Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Armchair Booking The ECW World Title Picture

Are you the kind of person that watches something on WWE or TNA and think you could do it better? Yeah, that's the kind of person I am. The reality is that 90% of us probably couldn't. What makes me think I'm any different? Nothing really. I do have 7 1/2 years experience in the wrestling business as a worker, but very little experience booking (just one show really.) I have contributed ideas for matches, angles, and feuds that have worked out pretty well, so I'd like to think that I have a good mind for booking.

Alot of people were surprised that ECW retained its timeslot for another year, especially given the ratings they have drawn. It is one of the highest rated (if not THE highest rated) program on Sci Fi, but it doesn't compare to the ratings pulled in by Raw or Smackdown. With the same roster as Smackdown basically, there's no reason why ECW shouldn't be able to pull in the same ratings as it's Friday Night Counterpart, especially since Tuesday night is a more convenient night of the week to be watching wrestling (assuming the average wrestling fan has something to do on a Friday night.)

As of last night's ECW/Smackdown tapings, there is no ECW angle leading into the Armageddon PPV that is almost 2 weeks away (yes, it is in Pittsburgh, and no I won't be going unless someone surprises me with tickets as a birthday present.) My take at armchair booking makes things pretty interesting, and carries all the way through Wrestlemania. What I want you to do is read this article now and read it again in April after Wrestlemania is in the books. I want feedback at that time to see if you were happy with the job the WWE has done at that point, or if this is the booking you would have much rather enjoyed. Let's also examine at that time if the ratings have remained steady or have increased, and if you think this fake booking would have made a difference in the numbers.

Next week on ECW, the show begins with CM Punk cutting a promo about not having a challenger lined up for an ECW Title Match at Armageddon. He invites to the ring Tommy Dreamer. He puts over Dreamer for initially winning the Chase to the Title series a few months back and remind us all that he never recieved a title shot for his efforts. Tonight, CM Punk is going to make Tommy's dreams come true and give him what (I think, but could be wrong) would be his first ECW Title shot since the brand relaunched last year. Dreamer accepts. Later in the Main Event, Smackdown Tag Champs John Morrison and Miz are on commentary for the match and get involved at the end, causing the match to end in a no contest.

On Smackdown that Friday (or even ECW next week since I believe they tape Smackdown before ECW airs live) Punk and Dreamer return the favor, involving themselves in a non-title match with Miz & Morrison against any random pair of babyfaces (why not Finlay & Hornswoggle for shits and giggle?) To protect Morrison here, Miz takes the pin. As a result of this, a Tag Team Title Match is set for Armageddon.

At Armageddon, Morrison and Miz retain the Tag Team Titles against Punk and Dreamer. Morrison gets the pin on Punk in this match, and the following week on ECW TV, Morrison gloats about pinning the Champion and uses that to get another rematch for the title. This rematch happens the following week on December 27th. Why December 27th? It's the week of Christmas and ECW airs on Thursday head to head with Impact. One would think they should stack this show up to beat them in the ratings, but I think it would be more beneficial to rely on one match to carry the show, literally.

What I am proposing here is Punk vs Morrison in a 60 Minute Iron Man Match. One match to take place during the entire 60 minute broadcast. I think this would be a good idea to do regardless, and with the Smackdown merger, some ECW talent can just wrestle on the Friday Night broadcast. A match like this is just what the ECW Title needs to build a little prestigue and to be deemed more important than the US or Intercontinental Title. Plus, they'll have a week to advertise the match. I'm sure TNA will be trying to put on a strong show and a strong main event to compete with this, but even fans that are flipping back and forth will most likely want to tune into the last 10 minutes of this to see things really heat up. Now in my booking, Miz gets involved toward the end, followed by Dreamer saving, but both of them staying at ringside for the final few minutes. In the end, Punk retains, and Dreamer helps him celebrate, only to turn on him.

Somewhere before the end of the year finally have Mahoney/Kelly vs Miz/Layla so that feud can finally be blown off. Just please keep the Women's Wrestling to a bare minimum and DO NOT have Kelly attempt another Circus Panda in the corner...

The next week, Dreamer explains his actions via heel promo, basically venting his frustrations about his role in WWECW and saying that he cares more about becoming ECW Champion and challenges Punk to a match. Enter Punk, brawl ensues, and they meet at New Years Revolution with Punk retaining. They have a rematch again at the Royal Rumble, this time in an Extreme Rules Match.

Does the ECW Title feel a little more important yet?

To build for Wrestlemania, Bobby Lashley makes his return in time for the Rumble, but comes up short. Let's say for the sake of argument that a member of the RAW Roster wins the Rumble match itself, leaving the heavily rumored Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out where the winner gets a shot at the other World Title… on Smackdown. Lashley returns to the Blue Brand in an attempt to again become a World Champion, and turning heel in frustration of not winning the Rumble match. While this is all happening, Punk is having a great series of matches with Shelton Benjamin, who has been built up as a credible challenger for the last couple of months. Lashley comes up short yet again and turns to his last option to have a World Title Match for the Granddaddy of them all, targeting CM Punk.

One problem is the ECW brand is built up with a strong assortment of heels that can be Main Eventers, while they still only have one Main Event face in CM Punk. Let's just say that the fans accept Dreamer back as a babyface after his match with Punk at the Rumble, and Elijah Burke has a falling out with Shelton Benjamin that leads to a face turn and a match at Wrestlemania. I don't see ECW getting another match on that show, so let's put them both in the Money In the Bank Ladder Match.

At Wrestlemania, Punk's reign is ended by the only other member of the ECW Roster not named John Morrison who could make a believable Champion for that brand in Bobby Lashley. From there, the summer months can be spent feuding the two together, maybe even switching the title a couple times if needed (ala Angle vs Lesnar.)

There you have it. Will it make the ECW Title feel as important as Big Gold or The Spinner belt? Will it help ECW's ratings go up a whole point? Will it make the ECW Brand as a whole seem like it's not the read headed stepchild of the WWE? Those are all debatable, but tell me come Monday, March 31st if this would have been a better idea.


Tim Haught said...

Do you really think Morrison can go an hour? Sometimes I see him stretching for offense after 5 minutes.

I think the Dreamer flip flop is a bad idea. If you make him a heel, make him a heel.

Also, I think Lashley on size alone puts under the whole ECW. A problem with ECW is that the ECW title is viewed by many as being on par with the IC or US titles. It would be assumed that any Smackdown or Raw Main Eventer could come in to ECW next week and beat Punk pretty easily.

Having Lashley fall short of the WWE and World Heavyweight titles before usurping Punk makes him and all of ECW look bad.

I have no counter option, but CM Punk jumping from feud to feud in 4months just sounds like the same old same.

I'd rather see Shelton and Burke get their due than see Lashley come back to ECW or Dreamer turn heel only to quickly turn face.

If any muscular black wrestler should come in and get to challenge Punk, I hope it's a returning Marquis Cor Von.

BTW, what is a circus panda?

Dash Bennett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dash Bennett said...

You make some good points as well Mr. Haught... If you saw ECW last week, it's the move that Kelly f'ed up royally. Basically it's the standard cartwheel into a move in the corner; first used by Chyna, but best used into an eye poke by Jason Gory :-)

Tim Haught said...

First used by Muta...