Week of 7/16/01

The following is a republished diary/commentary from ProWrestlingRadio.com.

Week of 7/16/01:

I am going to attempt to do a weekly commentary, rather than a diary from now on. The commentary will be updated weekly, show or no shows. I feel that with the growth of CZW, to continue a diary in it’s current format would not be ideal. It was an interesting concept when I started it, but we were much smaller than. I will still continue to talk about shows and recount any funny backstage anecdotes. The commentary will be a little bit of everything. This gives me an opportunity to expand on comments made each day on a news topic.

Why not start off first with this past weekend’s CZW show? First off, I have never arrived later to a show than this past one. I left right after my radio show and hit I-95. I called Rob Feinstein on the way down just to bullsh*t. He happened to be with Tommy Dreamer at the time. Tommy got on the phone and it was great to catch up with him, especially congratulate him on recent events. The funny thing is that whenever we do talk, it is rarely about the wrestling business itself. Granted, I do not keep in touch with him like I did a few years back. However, that was always the case even then. He informed me that he watched an old tape at Rob’s of me and Rob’s old “basement league.” I informed him that before backyard wrestling was cool, we innovated the NOW and basement wrestling. He popped huge and we were both laughing about the whole thing. It was getting hard to hear him, so I hung up and concentrated on the drive. Tommy is truly one of the good guys in this game of cheats and carnies.

I arrived at the building and I do admit that I was shocked at the line of people. We drew a small crowd last time, but this line was doubled. I walked the line selling programs and saw Trent Acid, Johnny Kashmere, and Justice Pain come in. They truly got old school style heat as the crowd went nuts on those guys. You could see the smiles on their faces, but it was great.

The show itself I can tell you was probably my worst outing as an announcer in a long time. The atmosphere just truly sucks to call matches, but I deal with it. The crowd is smaller and it is outdoors and at times you feel as if everyone is listening to what you are saying. Especially, when Chad Shaft comments on what is being said ten feet away. I think that I got better as the show went on, but not one of my best for sure.

The show from a wrestling standpoint was a decent show. I say to John (Zandig) all the time, even our worst shows are better than the best from the local indies. I think my sentiments about commentary played out for the wrestlers as well. I even talked to a few later, who agreed with those sentiments. It was a quick show, but if you had never been to a CZW show before I am sure you were happy. A really cool thing was to see that fans flew in from California just to see the show. I think that says something for the job we are doing.

The power went off along the whole block during the semi-main event. It killed the climatic “and your newwwwwwwww world tag team champions” moment. The show was running smoothly, something had to give. The main event was next and it was downright sick. I am not a huge fan of the blood and the gore, but if you were than you were satisfied. It was very hard to call because our monitor is out. Johnny Kashmere and I had some great back and forth on the announcing. I want to do more of that with the boys, and I wish they would take advantage of the table right there. Justice Pain even got in to it, as he yelled, “shut up Gargiulo” from the ring. I had some really good back and forth with Hitman too on the commentary during this, which will probably get a classic reputation. Matches like this that are not going to be televised, give me more flexibility at what I can say. All I know is I looked up at Wifebeater during the match and his back was worse than the 200 light tube classic from last June. It was just pure violence and there is no other way to describe the match. The blood letters out there will go nuts when they see this one on tape.

After the show was just mass confusion. We had press from Japan and England there, so Zandig hung around for a while to talk to them. The California kids came over and asked for autographs. I talked to them for a bit as I signed, and they loved the show. I would say every fan that came up for autographs after the show loved it. We had to do a lot of stuff for television, so I was stuck at the building for a while after the show. I love what I do, so I have no problem doing that at all. House felt different and was very ancy to leave. He rode with Justice Pain and he did not want to keep him waiting. We finally got around to our stuff about an hour and a half later. I liked what we did, but it is far from what I want. I would like the opportunity to do overdubs for each particular match, but we will get to that later. John watched us doing our deal and seemed to really like it. House was in such a rush, that his stuff was all one take because he wanted to leave. I told him he should always work under pressure. Barr was good enough to wait for me so we could leave together. When we left, the only people there were Zandig and his wife. Needless to say, it was a long day.

I want to get in to a non-wrestling related issue and since it is my commentary, I can. Customer blows more than ever in this part of the country. If any of you have read my previous diaries, I have had issues almost every diary at times with customer service. On the way home from Saturday’s Delaware show, Z Barr and I stopped at the A Plus in the Franklin Mills. I was starving and wanted to get a slice of pizza and a drink. They have these awesome slushy drinks there, so I started filling up a strawberry drink. I stopped about two pumps in and noticed they had orange. I am a big orange fan, so I opted for the orange. I go to pay and the girl at the counter says in a very hostile and cocky tone, ” You know that costs money, you wasted our money.

That is a dollar right there. You shouldn’t do that.” I was stunned; I could not believe someone would talk to me like this. Granted, I was wrong for doing that, but she could have been nicer about it or just bit her tongue. So I said I was sorry and she said something cocky back. I was dead tired and in no mood to argue. Anyway, I stayed inside and waited for Z Barr, who was in the bathroom. All of the sudden out of no where, the older Asian woman starts yelling in her native tongue about the same situation. She sounded like Terry Funk after Lawler maimed his eye in the empty arena match. I lost it at that moment and said, “Jesus Christ (yes, I did and I am sorry for taking his name in vain.) it was a drop of juice, settle down already.” She then proceeded to yell in her native tongue, so I took the opportunity to yell over her to settle down and I left the place. I could not believe that this even happened to me.

Before that, Barr and I stopped in Delaware at a convenience store. Delaware may be the worst state for customer service of all time. The girl at the counter looks at Barrs’ scars and asked him what happened. He said that he was a wrestler and said that we just had a show. She than proceeded to tell him he was crazy and an idiot for doing that. Could you imagine going to the store and them telling you that you are a moron for working in your current field? Was it any of her business? I mean, it is not like she was a rich and successful doctor telling him this.

I finally went home and was completely drained and exhausted. I actually had planned to meet up with Dreamer and Rob after the show. Rob’s plans changed and he made the “who’s hot” list for WOW. I got home around 1 AM. That was about 7 hours after the show had ended. I popped in the tape of the television show from that night.

My thoughts on the television show are two fold. I look at the television show as a whole, and my performance. I am my own worst critic and on those days that I have a bad outing it just makes me real mad. First, I will look at the show from the company/television standpoint. I thought the show improved a great deal on production this week. I think the mix of the matches was good, and the idea of having us set up storylines worked well also. I was very entertained as a fan by the whole show. It looked a hell of a lot more like a professional show than last weeks.

Now, I will talk about what I thought of Eric Gargiulo. I thought he sucked and was it his worse. I think they put every bad match I called, other than Trent-JK on the show. We show a lot of old footage to establish characters and stories. What is bad about this is that I was still very green on most of what has been shown so far. I do not think that I truly became confident and comfortable until this last April. I still consider myself green and I am always looking to improve. I found myself annoyed by my own voice. I watched and just shook my head at times and thought about how terrible this was. I think if anyone watching paid attention, they would notice a big difference in my work in the Trent-JK match or XL-Red as compared to others. I am very happy about the fact that starting this week it is all current footage. I received a ton of email and feedback on the show. Everyone was positive on me, except for a few posts on our board. My first instinct is to justify it and repeat what I wrote and post it. I then think about it for a minute and come to the conclusion that on my radio show and website for two and a half years I have been a critic of others, so I am fair game.

A real cool aspect of this whole show is just getting feedback on it. A friend of mine watched the show and got in touch with me shortly thereafter. We had lost touch, so it was real cool that we touched base as a result of the show. My sister even told me that my 2-month-old niece responded to my voice on the television. I think that is pretty cool.

I think the show was real good, but it can and will get better. We are working so hard at trying to improve this thing on a daily basis. It is a learning experience for everyone. I will not be satisfied until we are doing overdubs on the matches. My experience in doing television for GLOOW proved that overdubbing commentary is the best way to go. We are also currently working on a background, which will help out a lot. I think we really need to put together a fast paced show with vignettes, videos, promos, and one or two complete matches. I am hoping that will happen, but regardless I still think we have a kick ass television show.

I want to jump over to Monday Night Raw. I was so disappointed in this week’s show. I won’t keep this too long, but I do want to say a couple of things. The angle at the end with Steve Austin reminded me so much of the ECW angle in which Taz came to the aid of the babyfaces at Heatwave 97′. After the match a one of the boys involved were talking about how bad it looked to do so much damage and than have one guy come in like Superman. When Raw went off the air last week and Smackdown was over, you got the impression that the WWF were in a lot of trouble. It peaked curiosity to record ratings this past Monday night. There was nothing on that show that made me want to buy Sunday’s pay per view. First of all, they are giving you inter-promotional matches on television for free every week. Most of which are better match ups than what you will get Sunday. Also, the booking of Booker T is terrible. He has not had one clean win yet over his challengers. Rhyno should have the ECW belt in my opinion also, although I really like his push out of this. In reading the Smackdown results, it seems the WWF kill WCW/ECW again. I may be totally ignorant to something here, but I do not get it.

The bigger you become, the more of a target you are as well. Once you become a threat, everyone is doing spin control. CZW has been the target of more criticism as of late, than ever before. Is this coincidental, due to we are now a television company and a growing one at that? I think the answer is an obvious yes. Not everyone is jealous or malicious, but the company is now easily accessible to those that never came to shows.

On the non-malicious front, my buddy Dave Scherer recently snuck in some recent remarks in his Daily Lariat column. As you may or may not know, I have been an avid contributor and columnist on 1wrestling.com since July of 1999. I have also disagreed in the past with things written there, and they have been good enough to allow me to express my point of view on my site and radio show without repercussion. So, since this is my commentary I will do that now. Dave pumped our television show, but in the same breath criticized “kids” taking light tubs shots. He is right, shockingly to some I agree with him there. For the record, that was not supposed to happen and when the spot happened, CZW office personnel were livid. The parents were repeatedly apologized to and everything was rectified. No harm, no foul, anyone that has ever been in a ring will tell you that sometimes you react to things without thinking. Dave insinuated that this act took place on the television show. That is not the case at all, as that happened at a live event.

Dave then made a remark about the violence in CZW as a whole. Dave remarked that while there is a market for it, he does not see much talent in doing those matches. My question to Dave and everyone else who criticizes it is, what is so different about this than any of the other “legendary” bumps in our sport? Was there any talent to Kurt Angle doing a moonsault off the top of the cage and missing? An awesome move, but is there much different? Was there any difference when Sabu and Terry Funk rolled around in what was considered one of the greatest barbed wire and ECW matches of all time? Was there any difference when New Jack would dive off of monstrous buildings? Was there any difference when Mick Foley fell 20 feet off of a cage and knocked years off of his career? The answer is no, yet all of these and other similar actions are seen as legendary in the business. Booker T says it best when he says, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” As long as people buy it, some one will sell it. WWF just did a glass match more or less last month. Yet, everyone talked about the match as if it was match of the year. How about those Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches?

Now moving on to another sensitive situation in CZW, Ric Blade. Yes, it is true that Ric Blade did make a post on the CZW fan board. It is also true that Ric Blade quit the company on the CZW fan board. Now, my take on the situation as an employee of CZW and fan is the following. I was very close to a lot of situations in ECW, both as an employee of ECW and as an employee of RF Video. I saw a lot of different situations unfold over the course of several years. The thing is that Paul Heyman rarely fired people, and only did with proper circumstances. If anything, he gave too many chances. A few of those fired employees would than trash ECW and Paul online and at other shows. Paul Heyman not only, never responded, but he also rarely ever hired those people back. The 5 minutes of attention sought by those employees proved to be more fruitless, than advantageous. People would listen, but they also came off very unprofessional. Once those 5 minutes were over, reality set in.

They would find themselves the hot property of the moment on the indies, but without television they were yesterday’s news and things would get ugly. Those people would go from working for ECW every weekend, to working once every couple of months. The talent would see the continued growth of ECW, and miss the shows and the boys. They would come back, some on their knees and be turned away at the door. One year later they were left with a burnt bridge and the need for supplemental employment. I was a fan of Ric Blade, but nobody and not even Jerry Lawler is irreplaceable in pro wrestling. I think that the only people hurt by his post on the board, were the boys themselves. The fan board is a place where the fans can talk about the recent matches, angles, television shows, and wrestlers themselves. Ric’s post takes all of that away from the guys that are busting their ass in CZW, the boys. It was very unprofessional in my opinion, and I think a lot of promoters flocked to this like rabid wolves. Everything that was built up on television last weekend and the recent show was put on hold for this. I think Ric owes everyone in that locker room an apology, but I do not see it coming. I like Ric and am very sorry he got hurt. I just thought the way he went about quitting the company was the wrong way.

I want to move on next to JAP. I should not even give them the dignity of promotion, but I want to say a few things. Every time the owner of their company opens his mouth, he sounds more like a jackass. How many other promoters and owners do you see posting on the boards like a 12-year-old boy? The owner went on his board and was actually justifying the fact that almost one year in to running the ECW Arena, he is still drawing 300 fans. First of all, I have been to their shows and have watched the videos of the shows I were not able to attend. If they had 300 people there, they must have hidden 75 in the back and included the boys. I give him credit for trying to expand his product.

However, to justify drawing a few hundred fans to a building that houses thousands is insane. I think at this point it is better to just fold the cards and worry about expanding in North Jersey where your home base is. Second, he made a comment about being proud to draw 300 (200) fans without hardcore wrestling. That is because they are the ones responsible for getting banned from New Jersey in the first place. They were so careless with the product, that they drew attention to extreme wrestling after a female valet broke her neck. The owner also is proclaiming some kind of victory in winning Ric Blade. I ask this question to this great owner of the company, who presented Ric with $500. How much money did you pay Kristy Kiss and Dave Greco when they were injured? You are a snake and we all know what your agenda is. All I know is if I ran the same place for 9 months and lost fans in the process, I would get out, regroup and come back or somewhere new. That is really all I have to say on those guys, but I do wish them the best of luck.

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