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July 18, 1999

I had the pleasure of watching a group of talented athletes tonight. These athletes were on a major level federation and also on national television via pay-per-view. These athletes are known as Extreme Championship Wrestling and the pay-per-view was called HeatWave 99. Talent and age are two different things. They can both safely co-exist and do not need each other as catalysts to make a performer. Old performers can be talented also.

I watched as, my personal favorite, Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn took on Justin Credible and Lance Storm. These four men performed their hearts out for the viewing audience nationwide and if you're gonna give them credit...they deserve every damn bit of it.

I won't repeat any of the details other than that, in case you haven't watched it yet or in case you already knew about it. I will tell you this. I compared this HeatWave PPV to other PPV's in recent times by both the WWF and the WCW. Let me tell you, WCW ought to be ashamed of themselves. Their Uncensored 99 PPV was exactly what I had expected it to be...a boring semi-spectacle of shame. Precisely the reason why I did not order that. Their Slamboree 99 had something good,(strange to hear that eh?) new lighting and staging. WCW has burned themselves out creatively on television. Why does a 3 hour Nitro, included in the cost of monthly cable, last longer than a pay-per-view, usually $29.95? I'll tell you why. It's because the Nitro shows are crowded with egos and tempers. There is a minimal level of professionalism backstage according to reports that I have come across. Not surprising considering that wrestlers themselves are doing the booking. Kevin Nash may look good on television but I think he's a little dull in the head. Intriguing storylines don't exist anymore in WCW and that's why the ratings have plummeted. Millions of viewers tune in each week to see what Austin will do next because they are intrigued and they can associate with the beer-swilling, boss-hating kinda guy that he is. The only gimmick that ever came close is DDP's new one. He comes out and shoots straight with the fans. He doesn't give them a spiel about what to do, what not to do, how to be more like me or whatever nonsense. He tells it like it is, to borrow a phrase form a legend. More WCW wrestlers should take a more honest, less insulting-the-fans-intelligence approach and then maybe the tides will turn again.

The WWF is doing some things right as far as money-making goes. Market saturation is the key to revenue increase. Figures, posters, CD's, magazines, videos, commercials, autograph signings, appearances on established network shows, and so many other ideas are important to getting fans to know who you are and to remember who you are as well. The King of the Ring PPV in June was pretty disappointing, in my opinion. I thought Chyna would at least win the quarterfinal match against Road Dogg, if not take the whole thing. I never expected Billy Gunn to make it further than the semi-final bracket. Just think of the statement that could have been made by the WWF if Chyna had won the King of the Ring title. It would speak as many volumes as Mick Foley did when he talks about all the crazy things he has done in the past.

It's a shame that I don't get TNN where I live, but I'm lucky that I do get MSG so I can catch a glimpse each week of the ECW. ECW doesn't insult the fans intelligence by serving up larger than life gimmicks and pyrotechnics, rockets and bombs. A majority of the ECW performers are straight-up, no flashy gimmick, kind of guys. I don't think Taz is much different off camera than when is on camera. Same for Jerry Lynn, Lance Storm, or any of the other performers...maybe a little friendlier in person. I think I know why. It's because they appreciate the support from the fans that pay their bills and put food in their mouths. It's because they care about the product that they are marketing. Times are changing all the time, wrestlers come and wrestlers go, gimmicks shine and gimmicks fade...but ECW is something that transcends individual wrestlers, gimmicks, pyrotechnics, lights, stages, etc. ECW is special. I have never heard any crowd chant the name of any other company, and it is amazing that it even happened. It's simply a testament to the fact that the other major feds' brainwashing isn't permanent. ECW is the measuring stick in today's business and will continue to be long into the new millenium.