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

Weekend Rewind – #Impact365 and Kassius Ohno

In the video above, you can see Bully Ray attacking Tommy Dreamer and dear lord, why is Terry Funk still taking bumps? You’re 69 years old. It’s unnecessary. I’m perfectly fine with my father having mowing lawns being his most strenuous activity. Any who, Bully Ray challenged Tommy Dreamer to a Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight at the House of Hardcore even this past weekend. I love the idea of using a house show to advertise a pay per view. Too bad I don’t in any way  want to see Tommy Dreamer fight anyone.

Prowrestling.net is saying that Kassius Ohno, better known as Chris Hero, has been “Future Endeavored” by the WWE. The 33 year old is going to move on to greener pastures if that is the case. It took CM Punk about six years to get to main event status. If Ohno had gone to the gym, he might have gotten a main event slot in approximately 2019 when he’d be 39 years old. The WWE isn’t losing much by getting rid of him and Ohno will get more exposure at the tail end of his career by suffering in TNA or ROH. If the WWE had called him up, they would have followed the pattern with recent major call ups though, Ohno would become a cousin to Apolo Anton Ohno since he could come out on a sheet of ice on the stage and have a big entrance. Everyone will think it’s cool for about two months then even the WWE writers will forget you’re on the roster…cough, Fandango, cough. – Kevin

Stunt Granny Audio #236

IMG_20131106_231710

Yes you are seeing it right, Stunt Granny is providing you with another podcast/audio this week. What is the special occasion? Well, one of our members went to see Mick Foley perform at the Charlotte Comedy Zone. Yep, Jeremy continues his new adventures in the big city as he took in a night of stories, laughs and introspection. Mick provided the laughs and stories and the crowd caused Jeremy to take a hard look at himself. What conclusion did he come to? How did his life change from this night? He also shares his views on Mick’s material and, spoiler, they are mostly positive. What caused the most groans? How did Jeremy’s show compare to a show earlier in the year that Kevin attended? What did Jeremy immediately notice about Mick? What question would Jeremy have asked Mick if all of the wrestling geniuses in the room hadn’t jumped on the opportunity? So give it a listen.

The best wrestling promo of the year so far

IMO. – Dusty

Second Annual Akeem Memorial Hall of Fame: Serious Wrestlers

Every year, starting in 2010, we here at Stunt Granny will go through a rigorous, dangerous, possibly illegal set of votes to induct people into our own Akeem Memorial Hall of Fame. The voting is broken up into four categories: Serious Wrestlers, Fun Wrestlers, Angles, and Matches. This post is for the Serious Wrestlers. Here are last year’s inductees:

Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Roddy Piper, Rick Steamboat, The Rock, Curt Hennig

And now, without any further ado, here are this year’s inductees!

Hulk Hogan

Randy Savage

Chris Jericho

Jerry Lawler

Terry Funk

The Midnight Express

Harley Race

Nick Bockwinkel

Andre the Giant

The Freebirds

Kevin Nash Meet & Greet for PWO Wrestlelution 4: Overdrive – Dan’s Perspective

Nothing is working for me tonight. I took an hour & a half to get this terrible picture.

 Wow, not a good start to trying to make this article about the information Dan and I got from the Kevin Nash. I tried to take pictures with my phone but they continually came out dark. So I switched to my camera. The first picture was dark so I took a second picture. Just as I plugged my camera into my computer, the camera battery died so it’s being recharged as I type. I ended up getting a decent picture with too much glare. Deal with it.

I want to let everyone know that I have relinquished full creative control of this report to Kevin.  I don’t know whether he will submit this as two seperate reports or as one combined report and I confident about his ability to edit this how he sees fit.  I get long winded so Kevin should feel free to cut anything unnecessary on here. (Editor’s Note: I saw a couple of spelling mistakes but will leave this note for changes. I decided to go with two articles because this was really good and I have a bunch of other stuff. I will limit the overlap of information.)

I am submitting this report from the Delta Sky Club in the Memphis Airport which cost me $50 to join (I may try to write this off on my taxes as a professional expense!) but I made $400 in vouchers changing my flight back to Kansas City this morning.  No sacrifice is too great for the Stunt Granny Universe.

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Stunt Granny Interview Series: Kyle Klingman of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

From L to R (visible): Larry Hennig ring jacket, Mr. Perfect singlet, a headlock-workout head with springs, a cast of the French Angel's huge head, Team Angle singlet and kickpads, Olympic singlet, photo of Ken Patera & Brad Rheingans, Gene Kiniski ring jacket

As part of our coverage of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, Eric Nelson had the chance to talk with Kyle Klingman, the museum’s executive director, about the past weekend’s events. Kyle discusses his role at the museum and how the museum itself and the pro wrestling hall of fame weekend has evolved, as well; how planning is truly a year-round process; how wrestlers are inducted and given awards; and what it means to Kyle himself to have so many legends under one roof. They share a few anecdotes from past induction weekends, and Kyle offers up one name on his “wish list” for the future. All this and more, so click to listen!

Stunt Granny Interview: Kyle Klingman

Stunt Granny Audio: Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend review

L to R: Eric, Tough Nut to Crack

Eric and Dan traveled to Waterloo, Iowa, this past weekend for the festivities at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum as part of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions. Spend two days (well, 60 minutes) with the guys as they discuss everything from chance encounters upon their arrival to the Impact Pro Wrestling training session and independent card featuring Austin Aries, Colt Cabana and Hacksaw Jim Duggan (who did well, who did better than well, and who did fantastic jobs). They even sneak in some anecdotes from that night at the hotel bar with the legends and the guys from IPW. Saturday’s recap includes the roundtable panel discussion with legends including Terry Funk, Baron Von Raschke and Gerald Brisco (worth the price of the DVD, set to be released before next year’s induction), an autograph session (Mad Dog Vachon told Eric a joke worth the price of five DVDs) and the induction ceremony, including Jim Ross’ epic speech (worth the price of 10 DVDs, seriously). An amazing experience, so listen in!

Stunt Granny Audio Waterloo Hall of Fame

Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, announces banquet participants

He could sign something for YOU!

According to its Facebook page, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, has confirmed Mick Foley as the master of ceremonies for its hall of fame awards banquet on Saturday, July 23, as well as the banquet participants.

Mick Foley has confirmed he will be the master of ceremonies at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame banquet. Confirmed participants for the banquet are Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Jim Ross, Gerald Brisco, Jim Duggan, Larry Hennig, Maurice Vachon, Jim Raschke, Danny Hodge, Dan Gable, Pat Miletich, Bob Roop, Scott Teal, and Fritz Von Goering. Order your tickets today.

Well? What in the hell are you waiting for? Dan (Zourah) and I both have our tickets, and so should you. I’m telling you, let’s get Terry Funk lit up on Jack Daniels and see if he’ll tell us some stories. It’ll be glorious. For more information on the weekend, or for information on ordering banquet tickets and professional wrestling show tickets, contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or orders@wrestlingmuseum.org. Tell them Eric from Stunt Granny sent you, I need some cred. -Eric

Mick Foley to take part in Waterloo, Iowa hall of fame event

Foley with an afro... an afroley?

I knew this one, but when I was told, it was in a “keep it under your hat” sort of way. Well, much like this guy’s shaggy hair would be impossible to keep under his hat, so now is this news: According to Prowrestling.net, Mick Foley will be in Waterloo, Iowa, to take part in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum’s annual hall of fame induction ceremony, July 22 and 23, 2011. For more information, go to www.wrestlingmuseum.org. Foley will be the master of ceremonies at the museum’s hall of fame induction banquet, to take place at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center that Saturday night. Say what you will about Foley (and believe me, we do), but with Foley at the podium, with Terry Funk in the house, and with Jim Ross and Hacksaw Jim Duggan accepting esteemed awards, this is sure to be an awesome weekend. Just keep Bret Hart out of there. -Eric

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