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Belly to Bellyaches
by B. Brian Burke on 2001-08-01

ECCW really had a trying weekend as they brought in current NWA champ Steve Corino and former champ Sabu, but the results both creative and financial were mixed. Travel problems almost scuttled Sabu's match with Tony Kozina in Nanaimo, but Corino and Dr. Luther saved the day by putting in time, BIG Time, until Sabu made it to the building. The Victoria show seemd well received, according to reports on this website.

The show in Surrey is a prime example of why the ECCW office has gone backwards in the last couple of years. The good angles and work were, in the end, overshadowed by the bad angles and work.The 7 match undercard jobber tournament was an insult to the crowd. 13 matches is way too many. ECCW has never learned how to hide the limited talents in the promotion. The promotion keeps making the same bush-league mistakes.

That is not a criticism of the trainees, jobbers and workers involved, but of the booking. People who paid $20.00 a ticket deserved to see something meaningful, to keep up their interest. If the show had included say 3 jobber matches, with a good angle to explain it, fine. But the way it was shoved down people's throats was insulting. NO ONE paid to see Backyard Billy 3 times. The America Dragon run-in did not make up for it, it may have actually detracted from what should have been a Beckett-Kozina classic. Shouldn't Dragon have worked Black Dragon or Firestorm/Torch?

Sure, the locker room was full of Sabu marks wanting to hang around and work the show. And it is understandable the office needs to keep guys happy, since they aren't making any money. But if the Rec Centre is supposed to be a showcase for the promotion, a losers tourney is not compatible with that idea. Dumping one of the companies top talents, Adam Firestorm, into that angle does nothing for him or the promotion.

The turn of Johnny Canuck on Starr has some potential but will not draw any new fans. If HonkyTonk Man is booked into this angle in August it could heat up, but otherwise it is strictly for the long-time fans.

Speaking of Sabu marks, Juggernaut looked like a total fool. If it was his idea to hit the ref, when all he should have been doing is reversing the pin, he should be pulled from the shows. Stupid crap like that detracts from the limited heat of an already predictable run-in. If it was his idea to try and cue Sabu into pointing at the ceiling in his trademark gesture, listen up, pally - Sabu doesn't need your help. You need his. Stop being a mark. Stop trying to upstage the pros. Learn something already. Disco has.

Sources also say there was a post-show backstage incident involving a former ECCW worker, there with Republic's blessing, and a leading ECCW figure. Of all people, Disco Fury played peacemaker and got in between 2 guys much larger than himself. The flare-up is an indication that the pressure is getting to some people, but to ECCW's credit an apology was offered to the innocent visitor.

The fact that the tour only drew better than expected in Victoria should drive home the message that Corino, while a hard worker and a good guy, needs more help from the NWA office itself to get media coverage and get over. All the ECW exposure meant very little in BC, not that it is Corino's fault. The NWA itself is at fault.

Look at Republic's NWA cohort, Winnipeg's Ernie Todd of the Canadian Wrestling Federation. Here's a guy who wants to be NWA President. Sources say he has gone over the deep end over an angle involving a small opposition office, Top Rope.

Thanks to media-smart angles, the small Top Rope office has gotten major national and local media play in the Winnipeg Sun, firstly by offering to match up embattled Reform leader Stockwell Day in a match against party dissidents, then by shooting an angle with a Sun reporter which drew 300 people to a bar show. Todd has been begging for coverage in the Sun, conveniently forgetting he burned his bridge by threatening a reporter there some years back.

Like Dave Republic, Ernie Todd came into promoting without a lick of wrestling industry experience. He is learning the hard way it is one thing to talk the talk and quite another to walk the walk. Recently he couldn't hold onto his NWA North American champ Robbie Royce (who pinned Corino for the belt) or 4 other workers who jumped ship to Top Rope. Todd has Spyder, who toured with ECCW a couple of years back and few other known workers. To make things worse, all the Winnipeg guys are lined up to work for Don Callis, whose champion is now... Dave Republic's champion, Dr. Luther.

Yet Ernie Todd is on the Board of the NWA. The same Board that can't figure out how to ensure that their World Champion, the aforementioned Steve Corino, is known enough to draw enough to make it possible for Republic to book him enough without losing his shirt. The same Board that decides which workers get the belts. The same Board Republic relies on for support, talent swaps and credibility. The same Board that crapped all over Dennis Coraluzzo, tried to humiliate him when they tossed him out of the NWA 2 months ago, for reasons they claim they did not have to divulge under the bylaws (aka communism), then issued a boo-hoo press release offering condolences to the family over Dennis' sudden passing. Form your own judgements about their character.

And now Luther,(and good for him by the way, he has a ton more talent than those horrid green WCW muscleheads like O'Haire and Palumbo,and deserves to make money anywhere he can), is the top draw both for an NWA office (Republic/BC) and against one (Todd/Winnipeg).

Maybe Dr. Luther should be NWA President. He has a better grip on how to work, how to draw and how to get over than Republic, Todd or the rest of the NWA right now- no offence to Corino or Sabu. If not, maybe ECCW needs to take a deep breath and rethink their allegiances within the wrestling world, and their own business tactics and personnel decisions, ie- Tyler, Gillis, Leatherface, Manson, and who knows who else they burnt. A jobber tournament is hardly a good replacement for those 4 pros.

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Quotes from the boys: Ed Moretti says "Lastly...after one of today's typical card is over..."well, what are we gonna come back with....a murder"?
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