Before we get going today, I thought it may be interesting to tell you the backstory of the original idea behind my second book, The Death of WCW.
Following the success of the original WrestleCrap book (due solely to the great readers of this site, I should add), the folks at ECW Press asked me if I would have interest in doing a second book. I said sure, but I didn’t want to do a sequel to the first book, but rather something entirely different. They asked me for ideas and I came up with three:
1) The Death of WCW
2) The Death of ECW
3) ToyCrap: The Very Worst Toys We Had When We Were Kids
While I would still love to do that third book (Matt over at X-Entertainment and I have been wanting to do a book together for years), it was flat out rejected (boo!). Instead, the publisher wanted another wrestling book, and they were pitching hard for it to be a chronicle of the downfall of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
So I thought about that for a while, and finally came to the conclusion that there was no way I could write that book. It would be just too depressing, because the folks in that company were willing to do almost anything, including, yet not limited to, working for free to keep it afloat, while it seemed the folks at WCW were just there to collect a paycheck. I also couldn’t dismiss the fact that WCW was run by a bunch of buffoons, which led to comedy. Thankfully, the very great Bryan Alvarez joined me for the ride, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But what about the Death of ECW? To this day, I maintain that I could never write that book. Heck, I even got depressed writing The Death of WCW (which Bryan correctly predicted), so no. I will not write that book.
An induction, however…now that’s something I can do.
For you see, when WWE decided to play Dr. Frankenstein and bring ECW back to life, it was considered by a lot of people as something long overdue. But the result, a bizarre watered down mess of a show that no fan of the original group could possibly take seriously, left a lot to be desired. Still, Paul Heyman was hanging about, and if he was there, there was hope, hope that the ship could be righted.
That hope died on December 3, 2006 in the very un-extreme city of Augusta, Georgia. Because that’s when Paul Heyman decided that ECW, his creation, was finished. In fact, let’s just hear it from Paul himself, courtesy of an interview with The Sun.
“The final straw was the December to Dismember Pay Per View. That show was just a wreck. I knew it going in. I kept trying to pitch different things for the show that week, that weekend, and even the day of the show. All day long on the day of the show, I kept coming to Vince saying: “The people are going to throw this back in our face.” I thought the undercard was horrible. I thought that the design of the show itself made no sense. I just felt that the entire layout of the show, the entire complexion of the event was a downer.”
Now stop and think about this for just a second. Here was Paul Heyman, a man who spent TWELVE YEARS of his life creating his own wrestling company, and it took one show – December to Dismember – for him to realize his dreams were all over.
And after going back and watching this show again myself, I find it hard to disagree.
For those of you who don’t recall (which would be seemingly everyone, as it had the lowest buyrate since the dark days of the early 90’s), December to Dismember was the Extreme Elimination Chamber show.
And what a line up they had going into the chamber: Big Show, Lashley (looking more jacked and with a tinier head than ever), Sabu, Rob Van Dam, and…Test?
Andrew Martin was in the main event of a PPV?
AN ECW PPV?!!??
So yeah, the entire build up for this was quite the fiasco. Our first match, though, looked to be promising, with MNM in full battle gear. It’s really too bad Joey Mercury wound up on the outs with the company, as I would have loved to have seen this trio stick around for a while.
Eh, who am I kidding? I just liked them due to my own fascination with fur coats in wrestling.
Their opponents would be the Hardy’s, Matt & Jeff. I should probably note that I very much love the little screens with the guys’ names on this show, as I, like most folks, am a huge fan of any combination of Christmas lights and BARBED WIRE.
Maybe I will flank the Nativity scene in this manner come the day after Thanksgiving.
And we got us a loooooong match. With lots of armbars. Lots and lots of them. And oh yeah, a bizarre little comment from Tazz explaining that this is “not Matt Hardy’s first rodeo.”
Maybe he trained with the Smoking Gunns back in the day.
Man those foam cowboy hats were a good look. I can’t believe WWE is selling straw ones for Shawn these days.
FUSCHIA FOAM HEADGEAR = MONEY
Rodeos aside, this was a pretty damn good match. But as mentioned, REALLY long. Seriously, this thing went every bit of 30 minutes.
I can’t complain though, and honestly have to question at this point why, exactly, Paul was ready to pull the plug on his creation.
But then things start to head downhill fast.
Why, look, here’s Matt Striker.
Remember him? The teacher? That is a fine pink sweater he has on. You know what would look good with that.
His foe this evening was Balls Mahoney. Hey, remember when they did all that build up to Balls and Kelly Kelly being a couple? And when Punk asked Dreamer what they did on their date and Balls made that goofy face and giggled like a little kid at Christmas? Boy that was fun.
I can’t believe they broke up. I think. Maybe they didn’t. After that date, we just never heard about it again. So I can only assume that they just politely decided that they should just go their separate ways. Or maybe they are just still doing things that cause Balls to make goofy faces behind the scenes.
Either way, I bet gonorrhoea is involved.
Anyway, we soon learn that Striker’s sweater is not the highlight of his wardrobe, but rather his trunks are. And what fine trunks they are, featuring his own face.
That would be awesome enough, but the fact that his face is being devoured by his ass is even better, as Tazz and Joey Styles would attest.
Had he only gone by “Ass Face” Matt Striker, I bet he would have a championship run that would put Bruno Sammartino to shame.
The rules to this match are as follows:
• No gouging of the eyes
• No pulling of the hair
• No manoeuvres off the top rope
These are apparently “Striker’s Rules”, which means, I believe, that he is somehow related to Bill Watts.
Apologies to the 95% of you who don’t get that joke, but sometimes I just have to make jokes only myself and Dave Meltzer would get.
Anyway, one spinebuster later, Balls picked up the duke.
Backstage, we see Sabu being fitted for a neckbrace. And probably a pink slip, as I don’t think we ever saw him after this night.
Don’t worry, Sabby, Paul ain’t far behind.
Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay are up next.
Well, consider yourself lucky. He was a guy who did a really awful “MMA fighting machine” gimmick, and it absolutely sucked.
Elijah, of course, is eighty-five different kinds of awesome, but when you get a hand of a three of hearts, a seven of clubs, a queen of diamonds, a five of spades, and a “Instructions for pinnocle” card, there’s just not much you can do.
Their opponents are the Full Blooded Italians. Sadly, this would not include “The Big Don” Tommy rich, but rather the tandem of Little Guido, Tony Mamaluke, and Trinity.
Yes, Trinity. I seriously had zero idea who this even was, and now that Tazz has informed me, I honestly still don’t know. I remember she was in TNA for a while, but that’s all.
I will say this, though: that is one hell of an outfit. I think I’ve seen topless dancers wearing more.
Anyway, Terkay hit a muscle buster for the finish, and well…let’s just say that Samoa Joe probably doesn’t have much to worry about.
And I’m starting to realize why Paul may have felt the way he did.
After all, I should remind everyone that these last two matches, featuring the likes of Matt Striker and Sylvester Terkay were not, in fact, on Sci-Fi on a Tuesday night.
No no – these matches were on pay-per-view.
PEOPLE WERE PAYING TO SEE THIS.
AND WERE TOLD THIS WAS AN ECW SHOW!
But hey, if you thought Matt Striker was extreme, then say hello to…
THE GREAT KHALI!
Sadly, we are robbed of Tommy Dreamer versus Great Khali (a match I can hear Gorilla Monsoon call “a main event in any arena in the world”), but instead get Tommy versus Daivari.
And in fact, we don’t even get Khali as a ringside spectator for long, as the ref catches him low bridging Tommy, and tosses him out.
This really bums me out, as the match was so dull that I was envisioning just how much better that epic Dreamer-Raven feud would have been with Great Khali involved.
In fact, I can hear the promos now.
Even without the help of his gigantic pal, Daivari gets the win.
Meanwhile, we get word that Sabu will not, in fact, be able to compete in the Elimination Chamber. But don’t sweat it, gang, because if you thought losing Sabu would mean this bout would be less extreme, well then you’ve not yet seen his substitute…
Ok, so I’ve joked enough about the lack of ECW originals on this show. Apparently those in charge of the show feel the same, as they give us a guy who was with ECW since day one:
Knox wasn’t an Original, you say? Well, he was on the first ECW on Sci-Fi show, right?
Ok, maybe he wasn’t, but Kelly Kelly was, so I will give him a pass.
Besides…IT GETS BETTER!!!!!!!
KEVIN THE VAMPIRE!
So this would be a mixed tag match, with Knox and Kelly hoping to get the better of Kevin and Ariel.
But wait…who do I cheer for? Aren’t these people all heels except Kelly Kelly?
Tazz, with nothing better to do, decides to tell us about the Christmas decorations at the Thorn household.
I have never been more saddened to have not been invited to someone’s Christmas party.
And just in case you hadn’t figured out that Tazz is, by far, the greatest color commentator since the heyday of Bobby Heenan, he takes a look at the shot to our right, and comes to the conclusion that Ariel is doing, and I quote here, a “yogurt exercise.”
I have no idea what that might be, but I have never seen anything like that on any of my many trips to TCBY.
It’s not long before we get the battle for the ages: Kelly Kelly vs. Everyone’s Favorite Big Nippled Vampire.
Sadly for the girl so nice they named her twice, young Kelly is no match for the vicious vamp, as she quickly falls victim to a face full of ass.
Maybe next time Kel will do some yogurt exercises and the outcome will be different.
And now it’s time for the main event of the evening…waitaminute. We’re only 90 minutes into this show. Are you meaning to tell me that this Elimination Chamber is going to be AN HOUR AND A HALF LONG?
AN HOUR AND A HALF OF TEST AND BOB HOLLY?!
Now I am totally seeing why Paul wanted to quit. I want to quit too!
So RVD and Bob Holly – YES, BOB HOLLY – start the match. Five minutes later we get CM Punk, and the fans, after having sat on their hands pretty much all night, start duelling “RVD” and “CM PUNK” chants. But hey, we can’t have that, so here comes…
Sadly, we are robbed of the epic Bob Holly-Andrew Martin war, as Bob is the first guy eliminated.
But hey, that might make people happy, so let’s get rid of CM Punk…
Who was pinned, I should note, by Test.
Was there any doubt – ANY DOUBT – that a “Bullshit” chant was about to start?
Or that a “Where’s My Refund?” chant would be far behind?
Eventually, it’s down to Show versus Lashley, a battle for the ages. Lashley is so beloved as a babyface that the fans chanted “Let’s go Big Show.”
Sadly for the fans, it’s not meant to be, as Lashley finishes off the Show with a spear to start the BOBBY LASHLEY ERA OF EXTREME.
And the true end of ECW as anyone who truly loved it knew it.
Especially for the man who loved it more than anyone else that being Paul Heyman himself.
“When I was in the ring, I made the statement: ‘ECW will live long after I am gone.’
Because I knew, either when I went back into the dressing room, or within the next day or two, it was time for me to leave.”
And sure enough, less than a week later, Paul left.
And ECW was dead and buried.
And now some perspective from someone who was live at the event, our WrestleCrap Radio co-host contest-winning Triple Kelly:
Hey RD! Just thought I’d drop you a line and give you my personal D2D experience cause I didn’t get to go into detail on the show about it.
I drove from my house in suburban Atlanta almost 4 hours, when it should’ve been 2 hours because I got lost on the way through the backroads of redneck country. I felt like Jon Voight in Deliverance. I was so frightened cause the houses were about a mile apart from each other in a remote area of middle Georgia and my cellphone connection was DEAD.
And much like Jon Voight at the end of Deliverance, to this day I wake up in the middle of the night in an ice cold sweat from bad dreams/memories of D2D.
At first glance, Augusta, GA may appear to be un-ECW-like compared to Philly and New York, but trust me, everyone that was there in that building, myself included, was a REAL ECW fan. The attendance was very thin but everyone there loved the original ECW guys when they came out for their matches (and even MNM and The Hardy Boys earned the respect and admiration of the fans for working their asses off). Our boy Stevie had the best match of the night…and it was a DARK MATCH with Rene Dupree of all people (my friend who was dressed like The Blue Meanie and I were so close to the ring, he was yelling stuff about Rene having a boner and Stevie was trying to keep it together not to laugh). We were also so close that Ariel’s butt-floss barely covered ass was practically in our faces. My buddy had absolutely no problem with that but since I’m a heterosexual female and not a heterosexual man or a diesel dyke lesbian, I was having a bad time. Then finally THE SANDMAN comes out of the crowd and does his thing…and then just leaves. Did they think, “Let’s throw the mutants a bone here?” At this point in the show, I lost track of all the things that were designed to say “F**k you all for being ECW Fans”.
And when Paul came out and did his promo before the Elimination Chamber, I knew right then and there it was over. But I didn’t want to believe it. It’s like when you watch a movie or tv show where you know your favorite character is going to die. There’s part of you that doesn’t want to see it happen, somewhere in the corner of your mind is denial that it’ll happen but you’re getting yourself ready for it. Sure enough, in the next 30 minutes, ECW perished before my very eyes. It was like Scarlett O’Hara seeing everyone and everything she loved go to pieces around her in the midst of Sherman’s seige on Atlanta. I know I’m being overly dramatic about this, but as a fan of the original ECW, who loved it because it was so unique and different and special, it broke my spirit so badly to see how Vince’s gargantuan ego couldn’t allow for ECW, Extreme Championship Wrestling, to stand out and be what it was, especially since Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara outright copied it all but made it shitty.
That show is a large reason of why I haven’t watched any of the shows on television since and only went to the one WWECW/Smackdown taping I talked about with you and Blade, wherein I brought a sign with me that said “PAUL E. IS MY HOMEBOY”, that was no-sold by the crowd of 9 year old WWE and Boreteesta marks. You did a great job on the induction and captured what I and the other paying fans in the audience were thinking and feeling as this show happened in real time. It’s only appropriate that two great things, Extreme Championship Wrestling and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, were both lay to rest in that very arena within weeks of one another.
Tazz: “Matt Hardy, reversal. He knows. It’s not Matt Hardy’s first rodeo!”
Tazz: “Is that Striker’s face?”
Joey Styles: “You gotta wonder about a guy who wants to sit on his own face, Tazz.”
Tazz loses it
Styles: “That line is gonna haunt me for the rest of my short career.”
Raven: “Tommy Dreamer, there will not be a sanctuary, there will be no haven. There will be no place for you to hide. Quote the Raven…”
Great Khali: “asiobnagoisbafoihad9ugwquvbeqyuvdwqiwvduqwuibod!”
Tazz: “I mean she’s always hanging upside down, Ariel. Imagine her hanging upside on Kevin Thorn’s Christmas tree, they’ve got a black Christmas tree probably. With blood dripping off of it, and this tomatah hanging off of it…”
Tazz: “What the hell was Ariel doing on the apron by the way? That was very strange.”
Styles: “I have no idea.”
Tazz: “She was doing some kinda yogurt exercise on the middle rope.”
Styles: “She is very flexible.”
Crowd chants “Bullshit!”
Crowd chants “Where’s my refund?”