The Hot Topic: A Matter Of Respect

Rob Taylor


Welcome back to another Hot Topic, I am back and fresh after my holiday in the sun and the very night I return, we get the first draft pick…

Cena moving to RAW is huge, everything from Jericho’s stunned but ecstatic reaction, to Cena’s Gangrel reference was spot on to make the draft immediately relevent, Benoit has done all he can on RAW, so a move back to feud with Eddy makes sense…but will Eddy stay on Smackdown? Cena moving proves anyone is up to be moved… My most likely prediction for the next few weeks, is Cena v Christian for the title at Vengence, Christian upsets the champ when Jericho turns on him…The next SD, Christian is traded to SD as the champ…

CM Punk being signed by WWE could either be a good or sad thing, here is a talented guy, but one WWE will need to get right… His straight edge lifestyle is perfect to go against the excesses of some of the WWE superstars, but it could easily turn into another “Right To Censor” or comedy gimmick.

Regal is a heel again, where he belongs, it’ll be interesting to see whether they follow through with a Tajiri feud at Vengence…and what happens when Eugene comes back… Regal is someone I’d like to see go to SD in the draft, he’d have some great matches with guys like London, Angle, Haas and Eddy…

And now onto the main event of the column, ECW One Night Stand started off as a kinda “roll your eyes” idea… “WWE doing ECW?…never work” was a common thought amongst true ECW fans, I’m talking the guys who would go the ECW Arena, or would import tapes of the shows to watch when it was quite tough to do so… Once Vinny Mac strolled out saying how he “saved” ECW we “knew” it wouldn’t work…or so we thought…

What made ECW so special in the first place, was it the violence? Was it the danger or “deviance” of ECW compared to the big 2? Was it the mix of young stars and legends like Terry Funk and Mick Foley? or was it that ECW was simply a guilty pleasure? It’s all of them…With WWE involved, it could never do all those things? could it?

Over the weeks, as first Eric Bischoff, then Kurt Angle got involved in deriding ECW and the names to appear were announced, it began to look like an excuse for WWE to destroy ECW once and for all…

Then, this weeks RAW came, and for the 2nd time in WWE History, ECW invaded RAW, the first time had seen The Sandman spit beer in the face of Savio Vega at In Your House 10, though the night is more remembered for ECW alumnus Mick Foley’s first WWE title match carrying Shawn Michaels to his best title defense ever… The over the next few weeks. ECW was in the house again, only this time much more ivolved…Sabu flying off the the Titantron, RVD becoming “Mr. Monday Night” by beating Jeff Hardy, and Sandman and Dreamer caining The King…

Things were looking promising, and with Tazz joining ECW at Smackdown, the show suddenly became a must see…

Cue Sunday night and fittingly, the show opened with Joey Styles showing exactly what ECW meant to the guys and fans who were part of it… and it set the tone, everyone from Chris Jericho to Sandman and Dreamer got what the night was about, Eric Bischoff took his “beating”, the WWE “superstars” left looking 2nd best… The show was “smart” in that it used old ECW names, but allowed wrestlers to keep their current gimmicks, after all, “Crippler” of ECW has evolved into the “Rabid Wolverine”, Eddy stayed within his “loco” heel character, it showed that “Sure this is ECW…but it’s 5 years on…they evolved and survived…we didn’t…but we’re back and so are they!!”… The danger was there, as well as the violence, Axl’s grate attack (pun intended), the flaming tables..The Balcony dives…it was all there…

Everyone who showed up at the show, be they wrestling, or sitting in that box was there out of one thing…respect… ECW was the “little engine that could”, it nearly beat Vince and Eric with their own game…Heyman’s tears and joke about RVD summed the man up, this was literally his blood, sweat, tears and dreams in the ring, his life…and finally, he and his creation was getting the proper dues…For that moment, he was not the maverick who can’t get on the WWE writing team cos Stephanie doesn’t like him, but the creator of Hardcore….and arguably WWE Attitude… Few could argue against the fact that Attitude was directly fathered by guys like Steve Austin and Mick Foley’s ECW stints.

Indeed it was fitting both showed up, not in a WWE ploy type way but in a respectful, meaningful way… Austin above all is the one guy who would never have been a mega-star if not for ECW…he showed the proper respect…He was “Stone Cold” but not the star of the show, he got it, that it was the ECW guy’s night… Indeed all seemed to get it… except one…

We all know who I mean… The same man who has disrespected fans in Germany with offensive gestures and who did his best to piss on the ECW party… JBL…you really ought to take a look in the mirror and be ashamed of what you see…but we all know you won’t… Shooting is one thing, ECW is all about shooting, but not a cheap shot on someone who is there to honour their past… Whatever went on between JBL and Meanie in the past, it should not have come to him taking liberties… It is just another example of a man who clearly has no respect for the business that made him, he directly benefitted from ECW,as an opening wrestler in THAT match at Mind Games, his first PPV match is remembered cos of ECW… a team like the APA would never have been seen before ECW made drinking an acceptable gimmick… JBL will have now lost respect with some of the true legends of wrestling, men like Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Tommy Dreamer and hopefully his boss Vince McMahon… It’s time for some of these “locker room leaders” to take this man in hand… Everyone else did their part to make ECW not only a success for one night, but to potentially resurrect the franchise for the future, JBL couldn’t or wouldn’t be a team player… if that’s a Wrestling God…consider me an atheist!!!

In closing, I do hope ECW does make a return full time, ECW is an extremely exciting product, one that could do well on a standalone basis from the WWE, Heyman may need some business help to prevent repeating past mistakes, but surely Shane McMahon could help in that department? If nothing else comes of it, ECW got the send off it deserved, it’s sad some of their brethren were not present, Raven, Shane Douglas et al would have made the show perfect… but for what it was it was E…C f***ING W!!!

As ever, send your feedback to robwilltaylor@hotmail.com…. Please send your thoughts and do check out the WZ columns lounge too!!

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