DDT Wrestling Podcast Episode Art - Circa 2015

June 13th 2015 – NAIborhood Episode

“Why is that man wearing a diaper?”

“Over the last few days, I’ve been wondering something” says DC Matthews, “I’ve been wondering what made Dusty Rhodes so good.” DC discusses Dusty’s recent passing and how “easy and effortless” Dusty Rhodes made it look to be a professional wrestler. In truth it’s anything but effortless.

DC was comparing the departed legend to the New Age Insiders, podcast friends who were particularly good at making podcasting look effortless.
Every journey starts with the first step and this was Episode 1 for what would become DDT Wrestling. In fact it is the second first episode of the podcast, as DC himself explains, helming a podcast is “So much harder than being a writer… take one sounded like it was recorded on the runway of Newark International airport.”

Take One was recorded with the microphone too far away, two to three feet away, to be exact. The fact that DC was able to record a second first episode and go onto record several more is all down to Bill Neville of the New Age Insiders. DC rightfully heaps praise on the NAI podcast and tellingly declares their podcast to be “one that, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, is far better than this one will ever be”

New Age Insiders Network Logo - Circa 2017

At that point in proceedings that statement was probably true, the New Age Insiders were flying high and DC’s podcast was not even five minutes old (3 minutes, 49 seconds, time fans).

In the embryonic stages of the podcast it was very much an arm of the bigger NAI monster, a wing of their house if you will. This wasn’t DC’s house yet, but that would come in time. This was the start of it all. The days of DC as NAI Chief of Staff, the days when the warm and cosy tones of Mr Rogers singing ‘It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ beckoned us in for a closer listen.
DC talks about Ring of Honor, and Money in the Bank which takes place around the time of recording. We learn that Lex Luger is a giant man baby running around a wrestling ring, as DC watches the NWA archive, and lets us into the core of his beliefs when watching wrestling – “when everyone tells me something is good, I immediately feel like I can’t watch it”.

ROH is discussed, Cheeseburger is discussed, “why, why, why is his name Cheeseburger?”, Who is Moose? Why did he beat up Steve Corino’s kid?

Over in WWE, Money in the Bank is discussed, especially whiny Seth Rollins. “I want them to have a direction, I want them to know where they are going”.

“I would be the first in line to celebrate if I really thought Kofi Kingston could be a potential main event guy, it’s not going to happen”.

August 8th 2015 - NAIiborhood Episode 9

DDT Wrestling Podcast Episode Art - Circa 2016

“This episode of the Naiborhood Podcast is brought to you by the Ultimate championships of fighting for championships that are won by fighting and when you win you get championships….”

This was a landmark day in the history of DDT because it marked a turning point. DC was no longer carrying the show on his own, the scripted reading had been and gone and here we have NAIborhood Episode 9, DDT in all but name.

This was Doc Manson’s first episode as co -host. An actual Doctor, Doc Manson introduces himself to the world. He joins DC to discuss their friendship which survived being room-mates, experienced weddings, wrestling websites, their time as ‘the Number Two Contenders’, Doc and the Texas Tornado, Macho Man and meeting Jake the Snake Roberts’ snake.

With his wrestling fan credentials, and both his improv and actual real-life science qualifications revealed the two eventually discuss the then current issues in the wrestling world.

Finn Balor does nothing for Doc, apart from his talent in the ring and his ring entrance. NXT gets discussed, Neville and Sami Zayn too. Hideo Itami and all his kicking awesomeness; the number two contenders believe that when Itami comes back it will lead to Finn Balor’s heel turn, which may help him as Balor worked well as a heel in Japan. They talk about those outside the WWE at that time, Maria and Mike Bennett, AJ Styles, Chris Daniels and “a guy called Adam Cole”, you watch him walk, talk and move and you see a really good pro-wrestler. Adam Cole is DC Matthews approved.

There’s a spectacular conversation about Uhaa Nation, who at this point was about to make his debut for NXT Takeover Brooklyn rebadged as Apollo Crews. This leads the listener down to the New Day via Terry Crews, Apollo Creed and TNA’s Consequences Creed (WWE’s very own Xavier Woods).

There is a spark in Episode 1, there is something in DC’s words, there is thought behind what is spoken and believe it or not there is charm in the honesty that comes across when he acknowledges there is much to learn. By Episode 9 all of that is built upon by an obvious and undeniable chemistry with Doc. When they decide to talk about wrestling, they do so with insight and passion, and they acknowledge the faults that they see. As we know, honesty about often divisive content can be a tightrope to walk because it can lead hosts down one-way streets of negativity and that is no fun to hear.

In the years to come Doc and DC would perfect the balancing act of wrestling and anything else; breakfast cereals, Halloween snacks, movies and car repair are just some of the topics discussed by them on this podcast. Believe me when I tell you, the audience would happily listen to DC and Doc read a phone book out loud if that is what they chose to do.


DDT Wrestling Podcast Episode Art - Circa 2018

Brand can be a terrible term. Sure, it can start off innocently with the best of intentions but more often than not it is clouded and compromised, and it becomes a product. It ends up being something so far removed from what it was meant to be that it starts to eat itself. If you start by wanting to be a brand, you’re climbing up a waterfall, you’re starting the game three goals down.

If you start something you believe in, just you, you will take people with you.

During the first episode, DC said, “We’re on a journey together, you and I”, probably not realising back then how true those words would be, because we were, and we still are.

In Episode 9, DC is still deflating his own balloon, “If you had asked me if I thought we’d make it to episode ten, I would have said yes” he says, “ but I would have also said that no-body was listening”.

People were listening. People still are listening. In fact, the DDT Community is strong, vocal and more connected to that podcast than anyone can imagine. The mission statement was there from day one, it is a journey – it goes wherever it goes and it takes listeners along for the ride. Doc Manson got a job offer in his debut episode, he came straight back to tell the listeners and his friend DC. That is an investment, it may be unintentional, but it is an investment in the journey DC talked about.

Incidentally, Episode 9 was made available the day before Mrs Manson’s birthday and if that is not enough to make you smile there is an early mention of GQ in Episode 9 too. Both are people that would go onto play huge parts in the DDT universe, the podcast, and the community.

In episode 9, Doc Manson says he wants WWE to have “faith in the backstory, the fiction told, you have to trust the organic push”.

He concludes by saying that “You do not manufacture your stars; they just happen, and you have to recognise that and get behind them”.

This is also true of podcasts. Long may DDT reign.

© Simon Andrew Moult 2020 for DDT Wrestling.

Check out the tale of the tape when it comes to WWE and the Elimination Chamber PPV, accurate through the 2016 edition of the event. The data used to make this infographic was collected by DC Matthews and the infographic was designed by Doc Manson. What a great team! Be sure to follow both DC and Doc on Twitter!

Finding the Right Numbers

I began with a Google search for what I hoped would be a quick and easy investigation into which WWE wrestler holds the record for the highest cumulative number of eliminations during the Royal Rumble match (1988 - 2016). This was a figure that I was able to find in more than a few places, but I quickly realized that many sources didn't agree on the numbers. Ultimately, I decided I would need to count for myself.

I found that the Wikipedia pages for the yearly Royal Rumble events each had a list of entrants, in order, as well as who eliminated them, and the number of eliminations that they each scored during the match. After compiling the numbers, while some match those from official sources, not all do. Part of this is due to the way I tallied the eliminations. In my counting, I grouped eliminations as all those by the same performer. So, for my list, Kane, Isaac Yankem, and fake Diesel are all counted as the same individual- something the WWE is unlikely to recognize.

Even accounting for such differences in tabulation, the numbers still don't quite match up. I suspect this is due to differences in counting who gets credit for an elimination when more than one wrestler is involved. For example, using Kane again, WWE.com has an article crediting the Big Red Monster with 42 eliminations in 2014. By my method of ccounting, Kane would be credited with an additional 6 eliminations since then. This would give Kane a total of 48 according to WWE.com. However, my count, which is admittedly inflated by one due to an elimination by Isaac Yankem, only comes out to 44. No matter what, the numbers don't seem to match.

This is all a long-winded way of saying, these numbers have some flex to them. Sadly, I'm not aware of a more trustworthy source, so these are the numbers as they stand. You can click here to check out my full spreadsheet, listing all Royal Rumble participants and eliminations by year.

Finally, and the entire point to this endeavor, I wanted to make another infographic, this time memorializing those wrestlers with the greatest number of total eliminations. You'll note that the numbers on my graphic don't even match the numbers from my spreadsheet. The numbers on the infographic are from the Wikipedia general Royal Rumble page, which covers a series of Royal Rumble stats and facts, again without any strong sources that I could validate. Regardless, I guess the point here is this: don't fret the numbers too much. Just appreciate the greatness that we've been witness to over the course of the last 29 Royal Rumble matches and enjoy the infographic, below.

Royal Rumble: Most Cumulative Eliminations: 1988-2016

As Doc and I spoke about on DDT Wrestling this week, there’s not a whole lot I want to say about Superfly Jimmy Snuka.  I came into the wrestling world at the tail end of Snuka’s career, so anything I saw of his came later when I was watching old Coliseum videos sitting on the floor of my grandmother’s living room.  At that point, the wrestling world had changed, and his high flying was almost commonplace.

I also know next to nothing about the details regarding what happened in that hotel room, so I have no business talking about that either.  He was obviously a legend of his time, a trailblazer for the future, and a figure mired in controversy.

What’s important for this week’s ECW Hardcore TV is that the man made some funny faces, and that’s the theme for this week.

With that, let’s get going.

 

ECW Hardcore TV, Episode 7

We begin, as sadly expected, with Jay Sulli and Stevie Wonderful, previewing the upcoming hour of action.  Thankfully, they don’t get to talk much before Paul E. Dangerously saves the day, calling out ECW President Tod Gordon.  They jaw back and forth, and we’re treated to some great expressions.

Gordon talks tough until Magnificent Muraco makes his presence known, doing the high school bully trick of “accidentally” bumping into Tod multiple times while Dangerously tosses out a vile insult.

“The wrestling world needs you like a drowning man needs Ted Kennedy.”

Now, far be it from me to throw anything even remotely resembling shade at the great Paul Heyman, but that line was a bit out of place, even for 1993 standards.  The incident Paul is referencing took place in Chappaquiddick (a very fun word to both say and type) in 1969, some twenty four years before this promo, which makes it almost 50 years old for us watching today.  Needless to say, it doesn’t age well.

Once Gordon runs for cover, the Magnificent Muraco calls out ECW Champion The Sandman, claiming there is only room for one surfer in ECW…  I wasn’t aware there was a limit.

With that, Dangerously tells Sulli to earn his money, and Jay does a great job of cutting to our first match.

 

Well, technically, I’m not going to count this as Match 1, since this is, start to finish, a replay of the tag title change we saw from Episode 6, where Tony Stetson and Larry Winters beat the Super Destroyers.  Now, I get it, this is a show obviously trying to attract new viewers, so showing the title change again might prove to be something novel for any neophyte watchers.  (Bonus synonym points for me for that last sentence.)  However, for us who have seen all of the episodes, this was a little dreadful.  Thanks be to Fast Forward.

Following that, we get another “DC in his High School TV Media class” graphic…

I was really a little crestfallen that there were no typos in that graphic, if I’m being honest, but we did get the new stipulation of being crowned “King of Philly”.  Who knows what that’s about.

 

Match 1 - Jimmy Snuka and Eddie Gilbert vs. JT Smith and Max Thrasher

I know what you’re thinking.  “DC, this is the same match as last week, too. Why are you counting it?”  To be fair, this is at least a rematch, so the action is new, even if the participants are not.  

Dangerously introduces his charges as “Two guys not taking a flight to Atlanta” (a dig at Georgia based WCW), and here’s a gratuitous picture of Jimmy Snuka looking resplendent in his jungle best…

While last week’s match was a total squash, the babyface jobbers get a little offense in here, if only so Heyman can do some A+ manager selling at ringside…

This match ended in a very interesting way for me.  We are so used to seeing heel tag team partners have miscommunications and crash into each other, but in this instance, it was Smith and Thrasher that did it on two separate occasions, leading to Max turning on JT, leading to the inevitable Gilbert backbreaker to Snuka Splash for the victory.

In case you are curious, and of course you are, here’s a picture of new heel Max Thrasher…

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Following the match, we’re back on the Double Cross Ranch with Terry Funk, who unlike previous interviews, is being very serious.  That’s one of the things that separates the good wrestlers from the great, in my opinion - Being able to do different types of promos extremely well.  Terry Funk, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, John Cena - All talents who know how to take fans on multiple types of journeys.  They can make you laugh with joy or wince with pain, and not the Good Lucha Things type of pain either.  

Perhaps this is part of the problem people have with guys like Roman Reigns (note that I said PART of the problem, not the whole thing) - There’s not that depth of emotion there yet.  Roman does either the “Small Words - Big Stick” promo or the “I’m trying to be The Rock” promo, and that’s it.  He has yet, as far as I’ve seen, to really hook fans and take them on the same type of trip that others are able to, though I imagine he will in time.  You hear me, Roman Lovers?  I said he WILL - Don't @ me! 

Either way, Funk walks us through the chain match, giving us a little history on it and explaining that this will be unlike anything ECW fans have ever seen before, and by the end, you’re ready for this match to happen.  Mission accomplished for the Funkster.

Following that bout of seriousness, we get a promo on the other end of the spectrum, as the Suicide Blonds explain that due to their recent UK trip, they have been knighted by the Queen, making them Sir Jonathan Hotbody and Sir Christopher Candido.  Also, Hotbody is sticking with this whole “having brown hair despite calling himself a blond” thing.  It’s funny.

 

Match 2 - Suicide Blonds vs. Tony Stetson and Larry Winters

Yes, that’s right, we get ANOTHER match from Stetson and Winters, whom I will now be calling Vanilla and Blandy, against what I can only guess are our future ECW tag champions, Sir Christopher and Sir Jonathan.

DC’s Peccadilloes - How do either of these teams not have matching outfits already?  I get Vanilla and Blandy not matching, since this team is obviously not going to last very long, but Candido and Hotbody seem to me to be the presumptive “Team of 1993” for ECW.  They’ve got the team name, the sunglasses, the feather boas. . . Would it kill somebody backstage to make sure they have the same color tights???

Anyway, Chris Candido does some excellent overselling here…

It appears as if Sir Christopher is trying to communicate that his opponent pulled his tights to somebody stationed on the moon.

I apologize if I’m not giving you enough of the wrestling play by play that you might be hoping for with these articles.  It’s 1993 in what appears to be a high school gymnasium - There isn’t a lot of nonstop action here.  Jonathan Hotbody does do something interesting however.  He goes for what we now refer to as a spinning heel kick, but he turns his back to his opponent first, so he only needs to do a quarter spin as opposed to a full rotation.  It wasn’t a super great move or anything, but it was something I’ve never seen before.

I also apologize because I haven’t made nearly enough fun of Jay Sulli in this column as I should, so here goes.  At one point during this match, “Wildman” Salvatore Bellomo comes out wearing a mask and claiming to be Super Destroyer 3.  

Despite the outfit, size, and abundance of facial hair, Jay Sulli has no idea who this guy is.  So apparently, his schtick is that he is the single dumbest man on the face of the planet.

The fans are clued in, however, as Sal gives the camera a hint…

I know it’s a screenshot of a 25 year old piece of video, so in case you can’t decipher it, Sal has lifted the mask and shushed the camera.  Don’t spoil it, NAIborhood!

Following the match (I don’t recall how it ended), the four brawl to the back, showing us a great view of the entrance ramp…

Fun fact - My elementary school had a stage just like this.

 

Match 3 - Magnificent Muraco vs. Glen Osbourne

This match was awful - I’m not sure if it was a lack of communication or what, but there were a lot of awkward moments, so instead, let’s do a Jimmy Snuka Silly Face Gallery!


 

Well, that was fun!  Muraco won with a “front piledriver”, by the way.  Wasn’t known as a Tombstone around the world quite yet.

 

Match 4 - Sandman vs. Rockin’ Rebel

I feel like these two have wrestled each other a thousand times already, though this time Miss Peaches and Tigra are banned from ringside, so at least we won’t have that trouble to deal with. . . .

Rockin’ Rebel has his mullet braid going strong, and once again showcases that he is a pretty decent wrestler.  I’m surprised we never saw him on WCW Saturday Night or WWF Superstars, even as a jobber.

Also, since I enjoy sharing moments I’ve never seen with you, here’s another one…

At one point, in order to encourage the Rebel to fight him, Sandman lays down in the ring and invites him to attack.  Now, usually when we see this, the babyface on the mat has some sort of trick up his sleeve - Maybe an amateur style takedown or a kick to the face.  But no, in this instance, Rebel just runs over and kicks him in the head.  A little unusual, perhaps, but it does fall in line with who the Sandman becomes as ECW moves on, so I’ll allow it.

Shockingly and surprisingly, this match ends in a no-decision as Peaches and Tigra hit the ring within four seconds of each other, leading to yet another catfight.

Sigh.

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With that, we’ve reached the end of our hour, and Sulli and Stevie try to wrap things up, only to be joined by Super Sal 3 once more, this time with some pizza.

Recipe for Wrestle Silly Success

Take one guy with a thick Italian accent and obviously recognizable physical features.

Put him in a mask.

Fill his mouth with pizza.

Let him talk a lot.

Also, have him reveal his identity 3 or 4 times.

That, my friends, is ECW right now.

 

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Until we meet again, my friends, I’ll see you around the NAIborhood.

Doc Manson presents WWE Trends in Ticket Sales

As part of my ongoing look into the health of thee WWE as a company, I started collecting data from the annual financial reports available on the corporate WWE website. Although my first infographic gave a more complete picture of overall health, a request on Twitter suggested that there would be value in taking a deeper dive on various aspects of the WWE's current business. Today, I present my findings relating to the WWE's live event ticket sales, both domestically and internationally. Check out the new infographic, and stick around to read the good Doctor's expanded interpretation, below.

WWE Trends: Ticket Sales Infographic:

While I learned that my first infographic was entirely too long, and thus shortened this one, I did not learn my lesson regarding the overuse of graphs. Someday, I will figure out a more elegant way of expressing this information.

Live Event Attendance Analysis

As for the topic at hand, it is plain to see that the WWE is doing quite well overall when it comes to attracting audiences to their live events. Despite this, the international market isn't performing as well as it could be, as evidence by comparing recent average ticket sales to those in 2010 and earlier.

The exact reason for this downturn is not clear. The first year with a serious decrease in international attendance was 2011. This coincided with the end of the first brand extension, and it is tempting to conclude that, with the merging of talent into a single roster, the WWE was forced to offer less live events and thus saw lowered ticket sales. This conclusion is easily dismissed, however, as the number of international live events didn't begin to decrease until 2012.

It seems that either international fan interest simply began to decrease in 2011, or that the venues booked were smaller and therefore not capable of holding as many people as in previous years. Without a full list of the venues, and knowledge of the maximum capacities of each, a clear conclusion cannot be made from the data provided in the financial reports.

In either case, the financial reports suggest that the WWE needs to renew their focus on international markets, and, with the global expansion of the WWE Network, the WWE has done exactly that. Bringing in popular international talents, like A.J. Styles, Finn Balor, The Club, and Shinsuke Nakamura has all been done to help attract international interest. Further, the recent UK Championship Tournament and the company's commitment to an ongoing UK television product both demonstrate that the WWE is already acting upon the need to hold more international events. I suspect that international performance will only increase throughout 2017.

If you go back and watch the ECW documentary on WWE Network - Not the recent panel discussion, but the full length feature, one of the things that might strike you is a line from Paul Heyman about what made him and his company so successful.  To paraphrase…

Find a talent’s strengths and accentuate them.  Find a talent’s weaknesses and hide them.

Besides the hours of discussion we could and perhaps should have about using that mantra with present day WWE, this philosophy is evident here in Episode 6 of ECW’s Hardcore TV.  As I’ve written about before, this is obviously a company that is finding their sea legs, so to speak, and with each passing week, they seem to find their footing a bit more.  Though, to be fair, with each passing week, we as viewers seem to notice another area of weakness as well.  

Either way, it’s a fun watch.  Let’s get going!

 

ECW Hardcore TV: Episode 6

Speaking of weaknesses, we start the show with Weakness #1 ECW announcer and 80’s high school vice principal Jay Sulli, along with president Tod Gordon, discussing the tag title match coming up later in the show.

In case you have forgotten, the champions are the Super Destroyers and they are feuding with Tony Stetson and Larry Winters.  This will be the third week in a row that they will be battling, and this will be a No Disqualification Title vs. Hair match.  To add to the excitement, the manager of the champions, Hunter Q Robbins III, will be handcuffed to “Ironman” Tommy Cairo, to keep him from interfering.

To give this a modern analogy, it would be like if Authors of Pain took on TM61 for the titles, with the locks of Thorne and Miller on the line, and Paul Ellering is handcuffed to No Way Jose.  (To be fair, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this in NXT this summer.)  There is no relationship that I am aware of between Stetson / Winters and Cairo, but it’s happening anyway.

We also get a look back at the feud between ECW Champion Sandman and Rockin’ Rebel, and the Catfight between Miss Peaches and Tigra that took place last week.

After that, a wrestling match!  I’m kidding, of course, because ECW legally needs to acknowledge every single feud they have (Weakness #2), and Jay and Gordon have yet to discuss the Terry Funk / Eddie Gilbert feud and how it will be settled with a Texas Chain match.

This brings out Strength #1, Paul Heyman, leader of the Hot Dangerous Stuff Alliance, who says that the chain match has been cancelled.  He and Gordon go back and forth, and at one point, Heyman makes some inappropriate comments about Tod’s wife.  Jay Sulli, using expression 134 of his Emotive Matrix, turns his face into something that might resemble shocked, if you squint and tilt your head just so.

With that, we turn to wrestling!  Right?  OF COURSE NOT!  We need to go see Strength #2 Terry Funk down at the Double Cross Ranch, and this time he has a TRACTOR!

Terry continues to talk about the feud with Eddie, only to be joined (apparently), by Gilbert’s brother, who spends the entire time with the back to the camera.

Now, I’m not a wrestling expert, but I have done my share of theater in my life, and so I know one of the first rules of drama - DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK TO THE AUDIENCE!  Come on, people - It’s ¾ position!  Learn it!  (This is sarcasm, mainly because I wanted to brag that I know an acting term... Yeah, I'm proud of it, so what?)

Funk has no patience for Brother Gilbert, and in what many would consider a weakness but I am calling Strength #3, breaks out some fantastic Wrestle Silly.

Yes, that’s Terry throwing an obvious dummy into the bucket of his tractor.  He then proceeds to lift him up, dump him out on the ground, and run him over.  This makes Terry very happy.

Match 1 - Super Destroyers vs. Tony Stetson and Larry Winters in a No DQ Titles vs. Hair match with the Heel Manager Handcuffed to a Muscular Babyface for the Tag Team Championships

It is FINALLY time for our first match.  Robbins, naturally, protests being handcuffed to Cairo, but eventually takes his fate like a champ, even joining Ironman for a seat at ringside.

I know what many of you are thinking, and no, that is not Taz.  I swear, it's not!

This match is what you would expect it to be given these talents and these stipulations, despite the fact that according to Jay Sulli, being counted out in this match is technically a disqualification.

Weakness #3 - Jay Sulli’s commentary.  I know we mentioned him once before, but that was different.  That was just because he looks like a doofus.

This match wasn’t “extreme” by any means, but it did go out into the crowd some.  Or, should I say, some crowd. . .

This brings us to Weakness #4, and probably the biggest one of the night.  There’s hardly anyone watching live, and it was glaring.  Until they can fill the room better, ECW might want to hide their low attendance by staying out of the crowd.

Stetson and Winters win. . . I really can’t remember how. . .My notes tell me it involved Robbins’ cane, but I don’t recall it. . .  And we have New Tag Team Champions, our first title change in ECW’s televised history.  How’s that for a trivia fact?

Match 2 - Jimmy Snuka and Eddie Gilbert vs. JT Smith and Max Thrasher

We gave Sulli two weaknesses, so it’s only fair we do the opposite for Heyman, who comes out and joins the commentary booth, sending Stevie Wonderful to the back to do some video research.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we never see him again, like Judy from Family Matters.

Remember that?  Remember when they sent Judy up to her room and she never came back down?  And nobody ever talked about it?  

Anyway…

We’re introduced to Max Thrasher here, who has a name like a Headbanger and looks like he’d fit in with the WWE UK Championship Tournament crowd, except he’s out of shape and relatively untalented, at least from the 2-3 minute squash match we see.

Either way, this is about Strength #4, Heyman on commentary.  From the moment he starts talking, everything about ECW just becomes better.  Even Jay Sulli is tolerable now!

 

We get another promo from “Wildman” Salvatore Bellomo and the only notable thing here is that at one point, he says “I like kids.”  Since I was not really paying attention at this point, I was a little stunned and, of course, SUPER uncomfortable.

 

Match 3 - Salvatore Bellomo vs. The Wolfman

It’s time for the Battle of the Behemoths, or in this case, the Squash of one of them by another.  Sal wins with a splash and it’s fun, because the commentary is finally good!  Accentuating Heyman makes everything better!

 

Match 4 - Jonathan Hotbody vs. Tommy Cairo in a Lumberjack match

Strength #5 is that we’re getting some stipulation matches, which is good.  Weakness #5 is that this specific stipulation shows us that the ECW roster needs some pumping up, as we get about 6 lumberjacks to surround a 4 sided ring.  Between that and the crowd, you’d think this was being done in somebody’s garage.

Still, the match is pretty good.  Cairo and Hotbody are talented wrestlers and with Heyman on the mic still, you stay invested.  Of course, being a lumberjack match, it’s only natural that it would end with chicanery, as Hunter Q Robbins gets some revenge from the tag title match, and his cane causes Hotbody to get the victory.

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After a replay of Funk’s horse promo from last week, it’s time for our main event.

Match 5 - Sandman and Miss Peaches vs. Rockin’ Rebel and Tigra

For those keeping score, that’s a Title vs. Hair match, a Lumberjack match and now a mixed tag, all in one hour long show.  It might not be solid yet, but we’re getting extreme!

Miss Peaches is all ready for battle here...

While Tigra stays on the outside for most of the match…

This match also features the “Line of the Night”, which is when Heyman, who is talking about Sandman’s surfer schtick, claims that “(Don)Muraco can hang ten without a surfboard!”

I don’t know what he means and at this point I am afraid to ask.

This match is obviously not going to finish with anything decisive, as Jay Sulli says how they’re almost out of time about thirty seven times.  Rockin’ Rebel hit a Stone Cold Stunner, which I thought was kind of neat, and as one would expect, by the time Peaches and Tigra finally lock claws, the show is over.

I suppose we can give Strength #6 to the fact that they ended the show with excitement.  That’s still new for them.

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As I said in the outset of this column, ECW is still finding its way.  Are any of these hours good television?  No, but they’re taking baby steps, even if sometimes those are steps backwards.  Focusing on Heyman can only be a positive, and they do seem to be getting the knack of the timing of an hour long show.  I’m optimistic, despite the fact that it’s been a week and I haven’t had a huge hankering to keep watching.  

For all it's strengths, 1993 just can’t hold a candle to 2017.

See you around the #NAIborhood.

 

podcast@ddtwrestling.com
DDT Wrestling. Copyright 2015-2021.
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