ECW finally Canada bound?
Resurrected promotion eyes move to north airwaves
TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
Extreme Championship Wrestling could finally be coming to Canada.
Industry sources say WWE is on the verge of signing a TV deal which will bring ECW to Canadian homes for the first time in five years.
The ECW brand -- which went bankrupt in 2001-- has been back on TV in the U.S. since early June. Now owned by WWE, the group has a weekly hardcore wrestling show airing in prime time on the Sci-Fi network.
Thanks to ECW's cult-like status and storyline tie-ins with Monday Night Raw, ratings for the show often double the numbers of Sci-Fi's biggest franchises. Over 2.5 million Americans tune in to ECW each week, a massive figure for any show on U.S. cable.
But despite the ratings success south of the border, no Canadian carrier signed on for the show in its first month on the air.
And now, even though a Canadian home for ECW is believed to be in the bank, there is no word on which channel is picking up the product.
TSN, the network that carries Raw each week, was pegged as the most likely candidate but a TSN spokesperson would not confirm a deal is in the works.
The Space channel (Canada's equivalent to Sci-Fi) was initially considered a possibility, though sources at the network told the Calgary Sun they were not looking to pick up the show at this time.
The Score, CityTV and Sportsnet are also potential candidates. The show will likely air in its live Tuesday night time slot.
STILL WAITING: Harry Smith's WWE debut was hyped like crazy in the Canadian media.
But when the 19-year old Calgarian -- the son of the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith -- finally appeared on Monday Night Raw, it was as an uncredited extra in the background of an in-ring gang war.
Since then, Smith has not been seen on WWE television, leaving fans wondering why his WWE run fizzled out before it even started.
According to sources within the company, WWE bosses didn't get cold feet -- they simply wanted to watch Smith in action prior to pushing him as a top star on TV.
For the past month, WWE Creative has monitored his progress on non-televised WWE house shows and in dark matches before the cameras start rolling on Raw, developing ideas to introduce him to the masses.
Starting soon, Smith is expected to be phased onto television with a series of vignettes and promos. He will then make his in-ring debut as a top-tier Raw star.
There is no word on the specifics of Smith's TV character, although it is expected he will work under his real name.
He's also expected to debut in a babyface (good guy) role. In recent wrestling appearances, he has consistently worked against mid-card heel characters like Rob Conway.
KAHN DEAD: Former Stampede wrestling star Tiger Kahn (Marlon Kalkai) has died at 33.
Kalkai was found dead in his Los Angeles home Monday. A heart attack is believed to be the cause of death, pending an autopsy which is expected to be released late next week.
Kalkai was a headliner for Stampede Wrestling during the group's last television run in 1999, winning the British Commonwealth mid-heavyweight title at one point.
According to Ross Hart, who was involved in the running of Stampede, Kalkai was a pleasure to do business with.
"He was an excellent worker who could wrestle scientifically or hardcore," Hart told the Calgary Sun. "He was a real leader in the ring and dressing room and well liked by everyone."
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