Monday, July 27, 2009

Abraham Washington: the name ECW fans should remember...

ECW has been home to some new stars looking to make big deals out of themselves before jumping to Raw or Smackdown, but how many of them have been, well, non-wrestlers? It's not so easy to say what the answer is, since there probably aren't many. Well, one has just stepped on the scene and is poised to make a big splash in ECW along the lines of entertainment. His name is Abraham Washington. He owns his own talk show. He's been making waves on said show for a bit, almost pitting the Bella Twins against each other, and even coercing Tommy Dreamer and Christian to slap each other a week before their title match, possibly putting their friendship in danger. Those are some pretty big results for only a month or so of appearances. But is Washington really limited to this much? I don't think so. Let's take an inside look at make an analysis from there.

Once again, it's Wikipedia to the rescue when we want to learn the truth. Abraham's real name is Brian Jossie. He debuted for the WWE farm system, Florida Championship Wrestling with no real gimmick or personality. As he lost matches to the likes of Taylor Rotunda, he was re-invented as Abraham Washington. However, his full name was Abraham Saddam Washington. He then switched it to Abraham Obama Washington, as a parody of president Barack Obama and he began his coup as FCW General Manager, surrounding himself with a gang of tough wrestlers, forming the faction, "The Secret Service". This group consisted of himself and the wrestlers Agent T, Agent D, and Agent J. After which, he appeared on ECW as Abraham Washington, but not as his FCW entity, but as a swinging, shallow television talk-show host. He has his own show, The Abraham Washington Show, which appears on ECW as often as possible, and what I mentioned earlier with the Bellas, Christian, and Dreamer has happened on that show. Good start for Washington.

Now, I postulated that this might not even be the final stop on Abraham Washington's rise to stardom. So, he can run a t.v. show, but is it possible that he can run a brand? I think so. In my opinion, he may very well be the perfect candidate for GM of ECW. Now, I know what you're thinking. Why should he get the spot since he has had no experience running anything administratively? Here's a point for you: how much experience has Tiffany had? None. She was an assistant. She didn't make any crucial decisions. She just had a good idea or two every 7 weeks and was a proponent for male attention. Also, here's a better and more recent example. They have celebrities hosting Raw, doing whatever they want. If you think about it, Washington is a celebrity, even if it is in his own right. If there can be success found in a different celebrity host of Raw every week, why not find success in a celeb running or hosting ECW permanently? Logistically, that should make sense. But then again, it's the wrestling world. You have to expect anything I guess.

Now, maybe the GM idea is a little too lofty for Washington. So then what? He could be a manager of wrestlers if that makes sense. One such person that can benefit from Washington is Ezekiel Jackson. Jackson can use a good mouthpiece and Washington can be just that. If anything, Washington can do a good job talking, and for someone who doesn't do much talking, that could be very helpful.

I know this is not much of an analysis, but that's only because not much has been done with Abraham Washington. That's not to say that he can't do more with his career. This is a chance for ECW to realize a star with potential. This is a chance to get a non-wrestling personality and do something great with him. Washington is destined for big things, and can do more to add to the entertainment value of ECW, or at least its quality. I would prefer if he was the new GM, but only time will tell. Until then, all we can do is tune in to the next Abraham Washington show and find out.

He's cocky. He's arrogant. He's remotely funny. He's got a knack for causing trouble and a gift of gab. He has the tools he needs to be a manager, and maybe, with enough ambition, the tools to run ECW. He's Abraham Washington, and he may very well have the finger on the pulse of ECW before all is said and done. Now, that's entertaining.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yoshitatsu: ECW's newest import from Japan since Tajiri

Yoshi Tatsu was the first of many new stars to grace ECW's presence after the big trade. He comes from an interesting athletic background, has a lot of energy, and is a bit of a change of pace for ECW as he is, well, the first Japanese person to fly the ECW colors in recent memory since Tajiri. He has a lot to task, to say the least, so, let's see who he is and analyze this fresh young talent.

Thanks to the world of Wikipedia, we now know that his real name is Naofumi Yamamoto. His athletic career spans into the world of boxing as well as professional wrestling. His wrestling career started in 2002 as a member of the most illustrious Japanese wrestling organization, New Japan Pro Wrestling, home of greats like The Great Muta, The Great Sasuke, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, and more. On December 27, 2003, he lost to Ryusuke Taguchi for a spot on New Japan's annual show in the Tokyo Dome. Pretty big loss, eh? On July 26, 2004, he beat a well-known Japanese amateur wrestler named Yujiro Takahashi, to complete a successful debut at Korakuen Hall, another famous wrestling hot spot. He would later team up with Osamu Nishimura to defeat Toru Yano and returning wrestler, Togi Makabe on January 8, 2006.

In February of 2008, Yamamoto decided to sign up with the WWE instead of renewing his New Japan contract. He was assigned to the WWE farm system of FCW, underwent many name changes, and then finally came to be known as Yoshi Tatsu.

He was then called up to ECW in a year and 5 months to help flesh out their starved roster due to the trade. His first match pitted him against accomplished yet overlooked superstar, Shelton Benjamin. Shelton mocked him and his heritage for the most part of the match, failing to take Yoshi seriously. Then, from out of nowhere, Yoshi Tatsu tagged Shelton with a roundhouse kick to the head, pinned him, and got his first victory. Shelton, not one to be embarrassed so easily, challenged Yoshi Tatsu to a rematch the following week. This time, Yoshi barely got any offense in, as Shelton dominated. The only thing we saw were a few well-placed kicks from Yoshi as well as a rolling snapmare into a kick to the chest. It wasn't enough as all Shelton did was dodge Yoshi's roundhouse and hit his finisher, "Paydirt", to get the win. The following week, we got to see Yoshi Tatsu fight Paul Burchill, accompanied by Katie Lea, his sister. Once again, it was a one-sided affair, placing Burchill as the dominant one. How did it end? As Burchill argued with the referee, he was hit by Yoshi's patented roundhouse kick. 3 or so seconds later, Yoshi Tatsu wins his second match.

Now, far be it from me to nitpick, and I like to nitpick, trust me, but I'm looking at Yoshi's matches, his background, and his person and I came up with this assessment. Yoshi Tatsu might very well be one of the most talented stars in ECW mostly due to the fact that he was trained by the illustrious NJPW. However, he is being made to look like a complete weakling, wimp, or even a fluke artist on ECW. Some will say that I'm not being fair since, well, Yoshi is a new guy and has to earn his cuts. Others will say that he has to look weak against heels since he's a face. But, let me tell you this: I've seen faces that have come up with way more offense than this guy, be it new or old. I've seen Evan Bourne come up with more offense, I've seen Kofi Kingston literally embarrass his opponents with his offense, and I always see Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy walk away dominant over people, despite the size difference. So, objectively, I think I might be on to something. Am I to believe that there's nothing to Yoshi Tatsu's style except a few kicks, maybe a springboard maneuver, which he did botch against Burchill but pulled off well against Benjamin, and a rolling snapmare? How about instead of having him get his clock cleaned by established guys, you put him against no-name jobbers and have him win, as you did for Kofi Kingston on ECW? Instead, you give him the Evan Bourne route of fighting established stars first and seeing where that goes. Well, so far, it's going somewhat south as Yoshi Tatsu looks like a weakling of sorts. But then again, is it really any surprise that this is happening? No, not really. Why is that? It's because the WWE and other major organizations are guilty of one thing: undermining talent from Japan.

We have all heard Russo's diatribes in 2000 during the end of WCW's run. He stated that no one wants to see the foreign guys (specifically Japanese and Mexican) be a top star. This is America, so they want to see the American stars succeed. When he said this, unfortunately, not only was he far from the truth in some aspects, but he caused quite a stir saying it as many stars were planning to get out of WCW with as much money or credibility left as possible. I say some aspects, because, well, he's right, but he was generalizing the point. See, the fans would have no problem seeing a star from another country succeed, as this has been proven time and again with many stars (Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, KENTA, Takeshi Morishima, and the greatest example of this: Bret Hart). However, Russo was more than likely alluding to the promoters, bookers, and pundits backstage. They want the guy who can speak english, the guy that looks like an average American, or at least average enough to connect with the fans on the lowest of levels. Oh, and before you say it, I'll point it out. Yes, there are people from other countries that do speak English, and rather well, but they still aren't pushed because, well, they aren't American, or, well, because they are far better than Americans athletically.

And, it's on that point that I attempt to try and make sense of this whole analysis. Like it or not, believe it or not as you will, the best wrestlers in the world have been trained in or come from Japan. No one executes better, no one is more athletic. After Japan, it's Mexico and then Canada, and then parts of Europe, and then America. Yet, whenever these stars come up, you hear about how they have toured Japan and have had some great matches there. This can be a bit of a sore spot for the major organizations since they have a lot of great and top stars in their midst, but if you put them against an accomplished Japanese star or even an accomplished star from another country, in that country or another country where wrestling is still wrestling and not cheap entertainment, you see the difference in quality. Do you honestly think that the Japanese stars that have passed through the WWE were or are terrible? If you do, you probably need to take the rose-tinted glasses off, put down the beverage, and get off the armchair, because, mr., ms., or mrs. armchair quarterback, you have a lot to learn about wrestling.

Hakushi, Taka Michinoku, the Kaientai group, Ultimo Dragon, Jimmy Wang Yang, Sakoda, Tajiri, The Great Sasuke, and yes, even Kenzo Suzuki are or were all accomplished wrestlers, or at least talented enough to prove that they belong, and then some. They were allowed into the WWE and brought a different flavor to wrestling with their styles from Japan. What did they get in return for their troubles?

-Hakushi went from having a great feud with Bret Hart to barely showing up on t.v., only to worry about either Barry Horowitz and Chris Candido (when he was Skip, the Body Donna). After which, he returned to Japan, and then back to America in ECW for a few tag matches with Hayabusa vs. RVD and Sabu. The matches were great.

-Taka Michinoku held the Light Heavyweight title, feuded with some top cruiserweights, feuded with Kaientai, joined Kaientai, lead Kaientai, was reduced to doing stupid voiceovers on t.v. by some unknown announcer (it was Shane McMahon, trust me), literally destroyed his shoulder in a stupid angle where he kept entering the Royal Rumble because he wasn't chosen, and disappeared in the early 2000s to take care of his family as well as dedicate his time to Japan.

-Kaientai went from a well-versed team of fast-paced wrestlers to a running joke after being annihilated by the Oddities, who were 3 times their size, as well as the Hardy Boyz to give them their first major tag team win. Then, Men's Teioh and Dick Togo were fired and Funaki was kept to join Taka in the continued antics of Kaientai mentioned earlier. Since then, Funaki went from Smackdown's #1 announcer (yea, it was funny for maybe a little while), to short-lived cruiserweight champion, to a karate gi-wearing martial artist who wins with the "Crane Technique". This, of course, was coupled with the fact that his real name was "Kung Fu Naki". It's a ridiculous play on words that reeks of poor taste and bad creativity.

-Ultimo Dragon only had one great match in the WWE, which was his first against Shannon Moore. Despite his talents, his accolades, and his top matches with Rey Mysterio in WCW, he was overlooked for Rey and even Chavo as he completed his short lived WWE stint by wrestling in MSG at WM 20. It was his dream to wrestle there, and how did he spend it? He spent it tripping down the aisle and being eliminated from a Cruiserweight title match, never giving him the chance to hold the title in WWE.

-Tajiri first wrestled under his name as a regular wrestler the night after In Your House: Canadian Stampede in July of 1997 against the Great Sasuke. After which, he took his career to ECW as a regular wrestler and was embroiled in a long-running feud with Super Crazy (originally Super Loco in the WWE). There, he transformed himself into a "Great Muta"-esque wrestler who spit mist, wore long pants, and was even more lethal with his kicks. He then was taken in by the WWE in 2001 during the "Invasion" angle, only to start off and sort of continue as comic relief in certain ways, at least when he was a face. While doing so, he managed to capture the Cruiserweight title, as well as tag team gold. As we marveled at his brutal kicks, he decided to leave the WWE and America in 2005 due to increasing troubles in getting his wife to leave Japan. It was a successful run, but we never got to see Tajiri's full athletic abilities due to his diminuitive stature.

-During Tajiri's run, he formed a small group called Kyodai with Ryan Sakoda and Akio. The group went virtually nowhere, as these two new guys lost virtually all the time, in tag team or regular matches. Sakoda was shown the door and Akio stuck around, changing his gimmick a few times, and even teaming up with Billy Kidman. He would then return to be known as Jimmy Wang Yang, a stereotypical Japanese person trying to be a cowboy of sorts. Yes, this stereotype exists, folks. His finished was the ever-so-bland Moonsault Press that hasn't won matches since 1993 (1-2-3 Kid used it to beat Razor Ramon) if not 1996 (Shawn Michaels used it to beat Vader). He would win a lot of matches on his way to title shots for the Cruiserweight strap, only to fall short. This also occurred with the WWE tag belts. After being suspended for not adhering to the WWE drug policy, he hasn't been seen actively on t.v. since.

-The Great Sasuke only had two matches in the WWE with Tajiri and Taka Michinoku before leaving the WWE altogether. That's about it.

-Kenzo Suzuki was to be a premiere heavyweight wrestler on the midcard and then higher with power, speed, and agility. What did they do with him? They put him against Cena and well..yea, you know what happened next. If not, then you should look up a past blog of mine on Cena's damaging career and why he would not work in ECW.

So, it seems that Japanese wrestlers haven't really had a fair shake in the WWE without being embarrassed, annihilated in matches, or just undermined. No, it's not just limited to there, as the WCW is guilty of this as well. We saw just cruiserweight action with these guys, albeit sparingly. However, no real forward movement. TNA is also trying their hand at it but, as some have seen, it has had its ups and downs. Could it be that major organizations are somewhat jealous or afraid of Japanese wrestlers because they will outperform them? They come from the one country where wrestling is still wrestling. They are trained rigorously to execute with perfection. The best stars in the world go to Japan to train. So, yea, I think I'm on to something. If your foreign competitiors can put together better products that you have to import and you can't do that on your own, what does that say about you? It's been like this with all forms of business, to be honest. It's hitting the auto industry pretty hard as Japanese cars are the best in the country, let alone the world. So far, the WWE and major wrestling organizations like them have done their part to make sure this doesn't happen to them. I know, I'm leaving out ROH and even the NWA, but they aren't major just yet. Once they become major, they can say that they put over all talents, despite what country they are from, and it's a plus if they do come from Japan since they have a firm respect for the craft.

This sounds more like an ideological diatribe than an analysis, but that's only because I don't have much on Yoshi Tatsu as a wrestler, since he hasn't done much in America, let alone Japan. This is also because what Yoshi is going through is no different than what the others have gone through in the WWE. How long will it be before he starts losing matches left and right? How long before he's forgotten? How long before a stupid stereotype surfaces and he's caught in the middle of it? I can just see the WWE looping some stupid anime-related joke to him. It just burns me up because I know he's got the goods to be a top wrestler as he has been trained to do so. Ok, so, maybe NJPW today is not as effective as it was about 10 years ago, but they still have a plethora of talents that make their way to the U.S. to give us some great matches. They still have better training methods than most of the American schools. So, you have to give them credit for that.

I just hope that Yoshi Tatsu doesn't end up on the "future endeavors" list, or worse, on the WWE's growing Job Squad of talent that should be showcased for their abilities but downplayed for one reason or another. Would it be too much for the WWE to overlook his being Japanese and push him based on his talents? I'm afraid so, if you have talents in the WWE that are protective of their spots, and above all, are from this country. I guess I just have to wait and see what Yoshi Tatsu does next. Maybe he'll be a great deal, and maybe he won't. However, if he's on the receiving end of something as embarrassing as, say, losing to Hornswoggle, I think it would be safe to say that his career has sunken to the depths of the Pacific, waiting for Godzilla to eat it up. Then, he'll definitely have regretted passing up a chance with NJPW. Indeed!

Monday, July 13, 2009

ECW Progress Report: The landscape has changed

Two weeks ago, 15 superstars were traded between the brands of Raw, Smackdown, and ECW. It sent stars on the rise, established stars, and stars of yesterday every which way but off the air. How did ECW fare? ECW proceeded to lose the stars that headlined its brand for the better part of 2008 and gained 5 superstars that have either toiled away on ECW for a time, toiled away in the WWE with limited success, or well...toiled away at being useless. Think of your favorite sports team trading away its proven talents for throw-away talents, talents who could be leaders, and over-the-hill talents that were or weren't successful in their day (yea, it sounds like the Knicks at times, I know. I'm a Knick fan, and this sounds like something they'd do. Only thing is, the Knicks wouldn't do this to help another team get great talent). Unfortunately, the WWE is not a major sports team, nor a major sports organization. So, if ECW has to get shafted for its talents to increase the power of other brands, then it's going to happen. The only consolation: four new stars who will continue ECW's trend to bring about the best young talent the WWE can create. In all honesty, as clever a move as that might be, logically, it's not a safe nor very smart move.

Yes, I know the talents that have come into ECW as rookies in the past two weeks have lots of potential. In fact, I think they have all the potential to do as well as the previous crop. But, there's still that risk factor of them actually failing...and miserably. With the WWE's track record of getting a handful of things right, and a majority of things wrong (or sometimes the other way around), you can never really be sure. Yes, I understand that it was probably time to start letting the good stars fly to better shows, but, did that mean the established talents that can help bring a star up had to go as well? Also, who's to say that these rising stars will get a fair shake on the shows that they are on? We've already seen Jack Swagger tap to Cena (which I blogged about and am still very mad about), and we've seen Cryme Tyme beat the Hart Dynasty in their first tag match on Smackdown. So, Cena and his Cryme Tyme buddies beat more talented wrestlers on their first nights out and some of us are supposed to be ok with that? How are we supposed to invest in the future of these stars if they are made to not have a present? This move might very well have hit ECW where it hurts.

Before this sounds like a complete downer, I will look at the positives. ECW does pick up some great talent in Shelton Benjamin and William Regal. Both wrestlers have excellent scientific skill, natural heel ability, and have been parts of some of the more underrated wrestling matches to happen within the last 10 or so years. Both were former champions on the mid-card level, along with tag team champions. However, both have not reached main-event status or attained major singles gold along the lines of either the WWE, World, or ECW titles. This trade can prove to be a great chance for them to secure the ECW title. Also, the new stars added to the show do bring some freshness to the program. The energetic Yoshitatsu, the arrogant Abraham Washington, the cool Tyler Reks, and the dominant Seamus all bring their impressive styles of wrestling and sports entertainment to the forefront of ECW. In fact, these guys have the indelible task of replacing whatever stars were on ECW recently or over time (out goes Finlay and Ortiz, in comes Seamus and Reks). I'll blog about these new stars over the course of the next 4 weeks to get an inside look at each. It should be interesting.

But, with every good thing, there's a bad thing or two. Ok, so you have Shelton and William. What exactly does Goldust and the Bella Twins bring to the table? Goldust, as good as he is, has lost his appeal for the most part. If not with the fans, it was definitely with the pundits backstage. His job is just to be, well, funny, weird, and bizarre. The last person to be that way on ECW got fired within the start of the year: the Boogeyman. Trust me when I say this: the novelty of the Boogeyman had disappeared pretty much on his last return as well. So, how long before Goldust sees his pink slip? Also, how useful can the Bella Twins be, knowing that there's only one diva to wrestle with on ECW? They have already embarrassed Katie Lea. So, what else are they good for? Being twins? There aren't any titles for women on ECW. So, who cares? I'd say every red-blooded male who likes to watch women do, well, anything. That's not particularly helpful. Lastly, what do you do when half of, if not all your potential main event talent disappears? You have no main event. If not right now, then not for a while. It's just Christian and Tommy Dreamer. Sure, there's Kozlov, and now Benjamin and Regal, but seriously, does anyone care? I'm guessing not the fans and not the people in charge. I don't expect them to get very far. Well, Kozlov might be the next champ, but after losing to Christian for contention for said title, it's doubtful.

It's funny. I've talked to two people about the move, and they openly said the following: "All the top stars are off the show? They must be ready to cancel ECW!" As short-sighted as that sounds, it would not be surprising. I've said it before and predicted it, too. ECW might very well be canceled tomorrow because no one cares. But, then, I've always said that ECW is still too precious a commodity to get rid of. How else will the WWE get new stars exposed in bulk? Then again, if no one cares about ECW, why keep it going?

Like it or not, ECW has changed. It has new stars that have to get over, throw-away stars that have no place to fit in, and in-between stars that should have gotten a push as soon as they showed up. The problem is that the quality of said stars are in question. The new guys have yet to be proven on a big stage. The in-betweeners are probably here for creative reasons, or lack thereof. Lastly, the throw-away stars are still here when they should have been fired or never hired in the first place. All us viewers can do now is sit back and wait until the new stars show us their quality and improve the show. Otherwise, ECW on SyFy might just be a memory. Did you know the regular watchers of the channel don't want all this wrestling on their network either? Also, it's been made official. After last week's show, TNA is officially beating ECW in the ratings on average.

Let's see: low quality wrestling, viewers that don't want ECW around, and TNA is now beating them. The wheels might very well be turning to ultimately destroy ECW as an entity, a brand, and as a memory from the minds and hearts of anyone who cares about it. Thanks to the general malaise shown towards ECW, I don't think it would be much of a tragedy.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Managing the extreme brand of ECW....

It's turning out that being a general manager in the WWE isn't easy. We have GMs quitting, under probation, or just not doing an even remotely standout job. It's even come to the point where we have hosts instead of GMs instead, which isn't a bad idea at all. The question is: what do you do when you run out of decent surprise guests? You go back to the drawing board, I suppose. But, in this day of WWE going all out with shock value, even if it means bringing up old ideas that they have done within a span of 4 years, or even 4 months, the drawing board might be chalk full of erasures. What does this all have to do with ECW? Well, ECW is the brand that, although, isn't fully wrought with GM problems, it has a big one in the fact that its current GM, Tiffany, is well, just an interim GM. That means they are still up in the air as to whether or not a permanent GM is in the future. Well, I have a few ideas in mind. In fact, I have 2, and a possible 3. But, before I do, I'm going to take you on a look back on the GM position in ECW, from 2006 to now.

When the word was passed to bring back ECW in 2006, the first GM of this brand was one of ECW's original brainchildren, Paul Heyman. He openly stated that instead of a draft, he would get two big draft picks along with RVD and the other ECW originals that signed on to wrestle. He chose Kurt Angle and the Big Show for Angle's wrestling ability (and troubles backstage if you want to break kayfabe), and for Big Show's amazing size and ability, which was something that amazed Paul Heyman, even to this day. Under Heyman's watch, this was to be the "New Breed Unleashed" of ECW, blending the old school with the new school in mentality, ability, and wrestling talent. Under Heyman's watch, we got to see C.M. Punk's debut and slow rise to stardom, the revival of some ECW originals that we know and love, WWE stars looking to re-invent themselves in a winning or losing effort, new wrestlers looking to belong, as well as some hard-hitting, well-fought matches. We also bore witness to two ECW atrocities, which include the "South Philly Screw-job" and the debacle that was the PPV known as "December to Dismember 2006". For the former, we saw Heyman go heel, as he cost RVD the ECW title to, of all people, the Big Show. This was a move that was frowned upon greatly by many ECW enthusiasts as Big Show was, in no way, connected to ECW in any way, and was seen as a WWE move to devalue the ECW title. The latter was a creative disaster, where a laundry list of problems ensued: only 2 matches were publicized, the remaining matches were just rehashed matches from ECW television, the originals were booked to look virtually foolish, if not failures, and the main event Elimination Chamber match was wrought with all kinds of issues, including Sabu's removal from the match, Punk and RVD's early exits in the match, the inclusion of Hardcore Holly, and lastly, Lashley winning the ECW title, which was met with much disdain. To top it off, the PPV only lasted 2 hours and 12 minutes instead of the standard 2 hours and 45 minutes or more, due to Heyman's mis-timing the event and continued struggles to creatively book ECW under Vince's relentless scrutiny. It was scrutiny that would alter ECW's content on a weekly basis. This incident led to Heyman's departure as ECW GM, as well as his removal from all creative duties in ECW. He spent his last few days in the WWE collecting checks and keeping his mouth shut, until his departure.

Come the start of 2007, there was no one at the helm of GM. Instead, we were treated to Vince McMahon governing ECW to his own twisted whims in an attempt to torture Lashley, the then ECW champion for causing Vince to lose his hair at Wrestlemania. Vince's actions ultimately caused Umaga's handler, Armando Alejandro Estrada, to be injured at Lashley's hands, but it also landed Vince McMahon a short reign as ECW champion, a move to definitively devalue the ECW title to a horrendous extent. Once Lashley reclaimed the title from Vince, he vacated it during the WWE draft, which was then fought for in a tournament. A few months later, ECW received a GM in the form of Armando Estrada, fresh off the injuries, and healthy as a horse. Under his reign as GM, we got the following: a running feud with down-on-his-luck wrestler, Colin Delaney, who got beat up every week in an attempt to secure an ECW contract, a talent exchange with Raw and Smackdown that put ECW stars on those shows for further exposure of themselves and of ECW, and a replay of ECW exclusively on, in case someone misses the episode, and in case ECW was canceled. We also got Mike Adamle as the new main commentator, ending Joey Styles' career as a commentator, effective immediately. It was a nightmare.

In June of 2008, Theodore Long replaced Estrada as the new GM, placing Estrada as a wrestler who had to wrestle for his contract, just like Colin Delaney had to. Just like Delaney, he succeeded in doing so, and, just like Delaney, he was fired subsequently. Also, a slew of new and returning superstars came to ECW that either succeeded (Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Christian) or failed (Gavin Spears, Braden Walker, the Boogeyman). ECW changed time slots for a while as well, probably to increase ratings, and a few new matches came about. We also bore witness to some of the worst quality television we could see on WWE television (Theodore Long as Ron Burgundy = FAIL). On the plus side, a few top stars from ECW traveled to other brands to maintain their star status, allowing new stars to become stars and current stars to continue their rise, like the Miz and Morrison.

Currently, Long is the GM of Smackdown...again...and is under watch by Vince McMahon, leaving ECW in the hands of his former assistant, Tiffany, a WWE Diva Search hopeful that failed. What's her claim to fame as GM? What's her big draw? How about....well, nothing? Ok, yes, she's a woman, who looks beautiful and the WWE Divas are now being stated as "Smart, sexy, and powerful". The unfortunate part about that aspect is how untrue most of it seems. Powerful? What's so powerful about not having a presence about you as GM? Every other GM has had a presence. Heyman had his cunning, Bischoff had controversy, Vickie Guerrero had her, well...annoyingly high voice. What does Tiffany bring to the table? Nothing, to be honest. She comes off robotic, bland, and very replaceable, to say the least. Smart? I don't know about you, but if a Triple Threat match is to be wrestled under Extreme Rules, making it a Hardcore match sound pretty redundant, if not ridiculous. Also, if I were a GM, I'd think long and hard about the trades that were just made, if you were to suspend logic and think along the lines of teams, clubs, and pro sports. You trade your top prospects to other shows for the unusable Goldust, the practically useless Bella Twins since there's only one other diva on this show other than them, and Shelton Benjamin and William Regal to further destroy their careers as they build up new stars? Wouldn't it have been a smarter move to trade for higher prospects? Think about that. As for sexy, well, I've seen better, especially since, even with her theme song, she's supposed to be the new "Torrie Wilson". The thing is, Torrie was sexier, and had more personality. To put it short, Tiffany has no presence, no personality, and no business being a GM. She's like one of the many Barbie dolls the WWE tries to make every year through talentless divas. The only problem here is that Tiffany has no "gimmick" to her, as many Barbie dolls have. (Why am I talking about Barbie?)

Now, I do have some ideas as to who can do a much better job as a full-time GM for ECW and I'll try to be brief. One such candidate is the newest ECW talk-show host, Abraham Washington. However, he would only work if he stuck with his FCW gimmick (he'll get his analysis a little later on to explain that). Another possibility is Matt Striker. He's been a manager, a failed teacher, and he's currently doing commentary. He knows what it feels like to be an administrator of sorts as he was a former teacher. Also, his knowledge of wrestling can make him a hand at making decent matches. My third and final choice, which is my banking point, is.....wait for it.....Mike Adamle. I better put my flame shields on now. Say what you want about his commentary, but I actually liked his GM approach. He didn't swing towards faces or heels, but instead, took a more "laid back" approach. He let the wrestlers hammer out their own problems physically and if it got out of hand, he'd step in and fix things. For the Raw brand, he brought the "Championship Scramble" match back for the first time in nearly a decade. It was done before with the Hardcore title, and everyone was in the match all at once (Look up a match between Test, Crash Holly, Funaki, Steve Blackman, and Perry Saturn to see what I mean). So, technically, he didn't bring it back, but brought it up for the first time. Even if it did look silly that he'd read speeches and such with his reading glasses from a clipboard, he had a presence about him. You at least knew that he was coming out to talk or do business. When Tiffany comes out, I get the impression she's about to flub a bunch of lines getting simple stuff across. She even feels a bit robotic when she talks. Lastly, Mike Adamle would be perfect for ECW for his personality, since it does have some value to it. It would definitely help to get ECW better face time. Why not have a personality you hate so darn much, like a Vickie Guerrero or Bischoff, run your show since it gets much more attention? So, my request: get whatever money you have lying around and find something creative to do for Adamle by making him permanent ECW GM.

Quite honestly, I don't think getting a permanent GM for ECW is at all going to be easy. There aren't many people around they can hire, and they are going to be looking to do that, since Tiffany just doesn't fit the bill. Re-hiring Adamle might not be the best idea, but it's an idea. If you're going to employ little care in ECW, why bother with caring if it's someone like Adamle running the show? Or better yet, do away with all GMs, just have one person oversee everything, and maybe bring all the shows together. I don't know. I just think that if you are trying to take each brand seriously, you should have the necessary components in place to make it seem remotely plausible as a brand. But, running the ECW machine isn't easy. You have to contend with low ratings, little to no matches on a PPV, and also a general level of disrespect from every other brand around. It's an uphill battle, but the right GM can handle it. GMs like Heyman, Estrada, and even Long can do it. GMs like Tiffany have to worry about looking good for the camera, unfortunately, making me long for GMs like Adamle. If you're going to have a go-nowhere position in mind, at least make the go-nowhere person something remotely interesting. Adamle's more interesting than Tiffany? Yes, because he at least has a sliver of personality and a presence of order about him. Sadly, you have to consider it on that level and that level alone. It's pretty hard coming up with the best types of subject matter when you're full of Chinese food, hot, and very tired. I'm also tired of seeing the same nonsense unfold on Tuesday nights. Anyone with half a working mind can manage ECW? On that note, anyone want to send in any suggestions on what you'd do if you were ECW GM? Come on! Don't be shy. I'm sure all of you have had your thoughts as to how to book a wrestling show, let alone run it. And, quite honestly, you can do no worse than what we're seeing every Tuesday.