Well, now that I have that out of my system, I can welcome everyone to another edition of Real Talk. Some of my faithful readers out there may be wondering why they are reading a second edition of Real Talk in just one week’s time. Frankly, the fact of the matter is that I just can’t keep quiet after last night’s ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view. I am normally not the type of person who does reviews, as there are many more qualified columnists who make that their area of expertise. None the less, after viewing the hardcore madness that was ECW last night, I thought that being I have this forum to write, I’d use it to express my thoughts on what went on.
I won’t bore you with my analysis of every match, because as I stated above there are others more qualified to do so. Yet I will say that I thought ECW One Night Stand was by far one of the best pay-per-views in a very (and I do mean very) long time. There are so many elements that went into it that make me inclined to say such a thing. First and foremost, it was a breath of fresh air in a wrestling world that has grown stale for so many. It felt like ECW. It was ECW. It was totally different than the product which we have been given for so long. And to think, it was produced by WWE! The matches were intense, and every wrestler went out there and went to the extreme. From Super Crazy’s moonsault off of the balcony, to Rhyno being driven through a table as Sabu came crashing down leg and chair first, to Tanaka being driven though tables, being slammed with chairs, and still getting up for more, and Tommy Dreamer coming crashing down through a flaming table, it was all so hardcore! (Cue loud E-C-W chant here.)
And the emotion. The pay-per-view was pure, unaltered, uninhibited, and raw emotion. From the opening seconds when Joey Styles took to the ring to a standing ovation, nearly crying to Paul Heyman getting teary eyed as the entire crowd bowed before him. These moments were a testament to what ECW meant for so many people, and how great it was for them to relive something they had built their lives around for just one more night.
But maybe the most emotion came from the shoot promos of RVD and Paul Heyman. This wasn’t something the WWE could script. It came straight from their hearts, and everyone watching the show knew it. Sometimes when I watch the WWE I feel so distant from the product. I don’t feel as if I’m connecting on any sort of level to what is going on, and I feel as they are not in touch with the everyday fan. This was certainly not the case with Van Dam and Heyman last night. I felt like they were one of us. They knew my thoughts and feelings. They knew how we felt and truly had their finger on the pulse of the fans.
It was so refreshing to see RVD open up completely unscripted and speak from the heart. It became quite evident just how held back RVD is on WWE television. I gained a lot of respect for Rob Van Dam last night. He has a heart and passion for wrestling, and I hope that someday he is allowed to use that passion in a WWE ring.
Heyman’s promo was pure genius. He spoke, on what was technically speaking WWE television, about things that we all have wanted to hear said for so long. When he said that the only reason JBL was champion for a year was because Triple H doesn’t want to work Tuesdays, I did all I could to contain myself. It took guts to make a statement like that, and it has a lot of truth to it. He also spoke to Bischoff, letting it be known that this was an ECW pay per view. To me, that statement was a true testament to everything ECW stood for. It goes to show that ECW, unlike WCW, is still alive and well in the hearts of many fans. What made ECW so unique is that it was driven on pure and unaltered emotion, and the fact that this pay-per-view was produced in the first place shows how powerful that fuel can be. And when Heyman got to Edge, he finally said on live WWE produced television what so many of us have longed to hear for so long. He said, “Matt freakin’ Hardy”. Heyman lifted the veil off the mockery of this entire situation that the WWE has produced on RAW and exposed it for what it really is. I ate it up. I loved it. Thank you Paul Heyman, you’re the man.
Switching gears a little bit, there was one statement that Stone Cold made at the end of the night that I thought I would note. He said that he had nearly “ODed on violence.” Maybe I agree with him to a certain extent. There is a reason two of my favorite wrestlers are Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle. I love wrestling; pure mat based wrestling. Until watching this PPV, I had almost forgotten how violent ECW was. It is a style that, while I love in small doses, gets to me after a while. After seeing table after table broken, skull after skull crushed, and pint after pint of blood expended, I become desensitized to the entire matter. It doesn’t have the same impact after viewing it repeatedly. But with that being said, I wouldn’t have wanted this pay-per-view to be any other way. It was all out, balls to the wall, extreme wrestling. It was a homage to everything ECW was, and though I am not as big of a hardcore fan as some, I wouldn’t have changed that aspect of the pay-per-view at all. I also thought that both the Chris Jericho vs. Lance Storm and Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit matches were great, and gave me just enough technical style wrestling to hold me over through the night.
I didn’t know if I would like the entire WWE invasion angle, and while watching the pay-per-view I did become annoyed at the amount of attention the WWE superstars were getting. Though in the long run, Paul Heyman’s shoot promo made their attendance well worth it, and I can’t complain. I did also find it interesting to compare the wrestlers of ECW and WWE. WWE’s superstars looked so clean cut and professional, sporting the bulging biceps and chiseled abs that many of the ECW superstars were certainly lacking. (Does anyone other than me think that Sandman looks like he’s about six months pregnant?) The ECW wrestlers look more like a rag-tag, beat up, scarred, and battered bunch. Then again, this look is in many ways a testament to their style of wrestling. It’s hardcore, baby!
There was a lot of debate about this pay per view. Some went so far as to say they were going to boycott it, mainly because of the involvement of the WWE. I think I’m safe to say that they were proven wrong, because in my mind the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view was a resounding success. I said in my last column that I was trying to look at the current WWE product with a “glass half full” kind of mentality. I mentioned the ECW pay-per-view and how excited I was for it. After seeing it, less than twenty four hours removed, I must say that my glass which was once half full is now full and running over. It was great to see ECW one more time. It gave me feelings that I’ve not had watching a wrestling pay-per-view since I don’t know when. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but thank you WWE. Then again, more importantly, maybe I should be saying thank you to every ECW superstar and thank you to every ECW fan. The ECW fans and wrestlers are a testament to how important this product was in the sport of professional wrestling, and it was because of them that it had the chance to rear its hardcore head from the dead one more time. Then again, after seeing last night’s pay-per-view, I don’t think ECW will ever be dead.
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