In Zach Looks Back, your humble wrestling fan takes a look at classics found on the WWE Network. We’re using the term ‘classics’ loosely.
Hey there everybody and welcome back to “Zach Looks Back,” where your humble English teacher/wrestling fan spends way too much time on the WWE network and finds hidden gems to review.
First off, I want to thank 3ManBooth for the platform to write about wrestling. Great guys all around and looking forward to working with them. For some reason, I had to explicitly promise not to praise Rey Mysterio, R-Truth or #ScumbagSheamus; otherwise, I’d have to review every TNA One Night Only PPV.
The first PPV I watched on the Network took place way, way back in 2006. Believe it or not, my favorite brand back then was not Raw or Smackdown, but actually WWE’s brand of ECW, henceforth known as WWECW. I was never a big ECDub fan previously, but the two One Night Stand PPV’s were phenomenal and got me pumped for the new ECW to debut.
ECW One Night Stand II was one of the best PPVs done by WWE: Randy Orton got booed out the building against Kurt Angle, Sabu nearly decapitated Rey Mysterio on a poorly timed DDT, and Rob Van Dam faced John Cena in an EPIC main event. So you’d think I’d write about that PPV right? Nope! Onto December to Dismember 2006!
Before we get to D2D, I want to discuss WWECW. The brand itself was pretty fascinating in that WWE found themselves with a roster of about 15 older ECW wrestlers who could still go and really hadn’t been given a shot since ECW shut down in 2001. WWE would then pair those wrestlers with new ones brought up from the minor leagues of OVW. To round out the roster, they would bring over stale wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown and try to revitalize them.
Between June’s ONS II and December to Dismember, the ECW brand had one of the more bizarre stretches imaginable. For the new ECW, Paul Heyman got two draft picks: he chose RVD and Kurt Angle. RVD won the WWE Championship at ONS II (and was given the returning ECW heavyweight championship); he proceeded to get arrested with Sabu weeks later, and was forced to drop both titles: the WWE one went to Edge and the ECW one went to Big Show. Kurt Angle was around for about a month until he got a wellness violation and was out-rightly released in August. So your two top guys go down in a matter of two months; you know problems will arise.
Show then feuded with Sabu, resulting in some entertaining matches on Sci-Fi and Summerslam. However, the rest of the brand showed some wear and tear. Tommy Dreamer and Sandman, two big stalwarts from the ECW days, got jobbed out on a constant basis. New acts like Mike Knox and a young man from Chicago named CM Punk came on the scene, but there was still a void to be filled on the show.
This led to one of my favorite things in wrestling, the repackage. Remember that Albino Undertaker from 2004 Smackdown? Well, now he’s a vampire named Kevin Thorn. Were you the manager of one of the biggest heels in 2004, even banned from television at some point? Well, Daivari, WWECW is the home for you. A former Union member that still has another run in him? Come on back, Test! Happy to have you. Pair those guys with Matt Striker, Elijah Burke, Sylvester Terkay, Great Khali, Rene Dupree and Hardcore Holly, and you have a legitimate island of Misfit Toys.