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SLAM! Speaks: Readers reflect on ECW
By SLAM! Wrestling Readers


Cartoon by Annette Balesteri, our SLAM! Wrestling Editorial Cartoonist


We've had our say, now the readers have their turn on the soapbox (well, before it's pulled out from under their feet and smashed over their heads).

Yes, it's time to take a look at what you miss most about everyone's favourite rebel league, Extreme Championship Wrestling. Here is what the SLAM! readers had to say:

Jay Garcia

I have to agree that the ECW loyalty between the promotion and the fans is truly something to be missed.

As the promotion rewarded the fans with some extremely realistic and technical wrestling where the fans rewarded the promotion with some heavy interaction. Whether it be "You f'd up", "You sold out" or "Holy s**t".

The thing I miss about ECW the most is the execution of the moves. Watching WWE now, I surely miss Joey Styles for calling moves for what they are.

As with Shelton Benjamin's "T-Bone Suplex" being nothing more than a powerslam, where William Regal (during the six-man tag match last week on Raw) performed a beautiful T-Bone that was called as a "slam" by Jim Ross. Or Billy Gunn's "PerfectPlex". Tajiri's kicks used to be insanely lethal, Rhyno's Gore was feared by all... the list goes on. ECW gave each wrestler a strength. I don't recall ever seeing a squash match on ECW (I'm probably wrong).

And given the lacking piledrivers or DDTs that ECW and WCW used to provide. Moves that many of us grew up watching, we're left with watered-down everything in WWE. ECW left us guessing what move each wrestler was going to pull out next as ECW lived up to its billing. It was extreme. Nothing, absolutely nothing was sacred. And ECW did what it could for its wrestlers, making them seem like invincible super-humans.

All you needed was to watch the TNN battles of Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome to fully understand. At about seven times during that match, I thought, "that's it. It's over." But no, they kicked out, table spot after table spot; it just left an aura around each wrestler.

ECW gave everyone who worked for them a chance to be great. And given the new WWE absolutely screwing everyone with talent, predictable formulas, and sub-par television events, ECW can never be re-created.

(Editor's note: WWE outlawed the use of piledrivers because too many wrestlers were getting injured from it; and yes, there were plenty of squashes in ECW.)

Big Brent O

Unfortunately, I didn't become an ECW fan until after the company folded. But thanks to the video store, I have been able to watch some of the matches that are now legendary.

What I love about ECW, and wish I could see more of are:

1. The fans/fan participation: This is something that I don't think WWE or TNA will ever parallel. Paul Heyman's loyalty and dependence on the fans (and vice versa), is something that even good ol' Uncle Vince can't duplicate.

2. The wrestlers: Paul's wrestlers were arguably the best in the business. Rob Van Dam, the Dudleys, the Sandman, Raven, Sabu, Shane Douglas, and Tajiri are among Paul E.'s alumni, and they could all wrestle like crazy. But now, all of them seem to be stuck on a treadmill.

And finally,

3. The hardcore brawls: Given, Vince McMahon's attempt to clone ECW with the Hardcore Title dwarfs in comparison to the brawls that occured in ECW (what WWE calls a hardcore match is what ECW calls a regular match), it's better than nothing. Bring back the Hardcore Title!

Mike

I remember Christmas Eve of 1999. I was feeling a little sick so I stayed home while the rest of the family went to the park like they normally do. I was channel surfing and saw Mike Awesome defending the title against Masato Tanaka. This is one of my most early memories of ECW that I can recall on cue.

I bet I had seen ECW before then, but that entire event had to have got me true hooked to the ECW product. Even though it wasn't live, wrestling on Christmas was a blessing. Even though it was an hour a week, it was the best hour of the week, and you couldn't help but stay to watch Roller Jam.

Big T

Just read your article. Here's my top 3 things that I miss most.

3. Going to the ECW arena to see Extreme Championship Wrestling. So many indy groups have run here but nothing will compare to seeing ECW live at the mecca of it all: the ECW arena. It was a crappy building but the magic it held when ECW ran there will never be replaced. I loved sitting in the bleachers and yelling at all the heels, who I adored. I wish there was a show tonight! I don't care what company runs there, it will never be the same.

2. ECW Hardcore TV. The TNN show had nothing on this syndicated show. TNN was a watered down version of ECW. The Hardcore TV show was the best and the pulp fiction segments were awesome.

1. Francine. She is also my all time favorite woman in wrestling. She is the total package. Being beautiful, able to take crazy bumps, cut a promo like no other and own all of us in the stands. It's like she had some sort of power over the fans. They loved her as a babyface but absolutely hated her as a heel. She would come to the ring and for the first minute be cheered because of her beauty, but she had the power to turn and make you love to hate her. I loved her more as a heel. She is the greatest woman ever and she should be on WWE TV every week. She should also have been feature in the new ECW DVD. I guess you have to be married to a WWE guy to get some airtime. What a load of crap. She was robbed. She was there longer than any other woman (7 years) and has done more than any other woman in ECW and she fails to be featured. At least I have all my old tapes. Francine, you are truely missed.

Anyway, great article. Keep up the good work, SLAM!

John Stewart

I had first heard of ECW through SLAM! Wrestling and did not see an actual ECW match until it came on TNN. What I saw on that show blew me away - a near 30-minute match between Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn. I was hooked. Mat wrestling at its finest; the athleticism of both men made me wonder why I even bothered with the WWF or WCW at all. I was buying Pay Per Views and not missing an episode on TNN.

Other reasons to watch ECW: a number of wrestlers not even close to 190 pounds that were getting a chance to show their stuff and making a name for themselves. A match involving the FBI where one member was pulled through the guard rail. Rhyno vs. Spike Dudley where Rhyno made Spike puke with a choke hold. The memories, I still watch my precious ECW DVDs to this day and nothing else can compare to it.

Rino Cavaliere

I guess the thing I miss most ECW was the wrestling itself. Being bred on the old Stampede promotion and watching the Dynamite Kid and Bad News Allen, I just love good, old fashioned, hard-hitting wrestling with lots of moves and some blood. And that is what I got with ECW. Great, long matches with blood, no stupid rules and the guys went at it as hard as they could. No long interviews, just interviews that meant something -- short and too the point. Ever since ECW went off the air, there has been a void in wrestling, and frankly I haven't really watched it since.

Sumit Ghai

Oh, how I miss Extreme Championship Wrestling.

I miss the great feuds that ECW once had: Tommy Dreamer and Raven, Sabu and Taz and so many more. I miss the Dudley Boyz being allowed to say whatever the hell they wanted to the fans without any regard to if they were to start a riot. I miss the quality wrestling matches that the company produced night in and night out. I miss how they were able to blend hardcore wrestling with classic chain wrestling. I miss Joey Styles screaming "Oh My God!" and "Catfight!" at the top of his lungs. I miss the "Quintessential Studmuffin", Joel Gertner, and his dirty middle names. I miss the truly educated wrestling fans of South Philadelphia; they were the ones who really did care about actual wrestling, and if they did not like something they saw, they were not afraid to voice their opinion.

I miss New Jack, The Sandman, Steve Corino, Da Baldies, the Full Blooded Italians, the Triple Threat, the real Rob Van Dam, the real Tommy Dreamer, the real Taz, and the real Paul Heyman. I miss how ECW would take shot after constant shot at Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff. I miss how they treated their World Heavyweight Championship with real class, as if it meant something. I miss Rob Van Dam's two-year reign as World Television Champion. I miss Bill Alfonso and his whistle-blowing. I miss the company that put South Philadelphia on the map as a new wrestling playground. I miss Extreme Championship Wrestling...

Marcel Beaudoin

Like Greg [Oliver], I only caught ECW once they moved to TNN. What do I miss most about it? The hardcore was nice, as were the ladies. However, there were two things that really stood out in my mind when I think back fondly of ECW.

The fans is the first thing. Never did the ECW production crew have to pipe in chants to mask the fact that the fans were quiet. The ECW fans have to be one of the loudest fan groups you will ever see in North America. They loved their wrestling, they knew when it was good and when it was bad and they weren't afraid to let the wrestlers know. They were solidly behind the faces and hated the heels (although, it was at times difficult to tell the difference between the two).

The second has to be the wrestlers. I will admit, when I first saw ECW, I thought it would be a cheap production with second rate wrestlers in it. After all, it wasn't the WWF or WCW; And then I saw my first couple of matches, and these were actual matches! 10-15 minutes long. If the show started at 9pm, there was wrestling on by 9:02pm. How cool was that? The quality of the ECW crew (on average) is head and shoulders above the quality of WWE (or WWF or WCW). Every one of the wrestlers put their heart and body into the company, and paid for it in blood and bruises. These were wrestlers who knew how to wrestle. The moves that they used were realistic as compared to others out there (The Worm, The People's Elbow and, although I hate to diss the man from the Darkside, when The Undertaker walks the ropes).

Above all else, it was the attitude. It wasn't the attitude that the WWE seems to have today, which is: We have the best wrestlers, but you aren't going to see the best matches unless you order a PPV. The attitude that ECW had was: We have the best wrestlers, and you will see them at their best *every* Friday night.

Andrew Yenson

Things I miss about ECW:

1- Watching Tajiri and and Super Crazy fight every week and never getting tired of it.
2- Watching Mike Awesome repeatedly put Spike Dudley through tables.
3- Watching RVD vs. Jerry Lynn
4- Flaming tables, baseball bats and barbed wire
5- Paul Heyman's screw the world attitude.

-- compiled by Jon Waldman




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