All good things come to an end. We are given this sentiment as children to allow us an understanding of why trips to Disney world end and why the camp season is over. It's never an easy thing to accept when something you love becomes something that is merely a memory, but inevitably, we learn that our parents words ring true and good things do come to an end. Though I am not one of those hardcore ECW fans from the 90's, I have great respect for what the creation and emergence of ECW did for the wrestling business as a whole, so it was a very surreal experience watching what would be the final ECW broadcast last night.
There was an ominous feeling in the air already, as the last ECW was broadcast live from Kansas City, the place where Owen Hart lost his life 11 years earlier. That feeling was soon replaced with excitement, as the last broadcast was kicked off with a Unified Tag Title match between ShoMiz and Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu. I think this match was done to see if this team could be taken seriously but more so to see how Tatsu fared against main show talent. The match itself was decent, and I do think Tatsu and Goldust could survive as a tag team if need be, but in the end, ShoMiz got the win in typical heel fashion. So far, their tag title run has been horrible. A miscommunication win for the titles made the win seem a little cheap and in losing a non title match the night before and having to essentially cheat to win against a couple of ECW guys is doing very little for their credibility. This is a team with the hottest young star and the biggest wrestler in the world. They could be booked a bit stronger, especially considering The Miz is also the United States Champion.
All throughout the show, it was revealed who the mentors would be to the young wrestlers. Since I will devote an article to an NXT preview, I won't get into those pairings now, but they did take up some time in the hour long broadcast.
Something we will get into is the last backstage segment for the lame duck general manager, Tiffany. She came off strong as she laid down the law to Long Island's "other" loudmouth, Zach Ryder and his weird looking Spanish girlfriend, Rosa Mendes. I like how Tiffany has progressed over time, and as we will talk about later, her personality will serve her well as she will probably transition into active wrestler. Even with her laying down the law, Ryder promised to make an impression in the main event anyway since it's an extreme rules contest. Something tells me he'll do alright as a midcard heel in the months to come.
The middle segment was the last Abraham Washington Show on ECW (thank g-d!). People boo this guy because he is just plain awful. The show is NOT Piper's Pit or even Carlito's Cabana, and he hasn't wrestled at all on television yet. There is no sizzle to what he does and people can see that. I honestly hope he never has a show again, but perhaps he could be used as a heel manager. That role could suit him well. The short summary of his last show was him being cocky and making himself the last guest of the show, Shelton interrupting, everyone who wasn't scheduled to be in a match ending up in the ring and Vladimir Koslov cleaning house except for Shelton and the two most recently turned faces shaking hands. It was weird because Koslov did his heel shtick of speaking in Russian, but then continued with his face turn. I'm still debating how I feel about him, but apparently people find him amusing since he will be in that new sitcom with Santino. Perhaps a big guy with a sense of humor but is still a badass could work for him since he, unlike Khali, can actually move around a ring. It should be interesting to see where all these "free agents" start to turn up in the coming weeks.
The main event was preceded by a nice speech given by Christian essentially being grateful to his time on ECW and thankful for his fans. It's nice to hear, as he has A LOT of fans. Even on ECW, he gets bigger pops than most of the guys on the main shows. He's one free agent that is going to make some serious noise.
The match itself was basically emblematic of why there was little interest in today's ECW. It was an "extreme rules" match in a PG setting and thus, it was very tame. Now, I was never a fan of the bloody, gory matches that the original ECW put on, but that style had a distinct fanbase which I'm sure was laughing at this contest. The highlight of the match for me was Ryder's interference followed by Tiffany executing a perfect spear on Rosa Mendes to get the self proclaimed "power couple" out of the ring. Seeing just that one move gives me hope that Tiffany will succeed as a wrestler. Wonderful technique and not a hair out of place! The match ended with some Regal interference and a surprising title change. Big Ezekiel Jackson, the man who looks like he's taken some horse tranquilizers to get to that size, is the new and last ECW champion ever. I assume the change was made because having the title as a free agent will do a lot more for Zeke than it ever would for Christian. Christian is a star anyway and will make it with or without the ability to say he's a defunct champion. Big Zeke can use it to stay relevant. It makes sense when you think about it, but it leaves a sour taste in the fan's mouth to see the show end with a monster heel celebrating victory.
Then again, the promotion began when a cocky heel threw down the NWA championship belt and declared himself ECW champion instead, so I guess it's fitting that the first and last images are of heels with this title. The difference is, that first moment was seen as the start of something special. That moment was the birth of a Philadelphia promotion in a bingo hall that played a role in the careers of Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Tommy Dreamer, Taz, and many others. Tonight, we raise our glasses to a departed old friend, and one I hope all wrestling fans try and remember fondly. To aide in that, I leave you with the moment that started the revolution. From Shane Douglas to Ezekiel Jackson, ECW is now gone but will NEVER be forgotten!