August 30, 2013

ECW 1-20

Quarter Marshall here, reporting on things great and wonderful from the historical history of professional wrestling.  The topic today: ECW.  The promotion was briefly a touchstone of conversation at our last get-together, and I was forced to admit complete ignorance.  Sure, I've seen the Rise and Fall of ECW, and I've watched all of the Eddie Guerrero-Dean Malenko matches from their 1995 feud, but that's about it.  I'm familiar with the iconic characters, and of course the reputation ECW had for being cutting-edge, influential, and inspiring a cultish fanbase which to this day imbues every wrestling crowd in America with chants of Eee-Cee-Dub!  In order to get a taste of this zeal, I've been watching Hardcore TV chronologically from it's inception in April 1993.  I'm 20 episodes (4.5 months) deep, which seemed like a reasonable juncture to stop into SCW Online and drop some of my reactions on you.  Also, for your viewing enjoyment, I've assembled a highlight reel of my personal favorite moments.

First off, when I'm talking about ECW here, it's still Eastern Championship Wrestling.  "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert is still head booker, and the main heel in the company.  He's associated with Jimmy Snuka, Don Muraco, his brother Doug (as The Dark Patriot), his brother Freddy, and their manager Paul E Dangerously.  They collectively feud with at least half of the babyfaces.  Heyman's presence on the show is profound.  After debuting on the fifth show (with high audience recognition, since he'd been a manager in WCW for about five years) he quickly earns one of the top heel spots, and edges out the original color commentator (Stevie Wonderful) so that his voice is all over the product.  Promos, interviews, commentary, ads.  It's often his infectious passion, devious wit, and brilliant salesmanship that hold the shows together with a feeling of constant intensity.  Of course, things haven't even started to heat up yet, but for it's time, it was pretty wicked.

The shows have provided a cool opportunity to watch some guys that I've heard of, but rarely seen in action.  Namely: Eddie Gilbert, Chris Candido, Ivan Koloff, Jimmy Snuka, and Don Muraco.  Of the bunch, I'd have to say that Snuka's ring work is the most entertaining (his splash looks absolutely sick) and Don Muraco's promos are my personal favorite, though Gilbert's a natural on the stick as well.  The only talent I've seen who I like but hadn't heard of was "Wildman" Sal Bellomo, a big buffoon kind of character who's billed from Italy and dresses like a centurion.  The shows have also provided opportunity to see more from a few of my favorites, being Heyman, Terry Funk, and Stan Hansen.  The only iconic Extreme CW guy I've seen so far is Sandman, but to my shocking surprise he works in a wetsuit and comes out to Surfin USA by the Beach Boys.  He's a top player nonetheless.

It takes about three months for the show to start feeling really different from other wrestling programs of the time.  The first balcony spot (by Dark Patriot and JT Smith) was performed in June, and the show's opening video is updated in July, featuring the most violent and raunchy footage compiled from the show's brief tenure.  Almost every show ends in some kind of melee or beatdown.  Angles are kept hot, titles are coveted, and promo time is used efficiently.  Already, the fans have noticeably become bigger marks for the good guys, and the crowds have grown.  The oft-repeated tagline for the show was "It's not for everyone", which (ironically) is as good a sales pitch as anything.

As much as I've enjoyed it, I'm really looking forward to the rebranding (which was foreshadowed on the most recent show I watched, as it debuted a happy shiny Shane Douglas).  I'm looking forward to more pissed-off WCW guys coming to Philly to air their grievances.  I'm looking forward to having context for some of the iconic ECW moments, and witnessing the feuds step by step.  Most of all, I'm looking forward to Joey Styles, my favorite commentator aside from Jim Ross.  Encyclopedic knowledge of technical wrestling and a good scream once in a while is my cup of tea.  *sip*  Mmmmm.

Well that was my rant, so here as promised is the highlight reel:

1. Sandman promo (2nd show, 4/12/93)
2. Terry Funk promo (5th show, 5/04)
3. Paul E promo (6th show, (5/11)
4. Terry Funk promo (6th show, (5/11)
5. JT Smith/Dark Patriot spot (from live event, broadcast on 12th show, 6/22)
6. Stan Hansen vs. Jimmy Snuka (19th show, 8/17)

The bald, bearded, and abused guy in #2 is Tod Gordon, the ECW founder/owner/president.  I meant to include another clip which featured Gordon being casually strangled during a wild-assed Stan Hansen promo, so I'll put that on the next reel.

August 20, 2013

MMS: Give 'Em Enough Claw

I didn't mention it in the podcast, but there was another mini-episode of "Ashes" which again hints toward a complete reboot of the Chikara universe.  [watch]

August 18, 2013

Poncho Man's Sumerslam Preview

Woo. Totally forgot to do this yesterday. I was in post live wrestling fog. Got home at like 3:30 and went to work at 8:30. So much fun seeing you guys. I kinda said this to the Marshall before I left, but it's really awesome and meaningful to have friends that are as into this stupid shit as much as I am. So we're a few hours away....hope you get to this before the show. Yes?

Dean Ambrose Vs. RVD for the United States Title
I said this the other day..."Did I call it or did I call it?" As in, I said I was excited for a RVD/Ambrose feud. This will probably not be an ongoing feud and if RVD wins...we'll know The Shield is in the dog house. Anyways...RVD has been great since his return. I'm excited to watch this at work today. Can't wait to see the host of Summerslam "The Miz" on the pre-show probably hanging out and talking. They should just change the name from Pre-show to "Miz-Show."

Natalya Vs. Brie Bella
Watched Total Divas yet? It's so totally rad. It totally makes me happy. It's totally awesome! Only teetotalers totally don't like Total Divas. Tyson Kidd totally isn't making love to Natty enough. Brie is totally moving to Phoenix so she can totally be with her dog. I totally see Trinity (Naiomi I think) and John (Jey Uso) totally getting married in a few years, and Rikishi will totally be there to totally celebrate. I totally love my Total Divas.


Cody Rhoades Vs. Damien Sandow
Kinda sad that this isn't a Ladder Match for the briefcase. Maybe they think they can get a few matches out of this. These guys are so good. Too bad they won't get very much time, but I'm super stoked for this match.

Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs Big E Langston & AJ Lee
5. 5. 5....things about this match....
1. Has anybody noticed Kaitlyn's weird non-Six Pack that just looks like one big cut muscle on top of her stomach. I'm probably the only one.
2. Ziggles talks about he's the next "man"...but he's really great in that #2 position.
3. Why does no one seem to understand what is going on in AJ's mind. Her facial expressions seem to make it easy. Silly announcers.
4. Big E is rad.
5. I don't really care about this match.

Kane Vs. Bray Wyatt Ring Of Fire Match
Glad that he's working with Kane. Means that he'll have a really sharp tight competitor that won't let him remotely fuck up. Glad no one is supposed to be set on fire like the Inferno matches. I know they won't do it...but man it would be great if this was some crazy storyline dealing with cults and the Brothers of Destruction etc. But, we're too stupid to follow anything that isn't super simplistic and we forget what happened 3 weeks ago (like how I totally forgot about Santa Claus).

Alberto Del Rio Vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Title
Speaking of which....this match will have lots of kicking. It will also have lots of looking. I wish Christian had done some funny promos.

CM Punk Vs. Brock Lesnar
This is going to be brutal. I can't wait.

John Cena Vs. DBD for the WWE Championship
We already talked about this. Yeah sure, it's a little reminiscent of the Punk/Cena feud. I really don't know what will happen. It's a perfect storm for wrestling. Everyone loves DBD. Cena we love to hate. This is going to be rad.

5 hours away. I'll start watching around 11. Gonna be a late night. Out.

August 08, 2013

A non wrestling post about wrestling

It's rare that we post like this. And it only really happens when something crazy happens in wrestling. Well, I'm 2 weeks behind on raw. I have no idea what's going on. So I think we are all inspired to post because of the Poncho Man's super awesome tour diary. I loved reading them. That kind of weird shit is welcome here at SCW if you ask me. I haven't toured since 2009 so I really appreciated reading about it. You captured the weirdness and feeling of tour. So thanks for posting.

Marshal. Poncho. It sounds like we all come from a long line of wrestling fans. My dad introduced me to it as a kid. He doesn't watch consistently but goes to live shows and watches it with me when I'm visiting. All his red neck brothers watch it still, which I find super weird because they are really weird. His dad, my grandpa was a avid Portland wrestling fan into the 70's. My dad has very few fond memories of his dad but one was staying up late in the mid 60's with a tray of cheese and crackers and watching wrestling ( and the creature feature after it ). How cool is that. My grandpa was born in 1919 in the deep south. I dunno what wrestling came out of Tennessee but I'll bet he soaked it up until they moved to Oregon in 1962. He probably saw some classic shit.

A few days ago I was flipping thru the upper channels of our mega cable when maren interrupted me. She said we had to go meet our friends for dinner. That made me mad. Not because I didn't want to go but because I just stumbled on some ESPN classic channel that was showing Global wrestling. I was super stoked. Booker T was on the screen. I pleaded that we gotta stay. I told maren that she loved Booker T. She glared at me and we left. That show reminded me. Summer 1992. I watched some low budget wrestling every single day. I think it was on at about noon or 1. I still cant place what promotion it was. I know it wasn't WCW or WWF. I knew those well. It could have been Global. Dunno. But I remember loving it even tho i knew it was cheap.

I gotta catch up on wrestling dudes. Goodnight!!!!

Adventure Response Time

Ravaging D*** Dude, 

These have been some of the most entertaining posts I've ever seen on this site YOU ARE A WRESTLING G--O--D

You may have invented (or just perfected) the Wrestling Road Trip/Bender, which is something I really want to do now.

My great-grandmother-in-law went to Portland wrestling and threw cabbage at the heels.  Maybe our great-grand-relatives had a wrestling blog, too.  That would have to've been on, like, geocities or angelfire or something.  Damn, those people were old.

I heard a DBD interview once where he said something to the effect that "wrestling is like some kind of bizarre performance art" (paraphrasing).  I think the three of us are each drawn to the aesthetic absurdity which embodies the unreality of pro wrestling.  We look at it from several points of view at once, and when the pieces are added up, they equal greater than 100%, because each perspective brings with it the luggage of emotional memory.  I watch wrestling as a kid, as a teenager, and as an adult all at the same time.  It's impossible for me to grow out of it or lose interest.

Today I was trying to fix an old TV, and I happened to flip to ESPN Classic, which was airing GWF, or Global Wrestling Federation.  I've dated the episode to 1992 or 1993, and it was total shit but I ate it up like nobody's business.  Did you guys know that Harlem Heat was initially known as The Ebony Experience?  Booker T and Stevie Ray were the only people I recognized from the broadcast.  That would be like if Kai En Tai were originally called The Yellow Fever.  That's racist, so don't laugh!

This was supposed to be a comment, but then I wrote too much.  Damn writing, why am I even thinking, let alone writing?  What's this beer for anyway?  Swig o' beer for the workin' man *Slurp*

Back to business,
Q Marshall

PS is your full first name Sandal?

August 07, 2013

Adventures In PonchoLand Vol. III

August 3rd, 2013. Triple T wakes up with a runny nose. He is allergic to cats. This gets fixed with a shower, a Zyrtec, and the Bohemian Bracelet maker waiting for me on the kitchen counter. Later a small child shoots me with a Nerf gun, so I throw him in the pool. I threatened a power bomb, but the small child knew not to mess with the Poncho Man. This was the Poncho Man's birthday and he went to the mall. His giant mutton chops, Lakers jersey, flip flops, and safety sunglasses were not the hip fashion. The final show of the tour was at the "Rogue." It was gross, but the group did their final DDP Yoga stretches outside. Got into the van and spent 21 hours driving back to Eugene.

August 5th, 2013. Poncho meets his parents in Ashland. Luckily, they let him watch Monday Night Raw. They also tell him that Portland wrestling superstar Dutch Savage passed away on August 3rd. The Poncho Dad tells the story of how Great Grandma would go watch the matches every Saturday when she lived outside of Portland.

August 7th, 2013. Just finished watching last weeks NXT. Really enjoyed the Zayn/Dallas vs Cesaro/Kruger match. The whole show was good minus Mason Ryan being a worthless piece of trash.

In conclusion, Poncho Man has no idea if this was actually entertaining or needed to be done. He'll soon be back to his normally scheduled routine, but this has been a crazy 3 weeks or so. Poncho looks back and kinda realizes the point to all this was that he lives a pretty wrestling filled life. Even before he got back into it (big time in the last few years, partly thanks to you two.....hats off) he was constantly making references or allusions to wrestling that most people wouldn't get, and he'd have to explain (or not).

I recently told The Marshall how impressed I was with his art and currently his dedication to his wrestling sketchbook project. It was completely fascinating looking at that stuff and seeing movement through another's eyes abstractly. Being a musician, I guess I could write songs about wrestling or write music that might be played on wrestling, but I have no interest in that. I think where it most inspires me is the sure absurdity of it all. I love art that is absurd (extreme volume, extreme virtuosity, extreme colors, etc). I love the fact that I've taught almost every person I know about "YES!" and how ridiculous it is, but people love doing it...even if they don't like wrestling.

Most of this tour/trip I've been super ridiculous positive. The last few years have been really tough and lonely and depressing for this was quite the change (Van+6 dudes is quite the change from underground living room by oneself). So as I said earlier...this mix of DDP Yoga, cigarettes, energy drinks, booze, wrestling references, and positivity is what the Poncho Man is all about.

I hope I didn't hijack this thing with non-wrestling talk too much. For some reason I just felt this was a good place to share.

OOOOoooooooooooh Yes!

The Continuing Adventures Of The Poncho Man.....

July 30th, 2013. Wake up at "The D" on Fremont Street. Immediately order a margarita from a slushie machine outside. Play a show in front of a couple hundred people for "Nickel Beer Night." Dubstep plays loudly between bands. Poncho gets scolded for dropping it like it's hot. Finally start gambling by playing one line on a penny slot. Over the course of about 24 hours...I go up 15 dollars playing this way.  I pass out watching "A Night Of Hoopla" in the hotel. The Jay Lethal vs Delirious match is one of the most highly recommended matches to watch. Looking at you Rusty!!!!!

July 31st, 2013. Everyone is still asleep, but it's DDP Yoga time. Ravage quietly does his stuff, and proceeds to pack up, get ready, and gamble more. Triple T wakes the boys hour before check out time and laughs that he feels great and has been up for hours already. This is the first day off from playing we've had, but we are traveling to Tucson, Arizona. We pull into Tucson in the evening and head to Safeway. We cause a small amount of hoopla as we're walking out as there is a copy of Chyna's book. Poncho can't bring himself to stand in line again and spend 3 dollars on something he doesn't really want? Poncho questions himself and his sanity when he decides he doesn't want it.

August 1st, 2013. While hanging out and napping, more Main Event and NXT is procured. Also, Monday Night Raw is finally watched. Triple T thinks about how hard it is to pack in even 5 hours of wrestling on the road, but he's doing it. That evening it's randomly decided that we're going to take pictures at a mansion 20 feet from the Mexican border. It's the most amazing thing the One Legged One has ever seen. He makes sure to include a Blue Demon lucha head in one of the pictures. Finally, after drinking copious tequila, One Leg passes out in the van listening to The Art Of Wrestling. RD Evans and Colt Cabana's dulcet tones are waxing poetic about wrestling when suddenly Ponch is getting touched by the 60ish year old gay half owner of the mansion. The question is asked "Do you want to sleep in the van or fantasy land?" Poncho replies with, "I'm just trying to listen to a wrestling podcast" in a very tired and whiney voice.

August 2nd, 2013. Back at home base in Tucson more wrestling is watched. DDP Yoga happens in a 3 year old's bedroom on a big number/letter mat. No...the child was not there. We're about caught up with all WWE. It's soon off to Chandler/Phoenix to move on to the next place. There is a pool and with great refrain; there are no wrestling moves performed other than some stretches and some "YES!"

More tomorrow.....

August 06, 2013

My life with wrestling (or when the Poncho Man starts treating this like a real blog)

July 24th, 2013. Poncho Man sits around wishing he could watch Main Event and NXT. This doesn't happen due to them not even being on tv until later that day. Later he plays a show with the band he's in The Lowmen.

July 25th, 2013. Poncho Man gets in a van at 1:30 in the morning and leaves on tour. He has already said "yes" and stuck his arms in the air probably 30 times earlier in the evening. Around 6 PM, The Triple T Threat is driving through the Grapevine outside of LA. Everyone stays dead quiet as he pumps himself up by saying "yes" and kissing his muscles Big Poppa Pump style. Soon it's told to our hero that he scared everyone with his driving. Bums Poncho out. The Lowmen play a show in San Clemente. Poncho wears a yellow tank top.....another professional wrestling reference goes unnoticed. The One Legged P.E. Teacher ends up sleeping in the van in Hunington Beach, CA and downloads Main Event and NXT on somebodies wi-fi.

July 26th, 2013. Sandy Ravage wakes up and proceeds to do DDP Yoga on the balcony of the apartment he's staying at. This is week 14 of DDP Yoga and he knew he had to stick with it. At some point he's trained his band and van mates of the intricacies of the "Yes!" and "No!" Pictures are now peppered with hands in the air exclamations. Stops at Wal-Mart to buy another yellow tank top, and looks at wrestling on DVD. On the way to Las Vegas, Poncho rents a room at Hooters. The Lowmen play a show at the Double Down Saloon. Outside you would have found a few guys doing some DDP Yoga stretches. After the show, 6 strapping men stroll down The Strip. Poncho gets a warning from the cops for "Not following Pedestrian Traffic Signals." Poncho was too busy avoiding traffic and stylin' and profilin' to worry about traffic signals. Someone buys Triple T a yard long margarita. This starts the daily affirmation of "This Is The Greatest Day Of My Life." Return to the hotel around 5:30 AM where it is immediately decided that it's time to put on short shorts and go swimming.

July 27th, 2013. Poncho spends the day recovering. Before going to play a second show at said Double Down Saloon, somebody turns on the tv. Mr. One Legged freaks out because for the first time ever he's seeing Ring Of Honor on a real tv, basic local cable style. He explains to the band how Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards are American Wolves and really awesome, and tries to explain a Cage Match between ROH and SCUM. His band mate exclaims that he enjoys the "double stomp." Show is played at 3 in the morn. Once again, it's time to pass out.

July 28th, 2013. Hey! Get in the van! Mr. Ravage complies. It's off to Chandler, Arizona. Which is basically Phoenix. Show bums Ravage out. It's in a strip mall and not many people are there. The people that were there got a rad show. After, a few of the bands (who had now played 3 shows together) all took pictures. The X-Pac/Syxx Pointing Maneuver comes out in all it's glory. We end up at a house in Tempe drinking until 7 in the morning. Everyone has now accepted the Poncho Man as the Freakzilla he is.

July 29th, 2013. Time for some DDP Yoga in the dining room of our new friend Joel's house. Right in front of the air conditioner as it is about 104 outside. By now, people are beginning to understand that the mix of exercise, cigarettes, energy drinks, positivity, and booze will keep you feeling fresh and awesome forever. Even with extreme lack of sleep. It's into Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff recharges the Poncho Man with a really fun show, great cool weather, and some Shawn Michaels stretching before and after the show. By the way, our singer/drummer has everyone in the crowd stick their hands up and say "Yes!"

July 30th, 2013. We wake up on Fremont St. in downtown Las Vegas. Staying at a nice hotel called "The D"..........

This is where Tristan "Tre" Tower The Triple T Threat The One Legged P.E. Teacher The Poncho Man Sandy Ravage takes a break. He'll continue his adventures and commentary TOMORROW!