Sunday, December 28, 2008

ECW Predictions for the 2009 year

Well, 2008 is over, or coming to an end. It's now time for 2009. ECW is nearing its 3rd year since its rebirth. So, I wanted to take this time to make some bold predictions about what will happen to ECW and its superstars for the new year. Just so you all have a leg up on what's going on, my predictions will be based on what I know will happen, what I think should happen, and what should happen based on common sense and good logic. So, let's get to the predictions:

Bam Neely
-What does the future hold for ECW's resident bodyguard? If all works out, a change of scenery is in order. Body guarding will still be his main job, but his employer will be different. Who will it be? My guess is The Brian Kendrick. So, then, he'll have Ezekiel on one end and Bam on the other as protection and as a potential tag team for the WWE tag titles, leaving Kendrick free to pursue singles gold. If all doesn't work out, wish Bam the best in his future endeavors.

-I'm predicting that the Boogeyman will continue to terrorize the ECW superstars of his choosing and amusement, but it will benefit him based on gold. His next target will the Dirt Sheet duo of the Miz and John Morrison. But for that to work, won't he need a partner? Sure, and the only person who could handle this crazy creature is another one, only shorter and spunkier. I'm talking about Hornswoggle, of course. You can't get him without his tough father, Finlay. So, these two will join forces to make things very unorthodox for the World Tag Champions Miz and Morrison as well as for ECW.

Chavo Guerrero
-He doesn't use Bam anymore, and he's regularly showing up on Smackdown in defense of his aunt. It looks like a change of scenery is in order for Chavo as well and Smackdown is the only place to go. A flunky he'll remain for the most part until he finally fights for his respect. But, not before he makes another attempt at becoming the ECW champion, which he won't succeed at.

Evan Bourne
-The high-flying aerialist will make his return to ECW in a big way. However, his run on ECW won't last forever as he will be joining the Raw brand in the future, most likely the near one. If and when that happens, expect him to give the Intercontinental title a look or the Miz and Morrison a run for their money as he will reprise his role as Rey Mysterio's partner and shoots for the World Tag titles. But, until that may or may not be a reality, his time on ECW will be accentuated with another shot at the ECW title and a big win to solidify his importance. He will be the one to end Jack Swagger's undefeated streak. I can feel it.

-The fighting Irishman will continue his shenanigans (much to my chagrin) until the ECW champion takes notice again. No, Finlay won't win the belt, but he will set his sights elsewhere. For more on that, see the Boogeyman's prediction.

Gavin Spears
-I don't see anything positive with this guy. I predict he will remain a loser, jobbing until he's fired. If there's anything that will happen as a positive for this guy, I don't know it. I would say he'll come to Smackdown and receive some well-deserved motivation from another Canadian in Edge, but who really knows for sure.

Jack Swagger
-Jack's future? He will remain undefeated until a certain ECW upstart upsets him. See Evan Bourne's prediction. Once upset, Swagger will be very upset, unleashing a mean streak to go along with his cockiness. This will propel him to title contention. A title win is imminent if he remains on ECW for the year, but I see Jack going to Smackdown to continue his winning ways. If the singles game fizzles out for Jack (which will depend on his U.S. title reign), a tag team will form between Jack and.........Vladimir Kozlov??! Both talented, tall, and powerful wrestlers will form a "summit" of sorts (a la Reagan and Gorbachev) and wreak havoc on the tag scene. I'm making a lot of tag predictions aren't I?

John Morrison and the Miz
-This dynamically dangerous duo will continue their World title run, fending off challengers left and right, from ECW and even Raw, as mentioned in earlier predictions. This will prove to be a very tough spot for them as I believe that they will relocate to Raw before 2009 finishes. Why tough? The allure of gold will get the best of them as the IC and World titles will be in plain sight and ripe for the taking. This will place some friction between the two, coercing or signaling a possible break-up. It will be a breakup that will benefit one more than the other. On that note, expect Morrison to return to the World title picture.

Mark Henry and Tony Atlas
-The world's strongest man will continue the punishment in ECW, and may get an ECW title run out of it. However, I'm starting to see that Tony is getting tired of being Mark's whipping boy. This could coerce Tony to step out of retirement and teach Mark Henry some manners. This will effectively end the relationship between the two, and I doubt Tony will be returning....

Matt Hardy
-He will continue his push to become the best ECW champion ever, getting into battles with all those around ECW. I predict that there is a chance that the ECW title won't stay on Hardy's waist, leaving him with all the time in the world to help Jeff in his quest to remain a champion. Slowly and surely, Matt Hardy will reveal to us that he was the one that cost Jeff the title at Survivor series. This will definitely give us the Hardy vs. Hardy match we've been waiting for. Why Matt? Isn't it obvious? Matt's been working hard at being a top star, and Jeff has been messing up. So, why should Jeff get the richest prize in the industry over Matt, who is champion of a reborn and severely weakened ECW? (Note: to members of the A.C.A. on Facebook, I thought of this around the same time as some of you did. I'm not stealing it from you. If anything, I'm agreeing with you).

Matt Striker and Todd Grisham
-They will keep announcing. Duh. I would hope that one gets removed,

Ricky Ortiz
-The rambunctious Latin Assassin will continue to rally for some support. He may even get some help in the form of a very pretty person (See Theodore Long's prediction later). If he does, say, utilize this girl, we can be assured as to where DJ Gabriel will lie (See Gabriel's prediction later) and we'll see something of a rivalry between the two, as both are charismatic, but both are still blossoming into stars. If this doesn't look likely, I predict that Ricky will do what he probably should have done since the beginning: turn heel. That annoying attitude of his will give him Carte Blanche to be under the skin of the many ECW personalities. Granted his in-ring style shapes up, I can see him setting up shop elsewhere in the WWE. I'm predicting Raw, since Carlito is the only Afro wearing Spanish wrestler on Smackdown and that's all we need. I wouldn't frown on a match between the two, however. Ortiz is going to be big as a singles wrestler.

Theodore Long and Tiffany
-Teddy will continue to get his shine on doing this job, but I predict he'll be losing Tiffany to Ricky Ortiz very soon based on how they look at one another. Can you say "backstage romance" because I can say this was more than obvious. This will continue into Ricky's prediction as noted earlier. What will Teddy do? I predict he will work out a partnership with a new person working alongside him. Who? Let's just say that he's an innovator.

Tommy Dreamer
-Dreamer will leave the wrestling aspect of ECW but not the brand itself. See part of Theodore Long's prediction. If that works out, Theo will work out a deal with Tommy for a partnership, giving Teddy a second-in-command and a great mind to utilize for future purposes. Dreamer will eventually get into a situation where he has to run ECW on his own, preparing for the show of a lifetime. This will place two scenarios in play. One scenario is his last ditch effort to be a big star on ECW before the move is made to administrative purposes. He'll try to find victory only to lose to say...either an established star like Mark Henry (who will "injure" Tommy, forcing him to retire) or a new star like a Jack Swagger (who has already beaten him at his own game). The second scenario has Tommy being coerced into combat while being in charge. Someone will provoke him into returning and he will. This may or may not work for Dreamer as I can see his administrative career being on the line in this match, and I can see him losing that, too.

DJ Gabriel and Alicia Fox
-They will keep on dancing. Will they dance their way into our hearts or into our hatred? If the former, expect a certain superstar to have his game checked to find its legit. The superstar in question is one of great "confidence" (Yea, it's that obvious). If the latter, watch for an angle with the Latin Assassin as mentioned earlier. The latter will help us get a better understanding of their allegiances.

Those are my predictions. Now, which do you think is what I know, like to see, and what makes common sense? Either or, it's going to be an interesting year. I can definitely predict that. As for ECW as a whole, I will make this prediction: it will...probably continue on, but not without some changes occurring and quickly. Now that it's at 9 p.m. and shows like American Idol are returning, they have to protect themselves, ratings-wise and keep their key demos from changing the channel. Otherwise, the rumors of ECW's departure might very well be truer than you all think...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

All I want for Christmas

Hey, readers. It's time for the holidays. Yes, those holidays: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and the ever-popular Christmas. We all know Christmas, right? A big guy named Santa Claus comes down into our house and leaves presents under our tree. To make sure we get what we want, we have to tell Santa what it is we want in one of many different ways, like sitting on his lap and telling him. This can only work if you've been good, though, so don't be a bad person. Now, I know some of you either don't believe in Santa, never believed in Santa, or do believe in Santa and his mysterious ways. This blog isn't about your beliefs or lack thereof. It's about ECW and this golden opportunity. Let's say you were Teddy Long, the ECW general manager, or someone else holding a high position in the WWE. Let's say that Santa does listen and will put your wishes to use if you've been good. So, here you are, ready to tell Santa what you want for Christmas along the lines of ECW. You've waited on line long enough, and the moment has arrived. Now, what do you ask for? Whether you do or don't know, I think I have an idea as to what I'd want this year for the new ECW. I say this year, because I have posed this thought for the past 2 years doing this for my own enjoyment. It's changed here and there, and not all my wishes were fulfilled. Well, actually, I think none of my wishes were. Still I've got some wishes in me that I hope Santa and yourself will enjoy reading. So, here's my ECW Christmas Wish List:

1. Talent
Man cannot live on Evan Bourne alone. This goes also for whomever is severely talented on ECW. I mean, seriously, why is it that only a handful of people on ECW are watchable? For a new breed unleashed, they sure lost a lot of their steam. You either have regulars like the Miz and John Morrison moonlighting on other shows to get the show's ratings up and guys from other brands that are here because they have no other place to go to find success. Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, Finlay and Chavo are all good wrestlers, but watching them here is no different than watching them when they were on Raw and Smackdown, which we still end up doing anyway. How about some fresh talent like Evan Bourne that captivates the crowd at every turn? You can afford to check the independent circuit and find some new talent. Why not use talent like that and do what your competitors are doing only to show them up? Show the world that this new breed is worth unleashing. Yes, I know Jack Swagger and DJ Gabriel are also stars here that stand out, but not as over as Evan.

2. An extra hour
Raw is 2 hours. Smackdown is two hours. Why not give us more bang for our buck with another hour? I'm seeing the same stuff I'm used to seeing on the aforementioned shows pop up on ECW. With just one hour to go on, there's not enough time for wrestling. Also, I'm starting to get a little tired of watching the same people wrestle each other over and over again, with unresolved results. How about allowing the other guys to show up once in a while? With another hour, you can have the best of both worlds.

3. The ECW Television title
I think it's a good thing to have with that extra hour. An extra title to reward those who have worked hard at becoming main-event players, or are not yet main-event players but very good anyway is something I can go for. It also stands as a way of showing us fans who's next in line for a match for the ECW title. That was exactly what the Intercontinental title used to do. I think this would also add some depth to the ECW brand as well. You've got to love depth, right?

4. The removal of the fluff
What happened to ECW being about lots of hard-hitting action, and less talk? Those days are sadly fading. Why am I seeing all this wasted foolishness on an 1-hour wrestling show that was once heralded for its direct and to-the-point approach with their wrestling? If you make it more about action, and let the matches and little things tell the story instead of endless backstage or front stage caperings, I'm sure the show will be interesting again. There's no need to spend time watching Teddy Long look like Ron Burgundy. Seriously. If the crowd isn't laughing, neither are the viewers at home.

5. A better play-by-play man
Why in the heck should ECW get the Slammy for Best Announce Team of 2008, when a) Matt Striker is carrying the team as the analyst, b) the majority of this year was predicated with Joey Styles and Tazz doing the play-by-play, and c) Mike Adamle was the main focus of the announcer situation, as well as ECW's main stories? Striker is a good analyst, as a man of knowledge who knows his wrestlers. Sadly, he has to rewrite history as ordered, but he does a good job at being an analyst, which is more than I can say for his partner, Todd Grisham, doing play-by-play. He sounds bland like a white Jonathan Coachman, which made listening to WWE HEAT confusing. He has no sense of charisma, he has no sense for wrestling or even getting news across, and he's like a D-version of Michael Cole, who already sucks at announcing. Please remedy this in one of 2 ways: get a better commentator, like, say Josh Matthews who knows his wrestling like Matt Striker, or.......................BRING BACK JOEY STYLES!!!! Convince him to come out of retirement or something.

6. Respect
When you only have just one match at a pay-per-view regularly, that just goes to show how much attention is being payed to you. No one cares for ECW administratively. Come on, people. ECW helped change wrestling over time, be it minuscule or massive. It gave the major players the motivation to be "cutting edge". Now, no one even wants to give it a second glance, or even acknowledge its champion as a major player by putting the champ's match first and not near the end. Wow. That's really respectful. ECW doesn't have to be a third-rate side show with midgets and boogeymen. It can be more, if you just give it the right amount of respect.

Lastly, there's this:

7. A big fat pink slip
If all else fails, pull the plug. If you aren't going to at least make the show watchable with these wishes, then I wish for an end to this show. It's running out of steam and novelty, and it's also very cumbersome when it comes to scheduling. Why not stop this charade and cancel the show? Because the ratings are good? Because you have no place for these stars? If the WWE is good at anything, it's making big mistakes and trying to assess the damage and control it. How about you avoid the damage and just destroy it? You'll be thanked for it. Trust me

Now, I'm not sure how many of you have had these wishes or have different wishes altogether. I just wanted to point out what I'd probably ask for this year from Santa if I was running ECW. I'm sure you all have better ideas for wishes, whether they have to deal with ECW or not, like world peace, lots of money, etc. If I were you, I'd ask for those. However, if you were running the show with a chance to ask for a handful of gifts for ECW this year, what would you ask for?

You might need some fruitcake to digest this idea, or some eggnog to dull the pain.

Have a happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hey, Mr. DJ.....Gabriel....

Don't you just love that person who always wants to be the life of the party? You know that person. He or she is the person that dances with everyone they see, or just dances in your way in hopes to get attention. He or she makes it a very memorable party by doing that or other rather rambunctious things. How about that boisterous celebrity? The one that always dresses like he or she is the best thing going today? The one who needs an entourage of supporters or a bunch of BFFs to hang with and assure the celebrity's popularity? The one who has probably made his or her fortune in a few action movies? Well, ECW has the best of both worlds in DJ Gabriel. He's a cross between an action hero movie star and the life of the party. In my view, he's like a cross between Johnny Cage, Daniel Craig, with just a hint of dancing pop star in him. However, there's more to DJ than meets the collective eye.

His real name is Steve Lewington. If you've heard his only interview in ECW so far, you'll know that he's British. He was born in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. He graduated from Senior School, Sixth Form and then attended Farnborough College of Technology. There, he received a higher national diploma in Aeronautical Engineering. Then, the wrestling bug bit him in 2003, and he was pulled into the WWE's first major farm system organization: Ohio Valley Wrestling. He continued to train and improve his craft in many different places and through many different matches until he was moved to WWE's current major farm system: Florida Championship Wrestling. It was here that the persona of DJ Gabriel was born.

He then debuted on ECW on November 18th, and that's when we got a taste of the phenomenon named DJ Gabriel. His debut was very interesting. He came out to some funky pop entrance music, in which he danced his way around the ring, sporting his trademark leather flight jacket, big shades and his valet/publicist/dance partner, Alicia Fox. Her story is quite simple really. She was the wedding planner for Edge and Vickie Guerrero's wedding. She was caught in an affair with Edge before the wedding, and her life was pretty much over. After attempting to help Edge win the WWE title, she disappeared, only to reappear months later with this fine fellow, as her new protege. What followed after the dance was a bit of a wrestling clinic that Gabriel put on. He outmaneuvered his opponent, overpowered him, and made him look like a fool. To end it off, he hit a flying European uppercut from the middle rope, in a well-crafted and well-executed way. After that, he danced some more to his music.

So, why the comparisons? Here's why:

-Johnny Cage is a character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game who is known to have shades, a cool jacket, a chiseled body, some dangerous martial arts moves and is a boisterous action movie star, who does his own stunts. He joined the Mortal Kombat tournament in an attempt to boost his career as a movie star. Little did he know that this tournament was the real deal, and he found himself fighting for his life. Gabriel looks and reminds me a lot of Johnny Cage.

-Daniel Craig is a British movie star who is currently playing James Bond in the movies today. He is also known for having a great physique and does his own stunts. He's also a blond, as is DJ Gabriel.

-DJ Gabriel sure does a lot of dancing. However, I couldn't put a finger on a certain pop star, so I just generalized it. I mean, I can't just call him Michael Jackson or Justin Timberlake. However, he did do the "Thriller" dance...

So, that's DJ Gabriel in a nutshell. It's pretty funny to watch him, but I focus more on his wrestling ability, which is very promising. His style is part European, part American which is sort of like the best of both worlds. It's also pretty precise, even for a guy his size and his physique. But, there's something missing. You see, when he comes out to wrestle, he doesn't quite get a reaction. That's kind of what's missing. The problem is that he's not quite a face or a heel. He could be either. But, what would suit him?

Let's say he goes heel. In truth, his wrestling demeanor as we see it on television is tailor-made for a heel. He does look a bit cocky in the ring as well as dominant. One would say that he might even give Jack Swagger a run for his money as the arrogant newcomer in ECW. There's nothing more brash than dancing up a storm with a beautiful girl at the expense of your opponent. Also, Alicia is his manager. It's rare to find any good guys or gals with managers, don't you think? Knowing where Alicia has been and is coming from, who's to say she won't do some cheating when this is over? So, that's a possibility.

However, let's say he gets entertaining enough to warrant some cheers. He becomes a good guy. Then, he'd give Jack Swagger a run for his money in the ring as a potentially more talented wrestler who can bring him off of his pedestal and into the loss column. Also, another top good guy in ECW would be useful. ECW seems to be short on top good guys, if not new ones. It would be helpful to add him to the mix and at least balance things out. Plus, I don't know about you, but I find his character to be too entertaining to not like. Maybe it's me.

So, it looks like ECW has a new face to add to the superstar initiative in DJ Gabriel. He's full of energy, likes to dance, and can wrestle with the best of them. Whether he annoys you or grows on you won't change the fact that he's here and most likely to stay. He's not as forgettable as Gavin Spears or as expendable as Braden Walker. He's got way too much personality for that. So, let's see where DJ takes us. Hopefully, it will be to one heck of a party...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ECW's Team Extreme: Then and Now

I remember a distinct t-shirt created years ago during the run of the original ECW. It was entitled, "Team Extreme", and it had cartoon drawings of four of the top ECW stars at the time. I believe it was the Sandman, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, and a fourth star that I don't remember. I believe it was Raven, "The Franchise" Shane Douglas, or Taz. When I saw that shirt, I couldn't help but agree with the message the shirt was sending. Yes, I know it was developed by Taz, as were all the cartoon ECW t-shirts, but the message was a profound one. These were the stars of ECW that were at the top of the ECW ladder at the time. They were the embodiment of ECW through their gimmicks, angles, feuds, moves, and the like. These were the best misfit toys in the "land of misfit toys" as Taz would compare ECW to. It was something that got me more interested in ECW as an organization because I was familiar with their work and I enjoyed what they did on a regular basis. I bring up this anecdote because of what a fellow blogger asked of me last month.

Marvin, the dude who blogged last month for Reader Appreciation Day, asked me to blog about how ECW was losing its quality after losing Mike Knox to Raw. The only decent wrestlers they had left were Matt Hardy, Finlay, Evan Bourne, Mark Henry, Ricky Ortiz, and Jack Swagger. He then stated that Tommy Dreamer's firing will mean the death of ECW, and the Sci-Fi Channel made a mistake extending the contract of ECW for another year. He went on to blog about this in a way for Reader Appreciation Day, citing different examples. I took this all into consideration and came up with the blog for today. You see, the team I saw on the t-shirt resembled ECW in the fullest of the letters. The wrestlers I see on today's ECW....might not really be connotated with such or as much.

Back then, ECW was about rebelling against the system. They had all the wrestlers no one wanted or considered, so they took their rejections, and, led by Paul Heyman, rejected the norm and decided to live by the extreme. By doing so, a cult following had ensued. It was a following so great that they remained in the thread of the wrestling world for about 7 years. They were a non-publicly funded, out-of-control, adverse, and intriguing wrestling group that looked to take the norms of wrestling and make it cutting edge. ECW had the mind of Heyman to do it, and the wrestlers to back it up. Who were these wrestlers? Let's take a look:

-The Sandman was the "Extreme Icon". He was a beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking, cane-swinging, ex-construction worker-turned-wrestler whose penchant for violence earned him his icon status. He was involved in some of the most violent feuds and matches over the course of ECW's tenure. Whether he was getting blinded by his own cigarette and Singapore cane, caning someone repeatedly in the back, or getting kicked in the face with a ring of barbed-wire on it, this guy was the embodiment of extreme.

-Tommy Dreamer was the "Innovator of Violence". At first, he just wanted to belong in the land of "Extreme", sporting a bit of a baby-face look to him. Upon warring with his rival, Raven, the baby-face was gone, and the rugged look was in. This came at a very convenient time as the fans were practically riding him to take it to an extreme level. When he did, there was no looking back, and the innovator in him was born. He always tried to come up with new and different moves dealing with weapons. If not, he was finding new and different weapons to bring to a match. Throw in a few innovative moves without weapons and that's Tommy in a nutshell.

-Sabu was exactly what he was called every night. He was the "homicidal, suicidal, genocidal, death-defying" wrestler who didn't know a risk he wouldn't take. He would dive off of anything, fly into anything, and literally use his body as a weapon on several occasions. Other than his body, his other weapons of choice were chairs to launch off of, tables to crash into, a spike to carve into somebody's head, and even barbed wire that, for the most part, caused scars all over his body. Yet, regardless of the injuries, he bounced back and continued to wrestle, risking life and limb again to, well, take out someone else. Did you know he actually Krazy-glued one of his wounds shut? Sick

-Raven was a testament to what a wrestling personality can be when his or her full potential is unlocked. He was a disturbed, deadly, manipulative wrestler that preyed on human weakness and the human mind to get what he wanted. Sure, he could be extreme, but the lengths and depths he went to in order to get to his opponents were intense. He stole and manipulated the Sandman's wife and son from him in order to get the ECW title. He enlisted the help of an old ex-girlfriend of Tommy Dreamer's in order to further their rivalry and destroy Dreamer on numerous levels. He surrounded himself with misfits to create havoc all over ECW. He was a very athletic and talented wrestler, without a doubt. But, when it came to blending mind games with violence, nobody did it better.

-Shane Douglas was a well-grounded and well-versed wrestler that was cast away from the major organizations despite his talent. His bitterness towards these organizations would be shown in his cutting promos about how he was the best wrestler around and that these organizations were fools for dumping him. He was also very wily in the ring, utilizing many different opportunities to get ahead of the curve in ECW. He resembled the part of ECW that gave the misfit wrestlers who didn't regularly use weapons a chance to showcase their talents. He did a very good job at that, and didn't mind bragging about it either. Basically, he would be like the Triple H of ECW, only, well, a little more talented.

-Taz was known as the Tazmaniac first. He was an unkempt, unruly savage from Tasmania who took pleasure in brutally destroying his opponents with different displays of strength and savagery. Think Umaga, only shorter and leaner. When he was injured, he refocused himself and remodeled his wrestling approach. He then returned as Taz, the human suplex machine. No long the unkempt warrior, Taz was a quiet, angry, powerful dynamo whose explosive power was seen in his staunch MMA-style approach. He would suplex you in almost every fashion, and when he grounded you, he would make you submit in various holds and submissions that have been only seen in martial arts competitions and the UFC. After one match with him, you would be convinced that he was truly the most miserable person on the planet. If not him, then his opponents were for going through a match with him.

This was a very interesting crew of stars that ECW had showcased as the poster boys of ECW. They were the embodiment of ECW's mentality. Yet, we fast forward to now, and ask ourselves, "Has anything changed?" The answer is a resounding "yes". The problem I have with it is this: no one from the ECW roster of today can logistically call themselves true representatives for their brand. I mean, sure, they are adverse wrestlers, in some aspects. But, can you actually call any of these stars tried-and-true reps for the "New Breed unleashed"? I'm not sure if you can, at least fully.

Tommy Dreamer is still around in this version of ECW. However, his role has changed. Instead of innovating violence, he has become the heart and soul of the acronym of ECW. He represents the annals of the old school of ECW, and serves as a link to the past from the present. It's too bad that he's become the new training dummy for the ECW roster. He loses almost every time he is on television. Now, what about his colleagues, the Sandman, Sabu, and the gang? Well, they are either no longer in this ECW or were never signed. So, who's the new Team Extreme?

There might very well not be a "Team Extreme" this time around for numerous reasons. Sure, there are talented wrestlers that can or have shined on ECW, but do they resemble the mentality and aura of this new ECW? Not all of them do. Some wrestlers like Matt Hardy, Finlay, and Mark Henry are just wrestlers drafted to this new ECW, giving the roster some depth with their veteran abilities. That's actually a pretty good deal for this brand. However, they don't really resemble a new breed being unleashed. They aren't new, and they have been wrestling within a span of at least 10 years, representing either the WWE or WCW. What's so new about them?

This brings us to the other possible figureheads of ECW today. Evan Bourne is a high-flying aerial wrestler who wows the crowd defying the laws of gravity and bringing people to their feet. Ricky Ortiz is the "Latin Assassin", filled with ambition, energy, a frizzy haircut, a rally towel, and a laid-back mentality that has some people turning heads. Jack Swagger is the "All-American American" who has never been pinned in amateur wrestling on the collegiate level, has yet to be pinned or submit in ECW, let alone the WWE, and has an ego the size of his home state of Oklahoma. Lastly, there's the Miz and John Morrison. The Miz is a resident chick-magnet, attracting girls with his style, and causing damage in the ring with his under-handed and cruel approach. John Morrison is the self-professed "Shaman of Sexy", who has a well-toned body, chiseled good looks, a very abstract view on life, and an air of total arrogance. These guys are the new breed of wrestlers flying under the ECW colors. However, it's almost as if they don't even belong. Sure, they can be innovative with their moves and approach, but why don't they seem to resemble or represent ECW fully?

One such reason they don't is because of ECW's new scope. What was once a show dedicated to the rebirth of ECW is now a show made to showcase the new blood of the WWE. When they are ready to roll, they will be promoted to Raw or Smackdown. In an attempt to see where they lie, they are paraded around on Raw and Smackdown in inter-promotional matches to test their appeal to the different crowds on different shows. What does all this mean? Well, I tell you. How can you be the embodiment of ECW when you won't even be there in the long run? Here's a better question. How can you represent ECW when you aren't even on the show some weeks because you are being used on another show? The truth is, no one on ECW is really there as a permanent fixture to represent ECW as part of the new breed unleashed. That can take away from the brand in a large way.

Another reason is that these new ECW talents have a certain feel to them: the WWE feel. I mean, sure, they come off with some very innovative and interesting maneuvers. But, the feel is still very WWE. That's something you might want on Raw or Smackdown, but ECW brings a different vibe to it. It has before, and it should be now. But, the possibilities of making this ECW like the old one are long dead and gone. Paul Heyman was at least trying to get a different feel out of this brand, so it didn't resemble Raw and Smackdown. However, Paul Heyman is gone now. Now, this ECW is a lot like its counterparts, if not for just one hour. So, the wrestlers have to go with the flow. The thing is, why waste them on a show like ECW when you can use them full-time for a Raw or a Smackdown? The point I'm trying to get across is that the new blood on this show would be better suited in an area where their talents would be applauded, like Raw or Smackdown, which ultimately, they will be when this is all said and done.

I guess, in the big picture, the stars on ECW today don't really add anything to the depth or aura of the brand. There are no break-out personalities that you haven't seen or won't see on another show. Plus, the experience level on these guys is still pretty low. Getting good quality matches from all of these new guys is almost impossible. This could affect many different aspects of this show, from length to content to ratings.

I know, this might not be the best analysis made or even the most enthralling, but I just wanted to point this out on some level. The chosen few of ECW are a mix of throw-away superstars who can't survive elsewhere in the WWE and new stars being bred to take the spots they lost. That's kind of terrible if you think about it. Also, these new guys may take years to be as qualitative in the ring as some of their wrestling cohorts, so it will take a while for the quality of their style to come in, if it does even come in. The old guys may have qualities in certain areas, but they are not strong enough to get them over on other television shows. What does that say about their quality? It says that the quality is lacking.

When ECW came about in 1993, it was littered with wrestlers who weren't good enough to be in the upper leagues of wrestling. However, their tenacity, innovation, and cutting-edge approach was more than enough to gain them cult status, and get the attention of the upper leagues. It's 2008 and this two-year old version of ECW is littered with wrestlers who aren't good enough to be in the upper leagues. The differences are these: some of them are being bred for the upper leagues while having to work on their ring quality, and some of them have used up their attempts to make themselves known through their qualities and are stuck here. Either or, these differences are not enough to gain them cult status on a whole. Maybe partially through certain wrestlers, but not on a whole. Ultimately, this is what separates the new Team Extreme from the old. The chosen few here aren't here to change the world of professional wrestling. They are here to just exist in the world. It's going to take more than existence to get yourself ahead. It's going to take initiative, which is something lacking from this show and brand for the most part.

Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, Sabu, Raven, Shane Douglas, and Taz were ECW's chosen few. Through their efforts, they helped change the face of professional wrestling.

Matt Hardy, Finlay, Mark Henry, The Miz, John Morrison, Jack Swagger, Ricky Ortiz, and Evan Bourne are the new chosen few for ECW. Through their efforts, they helped give and sustain life to a shell of an organization reborn through the mad machinations of the WWE.

If you were going to battle to make an impact in the world of professional wrestling, who would you choose? Yea, I can see why you'd choose that...