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.