ECW: R.I.P. — On April 4, 2001, HHG Corporation, the parent company of Extreme Championship Wrestling, officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The petition was filed in New York by none other than Paul Heyman. The company was listed as having assets totaling $1,385,500 and liabilities totaling $8,881,435. I’m no math whiz, but that’s some serious debt. Among the assets listed were: $860,000 in accounts receivables (reeceevables) owed the company by In Demand Network (PPV), Acclaim Entertainment Inc. (videogames), Original San Francisco Toy Company (action figures), the video tape library ($500,000), a 1998 Ford truck ($19,500) and the remaining inventory of merchandise ($4,000). The bankruptcy filing included hundreds of claims for money, which included production companies, travel agencies, phone companies, attorney’s fees, buildings ECW ran in, TV stations ECW was run on, wrestlers and other talent. Wrestlers and talent were listed, with amounts owed ranging from $0 for Sabu and Steve Corino to hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of dollars. The highest amounts owed to talent were to are Rob Van Dam ($150,000), Tommy Dreamer ($100,000), Joey Styles ($50,480), Shane Douglas ($48,000) and Francine ($47,275). And so passes the wrestling organization that most people will never know changed the face of professional wrestling in North America.
WCW Relaunch News — Jim Ross announced yesterday in his Ross Report that the date of the first WCW TV taping has been pushed back to Saturday June 9. Ross noted that the date is tentative, but if all goes as planned it will be shown later that night on TNN from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. (EST). Ross indicated that the “working plan” is for the first WCW PPV to be held in September. My nipples are hard with anticipation.
Pep Boys Hit the Road — The Parents Television Council, in the latest message to its mailing list, has claimed that Pep Boys has joined the list of companies that will no longer advertise on Smackdown. Pep Boys Senior President Frederick A. Stampono was quoted as saying, “We have spent considerable time reviewing the recent content of WWF Smackdown!, and have come to the conclusion that it is not an appropriate advertising vehicle for Pep Boys.” Needless to say, if Pep Boys will be withholding its business from the WWF, then I shall withhold my business from Pep Boys. If you would like to let Pep Boys know what you think of its decision, you can go to its customer relations form here. Tell them I sent you.
New WWF Blood — “Primetime” Elix Skipper announced on No Holds Barred radio last week that his contract has been picked up by the WWF. During the interview Elix said “…so far they just sent me a Fed Ex and they want me to take an EKG, HIV and have another physical done.” I assume he was talking about the WWF and not the producers of Barry Manilow’s At the Copa!
Lance Storm — No news about Lance here, but I do want to encourage you to visit Lance Storm’s wrestling site. He has some interesting commentary about his visit to WrestleMania and some other backstage tidbits. Those wacky Canadians. They say the darndest things.
Vince Russo Returning? — What edition of Chair Shots would be complete without taking a few shots at Vince Russo? Vince gives me plenty to aim at this week as he’s updated his site with news that he may be going to work for WOW (Women of Wrestling). My nipples are soft with apathy. Check out Vince’s letter. It reads very much like the script to a late night, motivational infomercial.
Thing Of The Week — With Vince Russo possibly returning to wrestling, we may once again have an overabundance of bad wrestling gimmicks. I’ve collected a few of my own over the years and want to lay claim to them before Vinny-Ru can.
The Insane Gunman: He tries bringing guns to hardcore matches. The referees and officials have to try and talk the gun away from him before each match. Wrestlers know they can beat him, but they are always afraid of really pissing him off. Eventually he forms alliances with other wrestlers and they form the NRA.
Sam — The Guy That Loves Wrestling: Sam knows all there is to know about wrestling. He only wears vintage wrestling gear by Ric Flair or Ricky Steamboat. His finishing maneuver involves the use of a giant foam finger and something he saw done during Clash of the Champions 3. Before every match he brings up embarrassing facts about his opponent. Just imagine how mad HHH will be when Sam reminds him that HHH stands for Hunter Hearst Helmsley and that he used to have a British accent.
Two wrestlers butt heads in the ring and swap personalities. What if it was HHH and Stone Cold? What would Debra and Stephanie do?
The Conspiracy Nut: Convinced that everyone’s out to get him, and that Vince McMahon killed Kennedy.
The Mason: Actually killed Kennedy, and is out to get the Conspiracy Nut.
The Patsy: Guest referee for the match between The Mason and The Conspiracy Nut.
Ambush Bug: The one guy that knows wrestling is fake. Kids, that was this week’s obscure reference! Did you get it?
Access: The one wrestler capable of co-existing in both the WWF and the WCW. Two jokes no one will get in one column! God bless America.
The Homeless Wrestler: Daily Radar columnist Derek McCaw suggested this one during WrestleMania X-7 after seeing Raven come to the ring for his hardcore match with a shopping cart. Sometimes The Homeless Wrestler enters with his shopping cart and sometimes he just crawls out from under the ring where he’s been sleeping. Fans can all bring signs that say “Will Wrestle for Food.”
The Goatee: Not much of a gimmick here, other than he has a goatee. His finishing move is “the clean shave.” His female valet is Van Dyke.
The Candy Man: He can make the sun shine where it has never shone before. “Who can take a sunrise… sprinkle it with PAIN…”
The Gygax: He believes that the entire wrestling industry is a giant role-playing game. His ring attire includes bracers of defense and boots of spider climb. All of his finishing moves cause his opponent to “tap” out. He fights for various championship belts because he believes they add to his charisma. He gets +2 to strength when he teams with his partner The Wizard of the Coast. This gimmick works better when the announcers play along. “Oh no, The Gygax is putting on his ring of invisibility, but it looks as if Goldberg can still see him.”
I’ve proven my geek-dom. Until next week, True Believers…