Small Town Boy: Ring of Honor’s The Era of Honor Begins (2002)

Hello readers. My, it has been a while, hasn’t it? And for that I can only apologise. It’s been a hectic few months here at C!FA towers I can tell you, what with starting a stand-up comedy double act with an esteemed comrade, getting a new job, gleefully quitting my horrible old job, moving house and going up to the Edinburgh festival to perform with aformentioned comrade I’ve barely had time to think, let alone write several thousand overwraught, flouncy words relating to videogames or professional wrestling. Well that all changes today, chums. I’m back on a work rota that allows me some free time in which to write, and I’ve had a few ideas for articles over the past few months, the first of these being a nice long wrestling DVD review in the vein of December to Dismember from way back when. (Largely to appease longtime reader and wrestlepal Neil Cathan, who whenever I speak to him implores me to write some more wrestling posts. Your wish is my command, Neil!)

Recently I’ve acquired on eBay the first three Ring of Honor shows on DVD, so my thinking was to review them as a trilogy, perhaps breaking up the endless wrestletalk with a couple of videogame posts in between. We’ll see, anyway. It might pan out in strange and fantastic ways none of us could ever have imagined. Continue reading

Once And Never Again: ECW December To Dismember (2006)

Failed experiments are great, aren’t they readers? With successful experiments, especially in the realms of art and performance, all you have to do is say “Oh, that’s good, we’ll keep doing that then.” But with failed experiments, much more thought is required. Why didn’t that work? What can we learn from it? And perhaps most interestingly, what would have happened if it did work?

Believe it or not, this cover is MUCH prettier than the American version.

Believe it or not, this cover is MUCH prettier than the American version.

Which brings us to December To Dismember, the first and last Pay Per View from the relaunched Extreme Championship Wrestling, which first shut down in 2001 and was then bought by the WWE, who found that their ECW DVDs, books, etc were so popular, and that ECW still had such a massive, loyal fanbase that it would be worth reviving the brand in 2006 and starting a weekly ECW TV show. Since Raw and Smackdown, the other WWE TV shows, had their own PPVs, (at this point in time the WWE was split into ‘brands’, if you appeared on, say, Raw, you didn’t appear on Smackdown, you wrestled only on Raw to earn titles exclusive to Raw, and the same for Smackdown) it seemed only logical that ECW got it’s own PPVs as well. Right?

What follows are my thoughts as I watch the December To Dismember DVD for the first time. The main event here is an ‘Extreme Elimination Chamber’ match for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship; four blokes are locked in pods inside the chamber with weapons while two gentlemen start the match, then every five minutes one guy will be let out of a pod at random along with the weapon, which he can choose to use as he sees fit (SPOILER: Probably to hit the other men with). My observations will largely be bullet-pointed, as I just paused the DVD and scribbled stuff down in a notebook, but I might elaborate on some points if I feel something extra needs saying. I knew little about the show before I started, save for the fact that it is widely criticized as the worst Pay Per View in WWE history, and is the main reason Paul Heyman (the man behind the original ECW, initially given control over the new one) was fired pretty much the next day. So! What are we waiting for? Shove the DVD in the player and let those bodies hit that floor!

Continue reading