April 29, 2006
WWE love affair with ECW to continue
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
When WWE brought back ECW for a one-time pay-per-view last year, they called it One Night Stand. It turned out to be an inappropriate name choice, since WWE's relationship with ECW has gone far beyond the scope of a one night affair.
ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) was an indie wrestling group which became a national phenomenon in the late '90s. Known for its hard-core wrestling style and edgy storylines, the company (led by grappling promoter Paul Heyman) revolutionized the wrestling business with a risque TV style later 'borrowed' by WWE.
When ECW went bankrupt in 2001, WWE boss Vince McMahon picked up the pieces in bankruptcy court, but has done very little with the Extreme franchise since then.
Until this week, when word was leaked from WWE headquarters McMahon has decided to revive ECW as a full time wrestling brand.
ECW matches are expected to be taped before Smackdown each week, then edited into a separate hour-long show, with more violent undertones than regular WWE television.
WWE bosses are making a bid to get a new TV slot for ECW programming, though contingency plans are also being prepared to make it an internet only product.
One Night Stand 2 is on the pay-per-view schedule for June 11, with Rob Van Dam set to challenge John Cena (or Triple H, if the belt changes hands before then) for the WWE championship. A cable TV special is also booked for early June.
FILLING THE GAP: WWE may be bypassing Alberta on its live events schedule this year but Stampede Wrestling is hoping to fill the void for local mat fans.
The Calgary grappling group has booked a high-profile event in Cochrane for May 12, with plenty of big name talent being flown in for the occasion.
Rhino will be taking a break from his TNA schedule to main event the show, challenging Calgary's own Lance Storm. This will be Storm's first local match since his semi-retirement at a WWE Raw taping at the 'Dome in 2004.
In the secondary main event, Kid Nichols -- the Stampede Wrestler who organized the show -- takes on ex-WWE star Matt Morgan in a one-on-one big man collision.
Also on the card, the Honky Tonk Man will make an appearance, squaring off against Dirty Duke Durrango. This will be a homecoming of sorts for Honky, as he was a Stampede Wrestling star long before he reached international fame with the WWF.
Harry Smith, who just signed a long term deal with WWE, will make his last independent wrestling appearance, challenging future stars Teddy Hart and T.J. Wilson in a three-way that has match of the night written all over it.
The show takes place May 12 at the Spray Lakes Arena in Cochrane.
Bell time is 7:30 pm, with tickets available at the door.