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Monday, May 8, 2006

The Return of Professional Wrestling ...

... in the early 1990s, professional wrestling was dying. The World Wrestling Federation was undergoing a massive steroid trial, a sexual abuse case, and its major babyface, Hulk Hogan, had just jumped ship to Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling promotion, a relatively unknown and overlooked southern wrestling federation that was losing money left and right and was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The major problem with both these federations was that it was the 1990s, the world was changing, people's attitudes were changing, Kurt Cobain made a nation of teen sullen and the show COPS became a window to a brand new world of crack and wife beatings. The nation was getting grittier but in the world of professional wrestling the writing and characters were still firmly entrenched in the "Hulkster" 80s where the good guys told you to say your prayers and take your vitamins. Meanwhile the bad guys were atrocious comic book throwaways with horrible gimmicks.

This was a time of ferociously atrocious wrestling characters. Take for instance Oz. Before Kevin Nash became famous for creating the ECW-ish tag team "The Outsiders" which led to the foundation of the N.W.O., he was Oz, Ted Turner's way of showing the professional wrestling world that he owned the rights to The Wizard of Oz ...

... then there was a bad guy that was so bad (as in crappy bad) that he is now the stuff of legend. You probably know the character of Kane, the Undertaker's evil brother and now the star of the upcoming horror movie See No Evil. But back in the early 90s he was Dr. Isaac Yankem, an e-e-e-e-evil dentist. Yes. You read that right. He was an evil dentist.

... then there was MY personal favorite, Irwin R. Schiester, or in other words I.R.S. He was an evil accountant. Yes. That's right. An evil accountant. He had a buttoned down shirt with the sleeves ripped to show off his muscles. He would bring a briefcase with him which he would sometimes use to win. It was disgraceful to the world of wrestling. Joey Styles said it best just a while ago on WWF Raw. The sport of wrestling had become sports entertainment. And that is really sad.

But while The Repo Man wrestled The Patriot in the dying WWF, a small independent promotion called Eastern Championship Wrestling decided to do something that had up until that time had NEVER BEEN DONE in the world of wrestling ... they brought in tables, chairs, ladders, sexy women, fire, drinking, smoking, cussing, thumb tacks, sex, crude humor, violence, and they introduced the wrestling world to two brand new words: extreme and hardcore. They rechristened themselves Extreme Championship Wrestling and went balls out every night bringing the wrestling world what was missing: realism, violence, and fun.

Eventually WCW and the WWF gained viewers and money by outright copying ECW's style and stealing their biggest wrestlers ... Eddie Guererro, Taz, Raven, Rey Mysterio, The Sandman, Chris Jericho, The Dudley Boys. Suddenly WCW had all their cruiserweights and WWF was doing ECW hardcore and calling it the WWF "attitude" era. And using bullying muscle tactics, they ran ECW out of business and were purchased by the WWF, now called the World Wrestling Entertainment because of a lawsuit from the World Wildlife Federation.

Last year they decided to cash in on nostalgia by airing a pay per view: ECW One Night Stand. They expected it to be moderately successful. Instead it was a MAJOR success that made WWE take notice. They are in trouble. The 1990s are happening again. People who were once hardcore wrestling fans, people like myself, stopped watching a long time ago. It's boring, watching the same shit over and over again, watching them push these bastards and place them in atrocious storylines. It's pathetic. People aren't watching wrestling anymore because it's not wrestling. It's watered down crap. The realism is long gone. People are fed up. They want a revolution like the 90s all over again. They want something different.

So, guess what wrestling promotion is coming back full time later this year?

YES! Finally! Real professional wrestling is back! Get ready to love pro wrestling all over again. Dust off your foam fingers, make your signs for the stands, and wash all those wrestling t-shirts you bought in 1997. Get ready. Get set. Because it's back. It is back! ECW is back!

Here, to get you all ready for real professional wrestling, is Rob Van Dam versus Sabu for the ECW Television Title. Both these men will be back. Get Excited. It's real professional wrestling and it's coming back. I am geeking out hardcore about this. I can't wait and you should feel the same way, too ...

1 comment:

Gregorio said...

even though it's not as ridiculously extreme as the ECW -- you should totally come down to join us for the next Lucha VaVoom. it's pretty absurd in its own right.