Welcome back to the second part of our Fantasy Booking of ECW series. It’s been a while since Part 1 came out, so let’s take a quick look at what has happened up to this point.
ECW is back as a third brand and is better than ever. They brought back all of the old ECW stars, as well as a new group of stars. Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, and Mr. Kennedy. The ECW Championship is back, and Angle defeated Tommy Dreamer to win it. The first episode of the revamped ECW ends with him staring down the hard camera, stating that ECW is “his yard now”, a la Roman Reigns.
The next week, Angle opens the show, claiming how he is going to turn the world of ECW upside down. This is his show now, and everybody must do what he says. Then, Rob Van Dam comes out. Keep in mind, Van Dam is the WWE Champion at this time. He enters the ring and basically says, “um, what are you talking about? I’m the WWE Champion. I’m an ECW Original. You don’t know what ECW is all about,” etc. Paul Heyman comes out and books a champion vs. champion match for next week’s edition of ECW: RVD vs. Kurt Angle.
On this episode in real life, Mike Knox debuted as the on-screen girlfriend of Kelly Kelly. Because that made sense. That doesn’t happen here. Knox is a 6’6″, 300-pound monster with incredible agility. Book him as the monster heel that they made him out to be in 2008. He has a match with Tony Mamaluke and just destroys the poor guy. If Knox is booked well enough, he can be that giant that they lack, especially considering Big Show doesn’t jump ship to ECW in this situation.
That next week, Angle and Van Dam have their match, just like they did in real life. Sticking true to real life even further, Edge comes out and attacks Van Dam. This time, though, he costs RVD the match. Angle can go on to brag about how he beat the “face of ECW”, and Van Dam has a reason to continue his feud with Edge, who is also feuding with John Cena. Since RVD is on a separate brand from Cena and Edge, you have to be very creative in how you book the rivalry.
Both Van Dam and Cena have an issue with Edge, and both Cena and Edge want the WWE Championship. Cena initially wants to team up with Edge, seeing that he wants the WWE Championship back on Raw, but Edge wants no part of it. They can go on to have their own personal feud, with the hotel invasions and slapping of fathers and such.
So, over the next few weeks, they will all have their own promos on their respective shows. Eventually, you will have RVD interfere in one of Edge’s matches on Raw. Limiting his face-to-face interactions with his Raw counterparts will give their eventual match a bit of mystique.
Around this time in real life, a few new faces popped up on ECW television. Superstars like CM Punk, Kevin Thorn and Test all debuted from the span of June to July of 2006. While it’s a great idea to add to ECW’s roster, it’s best not to rush it all at once. So, that means that only one person will debut in this time span, and that person is CM Punk.
Right off the bat, have Punk portrayed as a talented technician. He beats a couple of lower mid-carders like Roadkill, Danny Doring and Justin Credible. You don’t want to rush him straight to the top, though. Give him some time to develop his character in the mid card. His first real feud will come against Shelton Benjamin.
Eventually, we will have Benjamin drop his Intercontinental Championship, because, at some point, it will have to return to Monday Night Raw. He can drop it to Carlito at Vengeance, as he did in real life.
Here’s where the biggest problem lies: in August of 2006, Angle leaves because he felt that he was working hurt. If you’re WWE here, then you’re in trouble. I don’t want to say “oh, we’ll magically make everything better”, because that’s not going to happen. If he complains about his schedule, don’t have him wrestle all that much. When he does wrestle, make it feel special. Giving Angle a bit more of what he wants might be able to make him stick around for a little bit longer. He enters a feud with Sabu, who is upset at Angle for not representing ECW well enough. Have Sabu desperately want to fight Angle, but have Angle back out each time because he has more important things to do like photo shoots, interviews and promotional work, etc. This idea of being the face of a brand has gotten into his head.
Mr. Kennedy, on the other hand, isn’t doing much at the moment. Besides, ECW is only a one-hour show. Don’t worry, though, that will change with time.
While all of this will be going on, Mr. McMahon is showing a lack of interest in ECW. He’s in the midst of a feud with D-Generation X alongside his son, Shane. He has bigger fish to fry than a “rinky-dink, bingo hall brand”. With that said, he gives ECW two matches at the upcoming SummerSlam, which is less than the other brands. However, it’s one more match than they had at the event that year. Paul Heyman sets up two matches: Kurt Angle vs. Sabu for the ECW championship, and CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin. Rob Van Dam will face Edge and John Cena in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. To play into Edge and Cena’s personal beef, plus the fact that RVD is on ECW, that match will be made into an Extreme Rules match.
Punk and Benjamin opens up the show. You play into Benjamin’s amateur wrestling background and Punk’s Muy Thai background and have them put on a technical clinic. Eventually, Punk will win with the Go To Sleep.
Angle and Sabu will go on a little bit later. The real ECW Championship match, Sabu vs. Big Show, was the second match on the main card and only went on for eight minutes. What kind of investment can you have in a world title match when it only goes on for eight minutes? This match will go on, say, fourth. The real 2006 edition of SummerSlam had a lot of filler backstage promos, which we will cut down a bit here. That gives the two ECW “Extremists” about 15 minutes to work with. After a hard-fought battle, Angle picks up the win.
In the main event, Van Dam, Edge and Cena take each other on in an absolute slobberknocker. Weapons galore are used in this bout. Van Dam performs his discus leg drop to Edge, who lies prone on the barricade. Edge gives Cena his one-man con-chair-to. Cena puts Van Dam through two tables on an FU from the top rope. Eventually, though Edge spears Cena to pick up the win. This continues the feud between Edge and Cena, while getting the WWE title off of Van Dam.
On the very next episode of ECW, Angle opens up the show. He admits that Sabu gave him a challenge, but he couldn’t get the job done. The Wrestling Machine is still the face of ECW, and nobody will ever change that. Van Dam comes out. He talks about how he always thought that Angle was a total prick, and seeing him carrying the world title of his beloved ECW made him sick. Angle brags that he won his match at SummerSlam, while Van Dam lost his. Paul Heyman comes out and books a No. 1 contender’s match between Van Dam and Mr. Kennedy. Van Dam picks up the win, which starts up the feud between him and Angle.
That’s it for the second edition of our fantasy booking of ECW series. Tune in later for our third and final article of the series, where we look to take the Extreme Brand into Survivor Series riding high.