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

Interview with Nancy Benoit’s sister

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I found this on The2count.com.  I find her to be very well spoken. – Dusty

He did seem to love Nancy very dearly. We know that, unfortunately, their relationship started to get rocky at some point. When did you first get wind that things were turning complicated between them?

I lived in Atlanta and my sister asked me home almost every one of my days off. I want to be clear: Chris was not an abusive husband. But there were, what we call in the industry, though don’t often talk about, “high spots”. She had been there, in that position before, and refused to put up with it at all, especially with Daniel in their home. So I went with her after one of these “incidents” to file an order of protection.

What do you mean by “high spots”?

Yelling, screaming, name calling, shoving, pushing, breaking stuff.

Did Nancy ever mention anything about fearing for her or Daniel’s safety?

Yes, when she first filed for divorce.

In 2003, Nancy filed for divorce citing cruel treatment and an irrevocably broken marriage. She also filed a restraining order against Chris. She later dropped the proceedings as well as the restraining order. Why did she do that?

Because, like with any marriage where there are issues, they made up and wanted to reconcile, especially for Daniel.

It was reported that Daniel suffered from Fragile X syndrome and that he was being given human growth hormones. Was Daniel’s health an issue in Nancy and Chris’ disagreements?

Daniel did not have Fragile X. I have his medical records. He was NOT sick.

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56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania XX’s Best Matches: Results

After some serious YouTube and DailyMotion hunting, I think this is as close to the full matches as we’re going to get on both of these winners. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple just killed it, and Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle was heart-stopping. Here they are, in pieces, for your enjoyment.

Stunt Granny Audio #208

Eric and Kevin are back, and the boys discuss Kevin attending WWE Monday Night Raw in Columbus, Ohio. Who was over? Who was a dud? What was Kevin’s favorite moment? His biggest disappointment? What did the guys think of the Jerry Lawler-CM Punk-Paul Heyman-Mick Foley angle? The Ryback-Brad Maddox match? The action-packed 8-man tag? They also do some quick hits: Will Steve Austin wrestle CM Punk, and would they spend the money for a ticket? What’s their favorite Eddie Guerrero memory? Will they spend $1.98 on the paperback version of AJ Styles’ book? All this and a little more!

Stunt Granny Audio Show #208

Stunt Granny Audio #195

Serious business goes on at Kevin’s workplace.

Kevin and Dusty didn’t start the fire! But they sure did talk about it on this audio! Join Kevin and Dusty on a fantastic voyage through the wacky world of professional wrestling, as they give you a healthy dosage of News You Can Use. They also talk about just how crazy Kharma is, how useless Velvet Sky is, how ridiculous TNA is, how big of a superstar Chavo Guerrero is, how cashing it in Jerry Lawler, and a veritable host of other things. Dusty makes gay jokes, Kevin regales us with tales of idiot co-workers, and a special surprise guest pops in to add to the festivities. All this and a whole lot more, and it’s only going to take you about an hour of your precious measley time, so get to it, losers.

Stunt Granny Audio Show #195

Extreme Reunion 2012 Was A Rousing Success

Raven and Sandman going at it.

As I start this post, this was the only results post on you-know-what page:

Hey Dave.  I’m sure you’ve probably gotten match results from others (and lord knows I don’t remember them), so I’ll just give a few notes from the show:

–Place was PACKED.  I’d say at least 3/4 of the people there were standing.  Made it impossible to see what was happening when they fought outside the ring (which they did in every match).

–It was definitely a bit of an older crowd compared to old ECW shows back in the day.  It basically looked like everyone from the old days had grown up; not a lot of kids or teens there.  I was actually quite surprised how many guys had attractive girls there with them.  Not something I saw a lot of back in the day at ECW shows.  Hey good for them!

–The show did start late.  They aired a video package in tribute for all the wrestlers who have died in the last decade and then a taped promo by Douglas but the sound wasn’t working.  Nice touch but not a good omen.

–The show started with a tag team match with 4 guys whose name I couldn’t hear.  Crowd hated it.

–They then did a “match” with 2 more indy guys.  One of them was this little tiny Asian guy who took the mic before the match and started talking to the audience in a high-pitched voice that made him sound like William Hung.  Then this guy comes from the crowd and told both of the wrestlers in the ring to scram.  Nobody had any idea who this guy was.  He then called out Shane Douglas, who didn’t show up.  Funny thing was that Shane was literally standing right behind us in the crowd.

–Then the “ECW” part of the show started with the FBI vs BWO.  Richards, Marmaluke, and Guido were probably the only 3 guys on the entire show in good shape.  Match was total comedy.  Highlight was Guido and Meanie doing a thumb wrestling war on the mat with the ref giving a 2 count when Meanie had Guido’s thumb down.  The same unknown dude from the last segment distracted Richards for the finish.  It was never explained who this guy was.

–CW Anderson and Al Snow were next.  Anderson looks like he’s about 60 now.  Snow was grossly overweight.  He was winded just from doing his entrance.  Match was a disaster.  Anderson put an armbar on Snow no less than 5 times.  There were several chants of “Armmmmmmmmmbar” as a homage to the old Chris Jericho “Man of 1004 Holds” promo.  Snow beat up Head after the match and then went running back begging for forgiveness, which was actually pretty entertaining.

–The segment with The Gangstas vs Angel was also pretty bizarre.  Angel came out asking for someone to be his partner (did Devito no show?) but nobody came.  Gangstas then came out (Mustafa looking absolutely huge and not in a good way) and beat him up for 3 minutes before the indy guys from the 1st match came in, beat them up for like a minute, and then left.  One of them looked to have gotten into a legit fight with a fan on the way out that was broken up by security, but it was hard to tell.  Complete waste of time.

–Somewhere in here they did a planned spot where the ring announcer was making some general announcements, the lights went out, and they brought out a stripper to try and recreate the Kimona Wannalaya strip tease from that time they lost power at the ECW Arena.  The stripper basically just writhed around on the mat like a sizzling piece of bacon in a skillet.  It was a little weird.

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Yokozuna added to WWE Hall of Fame class of 2012

Bonzai!

WWE has announced yet another induction in to the fictional WWE Hall of Fame. The final inductee is Yokozuna. This is pretty good news because Yokozuna was fantastic. Sure he got a little to heavy at the end of his career but at the onset he was great. He may not have been Japanese but as a joyful tween it didn’t matter nor was it noticeable. Damn you dirt sheets for ruining it for me and planting subtle seeds of racism in my tender mind.

On a down note; Yokozuna is yet another wrestler no longer on this earthly palate that WWE has inducted. They are near perfect with inducting one dead wrestler a year since The Hall of Fame’s inception. Don’t believe me? Well here is a list.

1993 Andre The Giant
1994 “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers
1995 Antonino Rocca
1996 Vincent J. McMahon
2004 Big John Studd
2004 Junkyard Dog
2005 none
2006 Eddie Guerrero
2007 Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig
2008 “High Chief” Peter Maivia
2008 Eddie Graham
2009 The Von Erichs (Fritz,Kerry,David,Mike,Chris)
2010 Gorgeous George
2010 Stu Hart
2011 Road Warrior Hawk
2012 Yokozuna

There is only one year that a dead wrestler avoided induction and that was the stellar class of 2005. Now if Hogan, according to his book, had pulled the trigger you would have an after the fact dead guy in the Hall of fame but as it stands he is slowly killing himself working in Orlando. So, shouldn’t be too much longer really.
So congratulations to the family of Yokozuna. -Jeremy

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