Monday, January 26, 2009

ECW Progress Report: Three weeks into the year..

OK, so, it's been three weeks since the new year has begun. Here's ECW's score card:

1.4: Week 1
1.1: Week 2
1.3: Week 3

Week one was the best ECW has had in months. It was highlighted by Matt Hardy fighting Mark Henry in a rematch from the week prior. Week two was highlighted with Jack Swagger winning the ECW title. Week 3 had a fatal four-way main event. So, why the spike, the fall, and then the rise back into normal gear? Hmm....let's look at each week and see what happened.

Matt Hardy beat Mark Henry soundly in the main event on Week 1. Jack Swagger took on and defeated Finlay in his biggest victory yet. Katie Lea clawed through Alicia Fox and the Boogeyman crushed an opponent. I'm not exactly sure why more people started to watch this week. I would say that it was the inclusion of the Boogeyman and his return to his gross actions. He has been maintaining some popularity. It could be the fact that people got word of what was going to happen and wanted to see Hardy beat Henry and Swagger beat a popular guy like Finlay. Who knows at this point? All I know is that ECW did pretty good to start off the year.

Then, the next week comes, and it's all downhill from there. ECW gets its worst rating in a while, in a 1.05, rounded up to 1.1. Not only is this bad, but for the first time in its existence, TNA has defeated ECW in the ratings.....when they were at their regular times. The only time TNA has done otherwise was when ECW competed directly against TNA during December. This was not welcome news for any WWE pundit especially if a major title changes hands that night. Jack Swagger became the new face of ECW beating Matt, and no one watched. Not to mention the fact that Tommy Dreamer announced his potential and eventual retirement if things don't go his way pertaining to winning the ECW title before his contract expired on June 6.

Why? Two words for ya: American Idol. If the WWE is not looking to win back their core contingent of fans anymore then, this is a big problem. Almost everyone and anyone watches American Idol. It's reality television, unscripted and ready to watch, with plenty of goofiness, enough of you to get a reason to watch for the rest of the night or next week. I foretold that this would happen, but alas, the WWE is rather short-sighted to prepare.

The week following that, ECW did regular business. What was on the card? Just a Matt Hardy/Jack Swagger showdown of sorts, Ricky Ortiz getting a win, the Boogeyman terrorizing Paul Burchill, and a fatal four-way where John Morrison got the victory over Miz, Finlay and Mark Henry. The ratings then grew, despite American Idol's existence. So, what's the deal?

Perhaps, the hardcore ECW followers of this version have wised up to what is happening beforehand. I'm not entirely sure what's the reason, at this point, and I would probably analyze more on it if I had a better understanding on the ratings situation, or a better understanding over the trends of ratings. I doubt I can, but I will say this.: I knew ECW would be in some sort of trouble with American Idol returning. It's taking the fans that the WWE is utilizing the most for its money and its ratings: the casual fans. Reality television is still the gold mine of media these days. I doubt that's something the WWE can handle.

I guess I'll call it off here for today. I say that only because I'm on the cusp of a great analysis coming three weeks from now. I'd mention it at this point, but it's very spoiler-filled. So, I'll wait until I post this. That should give you about....30 seconds or so of suspense. Take care for the week.

By the way, I'd suggest you catch the Royal Rumble for 2009. It's really worth it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

ECW Analysis Re-visited: Rallying for Ricky Ortiz..

Ahhh, the typical male jock. He's muscular and athletic, has boyish good looks if he's lucky, has a talent for playing a few sports, and coasts on these things for the majority of his life. He's a bit of an underachiever because he's comfortable with his place in life. There's just one problem. When he's surrounded by jocks like him with better abilities or more dimensions of depth to their style as well as their persona, there's trouble afoot. Basically, when the typical jock meets jocks who strive to overachieve, the typical jock is met with a dilemma. What can he do to keep his novelty? What can he do to keep his star power? He has to overachieve. He has to re-invent himself. The jock in this analysis is Ricky Ortiz. The problem he is facing is the exact problem I just mentioned.

He wasn't always Ricky Ortiz, though. His real name is Richard Young. As for what he's done, well, give some thanks to Wikipedia, friends. He went to the University of Tulsa as a transfer student after being in Glendale Community College for 2 years. At Tulsa, he was a 2-year letter winner, playing 22 career games as a linebacker. He was credited with 177 tackles.

Beyond college, Richard went to the training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs for the 1998 season. After being on the practice squad during the season, he went to the Canadian Football League and joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He then went on to the Arena Football League for the 2000 and 2001 seasons to play with the Milwaukee Mustangs as a linebacker and a fullback. It was then that the WWE had some influence on his life as he joined the XFL as part of the Orlando Rage in 2002. When that project failed, he made a move to join the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL and was waived. He returned to the AFL in 2002 to join the Indiana Firebirds, until 2004, when he joined the Colorado Crush in the AFL. Between those two years, he lead the AFL in sacks for linebackers in 2003. That's quite a journey for Ricky, yes? Too bad success didn't follow.

In 2006, he joined up with the WWE farm system within Ohio Valley Wrestling, under the name Atlas DuBone. During his run, he was billed as the most charismatic of the superstars there, which meant that he would be called up to the main stage soon. That was the plan as he would be set up with "Diva Search" winner, Ashley Massaro, as his valet. Then, tragedy struck, as he suffered a torn ligament in his knee, preventing a potential title shot in OVW. When he healed up, he returned to action in the new training facility at Florida Championship Wrestling. More bad luck as success came in the beginning, but, it did not remain.

He then made his debut in ECW as Atlas Ortiz, scoring a victory over Armando Estrada. He would then tell people to refer to him as Ricky Ortiz, as Tony Atlas made his debut in ECW, so as to avoid confusion. He would then go on to be undefeated until about this winter, where he lost his first match against current ECW champion Jack Swagger (Side note: he became champ just recently and has an ECW analysis waiting for him on Feb. 8th, whether he's champ or not). Currently, he hasn't wrestled a match and has been seen continuing his flirtatious ways with Theodore Long's assistant, Tiffany. All the while, he showed the wrestling public his underachieving persona, as mentioned earlier, and his ambition to be the best, touting rally towels to swing and some other ideas, like a nickname, to help get him well-marketed. However, something was wrong on his WWE journey so far. It seems like, once again, success was escaping him.

The underachiever of that which is Ricky Ortiz, in the entirety of his ECW run has been, well, uneventful. Sure, he was undefeated, has the look of a star on the rise, and even looks ambitious enough on television to really make a name for himself, but, there's a problem. You see, even though he has all these, the reaction he gets from fans has been rather lackluster. He went from a new guy looking to break out of ECW to a new guy not even worth remembering on ECW. While in the mix with a bonafide heel in Jack Swagger and a high-flying dynamo like Evan Bourne, Ortiz finds the middle ground of the two, as a face, and doesn't seem to have the fan support he used to. Don't get me wrong, it was there when he started. People were waving the Ricky-O rally towels, but that soon faded. It didn't help matters when people were subject to his matches that suffered from heavy editing due to his unpolished style. As for his promo work, well, it went from decent to dismal almost every time he spoke on a microphone. This is a big problem if you're the WWE, because he fits the bill for the type of wrestler you want as a future star, in your eyes. But, what good is a future star when the present is not very good to him?

It seems as if the WWE is going to follow suit and have him get a valet in the form of Tiffany to maybe improve his face status, but I doubt it will do much to garner interest in him. I think what is missing from Ricky's persona is a defining demeanor. Upon seeing him, you would think he was a heel with some of his ambition, but you'd also call him a face for getting in the face of top heels. Yet, there seems to be a big misstep in his delivery that even the WWE creative team should have considered when bringing him into the forefront. No, the misstep wasn't putting him on a more prevalent show like Raw or Smackdown to get him over, as we all know he's not ready for that. No, the misstep wasn't leaving him in the WWE farm systems for the standard amount of time being 3 years, although we all know he probably should have been there for that long to polish his craft, like others were. The misstep lies in Ortiz's character. You see, they saw his charisma when he was Altas DuBone and, whether face or heel, it got them going. The thing is, upon doing some research on Atlas, it appears he had a very cool, cocky, swagger about him that may or may not have been a defining point on his status. He had shades, style, muscle, and attitude. In a way, he had a heel mentality about him. However, he won the crowd over with it which put him in face situations pretty quickly. Now, initially, my prognosis was to make this fella a bad boy heel, but, maybe that's not the case. Maybe instead of worrying about his status, we should just worry about this character. Ricky Ortiz may be a good start to some, but it was Atlas DuBone that won the pundits over. In short, we shouldn't be seeing Ricky, we should be seeing Atlas. That's the misstep.

Now, say, he was a heel when he started or he became heel in all eventuality. Would this, inherently work for him? In a way, yes. His ambitions, underachievement, and slight arrogance can make him pretty unlikeable. Instead of leaving it as a gray area, make it a focal point, and lampoon it. Make him think he's better than everyone. Make him think he is going to go places as a big star, but make him take shortcuts doing it. Sure, it would come off as a bigger, more buff version of Carlito, but it's a start. Still want to add that valet in Tiffany? Do it. Only, instead of making her a bad girl, make her a supportive valet who would like Ortiz despite his bad traits. She'd be the nice girl to the bad boy, like Elizabeth to the Macho Man. There would be some worry on Tiffany's face but she'd never interfere. There might even be conflict between Ricky and Tiffany as to how a match should have ended. It's not perfect, but it's a start. As for reaction? You bet he'd get one. If there is something a fan likes to do, it's jeer a bad guy. He would get a reaction, albeit negative, but it would be a reaction. In order to keep this reaction from dying out to, say, Rob Conway's level of reaction or X-Pac's level of heat, have him do it to higher profile wrestlers on ECW and elsewhere. Not too high, but right in the middle of the card (ex. C.M. Punk or R-Truth).

So, what if you don't want to take the heel route? Well, there's the face route, but instead of making him a smiley-faced underachieving slacker who gives me an air of "A.C. Slater" in his attitude (it's a "Saved By the Bell" character reference for those who don't know), make him cocky and confident. You can make him a bit of a killer like Batista or test the waters and emulate him after The Rock. No, I'm not saying entirely like The Rock. I'm saying to use what he would do in that situation. Berate your opponent with a joke or two. Yes, I found the lisp joke he made toward Jack Swagger a might comical, but, that was his only bit of hilarity worth mentioning since he joined the WWE full-time. Keep the jokes coming. Talk about how you're a muscular man who can power his way through anyone, but make it funny enough to relate to the crowd. I got an idea. Keep the big shades, the cockiness, and be the anti-Morrison. Talk about how no matter how chiseled he is, he'll always be a shrimp to him. Create chemistry.

Ricky Ortiz has the potential to do great things in the WWE, without a doubt. However, it seems that achievement just seems to leave him high and dry. He started of with some success in college, but couldn't transition well into the football leagues. When football was out, he went to wrestle for Vincent K. McMahon and found success in the training facilities of the WWE, only to hurt himself and take himself out of action. Now, the main call came for one of the main shows, and even though he was undefeated for a while, the people stopped caring. If Ricky wants to succeed, he needs to not let his in-ring persona of laid-back underachiever get in his way. He needs to shoot for the moon and bring out the necessary ideas to get himself back in order. Be more like Atlas DuBone, or be a bad guy doing what you're doing now. What would hurt is if his in-ring persona is exactly how he is in reality. Then, the only obstacle keeping Ricky Ortiz from succeeding in the ring other than the underachieving creative teams, is Ricky Ortiz. I really hope that's not the case, because that's not something I'd want to rally for. I'd be coerced to rally for a pink slip with his name on it, to be truthful.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Miz and Morrison: Questioning the hype...

They won the World Tag Team championships. They were WWE Tag Team champions for 8 months. They have won 2 Slammy Awards, as presented by the WWE, for the best web show and for being the best tag team of 2008. They're the dirt sheet duo of John Morrison and The Miz. They are making the very comical and exorbitant claim of being the top tag team of the 21st Century, even though it's only 8 years old. You know what the problem is? I can't quite agree with them, even though I know it's a joke. Why do I say this? I say this because there are people who are such "marks" for certain people or for the business that they will agree with almost every word said, thinking that they know what they are talking about. I am not one of those people, but I can say that these claims made by the Miz and Morrison do raise a few points of analysis.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really support these two as a team and as singles wrestlers. Their wrestling technique is really showing quality. Their promo work is veritably amazing. Their chemistry does speak volumes, even though it might be the most conventional approach. And, for being just fans of the business and receiving the minimal training needed to make it in the business, their passion to do what they do is enormous. I can't help but say great things about these guys. But, tag team of 2008? Well, for WWE purposes, sure, but on the whole of the business, I don't think so.

Why wouldn't I agree with the best tag team of 2008 on the whole of the business, let alone as team of the 21st Century? Well, for starters, in the past 8 years, tag team wrestling in the WWE has diminished greatly. They went from having some of the most innovative and exciting tag matches in the world to the bottom of the barrel with makeshift teams only put together to put over major stars, or their own characters on a separate standpoint. The only tag matches that are showcased put two main eventers or two midcarders together to further their middling storylines with someone else. There's no chemistry, no art form, no innovation. It's just a match for the motions. Ridiculous. So, for the Miz and Morrison to be kings of the 2008 tag division isn't saying much. It's like giving them a crown to a make-believe kingdom. It's like getting a paper crown from some birthday party. As for the century, I'm sorry, but didn't we start off this century with the Hardys, Edge and Christian, and the Dudleys still remotely intact? Miz and Morrison better than them and their accolades? Not quite. Still, it is funny to hear them brag about it. It just adds to their growing egos and attitudes. What's not funny is hearing the marks agree with them, wholeheartedly. That's like calling John Cena an ECW original. What....the...heck??!

I think it is also sad for the Miz and Morrison to make this claim because, as a tag team, I don't think their potential has even been fully tapped yet. Sure, they appear on every brand's respective shows, put on a star performance at least twice, and make it a treat to watch these guys, win or lose. But, really, have they been tapped for their true tag potential? In a word, no. I mean, look at what they have to compete against. The Colons have just been put together to get Primo started and to keep Carlito from leaving, so they are pretty far from chemistry. Brian Kendrick and Ezekiel Jackson? No, the manager/wrestler team-up never works properly. Jesse and Festus have run out of novelty as watching Festus is getting ridiculously predictable to the point of boredom. Team Priceless? No, the team made by a faction never works properly either. Cryme Tyme has already lost whatever possibility of being a top team over Miz and Morrison, let alone anyone else. Hawkins and Ryder are in the same boat, which is very sad, since they have not even shown the world how great a tag team they were in the indies. So, then what? In truth, Miz and Morrison's true competition lies elsewhere, in the other organizations, where tag team wrestling is still an art form. With that said, I can come up with 3 teams that not only would make the Miz and Morrison really pull it together as a team, but also, with their track records, can make a more decent claim at being the team of 2008, for those wonderful marks.

First, there's Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin: The Motor city Machine Guns. They're currently in TNA and have reached cult status starting in Ring of Honor. Two X-Division stars from Detroit, Michigan with a finger on the pulse of the tag team scene. Alex is a well-versed European-style grappler with some agility and speed to balance out his ground-based assault. Chris is a high-speed, high-octane, high-flying star who cuts a clean and concise pace this side of his favorite wrestler, Bret Hart. His pinpoint accuracy is amazing. They also come off as a rather cocky and arrogant duo, praising their boyish good looks and charm. Sound like some guys you know? Miz and Morrison would really have a great set of matches with these guys. As for trading insults, even better. It would be hilarious to see these guys insult each other as well as try to outclass each other in a match. In fact, this could be a reality as the rumor around town is that these two have their contracts expiring soon and the WWE could be calling. This would make my dream of seeing Shelly and Sabin team with Bourne and Hurricane Helms in some faction of utter coolness. But, a man can dream..

Then, there's the team of Homicide and Hernandez, the LAX (Latin American X-change). It started out as a faction headed by Konnan, with Homicide and former TNA star Apolo. When things went sour with Apolo, many possibilities were coming in and out to try and match up Homicide with a decent partner as Konnan could no longer wrestle to a full capacity. So, TNA decided to give him a teammate in the form of Hernandez, a TNA hopeful with a huge frame, freakish strength, and a scary amount of agility. Together, this rough-and-tumble tandem earned them the respect of TNA fans, even if they were heels. They've had some amazing matches, great teamwork, and a few tag team title runs under their belts, in and out of TNA. Against the duo of Miz and Morrison, these two would be in interesting matches. I say this not only because of their tag work, but also their gimmicks. LAX is a street-tough tag team that, for the most part, can be as gritty as the next thug. This could prove to be very threatening to the likes of Miz and Morrison since, well, they couldn't hope to get their faces rearranged by these fellas. Don't believe me? Homicide used to carry a fork around in his hardcore matches. If the LAX were to war with Miz and Morrison, it would put their fights with Cryme Tyme to complete shame.

Lastly, there are the Briscoes of Ring of Honor. These guys are the embodiment of tag team greatness. Sure, Mark lost his front teeth and they both have a very heavy southern mentality to them, but those problems are quite forgotten once you get to see their wrestling expertise. Jay is strong with some agility and speed while Mark is very agile and quick with his delivery. Together, they are tag team specialists. They can manipulate the 5-count to the point where they pull off some of the best tag moves I've ever seen. They're all effective and very innovative. I could see these guys outclassing, outmaneuvering, and literally outwrestling Miz and Morrson. It would be a sight to see, believe me. Two southern boys making fools of the citified Miz and Morrison. Jesse and Festus should take notes, and then staple them to their heads.

So, there are three teams that can go up against the Miz and Morrison for the best in 2008. Once again, it's a sad state of affairs when the best teams the Miz and Morrison can face are not even in the WWE. Are their potential teams in the WWE? Yes, but their utilization hampers their abilities and their support. truth be told, Hawkins and Ryder make for a great tag team. Just look up anything on Brian Myers and Brett Matthews and you'll see what I mean. As for Carlito and Primo, it's only a matter of time before the novelty on this brotherly duo runs out because of the knuckleheads backstage. It would truly be a disappointment since both of them are probably the most talented few up-and-comers to come through the WWE in recent memory.

Also, when the division you represent is virtually non-existent, what good is being the best of 2008 when there really is no one to compare to? That would technically make Miz and Morrison the kings of virtually a make-believe division. When did tag team wrestling become some dead novelty? We're seeing women wrestle on the WWE with the worst amount of quality as compared to yesteryear between the 80s and the Trish Stratus years. Tag wrestling seems as dead as cruiserweight wrestling. It's not something worth forgetting, people. I don't think Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith, The Dynamite Kid, The Rougeau Brothers, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, The Brain Busters, Demolition, or even the Legion of Doom gave their hearts and souls in the ring every night to have their histories waxed over for more "compelling" storylines. If they made a historical 3-disc DVD set about tag team titles, I'm sure everyone and their mom would buy it.

So, to you marks reading this and being overly serious about Miz and Morrison's claims, here's a tip: lighten up, wise up, or shut up. There's a big difference between what tag wrestling was then, and what it is now. Yes, they're a great team, and great wrestlers, but seriously, what does that mean in an organization that takes tag wrestling as seriously as they take commentary? The best in 2008 at doing their jobs? Without a doubt, but mostly on a WWE standpoint, where quality tag wrestling is very much non-existent. That's something I don't really want to be jealous over..

Sunday, January 4, 2009

ECW: The new breed unleashed...reborn

The year was 2006. June 13 marked the return of ECW as a television entity. It returned to the Sci-Fi Channel with some fanfare. The WWE had just finished another One Night Stand PPV which was drastically worse than the year previous due to heavy involvement from the WWE creative team, a general lack of original ECW talent, and matches that were littered with WWE talent. This television return could be the catalyst to reinvigorate interest in ECW despite the faulty PPV event. I mean, the main event at the event had RVD win the WWE title, and on the television show, he was about to be crowned ECW champion (even though the belt had little merit since this ECW was a WWE product and not its own entity). This was a great thing for ECW fans and RVD fans because he finally broke through the glass ceiling and reached the top. This would be the perfect way to start off the ECW television run. So, did it? Yes....and no....

For the episode, we got the following things:
-RVD getting the title, only to get embarrassed by Edge and John Cena, making him look weak
-a zombie got caned by the Sandman
-Kurt Angle steamrolled Justin Credible, another ECW champion from the past
-Test got a small promotional vignette
-Kevin Thorn appeared in front of the camera
-There was an extreme battle royal with a handful of originals and some new bloods. Sabu won it.

At the end of the day, the episode was seen as a very sloppy one that few were happy with, but at the end of the day, the ratings showed something very interesting. The final score was a 2.7, meaning at least, 2 to 3 million people watched. That was impressive for two reasons:

1) it was on par with Raw and Smackdown that week
2) it was a one-hour WWE wrestling show that merited a high rating for the first time in weeks, or months, or even years.

After that, the show slowly started to drop in ratings, remaining in the mid to low 2s but, strangely enough, the show merited better ratings on certain weeks than SmackDown, which was a 2-hour WWE-created show. ECW had more viewers than Smackdown. That is something to talk about. Since then, the ratings have dropped dramatically as the WWE writing staff continued to alter the content of ECW and the WWE brass continued to release different ECW originals, only to allow for only WWE-trained talent to be on the show. Yet, I can't help but wonder something.

If the ECW fans knew that this wasn't going to be the original ECW, why did scores of them watch the first episode? Why did some of them leave when the next episode came around? Why did it out-rate Smackdown? There is no doubt that when the idea of ECW returning to television came to fruition, there was some intrigue as to what was in store. There was some mystique as well, but above all, there was hope. There was hope that this was going to be like the ECW of old, and just as interesting this time around. There was hope that this would give fans a change in what they have been seeing in WWE television. I mean, even the old school pundits liked the show because, unlike its peers, there were a few things they had that helped the show's quality. But, alas, that was flushed down the toilet within a year of its return. Can ECW do this again? Can they be that brand that stands out and outscores its peers? I think so. So, what could ECW do to make sure of this?

First, they need key talent. If there was anything that worked for the new ECW is was this aspect. They had Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, and ECW originals some of, if not most of the fans were familiar with and enjoyed watching. Kurt Angle was a wrestling expert that cut an excellent and vicious pace when wrestling. He could outwrestle virtually anyone in the ring, anytime. Rob Van Dam is that ECW original who was so versatile and innovative in the ring that it just amazed everyone who watched. People chanted his name in an ECW event from the beginning of the show until the end, well after his match finished. He was very laid back about his approach, too, and made being cool about wrestling a very cool thing to do. As for the other originals, well, they made up the icing on the cake. Their gritty nature, their extreme fighting style, their adverse attitudes, and their connection to the original ECW is more than enough to bring out the passion in some of the ECW faithful. Mahoney, Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu, the F.B.I., and the like were a motley crew of extreme goodness for your viewing public. These were all very key in the talent department.

Second, they need better content. I was amazed to hear how many rave reviews ECW got for being more action-driven and less promo-driven. For the first time in a while, the action did the storytelling for the fans. I accredit Paul Heyman for that. The action was also very hard-hitting and innovative at times. It gave the fans an alternative to what Raw and Smackdown had every week, which was mostly driven by promos and drama and not on action and matches. I guess this move was made for ECW because it was only an hour long, but the time was at hand for more action on Raw and Smackdown, and it could not have been more evident.

Lastly, they need creativity. Vince, I understand you're running the show and all, and that what you say will ultimately be the final word on the matter, but don't you think that maybe you need ECW to be ECW and not some watered-down, emasculated version of itself? I say this because it will give you variety. It will make the WWE versatile when it comes to wrestling content. Even if you remove the extreme stuff, you can have the solid wrestling aspect of the show. That would be something worth watching and something worth money. Leave it to Paul Heyman to make things right. He is a genius, by the way. Thanks to him, we have an ECW brand to talk about. You can also thank him for certain stars acting the way they are now or were, like Armando Estrada. Just give some creative thought to ECW and you will make it a very watchable show.

Currently, none of these hold true. The talent, albeit mostly new and different, do nothing to fit in as key talents. If they do, they are due for a change of scenery via a new brand, or they have done all they can to make ECW watchable. The only problem is, they helped themselves more to be established elsewhere. Now, this is something that is proper for ECW's new direction: create new talent and prepare them for their new endeavors elsewhere. However, this doesn't do much for the show's quality as the wrestlers lack just that for the most part. There are no key pieces of talent that stand out to make ECW watchable for the talent, especially since the established talent moonlights on other bands to put those brands over.

As for content, well, that's nothing to write home about either. They have gone from selling action to selling pointless and passionless promos. If that wasn't bad enough, there's too many goofy things going on here and there to take the show seriously, as well as...shudder....recap footage of other things from other shows to get those shows some attention. Pointless filler and fluff crowd up ECW to the point where instead of having 4 or more matches in an hour, they have 2 to 3 with dull, repetitive nonsense. It makes this ECW look more like WWE Heat.

As for creativity, I'm sorry, but I don't find taking Smackdown castaways and lampooning either their goofy gimmicks or their inability to draw on bigger shows on ECW as creative. It's not fair to cast off some of the established stars to ECW, but the WWE doesn't see them as part of a plan. Sadly, they still don't see them as such. So, we go to the new guys. With the exception of a few guys, there really isn't much creativity to go around. The storylines are sad, the angles are foolish, and the wrestlers don't seem very passionate about getting this show to be watched on a daily basis. They are just going through the motions, as it seems.

Believe me when I say this. I know this ECW can be as good as its peers. In fact, I hope it does. I think they can make the new stars a very key form of talent in the show if they can come off as interesting or as innovative as their current ECW new superstar, Evan Bourne. As for content, let's see some action here. No more fluff and filler, just some action. As for creativity, just sit down and write something that makes sense. Otherwise, hire back Heyman or at least look into Gabe Sapolsky, former ROH booker. Do ECW that favor, will ya?

ECW was all about the new breed of ECW stars, unleashed on the world of professional wrestling. It intrigued us to see what it would become and if it had the potential to do exactly what it promised. What we've seen is wasted potential, pandering only to those who'd rather see ECW fail or at least remain sub par, according to the "audience of one", Vince McMahon. ECW can be reborn, rebuilt, and respected. If it is, it will be the one thing the WWE needs to shake things up again.