Last night was a nothing night. Came home, worked out, paid bills, deposited checks, played with rabbits, bid heavily on an original signed piece by Simon Bisely of Lobo and one of Kevin Maguire’s first drawing ever of Booster Gold, and mainly watched some ECW. REAL ECW. Although that will probably offend two people I know that read this. The real adjective, not the ECW watching.
See, yesterday WWE released ECW: Extreme Rules. A two disc collection showing great matches from the old and the new ECW. Now if you don’t know me, I grew up with ECW. I grew up on Philly. The ECW arena is a place I frequented a lot as a lad, mainly because I wasn’t old enough to get into Nocturne. I was never a WWE fan save for when a wrestler from the AWA or NWA popped over. My feds were those two, and for the brief period it was around while I was in single digits, the UWF.
Then came Eastern Championship Wrestling. They were constantly putting at matches at a higher degree of quality then say Junkyard Dog vs Big John Studd or Hulk Hogan vs. The Earthquake. Some of the matches were technical masterpieces. Nothing like Chi-Town Rumble Flair/Steamboat, but for an Indy fed it was high impressive. Some were spot fests with a lot of high flying moves you wouldn’t normally see outside of a Great Muta match at the time. And then of course were the violently bloody brawls. Little skill was required but you couldn’t help being impressed by the sheer level of fortitude these guys had to take sick bumps.
And then, literally overnight, it was EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING. And I never looked back in the mid 1990’s. Honestly, would I rather watch some compelling and well written plots, or would I rather watch Mabel win the King of the Ring? Would I rather watch Tommy Dreamer die for his art or Sabu shatter his body and keep wrestling as if it was just a flesh wound, or would I rather watch Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake main event Starrcade in a complete insult to everything the NWA once represented to my circa 1989 self? ECW was at a level of quality the big two wouldn’t reach until they started raiding the ECW roster and plagarizing their storylines. The only real time I remember caring about wither WCW or the WWE in College was the formation of the nWo, which was very cool, and Degeneration X from October 1997 to March 1998. Other than that…they were to get my wrestling fix when ECW wasn’t on.
ECW and then Japanese guys like Muta, Chono, and Liger made me want to wrestle and take the craft seriously. In college I did several pro bouts and freaked Ronni out at some of the shit I did to my body. I’m lucky enough to have bled with Dreamer in an ECW right (well, more all over the place. Not so much IN the ring). I’ve gotten into two altercations with Raven, one on live WCW TV. I’ve been concussed by John Cena (who I can tell you was not a good worker in those early days, but is a hell of a great guy), and I’ve stayed casual contacts/acquaintances/kinda sorts friends with a few over the years. It’s also one of the reasons I have disdain for 95% of the IWC, because not a single one is in the shape to do most of the stuff they armchair quarterback, and if they got in the ring they’d make a Hell in the Kennel look like a classic. Oddly enough I have disdain for the IWC for the exact opposite reason I have disdain for Game reviewers. One is far too critical considering their lack of talent in the area, and the other is willing to give 9’s and 10’s to even the biggest piece of crap on the market. Is it that hard to be a critic these days? Oy.
Obviously I didn’t go into it professionally. And I’m glad because there’s no way I’d want to be trapped as an independent contractor having to pay for my own insurance and no real benefits thus watching my paycheck go towards things employers should pay for in the first place. Again, sorry if that offends a few of you, but it was a huge reason I didn’t go into the industry full time. I like comfort and money. Plus that swanton that fucked up my spine because the other guy flinched didn’t help make the case for the industry either.
Anyway, I only watched the first DVD last night simply because I had other things to do and I was watching it on and off. Here’s some quick thoughts on the content. I haven’t watched SE since 2001 save for the occasional time they come to MSP and when Widro paid me to review ONS2. Oh god was that ever awful. But I’m rambling…