Arena Reports 6/24 WWE at ECW Arena: Alternate perspective report on McECW invading the Bingo Hall
Jun 25, 2006 - 11:41:00 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
ECW house show
June 24, 2006
Philadelphia, Pa. at ECW Arena
Report by J.M. Linden of Philadelphia, Pa., PWTorch correspondent
I attended WWE's version of ECW's return to the ECW Arena last night in South Philly, and I've read a lot of the reports online. To me, I think there's still a lot to talk about.
Here's the rundown, from where I was sitting.
The anger of the crowd walking in was obvious just when the legal announcement of "this show is copyright WWE" came over the sound system.
About half the crowd were members of the original crowd that used to come. The other half were a rowdy bunch of kids who likely never saw ECW back in the day, and were more like CZW "blood and guts fans." It reminded me of the people who used to heckle Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero, no matter how good their matches were.
(1) The FBI versus Danny Doring and Roadkill match (FBI won via pinfall) was an excellent opener. A really good way to start the show.
(2) C.M. Punk is next versus Stevie Richards. Everyone liking this so far, with the first match being "pure old ECW" and the second match featuring a star of the future in C.M. Punk. Surprising the bigness of Punk's victory was lost on a lot of the crowd.
Our first "we want blood" chant starts in between the matches.
(3) Francine wins the bikini contest against Trinity and Kelly. I liked this because of how much the crowd hated Kelly, even when she showed her amazing body. Her body was 100 percent better than Francine's or Trinity's, but no one wanted her there. Back in the old days, she'd be a huge hit. But not on this night. Trinity's moonsault was amazing and had the crowd going crazy. Then Mike Knox ran out and saved Kelly from Francine.
(4) No one knew Knox, but he had a good match with Balls Mahoney. Crowd is restless. Balls misses the chairshot, Knox gets a quick pin. This reminded me of some great Raven finishes, in that weapons don't succeed, wrestling does. But the crowd didn't give Knox a chance.
(5) Sabu versus C.W. Anderson got the crowd going again.
And then they took intermission. Now people get a chance to realize that we're in intermission, we're only an hour into the show. People already buzzing on Sandman's music, why isn't there a full TV setup, WWE owns it now. The bad mood on a lot of the crowd is setting in.
(6) Justin Credible comes out to his old ECW music by Grinspoon. But the Sandman comes out to his horrible WWE music. The crowd doesn't like it. Sandman doesn't like the reaction and they finish their dueling canes in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. This was a huge blunder. Sandman could have won the crowd over. Justin is a good enough wrestler, and their feud was big enough in ECW, that they could have overcome the ridiculous decision not to play the Metallica music. Or at least Lemmy and Motorhead's version from the second ECW CD. But to give this crowd a two and a half minute match? That was just a monumental mistake, even bigger than the decision to play the Sandman's new WWE generic music.
The crowd, not just the new fans, are pissed. "This show sucks!" they chant.
Paul Heyman comes out. Everyone celebrates. Enormous pop. Next to RVD, biggest babyface of the night. He ropes them in, has them in the palm of his hands. Verbally destroys these two Cena fans, the same ones in the fight later. But then Heyman says something like, "Folks, we have to talk about July 4th." And like that, the reality sets in. The crowd divides. Half the crowd stays with Heyman. Half the crowd is pissed. He's a sellout, he's pumping the Philadelphia show that should be here at the Arena. And while Heyman ripped on the Cena fans, he stood there and allowed those who wanted to be pissed about July 4th to speak their minds. He then pretty much told us, "This is our chance to do a taping away from Smackdown." He made a great point here. "It's happening July 4th with you or without you. If you'd give your left nut for ECW to come back, you won't support a, ECW-only TV at Wachovia?"
Two schools of thought here. My friend, who is more an ROH fan, and who wasn't into ECW back in the day, thought Heyman plugging the event was a horrible downer for the crowd, in the form of the guy we always followed and believed in was asking us to leave our roots, leave the ECW Arena for a WWE production at the Wachovia. Another friend, and I kind of agree with this, thought Heyman was the right choice to make this speech. He let it be known that this is where the new ECW is headed, and if we wanted to support ECW, he needs our helps in showing WWE and the networks the amazing crowd. Heyman, in the ring, even mentioned the Hammerstein crowd, which shut down the naysayers for a moment, because it was shocking Heyman would put over a New York crowd in Philly. He'd never do that before. But he was right to do it, because the Hammerstein crowd made the pay-per-view so much better, and that's what ECW needs on TV right now. I took it as Paul E saying, "This is the unpleasant truth, but if you want to help shape ECW's future, you have to be there to do it." In many ways, the most interesting moments of the night.
Heyman said he was humbled to introduce Tommy Dreamer. Nice touch. Seeing them in the ring together under these conditions was not lost on anyone. Dreamer told a story, I don't know if it's true, but it worked. His daughter was in the hospital, but his wife said "it's the Arena" and he should go.
(7) The Big Show was the biggest heel on the show, much like Cena in the Hammerstein Ballroom at ECW One Night Stand. Up until this point, best match of the night, and only fitting that Dreamer lost.
(8) Dean Malenko comes out to be a ref. Nice applause from those who knew him in his ECW heyday. Kurt Angle comes out. Nice pop, but not huge. People not sure who his opponent is. Then it's RVD. Now the crowd is absolutely on fire. The hands-down most popular ECW wrestler from the original ECW days returns as ECW and WWE Champion. RVD and Angle have a great match. About 6 or 7 minutes in, though, they go to the mat because the crowd has now divided. While not a single soul booed RVD besides the two John Cena fans, the crowd was split on Angle. Half the crowd is screaming, angry, drunk, and with a passion "Angle sucks." Not in a way of "hey, we're having fun." I mean, really angry, scary. So the respectful ECW loyalists start with "Let's Go Kurt" without dissing RVD. This got so confrontational, I thought a big brawl was coming. But when it was about to get out of hand, Kurt and Van Dam turned it on. Great match. Best of the night. Almost 20 minutes. Kurt swings a chair, hits the ropes, creams himself on the ricochet, RVD hits the Van Daminator, and then the Five-Star Frog Splash for the win. Great match.
Okay, so the show is over. Everyone talking. Some are saying this is the new ECW, Vince is changing it, Heyman is fighting for a vision, give it time. ECW needs our support. Others are saying "F This." Lots of people starting to argue as to which side is right. The people who want to stick with the new ECW are very pro-Heyman, very pro-ECW, very forgiving about all the things like Sandman's bad music, because they realize if it's ever going to change, it will take time to convince corporate WWE. The other people are just plain hostile and angry. Right in the middle of these heated conversations comes the two Cena fans, who start agitating the riled up ECW crowd, which didn't take much. A fight breaks out, with some innocent people getting knocked over. I saw a chair thrown. Atlas Security gets involved. As people are thrown out, one of the Cena fans and an ECW fan get into outside as well.
This was not a great show. It was not a bad one, either. It was a new presentation of ECW. It was not the presentation it will probably be in six months. It was not the roller coaster ride Heyman is famous for booking. It was also not the lackluster WWE house show where no one cares, no one tries, no one works their ass off for the audience. RVD took time after the show to sign autographs in the parking lot, and was very positive about the future. I have to believe he was very honest about that. Me? I'm going to give them a chance. I'm going to see where this all leads. I am sure Vince has a vision of what he thinks ECW should be, but I know Heyman does too, and I am sure his battle is very uphill.
RVD is the champion. Dreamer is not drinking toilet water. Sandman is being Sandman. Sabu is a top star, main eventing pay-per-views with John Cena. Future stars like C.M. Punk and Mike Knox are getting started. Yes, there's a lot we don't have right now, but it's just three weeks into the new project. It's getting better. It's not like The Alliance, which was a total debacle from the get-go.
Let's see what happens next.
QUICK TIPS FOR SENDING RESULTS
If you attend an arena event in future, either house shows or TV tapings, we encourage you to send us a report for publication. You can direct your reports to "matchresults" (@pwtorch. com).
We accept reports in any format, but if it's not much trouble, please format your report like you see above, with the matches numbered like this (1) , (2) , (3) , with the opening line of each match paragraph stating who beat whom (don't just say Wrestler A vs. Wrestler beat with the result listed later; instead, state up front who won so those readers who don't have time to read the entire report (i. e. their boss walks past their cubicle all the time looking beat their shoulder) can at least quickly assess the results.
Also, please list tag teams using the "&" symbol as opposed to stating "and. " Reserve use of " and" when listing results in a threevway or fourvway match where there are no teams (i. e. " Wrestler A beat Wrestler B and Wrestler C in a threevway match" ) so it is easy to differentiate a handicap match from a threevway match.
If you know HTML coding for bolding, you can also bold out the first line of each match description. If you don't know HTML symbols, then we can add those ourselves.
Special thanks to everyone who helps us with reports on live events!
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**