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ECW has lost its way under WWE's guidance
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


Maybe WWE isn't intentionally trying to bury ECW.

Maybe WWE's deep thinkers really see ECW as a product that has the potential to be better than an already-dead Smackdown! program ... if not raise the bar for a usually-solid RAW.

Maybe WWE really cares about ECW.

And maybe Paul Heyman's vision of ECW was way off base.

Uh, not likely.

WWE was grudgingly forced to bring ECW back in some capacity thanks to the success of the original One Night Stand pay-per-view. ECW's individual branding was a year too late, but still initially promising.

Until it started to get WWE-icized. The unpredictability that made ECW so compelling has been lost ... its great characters buried. Cue in Heyman, who quit/resigned/took a sabbatical right about the time of ECW's December To Dismember pay-per-view last Sunday.

Naysayers will argue that ECW really does stand for Extremely Crappy Wrestling ... and that ECW died for a reason ... there just isn't a demand for that product.

All WWE had to do was give the show some marketing and let ECW be ECW.

OK, December to Dismember. OK, catchy title. Great main event: Extreme Elimination Chamber. Great tag-team match: The Hardy Boyz vs. MNM. Problem is those were the only two matches announced prior to the pay-per-view. What kind of advertising is that from a company that goes overboard in pushing all RAW and Smackdown! pay-per-views?

Incredible. Vince McMahon has either lost some of his legendary business acumen ... or his closest advisers are filling his ear with sweet nothings and I do mean nothings.

With all due respect to Bobby Lashley, who's now the ECW champion -- how the hell did that happen?

The Big Show needed a break, maybe a lengthy one, so he needed to lose his title ... but Lashley?

What was WWE thinking when it pulled Sabu out of the main event and replaced him with Bob Holly.

You can bet the fans were real happy to see ole Sparky Plugg in the Elimination Chamber main event. And CM Punk and Rob Van Dam were the first two eliminated in that same fight?

I cannot imagine that was Heyman's idea of a script.

If you've decided that Rob Van Dam hasn't been punished enough ... if it's not yet time for Punk to be champion, then come up with an idea that will bring the fans back for more.

When WWE, for whatever reason, decided to pull Sabu ... it was a chance to stay true to ECW's legacy ... give the fans something they don't expect. Put Sandman in the main event. Bring back a name from the past ... Mikey Whipwreck, New Jack ... hell, TerryFunk would have been great.

The promo for December to Dismember was deliciously wicked ... with Sandman's hand, holding a cane, sticking out of a chimney. But Sandman was an afterthought on the pay-per-view.

ECW does have compelling characters ... Punk is a superstar-in-making (just watch his Ring of Honor stuff).

But I don't get a lot of what ECW is doing. Obviously, the WWE creative guys don't get it either.

- Results from December to Dismember: The Hardy Boyz beat MNM; Balls Mahoney beat Striker; Sylvester Terkey and Elijah Burke beat The FBI; Thorn and Aerial beat Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly; and Lashley won the ECW title over Holly, Punk, Big Show (a variety of ailments have forced him out), RVD and Test.

- RAW on Dec. 18 will be three hours on The Score -- from 9 p.m. to midnight.

- Gotta love the names. Perry Sound and Owen Sound ... both wrestling in Ontario. So Canadian!

- Here's the card for tonight's TNA Turning Point pay-per-view: Abyss vs. Christian Cage vs. Sting; Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe; Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin (Jerry Lynn will ref); LAX vs. America's Most Wanted (flag match); AJ Styles vs. Rhino; The Paparazzi Championship Series Elimination Match; and The Truth and Lance Hoyt vs. Serotonin.


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