ECW: FS Reprint
April 19, 2011
I wrote the following for my ďStorm FrontĒ article for ďFighting SpiritĒ Magazine, back in October, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
I want to talk about TNAís ECW reunion themed PPV ďHardcore Justice: The Last StandĒ, and the whole ECW phenomenon in general. It truly amazes me that the little company that everyone wanted to write off as an unimportant minor company that ran out of a Bingo Hall still has a presence today, nearly 10 years after it closed its doors.
I donít know how big of a presence it will have as far as drawing money because I am writing this article the morning of the show, but it does amaze me that in 2010 there are still forces trying to bring it back, and it may actually have more drawing power today (at least for a one time nostalgia show) than the current number two company in North America.
For those of you who didnít see the show or track down results from it, I did not take part in this latest reunion, despite being invited to do so. TNAís invitation surprised me somewhat seeing how outspoken and critical I am of their product. The invitation did come from Tommy Dreamer however, so perhaps hire ups in the company would have nixed my involvement on the show had I accepted.
The main reason I turned down this show was that I stand by my criticisms of TNA and I have no interest in being involved with a show that Vince Russo or whoever else currently books TNA has a hand in. TNAís vision of what wrestling is, is completely opposite to what I believe wrestling should be, so I saw no way that this experience would be a pleasant one, and judging by the way TNA built this show on television I think I made the right call.
The other reason I turned down the show was that Iíve really just put ECW behind me. I donít mean that to be disrespectful at all, I absolutely loved my time in ECW and have remained friends with many of the people I worked with there but for me ECW is in the past and I have no interest in going backwards at this stage of my life.
To best explain my views on ECW, I think the best analogy to use is life itself. Everyone has important stages in their lives that they feel very strongly about, and I think those stages in my life also reflect my career perfectly. For me my days in ECW were like my days in high school. It was the time in my career where I learned the most and made my biggest advancement as a performer. Much like my time in high school this was the time when I went from being a boy to becoming a man. Both of these periods were great which I remember fondly but they donít represent the bulk of my life or career.
Life did not end for me in ECW or high school. I moved on from both; after high school I went on to University, and after ECW I moved on to WCW. Again the comparison is very appropriate. University is meant to fine tune you for the final stage of your life, employment. After University you have to go out onto the big stage of life and earn your living. University is generally not as much fun as your days in high school and students are often just a number on a much larger enrollment sheet. WCW was exactly that for me; I was a much smaller cog in the much bigger machine of WCW. While I had success in WCW it was not a major stop in my career and while it prepared me for the big stage of WWE, it does not hold the sentimental value of my time in ECW nor did it play as big a part in my career as WWE.
WWE for me was the career portion of my life. For the most part itís wasnít as much fun as my time in ECW, and it was often a lot more stressful but itís where I earned my living and it truly was my final level of success. I performed on that big stage, and while I did not experience the ďAll Star TeamĒ level of success I may have felt in ECW, I achieved a greater over all level of success considering the size of the field. When I left WWE I viewed it as my retirement, and I was very happy with how my career worked out.
When One Night Stand came about in 2005 it was an opportunity for a high school reunion. I jumped at the chance to hang out with my old buddies and lace them up one last time for old timeís sake. ONS ended up being exactly that for me, it was a great reunion and a last farewell; it was a lot of fun, nothing more and nothing less.
The following year, at the Hardcore Homecoming reunion show at the ECW arena, I did a run in on the match between Justin Credible and Jerry Lynn. I agreed to do the show for the opportunity to see Justin and Jerry again, based primarily off the fun I had at ONS the year before. This experience was not the same, and on some level I regretted doing the show. I felt a very different atmosphere at this event. Where ONS felt like a fun look back and tribute to the past, this show felt more like an attempt to cling to that past. While that was certainly not the case for everyone there, I sensed many of the people in the locker room were bitter about there current place in the industry and were trying to rekindle a flame long ago burnt out. I felt the over all mood of the show to be a sad one and I felt out of place. I had moved on from my ECW days and was quite happy with the way things had worked out for me.
My experience at Hardcore Homecoming was the main reason I turned down the chance to join the ECW re-launch in WWE. As tempted as I was when I heard Paul Heyman would be in charge and this might actually be a chance to do it all over again; I realized that you canít go home again and I really had no need or desire to do it all over again, I had been there, done that, and while I loved every minute of it, Iíd moved on. After watching the ECW re-launch, then its WWE bastardization, and ultimately its demise, I was glad I had not taken part.
So when TNA decided to resurrect ECW one more time, there was no question in my mind I would pass on any involvement. As much as I might enjoy seeing Dreamer and The Dudleys again, you canít go home again, at least I canít. I thank all of those I worked with in ECW and all the fans that supported it over the years, but for me ECW ended in May of 2000, and ONS in 2005 was my last farewell to that great time in my life.
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