Dueling Chairshots 2000 Archive
By Kurt Lamont

Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 07/06/2000
 
ECW has Tag Team Championship Belts?

    Justin Credible threw down the Tag Team belts at Cyberslam back in April. It is now July and we still do not have new tag team champions. Thereís hardly been a mention of the belts recently. As far as we know there is no current plans to settle this at Heatwave. I read that there might be a 2 day tournament in NYC in August.

   Mike Awesome was brought back after he defected to WCW to job the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. The reason this was done instead of vacating the title was to preserve the Titleís lineage.

   Apparently a title lineage is only important with the World title as RVD was stripped of the TV Title a few months back due to injury and now the Tag Titles have been vacated for nearly 2 1/2 months.

   To me it makes no sense to have a vacant Title. Iíve been trying to figure out Paul Eís thinking on this and I canít come up with a good answer. The only possible explanation that I can come up with is that he doesnít feel that any of his current tag teams are worthy champions.

   Back at Cyberslam at the Q&A while the Impact Players were still champions Justin said that while he thought ďall the tag teams in ECW are great that I really want to work a program with someone outside of ECW.Ē A month later when Lance committed to WCW he made a remark on WCW Live that he really wished that he and Justin could have ďworked with a really hot babyface tag teamĒ, so that they could take it to the next level, but none existed in ECW.

   These arenít exactly resounding votes of confidence. Apparently Paul E. is thinking along those same lines.

   Currently, the tag team division is essentially made up of 5 teams:

Nova & Chetti

Doring & Roadkill

The New Dangerous Alliance

The Baldies

Swinger and Diamond

   Of all the tag matches these teams have had I can only think of one memorable match. That was the Nova/Chetti v. Doring/Roadkill match at Heatwave 99 at the beginning of Chettiís Ricky Martin gimmick. Outside of that match I canít think of any match that I would consider memorable. When 2 of these teams face off you get the same general 7-8 minute match every time out.

   The problem is not that any of these teams lack the talent, itís that they have is a lack of direction. None of these teams are involved in a feud or angle. They just get tossed out there and are told to wrestle. If you are not told where to go, any road will take you there. Right now these teams have no direction.

   There has never been an angle between 2 of these teams that has built up to a PPV. There hasnít even been an scheduled PPV match between 2 of these teams announced before a PPV. If there is no reason why these teams are wrestling each other then why should the fan care when they watch?

   The frustrating part about all of this is that booking something for these teams wouldnít be too difficult. I could sit here and think about it for 10 minutes and come up with some general outline of how things could go for a month that would be mildly entertaining and Iím not even terribly creative. Youíd think it would be pretty easy for a ďgeniusĒ to come up with something half way decent. Instead ECW has a handful of tag teams and no tag champions.

   While these 5 teams currently arenít as good as most of the past ECW Tag Champions it doesnít mean that they wonít be if given the opportunity. And an opportunity is something that these teams have not been given to date. If Paul E. gave these teams some direction and an opportunity Iíd bet that heíd be surprised at what these teams could do. Hopefully we see this sooner rather than later. Thereís no good reason why the Tag Belts should be on the shelf.

Random Thoughts:

While the Arena is for sale I donít expect anyone to buy it in the near future. I canít image what someone would want to use that building for. Itís a dumpy building in a dumpy part of town. Not exactly prime real estate.

If Axl is really looking for work in ECW like I read heís more pathetic than I originally thought.

Thereís already four announced matches for Heatwave? Thatís four more than usual.

Psychosis is going to be at the Arena this weekend. I donít care who he wrestles, that match better make TNN and he better wrestle Super Crazy at the PPV. I promise to be less bitter if that happens.

More good stuff next week as I will preview and predict the Heatwave PPV. Send any comments or questions to me at kurtlamont@aol.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 07/11/2000
 

   Heatwave 2000 Preview

Itís less than one week away from Heatwave and thereís actually a full sleight of matches to preview this time around.

In my last PPV preview for Hardcore Heaven I successfully picked the winner in all three matches, including RVDís first singles loss in over 2 years. I also nailed the Anton turn on Van Dam and that the Sandman would lose when he went to save his wife from Rhino. The only thing that I predicted that didnít occur was the Jerry Lynn heel turn. If you liked to be surprised when you watch the PPV you might want to stop reading now as my track record is strong when it comes to predictions.

Doring, Roadkill, and Kid Kash v. Diamond, Swinger and C.W. Anderson This is probably the closest we have ever come to having an announced undercard match for a PPV. While this match is still not official, itís been rumored to happen and actually makes sense if you take into account the Arena show. While the angle buildup for this match has been minimal I guess you have to crawl before you can walk. Just knowing an undercard match before the show is half the battle. Look for the faces to come away with the victory here.

Psicosis v. Guido v. Tajiri                                                             My disappointment with this match is that it takes Guido away from a match with Mikey Whipwreck. Why that would be dropped is curious. And since when has Guido had a last name? For years I have never heard it and now itís all over the place. Anyway, this will be the reintroduction of Psicosis to ECW as he missed the Arena show last weekend. I have been looking forward to his debut since the day I saw WCW release Psicosis. Hopefully Psicosis will break out the horned mask once again. This could very easily be the match of the night as all 3 are tremendous wrestlers. This is one instance where not having an angle leading up doesnít bother me. Look for Tajiri to pin Psicosis and then Guido to pin Tajiri. Guido always seems to lose on PPVs. Itís about time he comes out on top. I see it happening here.

Jerry Lynn v. Steve Corino                                                             If Iím Steve Corino Iím thrilled at my position in ECW. If you look at wrestlers of similar experience and tenure in ECW, most are lucky to be on the undercard of a PPV. Corino has been able to escape this and vault right into the mid-card of PPVs. I felt after the Hardcore Heaven match with Tajiri that that match would be looked back on in a few years as the Corinoís breakout match in ECW. Corino will now be able to continue his momentum with a match with Jerry Lynn. If you want to have a great match thereís few better wrestlers to choose from than Jerry Lynn. Over the past 2 years, going back to Heatwave 98, Jerry Lynn has either been in the best match or second best match in every PPV he has been in (he was injured for a couple PPVs). In this match I look for Corino to get the pinfall when Jerry Lynn is unable to overcome interference from the Network.

Rob Van Dam v. Scotty Anton                                                   After HH I was hoping for a Lynn-RVD rematch. Maybe even with a match with a stipulation (2 out of 3 falls?). Instead of seeing another classic match we are left with this. And on top of that there hasnít even been a good buildup for this match. Anton turned on his ďbest friendĒ at HH and since then there has been little angle advancement. My expectations for this match are pretty low as Iím not crazy about Antonís wrestling. I also have doubts about RVD convincing me in the ring that he is trying to get revenge on the ďbest friendĒ who turned his back on him. On the plus side ECWWrestling.com is hyping a new RVD move, the Van Terminator, so that should be interesting to see. If ECW wants to return to the days of anything can happen, Anton will get the win. This would be the best thing that could happen. As a viewer you need to believe that anyone can win any match and this has been missing for a long time in ECW. However, I donít see it changing with this match. Look for RVD to win this match.

Sandman v. Rhino - TV Title Match                                             This is the 4th consecutive PPV where this match has been scheduled. A gimmick match would have made the interest in this match greater. With these two feuding so long it would have made sense. Anyway this is the match that I really donít have a good feel for. I suspect that there will be a big angle planned here. What that angle is Iím not certain. The one thing that keeps popping in my mind is that the Sandmanís wife will turn on him and go with Rhino and the Network. If I were her I would do it just so I wouldnít get put through a table anymore. As for the victor of this match, Iím going with the Sandman on this one, heís due.

Tommy Dreamer v. Justin Credible - World Title ďStairway to HellĒ Match                                                                                   There has actually been a good buildup to this match. Itís amazing what you can do when you plan things out in advance. My only complaint is that there hasnít been enough promos from either of the combatants. Maybe weíll see it on TNN this week, who knows. I think it would add to the match. The thing that I find funny about the match is the stipulation. Barbed wire is hung above the ring. Once you get it you can use it. But this is ECW. There are no DQís. If either of them wanted to carry barbed wire with them to the ring and use it, nothing is stopping them. If either wanted to bring ladders to the ring and use them they could. If you want to use ladders why not just put the title up there instead of a weapon that you could just carry to the ring? But I digress. Despite my rant I believe that these 2 will be able to put on a really good match as both work hard extremely hard in the ring. I have a hard time picturing Dreamer winning this match. Look for JC to win when he tombstone piledrives Dreamer on the barbed wire Whether this is a good match or a great match will be seen on Sunday.

Overall, this looks like a pretty strong card. Thereís a nice mix of wrestling styles and good pairings of wrestlers. Four of the 6 matches, in my mind, can go either way which is an improvement from past matches. When ECW debuts in a city the crowds are usually really strong. I donít expect anything different from LA, especially since its a PPV. I know Iím looking forward to a solid night of wrestling after a mixed bag of TV the past few months.

Be sure to check in next week with my review and grades of Heatwave.

More good stuff next week as I will preview and predict the Heatwave PPV. Send any comments or questions to me at kurtlamont@aol.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 07/17/2000
 

   Heatwave 2000 Review

ECW put on a very solid show on Sunday. While I didnít feel that the wrestling was on par with Hardcore Heaven the production was improved which is good to see. Of course itís hard to top the lights going out.

Anyway on to the matches. All matches are on a scale of 4:
 

Sal E. v. Balls

While looking to set the tape of this show after the last PPV, I watched part of Hardcore Heaven. One match I watched was Balls v. Tanaka. What a great match that was. And now Balls is booked to be squashed by Sal E? What a waste. 1 - 4

Doring, Roadkill, and Kid Kash v. Diamond, Swinger and C.W. Anderson

Surprisingly this ended up being the best match of the night. Itís nice to see the undercard guys pull off a really good match on a PPV. There are usually few and far between. On a side note, Iíve come to the conclusion that Doring and Roadkill need to be split up. Roadkill is far better as a face and Doring is far better as a heel. It could be part of an angle at the tag tourney in August. 3.25 - 4

Steve Corino v. Jerry Lynn

Corino is now officially the best bleeder in wrestling. This was another strong match, the 2nd best match of the night keeping Lynnís streak of being involved in one of the top 2 matches every PPV alive (beginning with Heatwave 1998). It was funny when Lynn wrote ďDIEĒ on his chest with Corinoís blood. The crowd had no idea how to act. 3 - 4

Nova/Chetti v. The Baldies

Chetti is a former amateur wrestler, is the cousin of Taz, and went through the House of Hardcore. So with all of that background how come 80% of his offense involves kicks? Not that I donít like innovative moves, but it seems that that is all that Nova does. I thought that Nova and Chetti were ready for the belts when the Impact Players vacated the belts. Now Iím not so sure, I think the Impact Players carried them more than I realized. They arenít back to their form before Chettiís injury yet. This match didnít do much for me. 2 - 4.

Psicosis v. Guido v. Tajiri

This was a real solid match. I was hoping to get more out of Psicosis then the 3-4 minutes that we saw. Hopefully there is a next time. And where was the horned mask? I feel bad for Guido. The guy is a heck of a wrestler and seems to lose every PPV match. 2.75 - 4

Sandman v. Rhino

I actually like this match a lot more than I was expecting coming in. Sandman was just killing himself on the guard rail. Rhino held his own as well. To me, this was a hardcore match, not a match where guys just smash things over each otherís heads that youíll see in the WWF and WCW. I was mildly surprised that the Sandman didnít win here since he has been on the short end of the singapore cane for what seems like forever now. 3 - 4

Rob Van Dam v. Scotty Anton

You can take Anton out of WCW but you canít take the WCW out of Anton. This match was RVDís offense and RVD overselling Antonís weak offense. Another squash match but this is especially bad when itís the match before the main event. In addition, this match was about 5-8 minutes too long (and Iím usually a long match mark). On the plus side RVD showed again in this match that his athleticism was second to none. While the Van Terminator was overhyped it was still impressive to see. 2.5 - 4

Tommy Dreamer v. Justin Credible

I like each of their promos before the match, although I didnít see why Dreamer couldnít have done his promo after Cyberslam to help build for this match. It was sad to see that the whole XPW situation take away from this match. The whole match seemed to be flat. I think the distractions probably took the crowd out of it. While this was not a bad match by any means, it certainly wasnít up to what I was expecting. 2.75 - 4

Overall, I thought it was a good show, though not quite as good as Hardcore Heaven. It probably ranks 2nd with Living Dangerously a close third and Guilty as Charged pulling up the rear of the 4 ECW PPVs this year.

Heatwave 2000 gets an official DCS score of 2.75 - 4
 

Random Thoughts:

I think itís time the whole Network angle is dropped. Itís very tired and isnít going anywhere. Maybe the departure from TNN will do that.

When did Joey start swearing so much? I

tís nice to see that Meanie lost all that weight. But apparently he lost his sense of humor as well. The only thing funny about his two promos Iíve seen so far is how not funny they are.

Was Justinís eye sick looking or what? It looked worse than it did a week before.

I wouldnít have wanted to be Francine when Dreamer fell off the ladder on top of her. Ouch.

What was the deal with the tape on Francineís breasts? If youíre going to rip her clothes off you might as well do it right. Whatís the big deal about nipples anyway that you can show anything but them?

Cyrus was much better on color before this whole Network angle. Itíd be good to see him back to his pre-Network heel color commentary.

On the flip side I enjoyed Dawn Marie being in the booth. Now sheís hilarious. It was also good that her comments were between matches and not during matches. Any more would have been too much..

Who said you canít learn anything from wrestling? Last night Anton taught us that itís not what you can do itís who you know in life that will get you places.

How pathetic was that XPW press release? And was I the only one who found it curious at how quickly they put the press release out?

How badly did Frank wish Jeff Jones was part of the XPW pummeling?

More good stuff next week. Send any comments or questions to me at kurtlamont@aol.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 07/24/2000
 

On August 27, 1994 Eastern Championship Wrestling became Extreme Championship Wrestling. Since that time there have been 12 World Heavyweight Champions in ECW. That works out roughly to an average of 2 champions each year, so being the champ is no small accomplishment. Here is the list of former, and current, ECW champions (number of title reigns in parentheses if more than one): Shane Douglas (3 times), Sandman (3), Raven (2), Mikey Whipwreck, Terry Funk, Sabu, Bam Bam Bigelow, Taz (2), Mike Awesome (2), Tanaka, Tommy Dreamer, and the current champ Justin Credible.

So who will the future champions of ECW be? Who knows, but I will attempt to look into the ECW crystal ball and let you know now who I think will pull it off. Here goes:

(All categories will be listed in the order from who I think is most probably to least probable)

Virtual Lock:

Justin Credible - This is the easiest one as heís the current champ. However, I expect at least a couple more title reigns before things are done. Paul E loves him and JC talks like heíll be in ECW for years to come (but donít they all). Iíll be surprised if heís less then a 3 time champ.

Rob Van Dam - This would seem like a lock but Paul E has been holding out on the RVD title chase for some time now. Nevertheless, multiple title reigns are very likely for the obvious reasons.

Very Likely:

Tommy Dreamer - Tommy has said numerous times that he never wants to wear a belt. However, if youíre going to be having title matches in the future, like Iím sure Dreamer will continue to have, youíll need to win eventually or else every match will be predictable. Chances are good that this will happen. The only reason I see him not being champion again is if he retires because of his back.

Rhino - Rhino has a long way to go before I consider him a great wrestler and a worthy champion but he has one definite thing in his favor: Paul E. So far Paul E has been giving Rhino a combination of a Justin Credible push (winning early and often) and the Taz push (the indestructible force). I donít see Paul E changing this anytime soon. If he stays in ECW his entire career I would push him up to the ĎAlmost a Certaintyí category.

Corino - The King of Old School has established himself to be a future superstar this year. The sky is the limit for him as he has all of the tools of a great champion. Like Rhino the only thing that I think prevents him from reaching the top is a move to WCW or the WWF.

50/50:

Sandman - Heís one of the most over wrestlers in ECW and a former 3 time champ. It would seem very likely that he would do it again but I have my doubts. The only former champion who has left ECW and later returned to win the belt is Shane Douglas (and depending how you look at it, Taz) so history is not on his side. It also doesnít help that Paul E doesnít like him.

Jerry Lynn - Lynn consistently has the best matches on every card. Wrestling ability is definitely not the question. What could hold him back is not being great on the microphone and not being as over as you would like a champion to be. If Lynn ever wins the belt I have a feeling that he would be a short term champion.

Simon Diamond - This is my sleeper pick of the group. I really came away impressed with him after the Q & A at Cyberslam. He seemed to get Ďití more than any other undercard wrestler. Simonís similarities to Shane Douglas are eerie. He has the look, the charisma, and ability of a champion. Itís just a matter of him developing and honing his skills over time before he becomes champ. If Simon wins the title it will most likely not be for at least another 2 years.

Long shot, but hey you never know:

Tajiri - It would be tough to have someone who doesnít speak English be champion, however, heís had good title matches before so who knows what the future brings

CW Anderson - He could be another sleeper. Iíve been impressed with what Iíve seen since the break from the DA.

Spike Dudley - Youíd think that if Spike were to win it, it would have been during the Awesome matches, but heís over with the fans so you never know

Super Crazy - The language barrier is his largest impediment

Mikey Whipwreck - The former champ seems to be stuck in the mid-card. While his current gimmick is hilarious I donít see it translating into a championship.

New Jack - You never know what could happen with New Jack.

Danny Doring - Doring has some potential but will need a gimmick overhaul to be able to move up high in the ranks of ECW. He could be a good heel eventually but I canít see him reaching the top of the mountain.

Balls Mahoney - I think thereís a lot to work with with Balls but he has almost always been wasted in garbage matches and now getting squashed by Sal E.

Nova - Like Doring heíll need some sort of gimmick overhaul if he wants to move up the ranks. Itíd be nice to see him work singles over an extended period of time.

More good stuff next week. Send comments and questions to me at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 08/01/2000
 

The All Underrated Team

There are numerous wrestlers in ECW who are extremely talented but are often overlooked because of their position, their gimmick, their angle, who they wrestle, etc.. While the general wrestling public probably doesnít view these guys as much more than complimentary wrestlers to ECW, they are much more important than that. These are the guys who help get the stars over, elevate other wrestlers and put on top quality matches nearly every time they are in the ring. Without these wrestlers ECW would more closely resemble a glorified indy promotion than a national promotion..

While there are definitely numerous wrestlers that fit this bill, I will limit myself and give you my top 5 underrated wrestlers in ECW right now:

5. Mikey Whipwreck - Mikey hasnít been given a good feud since his return from his WCW vacation. While his fire gimmick with the Sinister Minister is hilarious he really hasnít been given much of an opportunity in the ring. It seemed that he and Guido were building to a match at the PPV but that somehow was scapped. If you look past the comedy and the physique youíll notice that Mikey can really put on a great match. Hopefully weíll get to see more of him in the future.

4. Balls Mahoney - I said it before but it needs to be repeated. Balls is perhaps the most misused wrestler in ECW. While known more for his brawling than anything else, Balls can definitely wrestle, especially for someone his size. Who else that size does a frog splash like Balls? His match with Tanaka at Hardcore Heaven was one of the best and heís proved that he can have a great match with RVD as well as we have seen NUMEROUS times. Yet despite this Balls is relegated to brawling matches and then worst of all getting squashed at Heatwave by Sal E.

3. Guido - The Sicilian Shooter has come a long way since teaming with Tracy Smothers. Since dropping the comedy routine about a year ago Guido has shown that he can wrestle with just about anyone. Guido definitely doesnít get the credit he deserves. Just about every international wrestler gets put in a match with Guido and he puts on really good matches with them even thought there are likely a lot of communication problems. He has also seemed to master the 3 way dance as well as any other wrestler which is one of the most difficult matches for a wrestler.

2. Tajiri - Tajiri was impressive during his series of matches with Super Crazy when he debuted in the beginning of 1999 and hasnít let up since. His matches are usually some of the most entertaining matches and his incredible facial expressions are some of the best in all of wrestling. He also brings a nice variety of holds including the tarantula and the octopus that you typically donít see elsewhere. He is also surprisingly quite the innovator when using tables and chairs. And on top of that he has the best looking kicks in the business.

1. Jerry Lynn - If you read this column regularly youíll realize Iím a big Jerry Lynn fan so perhaps Iím a bit biased but Lynn is the best pure wrestler in ECW right now. On top of that he always has great matches no matter who he wrestles. I canít remember the last time he had a bad match. Lynn also brings out the best in other wrestlers as well. Who has had the best matches with RVD? Jerry Lynn. What about Justin Credible? Jerry Lynn. Lance Storm? Jerry Lynn. In addition to making the top of the card look good heís also helped raise wrestlers on the lower half of the card. He pinned Steve Corino on the last PPV and yet that match helped elevated Corino. Pretty impressive indeed.

So there you go. While these wrestlers wonít get the attention that Justin Credible or Rob Van Dam get they are definitely a huge part of the success of ECW.

More good stuff next week. Contact me if you think someone was more deserving than the 5 I listed or if you have any other questions at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 08/07/2000
 

The ECW All Overrated Team

Since I gave you the all underrated team last week it is only logical that I come back this week with the all overrated team. While everyone on this list has talent, the perception of that talent among the typical wrestling fans is far greater than it should be in my mind.

With that here are the 5 big ďwinnersĒ:

5. Justin Credible - When youíre the World Champ expectations are high. The effort is definitely there, thereís no question about it. But he doesnít draw heat from the fans like a great heel champion should. Iím not even sure that heís getting more heat now than he did before. In fact it might even be less. On top of that his 2 PPV matches since becoming the champ have both been rather flat and not lived up to expectations.

4. Joel Gertner - I know Iím in the minority here but I donít like Gertner in his color commentary role. He was so much better as the manager of the Dudleys. His commentary just doesnít seem to flow well with Joey Styles. Everything seems forced to me. And I think the whole middle name gimmick has run its course. Hopefully when ECW shows up on USA the whole Network angle will be dropped, Gertner can manage and Cyrus can do the color full time.

3. Rob Van Dam - Donít get me wrong, RVD is a great wrestler. However, he could easily be the best wrestler in the world and he isnít. Part of this is poor booking. When you only get pinned once in a little over 2 years there isnít much suspense in a match. A match can only be so good when you already know the outcome. But besides booking there are two other things about RVD that I think would help him. The first is amount of time he spends mugging to the crowd. Stop that! Every match heíll do a nice sequence and then stop for a good minute to tell the crowd heís the whole fín show. And he does this at least 3 times every match, usually more. The second thing is every promo he does is the same... ďIím Rob Van Dam, Iím your favorite wrestler, Iím worth the price of admission alone, Iím the whole fín showĒ. We get the point, change it up once in awhile.

2. Paul Heyman - The genius moniker has been placed around his neck for some time but he hasnít produced a great stretch of TV and/or PPVs in a long time. Any memorable moments in ECW lately have been a result of great wrestling as opposed to great booking. Itís obvious that he is distracted lately by trying to secure a new TV deal so maybe things will pick up after that is done. However, we thought that same thing a year ago.

1. Scotty Anton - I donít think Anton is rated highly by anyone but I feel that he contributes next to nothing. His match with Tommy Dreamer on TNN last week made me sick. Tommy can hardly walk and is taking huge bumps on his back. And then you see Anton in that same match not taking any kind of bumps. And donít tell me the weak Jazz chairshot qualifies either. He may be the only heel who I really dislike. Maybe heís a great heel and I donít realize it. I know Corino has a high regard for him, but I just donít see it. Heís a heel that makes me more likely to change the channel rather than a heel who keeps my interest. It must be nice to have a job because your RVDís best friend. How he made it to the top half of the card with his talent and charisma (or lack thereof) is beyond me.

Spoilers: Spoilers are something that Iíve never really understood. I like to be surprised the first time I see something so I always try to avoid reading them (and as such this is always a ďspoiler freeĒ column). I think reading spoilers does nothing but spoil what you will watch. Spending any amount of time on the internet will cause you to run into a spoiler once in awhile. Thatís a chance you have to take if youíre on the internet but this past weekend I ran into the same item from this weekendís show in at least 4 different places and I didnít even read the spoilers.

So this has peaked my curiousity. To me it seems as if a majority of the people on the internet read spoilers. For those of you that read spoilers e-mail me and let me know why. I canít come up with a good reason of why you would read the spoilers.

More good stuff next week. E-Mail me at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 08/20/2000
 

The ECW World Tag Team Championship belts were thrown down by Justin Credible at Cyberslam on April 22. Ever since then the belts have remained vacant, a period of 4 months. But now, this Friday, new champions will be crowned at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, NY in a one night, 12 team, tag team tournament.

The tournament is set up with 3 groups of 4 teams. The 3 teams that emerge from each group will then advance to the finals which will be a 3 way dance. In one night there will be 11 pinfalls, 10 matches, and 1 winner.

So what are the odds of each team advancing to the finals? What are the odds of each team winning 3 matches in one night to win the belts? Who knows, but Iíll give you the official DCS odds and predictions.

Group A- Group A is made up of the marquee names in ECW. All 4 teams are a combination of single wrestlers that have been joined for this tournament. With such limited time together it will be interesting to see how well each operates as a team.

Chilly Willy & The Sandman - Of the 8 wrestlers in this group itís obvious that the one that doesnít seem to belong is Chilly Willy. A recent injury to the Sandman along with the first round pairing against Justin Credible and Rhino doesnít bode well for this duo in the tournament. I donít see them advancing past the first round. Odds of winning bracket: 25-1 Odds of winning tournament: 75-1

Justin Credible & Rhino - The two singles champions in ECW have been put together for the tournament by Cyrus and seem to be one of the favorites to win the tournament. Having ĎThe Networkí behind you always helps when you can rack up wins from outside interference. I see a clean win in the first round over Chilly Willy & Sandman and then a controversial win over RVD & Kash in the bracket final. Bracket odds: 2-1 Tournament Odds: 4-1

Jerry Lynn and Tommy Dreamer - This team is a combination of the brawling skills of Dreamer and the technical skills of Lynn. This combo has teamed up before but faces a tough first round matchup against RVD & Kash. While this team is certainly capable of being worthy champions it just doesnít seem like they will be able to pull it off. Bracket odds: 10-1 Tournament Odds: 20-1

RVD & Kid Kash - This team is a combination of 2 of the most spectacular wrestlers in ECW. It should be interesting how well they work as a team. RVD has excelled in the past with Sabu as his partner but will he be able to mesh with Kash who gave him problems in singles matches? I can see them possibly having problems that will lead to future single matches. I expect them to win the first round match but not be able to get by JC & Rhino. Bracket Odds: 7-2 Tournament Odds: 5-1

Group B:

Group B is made up of teams that tag more frequently than the teams in Group A but really arenít considered full time tag teams.

York & Matthews - This is the one real exception to this group as this team is a full time tag team. The newest additions to the ECW roster have been impressive to date but have no significant wins to show for it. Itís possible that this could be the night that York & Matthews make their mark in ECW by pulling a few upsets but I only see them winning their first round match against the Money & Fantastico. Bracket Odds: 15-1 Tournament Odds: 50-1

EZ Money & Julio Fantastico - Another team of recent newcomers to ECW. This team has shown better athleticism then you would expect by just looking at them. They first round match with York & Matthews could go either way, especially with Chris Hammrick in their corner but I donít see it happening. One win is possible but more than that is a real long shot. Bracket Odds: 25-1 Tournament Odds: 100-1

FBI - I assume that this team will be made up of Guido and Tony Mamaluke but itís also possible that weíll see Sal E. team up with Guido. Either way they have a third person at ringside for Ďassistanceí. The first round matchup with Tajiri & Mikey could end up being the best first round match. I see them losing this first match but if they do win I can see them beating either of the other 2 teams in this group. Bracket Odds: 5-1 Tournament Odds: 15-1

Mikey Whipwreck & Tajiri - We saw this duo in action on TNN this weekend (along with Psicosis) and they worked really well together. Mikey is a former Triple Crown Champion and Tajiri has held the TV belt. Additional factors in their favor is the Sinister Minister in their corner. I see this team as the team to beat in this group and I think they have a legitimate shot at winning the titles. Bracket Odds: 3-1 Tournament Odds: 5-1

Group C:

Group C is made up of the 4 established, full time tag teams in ECW. These teams have the benefit of having worked with each other for a long time. This is the bracket that any team could win.

The Baldies - The long shot of the 4 teams in this group, The Baldies would seem to have little hope of winning the tournament. The first round matchup against Doring & Roadkill will be a tough one to win. And if they do win that match theyíll have another tough matchup waiting for them the next round. Bracket Odds: 20-1 Tournament Odds: 75-1

Doring & Roadkill - This duo has worked as a team for several years now. Before the titles were vacated they were one of the teams challenging for the titles. They, along with Nova & Chetti, should be the favorites from this group. I see them advancing over the Baldies and then losing to Nova & Chetti. Bracket Odds: 3-1 Tournament Odds: 8-1

Nova & Chetti - Another long time tag team, this duo was also one of the teams challenging the Impact Players for the belt before they were vacated. They even won the belts at a house show before a ĎDustyí finish put the belts back on the Impact Players, nullifying their victory. They should be one of the favorites to win the belts. Bracket Odds: 5-2 Tournament Odds: 6-1

Simon Diamond & Swinger - The most recently formed team of the regular tag teams in ECW this team has shown the ability to beat any of the teams in this group. With C.W. Anderson in their corner they may be able to make some noise in this tournament. But a tough first round matchup with Nova & Chetti makes for a tough hill to climb. Bracket Odds: 7-1 Tournament Odds: 15-1

The Finals:

I have Justin Credible & Rhino, Whipwreck & Tajiri, and Nova & Chetti advancing to the finals.

In the finals I see Justin Credible & Rhino losing first because of interference from RVD and/or Kash. I see some well placed green mist in the eyes of Chetti causing the final pinfall. I see Whipwreck and Tajiri becoming the new ECW World Tag Team Champions.

Here is a review of the list of the DCS odds (in order from most likely to win):

Justin Credible & Rhino: 4-1

RVD & Kid Kash: 5-1

Whipwreck & Tajiri: 5-1

Nova & Chetti: 6-1

Doring & Roadkill: 8-1

FBI: 15-1

Diamond & Swinger: 15-1

Lynn & Dreamer: 20-1

York & Matthews: 50-1

Baldies: 75-1

Sandman & Chilly Willy:75-1

Money & Fantastico: 100-1

(By the way - if you gamble on wrestling, you need help)

If you want to say I told you so next week be sure to send me an e-mail with who you think will advance from each round and who you think the ultimate winner will be.

I will list all of the winners in next weekís column. The tie-breaker for this contest will be the one who correctly picks the order of the pinfalls in the 3-way dance.

I will be attending the shows in Manhattan this weekend so I will review the tournament and any other happenings in the Big Apple in next weeks column. Send any comments or questions to kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 08/30/2000
 

Last weekend ECW made it's debut in Manhatten at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The first night was devoted to the Tag Team Tournament and the second was a regular taping. I believe that since there are no ECW shows this weekend the next 2 weeks of TV (4 hours) will be devoted to these two shows. If the shows come out half as well on TV as they did in person it will make great TV shows. If you do not want to know what will happen read no further.

Friday's Tag Team Tournament was a very solid show. There were many surprises throughout the show that helped make the show even better. My only disappointment in the show was the lack of the tournament producing a great match(es), especially in the finals. In the finals I was hoping for a number of near falls and there were none. Of the 10 matches I think there was only 1 match where there was a convincing near fall. The best match of the night was probably Whipwreck and Tajiri against the FBI in the first round which we would see a rematch of the next night.

Surprisingly, Jerry Lynn and Tommy Dreamer made the finals as they beat both RVD/Dreamer and Credible/Rhino. Jerry Lynn recorded the pin over RVD in the first match and over Justin Credible in the next match.

Mikey and Tajiri advanced from the second group as they beat both the FBI and EZ Money & Julio (Fantastico) Dinero.

Swinger and Simon Diamond advanced from the final group as they beat Chetti & Nova after a Chetti gaffe and then beat Doring & Roadkill with outside assistance.

Mikey and Tajiri won the tournament after Swinger and Simon first eliminated Dreamer in the finals.

Initially I had low expectations for the Saturday show. However, I have to say that this was the best show I have seen in person (or on TV for that matter) since the last Queens show, which ironically was on the exact same date one year ago (August 26). And this show was air conditioned as opposed to the steam bath at the Madhouse a year ago.

Part of the promo for this show was that all 3 titles would be defended. I didn't think too much of that since that's what you would expect. How many non-title matches have there ever been in ECW?

However, these three matches were easily the standout matches of the night. Mikey and Tajiri put the belts on the line against the FBI in the second match of the night. Their match on Friday I felt was the best one of the night and this match topped that one pretty easily in my book. While Mikey and Tajiri took it to the FBI (and if you saw the injury report you'll know what I mean), the FBI managed to squeeze out the victory with the aid of Sal E.

In addition to the title matches the other noteworthy event of the night was Chetti turning on Nova. While most people may be disappointed by this, I am glad to see it. I was hoping for a Nova singles push when The Blue Meanie left a couple years, and a couple hundred pounds ago, but then he was paired with Chetti. I think that Nova's niche in ECW will be as a singles wrestler now that he only needs to rely on himself to succeed.

The second title match was a showdown between babyface Steve Corino and the champ Justin Credible. Before the match Francine read a fax from 'The Network' that said that Jack Victory could not be ringside for the match. However, Mr. Old School himself had prepared for this and was one step ahead of the heels when he announced that in his corner would be the one and only Dawn Marie, much to the surprise and delight of the crowd. This match was the match of the night and one of the best matches of the year, if not the best so far. It had a little bit of everything in this match, including a hurricanrana by Francine that was Lita-esque, a guitar shot by Billy Corgan on Lou E that didn't break and looked sick, a cat fight, and a few near falls by Corino that had the crowd popping. A few 'Old School' chants even broke out which is something I never would have expected to hear at an ECW show. This is probably Corino's greatest match to date and has to rank up there as one of Justin's best matches.

Before the final match Cyrus came to the ring before being laid out by Paul E and his 10 pound cell phone. Rhino then gored Paul E through a table at ringside and all hell broke loose as virtually the entire lockerroom cleared and brawled outside the ring. Kid Kash's music then came on and he came to the ring to take on Rhino. With some additional help from the Sandman and RVD, Kid Kash pinned Rhino for the TV belt. Not bad for someone whose goal 4 months ago was to win an ECW lightheavyweight belt that doesn't exist.

All in all, it was a great weekend of wrestling for ECW in NYC. This is definitely must see TV if you are an ECW fan. And while this should make for great TV, witnessing ECW is even better in person. The energy and excitement of a live crowd is great. And if you're not careful (and sometimes even when you are) a wrestler is liable to fall into your lap. I almost was taken out this weekend by the Muskateer of all people, when he was thrown into the crowd during that final brawl. I tried to lay the boots into him but he wouldn't sell for my kicks that missed him by 3 feet. He'll be a heel in my book forever now.

Send any comments or questions to kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 09/06/2000
 

(Disclaimer: This column contains spoilers of events that will occur on TV in the near future. If you do not want to know what will happen please check back after you watch ECW this weekend.)

I've been critical of the booking in ECW from time to time. However, lately I have noticed a marked improvement in the booking leading up to and at the two Hammerstein Ballroom shows.

One of the major results of the Hammerstein shows were the elevated of a number of wrestlers. First, Jerry Lynn getting a pinfall on RVD and Justin Credible on the same night makes him a credible World Title contender. Having the title shot in his home state on the PPV plus those pinfalls makes you think that he has a legitimate shot when October 1 rolls around. Secondly, Steve Corino has continued his rapid ascend to the top of ECW when he had a match of the year candidate with Justin Credible. It's amazing how far Steve Corino has been elevated without really scoring a recent pin over a big name. He just goes out, bleeds like crazy and puts on great matches. The third wrestler elevated was Kid Kash courtesy of his victory over Rhino for the TV title. We've seen this push gradually over the last few months as Kid Kash became Mr. Hardcore TV, seemingly scoring win after win on the syndicated show.

The booking was also improved as it lacked the predictability of most shows. My main complaint with the booking is that it is far too predictable and the 'stars' of ECW in my mind are protected way too much. And by protected I mean that they do not get pinned. There was a time in ECW where every match had a pin in it, regardless of who was wrestling. Ever since the move to national TV a no contest is a common occurrence in an ECW match. As a fan this is very frustrating to watch. Now if I see a RVD - Rhino matchup on TV these days I'm surprised if there IS a pin.

That was part of the appeal of the Tag Team Tournament to me. There were going to be 11 teams that got pinned in one night. A no contest wouldn't work here.

At these shows I was pleasantly surprised to see that the top tier of wrestlers were booked to be pin. At the 2 shows each of the top 6 names in ECW were pinned at least once. Justin Credible, RVD, Rhino, Sandman, Jerry Lynn, and Tommy Dreamer. While it is not too uncommon for Dreamer and Lynn to be pinned, it is extremely rare that you see RVD, Credible, Rhino, and Sandman pinned on free TV.

With the tag team format it would have been very easy to protect a number of wrestlers but that didn't happen. This is a good thing. You would have expected Chilly Willy to be pinned instead of Sandman, but Sandman was the one pinned. With RVD and Kid Kash it would be expected that Kash would be the one to do the job, but RVD did. You wouldn't expect to see the Heavyweight Champion be pinned but he was.

The improved booking is a step in the right direction but it needs to continue. There has to be doubt in the fans minds on who will win each and every match. You have to have the fans believe that there is a chance that a title will change hands every time it is defended. If this doesn't happen the matches won't be as good as they could be.

There has been a lot of buzz on the internet that these ECW shows in Manhattan will be the starting point of ECW's return to glory. I hope it is true but I am cautiously optimistic. One year ago people were saying the exact same thing about ECW when they debuted on TNN. You kept hearing that Paul E had all these great angles up his sleeve that he was saving for national TV but then we never really saw anything truly special after the first TNN taping in Queens. Then the next time ECW was supposed to be put back on the map was the after the Cyberslam show shortly after Mike Awesome defected to WCW. But shortly after that things reverted back to the ways they were again. There has been patches of greatness in ECW over the past year but ECW needs to get to the point where it greatness is the norm, rather than the exception, if they really want to make their mark on the wrestling world.

More good stuff next week.

Send any comments or questions to kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 09/14/2000
 

It is assumed by nearly everyone that ECW will move to USA in a couple of weeks when the WWF moves to TNN. The prominent wrestling websites have reported this and we've heard many of the wrestlers in ECW indicate that a move to USA is the most likely scenario, most likely in a late night Saturday time slot.

However, the WWF's move to TNN has been on hold due to the appeal of the WWF/TNN/USA court case which has not been decided at this time. So with two weeks remaining on TNN, ECW has no national TV outlet in place to continue showing a national show. If ECW does not move to USA in a couple of weeks many believe that this will be a fatal blow to ECW.

While losing a national TV presence isn't something that should be at the top of ECW's to do list, it will be a far from devastating event. ECW will still have it's syndicated program in place. They survived up to August of 1999 using only the syndicated program, and now this program is in many more markets than it was before. And not only is it in more markets but it is in all of it's 'hot' markets. If you are in a good ECW city you will still be able to watch ECW on a weekly basis, ECW will still come to your town, and you will still be able to watch the PPVs.

Where not having a national show will hurt ECW is where ECW is trying to establish new markets. If you can't watch ECW it will be hard to become a new fan However, based on the ratings of the TNN show the emergence of new markets over the past year has not materialized like ECW expected. ECW debuted on TNN a year ago with a 1.0 rating. A year later the rating remains at 1.0, so growth over the past year has been minimal (with Canada, based on the reports from the shows last weekend, maybe being the only significant exception, and that is not reflected in the ratings).

Financially, there will be a minimal impact on ECW. Very little revenue is generated from the TNN show to begin with so losing that will hardly have an effect on ECW financially. ECW has to pay to air the syndicated shows which is only offset by the revenues that they can gain from the ads that they run. Additionally, I think, based on rough estimates, ECW probably has as many expenses, if not more, then revenue on nearly every house show they run.

Where the real money is made in ECW is in PPVs. And now ECW has announced an additional PPV this year in December at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. It also looks like it will be announced shortly that ECW will run monthly PPVs once all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

While this may cause a few production and booking headaches, this will be a huge boost to ECW financially. ECW has consistently had PPV buy rates between .20-.25 since they started on PPV with Barely Legal back in 1997.

A 1.0 buy rate is 400,000 buys. So ECW ranges from approximately 80,000 to 100,000 buys each PPV. To order a PPV you have to plunk down $21.95. Of course the PPV company will take it's share of that money. I think a conservative guess at what ECW gets for each person that orders a PPV is $10. If 100,000 people order the PPV ECW will pull in $1 million in revenue. While there are many costs associated with running a PPV that will cut into that $1 million (paying the wrestlers, the building rent, production costs, promotion, etc..) it is clear to me that PPVs are clearly profitable to ECW. Running 12 PPVs will allow ECW to make more money, which in turn, can only help them in other areas.

Be sure to check in next week for more thoughts on the pro and cons of running more PPVs, and assuming there is some finality to the USA/WWF/TNN saga, thoughts on the new TV deal (or lack of one, as it may be).

Send any comments or questions to kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 09/20/2000
 

TNN: Thank You or Good Riddance?

Friday will be the last time ECW will air on TNN. And as far as those in ECW are concerned this date has not come soon enough.

Over at least the past 9 months we have seen ECW continually take shots at TNN over what they considered mistreatment. ECW wanted to see more support from TNN in terms of advertisements and promotions and got very little of that, and almost none on other networks.

Also, while ECW was running on TNN they went out and convinced the WWF to bring their programming to their network. If I was in ECW I probably would be offended by this as well.

ECW parlayed this mistreatment into their main angle this year, creating an Us vs. Them, Good Guy vs. Bad Guy, Big Corporate Giant vs. Small Promotion, ECW vs TNN angle. And while I didn't necessarily think this was a great angle, anyone that was considered 'Network' seemed to get great heat from the crowd. ECW was able to really drive the TNN is evil to the fans. This was most noticable to me when I saw how strong the anti-TNN chants at the Hammerstein shows were.

So TNN is evil, right?

As much as ECW has convinced everyone that it is, I do not see this as the case.

While TNN is certainly guilty of many things against ECW the benefits that they brought to ECW far outweigh the negatives in my mind.

TNN was the only network seriously interested in bringing ECW to national televised cable a year ago. Without TNN, ECW would most likely be only running the syndicated show. Back in March of 1999 the syndicated show (which was the ONLY show at the time) was dropped from the Boston channel that I watched the show on. Until the debut on TNN the only chance that I had to follow ECW was to read about it online and watch any old tapes that I could get my hands on. TNN changed that. TNN allowed me an opportunity to watch ECW every week at the exact same time. There were no times where it was pre-empted for a dog show or tennis or the NBA playoffs. I could set my VCR for Friday at 8 PM every week and know that when I rewound the tape that I could watch that week's ECW show.

TNN also allowed wrestling fans to watch their show in new markets that have never seen ECW before. Canada now could watch ECW, people in Idaho could watch ECW, people in Arizona could watch ECW, and people all over the country could watch ECW. The number being thrown around a year ago by ECW is that they would be available in 70 million homes. Before TNN that number was considerably smaller.

As an ECW fan I am concerned about 2 main items: 1. Can I watch the show?; and 2. Are the shows any good? As a fan I could care less about how much ECW is advertised. As a fan, I could care less at how many people watch the show. As a fan, I could care less when the show airs, just give me the opportunity to see the show.

TNN had control over #1 and delivered every Friday at 8 PM. ECW was the one that had the most control over #2, not TNN. Did TNN place restrictions on what ECW could show? Perhaps, but not to the point where the shows would be greatly effected. ECW controlled how good or bad the shows would be.

Also, being on TNN the past year ECW proved that they could hold a consistent audience. While their ratings were far from overwhelming (ratings comparable to the WNBA or MLS) the number never dipped below a 0.8. So any network that is paying attention (hello, USA) realizes that the potential for an existing audience is easily available at a cheap price. Before TNN no other networks were lining up for ECW. A year later the buzz in the television community indicates that there are 3 suitors for ECW (USA, FX, ESPN2). Without TNN this likely would not be the case.

Would additional advertisement have helped ECW? Most likely, but advertisement only does so much. Without much help ECW grew their rating over the first few months to a 1.3 rating. Since then it has gone back down to 0.8 (roughly a 40% drop). This drop cannot be put on TNN's shoulders. If the time slot bounced all over the place then maybe you could justify the drop but ECW appeared at 8 PM every Friday. You can do all the advertising you want but if you don't give a product that people want to see they won't watch (see Rollerjam for a good example). I don't think the people that stopped watching stopped beacues they forgot what time ECW was on.

Would I be bitter at TNN if I was in ECW? Probably. The more support you get from your network the more likely to grow, expand, make more money, etc... ECW clearly didn't get that from TNN.

So while TNN is bashed by ECW from pillar to post, just realize that up to this point in ECW's history TNN has been a very valuable contributor to ECW, whether that is acknowledged or not within ECW. Without TNN, I and millions of others, would not have had the opportunity to watch ECW over the past year.

And for that I say thank you TNN.

More good stuff next week. Send any comments, questions or concerns to me at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
column date 09/27/2000
 

ECW returns to PPV this Sunday night with the second annual Anarchy Rulz coming to us from the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, Minnesota. Last year at Anarchy Rulz Mike Awesome came out of nowhere to take the title away from Taz in an unscheduled 3-way dance.

This year Jerry Lynn gets a shot at the World Heavyweight Champion, Justin Credible in Lynn's home state of Minnesota.

Here's a match-by-match breakdown of the 5 announced matches so far:

Joel Gertner vs. Cyrus

I'm guessing this isn't going to be a technical, mat-wrestling clinic here. So with that in mind I think we'll end up seeing Gertner, Rhino, and a table. You can put the pieces together from here.

CW Anderson vs. Steve Corino - #1 Contenders Match

From what I gathered from stevecorino.com this is for the #1 contender at November to Remember. If this is the case I find this match very puzzling. No offense is meant to either of these two, who I think can both be great in ECW, but I would think that you would want your two biggest names in the main event of your showcase event of the year next month at November to Remember. I don't see Corino or Anderson as that guy right now. Of course this is wrestling so anything can change at a moments notice but I don't think it will. Aside from that this should be a strong, old school style of match. I see Corino finally winning his first PPV match.

FBI vs. Mikey Whipwreck and Tajiri - Tag Team Championship

This is one of the matches that I am really looking forward to seeing as it involves 4 wrestlers that I really enjoy watching. Mamaluke is quickly becoming a favorite of mine in ECW. His mannerisms are great and he bumps like a mad man. Tajiri and Mikey are over about as much as you can expect a tag team to be. I'm expecting another great match from these two teams. I think the FBI will benefit from a win more than Mikey and Tajiri so I will pick go with them in this match.

Rhino vs. Rob Van Dam - TV Championship

Finally, Rhino is not scheduled to wrestle the Sandman on PPV. This time he draws RVD in the battle over who the real TV Champion is, as RVD was never beaten as TV Champ. Should be an interesting match. These two have looked good against each other in previous matches so this match should be no different. Who wins this match should be interesting as these two are the two who are the least pinned in ECW. This is a toss up in my mind but I think I'll go with RVD.

Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn - World Heavyweight Championship

It was announced that New Jack would be the referee for this match. After being taken out by Rhino that may have changed but I'm sure we'll find out more on this week's TNN show.

I've been disappointed in the buildup for this match. These two had a great feud a couple of years ago (which included a great 2/3 falls match and a great submission match) leading to an excellent concluding match at Heatwave 98. This time around Jerry Lynn was announced the number 1 contender in August and there hasn't been much since then. Credible's main foe seems to be Corino lately and Jerry Lynn is waiting for his turn at the PPV. I realize that there is a 3-way dance with Lynn, Credible and Corino on TV this week but the focus leading to this match should be on Lynn and Credible only and I don't think that's been the case.

Regardless of all of that there's no doubt in my mind that these two will end up having a great match. With the hometown crowd behind him there should be great heat from the crowd that is always a plus. The crowd should be popping for every near fall that helps you believe that Lynn has a shot at winning the title. My initial thought was to pick Lynn in this match up but in light of the number 1 contender match I think we are looking at a Corino-Credible match at November to Remember so I will choose Justin to retain the belt here.

Obviously, I could be way off with my prediction of a Corino - Credible match headlining November to Remember but it looks like it is shaping up that way. I don't think this is the way to go myself. November to Remember should be the ultimate show of the year and you should put on the best match in the main event that you possibly can.

I realize that Corino and Credible had a great match in NYC but Corino still has not had enough credible (no pun intended) victories in ECW to make it seem like he is a legitimate contender for the World Title in my mind. So because of that I don't think that this would be a good N2R headliner.

I think the best match that could be put on at N2R is RVD and Credible. ECW fans have been waiting for this for 2 years now and they've barely even been in the same ring together let alone wrestle each other. I'd be shocked to see that happen now.

The next best choice for a N2R main event would be a Lynn - RVD match up if Lynn were to win the title this Sunday just because you know you'll get a classic out of those two and everyone wants to see RVD with the World Title.

No matter what happens at this PPV will have a lot of great wrestling on it, that's the great part about ECW. What will make or break the PPV in my mind, however, is how N2R shapes up.

TNN Thoughts:

Well, I guess Vince McMahon looks like the newest ECW hero after allowing ECW to continue on TNN indefinitely through the end of the year. The ironic part of all of this is that ECW, who has been practically been begging to get off of TNN, finally had the opportunity to leave and didn't take the first chance that TNN gave them. I guess ECW had a change of heart now that TNN has 'pop'

More good stuff next week as I'll review all that went down at Anarchy Rulz and more. You can contact me with comments or questions at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 10/05/2000
 

Welcome to the first column of my second year columns here at ECW News.com. Time flies, eh?

Anarchy Rulz was a PPV that we have come to expect from ECW now, full of great in-ring action, solid commentary and erratic production. The big event at this show was Jerry Lynn winning the World Heavyweight Title from Justin Credible. I was excited to see that happen as I'm probably the columnist who is the biggest Jerry Lynn mark on the internet. I don't think that there is a better wrestler in ECW so we should be in store for a series of great matches, regardless of who is in the ring with Lynn.

Here is a breakdown of each of the matches with some brief comments:

Doring & Roadkill vs. York and Matthews

It's amazing how over Roadkill has become lately, especially for someone that says no more than 'Chickens'. A pretty strong opener between these two teams.

3.00 out of 4

Kid Kash vs. EZ Money

Using this match to 'decide' whether Cyrus would have to face Gertner was nice to give this match some meaning. You knew what the finish would be but it was still really cool to see that move again. Another strong match

3.25 - 4

Cyrus vs. Joel Gertner

Good for what it was. No rating.

Baldies vs. Balls & Chilly Willy

An average match that was hurt by not having any meaning to it. It was just there as the obligatory ECW brawl for those fans of stiff work and blood, which isn't my cup of tea.

2.25-4

CW Anderson vs. Steve Corino

I really liked this match. However, I'm not sure why they felt they needed to bring chairs and blood into the match. I think that they could have still had a match just as strong without it. Blood is best when it is used in moderation and right now it seems like Corino is blading EVERY SINGLE MATCH. At some point it won't have any meaning to it if he this keeps up. Regardless of that this was a good match. I'm a fan of matches where working a body part is a big part of the match such as this one.

3.25 - 4.00

FBI vs. Whipwreck & Tajiri

An excellent match, albeit not as strong as the match when the FBI won the titles at the Hammerstein ballroom. It was nice to see the FBI win without the assistance of Sal E.

3.00 - 4

Rhino vs. Rob Van Dam

This match was a little better than I expected and Fonzie taking the Van Terminator was a nice twist to the match. Hopefully this is something that will be continued in the coming weeks.

Will Fonzie turn on Van Dam now? I haven't watched the tape again yet but didn't it seem like Van Dam no-sold the gore and piledriver? He was up right after the match mugging to the crowd. But on the positive side he kept that to a minimum during the match which helped the match immensely.

3.00-4

Jerry Lynn vs. Justin Credible

As I mentioned earlier I think it's great that Jerry is the champ. And it's not because I think Justin Credible is a bad champion, because I don't. Jerry has really earned his spot in ECW through his work over the past 3 years.

However, I didn't care for the booking of the match. When HC Loc was the referee to start the match I knew at some point we would see Danny Daniels. And I can't tell you how much I hate the idea of heel and face referees. It's so Sports Entertainment-esque. And then to put it in a title match? Ugh.

I look at it this way, if you have 2 thoroughbreds you don't use them for kiddie horse rides, you race them as hard as they can go. In this case you put Credible and Lynn in the ring, stand back and let them do their thing, which is wrestle. They don't need any help to put on a great match, just let them loose.

This reminded me a lot of when Taz defeated Shane Douglas back at Guilty as Charged '99, when Douglas lost in part because of the Sabu's interference and Candido abandoning him. I feel now how Douglas felt then. He wanted a classic match without any outside interference. And this is what they did the next week, at what I believe was House Party '99, and that match ended up being the far superior match. I believe the ad for the tape even claims it as the greatest Heavyweight Title Match. That's what I wanted here. Hopefully we'll get it shortly.

3.00 - 4

Overall, this was a really good PPV that only lacked a classic match to call it one of the best ECW PPVs to date.

More good stuff next week. Send any comments or questions to me at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 10/12/2000
 

With ECW officially being off of TNN now and currently not having a national cable TV presence there are many rumors and theories being bandied about out there on ECW. Let's take a look at a number of them.

Without a national TV deal ECW is in grave condition

While not having a national TV presence isn't something that ECW wants, it will be a far from devastating. ECW will still have its' syndicated program in place. They survived up to August of 1999 using only the syndicated program, and now this program is in many more markets than it was before. And not only is it in more markets but it is in all of it's major markets. If you are in a good ECW city you should still be able to watch ECW on a weekly basis, ECW will still come to your town, and you will still be able to watch the PPVs. If you don't get the syndicated show you can watch it on the internet at www.americaone.com at midnight on Saturdays.

But what about ECW financially? Won't ECW not being on TNN hurt them financially?

Well, the only real gain ECW got from TNN was from their own ads (hotline, videos, and website) which I imagine is minimal. TNN claimed all of the advertising revenue from the show as well as taking a percentage of ECW's revenues over the past year. So in that regard not being on TNN has minimal impact either way.

So ECW is essentially at the same place they were in the summer of 1998. While they are far from thriving they are far from folding. A national TV deal is very important but getting the right TV deal is more important than just having any TV deal as we have found out from the TNN experience over the past year.

Because ECW has no national TV deal many wrestlers are looking to leave

I've read this on two different 'prominent' wrestling websites. I think this is a ludicrous statement. The question I have is who would leave and where would they go?

Heyman has said that he has everyone that he feels is important to ECW under contract. And if you don't think these contracts are enforceable ask Sabu. So I think that has things covered as far as defections go.

And even if someone does want to leave where are they going? WCW is more concerned with dumping contracts than picking them up and the WWF has more wrestlers than they know what to do with at this point. Who in ECW would be able to step into WWF and make any kind of impact? Probably only a handful and of those they are all in prominent spots in ECW and it would make no sense for them to leave. With the WWF talent roster loaded and WCW cutting costs there aren't any good alternatives for a wrestler to go.

ECW's poor ratings are all TNN's fault

 A lack of advertising from TNN will cause ECW to sue TNN for breach of contract shortly. From what I have read I would say ECW probably has a very strong case. If TNN promoted ECW more and they had a better time slot than Friday night would ratings be better? Probably.

On the flip side without much help ECW grew their rating over the first few months from a 0.8 in the first month up to a 1.3 rating. Since then it has gone back down to 0.8 range, bottoming out last week at 0.6 (more than a 50% drop). This drop cannot be put on TNN's shoulders. If the time slot bounced all over the place then maybe you could justify the drop but ECW appeared at 8 PM every Friday.

Let's flash back to the beginning of the year. At that time we were getting a healthy dose of Mike Awesome and Tanaka matches. Raven and Tommy Dreamer was still moving along. The Impact Players were going after the tag team belts. Super Crazy was being Super Crazy.

Over the next few months we saw Mike Awesome and Lance Storm leave. Tanaka went back to Japan. Heyman pulled the plug on the Dreamer/Raven angle because Raven wasn't being a team player. Super Crazy then went on hiatus.

Since then the quality of the matches shown on TV has gone down as any major matches have been saved for PPVs. The only significant angle going on for much of this year has been the Network angle that I think a majority of people thinks has run its course at this time.

It's been a long time since ECW has had an angle that makes you eager to see what will happen next. When you don't have that you create a lot of disinterest and I think that has been a large reason why we have seen the rating decline steadily this year.

So is TNN all to blame for the low rating? I would say the low rating is joint effort of ECW and TNN.

More good stuff next week. Send any feedback to me at kurtlamont@aol.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 10/24/2000
 

November to Remember is right around the corner. ECW considers this show its showcase event of the year. Right now the showcase event of the year has, at best, 2 known matches. The first is Chilly Willy & Balls vs. The Baldies in a flaming table match. The second match is Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino; perhaps Justin Credible is added to the match as well. Beyond those 2 matches what can we expect from November 2 Remember? Well, we know Super Crazy will be there and Chetti and Nova seems to make sense but other than that it's a big mystery. And there are no new TV tapings scheduled to do any angles leading up to N2R between now and then.

Could you imagine if the WWF went into Wrestlemania like this?

A month and a half ago I wrote a column praising the Hammerstein shows in August for the quality of the shows and the booking of the shows, and those shows leading up to it. There was great excitement generated from these shows from fans and wrestlers alike. At the conclusion of this column commenting on that I wrote the following:

An excerpt from the 9/6/00 column:

"There has been a lot of buzz on the internet that these ECW shows in Manhattan will be the starting point of ECW's return to glory. I hope it is true but I am cautiously optimistic. One year ago people were saying the exact same thing about ECW when they debuted on TNN. You kept hearing that Paul E had all these great angles up his sleeve that he was saving for national TV but then we never really saw anything truly special after the first TNN taping in Queens. Then the next time ECW was supposed to be put back on the map was the after the Cyberslam show shortly after Mike Awesome defected to WCW. But shortly after that things reverted back to the ways they were again. There has been patches of greatness in ECW over the past year but ECW needs to get to the point where the greatness is the norm, rather than the exception, if they really want to make their mark on the wrestling world."

I'm afraid I was right to be cautious.

Now don't get me wrong, I want ECW to be great. I have seen ECW be great in the past. I know ECW can be great now and I know they can be great in the future. It's just very frustrating that ECW isn't at this point right now. When you throw in the fact that there is no national television show that just leads to more frustration. When you know that there are areas that don't get Hardcore TV (like myself who has to rely on tapes being mailed to me) you get more frustrated. When you see shows are cancelled like the Camden and Bethlehem shows this weekend you become more frustrated. And then when the one thing you can look forward to is the showcase event of the year, November 2 Remember, and there are only 2 matches that you know about leading into the show you become even more frustrated.

However, having said all of that, I expect November 2 Remember to be a great show. I've seen too much of ECW to think otherwise. You know that ECW has "the hardest working locker room in the industry" and they all "bust their ass every night." When you consider that and then factor in that the current roster is the strongest undercard that ECW has ever had there's even more reason to believe the show will be strong. You can't really think of an ECW PPV that's been a real dud (and for those of you who think N2R 98 sucked it didn't come across on TV like it did in person. I still think that was a good show).

Now while ECW can put on a good PPV without much (or any) buildup its not what I think is the recommended route in terms of generating interest for a PPV. Let's take a look at the best ECW PPV to date, Heatwave 98. You'll see that each 5 of the 6 matches had really good buildups to them and the 6th match can stand on its own on name power alone:

Lynn vs. Credible - This was the conclusion of the 'summer series'.
Storm vs. Candido - Former tag team partners finally square off one on one
Sabu & RVD vs. Shinzaki and Hayabusa - Sabu & RVD face all comers for the tag belts
Awesome vs. Tanaka - This had a nice buildup up for a few weeks leading to the PPV
Taz vs. BBB - Latter part of a huge feud when they were breaking thru the ring or ramps
Dreamer, Sandman, Spike vs. Dudleys - A huge feud centered around Beulah

The anticipation for this PPV was great and it delivered. And because of it I remember what happened on that PPV more than I remember Anarchy Rulz 00 and that was only a month ago and Anarchy Rulz was a good PPV.

The point is that you can always put on a good show but if you want to have a memorable show you really need to build characters and angles over a long period of time. You have to make people care about what will happen next. Right now it seems to be a bunch of stuff thrown together without much thought. There's nothing that really grabs me that makes me look forward to what will happen next. With the focus being on searching for a new TV deal this is understandable but it doesn't make it excusable

. Hopefully things will pick up again. The ingredients are there for it to happen, the cook just needs to put them together just right to make it work. (Why I used a cooking analogy there I have no idea).

More good stuff next week. You can contact me at kurtlamont@aol.com  with any comments or questions.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 11/01/2000
 

November 2 Remember Preview:

To help me with the preview of November 2 Remember, I enlisted the services of "Alex T". Alex will give the answers and I will supply the questions. Remember all responses MUST be given in the form of a question. Let's begin.

Alex T: This is ECW's 8th annual showcase event of the year coming to us live on Pay Per View from the Odeum in Villa Park, Illinois on Sunday November 5, 2000.

Me: What is November 2 Remember?

Alex T: Correct!

Alex T: This is a very unique combination of three matches in one. It begins with four wrestlers in the ring at the same time, competing in two separate singles matches. Once those two matches are completed, the two victors will then battle it out with the winner becoming the ECW World Heavyweight Champion. You must score two consecutive victories to win the title.

Me: What is a Double Jeopardy match?

Alex T: Correct Again!

OK, OK, enough with the Jeopardy gimmick. This Sunday we just won't get Jeopardy; we'll get DOUBLE JEOPARDY. The Double Jeopardy main event is a first in ECW and as well as all of wrestling. I'd even go so far as to say this is the most original idea in wrestling this year. This match pits the champion Jerry Lynn against Justin Credible, Sandman and Steve Corino.

Three of these four wrestlers are wearing or have worn the ECW Heavyweight Title. Justin Credible had about a 6-month title reign before dropping the belt to Jerry Lynn at Anarchy Rulz last month. The Sandman is a three time champion way back in 1995 and 1996. The only man not to have held the top belt in ECW is Steve Corino.

Corino will make his November 2 Remember debut as a wrestler this Sunday and he has managed to work his way up to the main event in ECW's top show of the year. I asked Corino about this and he said that being in the main event at November 2 Remember "Is certainly an honor. I have worked very hard to get to this spot and don't want to let anyone down in this very unique match. It is the first of its kind and I am excited to be a part of it."

Since the Double Jeopardy match is the first of its kind there should be no clear-cut advantage to any one of the wrestlers. This concept isn't just confusing to the fans; it's confusing to the participants as well. When I asked Steve about his strategy going into this match he said, "I'm still trying to figure the concept of the match out, so it is tough to get a strategy ready." This should definitely make for an unpredictable match. With four wrestlers and two matches going on simultaneously anything can happen.

As for my prediction on the match, I see it coming down to Justin Credible and Jerry Lynn with Lynn successfully retaining his title.

My Prediction: Jerry Lynn

Corino's Prediction: Steve Corino

If you don't do it already be sure to check out Steve's excellent site at www.SteveCorino.com

As for the rest of the card here are my predictions:

Rhino vs. New Jack - TV Championship Match

New Jack gets a rare title shot in his first PPV match since he was "Living Dangerously" with Grimes back in March.

Prediction: Rhino

FBI vs. Mikey Whipwreck & Tajiri - Tag Team Championship

These two teams had the best tag team match of the year back in August at the Hammerstein Ballroom when the FBI won the belts. I expect the same type of match again except with a different winner.

Prediction: Mikey and Tajiri

Da Baldies vs. Mahoney & Chilly Willy - Flaming Table Match

Balls always seems to find trouble. We've seen him exposed to just about everything including fire, thumbtacks, explosives and I'm sure much more. I have a feeling he'll end up finding trouble yet again

Prediction: Da Baldies

Super Crazy vs. C.W. Anderson

Finally, Super Crazy has come back to ECW. It's been long overdue. In his return bout the top luchadore meets face to face with an Anderson. As C.W. would say this is a "classic example of the collision between airborne and infantry". I expect this match to be the best match without a title on the line. Everyone thinks that Super Crazy will come out on top but I smell an upset.

Prediction: C.W. Anderson

Chris Chetti vs. Nova

Former tag team partners square off in this grudge match. Chetti has the advantage of having Lou E. and a cell phone in his corner. I think this will be the difference in this matchup.

Prediction: Chetti

Kid Kash, Doring & Roadkill vs. Diamond, Dinero & EZ Money

Is there anyone more over in ECW these days than Roadkill?

Prediction: Kash, Doring and Roadkill

I'm pretty fired up for this PPV (and not just because ECW announced 7 matches before the PPV). Each of the matches has the opportunity to be good and the World Title and Tag Team Title matches could be great. Throw in a returning Super Crazy, burning tables, former tag team partners going at it and chickens (pssst) and you have the making of a great PPV.

Be sure to check it out because if you miss it it'll be a regret you will never forget (Cue up Guns N' Roses' November Rain).

More good stuff next week. Send any comments or questions to me at kurtlamont@aol.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 11/06/2000
 

November to Remember Review

I was really impressed with the PPV last night. I thought it was the best ECW PPV since Heatwave 98. When you consider that this was a better show than last year, and that show had the 'star-power' of RVD, Taz, Awesome, Tanaka, Storm, and Raven on it, it is even more impressive.

I thought the commentating was much improved over previous shows, especially Cyrus. I think that there is a direct correlation with the quality of Cyrus' commentating and whether he is a part of The Network angle. When Cyrus is on his game I find him to be a better color commentator than Jerry Lawler (although probably not as good an artist).

Onto the matches: Simon & Swinger vs. York & Matthews The way York and Matthews act reminds me a lot of the Rockers from way back when. Of course neither will be HBK but then again who is. Solid opening match.

2.75 out of 4.00

Kid Kash vs. CW Anderson

Although there were a couple of missed spots in the match this was one of my favorite matches of the night. The thing I really liked is that the traditional 'finisher' didn't get the pin. I think 'finshers' are overrated, but that's another column for another time. The point is, is if you think a match can end at any time the match has you hanging on the whole time. This did that for me.

3.25 / 4.00

Money/Dinero/Hamrick vs. Doring/Roadkill/Spike

It's good to see Spike back, especially without the knee brace. This was a good way to get him in a match to get the feel of the ring back. Maybe it's just me but when Doring comes out there's a small pop. When Roadkill comes out there's a huge pop. Doring is better as a heel. Roadkill is better as a face. I'd like to see them split and go at it in singles for a while. Then down the road if it doesn't work, you'll get a big pop for the reunion.

3.00 / 4.00

Chetti vs. Nova

How bad would this match have been if we knew Chetti was leaving ECW before the PPV? That's one of the bad things about the internet, but a lot of people kept this pretty quiet, so when the stipulation was announced the match took on a much greater importance.

With all of that Chetti pulled out one of his best matches in ECW. The intensity in this match was excellent. The match itself was solid.

3.00 / 4.00

I assume the jump to the WWF is based on financial reasons on Chetti's part. When you are a new father it's probably good to now that you'll be paid no matter what happens. He'll have that certainty now. As for the WWF's interest in Chetti, it doesn't make too much sense to me. They are loaded and he doesn't seem to do anything terribly impressive but they know talent better than I do. Apparently we now know that the "dirt sheets" think Chetti was one of the top 10 wrestlers in ECW.

Baldies vs. Chilly Willy & Balls

Wow, there were some stiff moves in this match. The crowd just ate this match up like crazy. Brawling through the crowd is good when you are there in person but on TV it's just not the same. They held the interest better than most of the ECW crowd brawls though. I was shocked to see Angel go through the table. I thought Balls was the only one allowed to do that.

3.25 / 4.00

On a side note, after someone goes through a flaming table you'd think that there would be better preparation to make sure that the person going through is extinquished. I see a couple people trying to put it out with 12 ounce water bottles with small necks. Why not use something where the water comes out QUICKLY, like a super-sized cup with no top or a bucket that you can dump on him.

Rhino vs. New Jack

I don't like New Jack matches in general but this was worse than usual. And then putting it after another brawl that was much better made this look worse. No surprises here.

2.00 / 4.00

FBI vs. Tajiri & Mikey/Super Crazy

I think I was the only one not to realize Super Crazy was coming out after Mikey was "hurt" (a neck brace and stretcher for a shoulder injury?). Nevertheless, his return was great and the moonsault was just insane. I was shocked to see that Tajiri and Crazy didn't win, especially from a move that didn't look like something that should pin Tajiri. I thought it was a certainty that they'd win after Crazy came out. Hopefully they get another shot down the road.

3.50 / 4.00

Jerry Lynn vs. Sandman vs. Justin Credible vs. Steve Corino

The work in the match was really good, although the late entrance by the Sandman was lame. The concept for this match is interesting and I think they can make it work even better in the future. I thought that Lynn had this match won when it appeared that Corino was the heel in the Sandman/Corino part of the match. My thinking being that Corino was a lock in my mind to advance so Lynn would be the face counterpart. Lynn being the new champ, superior wrestler, and more over wrestler would seem to be the logical one to win the match. Then both heels won their portion of the match, Corino (who was swatting beers and Dawn Marie away at the time) over Sandman and Credible over Lynn. I can see why the crowd would be pissed. You have 2 guys fighting for a title that the fans weren't cheering for during the match up to that point. As for the Corino / Credible portion of the match I expected to see Credible win, especially after Dawn Marie turned on Corino so I was surprised to see Corino get the pinfall. Excellent match.

3.50 / 4.00

Putting the title on Corino to me is a very, very puzzling move. Here's a guy that has been an active singles wrestler in ECW for less than a year and now he has the top belt in the company? And it's not like he has had the big build that Goldberg or Kurt Angle had before they won their company's top title. Goldberg had the huge win streak in WCW and Angle won every legitimate singles belt that the WWF has over the past year. On PPV this year Corino lost to Dusty Rhodes, Tajiri, Jerry Lynn and defeated CW Anderson before N2R. Off of PPV this year Corino hasn't had what I consider a real credible win over anyone that would make you think he is World Title worthy. Sure he's had good matches with both Credible and Lynn but I don't think competing in a match improves your image in the fans eyes if you don't win.

Rhino is the one that's received the monster push, he hasn't been beaten clean in forever, it seems (and I'm in no way endorsing Rhino to be a World Champ anytime soon). If Rhino had a match with Corino today wouldn't you think that Rhino would win easily? Why should the TV Champ be considered superior to the World Champ? It's happened before (Taz, RVD) and it's happening again.

It's the same thing with RVD. If he came back from making movies today wouldn't you expect him to beat Corino with ease if they faced? I realize that's a mark-ish comment, but perception is reality and I think the reality is that I don't think Corino is a legitimate champion at this point.

Don't get me wrong. I think Steve Corino is a really good wrestler right now. I think he'll be a great wrestler and a worthy champion down the road. I just don't think that time is now.

I haven't even started about how I think Jerry Lynn was screwed again but that's another column for another time. Overall, this was ECW's 2nd best PPV ever behind Heatwave 98.

Overall: 3.50 / 4.00

Going forward I see a quick heel turn by Corino. I've been sensing this for a couple weeks now with his actions toward Dawn Marie and the Sandman. With the title around his waist it makes sense, as his main combatants will most likely be faces.

More good stuff next week. Contact me with questions or comments at kurtlamont@yahoo.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 11/16/2000
 

The Clique Grows?

Scott Hall made his debut in ECW this past weekend. His presence gives ECW a nice shot in the arm at an ideal time. While I wouldn't expect him to have a long tenure in ECW, you never know what will happen. This is really a no lose situation for ECW. ECW has a very minimal investment in Hall so even if he were to bolt tomorrow they lose nothing of significance. And the potential gain certainly outweighs anything else. His appearance already caused quite a buzz over the past weekend. I'd imagine that buzz would return if Hall were to make an appearance in Manhattan on December 3rd.

Hall reportedly made his way to ECW by contacting Heyman through his friend and Clique member Justin Credible. If this is the case then it shows willingness on his part that he wants to work. He could very easily sit at home and do nothing after collecting a big paycheck for doing just that over the last year or so. I would also expect Hall to be on his best behavior. He is currently working on gaining more custody rights with his children so he is less likely to do anything wrong since that would hurt his case. It looks like there is a definite willingness from Hall to make this deal work with ECW.

So now the number of Clique members in ECW is 2. The question I have is: Why stop there? Why not make it 3 with Shawn Michaels?

While on the surface this sounds like a ridiculous statement. However, if you think about it the possibility is definitely plausible.

Do I think this will happen? Probably not. But do I think that there's a possibility of this happening? Definitely, and let me tell you why.

Almost a year ago there was interest on both sides of having Shawn Michaels come into ECW. The main reason that this didn't happen was that Michael's first child was being born right around that time. That wouldn't be as much of an issue now and it's not like he would have to work a full time schedule. He could pick and choose his spots as it fit both parties. Sure there would need to be something worked out with the WWF since Michaels is still employed by them, but Vince has been willing to lend a hand to ECW in the past, there's no reason to believe that he wouldn't be willing to do it again.

Why would HBK want to do this? Well, for one it would allow him to perform once again which I'm sure he misses. It would also reunite him with Scott Hall and Justin Credible who I'm sure he would be willing to help out; Credible to help ECW out and Hall to resuscitate his career.

There has been a working relationship with Michaels and ECW. Justin Credible and the Sandman have both made appearances for HBK's promotion in Texas, TWA. Also, several of Michaels' students have wrestled on ECW shows before and have received good reviews. If ECW were to land a national deal and needed to produce 2 hours of TV each week ECW would most likely be in need of some more wrestlers. So if HBK helps ECW out, ECW could help HBK out.

After the PPV in NY on December 3rd ECW is scheduled to travel to Texas the following weekend for a couple of shows. HBK lives in Texas. Pretty convenient, eh?

More good stuff next week. If you have any questions or comments send them to me at kurtlamont@yahoo.com. If you want to start a rumor send your e-mail to Dave Meltzer. He'll be sure to post it right away.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 11/28/2000
 

Massacre on 34th Street Preview

At long last we have an announced card. While it probably isn't something set in stone without it we would have no PPV Preview column!

Tommy Dreamer v. C.W. Anderson

A rivalry from a few months ago is brought back with this grudge match. Tommy is the master at putting guys over. Tommy's last singles win on PPV was back at Living Dangerously in March 1998 (although there were a number of tag team wins with numerous partners). I don't see things being any different here. It's too bad other wrestlers aren't as selfless as Tommy.

Prediction: CW Anderson

Mikey Whipwreck and Yoshihiro Tajiri v. Super Crazy and a partner of his choice

I'd like to see no mystery partner and have this turn into a 3 way dance but that's unlikely. If I were to guess the mystery partner I would guess it's someone already in ECW. Kid Kash would seem like a natural fit for this match in my mind. You know what to expect with these 3 so it will be tough not to have a good match no matter who the 4th wrestler ends up being.

Prediction: Whipwreck & Tajiri

TV Title Match - Spike Dudley v. Rhino

My initial thought would be that Spike would be a rag doll for Rhino much like he was for Mike Awesome at the beginning of the year. Then after thinking about the current state of ECW I thought Rhino might have his main event push accelerated by dropping the belt and being added to the main event mix. Now I'm just confused. I hope Spike wins, and sparks an interesting title reign with the TV Belt that we aren't seeing now, but I'm going with my initial instinct.

Prediction: Rhino

Tag Team Championship - FBI v. Doring & Roadkill

A very interesting stipulation was added to this match. If Doring and Roadkill lose, they will be forced to split up as a team. I've written on a few occasions that I thought it would be good for Doring & Roadkill to split because I think Doring is a better heel and Roadkill is a better face. If they did split ECW would still be left with the FBI, Mikey & Tajiri, Simon& Swinger, Hot Commodity, York & Matthews, and the Baldies left as tag teams. That seems like a strong enough tag team roster to have without Doring and Roadkill in the mix so the possibility of them losing is truly there. I can see this match going either way. If this match is done well it could easily be the match of the night.

Prediction: Doring & Roadkill

ECW Heavyweight Title - Steve Corino v. Justin Credible v. Jerry Lynn

ECW's last 3 Heavyweight Champions face off to in this matchup for the title. Since Steve Corino did not pin Lynn to win the title at November to Remember there is the question of him being a legitimate champion in some people's minds. I think Lynn should take the gold back but I expect Corino to pin both wrestlers and retain the belt to "legitimize" his championship reign.

Prediction: Steve Corino

Thanksgiving Leftovers:

ECWWreslting.com says that "in addition to the announced matches, Hot Commodity, New Jack, The Sandman, Simon Diamond, Swinger, Da Baldies, Balls Mahoney and the rest of Team Extreme will be on hand to deliver Seasons Beatings." Who knows what else will be added to the show but there are a lot of combinations that can deliver strong matches. As always there is the chance for a big surprise. We'll find out on Sunday if it truly will be a "Massacre on 34th Street".

If you want to give your predictions for the show go to the ECW News.com message board by clicking on the left hand column of the main page or by clicking here (http://sportsonly.com/a/14404/)

I will be at the show this Sunday and I'll be back next Monday with my review and rating of the show. As always, more good stuff next week. Send any comments, questions of concerns to me at kurtlamont@yahoo.com.



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 12/04/2000
 

I initially was going to my match ratings for the PPV but I want to see the show on tape before I do that as there are things you miss when you are in attendance as I was. Overall, I thought the show was pretty good. You got nearly everything you expect out of ECW: good wrestling, lots of high spots, innovation, and tables & chairs in matches. In terms of ECW PPVs it was probably slightly above average. On the minus side of things I went 5-5 on my PPV predictions, including correctly guessing Kash as the mystery partner of Crazy, so the show was a little too predictable.

The match of the night was easily Mikey/Tajiri vs. Crazy/Kash. If you saw the match you probably wouldn't dispute that. The match that surpassed my expectations going in was Tommy Dreamer vs. CW Anderson. I'm liking that match the more I think about it. The match that didn't meet my expectations was the FBI vs. Doring & Roadkill. While the match wasn't bad by any means, it could have been a lot better. When the stipulation that Doring & Roadkill would split as a team if they lost was added to the match it is imperative that you have a few false finishes. You have to think that the match can go either way and there was nothing like that in this match.

The one thing that stuck out to me like a sore thumb was how disinterested the crowd was in the main event, especially after Jerry Lynn was eliminated. They were chanting for the Sandman and chanting at Francine but hardly reacted to what was going on in the match. I know Corino likes to be a tweener but it's causing people not to care about him one way or another. Credible is pretty established as a heel so they're not cheering for him (although interestingly he did get some face pops). It led to a pretty flat match even though there was nothing wrong with the work of the match from any of the wrestlers. The last time at Hammerstein when Corino and Credible faced off Corino was definitely established as a face and the match came off great. Everything that night hit, everything last night was flat.

It's also obvious that Sandman is extremely over and should be put in serious contention for the title and not just as a glorified jobber as he's been much of the last year. It looks like this is ECW's path to the next PPV which is good because Sandman is one of the few legitimate draws in ECW.

Bump of the night: There are many candidates for this one; Tony Mamaluke crashing into the guard rail, Mikey taking the rana onto the table on the floor, Tajiri's table stomp on chairs on Crazy's chest, Spike's balcony dive, etc. However, I think the worst bump came in the dark match when New Jack knocked Devito off the apron and he landed squarely on my left foot. Don't worry though, I came out of it with only a small bruise. Later in the show I ended up taking a few drops of green mist. Just part of being an ECW fan live at a show. And here is a secret of wrestling: the green mist comes out nicely with soap and water.

Be sure to check back later this week as I'll score each of the matches and probably give some thoughts on the current state of ECW.

Send any comments, questions, or concerns to me at kurtlamont@yahoo.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 12/19/2000
 

We're nearing the end of the year and I thought that with only one scheduled show left this year I could look back at the major events of the year 2000 in ECW.

It's been another crazy year in ECW. Going into 2000 there was much optimism among most. ECW had finally secured a national TV deal in the latter half of 1999 and it was expected that with that deal ECW would bigger and better than ever. However, as time went on, and relations with TNN worsened until the point where ECW and TNN parted ways, this growth was not seen in 2000. Of course that could turn around with a good TV deal, hard work and a little luck.

Which makes me thinkÖ..Do you think Alex Rodriguez is an ECW fan AND a philanthropist?

Anyway, here is a month-by-month look at ECW this year.

January

1/9    The Impact Players, Lance Storm and Justin Credible, defeat Raven & Tommy Dreamer for their first Tag Team Championship at Guilty as Charged

1/14   Jerry Lynn injures his ankle, forcing him out of action for several months

1/15    Dusty Rhodes appears at the ECW Arena taking out Steve Corino and Jack Victory before being gored by Rhino

1/29   Rob Van Dam breaks his leg against Rhino in a match in Orlando, Fl, sidelining him until Hardcore Heaven in May

February

2/4    Sabu signs a contract with WCW despite having a valid ECW contract

2/11   Pitbull #1 returns and teams with Tommy Dreamer & Sandman against Steve Corino, Jack Victory & Rhino at an ECW House Show from Washington D.C.

2/17    Acclaim releases ECW's first video game, Hardcore Revolution

2/25    Sabu returns to work for ECW for the first time against Mikey Whipwreck at an ECW House Show from Toledo, OH.

2/26   Tommy Dreamer and Tanaka defeat the Impact Players for the Tag Team Belts March

3/3    ECW has their first explosion match with Balls Mahoney taking on Vic Grimes at an ECW on TNN Taping from Asbury Park, N.J.

3/4    Rob Van Dam is stripped of the TV Title by The Network

3/4    Sabu returns to work for ECW for the first time since attempting to go to WCW and then quits ECW after refusing to do a job to Super Crazy

3/4    Raven & Mike Awesome defeat Tommy Dreamer & Masato Tanaka to win the Tag Team Titles

3/12  Super Crazy defeats Rhino in the finals of the TV Title Tournament to win the vacant TV Title at Living Dangerously

3/12  The Impact Players defeat Dreamer & Tanaka and Awesome & Raven in a 3 way dance to regain the Tag Team Titles

3/12   Also at Living Dangerously Rhino gored Lori Fullington through a table

3/12   New Jack is seriously injured during his match with Grimes after a terrible fall from scaffolding

April

4/8    Tajiri defeats Super Crazy and Guido in a 3 way dance to win the TV Title

4/10   Mike Awesome appears on the first edition of the Russo-Bischoff era of WCW's Nitro while he is ECW Heavyweight Champion

4/13  Tazz makes his return to ECW defeating Mike Awesome for the ECW Heavyweight Championship in Indianapolis

4/18  Tommy Dreamer appears on Smackdown and costs Tazz a match against HHH when his interference backfires

4/22  Cyberslam Q & A - A good time is had by all

4/22  Tazz is defeated by Tommy Dreamer for the ECW Heavyweight Championship. Raven comes to the ring after the match to embrace Dreamer

4/22  After Dreamer's victory Justin Credible comes out, throws down the Tag Team Belts, challenges Dreamer for the Title and subsequently wins the Belt after Francine turns on Tommy

4/22  Rhino defeats Tajiri for the TV Title.

May

5/6   Tommy Dreamer and New Jack appear on CBS' Early Edition

5/14  Jerry Lynn defeats Rob Van Dam at Hardcore Heaven after Scotty Anton turns on RVD

5/14  Rhino piledrives Lori Fullington off the ring apron through the table before defeating Sandman

5/14  Justin Credible defeats former tag team partner Lance Storm to retain the ECW Heavyweight Title

5/15  Lance Storm announces he has signed with WCW

June

6/3   In the main event of a house show in Pensacola, FL, Sandman exposes himself to the crowd in an apparent drunken state. He is subsequently suspended

6/9   Frustrated with TNN, Paul Heyman shoots on the ECW-TNN situation on that week's edition of ECW on TNN. TNN shows the shoot but the audio cannot be heard

6/16  In an apparent attempt by TNN to get back by at ECW and Paul Heyman, TNN runs an Arena Bowl promo at the end of the ECW on TNN main event between Credible and Lynn

6/24   ECW News.com reports that the ECW Arena (aka Viking Hall) is officially up for sale

6/24  Gorgeous George debuts at an ECW on TNN Taping from Chicago, IL.

6/27  TNN and WWFE win their legal battle with USA to show WWF's RAW

6/29  TNN announces that effective 9/22 ECW on TNN will be cancelled

July

7/8   Bobby Eaton makes an appearance at the ECW Arena to confront the Dangerous Alliance

7/16  Psicosis makes his return to ECW at Heat Wave 2000

7/16  ECW debuts in Los Angeles for Heatwave 2000. Justin Credible defeats Tommy Dreamer in a Stairway to Hell match. During the main event there was a disturbance caused by the local Indy promotion, XPW

7/22  Billy Corgan was interrupted by Lou E Dangerously during a performance at a ECW show in Peoria, IL. Corgan ended up smashing a guitar over Lou E's head

August

8/2  Rob Van Dam appears on TNN's 18 Wheels of Justice

8/25  ECW makes its debut at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, NY. The Tag Team Belts were won by Mikey Whipwreck and Tajiri in a 12 team tournament

8/26  The FBI defeat Whipwreck and Tajiri for the Tag Team Championship. Tony Mamaluke becomes an official member of the FBI with the victory

8/26  Kid Kash pins Rhino to win the TV Title. This match turned into an ECW vs. Network match as nearly the entire lockerroom were fighting at ringside

8/29  ECW's Extreme Evolution video is released

September

9/9  ECW made its debut in Canada. Rhino defeats Kid Kash in an impromptu match to regain the TV Title

9/22  The supposed final show of ECW on TNN is concluded with Joey Styles saying "tune in next week"

9/23  It's reported that the WWF waived their exclusivity clause with TNN and allowed ECW to continue to air on TNN through the end of 2000

October

10/1  At Anarchy Rulz, Jerry Lynn defeats Justin Credible in his home state of Minnesota for the ECW Heavyweight Championship

10/1  Joel Gertner pins Cyrus, effectively ending "The Network" Era

10/7   RVD defeats EZ Money in his last match in ECW before heading to Tailand to film Black Mask 2

10/11  ECW on TNN officially is removed from TNN as ECW will not agree to TNN's demands to remain on TNN

November

11/5  Before November to Remember, the Sinister Minister has a mishap with a fire-throwing device. He's taken to the hospital where he will later have surgery to remove shrapnel from his stomach and fingers reattached

11/5   Steve Corino wins the World Heavyweight Championship at November to Remember when he defeats Sandman, Jerry Lynn, and Justin Credible in the first ever Double Jeopardy match

11/5   After a long hiatus, Super Crazy teams up with Tajiri after Whipwreck is injured. The FBI pinned Tajiri to retain the belts

11/5   Chris Chetti loses in a loser leaves ECW match to Nova at the November To Remember 2000

11/10   Scott Hall makes his ECW debut at the Schenectady, New York house show where he teams up with Jerry Lynn to defeat Justin Credible and Rhino

11/24  Farmclub.com airs a portion of a Kid Kash vs. EZ Money match, ECW's first national cable exposure since leaving TNN

December

12/3  Steve Corino retains the World Heavyweight Title when he defeats Jerry Lynn and Justin Credible. After the match the Sandman clears house and takes the title declaring that it's his belt

12/15  The Dudley Boyz return to ECW to team up with Tommy Dreamer to defeat Simon, Swinger, and CW Anderson at the return to the Madhouse of Extreme

12/15  Tazz makes an appearance at the Queens show choking out heel ref Danny Daniels as Doring & Roadkill retain the Tag Team Belts against the Baldies.

12/16  New Jack announces his retirement from wrestling
 

Next week I will be back with my Dueling Chair Shots Year End Awards and the Top Ten ECW Matches in 2000. If you have any matches that you think should be included in the Top Ten list be sure to post them on the ECW News.com Message Board: http://sportsonly.com/a/14404/

CONTACT FARMCLUB AND USA

Be sure to keep sending the e-mails into USA Networks and Farmclub.com. Your e-mails are making a difference. This week on Farmclub.com a video aired featuring Steve Corino vs. Justin Credible. Before the video aired, host Matt Pinfield credited the huge response from the internet. We need to keep letting USA and Farmclub.com know that you want to see more of ECW. We need to keep letting USA and Farmclub.com know that we are now watching their program to see ECW. Please continue to send polite, positive emails to all these addresses.

If ECW fans don't send in e-mails, no one will. If you want to see ECW back on National TV take a couple minutes and tell Farmclub.com and USA Networks that you want to see more of ECW. Every little bit helps.

Send e-mails to:

shows@usanetwork.com

TV@FarmClub.com

Feedback@FarmClub.com

Send any comments, questions, or concerns to me at kurtlamont@yahoo.com



Dueling Chair Shots
by Kurt La Mont
Column date 12/28/2000
 

Year End Awards:
Voting for the 4th Annual ECW News.com awards are underway. Go to www.ECWNews.com to vote.

There are 10 awards that will be given out and there are 6 nominees for each award. I will let you know you I would vote for on each award and the runner up based on everything that's happened in ECW this year.

Wrestler of the Year: Yoshihiro Tajiri
This was an easy choice for me. No one has come close to matching the number of great matches that Tajiri has had this year. Tajiri has worked well as both a heel and a face. He can work a great match in a number of different styles whether it's a purely technical match or a match that is more a hardcore style. He can put on great singles matches and great tag team matches. This year his titles included the TV belt early in the year and the tag team belts that he won at the tag team tournament with Mikey Whipwreck in August. While his title reigns were both fairly short Tajiri was ECW's best and most consistent wrestler all year.
Runner up: Justin Credible

Tag Team of the Year: Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri
This duo was put together for the tag team tournament in August and instantly the chemistry between the two was unmatched in ECW. This team went onto win the Tag Team Tournament and put on 2 of the best matches of the year against the FBI and also against Kid Kash & Super Crazy. Throw in the Sinister Minister and this trio was also the most entertaining wrestlers outside of the ring.
Runner up: Impact Players

Manager of the Year: Sinister Minister
While others might have had more of an impact at ringside this year the Sinister Minister gets my vote some of the best promos we have seen in quite some time.
Runner up: Francine

ECW Rookie of the Year: Tony Mamaluke
The bump machine, Mamaluke joined ECW mid way through the year and quickly found his niche as the newest member of the FBI with Guido and Sal E. Together they produced a series of memorable matches with Whipwreck and Tajiri.
Runner up: EZ Money

Most Improved: Steve Corino
You don't show more improvement than going from a "manager in tights" to the World Champion in the same year and that is what Corino did in 2000. While wrestlers frequently talk about giving 100% all of the time to the point where it becomes a cliché Corino actually goes out and does just that every time he steps in the ring. The bumps that he has been taking over the past 4 months are incredible, especially the superplexes on the guardrail set up on chairs.
Runner up: C.W. Anderson

Biggest Draw: Sandman
No one seems to get a bigger pop when he comes out than the Sandman.
Runner up: Rob Van Dam

Finisher of the Year: Van Terminator
The Van Terminator was a new innovative move that only Rob Van Dam can hit. When he hits it you know the match is over.
Runner up: Gore (I suppose you can take Gore being runner up in more than one way)

Best PPV: November to Remember
ECW's showcase event of the year turned out to be the best card from top to bottom. This PPV had it all, great wrestling, great brawling, fire, Super Crazy's return, and the first ever Double Jeopardy match.
Runner up: Anarchy Rulz

Spot of the Year: Taz chokes out Awesome for the ECW Title
While there were plenty of spectacular spots this year I'm voting for the biggest shock; Taz returning from the WWF to choke out Mike Awesome who had left for WCW while he was still ECW Champion.
Runner up: Super Crazy's Moonsault at N2R

Top Ten Matches in ECW in 2000:
10. Mikey & Tajiri vs. FBI - Hammerstein Ballroom (8/26)
9. CW Anderson vs. Tommy Dreamer - Massacre on 34th Street (12/3)
8. Jado & Gedo vs. Impact Players - ECW Arena (3/4)
7. Tajiri vs. Super Crazy vs. Guido - Buffalo, NY (4/8)
6. Justin Credible vs. Steve Corino - Hammerstein Ballroom (8/26)
5. Tajiri vs. Psicosis - ECW Arena (8/19)
4. Corino vs. Credible vs. Sandman vs. Lynn - Double Jeopardy, N2R (11/1)
3. Mikey & Tajiri vs. Kash & Super Crazy - Massacre on 34th Street (12/3)
2. Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn - Hardcore Heaven (5/14)
1. Super Crazy vs. Tajiri - Mexican Death Match - ECW Arena (1/15)

Those are my votes. If you want your voice heard you can do that by voting on each of these 10 categories by clicking on the link on the main page. If you want to debate any or all of the categories you can post your thoughts at the ECW Message Board (http://sportsonly.com/a/14404/).

That's all for this year. You can send any comments, questions, or concerns to me at kurtlamont@yahoo.com.