Shahid’s Blog: Cracked Glasses of Nostalgia – An Adult’s Walk Down ECW’s Memory Lane

ecw I remembered being depressed after moving from Philadelphia to Atlantic City during my high school years.  Separated from my family, friend and comfortable surroundings for a dump of a coastal city was a jarring experience.  WWF wasn’t helping either – Friar Ferguson and Beverly Bros/Money Inc main event matches would turn any smile upside down.  On a random Thursday evening, I stumbled upon a new wrestling promotion.  Gritty, small, loud and realistic, it instantly drew me in.  Regardless of the fact that I was watching a plodding match featuring Tully Blanchard, I was enchanted by the promos, violence and music of what was known as Eastern Championship Wrestling.  I can vividly recall talking to like minded individuals about how ECW was actually real, instead of that scripted crap of the WWF.  Seeing Sandman, a fat drunkard with a cigarette with Woman or Missy Hyatt on his arm just seemed authentic on some visceral level.  Hearing adult promos from Cactus Jack, Steve Austin and Shane Douglas made WCW and WWF seem quaint and childish.  State of the art matches from Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho,  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit…..violent brawls from the Public Enemy, the Pitbulls, Terry Funk….Sabu vs Taz…Raven terrorizing Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman…..sexy females with scant clothing and even less decorum.  ECW was a teenager’s dream.  Hearing the Gangstas come out to Natural Born Killers to engage in a blood bath made a Bret Hart match seem boring as can be.  I can remember waking up at 1 am to watch an ECW episode consisting of a pissed off Steve Austin just spitting venom at Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes and WCW.  In a pre screw job, pipe bomb, real name era, it was as if someone had a peephole behind the magic rasslin curtain.  By the time they invaded Monday Night Raw to promote their first PPV, I was a full-fledged ECW acolyte.

Now, I’m sure there are many individuals in my age group that share similar joyous memories of ECW.  Even with One Night Stand and a brief resurgence led by Paul Heyman, it still felt hollow and empty, missing that rebellious fire of the 90s.  So when the WWE Network arrived, ECW was the first area delved into, due to an adolescent fondness. Even though it lacked the music and didn’t have the weekly shows, I was excited to see how well it held up.  So I watched a few ppvs and weekly shows and then watched a few more.  I tried jumping around during various time periods, hoping to shake this nagging sensation.  After a week of watching, I had to admit to myself that ECW, like many teenage passions, didn’t age well.

I won’t use revisionist history and proclaim ECW an overrated vanity project and minor league system.  It was enjoyable and revolutionary, and I will always cherish those teenage memories.  But watching it now is borderline painful.  Seeing the Sandman no longer brings feelings of awe and admiration. Now, I witness a slovenly bum who was a perfect example of smoke and mirrors.  Instead of rooting for the underdog story of Mikey Whipreck, I scoffed at the notion that he could ever beat Steve Austin in a match (side note – him pinning Austin killed any notion that ECW wasn’t predetermined).  I can understand the reasoning and logic behind pushing individuals like Tommy Dreamer and Justin Credible, instead of superior talent such as Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam.  But as a fan today, I have little tolerance of watching Eddie Guerrero in the midcard, for fear of being snatched away by WCW and WWF.  For all of the wonderful long term angles pulled off by ECW, there were too many instances of inconsistent referees, match stipulations, and haphazard PPV’s.  If WWE tried to pull the ol “Let’s announce two matches, and we’ll work out the rest of the details later” style of booking, they would get crucified. I almost forget, they did try that…it was called December to Dismember, and it was universally panned.

The biggest issue with ECW is the same factor which added to its popularity – the extreme violence.  Seeing someone kick out from a power bomb through a flaming table with thumbtacks, only to get rolled up due to seeing the 34DD’s of Francine seems asinine today.  The constant one-upping of finishing moves led to many negative habits, not only by ECW, but by WCW and WWF. WCW was rightfully mocked for taking the piss out of ECW concepts, featuring hardcore matches with cotton candy used as a weapon.  But as an adult, I prefer that approach more so than WWF, which raised the bar to an extremely dangerous level i.e. Hell in a Cell with Undertaker-Mankind, and the myriad TLC matches.  Classic events, but considering the mark left on many of the individuals, something that is watched with trepidation.  But nothing makes me cringe more than the chair shots to the head.  When I first saw Tommy Dreamer plaster Raven square in his hipster face, I remember screaming like a girl at a Bobby Brown concert.  But after current knowledge of concussions and long term damage, I can’t help but cringe. I won’t even touch upon the menace known as New Jack (that’s a column for another day.)

As far as the adult content, what seemed risqué as a teenager comes off as misogynistic and trashy today.  Shane Douglas cussing every 3rd word makes him come off as an uncouth doofus. For every great promo from Raven or Cactus jack, there was some nonsense from the Pitbulls, or some foul mouthed diatribe from Rhino. And it wasn’t restricted to the wrestlers – hearing an arena full of angry men chanting crack whore or she has herpes doesn’t seem cool anymore.  I’m definitely not a prude, and I specifically remember the eye candy of ECW very fondly.  Between Beulah, Missy Hyatt, Woman, Francine and Dawn Marie, ECW definitely upped the sex appeal factor from the almost quaint days of Missy Hyatt and Sunny.  Today – well, seeing a skinny broad with some silicone enhancements taking a pile driver just seems unclean.  Any doubts to ECW being a mainstream entertainment vehicle vanished with my wife’s utter look of disgust after hearing a Dudley Boys promo.  My “it was a different era, baby”  didn’t hold much weight.

Regardless of my experience, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to traverse down memory lane with a more mature point of view.  ECW will always have a fond place in my heart, and I am grateful and cognizant of its effect on professional wrestling.  However, next time someone complains about Vince’s asinine booking and longs for the halcyon days of Paul Heyman, gently remind them that Steve Corino and Justin Credible were ECW World Champions, but Rob Van Dam and Stunning Steve Austin weren’t. And then tape their expressions for YouTube. -Shahid

Wrestlers Rescue Is Bullshit

Watch out Dawn! That homeless man is going to hustle you!

From wrestlezone.com:

According to Mike Aldren, who is the editor of The Wrestling Globe Newsletter and a writer for The UK Sun, former WWE Diva Dawn Marie Damatta is accused of embezzling money raised by her “Wrestlers Rescue” organization to fly herself to conventions around the country in order to make money from autograph signings and appearances. “Wrestlers Rescue” is a charity organization created by Damatta to help support the health care needs of retired pro wrestlers. When questioned by Aldren, Damatta set her attorney on him, who admitted that “Wrestlers Rescue” is not a registered charity.

Activist Irvin Muchnick then posted the following on his blog which was noted to him by Aldren: “Nobody seems to know where all the money has gone nor has anyone seemingly benefited from the money that Dawn has raised over the past three years. Her former friends have told me she uses the money to fly herself to conventions around the country so she can profit from autograph signings. She has agreements with several promoters where if she flies herself in she will get a free table to sell her merchandise. When I started asking reasonable questions, Dawn set her attorney on me, who admits Wrestlers Rescue is not a registered charity.”

Additionally, it’s being said that a host of the “Hit the Ropes” radio show has made similar accusations against Damatta, claiming that the FBI is actually investigating both her and “Wrestlers Rescue” for possible embezzlement. His claim is that the organization did not refund money for a canceled benefit cruise back in April 2010.

The “Hit the Ropes” host also claimed that Damatta did not aid Dr. Death Steve Williams as promised when she held a benefit for the late pro wrestler last year to aid him in his fight against cancer. The host claimed that money raised from the benefit did not help Williams get the voice box needed to assist him in speaking.

It’s being said that the organization’s website, which can be found at www.wrestlersrescue.org, was suspended for sometime last night, but is now working again.

I will never get tired of laughing at people who get surprised when wrestlers or former wrestlers do carny-type activities. Of course Wrestlers Rescue is phony. I would have been shocked and disappointed if it was legit. – Dusty

Something of some description is wrong with Captain Lou

First person to build a time machine back to 1987 and call that hotline wins a years subscription to the Torch.

First person to build a time machine back to 1987 and call that hotline wins a year's subscription to the Torch.

Former WWE Diva Dawn Marie issued the following press release regarding Captain Lou Albano.

Speaking on behalf of the Albano family, Wrestler’s Rescue is sad to report that Captain Lou Albano has fallen ill, and is currently at home with his family under hospice care.

Albano is not suffering from cancer, according to his family. While the family is grateful for the in pour of affection, please respect their privacy during these tough times.

Wrestler’s Rescue is collecting donations to be forwarded to the Albano family for medical expenses.

For more information, go to WrestlersRescue.org.
or email questions to WrestlersRescue@aol.com.

Could you be less specific?

I can verify at this time that Captain Lou definitely did not get a sexually transmitted disease from having sexual relations with local sheep. I don’t know how these rumors get started, but I am here to once and for all put an end to them. Seriously, this is like on Survivor a couple weeks back when Ben was talking about how “certain people” in the tribe were saying things about Ashley and “it definitely wasn’t Russell.” Like, ooookaaaayyy.

So I have no clue if Captain Lou has cancer or doesn’t have cancer, whether he’s autistic, has a broken leg, has a sinus infection, has an STD, what have you, but I can definitely report beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the worst manager I have ever seen. He was the absolute pits. And, now there’s something wrong with him. Or something. So yeah. – Dusty

Dawn Marie helping raise something in my pants

This post was really just an excuse to post this picture.

Let's be honest: This post was really just an excuse to use this picture.

According to the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online, former ECW and WWE star Dawn Marie is asking for help for Hurricane Ike victims sweet jesus she’s a hot piece of ace…

–Dawn Marie is trying to raise supplies for Hurricane Ike victims in Houston.  She is asking people to send food, toothpaste, toiletry items, and towels to Torrie Wilson and Nick Mitchell, who will distribute them to the community, by sending to Wilson at 9595 Six Pines Dr., The Woodlands, TX  77380.  Make sure to donate with your name and mention it is for Wrestlers Rescue.

My friends Merz, Otto, Brad and myself got front-row tickets to an ECW on TNN TV taping in May 2000 in St. Paul, Minn. Dawn Marie was at ringside, and the camera caught me blatantly staring at her hot ass and making lewd comments to Merz. My girlfriend at the time (and current skank) saw me and wondered what I was doing, so I told her I was laughing at a comment Merz — who is by far the most religious person I know — made about Dawn’s sweet, sweet can. And you know what? I would trade in the two years I spent with that piece of filth for one more look at Dawn’s sweet, sweet can. -Eric

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