I keep hearing “F*ck You Vince” chants linger in my head. The ferocity and passion of ECW fans fueled that anti-Vince McMahon chant, even though he IS the father of modern day professional wrestling. Why was the crowd audibly burying the Vin-man during the finale of TNA’s Hardcore Justice pay per view on Sunday night? Because Vince refused to give ECW the proper send off they deserved. After WWE consumed ECW they downgraded it into another secondary show. Do you think ECW was going to give up and die that easily? It turns out they didn’t need the name recognition of WWE Superstars, they didn’t need their own ring names or company name, and they didn’t even need their leader Paul Heyman to reign supreme.
Most of the guys who were called to appear at the TNA event were enthusiastic to relive a night of glory, and you know what? They deserve it. After Vince McMahon made ECW into a generic, stripped down WWE show, it ended the ECW legacy on a strange note. Do you even remember that Ezekial Jackson went out as the last ECW champion? The Abraham Washington Show? WWE Diva Tiffany as GM? It was definitely NOT a fitting send off. Regardless of what some “critics” are saying, Hardcore Justice succeeded. Aside from not hearing Joey Styles call the matches and the absence of Paul Heyman, for fans of ECW, this was a proper reunion.
Although playing second fiddle to WWE is not TNA’s mission statement, it’s a title they have been living with for several years now. Dedicating an entire pay per view to ECW was a risky manuever by owner of TNA, Dixie Carter. It was a chance to say “Hey, we’re not only a wrestling company, but we are fans of wrestling history as well.” Even the most superficial fan has to respect that the company handed over the booking for an entire pay per view to Tommy Dreamer and told the rest of their roster to take the night off. Or is it just that TNA was in a paralyzing submission hold desperately reaching for the ratings rope? Whatever their reasoning, I had fun watching the event.
The fact that the ECW guys were reuniting on a show run by a company who is hungry to finally establish themselves lent a more genuine feel as opposed to having Vince throw tons of money at the ECW alums just to have an artificial moment and higher buy rates. In fact, this was almost too genuine. Some of the competitors haven’t missed a step. Seeing The F.B.I cut a rug…I mean a ring mat, hearing that Simon STILL has a problem, Kid Kash’s spring board off the top rope, and the extreme drama of Raven and Tommy Dreamer’s final showdown showed that these guys are still as entertaining and bookable today.