Grant bids adieu to a childhood hero

30Dec09

Middle school was a lousy time in my life; bullying, lack of direction, hormones, you know what it was like. But there were a few things that were able to keep me sane while I went through a harsh time with few friends:
1. Crafting cute, intricate animals out of clay
2. Reading books
3. ECW Wrestling on TNN

No, I didn’t make up a single item on that list. My chief hobbies in middle school involves two rather peaceful activities and another which consisted of the most brutal stage fighting in popular entertainment. Every guy had a wrestling phase. Ladies, ask your guy friends if they had a time where they watched wrestling. If they say no, do not trust them, because they did and they are just too ashamed to tell you. If I were to explain professional wrestling to a newbie, the best way to describe it would be a mixture of soap opera, spectacle, and choreographed stage fighting. This was the closest to soaps that guys could ever have, but it was justified because it included violence. Kryden keeps mocking me for being a wrestling fan, his argument is that it’s low quality and it’s fake. Yeah, but that’s the point. That’s why old people watch day-time soaps and women watch the Hills, because everyone needs something in their life that is sheer filth. See Secret Girlfriend, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

But I didn’t grow up watching much WWF, I think what stopped me was two reasons. The first reason was I didn’t care for the lack of actual wrestling that these shows had, preferring to spend more time with their personalities telling their “storylines”. Secondly, I didn’t watch to relate to anyone about this, I didn’t want their opinions. Nobody was going to change my mind about my perceptions about the wrestlers.

Those of you who know wrestling may be bewildered why I went with ECW, a brand known predominately for blood, brutality, and all-out violence. ECW was always in trouble with their cable channel, so much so that they turned it into a storyline with a character called “Cyrus”, a representative from the network who wanted to shut down ECW to air more episodes of Roller Jam. Cyrus was so disliked that he became the head villain of the show, every evil wrestler (or heel as we wrestling fans call them) either worked for Cyrus or occasionally worked with him to meet their own ends. If a wrestler ever betrayed Cyrus, they instantly became a good guy (or a face). ECW also allowed use of weapons in all matches. In WWF and WCW, this was usually the mark of a heel, but in ECW, it was just business.

My favorite wrestler in the ECW was Tommy Dreamer. He wasn’t the biggest or most skillful wrestler, but he always put on good matches. He was also a major face, so he would usually lose after a heel cheated, drawing the audience even closer to him. He got into the best feuds and was always a prominent character on the show. He walked out to “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains, his favorite weapon was a bamboo cane, and his nickname was the “Innovator of Violence”, how badass is that? He also came from Westchester County, New York, which is where I grew up, so that helped too.

Tommy wasn’t the most decorated champion in ECW, far from it in fact, but that is what helped his underdog appeal. He held the ECW Heavyweight for only thirty minutes, he beat Tazz at CyberSlam 2000 only to sandbagged by Justin Credible and have him steal the title. I felt cheated as a fan. CyberSlam was a pay-per-view event, and there was no way I could my parents to buy a twenty-nine dollar event which went past my bed time on a school night. But thanks to that, I never got to see my favorite wrestler with the highest honor (fake as it may be) on his promotion.

ECW folded the year after that and Tommy went to go work in the newly rechristened WWE, which was now using mostly former ECW guys as their “Hardcore” division. So now Tommy was fighting Raven, RVD, and Sabu in the same types of matches, just at half the time and none of the same interest. ECW fans were intense, and WWE fans…not so much. Tommy held the WWE Hardcore title fourteen different times.

But then something happened, WWE decided that they wanted a third show to go with Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown!, so a new Tuesday night show called ECW was created. Tommy, much older now, was one of a handful of ECW Originals on a show that proved to be more or less the WWE’s minor leagues, so now he was there to mostly to build up the younger talent. Then another thing happened when Dreamer unexpectedly regained the ECW Title and held it for a couple of months. I didn’t care that Tommy was past his prime, far from it. I was so proud that this guy stuck with it and his company showed him enough respect to stick him with a title.

So last night was terrible for me. I was randomly surfing the net when I found out that Tommy had lost a career threatening match to Zach Ryder, so now had to leave the WWE. I watched the match on Youtube, it was a good one. No where near as good as the stuff in his prime, but he lost the way he always did. Being on top and in control until a little bit of villain cheating cost him the match. So Tommy if you’re reading this, and you’re most likely not, good luck in your future endeavors. I wound up in the bloody guidance counselor multiple times because of you, but I never cared too much. You inspired a small under 100 pound thirteen year old to stand up for himself.

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