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SLAM! Speaks - Do readers see ECW success?
By SLAM! Wrestling




One week ago, SLAM! Wrestling's writers got together for a discussion on ECW and whether or not the rejuvinated program would be successful or not. Now, our readers have their say. Here's what they think will happen when ECW relaunches.

Marcel Beaudoin
Like many of the columnists mentioned, I think that it all comes down to how much Vince can resist the temptation to stick his grubby little fingers into New ECW (NECW). If he allows NECW (Paul/Tommy) to do its (their) own thing, I think it will be a success. ECW wasn't about the blood or the violence (although they figured highly into its success) - it was the intensity of the matches. It was having, on the same show, storylines that had been going on for years as well as matches just for the sake of having matches.

If Vince can resist the temptation to use NECW as a feeder system, and allow the cast to have some semblance of stability, I think it will be a good show.

Will it be the old ECW? No. ECW had a buzz that can never be reproduced. The stars only align like that once in a lifetime. But NECW has the opportunity to show that same intensity, same drive, same passion.

John McGivern
I couldnít agree with these comments more. When I think back to the demise of ECW, the last few episodes of the TV show on TNN were already starting to show signs that the ECW brand was changing for the worse. Some of that had to do with the talent leaving etc. but it was much more toned down, as there was an attempt to make it a little more respectable if you will. I think that trend will only continue.

Also, I donít think we are going to see matches like RVD vs Jerry Lynn either Ė which was a lot of why I watched it. Who is going to do the dives off the balconies? The MacMahons arenít going to be allowing their guys to do stunts like that are they? Also, look at RVDís style since leaving ECW. It was so obviously toned down to WWE levels that there just isnít that same level of excitement in those matches.

Generally, I think that when an upstart company begins to make waves in the big time like ECW did, you get the phenomenon of the old ECW. When the big time company tries to fake it and pretend it is the upstart, people will see right through it. Then again, everything I love about wrestling, most people hate anyways so maybe it will be a big success.

Wade Tomlin
Not only will the new ECW not work, but it will also drag the entire WWE franchise down a few notches as well. The fact is that Vince McMahon has never been verly successful at anything other than running WWE; look at the XFL, look at bodybuilding, look at his failure at the booking of the WCW invasion angle. Anytime WWE goes outside of itself, it gets hopelessly over-extended and unable to make the new enterprise a success, while at the same time drowning the quality of its core product. It's called focus and the WWE won't be able to do that with three promotions.

What I see happening is all three brands (Raw, Smackdown and ECW) being watered down. After all, why exactly will Smackdown be upset if say ECW ratings are better, or for that matter worse, then theirs? Simply put, they won't give a hoot because at the end of the day these are not three separate companies running independently. These organizations are going to work under the same umbrella that will still mean WWE won't be forced to do anything truly original that might offend the stockholders who they are now reporting to.

ECW will get an immediate pop, but six months from now will people really be interested in watching Terry Funk (who is now how old)? Also, for all the credit Paul Heyman gets as a promoter, remember it was easy for Heyman to go all out when his goal was to take his audience from 50 to 100, but when ECW grew into something more he wasn't up to running the show. Therefore it would seem that Heyman will inevitably burn-out and McMahon or some other corporate suit will have to take over, and that truly will not be extreme. The folks at TNA should, believe or not, be dancing in the streets.

Donnie Middel
When I first heard of this, I have to admit I was somewhat excited. However, after thinking about it, I realized that its something that could destroy the wrestling I love..The indys.

FakECW, as it has become known as with the IWC, will take the top guys from promotions such as RoH, CZW, PWG, and others. This means that certain guys in these promotions who are top stars, will be no more, such as the Necro Butcher, who works CZW and IWA-MS he has become a hardcore icon to independent fans. Surely, he will be snatched up for the new ECW, as well as guys like Jimmy Jacobs, JC Bailey, Ruckus, Sabian and Larry Sweeny. These promotions are going to have to start from scratch again.

Paul E used to complain that he was being raided by the bigger promotions, which is very true, but now it appears that he is going to do it without hesitation; and for what? ECW is not being brought back to compete with anyone except for maybe TNA, which still is unlikely given the time slot and day.

So once again Vince, with all his wisdom, is going to further hurt the industry we all love for nothing more then a few extra dollars.

So in closing, the new ECW will not be a success, Who is going to watch a cheesy rip off of TNA? Because thats all its going to be, and I find it rather funny how WWE is all of the sudden bringing out ECW, just when TNA is on the rise. TNA isnt a threat, remember.

Jamie Dunst
I would love to see ECW work. It would be nice to have more options to Smackdown and RAW. I mean I honestly believe McMahon is doing this because of the pretty decent ratings and great matches of TNA. I really don't think wrestling-wise, the WWE has done anything that equals TNA.

With that said, I also believe that McMahon is a true believe of the sports entertainment mentality. I don't think your going to get the ECW of old. I think in the end it will be a watered down version with older wrestlers who may or may not be able to do what they once did; and up and coming stars who may need some polishing before they move on to the big dance (Smackdown or RAW).

I would love to see ECW 2.0 work. I just hope McMahon doesn't screw it up.

Aaron Wrotkowski
I recently read something that ECW would be the A, Smackdown! is AA and Raw is AAA, similar to baseball. I think I can agree with that. If people are expecting ECW to rise to the top of the wrestling world or believe if it doesn't it will be a failure, they are drinking a new brand of Kool-Aid. ECW is going to be kept small, like it should be. It'll be the show you watch when you tire of Raw and Smackdown!, watch the new stars be created, then watch them go to Raw and Smackdown! and find yourself watching all over again. That's the purpose of this - a net to catch those who tire of Raw and SD! and still lure them into another hour of WWE-owned programming.

Heyman will book it ECW style, and you'll get ECW entertainment. Some will be hardcore (when they can get away with it), the rest will be about the "new style", which looking at Kurt Angle basically pulling off a Taz impression, which won't be that new at all. However, people don't realize that booking it "ECW Style" is exactly what Vince McMahon wants. All of those shoots by Heyman at ONS and Styles on Raw were Vince McMahon-approved, and it was those that got all of the smarts excited. Just like ECW in the past was an illusion to anti-establishment counter-culture pro wrestling (supported by WWF funding), the ECW now will be the same. We just don't have to find out five years later.

R. A. McKenzie
You know, the more we talk about the reintroduction of ECW, the less we can just sit back and enjoy it. Many fans and wrestling critics are so concerned about whether Vince McMahon will allow ECW to develop, whether the anti-establishment vibe will still get our blood boiling or whether the ECW veterans and creative staff have any juice left...the list goes ever on. Why can't we just go in with a clear, neutral mindset so that the product will feel more fresh? Those who ponder whether the new ECW is conceptually brilliant are missing the point; the real goal of ECW, and all professional wrestling, is to entertain. If anything, I'm optimistic because as the Monday Night Wars taught us, "competition brings out the best of wrestling." (Gerald Brisco)

If the new ECW becomes a dismal trainwreck, so be it. But in the meantime, why don't we all just tune in for a couple of shows, and see what happens?

-- compiled by Jon Waldman


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