Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"ECW" Report

Oh My God!: Rob Van Dam defeated the Big Show again, this time in a ladder match, and can face Show in a title match whenever he desires.

You Fucked Up: Poor Mike Knox still can’t get the best of CM Punk, no matter how many times he jumps him from behind.

He’s Hardcore: Big Show bled, took bumps, and received hard weapons shots once again in the name of putting on quality matches.

The Extreme Rundown:

Rob Van Dam came out to start the show. He said that the seemingly impossible happened last week when he pinned the Big Show. RVD wanted to know when he would receive his title shot. Paul Heyman came out and said RVD and Show would have a ladder match for a championship match contract. If RVD got it, he could select the time and place of his title shot. However, if Show got it, he could tear it up. The Riot Squad jumped RVD but he fought them off.

1. CM Punk beat Matt Striker by disqualification. Punk hit a spine buster, knee and high kick. Striker sent him into the post and rammed his arm into the post and steps repeatedly. He applied the Fujiwara armbar, but Punk escaped and hit a forearm, knees from the clinch, a running knee, a bulldog, a springboard clothesline, slaps, a spinning back fist and a high kick. He was going for the uranage when Mike Knox interfered. Punk gave him a high kick and Knox ran away.

2. Test beat Hardcore Holly. Holly hit punches and chops, but Test came back with punches of his own and rammed Holly into the steps and post. He hit elbows and kicks, but Holly retaliated with kicks, punches and rammed Test into the steps. There were some boring chants. Holly suplexed Test to the floor, but Test seized control and rammed Holly into the post. Holly came back with kicks and a clothesline off the top. Test hit a power slam, but Holly crotched him on the top rope and hit a leg drop off the second rope.

Test went for the pump handle slam, but Holly escaped and went for the Alabama slam. Test avoided that, but Holly hit him with punches and kicks. Test rammed him into the post and rolled him up with the tights for the pin. Test hit Holly repeatedly with a chair to Holly’s injured back after the match. This was stiff and hard worked but not particularly good. The crowd wasn’t into it at all. Sandman backstage said he has beaten up plenty of Samoans and encouraged people to vote for him to take on Umaga.

3. Rob Van Dam beat Big Show in a ladder match. Show grabbed RVD by the throat, but RVD hit kicks off the ropes and hit Show with the ladder in the gut and head. Show bladed, and RVD kicked the ladder into Show’s head again. RVD hit rolling thunder on the ladder, and went to climb the ladder. Show pushed him off and threw him into a ladder. Show stood on a ladder with RVD under it and speared RVD.

Show slammed RVD on the ladder and went for the corner splash that he always misses. He missed again and landed on the ladder. Show was still able to hit RVD with the choke slam minutes later. Show went to climb the ladder, but RVD ran up the ladder and hit what was supposed to be a huracanrana to the outside. It was kind of screwed up since RVD hit the floor a lot harder and quicker than Show, and Show went over moments later. RVD ran back in and grabbed the contract. This was a good match despite the finish.

Please Don’t Go:

This was another straight-forward show. Since I know a lot of people don’t watch the show, I will close with an evaluation of how the wrestlers from this week’s show are progressing in ECW:

CM Punk – Easily the early success story from ECW, Punk is well on his way to becoming a star. His push has been so straight forward. He wins his matches decisively, and is never outsmarted by the heels. The crowd knows they can believe in him, and when he starts feuding with bigger stars he will likely move to a new level. His straight edge gimmick to me was always more of a heel gimmick, and a feud with Rob Van Dam is a natural story that would produce great matches.

Matt Striker – I just don’t get what people see in Striker. He is a sub-par wrestler and his heel personality screams lower card. Perhaps he could work better as a heel manager, but they need to ditch the teacher gimmick sooner or later. It’s just not a gimmick with upward mobility.

Hardcore Holly – A face turn seemed like a good idea based on his match with Rob Van Dam, but his personality isn’t terribly sympathetic. I think he can still work well in that capacity, but he needs to be booked strongly in order to do so. Tonight’s reaction to his match was not a positive sign. He’s a good fit for ECW, but as a tough midcarder to help get over rising heels.

Test – Test has done better in ECW than I expected. His match with Rob Van Dam the other week was a real positive for him. He is capable of having good matches with the right opponent, particularly for a man of his size. He still has his limitations, as he isn’t a good talker and doesn’t have much charisma. I don’t see him as a main event single, but I think he works well as a heel enforcer. I think they should increasingly link him with Heyman, as the guy that Heyman calls in when the Riot Squad falters.

Big Show – Show deserves major credit for working so hard as ECW champion. He didn’t need to, and he has really gone beyond the call of duty. The problem remains that he has been jobbed out for so many years that it is hard to rehabilitate him even with an extended push. ECW would also be able to differentiate itself by putting together great main events every week, and Show can only do so much in that capacity. I’m not nearly as down on Show as champion as I once was, but I do think there are better choices for the role.

Rob Van Dam –RVD is the star of the ECW show, as would have been expected going in. His chase of Big Show is working well so far. It’s too bad they had RVD win the ECW Title already with a brief run, because the story of RVD chasing his first ECW Title was something Paul Heyman built for years and now they can’t really do it. Still, RVD works naturally as champion, as evidenced by his great run as TV champion. I hope RVD’s body can hold up, because he’s a lot older now than when he was going so hard in the mid to late 90s.


Anonymous J Patrick said...

With WWE promoting Raw as being the longest running show on television (which I'm sure is a spin of some sort), what is the possibility that it's run its due course and is going to take wrestling as ever being accepted as a mainstream form of entertainment down with it?

Nothing lasts forever, and it seems to me that WWE is so synonomous with wrestling to the casual fan that if WWE disappears from tv that something else is going to fill its gap.

Part of me also speculates, though, if history won't cycle through on itself and some of the legitamate fighting organizations that are out there now in 50 years will start doing worked fights and recreate pro-wrestling.. It happened once, and it can happen again, and as hype-oriented as PRIDE and UFC can be, I don't think it's too far out of the question.

First time commentor. I really appreciate your colomns and work. Thanks for being a law student who enjoys wrestling. It helped me convince all the other theology students I graduated with that I didn't have to remove my brain to become a wrestling fan.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks, Joseph.

WWE promoting Raw as the longest running "entertainment show" or however they bill it is definitely a spin. For one thing, they disregard sports programming like Monday Night Football. For another, they disregard pro wrestling, as WCW Saturday Night went back a lot further on TBS than Raw. It's just a thing for them to say.

It's going to be a long, long time before any other pro wrestling group is able to signify pro wrestling in this country given how strongly the public associates WWE with pro wrestling today. I think the scenario you lay out is conceivable, but it's going to have to come quite a while in the future. For those of us discouraged with what pro wrestling symbolizes to most people, our best hope is that WWE realizes this and gives its audience more respect.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

In short, the WWE product is overwhelming success and their formula works. They have created new stars as well as managing to keep a strong nostalgic feeling among the wrestling audience. While certain individuals may not like the direction or use of certain angles, the company draws thousands worldwide, and has for a long long time. And they will continue to do so, for a long long time. Take for example the recent Japan Tour. They put on an excellent card with their current talent roster and created a show no one else in the world will be able to see without buying the dvd(not sure if they taped or not, assuming b/c of the past austrailian ppv dvd's).

They know how to make money, alot of money, and for the life of me I'll never understand the constant nitpicking of a successful company when the ROH's and TNA's of the world are the ones in dire need of critical analysis by the top insiders. Honestly I'm not sure what the bigger joke is, the fact that people still try to label WWE strictly a wrestling company or insiders lack of ability to accept WWE as the success that it is. Last night was a great night for fight fans, at one point I was flipping channels back and forth second-to-second to catch some of both the PRIDE and UFC specials. Fixed fights in UFC and PRIDE are definitely not out of the question, and I'd almost be surprised if it didn't happen already.

Trigg-St Pierre - rather than taking the knockout Trigg rolled into a triangle and tapped out. Now while I don't consider this to be a worked-shoot it does show that fighters are willing to accept a loss of simply a superior fighter once in the ring.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Cena was on Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio today. Cowherd said he considers wrestling fans "booger eaters" which is a nice way to get started. Cena wasn't there when he said it, but Cena didn't bring it up either. They mostly talked baseball, and Cena said the best five wrestling cities were Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago and Detroit. I guess his favorite cities are the ones where they boo him out of the arena.

This is the kind of reporting which makes the professional wrestling insiders look like a joke. In one instance you have a guy on a national radio show talking about the most popular (best) cities for professional wrestling. And this reporter decides to use this oppurtunity to take a tongue-in-cheek shot at the wrestler. Lame. Meltzers site is great for information, but other than that...

3:44 PM  

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