A-Hoy Hoy Campers! Welcome to your favorite beginning of the Week, Culture Crossfire tradition…my recap of ECPW on Fire! Last week, we saw the finals of the ECPW Unified Heavyweight title tournament between Josef Von Schmidt and Jumbo Joe Gunns…which didn’t really end up uniting anything after the match ended in a schmozz. DeVito and Von Schmidt will face off in a lumberjack match to determine the ECPW Unified Champion in the coming weeks. Match was supposed to happen last Friday but was postponed due to a blizzard. You know after waiting five months to settle the title situation for this promotion, what’s another couple weeks?
The show opens with an ad for Wrestling On Fire’s return to my home state of Maine in May. I’m fairly excited about this and plan on being in attendance if one of the shows happens to be in Southern Maine. Maybe I’ll get my ass kicked by Jumbo Joe Gunns (or worse yet, Uncle Tommy Savoldi)
Dog Collar Match: Big Bad John (with “The Dark Angel” Vincent Valentine) Vs Punisher Martinez
Big Bad John is a 450 pound galoot that we haven’t seen in a while. His manager Vincent Valentine (dude with a demented circus ringmaster gimmick) is apparently an ECPW stalwart who hasn’t been seen in a while (not in this show). Punisher Martinez is ECPW’s version of the Undertaker. Given the guys/gimmicks and how dog collar matches are, I’m not really expecting a barnburner. Joey G says referees are unnecessary in dog collar matches except to count pin falls and submissions. Ray Ray Marz is flabbergasted by that statement as I am. Punisher thwarts Valentine’s interference and wins with a chokeslam on Big Bad John. This wasn’t good but not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Here’s one for Pyrrhic victories! C-
Junior Flow Vs Eramus
The match is joined in progress as we see Junior stall outside the ring. Junior seems like he’s added a little bit of muscle lately. I guess getting in shape is a heelish thing to do. It seems like Ray Ray Marz is a babyface as a commentator but is a heel when he wrestles. Flow goes over, holding the ropes after a senton into the corner. This match served its purpose. Extended squash to show that Junior Flow was a hotheaded jerk now. C+ They cut away from the match right away even though Joey G promised a post match interview with Junior Flow. BULL SHIT!
Did I mention the review advertising the Best of ICW (Savoldis ’80s promotion that took over a lot of the towns in the Northeast that WWF left behind during the national expansion) that’s set to a Fallout Boy song? I don’t remember a lot of stuff about last week’s review. I digress. It seems weird to have Fallout Boy play over clips of young Sgt. Slaughter, Carlos Colon, and Curt Hennig regardless.
Four Corners Match for the ECPW Television Title: Crazy Ivan (with Doug DeVito) (c) Ricky Reyes Vs Kai Katana Vs Matt Macintosh
This should be good. All four guys in this match are decent and/or entertaining workers. Ivan starts the match by biting Macintosh’s ankles. A wild brawl ensues around ringside. The two crazies in the match (Ivan and Katana) double team Reyes. Reyes is the WOF Television Champion. It’s weird. The WOF Tag Team titles have been retired seemingly or at least, not been brought up since Da House Party were stripped of the titles/left the company in the fall. The WOF Title is being unified with the ECPW Title. But the WOF Television Title is still being defended on occasion. I know, its inevitable Ivan and Reyes will have a unification match eventually but it’s surprising the WOF Television title has stuck around as long as it did. The WOF/ECPW almost seems to put more of an emphasis/focus on the “secondary” TV Titles as they do for their World Champ. Kind of like later ECW in that sense. First (last?) time I compared this promotion to ECW! Macintosh hits some of his flippy floppy offense on Katana and Ivan. This match isn’t under elimination rules because Reyes and Macintosh hit backslides on the heels and the announcers freak out, wondering who’d be awarded the titles. Anyway, Ivan gets the cheap win after Reyes hits a jumping DDT on Kai Katana and Ivan shoves Reyes out of the way and covers Kai for the win. Meh. This match was OK. They seemed like they were doing try to do too much in too little time. Wasn’t much of a story here, just a series of spots. But they were fairly well done and this match did further advance the Reyes-Ivan feud, which is probably the best thing going in the company. It’s Basic Wrestling 101 storytelling; Psychotic Heel tries to screw over Stoic Badass Babyface, and Babyface tries to kick heel’s butt. But both guys play the part well. B-
After getting a lot of big picture things wrong last week, the company did a lot of little things right this week. Every segment served its purpose and put somebody over. They also didn’t skimp on the in-ring action like they do sometimes. I understand there’s only so much you can do in thirty minutes but it’s frustrating sometimes when they only have one, five minutes or so match surrounded by promos and video packages! This week, we had three matches and while none of them were long, none were really rushed. So kudos to the good folks at ECPW On Fire. This isn’t a show I’d go out of my way to watch but it’s not a bad way to kill 22 minutes.