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ECW 3/20

SmackDown and ECW came live to Cleveland Tuesday night at the Quicken Loans Arena, and while SmackDown was a pretty solid show, ECW still had plenty of flaws as it showed clearly why it is the third brand and the lowest of the three. Many fans departed before the ECW live show hit the airwaves at 10pm, and many more left during the show. The results of the show saw the main event be Bobby Lashley continue his roll as he pinned Chris Masters, one night after breaking the Masterlock full nelson clean on RAW. Kevin Thorn and Marcus Cor Von pinned RVD and Sabu in tag action, Elijah Burke pinned Tommy Dreamer, CM Punk pinned Hardcore Holly, and Snitsky beat a no-name reportedly from Cleveland.

The show is mostly a build right now towards three things - Lashley vs Umaga (aka McMahon) at Mania, The ECW originals vs The New Breed, and CM Punk having a shot at the Money in the Bank Match at Mania. The New Breed keeps talking to Punk about turning, and for some reason I think this might not be a bad move. It would give new life to Punk, a wrestler that I have thought for a while deserved to be pushed, despite what officials say about his backstage heat. As for the Originals vs the New Breed, they would be foolish to have the New Breed lose at Mania, as its more obvious than ever that most of the Originals are going to be gone come late spring early summer. The only one of the group safe is Dreamer, who is tight with Shane McMahon. The rest will either be gone or back in a very limited role.

While thinking about this brand, there is still numerous problems that cannot be solved in one weeks time. I think the biggest problem overall with ECW is that there is not one wrestler on that roster that I would pay to see. Think about the other brands and the wrestler(s) that are pushed week in and week out. These are guys that are basically over with the crowd, either good or bad. For RAW, you have John Cena, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, HHH (when healthy), Umaga, and even some mid-card guys. Smackdown - you've got Batista, Undertaker, Kennedy, Mysterio, and Chris Benoit. They all get a reaction, face or heel. In ECW, there is no one like that. The biggest cheer from the fans on that show week in and week out is Rob Van Dam, and due to his out of the ring issues, they have basically killed any push that he gets.
Bobby Lashley is a decent wrestler, and seems to be a hard worker in and out of the ring.

Problem is with Lashley is that you can't really get behind a guy that doesn't speak. Like his Titantron video states - "Hard Hitting, Soft Spoken." And that's the truth behind Lashley. He is never going to excite a crowd like a guy like Cena, Batista, or nowhere near the reaction of a guy like Steve Austin or the Rock. That's the main deal with ECW, there is not a guy that is even near carrying that roster. You had a shot with both RVD and Sabu, when they were both red-hot in the mid-to-late summer, but then the whole drug deal in Dayton came down, and since then they have both been squashed. It's so bad for Sabu, that many think he won't last another 6 months with the company.

I realize that you can't just get create a guy like the Rock or Steve Austin. Those types of guys don't come around everyday, and if they did, then they wouldn't be on ECW very long before showing up on SmackDown or RAW. What you do need though is a guy that can generate enough to have people want to tune in. Otherwise you've got a bland hour of wrestling that no one really cares about, and that is clearly what you have right now. If you had a wrestler on ECW that people really cared about and wanted to see, you wouldn't see fans leaving the droves after the SmackDown taping ends at these shows. Agree or not, that's why the ECW brand is doomed to fail.

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