Mark yesterday’s date down in your calendars, boys and girls.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2007.
The night Nicholas Spears enjoyed ECW on Sci Fi.
No, I’m not drunk nor has Vince McMahon sent me a sackload of Benjamins to silence my criticism of his company. I actually liked the show. It wasn’t faultless by any means, but it was probably the most watchable episode to date, worlds more entertaining than Raw in Milan.
How refreshing (and totally unexpected) was it to see ECW Originals Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman actually get a significant victory over the New Breed’s Kevin Thorn and Marcus Cor Von? Silly me, I thought it was going to be a New Breed-dominated squash and yet another nail in the coffin of ECW, but nooooooo… they have to surprise me and get me hoping that maybe, just maybe, they’ve gotten serious about pushing a few of the truly hardcore ECW alumni.
And Rob Van Dam winning a televised match? Geez, Louise, how scandalous was that? Although it’s not as shocking as Dreamer and Sandman winning their match, it was a little more amusing. Nowadays, whenever I watch RVD wrestle on ECW TV, I imagine WWE execs dropping to their knees and begging him not to sign with TNA, offering him the sun, the moon and the stars. If I were him, though, I’d tell those idiots to take their offer and shove it where the sun don’t shine. It’s all too little, too late. If they really respected the man’s ability, they wouldn’t have treated him like garbage for so long. But that’s a topic for a totally different column, so I digress.
I don’t understand why Santino the Walking, Squawking Italian Stereotype from this past Monday’s Raw, was brought onto the show and the fact that he was with Bobby Lashley only made the segment even more agonizing to watch. Luckily, it was brief.
In fact, there was little to no sports entertainment jibber-jabber on the show. The WWE cut into segment time to feature more wrestling?
What kind of Bizarro dimension did I wander into last night? Did the Creative Team give Vince and Stephanie the night off?
The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was CM Punk, or, specifically, how they’re mishandling CM Punk now. What in the world are they doing with the guy?
When he debuted a few months back, fans immediately took to the talented independent wrestling sensation. By the time Survivor Series rolled around, he was getting pops that often matched (or eclipsed) responses generated by the likes of Batista, John Cena and the Hardy Boyz.
Now look at him. In a relatively short period of time, his popularity has dwindled to the point of public indifference. Punk, who many pegged as being the successor to the Five Star Classic Machine throne once RVD makes the jump to TNA, now receives less of a crowd reaction than Eugene. Sad thing is, it isn’t his fault. He hasn’t slacked off or stopped trying. He still goes out there and gives his all in every match and improves with every promo. It’s the way he’s being booked that’s ultimately hurting him.
I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’ve yet to come up with a reasonable excuse as to why the WWE decided to turn CM Punk heel and align him with the New Breed, a faction who draws as much heat as a tray of ice cubes. I realize ECW isn’t long for this world and the switch was more than likely done to disassociate him from the soon-to-be dead brand. However, given the chance, Punk would’ve been just as popular on Raw or SmackDown!
, so the decision doesn’t make a lick of sense. They could’ve just switched brands instead of completely changing the man’s character.
Instead, they’ve doomed him to the everlasting rank of lower midcarder by placing him with former Raw jobber Matt Striker, a pathetic Gangrel wannabe, The Artist Formerly Known as Monty Brown and Ron “The Truth” Killings’s less talented doppelganger.
Even worse yet, even though he’s the most solid worker of the group, they’ve gone and turned him into the Steve Urkel of the faction by having him screw up by the numbers whenever he sets out to prove himself. He’s a slightly altered version of Shawn Stasiak, circa the Invasion angle in 2001-2002. It pains me to even ponder this question, but how long do you think we have to wait before we see Planet Punk skits?
It would’ve made much more sense to have an established Original like Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman or even RVD leap over to the dark side of the fence. It would’ve given an ECW Original something worthwhile to do and would’ve given the crowd a reason to take notice of the stable, possibly even leading to old DX-esque tweener recognition in the long run. But, with Punk turning, WWE Creative shot themselves in the foot three times over.
They’ve hurt interest in a man who could’ve become their next megastar.
They still haven’t given proper motivation to invest interest in the New Breed.
They’ve tarnished one of the few reasons people even watched ECW on Sci Fi.
Maybe I’m underestimating the WWE. Perhaps there’s a method behind their madness and Vince really has bigger and better things in store for CM Punk and ECW as a whole. Of course this is the same man that turned Terry Taylor into a rasslin’ rooster and Chris Kanyon into a lisping Boy George impersonator, so forgive me if I don’t get my hopes up just yet. I guess I’ll just have to watch and see what develops.
If future ECW shows are anything like last night’s, I might just do that.