Saturday, June 24, 2006

ECW 2006

So we're 2 weeks in to the new ECW and the reviews are mixed at best. I'm hardly on the "extreme" negative end of things like a lot of people, but I also don't think there is any way the ECW of the past is coming back.

The largest hurdle to me is taping at large arenas that WWE shows are what people bought tickets to see. ECW in it's day was an outlaw promotion who's fans hated the current wrestling product and wanted something new. Small 600-2000 seat buildings created a totally different atmosphere then the generic WWE big arena shows. The low key, low class buildings were very much a part of the ECW experience. The idea of dimming the lights this past week certainly helped but it's simply not the same. If you ever attending an ECW show in the day, much like at One Night Stand, the audience was part of the experience. The chants, the bringing "plunder" to the show, the close proximity of the wrestlers...That's simply not going to happen at the DCU Center, Wachovia Center, etc.

The other major hurdle is the wrestlers themselves. Other then Sabu and maybe Sandman in his new role none of the old school ECW guys are going to get over with the fans. Most are being used as cannon fodder for the new WWE ECW guys and are there simply to bridge the gap for the old fans. They are going to have to stand by their concept of building and all new ECW. This is going to mean making stars of unknown development types. Paul Heyman has the ability to do this. The question is going to be will the other writers and VKM going to let this happen. Most of the WWE guys will consider moving to ECW a step down. You can already see a LOT of them are uncomfortable being so close to the unwashed masses. The other thing will be work rate and style. They have them on a pretty busy house show schedule right now and if they're working old ECW style, that's going to take it's toll.

I truly think this can work, but it's going to take time. Once the initial ECW/WWE feud ends (I don't think it will ever end totally but rather become less of a focus) they are going to have to truly develop their own style and stars for this thing to work. I'm hoping it does but I'm also aware it won't be MY ECW. That's cool too as I'm not the same wrestling fan I was back then.

Friday, June 23, 2006

T.U.F Season 3

With the Ultimate Finale looming this Saturday night I thought I'd weigh in (pun intended) on this season, the fighters, predictions, and T.U.F in general.

Format: I liked the new format with the winners making the matches, a tournament format, and no silly challenges. I always hated the idea that a guy could advance to the semi's without having won a fight and thought the challenges were wasteful and just an opportunity to get hurt. There were obviously issues (injuries, girlfriend problems) that upset the apple cart, but the concept was much better.

Coaches: From the outside looking in and reading the fighters comments after the show, Ken Shamrock simply didn't want to be there and did it simply for the sake of a payday and to promote the fight with him and Tito. He seemed lost and disinterested and his training methods and fighting style seem to have no changed since the early UFC's. Ortiz on the other hand came off as not only a better coach but a total babyface who truly cared for his "kids" (I think some of the guys were actually right around his age actually). From what I've seen and known of Tito's reputation he's either grown up a lot or that was the greatest performance of all time.

Fighters: Other then Bisping, I wasn't overly impressed with any of the fighters. Ed Herman has potential but for all his talk he clearly didn't dominate. matt has a HUGE upside, so we'll see. I thought they did a better job exposing the different personalities harkening back to TUF1. They really dropped the ball on TUF2 in this aspect. You could really feel the bonding with these guys as well as who did and didn't get along. You also got a better idea of what a strain living in that environment can be, especially with a lot of the guys in their late 20's and 30's with families at home

Overall: The hardest part with any reality show is what makes the finished product versus what really happens. Reading Tait Fletchers interview you get an idea how much of the show is clever editing done for dramatic effect. That said, I found the whole season compelling. Much better then TUF1. The whole Shamrock/Ortiz dynamic entered my mind very little as it all seemed forced.

Predictions: Bisping/Haynes- Bisping in a walk over. Haynes is lucky Matt got knocked out and even that Fletcher didn't want to come back in. I think he is simply outclassed here. he has a great story but I see Bisping by TKO first round
Grove/Herman is a little tougher. I'm assuming Herman comes in better cardio shape training with Coture and company and hence less likely to gas. I'm going with Herman in a close 3 round decision.

Well, we'll see