be some sort of ECW involvement on Smackdown this week.

    What do you think of the two sets coming out tomorrow on disk?