E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W!

Mark Madden

E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W!

That’s what came to mind last Friday when I caught TNA live at the Ches-A-Rena in Cheswick, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb.

I don’t mean that in a good way.

It gave the impression of a hot show because it was very nearly sold out and the crowd, at times, was rabid. But the Ches-A-Rena is a small, run-down building, a converted roller rink, with a capacity of 1,300 tops. Half the crowd was low-rent, the other half too smart for its own good. It created a certain illusion but, make no mistake – it was an illusion, just like ECW Arena. Fun, but not profitable.

There were so many things about the show that were embarrassing:

*Don West hawked T-shirts at the merchandising table. What a long fall from the Shop at Home network.

*Jeremy Borash and Craig Jenkins, the cornpone country live events coordinator, warmed up the crowd in a fashion that invoked Gene Okerlund guest-hosting Hee Haw. “Which fans are the loudest? YOU’RE GONNA GET TO GO BACKSTAGE!” Having seen backstage, I immediately clammed up. In WCW, announcers had their own trailer. At Ches-A-Rena, one faucet fits all. If it’s working.

*Karen Angle was wandering through the crowd. That wasn’t embarrassing, because she’s SUPER HOT. It wasn’t unusual, because Karen, like Kurt, is from the Pittsburgh area. But it was WEIRD, because Karen’s former and current flame were both on the card. If Kurt’s OK with it, I won’t complain. But, given the circumstances…WEIRD.

*Sarita and Taylor Wilde are so short, a security guard asked me about “the woman midget wrestlers.” No kidding.

*To reiterate: I just don’t get Abyss. Now that he’s wearing Hulk Hogan’s WWE Hall of Fame ring and “hulking up” to begin his comeback, I get him even less. It’s one thing to fly high on borrowed wings. It’s another to strap on old, decrepit wings that don’t even work for the original user anymore, then crash and burn. Hey, a .80 doesn’t lie. No one wants to see Hogan now, let alone his mentally disturbed clone.

*Put a mask on Amazing Red. No one wants to see the paperboy wrestle. Didn’t Rey Mysterio Jr. prove that?

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