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

56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania 2000’s Best Matches

What’s the Roman numeral for 2000? Anyway, this was the biggest WrestleMania of the past five years without WWF’s biggest star, Steve Austin, on the card, so WWF went into heavy PR mode, including getting each of the four main-event participants a guest-host gig on Saturday Night Live. It was still an odd card, with only one singles match, for the Women’s Title. Somewhere in the chaos was one or two matches worth voting for, so have at it!

Merry Christmas

Kevin 10 year old WWF Cake

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate the pictures of myself and my younger brother dressed up as the Bush Whackers for Halloween. Luckily for everyone who enjoys me making an ass out of myself, I found a picture of myself celebrating my tenth birthday with a WWF cake made by my mother. Merry Christmas. -Kevin

Top 10 Survivor Series Elimination Matches

We here at Stunt Granny are suckers for nostalgia, so when we think of Survivor Series, we don’t think of some queefy triple threat match with John Cena, CM Punk and Ryback. We hearken back to the days when teams of five (or four) strive to survive! You know, hence the name of the event. At its inception, the Survivor Series pay-per-view was composed of elimination matches, with the goal of survival at the expense of the entire opposing team. Then they started fucking with the format, and now it’s a bunch of singles matches, with the token bone thrown at us older fans of one, maybe two elimination matches.

Well screw you, WWE, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Survivor Series elimination matches of all time! We’ve scoured YouTube for copyright infringers (them, not us) and found most of these matches for your viewing pleasure. If you find one that we couldn’t, leave the link in a comment and we’ll post it. (Don’t rip it and upload yourself; remember, we’re not the ones breaking the law 🙂 )

Side note: How was the 1989 event so damn good?? The worst match featured the top draw and two of the best workers of all time!

1988
Powers of Pain & Rockers & Hart Foundation & British Bulldogs & Young Stallions
vs.
Demolition & Brain Busters & Bolsheviks & Fabulous Rougeaus & Conquistadors

1989
Ultimate Warrior & Jim Neidhart & Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty
vs.
Andre the Giant & Arn Anderson & Haku & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Macho King Randy Savage & Earthquake & Dino Bravo & Greg Valentine
vs.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Bret Hart & Ronnie Garvin & Hercules

Dusty Rhodes & Brutus Beefcake & Red Rooster & Tito Santana
vs.
Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, Rick Martel and Honky Tonk Man

Rick Rude & Mr. Perfect & Fabulous Rougeaus
vs.
Roddy Piper & Jimmy Snuka & Bushwhackers

1991
Ric Flair, The Mountie, Ted DiBiase, & Warlord
vs.
Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Virgil, & Davey Boy Smith

1993
Marty Jannetty, Randy Savage, Razor Ramon, & The 1-2-3 Kid
vs.
Irwin R. Schyster, Diesel, Rick Martel, & Adam Bomb

1994
Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid & Davey Boy Smith & Headshrinkers (Fatu & Sionne)
vs.
Shawn Michaels & Diesel & Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart & Jeff Jarrett

1995
Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson & Davey Boy Smith & Psycho Sid
vs.
Yokozuna & Owen Hart & Razor Ramon & Dean Douglas

2001
The Rock & Chris Jericho & Undertaker & Kane & Big Show
vs.
Steve Austin & Kurt Angle & Booker T & Rob Van Dam & Shane McMahon

2003
Randy Orton & Chris Jericho & Christian & Scott Steiner & Mark Henry
vs.
Shawn Michaels & Rob Van Dam & Booker T & Bubba & D-Von Dudley

Eric’s Blog: What I love – and hate – about WWE Main Event

Tonight’s episode of WWE Main Event on the Ion television network marks Week Six of a newly produced, newly formatted program that gives WWE an extra revenue stream and, apparently, a sandbox in which to play.

To the point of the new format, right out of the box, WWE placed an active superstar in, what looked at the time to be, a permanent color commentator position. The announce team of Michael Cole and The Miz had potential, both in calling the action and in growing the stagnant “Miz” character, even preparing Miz for a future in broadcast should he choose to accept it.

My eyes were opened even wider to the new format when only two matches were announced, then recorded, then broadcast on each show: one headline match and one “undercard” bout. And the headline match lasted a good 20 minutes. And, week to week, the headline matches were set up by something that had happened on the previous episode. AAAAND, the wrestlers were still given promo time – not soliloquy time, but just enough time to get themselves and their match over.

So many thoughts went through my head as the weeks went on:

  • How great is it that WWE hypes one match for a whole week on one of their shows?
  • How great is it that WWE doesn’t try to cram 10 pounds of shit into a 5-pound bag?
  • How great is it that WWE is employing the pre- and post-match promos with Matt Striker, often in the ring or at ringside, fight-night style?

Furthermore, WWE appears to have learned from its previous thrust into the one-hour basic-cable limelight – WWE Superstars on WGN, which debuted in April 2009 – and didn’t overhype its new show as “the place to see all of the biggest WWE stars!!!” Three years ago, the opening match featured the Undertaker, WWE’s resident part-time legend. Two years and 51 weeks ago, Superstars became the Fit Finley Fiasco, with your occasional Big Show here and Jericho there.

With WWE Main Event, you’re probably going to get a Randy Orton or a Sheamus or an Alberto del Rio, you’re probably going to get them in a six-man tag team match, they’re probably going to have a really good, made-for-free-TV match, and they may even cut a nice promo.

Then in the undercard, you’re likely to see someone climbing the ranks like Dolph Ziggler or Cody Rhodes get a win over a floundering but memorable Brodus Clay, when it could be worse, like Jey Uso or Epico. And if you do see Jey Uso or Epico, it’s probably in a tag team effort with their respective partners, Jimmy and Primo, in a decent 10-minute match. The point here: WWE is also utilizing its talent base as best it can here. Rather than feeding Zack Ryder to Kane in a meaningless match, you might get Zack Ryder & Santino Marella – Team CoBro – in a fun, well-worked, 10-minute tag match against the super-over Kane & Daniel Bryan. And then everyone wins.

Everything I have typed above comprised the list of things I love about WWE Main Event, not to mention the fact that the name and, to an extent, the format are throwbacks to days of yore, when I would record the WWF’s sporadic network TV show, The Main Event, on VHS. So now, for the thing I hate about Main Event: None of these formatting positives will translate to the A-show, Monday Night Raw, or the B-show, Smackdown. These are the shows where my dreams go to die. I don’t want 20-minute promos by Brad “Show Your Teeth, Boy” Maddox. I want 90-second promos from Sheamus, something I can digest, not cram. I don’t want three hours of scattershot bullshit. I want 60 minutes of well-planned programming that strikes a balance between wrestling and talk, with getting yourself over as the fulcrum. I don’t want main events that were thrown together last hour by a crooked general manager. I want seven days of hype for a match between two men who have a score to settle.

Pro wrestling is not that hard. I am not that hard to entertain. Maybe I’m in the minority by feeling this way, but WWE Main Event nails both of those things far more often than either Raw or Smackdown.

Tammy Sytch, aka Sunny, batting 1.000, arrested three times in three days

“I know you want meeeee” (Courtesy Gerweck.net)

According to Prowrestling.net, former WWF/WWE diva Tammy Sytch, better known to AOL subscribers in 1996 as Sunny, was arrested three times in three days. What is she, from Waterloo or something? (See? Go to hell, Midland, Michigan.) TMZ, who continues to break the most amazing pro wrestling news, says all three arrests are linked to domestic violence. Here’s the Dot Net blurb:

Sytch was originally arrested on Tuesday following an altercation with a man she lives with. She was released the next day and arrested a few hours later on disorderly conduct and strangulation charges involving the same man. She was arrested on Thursday for violating a restraining order for a second time in two days for another incident involving the same man.

Tammy Sytch’s entire life is like the last two minutes of that show “Intervention.” They spend nearly an hour exploring the fucked-up life of some white-trash drug or booze addict, send them off to a tropical rehab resort, show them 60 days later with whiter teeth and smaller bags under their eyes, and send them packing… only to tell us that “12 minutes after arriving home, Candy was arrested for public intoxication and punching a police officer.” Now imagine an “Intervention” marathon. That’s the life of Tammy Sytch. And to think, she was at her post-Candido hottest just two years ago. How the mighty have fallen, probably thanks to a stiff right hand. -Eric

Stunt Granny Audio #199

Dynamite drop in there, Monty.

Kevin and Dusty are back with an extensive look at bad announcing, including the Mount Rushmore of Horrible Announcing. Listen and learn who they think are the worst announcers of all time. What current day announcers are bad enough to earn a spot on the list? Hint: One guy who currently does every WWE show, some of which completely by himself, much to the petrification of Dusty. Find out which guy….. annoys Dusty…. because of the ridiculously long…. pauses…. he used to take between words. Find out which guy makes Kevin cherish his childhood memories of watching wrestling so much. Find out which guy wears Hawaiian flowery shirts and gets into internet pissing contests because he has a small penis and a need for attention. And so much more, and it’s only going to cost you about an hour of your time, so you need to listen or you’ll catch something incurable.

Stunt Granny Audio Show #199

%d bloggers like this: