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ECW adds breath of fresh air to WWE
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


E-C-W. E-C-W. E-C-W. Let the chanting begin. And let the bodies hit the floor.

If tonight's ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view is as electric as the finishes to RAW and Smackdown! this week, it will be the must-see event of the year. A parade of Paul Heyman's ECW stars -- D-Von Dudley, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, Rhyno and Tazz -- successfully invaded both WWE shows. RAW's final moments were especially awesome.

If tonight's pay-per-view utilizes much of the ECW culture, it'll be a winner. Joey Styles has confirmed he'll be on hand to call the matches and there's a smorgasboard of some of the most hardcore squared circle performers. Guys like Super Crazy, Justin Credible, Masato Tanaka, Mikey Whipwreck, Mike Awesome, Psychosis, The BWO and especially Sabu. Joined by former ECWers like Rob Van Dam, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit.

ECW wasn't for everyone. Not for Jerry "The King" Lawler who labelled it Extremely Crappy Wrestling. Not for children -- because of the violent content and ear-bending language.

You won't see Triple H in the main event, but you will get your money's worth. At least if WWE doesn't interfere with ECW's natural momentum.

Because it won't be predictable, this could be the pay-per-view of the year.

- Samoa Joe could be the best worker not with WWE. He's carved out a pretty good living as a wrestler working independent shows. The 26-year-old Joe Seannoa will be headlining a Warrior 1 Wrestling show June 26 in Oshawa, facing Raven with Mick Foley as the guest referee.

Rumoured to be WWE bound, Joe says nothing is imminent.

"I've spoken with people from there," he said. "But there's nothing on the table."

Joe got his start in 1999.

"I wasn't a crazy wrestling fan," he said. "But I'd watched the NWA sparingly. I liked Arn Anderson. He was always precise, very bold. Now I'm a big Eddie Guerrero fan. He's a tremendously skilled wrestler and an amazing bumper."

Joe's climb to the top of the indy scene was slow, but rewarding.

"I've wrestled in front of 15 people," he said. "And if there are only 15 people and someone says that you suck, you know exactly who it was ... he's sitting right there."

Things have changed dramatically. Joe's wrestled all over the U.S., Japan, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. He's been a headliner and champion for the prestigious Ring of Honor. Checking in at 6-foot-2 and 280 lbs., Joe was ranked 34th in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500, ahead of stars like Kurt Angle.

He's pumped about the Oshawa megashow, which will include stars like Kamala, Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, Gail Kim, Kid Kash and Chris Sabin.

- The first week of WWE's Draft Lottery provided some surprises. John Cena was drafted to the RAW roster and began what could be a long feud with Christian. Chris Benoit went the other way to Smackdown! Having the Smackdown! champ move to RAW is odd, but it wouldn't be shocking if he went back in the other direction via trade. And if that's the case, expect Christian to also end up on the Smackdown! roster.

- The Fight Network has announced it'll pick up Ring of Honor. The network hopes to have providers signed up soon and will offer a great lineup of wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, documentaries and movies.

- Pro Wrestling Superstars -- Past, Present and Future presents Legends Forever on Bell ExpressVU PPV on June 12, 19 and 26 at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Here's the lineup: Dino Bravo vs. Samu; Rocco Rock and The Patriot in tag action; Ray Rougeau vs. Jimmy Garvin; Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah The Butcher; and The Road Warriors vs. Rick Martel and Dino Bravo. PWS debuts June 22 on IN DEMAND.

- Hardcore Homecoming in Philly on Saturday night sounds like it was tremendous, with Cactus Jack appearing with a mandible claw wrapped in barbed wire to eliminate Shane Douglas from the main event, which was won by Sabu over Terry Funk.

- I'm getting a bit tired of Triple H's rambling dialogues. In person, Triple H is intriguing and a good conversationalist. On RAW, he's putting me to sleep.

- A Wrestling Observer source says TNA will not a TV deal with WGN. That would be a huge blow.

tim.baines@ott.sunpub.com