I'm a dancing, dancing, dancing machine! Watch me get down, watch me get down! Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Phat Daily Column. If you haven't figured out, I have decided that Sundays will be of some totally off the wall subject, and not just a set plan like the other 6 days. Besides the Pay Per View hyping, who knows what I'll think of for the Sunday columns.
I wish I could have more birthdays. My wonderful brother (the much bigger Sting fan than I am) bought me ECW Deep Impact as a birthday present. Hell, I even watched it already because he wanted to see it badly. So I'll review Deep Impact Monday, and Best of RAW volume 2 on Wednesday. The Wrestlemania book seems like a short read, so I MAY just fly through that one night and review it sometime soon. Same with the Wrestling Madness book I now have as well.
For those of you who are wondering, I have NOT had the chance to read your e-mails quite yet. I'm home for the weekend, and the only time I have online is to write my column and to check on my Fantasy Baseball team in Anglefan's league. I'll tell you what, Fantasy Baseball leagues are a hell of a lot of work. Damn line ups need checked everyday!
Well, before I go off on a tangent about Fantasy Baseball, on to the PDC.
In the Spring of 1997, the declining WWF and the rising ECW got together, and decided that they oddly had a common enemy: WCW. The WWF hated WCW due to nasty competition through the Monday Night Wars, and ECW hated WCW because of the dirty talent raid in 1995, where many Luchadores and wrestlers like Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko were swiped up. So hey, why not get together and attack WCW? Why not? That was the plan, although it didn't quite work out.
ECW was especially eager to do this for the fact that they had their first Pay Per View coming up, Barely Legal, which you can now purchase in your local video stores (please do it!). The WWF was quite eager because their current product was weak and besides a few promising points (early Stone Cold stuff), they were getting their tails whipped on Monday Nights. Invasion was the plan, but all they needed was a spark or a way to handle this to get the fans talking!
A big problem, to start with, was that ECW was STILL an underground movement, really. They ran on the infomercial system, and didn't dare move off the East coast for shows. If you didn't read about ECW in the magazines, why would you care to see them on television? For that, it would give the appearance that the WWF was weaker than a small independent federation by being invaded. Although the WWF was getting pounded in 1997, the majority of the wrestling fans at least knew who the top wrestlers were or what channel RAW was on. The majority, however, couldn't tell you who was in ECW at that time, unless they took a lucky guess about Terry Funk or Shane Douglas.
The early angle started when Jerry "the King" Lawler began to talk stuff on ECW, as he saw some "marks" in the crowd. He made a cheap comment towards them, and you could only figure it would get worse the next week. Well, it did. Lawler ended up making more comments, to which he challenged the whole federation to invade the WWF. Many might think that all of the WWF bashing by Shane Douglas or whoever else was part of the angle, but those were just real life shoots.
ECW invaded RAW, which was oddly in a much smaller venue than previous RAWs (in the Manhattan Center). The arena was filled with ECW marks to make sure they cheered for the many wrestlers the MAJORITY of fans didn't recognize, and ECW wrestlers showcased their talents by wrestling most of the matches. If you watched ECW, like I did, it was quite a pleasant show to watch. However, if you never saw ECW, you would be confused and possibly turn it back to Nitro. It did show in the ratings, but not by a significant margin as hoped. Well, the previous week was a 2.1, and the ECW invasion angle was rated with a 2.5. That's not too bad, but the 1.9, the week after, didn't help. (Thanks to Historian for the ratings info)
But that was more of a shill for the Pay Per View, Barely Legal. The real fun began when Rob Van Dam kept insisting that he'd show up on either Nitro or RAW. It actually angered fans to shout "You Sold Out" during his matches, although he was always in ECW's pocket the whole time. To steam up the angle, RVD began showing up on RAW, and he even defeated the recent IC champion Jeff Hardy in an one on one match! RVD would wrestle a few matches, and even join up with Jerry Lawler, the one who originally called on ECW, for some tag matches. However, the angle was falling apart as each week went by. Rob Van Dam apparently rubbed WWF officials, backstage, the wrong way with his attitude. Back then, the WWF was looking to rid the backstage of any headcases that plagued the WWF in 1995 and 1996. Locker room morale was apparently down during those years, making for a struggling and unified product. So the WWF told ECW that they didn't want to use Rob Van Dam anymore, and RVD hasn't been seen there since!
But the WWF then went used Sabu to put over the "angle". Sabu came in and fought Flash Funk, who wasn't exactly in prime shape back then. Sabu put on a terrible match with Funk, in which he missed many spots and failed to break a table 2 times, until finally breaking it on the 3rd try. Now, whether that's Funk's fault or Sabu's fault, Sabu wasn't asked back to the WWF after that match, and it would be the last you'd see any of this invasion in the WWF, except for the Chris Candido vs. Brian Christopher match, which made a USWA vs. ECW feud.
However, in ECW, it was the main angle going on. Jerry Lawler invaded ECW, and with the help of RVD and Sabu, he abused the Sandman and Tommy Dreamer, the two symbols of ECW. Especially Dreamer, who Lawler would wrestle at the 2nd ECW Pay Per View. Dreamer would win that, despite some surprises of other WWF personalities, like Sunny. Before this match, though, Taz(z) would get a hold of Lawler, and he once made the King tap out, quite loudly, to the Tazmission during a stupid Triple Threat angle. Ironically, Lawler would slap around Tazz, years later, during their angle in late 2001.
That was the last real interesting thing the ECW and WWF feud produced. Now, you'd later see guys like Brakkus, a WWF developmental wrestler who just disappeared a few years ago, and guys like Doug Furnis and Philip Lafon would do the lame WWF angle as well. Then, you'd get Taz burning WWF shirts, and ECW just always ripping on the WWF whenever they could. It actually HURT ECW, because they no longer focused on the individual wrestlers themselves, but for a silly angle that the other end stop doing.
Now this was NOT a history of any kind, so don't jump on me if I got a detail wrong or not. My whole point of this argument is that an ECW invasion, especially today, does not or will not work against a well known federation, like the WWF. ECW, although they have been doing Pay Per Views and travelling more throughout last year, are still no where near as known as the WWF. Their wrestlers, too, are much smaller in size than any in the WWF, as proven by Tazz. What could they do for an invasion? Attack the jobbers who wrestle on Jakked? That's about as much as a so-called ECW invasion would or should amount to.
My real point is that instead of cheering for an ECW invasion of the current WWF, which won't happen against the much stronger and larger WWF superstars, you should be glad that any former ECW wrestler is getting offered a job within the WWF, whether it's for WCW or the WWF. Just let the former ECW develop and showcase their talents, and then allow them to break out of their ECW shells and become well known superstars.... just like the Dudley Boyz did.
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@That's it for today. I should be hitting the e-mails when I get back to the University, which is later today. Joy. Just chill till the next episode.
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Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.
No overnight ratings just yet.