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T3C: Do we really need ECW?



2 December 2006

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Once there was a wrestling company that was innovative, entertaining and sadly run as well financially as a Christmas hamper business. ECW changed wrestling all over the world, it may not have had the highest attendances and could only dream of the kind of buy rates WWE get on an off-day but they’ll live on in our memories forever. Of course ECW isn’t dead is it? It still exists in the mind of Vince McMahon who saw some dollar signs in front of his eyes and believed he could make some money by resurrecting ECW. This month it has its first PPV but do we really need ECW?

I took another look at a PPV from the past last week and took particularly close attention to the matches that included fire, tables, ladders, chairs, barbed wire and plenty of blood. It wasn’t an ECW PPV though, it was Wrestlemania 22 and TNA PPV’s and shows put on by other groups around the world provide the same kind of hardcore entertainment. With that available, do we really need ECW?

You see the problem is ECW isn’t innovative anymore. In the past it helped introduce lucha libre style wrestling to the States and the more hardcore style of wrestling which revolted the purists until they realised money could be made out of it. That’s not the case in the new ECW is it? The matches aren’t as hardcore as they could have been when performed in a bingo hall, remember ECW had pressure on them to tone down the violence when they tried to make it on PPV and like I’ve written, the ECW hardcore style is part and parcel of WWE now anyway while other companies are taking the violence to even higher levels, so do we really need ECW?

I know who does need ECW and it’s not the fans who now see a watered down, WWE influenced product with a roster as thin as Kate Moss. It’s the wrestlers who have a career in WWE that’s going nowhere who need ECW. The likes of Rene Dupree, The Giant Khali, Hardcore Holly and Matt Stryker had a future that meant Indie wrestling or being watched online on Heat. OK ECW has a history of taking established talent such as Terry Funk and Jimmy Snuka and giving their careers new breath but this isn’t like that. The Big Show is only champion because RVD and Sabu got caught doing something they shouldn’t have. He’s only in ECW because fans know who he is and laugh when he says nobody can beat him. He helps when it comes to the ECW Champ interfere in Raw and Smackdown. The loss of Kurt Angle certainly didn’t help but what was Vince thinking when he thought it’d be a good idea to take a broken down superstar and stick him in ECW?

The Giant Khali is only in ECW because Vince doesn’t want to lose him (God knows why) and doesn’t want him on Raw because that’s not taped. Test has had all the chances in the world to make it big on Raw or Smackdown but he lacks something, that little bit of talent that turns a good wrestler into a great one, so ECW becomes his home.

The cruiserweight action on ECW is nothing, Vince should have just taken them away from Smackdown and put them on ECW, the fans would have still seen them because it’s taped the same night but this isn’t the real ECW and do we really need it anyway?

The first PPV has an Extreme Elimination Chamber, just a slight addition to a WWE innovation. That’s not what ECW is about. There’s only one other matche announced so far too (Hardys vs. MNM). That’s hardly going to give the roster confidence in their own ability.

ECW isn’t really needed, it’s just the actions of someone who sees a possibility of making some more money. It’s just a way of using talent he doesn’t quite trust but doesn’t want to see end up in TNA if he released them. It isn’t as hardcore as fans want, the ECW legends have seen better days and it’s not put on in the proper environment. Do we really need ECW? I don’t think so!

Stephen Ashfield

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