I enjoy many things that most other people hate: The NY Yank'ums, Phish and a whole slew of noodling jambands, non-American football, Lunchables and professional wrestling. To be fair to myself, I don't watch wrestling anymore. I used to. Lots of it. But no more.
To me, (the royal) you have no right to pass judgment on whether or not wrestling's a legit leisure-time activity until you've attended a live show. And if you've ever seen Extreme Championship Wrestling in action, you'll never laugh at a pro rasslin' fan again. Well, you'll still laugh at the retarded ones. But the normal ones, never again.
Quick and simple background: ECW was awesome, an independent juggernaut started out of Paul Heyman's basement that gave new meaning to the popular phrase "Holy fucking shitballs." They'd have matches with barbed wire ring ropes, wrestlers would jump 20 feet off a balcony onto their opponents, someone would set a double-stack of tables on fire and slam someone through them. It was brutal. They still staged everything and scripted the outcomes, like the WWF, but it was 100% real. Take three minutes and watch this. Seriously.
Then Heyman sold out to Vincent K. McMahon, who unsurprisingly neutered the balls off the ECW product and gobbled up the wrestlers for his WWE programs. A crying shame. After a couple years of dormancy, ECW is once again operational, but now it acts as a subsidiary of the WWE. No, that's the real crying shame here.
Originally when I saw that ECW was coming back to the Hammerstein for the its new, live Tuesday night show on the Sci-Fi channel, I jumped at the chance. But then I saw the card for the event a few days later and tried to sell my tickets. There were maybe six or seven old schoolers on the bill, and the rest was filled with WWE turds like Big Show and Batista. Needless to say, the old-school crowd was none too pleased with this switcharoo.
Only one match delivered the goods: former rivals Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman teamed up to fight Test and Mike Knox. By the end, Tommy Dreamer lay bloodied on his back in the middle of the ring, having just been thrown down onto a plywood tabletop covered with barbed wire. Typical Dreamer, who will most likely be dead by age 50. Someone ought to give him the "Mr. Clark talks to Kid Ray" speech from Lean On Me.
Check out the guy giving double middle fingers to Test after the fight
The saving grace of the night was the crowd, which continues to be as awesome and boisterous an audience as anything out there. The fans and the wrestlers have a certain kinship -- they know the history, and they weep for the future. Plus, the fans don't sit there and happily lap it up when the talent fails. When a wrestler misses a spot or stutters over a move, the crowd lets him know immediately with chants of "You fucked up, you fucked up!" It's like family.
The crowd is worth the price of admission alone. Here's just a very small sampling of what was chanted in incredible unison last night:
"Fuck the floor, fuck the floor, fuck the floor." (the fans in the balcony taunting the people in the floor seats)
"You got ripped off, you got ripped off." (same)
"You fuck sheep, you fuck sheep." (to an Amish character wrestler)
"You suck dick, you suck dick, you suck dick." (to the French heel who opened last night's card)
"You take ste-roids. You take ste-roids." (to a few roided out freaks like Test and Batista)
"Show your tits, show your tits." (to every girl in attendance and Mike Knox's smokin' hot manager)
And saving the best for last, the crowd hit both wrestlers in the main event with:
"You both suck! You both suck!"
"Change the chan-nel, change the chan-nel." (see below)
"Fuck this match, fuck this match, fuck this match."
"Where's my re-fund? Where's my re-fund?" (see below)
"We should ri-ot. We should ri-ot."
It's so nice to know there were kids under the age of 10 in the crowd. That's some fine parenting right there. Hey, do your kids a favor and leave 'em home until Heyman & Co. get their act together. Let me know when the old school hits town.
And, for Chrissakes, bring Rob Van Dam around when you return.
Slack Must-Watch Video of the Day: I uploaded a little clip to YouTube of the crowd's unhappiness with the new ECW product last night -- there is nothing like seeing an angry ECW crowd. Since last night's show was being broadcast live on the Sci-Fi channel, our fellow fans in the balcony decided to start a public service announcement to the viewers at home: the chants of "Change the channel" and "Where's my refund?" are absolutely fantastic.
Slack Link of the Day: Wanna write your very own Sports Guy column? Well, thanks to the folks over at Chisport, now you can. Click here, fill in some data a la Madlibs and you've got a Sports Guy masterpiece you can call your own. Job well done, Chisport, you've finally accomplished what everyone was thinking.
Slack Song of the Day: Son Seals, Funky Bitch. One leg, all good.