June 19, 2005
Oh, my God ... we're in hardcore heaven
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Two nights later, WWE rolled into New York and pulled off its best-ever pay-per-view, ECW: One Night Stand.
Both events shared a common thread. A return of many of the performers who made ECW so cutting edge, so incredibly entertaining, yet so non-mainstream.
Guys like Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, Super Crazy, Rhyno, Psicosis, Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, Lance Storm, Justin Credible, The Dudley Boyz, bWo. All with a bit of a crazy streak running through them.
The way I see it, One Night Stand was amazing ... awesome ... a visual and audio smorgasbord of spontaneity.
Ditto for Hardcore Homecoming, judging by the buzz that was created by that show.
Douglas, The Franchise in ECW, couldn't be happier with the success of his show.
"(In ECW), we told you to bring your skepticism to the show," said Douglas. "We wanted reality. We had a cult following who didn't like seeing grown men in chicken costumes or the ultra-pulled punches."
There were talks to let WWE use some of TNA's stars -- Jerry Lynn, Douglas,Raven and Kid Kash(who later left the organization), but Douglas says WWE would not agree to let any of its stars work Hardcore Homecoming.
Douglas, who is head of talent relations and an agent for TNA, once worked for WWE's Vince McMahon.But he says he was misled.
"I was making six figures for ECW and teaching. My wife mentioned to (McMahon) that I was teaching school and I was home five days a week," said Douglas. "Vince leaned across the table, stroked her hand and said: 'I'm going to make your husband a very wealthy man.'
"He said lead heels make $350,000-$500,000 a year. Four months later,I'd only made $8,400. Imagine my consternation when I phoned home one time and my wife told me we didn't have enough money to make a $500 mortgage payment. I told Vince I didn't have enough money to make the mortgage payment and he told me to hang in there. I couldn't afford to stay there so I chose to leave ... go back to ECW. When I left, Vince looked at me like I had a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead."
So now The Franchise is happy ... he likes his gig with TNA ... and he's hoping to spin off more Hardcore Homecoming-like events, perhaps as early as August, all over the U.S. And WWE has to be thinking the same, with One Night Stand's huge appeal.
- WWE, perhaps caught off guard by One Night Stand's success, did very little follow-up on either Smackdown! or RAW. Ignoring ECW would be a huge mistake. One-liner of the pay-per-view goes to Paul Heyman, telling JBL the only reason he's a top dog on Smackdown! is because Triple H won't work Tuesday nights. And Heyman to Edge: "I've got two words for you: "Matt Freakin' Hardy." OK, three words, but who's counting. And, "Oh, my God," Joey Styles was brilliant on the mic, joined by Mick Foley. The show also featured Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- JBL took a couple of cheap shots at The Blue Meanie in the melee that closed One Night Stand. Apparently, real cheap shots and real blood from Meanie's forehead. Wouldn't it be great to see one of the ECW boys get a little payback and the former chump ... er champ?
- First it was John Cena ... and now Kurt Angle. The first two draft picks by RAW have been enormous in stature. Angle made an immediate impact on RAW, getting in the face of Triple H. Then, on Smackdown!, it was Randy Orton's turn to switch places, making an impact with an RKO to The Undertaker.
- TNA has signed indy sensation Samoa Joe, who will face Sonjay Dutt at tonight's Slammiversary pay-per-view. Here are some of the other matches: AJ Styles vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. The Alpha Male Monty Brown vs. Abyss vs. Sean Waltman; The Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Shane vs. Chris Sabin; The Naturals vs. Team Canada; America's Most Wanted vs. BG James and Konnan; Ron "The Truth" Killings vs. The Outlaw; Alex Shelley vs. Shocker; Alex Shelley vs. Shocker; a six-way X-Division bout with Elix Skipper vs. Amazing Red vs. Shark Boy vs. Zach Gowen vs. Delirious vs. Jerrelle Clark; and Lance Hoyt vs. Bobby Roode.
- WWE has signed Ring of Honor star CM Punk.
- Had a chance to listen to a recent Live Audio Wrestling (The LAW) show, which currently airs in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver as well as on Star Choice TV satellite channel 865. It's a wonderful listen and hopefully the folks over at The Team (Dave Mitchell, are you out there?) here in Ottawa can hook us up.