Posts Tagged ‘ECW’

Former WWE Champion Rob Van Dam recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. The interview is at this link and below are highlights:

Where he’s at in his career now and benefiting from his stretching routine:

“Even in ’91, when I was in the indies in Florida, I still had my stretch routine back then. When I did my splits on the floor, there was always, always some homosexual remark made from one of the wrestlers. You can guess what those guys said, but my stretching has played a significant part in my longevity and my physical health.”

“I’m at a point in my life now that I find very rewarding. I only wrestle 10-12 matches a year, and I get to pick and choose my matches. I have so much to be grateful for, but I’m still stretching and going through my routine to make sure I’m at my best. When I stretch a few days in a row, I’m limber as f—.”

More on his custom stretching routine:

“When I’m on the grind, like I was with WWE’s never-ending tours, I hated all the factors of the job except for showing off in the ring. That’s the flights, the rental cars, and everything else. Then, and now, meditation is my escape. It’s an inner-experience. I leave the secular world. I don’t even need to use my eyes.”

“I had to teach my muscles to trust me. So when I stretch, it’s about relaxing the targeted muscles. Too often people strain muscles because they’re trying to elongate a muscle, making it contract, so you’re actually working against yourself.”

A WWE return being unlikely but not impossible:

“I know that my fans want to see me back in WWE. To that, I can say, it’s good to be wanted. I can tell you that I enjoy my days off a lot more than my days on, but I appreciate the fans. It’s because of them I have the life I have. So thank you to the fans, I know they’re going to stick with me for life, and never say never.”

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Cody Rhodes was interviewed by Busted Open Radio to discuss All In, scheduled for September 1. Understanding that Dusty Rhodes is known for being a creative genius, spearheading many NWA and WCW concepts as well as assisting with with popularity of NXT, Bully Ray asked Cody a thought-provoking question.

“If All In comes off the way you want it to, exactly the way you wanted to, between Starrcast and All In. On Monday morning will All In have surpassed any one show that Dusty created?”

Cody responded, “I don’t think I can speculate. Because, it’s mine, you know? It’s me, Matt [Jackson], Nick [Jackson], it’s the Being the Elite guys. It’s all of yours, you know? It’s by wrestlers, for wrestlers. It’s by fans, for fans. If you look at this convention and you look at the show, I care more about whether Dusty would have a good time at All In than whether I win this match, if that makes any sense.”

ECW was used as an example of something that Cody thought Dusty would have hated, by was surprised by his reaction.

“The first time he tuned in to ECW, this is a good example, I thought like, oh, he’s gonna hate it. Look at what’s happening, there’s all kinds of sex and violence. He was so entertained, and I remember sitting in front of him with my little Hasboro figures and watch the shows, every pay-per-view. So he had this forward-thinking knowledge that I think all of the great minds in pro wrestling have. So, I think if he saw this, he’d have a few touches for sure, but I think he’d be pretty stoked about it. I hope he would.”

Tommy Dreamer faced Eddie Edwards at Slammiversary this past Sunday. The Innovator Of Violence recently took part in a media call where he discussed his company House Of Hardcore. Impact Wrestling’s Global Force Network includes a lot of content, but Dreamer explained why HOH will not be made available there. He already has an exclusive deal with Twitch so this makes it an impossibility. He then proceeded to praise the service Twitch offers and its huge viewership potential as well.

“I’m already on Twitch [with House Of Hardcore] so I have my own streaming service,” Dreamer said. “I think it’s a wonderful idea for Impact Wrestling [to offer multiple promotions on the GFN]. They have offered me to do that but I have an exclusive with Twitch where I am getting paid for my content already. So that’s why I didn’t do it.

“I’ve looked at the wrestling business and a lot of times the wrestling business will repeat itself. I don’t want for bad history to repeat itself in the sense of I don’t want the territories to get swallowed up just like they did in the 80’s. When I say territories there are some really good independent companies that are out there running consistent shows.

“If Impact was putting crappy quality on their app then you get what you get what you pay for. I think they’re putting out nicely produced shows so it’s all about content. That’s what Hulu wants and Netflix […] they just want content and wrestling has such an amazing fan base that it’s the content that’s watched. You know its funny most people don’t know what Twitch is… Impact has a Twitch channel. Twitch has more subscribers than the WWE Network. It’s just getting the word out there.”

Dreamer has influenced a generation of hardcore wrestlers after him. As he approaches his 30th anniversary in the pro wrestling business, Dreamer mentioned a couple people in Impact Wrestling who could carry on his legacy.

“The word hardcore has been bastardized by WWE. People think about blood, or tables, or chairs. To me, hardcore is a work ethic. You know it became hardcore was WWE’s version was early ECW and in ECW we did every single thing we could to put on a great performance for the fans.

“In Impact, I want to say every single wrestler could be hardcore. Becuase everybody goes out there an busts their butts to entertain the fans. No matter what situation they have been in.”

He listed names like Sami Callihan and Pentagon Jr as two guys who could carry on his legacy of hardcore wrestling. Dreamer also praised the current Impact Wrestling roster and pointed a spotlight on some people who he feels have an especially bright future.

“I am a huge fan of LAX. I think they have such amazing talent. Brian Cage, he’s another guy although he’s a pain in my ass at my House Of Hardcore shows. I wanna say the biggest impact I feel to come out of the [Knockouts Division] is Tessa Blanchard.

“[Blanchard] is money and she is signed a long-term deal with Impact Wrestling. I have never heard such a buzz about anyone in the industry.”

Brian Pillman passed away at thirty-five years of age of arteriosclerotic heart disease. Following his football career, he spent two years in Stampede Wrestling before arriving in WCW. He only spent two years in WWE before tragically passing away. Eric Bischoff recently spoke about Pillman on 83 Weeks where he said the goal with Pillman was always to make a WCW return.

“Brian told me that he had a shot to go to WWF and I told him to go,” Bischoff said. “Brian Pillman and I stayed in contact the entire time he was in WWF. He wanted to make sure that he can make his way back to WCW. That was his goal. Was he working me and just calling me while being on the road and maintaining a good relationship while checking in with me? Maybe, but we were able to maintain a good relationship while he was there.”

The plan was to let the Loose Cannon persona play out in other promotions outside of WCW and raise the value of Pillman’s name. Then he could come back to WCW and Bischoff would have more of a reason to pay Pillman the big money he was asking for.

“The agreement that Brian and I had was that let’s play out this character out here in WCW and when it is time to go it’s time to go. Go out and get yourself over either in ECW or WWF, wherever you end up and then let’s bring you back and then I can justify the money that you wanted. That was it. There was nothing more or nothing less to it than that. It was a cooperative kind of thing.

“All we were doing at the point was letting it play out. That was all. Brian Pillman did not want to stay. We weren’t going to get him over.”

Bischoff knew he couldn’t justify paying Pillman’s price tag just by changing his gimmick on WCW’s television product. Therefore, he let Pillman go rather than killing his character on television and releasing him later. Bischoff knew Pillman had something with his Loose Cannon moniker. The only problem was he had to get over elsewhere in order to really pull off his plan.

“He wasn’t going to become The Loose Cannon and then qualify for double the salary that he was asking for,” Bischoff continued. “There was nothing that we were able to do for him to justify doubling his salary, so the next option, I guess it that sounds stupid to the listeners. The next option would have been to bury him or cut him loose with five months left in his contract.

“I believe that idea would be even dumber, as opposed to saying, look, here’s a guy I like. Here’s a character that could work. Let’s leave on good terms and let the storyline play itself out where he gets so crazy that I have to fire him so that there is at least logic to it, and if there’s a way for him to get over to justify giving him the money that he wants, great! I would have been happy to do it because I like him and I believe in him. That was all there is to it.”

On the one year anniversary episode 52 of his Triple Threat Podcast, Shane Douglas was joined by his former “head-cheerleader” and valet, Francine.Francine and The Franchise reminisced about the glory days of ECW and their pairing which lasted from July 1996 all the way though Shane’s ECW departure in 1999. However, when discussing her brief WWE-ECW run in 2006 for the first time ever with Douglas, “The Queen of Extreme” revealed a strong desire to not just merely compete in swimsuit competitions as she attempted to express to management her desire to work. In the following excerpt, Francine recalls having a conversation with Vince McMahon regarding the lack of creative direction for her while working for WWE. The full episode can be downloaded at this link.

 

On asking for her release shortly after joining WWE:

“I can tell you something, when I was hired and I was in line to get a draw one evening and he (Vince McMahon) pulled me from line because earlier in the night I was talking to Johnny Ace in his office and I was crying and I was begging for my release. Johnny said they weren’t giving me my release and I was like Johnny please {because} you are not using me and I am not happy so he must have went to Vince. He pulled me from line and we start walking and he says, “You are a beautiful girl and beautiful girls are a dime a dozen, I have no idea what you can do.” I looked at Vince and I am not lying when I say this but I looked at Vince and I said, “Didn’t you buy our tape library?” He just looked at me as to say I didn’t watch it or I don’t watch it and I am then like well okay he has his crew that watch stuff and they report back and I was told that Shane McMahon was the big ECW (I don’t want to say mark) but fan and he loved ECW and that was Shane’s thing. He told his Dad who to hire and I know Tommy had a part in it too but for Vince to tell me, someone that he has hired that he has never saw my work? He didn’t know what I could do? I am thinking to myself just how on earth can I be standing under contract in this building right now? Period. It blew my mind.”

“I kept saying that I am willing to work but they had me doing bikini contests and I said I just want to work, I just want to work. I was told that I could do what I did for Paul (Heyman) so let me do what I did for Paul.”

WWE not using the ECW Originals under contract:

“I didn’t get it because everyone of us was willing to work just as hard as we did for Paul and everyone was just dumbfounded. We would literally just sit in catering and stare at each other and say that we wonder when we are getting released. That is what we said every week. It was brutal.”

“It’s traumatizing because you are thinking what am I doing wrong? Why aren’t they using me? I was never too {political} and I don’t politic behind the scenes and I never had to and you know as well as I do that Paul was so one-one-one and open and you could call him and he was easy to talk to and he was there for us. Vince was just totally different and not really approachable.”

Former ECW Heavyweight Champion Raven was recently a guest on Title Match Wrestling to discuss a number of topics regarding his career in WWE and ECW. Raven explained how he did not think too much of the Raven character, but it started to get over because he began to invest more time into it in order for it to look more genuine. Unfortunately, instead of art imitating life, life began to imitate art, and Raven started to head down a dark path because of embracing his character too much.

“I didn’t realize how personal it was gonna become, and then the character became so personal, so art imitated life, but then life started to imitate art when I started to become a bigger, you know, getting worse in drugs and alcohol,” said Raven. “Because, in some perverse way, I was trying to stay true to who I created, to Raven, even though Raven was based on me. So, art imitated life, but then life started to imitate art, and that’s when things went downhill.”

Raven feels that promotions creating a character for someone usually does not work well, with exceptions such as Big Boss Man and The Undertaker. It should be a part of who the person really is, because if the wrestler does not believe in his character, the fans will not. He added that wrestlers “are not casting agents.”

“It’s not like in Hollywood where they have people whose job it is to cast parts, but that is what happens. Like, they’ll come up with an idea and say, ‘we need a pirate. Let’s make this guy a pirate because he has a glass eye or something.’ And that’s how roles are cast in the wrestling business, but in the old days [of] the business, you became who you wanted to become, and if it sold, it sold, and if it didn’t sell, then you would go back to the drawing board, or you get out of the business, or went into construction or something.”

During his time in ECW, Raven became one of the most popular names in the company history, and was one of the pioneers of creating the large following that ECW had during its run. However, the original plans were much different, as Raven explained.

“The original idea was I was gonna come in for three months to get [Tommy] Dreamer over,” said Raven. “Paul E. [Heyman] didn’t realize what I was doing with the character. He thought I was going to do like a misfit grungy [character], but still a comedy character, because that’s all I’ve done before was chicken s**t heels. And that’s what he thought it was gonna be.

“But when he saw it wasn’t, that’s when the wheels started turning, and I told Paul E. before we even moved forward [and] even realized that’s what it was, I said look, if you want me to get him over quick, we need to have a back story. Because, if we have a back story, there’s already an emotional investment tied in, we can skip three months of programming, we can just jump into the meat of the programming if there’s a back story. So I came up with the back story when he gave me Stevie [Richards].”

Raven also explained that Heyman added to the story that Dreamer never beat him, and it got to the point of that being the focus of the storyline. Both Raven and Dreamer lobbied to Heyman for Dreamer not to beat him before Raven left, but Raven does understand that Heyman was reasonable in not fully trusting that Raven was going to return for them to continue their storyline.

“He couldn’t know that I’d be back in two years, and he couldn’t count on that,” said Raven. “And he had to get his mileage out of me. I had to put Tommy over to finally give catharsis to the feud, but in hindsight, sure, we never should have done it. Me and Tommy both thought we never should have done it, but from Paul E.’s point of view, we absolutely had to do it. I totally see that.”

WWE this afternoon announced that former 10-time tag-team champions The Dudley Boyz are to be inducted into their hallowed Hall of Fame at the 2018 edition.

‘Brothers’ Bubba Ray and D-Von join Bill Goldberg as the names already confirmed to receive the special ring come 6 April at New Orleans Smoothie King Center.

The reveals so far correspond with those touted a few months back, meaning we can probably expect a few more names from the list to be announced in the coming weeks.

After establishing themselves in the business as part of Paul Heyman’s renegade ECW troupe, the Dudleys – just two of the Philadelphia promotion’s extended family – made the jump to Stamford in 1999. The story goes that the pair asked Heyman for a raise of one single dollar to stay with his company, but as the ECW honcho was already in cahoots with Vince McMahon as a supplier of talent, it was denied.

The Dudleys had gained some considerable momentum with their furniture-shattering antics back in Pennsylvania, and their innovative violence proved the perfect seasoning to add to WWE’s increasingly spicy product. It was through their extreme encounters with The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian that tag-team wrestling saw a huge revival in the company, with the trio of trios arguably as fundamental to WWE’s late-’90s success as anyone on the roster.

Then there was the time Bubba planted octogenarian Mae Young through a table. Who could forget that?

In 2005, the two left for pastures new, with Bubba eventually reinventing himself as top heel Bully Ray in TNA. When the so-called siblings reunited in WWE in 2015, that whole chapter was erased, and fans were treated to a straight nostalgia trip.

Just this past week, the brothers-from-another-mother joined in the Raw 25 celebrations, with Heath Slater taking the brunt of their traditional wood-splitting honours.

There have been a lot of raised eyebrows at some Hall of Fame inductees of recent years, but few would vigorously argue against the Dudleys’ inclusion.