Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 6.19.05 - 'Stand' makes its mark?

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 6.19.05 - 'Stand' makes its mark?

Post by Evad Seltz » Wed, 22 Jun 2005 03:41:52

http://SportToday.org/

Stand' makes its mark

By Rennie Detore
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Sunday, June 19, 2005

ECW "One Night Stand" initially began as more of a nostalgia
pay-per-view, a three-hour showcase of athleticism mixed with heart
designed specifically to satiate a *** fanbase that remained
steadfast.

The show quickly transformed into a monumental offering that left that
same group of ECW faithful wanting more, perhaps tempting Vince
McMahon to extend the life of the brand to more than just a one-night
affair.

"One Night Stand" received rave reviews, mostly from critics and fans
who missed ECW and who are tired of the rudimentary -- and often stale
-- storylines exuded on "Raw" and "Smackdown."

The talk circulating through WWE headquarters in Stamford, Conn., is
ECW's pay-per-view may rival "Wrestlemania 21" in terms of overall
buys among fans. That kind of drawing power seems destined for more
than just a single show.

The moment ECW's "One Night Stand" ended, the rumors began. ECW is
going to have a late-night TV show on Saturday Night. ECW is going to
run four to five pay-per-views per year as an alternative to WWE's
tiresome events.

WWE, however, barely mentioned ECW last Monday, instead choosing to
focus on the ongoing lottery draft and Triple H battling Batista at
"Vengeance" on June 26 in Hell in the Cell.

The always passionate ECW fans marveled at WWE's ignorance of what had
happened only 24 hours ago -- one of the more memorable pay-per-views
in professional wrestling history.

"One Night Stand" stood out as a five-star pay-per-view because it
gave fans what they wanted: athleticism, brutality and "shoot-style"
remarks, including ECW mastermind Paul Heyman uttering finally
bringing up the name of Matt Hardy in the presence of Edge.

The matches seemed rushed at times, but the latter half of the show
made up for any drawbacks. Mike Awesome defeated Masato Tanaka in
unquestionably the best match of the evening.

Awesome and Tanaka feuded for months in ECW while Awesome reigned as
the company's world champion. The two superstars seemed to pick up
where they left off, trading powerbombs and chair-shots as if time had
stood still.

To McMahon's credit, he delivered as promised, despite skeptics
assuming that the WWE kingpin wouldn't be able to help himself by
injecting ECW with too much WWE influence.

"One Night Stand" didn't feel like a WWE-produced affair, despite the
arrival of "Raw' and "Smackdown" superstars. The pay-per-view was
heartfelt, all the way from Joey Styles on commentary to Sandman
spending more time coming to the ring than wrestling inside it.

Only McMahon and his close-knit WWE creative staff know what the
future holds for ECW. A few days before "One Night Stand," Heyman
wouldn't expand on the post pay-per-view role of the brand he helped
create.

Heyman appeared on WWE Byte This and only speculated on whether ECW
would return in some form. He mentioned, however, that his WWE
contract expires at year's end.

Wrestling's current crop of fans isn't satisfied solely on WWE, and
the overwhelming positive response to "One Night Stand" is proof of
that. Reviving the ECW brand, if some form, makes sense and only will
add to WWE's product.

ECW, despite being under WWE's banner, offers WWE makeshift
competition.

How many WWE wrestlers watching "One Night Stand" left the Hammerstein
Ballroom jealous that they, unlike ECW's stars, don't have that same
magnetic connection with their WWE fans?

WWE wrestlers, writers and perhaps McMahon himself are mired in a
sluggish routine underscored by arrogance because they don't have
anything or anyone to compare themselves to that even resembles
rivals.

The return of ECW changed that June 12 with "One Night Stand," leaving
little doubt that an encore is eminent, if not essential.