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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S ECW ON SCI-FI REPORT 6/13: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of program

Jun 13, 2006 - 10:07:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

McECW TV REPORT
JUNE 13, 2006
TRENTON, N.J.
AIRED ON SCI-FI NETWORK


-The show was taped earlier tonight as Sci Fi execs (and NBC Universal higher-ups) were concerned with the crowd chants and the overall content of Sunday's PPV. Joey Styles told the crowd before the taping began to watch their chants because families were in the crowd. How was the potential of lewd crowd chants on live TV not foreseeable?

-The show opened with highlight clips of the ECW One Night Stand PPV.

-The new ECW opening aired with the "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" theme song.

-The camera panned the crowd just as it does at the beginning of Smackdown and Raw. They went right to a small entrance tunnel set up alongside the Smackdown entrance set. A graphic said they were live in Trenton, N.J., but then they took it down quickly (the graphic was made well in advance of the decision to tape it ahead of time). At ringside, Joey Styles and Tazz quickly introduced the show from ringside.

-Paul Heyman introduced RVD. The camera stayed focused on the ECW entrance set and the crowd to the right, but never to the blocked off Smackdown entrance set to its left. Styles said RVD was "arguably the greatest wrestler never to be a World Champion." RVD came out to his full entrance. From center ring, he thanked the fans. He asked the fans to say hi to their new champion. He received a mix of cheers and boos, which is one of the problems with running these ECW TV events at Smackdown. I think they should just do what it takes right now to get the TVs moved to a smaller, more ECW-like building and if they have to, tape a few shows at time to save on money. At least they'd have the crowd and atmosphere that is perhaps the ultimate key to what sets ECW apart.

Heyman pulled the new ECW World Hvt. Title out and handed it to RVD. RVD said he can't think of a greater honor for his career. Heyman asked what he is going to do with Cena's spinning belt. RVD said he wants to keep it, too. RVD pointed at the ECW title belt, and he said he'd wear it proudly. He pointed at the spinning belt. He spun it. At that point, Edge's music played and he interrupted.

Styles said Edge is an invited guest. Tazz said Edge is his new hero for taking out Cena at One Night Stand (because, it's thus implied, RVD couldn't have beat Cena without his help). Edge thanked Heyman for inviting them there. He said he respects RVD. He said they have a lot in common. He said they both won the Money in the Bank match and cashed it in to win the championship. He said they both broke the glass ceiling. He said it would be honor to face him at Vengeance. RVD shook hands with Edge and Lita, while struggling to balance his belts over his shoulders. Edge then speared RVD by surprise. Heyman screamed, "What are you doing?!" Styles said Edge knows better than to walk through the ECW locker room after what he just did, so he retreated through the crowd. John Cena was standing behind him. What a coincidence that Cena knew right where Edge would go. Cena through Edge back to the ringside area and onto the WWE-style announcers' table with an ECW logo on it. RVD wanted to go after Edge. Cena yanked him away. Edge knocked RVD into Cena, then low-blowed RVD from behind, and finally retreated through the crowd. Cena then punched Heyman and pursued Edge through the crowd. A number of ECW wrestlers ran out to check on Heyman. Styles asked, "What the hell is going on?"

-If ECW is ever going to be given a chance to establish its own identity, there are no signs of it yet. They put all of 30 seconds of thought into how to make the show feel different than Raw and Smackdown - and failed to do it on any significant level, making it doubtful they feel that's even important. By holding ECW TV at Smackdown tapings in and of itself shows that they don't really get what makes ECW unique, or if they do, they aren't putting a high enough priority on differentiating it. When they air a show from ECW Arena next month, it will be a huge uncorking of what ECW is really all about. In the mean time, it's going to be difficult to stomach for ECW purists for a while.

[Commercial Break]

-Backstage, Heyman stood backstage and told ECW wrestlers, "How date Edge screw with ECW like this. If this is how they want to play, if this is how Monday Night Raw wants to play, then we're going to bring ECW to Monday Night War. Monday, we're going to show up on Monday Night War and I'm not going alone, I'm bringing with me ECW." He started an "ECW, ECW" chant. It really is doomed unless they change course within a few weeks.

1 -- SANDMAN vs. THE ZOMBIE

A wrestler walked out called The Zombie. Tazz said, "Is this a rib? What is this?" Tazz said in all his years in ECW, he never saw a Zombie. He moaned and groaned. Styles said, "This is laughable." The Sandman then came out to his generic entrance in the stands. "Unless The Zombie is impervious to pain, Sci Fi is going to see The Sandman kick Uranus, Zombie." Styles introduced him as five-time ECW Champion, "the beer-swilling, cane-swinging Sandman." Tazz said there is nobody more hardcore and more ECW than Sandman. He said he is blue collar all the way. He busted a beer can over his forehead, opening up a cut. Styles talked about Sandman being in and out of jail for ten years for bar fights and spent six months in solitary confinement years before becoming an ECW wrestler for punching a security guard. Sandman destroyed him with the cane and a Russian leg sweep to win in 20 seconds. "That is the new ECW, a new breed unleashed."

WINNER: Sandman in 0:20.

STAR RATING: n/a -- Hey, an ECW segment that didn't have anything to do with Raw or Smackdown.

-An ECW Diva stood backstage and said she's an exhibitionist who is going to take off all of her clothes tonight.

-They cut to a DX video promotion for Vengeance.

[Commercial Break]

-A clip aired of Tazz vs. Jerry Lawler on the ECW PPV on Sunday. They showed full ring intros for both wrestlers and the match. At the PPV, Styles sat at a regular folding table, which is what they should have done as another small touch on the Sci Fi show instead of the sleeker black WWE-style table. There is just no comparison between that atmosphere and the Smackdown crowd atmosphere tonight.

2 -- KURT ANGLE vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE

Now, the first match between two official ECW wrestlers is going to be won by the wrestler who had never wrestled for ECW previously over a former ECW World Champion. Because Justin was so dominated, Styles and Tazz didn't even say he was a former ECW Champ. In the process, nothing was done to reintroduce who Justin is and what he's about. Angle tore at Justin's face and then tossed him over the top rope. Back in the ring, Angle headbutted Justin - an Angle first. He then choked him out and Justin tapped.

WINNER: Angle in 1:30.

STAR RATING: 1/4* -- This relaunch gets more unreal every minute in terms of how much Vince McMahon is trying to use the ECW name and its wrestlers to establish a new purely WWE-oriented brand with his established WWE wrestlers with the ECW sticker plastered over it. The only hope for anything that resembles a separate brand will be once they get past Vengeance. Or else, the judgement of the new ECW will have to shift to the same criteria that is used to judge Raw and Smackdown, not anything related to ECW. But getting past the patronizing usage of ECW's legacy to try to pretend this new brand has a real edge to it will be tough for long-time ECW fanatics. For those who never saw ECW, they're going to wonder what all the fuss was about, since almost everyone who was ever part of ECW (other than RVD and to a degree Sandman) is treated about the same as Scotty 2 Hotty is.

-After the match, Angle cut a promo for WWE Vengeance, stating he'd force him to tapout. He said he is the new face of ECW.

-Heyman looked directly into the camera and said, "You wanna learn what extreme is all about? Tonight, I'm gonna show you extreme. Everything I had planned for this show is out the window." He said he is going to take ten of ECW's best and put them in the ring for an extreme battle royal where anything goes and all weapons are legal. He said the winner would face John Cena at Vengeance and lead the troops on Raw. Styles and Tazz did their best to make it sound like they were blown away by the idea of a weapons battle royal. "We've never seen that before!"

-Kelly then bent over and said she was going to show all of her assets next.

[Commercial Break]

-They showed the marquee outside the arena. In the foreground was a vampire. They went back to clips of Edge in the first segment.

-Kelly did a strippers dance in front of a glittery curtain. She had see-through panties and then pulled up her top and covered herself with her hands. Why didn't Tommy Dreamer piledrive her? Let's just say that even Tom Cruise thought she was really hot.

-Tommy Dreamer came out to his full ring intro, then Sabu, for the Extreme Battle Royal. Then they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

3 -- EXTREME BATTLE ROYAL

Roadkill and Danny Doring were already in the ring, Al Snow, Stevie Richards, The FBI (Big Guido, Little Guido, Tony Mamaluke), Balls Mahoney, and Big Show then came out at which point the match began. Big Show cleared the ring of everyone within seconds, but they all went through the ropes, not over the top. Yet another message that an established WWE wrestlers is tougher than even nine other established ECW wrestlers. It's almost a parody at this point. You almost couldn't have dreamed up a more decisive way to bury everything ECW than this show so far. They cut to a quick break.

[Commercial Break]

As everyone hit others with weapons, Tazz said, "This is what you get with ECW. Everything is done to the extreme. The wrestling, the aggressiveness, the sexuality, the verbiage. Everything is done to the extreme. Different than Smackdown. Different than Raw. This is what makes us better than them." In fact, though, it was barely a step above the watered down style that was employed by WWE for a couple years with the hardcore division that almost single-handedly destroyed the term "hardcore." Snow and Doring were the first two eliminated. In a fitting symbolism, Show eliminated Dreamer by lifting him and tossing him through a table at ringside. Show continued to eliminate various ECW wrestlers, leaving Big Guido vs. Show. Show easily eliminated Big Vito. Vito held onto Show. Sabu, who had been thrown over the top rope but didn't land on the floor, then snuck back into the ring and launched himself into Show with a chair to eliminate him.

WINNER: Sabu in 15:00.

STAR RATING: * -- I think WCW may have gotten the better version of botched brand relaunches by WWE.

-Styles and Tazz ended by - what else - plugging Raw, noting that Heyman had vowed to bring ECW to Raw next week.

VIP members, please note that Bruce Mitchell is writing a "Mojo Mitchell" commentary on this event which will be posted exclusively at the PWTorch VIP site and emailed to VIP Email Express members tonight. James Caldwell and I will also be posting a VIP Audio Update shortly after the show tonight with full analysis of the Sci Fi debut.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for an "ECW TV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on ECW on Sci-Fi, click here.


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