Sunday, 8 January 2012

ECCW - Respect Is Earned - January 7th, 2012

I attended last night's ECCW show "Respect Is Earned" at the RCC in Vancouver. It was my first full show since Halloween Hell 2011 so I was pretty stoked for some live wrestling. I made a cameo on Smacktalk Radio Live in mid-week to talk ECCW with Corey Callahan & James I can't remember his last name! The card on paper looked fairly ordinary. Nothing over the top but it was a tight little card worthy of $15 for sure.

For once, I arrived fashionably early with plenty of time to have a water, some smarties and a chuckle at the drunk hipster crowd in Kitsilano. For the first time since... a long time, the RCC was fully packed and hopping! The lights dimmed and Scotty Sweatervest entered the ring to announce the first match of the night.

Kenny Lush, "Brilliant" Billy Suede & El Phantasmo vs BBC (Randy Tyler, Ladies Choice & Mike Roselli)

It ain't no secret. Kenny Lush & Billy Suede are over in the RCC. It's always been that way and will most likely continue to be that way. They've been working an RCC-only program with BBC for the past month and it culminates here as "Ill Bill" & "The Loose Cannon" welcomed El Phantasmo to their group for this 6-man tag team contest.

The crowd was hot for this one and there was no wonder as to why. Kenny Lush brings such intensity to the crowd it's actually mind boggling. The man sweats and bleeds energy. The emotion in his matches is through the roof and here it was no different, especially with the fine wrestling talent of Billy Suede and sheer daredevilness (It's a word) of El Phantasmo.

The match was executed to perfection, as Billy Suede was sent to the back injured in an early match brawl between all competitors. It was left for El P & Lush to man the fort and withstand the attack from the BBC in a handicap tag match.

Just when it seemed like El P & Kenny Lush had run out of gas and were ready to succumb to the Ladies Choice & company, a familiar face returned. Billy Suede came springing out on one leg with the other one heavily taped as he hit the ring. Suede received the hot tag and cleaned house with the crowd going absolutely mental! However, just as it seemed the momentum had swung, Randy Tyler hit a superkick on Kenny Lush behind the referee's back allowing the legal Ladies Choice to register the pin for the victory. The crowd was ravenous to the point where I went up and sat in the balcony just to get out of there. The grits were hitting the pan and I wasn't about to stick around for it.

I don't have much to say on the match other than it was very well done. I liked the touch of sending Suede out injured and bringing him back. The crowd went bananas when he came back out and it made a crazy match even crazier. He sold the leg well too, which I always dig. El P did his part. The BBC were at their Chachi best. The crowd was hot for everyhing. Kenny Lush could've probably kicked a pregnant woman and won a pop from the crowd. It was truly a stellar opener.

The Administration introduce new title belt & company name/changes

I have mixed opinions about this segment for a few reasons. I'll break down what was said in the promo and review points I like and didn't like.

The Administration comes out and announces a new name for ECCW and a new championship title belt to go with it. Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling will now be known as Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling. The belt will be contested for in a tournament concluding in a ladder match in the finals. The NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight belt has been retired with Nick Price as the last champion in the recordbooks. Michael Sweetster made mention of "1.7.12." which must obviously mean this "change" was the true meaning of the cryptic videos. After confirming with membes of ECCW, that is infact the case.

Here is what I liked about this promo:

1) Something actually happened in it. It wasn't just talk. Even if you hadn't a clue of ECCW storylines before this promo... it was pretty easy to pick up the drift. Name change & new belt. End of an era. See, you're getting it!

2) I like the name change and the new belt. The old dingy title belt had seen better days and needed a switcheroo. The name change was needed too. "Extreme' screams of late 90's. "Elite" speaks the truth. ECCW really is an elite league that has spawned and hosted many international talents and now it really reflects it in the name instead of maybe getting miscontrued with the old name.

3) The way The Administration was dressed. It must have been "Hollywood dress up" hour in The Admin. because Scotty Mac & Nick Price came out dressed up as Cliff Vandercave from The Flinstones movie, wearing nothing but tux jackets and leopard print tyes. Michael Sweetster came out dressed as Nigel Powers from Goldmember, in a velvet suit, pink tye/shirt combo. It was a serious step up from his usual circus ringleader garb. I approve!

Heres's the one and only thing I didn't like about this promo:

It was done with the cryptic video.  The way this whole switch was executed just didn't cut the mustard for me. You would figure if you were, ya know... gonna end an era, change the belt and switch the brand and mission statement of the entire promotion... you might wanna give it a bit more hype than a couple of 15 second videos that played for 4 days before the switch and never ONCE at a live show. ECCW didn't even go as far as play any of the videos before the switch even happened at the actual show. I'm sure it would have got the crowd inside the RCC wondering what the big announcement was...but they didn't even try. It just doesn't seem very well thought through. I also don't know if that style of a cryptic video was actually needed for the switch. It just didn't seem like it was given any relevance at the event. You could barely tell anything had to do with "1.7.12" besides the fact that Sweetster verbally mentioned it (though you probably couldn't hear it over the inebriated hipsters trying to be comedians) I just thought it was a potentially entertaining opportunity to make a big announcement, that was kind of wasted.

Scotty Mac (w/ The Administration) vs Jordie Taylor for the ECCW Hardcore Championship.

Scotty Mac is now the hardcore champion and has taken the route of trying to make the Hardcore division.... well, not hardcore anymore. He's refusing to use weapons and sticks to pure wrestling. Sound like anyone you know? Anyways, he takes on one half of the Bosom Buddies in Jordie Taylor.

I really don't have too much to say one this one. Scotty taunted at using weapons on several occasions but would never follow through on using them. Jordie eventually got a hold of those weapons and after several attempts at using a chair were thwarted by Administration goons Price & Red Dinero (Red Money is so cultured) Jordie Taylor finally cracked Scotty across the head, much to the pleasure of the crowd. However, Jordie's offence was short lived as Scotty Superkicked the chair into his face for the win. I like the touch on the finish as Scotty never really used the chair as a weapon as it was in Jordie's hands.

I don't know how long Scotty's non-hardcore Hardcore Championship reign will stay fresh but the crowd was buying it at Respect is Earned. The match suffered a bit from the "musical chair" act Scotty was playing but overall it was a good match that the crowd seemed to like.

Raven Lake vs KC Spinelli (w/ Sammie Hall) for the ECCW Supergirls Championship

The match was originally scheduled as Sammie Hall vs KC Spinelli in a babyface Supergirls showdown for the strap. However, Raven Lake who is Sammie's mother, came out to cut a promo and pretty much bullied her daughter in to forfeiting her title shot to her. I kind of liked this and I kind of didn't. You can probably tell it's heading for a mother vs daughter feud which I'm totally fine with, but on the night I paid (in Canadian Tire money) to see Sammie Hall wrestle. So I was on the fence with this decision.

Spinelli made short work of Raven Lake, despite Lake trying to cheat in every way possible. Sammie stood by ringside and played the "Mommy, She's my Friend!" role to a tee. KC Spinelli also set a new world record for most consecutive missed moonsaults from the top rope with her 1,038th miss! Once again, the crowd was hot for the match. I don't know if it was the over abundance of Lucky Lager or what... but Kits was in a good mood Saturday night!

Pete Powers (w/ The Natural) vs Alex Plexis (w/ Ravenous Randy) in the ECCW Title tournament

This was a first round match in the ECCW Title tournament and I think it would have been a real shocker if Plexis took this one home. Plexis is one half of the current ECCW Tag Team Champions but he is really no match for Pete Powers.

This was probably the best wrestling match of the night. There was some interference by The Natural and Ravenous Randy but for the most part they just let the guys work, which I really enjoyed. Pete Powers is the ultimate bully heel and I like him the more I see him. Plexis is the perfect ying to Power's yang as the young syrupy babyface. The finish was probably my favourite of the night as well. Plexis flew from the top, seemingly moments away from sealing a further spot in the ECCW Title tourney, when Powers plucks him out of mid-air, chucks him up on his shoulders and delivers a gross Firemans carry into a sitdown powerslam for the 3 count. Powers advances. Plexis can plug away in the tag division while Power's continues his quest for big boy gold.

Nicole Matthews vs Red Dinero (w/ Nick Price)

And it's promo time again. This time an unusually cheery Nicole Matthews comes out to cut her first promo of 2012. She spoke of opportunities in her future blah blah blah.. and was interupted by Nick Price & Red Dinero. Price came out and cut his usual dickface style promo bashing Matthews for being an irrelevant girl wrestler. Matthews threatened to kick his ass and they went back forth for a bit.

This is when I started to get kinda surly. This was the 3rd promo of the show. Generally, unless it's hard hitting stuff, I'm good with one or two max. This one could have been wrapped up in less than 30 seconds but seemed to go on forever just due to the taunting crowd and two verbose wrestlers.

By the time they finally got around to wrestling, it was Red Dinero who was taking on Matthews at the behest of Nick Price. It appears Dinero is the new V of the Administration, as V has gone AWOL. Dinero smiles way too much. I prefer the cold, lifeless, cyborg-like features of V. Anyways, Matthews and Money (I can't call him Dinero anymore) work a decent 7 minute match with Matthews coming out on top but suffering a post match beat down from Money & Price.

This is when things went horribly, horribly wrong.

The Riot form
"Horry shmoke!! Cwash landing!!"

Ravenous Randy, Alex Plexis & Andy the Dreadful Bird come out for the save and bail out Matthews. Price & Money hit the bricks and the segment hits the skids. Ravenous Randy takes to the mic. This is 4 promos for those following my bitchings. Randy then proceeds to cut a philosophical promo laced with so many complex words that I'm sure none of the red faced, blue collar audience understood. The bulk of his message was clear to most of us: The Administration & Natural Selection have been getting away with doo-doo for far too long and now he's assembling a demolition crew to take them down.....

This crew consists of the members standing in the ring at the time: Matthews, Randy, Andy The Dreadful Bird & Plexis. They call themselves "The Riot" Here is where my gripe is... and I am not taking anything from those 4 wrestlers because they are all extraordinary performers. I'm a little underwhelmed by this group. If I'm The Admin. or The Selection... I'm not shaking in my boots over this one.

After overcoming the likes of El Phantasmo, Sid Sylum, J-SIN Sullivan, Kenny Lush, Tony Baroni.. heck, even Juggernaut here and there.... they are supposed to fear two comedy wrestlers, a junior heavyweight and a woman wrestler? To be fair (and not chauvinistic) Matthews is the only one in that stable that carries any intensity with her. Randy can be intense... If you consider a flurry of comical karate chops intense. Andy flaps his arms like a bird and comes out in a Kermit the Frog shirt. (It ain't easy being green) Plexis can carry some intesity and has a whole lot of skill... but isn't the guy I'm picking to lead me in to Doomsday.

The way it all panned out in the promo and in the ring,  it felt like I was watching the formation of a group of super cheesy saviors on a low budget super heroes TV show. Just as it seemed things couldn't get any cheesier... the dude who played Short Round in Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom came in to the ring wearing a "RIOT" t-shirt and posed for pictures in the ring. It must be tough in the acting world for a middle-aged Asian man these days. Jackie Chan takes all the good roles.

To sign off one of the most cheeseball wrestling moments ever, they all lined up in the middle of the ring and performed their signature salute: The Al Borland Salute from Home Improvement... you know the one...

This is who is leading us in to battle against 2 of the most dastardly stables in the promotions history. I don't know about you but I'm thinking about switching sides! Not only that... but enter the words "Canadian" or "Vancouver" and "The Riot" in to Google Search and I can assure you... you won't get wrestling! Maybe a name change is in order if they plan on developing some notoriety.

Artemis Spencer vs Gurv Sihra vs Bishop vs Ravenous Randy for the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title

J-SIN Sullivan was ruled out of action due to a ruptured spleen... or something. He was unable to compete so they replaced him with Bishop and merged the Sihra v Ravenous match and created this Fatal 4-way for the main event.

By this time in the card I was kind of starting to trail off but this one seemed to fly by rather quickly. It was very mucha  scramble match as all 4 guys seemed to occupy the ring for the better part of the match. This meant close quarters for some big guys and maybe the match suffered for it. Besides that I don't really remember a whole heck of a lot about this match. Artemis Spencer retains his title after throwing Gurv in the Artychoke and making him tap.

Another thing that went through my head during this match, was that one day I would like to see Gurv Sihra hold the big boy strap in ECCW. He carries himself in such a way and just has the look of a champion. I could see him easily pulling off an East-Indian businessman like character or some other character with similar arrogance and aura. Don't ask me why... just a little fantasy booking in my own head.

K...time for the tizops and the flizops.

Flops(s): The Riot

I summed up my thoughts on The Riot pretty well earlier. They aren't threatening. Why should either The Selection or The Administration take them seriously? Big boys like Pete Powers & Bishop would surely make mince meat out of any of the members of The Riot. Until I see a convincing reason as to why they won't... The Riot are in the same category as The Oddities.

The "1.7.12" videos were my runner up. In what could have been some great hype for a future event... it was wasted for a 4 day hype or something that didn't necessarily require a video teaser approach. It was a good idea... just a disappointing execution.

Top(s): Pete Powers vs Alex Plexis
I liked this match because it was the most simple, basic match of the night and just relied on pure talent. Every match had interference at this event, but this one had the least amount and I was thankful for it. This match didn't have a long drawn out promo infront of it which was refreshing. Pete Powers had another fantastic match. His work is in my top 5 faves to watch these days in ECCW. Plexis played his part and also had a really good match. The crowd was hot for it because it was just raw, fast wrestling.

The only reason Lush/Suede/Phantasmo vs BBC doesn't tie is because the RCC is Lush/Suede territory. I would have been surprised if they didn't blow the roof off the place. Take nothing away from their match as it was flippin' wild but for me less was more and Powers v Plexis takes the cake.

Overall, I thought it was a hell of a show to kick off the year. I like that they have clearly set out plans at the start of 2012 for change. At the start of 2011, it just seemed like it was a continuation of 2010. They've successfully changed their promotion's name after over 15 years in existance. They've introduced a beautiful, modern new title belt as their main prize. They've abolished Jr Heavyweight limitations which will benefit competitors of all sizes. Some new alliances were formed. All in all, ECCW crammed a heck of a lot of content in to their show and it may have been a lot to digest... but they've tentatively mapped out their whole 2012 infront of the crowd... and that was pretty cool!

I should be attending ASW's "Friday the 13th" at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds on January 13th. I will try and post a blog on that if I do attend.

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