And Another Thing: The Little Heyman That Could
Posted by Hyatte on 01.01.2000
The alternative wrestling company that actually cherishes every fan, and vice versa.
I joined 411 and brought AAT with the Mop-Up. I decided to formally introduce/remind the audience to/of the column with my first (and last) hard look at ECW.
(originally presented July, 2000: 411 wrestling)
I thought that since this is my debut column for 411, I’d tackle a subject that I have never really discussed before. I usually talk about the Big Two, but what about the Third?
Want to know what I like best about ECW?
It’s not the scrappy, ingenious way Paul Heyman has kept it afloat long after others would have closed up shop.
It’s not because Rob Van Dam may be the most graceful, inventive wrestler ever.
It’s not because every Van Dam match is a ballet.
It’s not because Van Dam would be a superstar in any company, but chose to stay, out of loyalty.
It’s not because Heyman will take anyone back, putting aside personal grudges for the sake of a good pop.
It’s not because Tommy Dreamer remains the most loyal spokesman for the company without once insisting on a title run.
It’s not because the first PPV they’ve ever put on ranks in the 5 greatest shows ever.
It’s not because of the brilliant way they teamed with the WWF to stick it to Mike Awesome and WCW one last time.
It’s not because Heyman is one of the few people in the business whom Vince McMahon respects.
It’s not because Heyman shows no vanity walking around with his big belly, and bald head conspicuously hidden under a filthy baseball cap.
It’s not because their “Icon” gets drunk BEFORE his matches.
It’s not because their workers have the longest entrances in History.
It’s not because ECW had almost single handily re-invented the art of taking bumps.
It’s not because they are not afraid of parodying anything in this business, including themselves.
It’s not because they can push ANYONE.
It’s not because they gave Jerry Lawler one last Monster Heel push in the twilight of his wrestling career.
It’s not because they gave Terry Funk one last World Title run in the twilight of his wrestling career.
It’s not because Heyman can book pure gold out of seemingly nothing.
It’s not because no matter how dire the outlook for the company looks, they always persevere.
It’s not because they took the idea of hot babes fighting in skimpy outfits and put it in a wrestling ring.
It’s not because they refused to cow tow to their very first network, and instead spit right in its face.
It’s not because Tommy Dreamer/Raven remains one of the most thoughtful, detailed, intriguing feuds ever.
It’s not because their “Icon” looks and acts like the total opposite of the stereotypical Professional Wrestler.
It’s not because they tape promos in Heyman’s Mother’s basement
It’s not because I have never seen them play to a crowd that was anything other than “hot”.
It’s not because their fans know what to chant, when to chant and pop for EVERYTHING.
It’s not because an ECW show is more like a Communal event. It’s one big party.
It’s not because their extremely talented World Champion was brushed off in the WWF as a masked Jobber and given no chance to shine.
It’s not because they showed the WWF that Al Snow could get a pop.
It’s not because you are not considered a “real” wrestler without at least one run in ECW.
It’s not because morality in the locker room is NEVER low, even during weeks where the checks don’t come.
It’s not because they are just a few lucky breaks away from taking WCW out of 2nd place.
No, it’s not for any of that. Good qualities, to be sure, but I like ECW for one other reason…
After a particular sequence of moves between two of the athletes… after a rapid exchange of pin attempts, rollups, and old school takedowns…
After the two remarkable performers end the sequence, and wind up facing each other… they pause to silently acknowledge each other.
And the fans applaud.
They don’t scream, chant, or do the wave. They simply give a healthy, generous round of applause.
They thank the Wrestlers for busting their humps for them. Maybe on a deeper level, they are also thanking the company for doing the same?
Like the time Chris Candido put on an Old School display with Tom Pritchard a few years back. After the hard victory, Candido got on the stick and said, “Forget about Zip, Dr. Tom is BACK!”
The Audience didn’t pop, they clapped… loudly. It may have been the most personal display of respect I’ve ever seen at a wrestling show
And the thing is… they do it every night!
And that’s what I like best about this company.
Well, it damn sure wasn’t because of Joey Styles. “Oh My Gawd”, he sucks.
This is Hyatte too