Geek circles intersect! Fans explode! The Sci Fi Channel is airing a pro wrestling show. So I have to review it. I had to watch it. You know, for work.
The truth is, there is no winning over pro wrestling to the non-fan. It's the same with sci-fi. If you're wired for it, no explanation is needed. If not, no explanation will ever be good enough. So I am not here to try to make you like it. I'm here to say whether it's worth an hour of your viewing time.
I like the pro wrestling. I've seen it live. I own tapes. I'm not ashamed. I'm not an elitist geek who says, "Fictional sports are for lesser creatures!" Sci-fi fans have to like real sports now? That's not cool.
This is not the first time I have witnessed these circles intersect. Dragon*Con has a pro wrestling night nearly every year, and the thing is packed.
I say, if it makes money for my sci-fi and my wrestling, I'm for it. Have you seen all the other ways they fill hours on Sci Fi? No one noticed that Tom Cruise's archfoe Matt Lauer hosts on Sci Fi Countdown to Doomsday, an alarmist pseudo- documentary about how the Earth is going to go kablooey.
I watched two minutes of that and I thought, "Bummer. When's wrestling on?"
But do not let my liking of the shirtless men pretending to fight fool you. Unfortunately for me, ECW on Sci Fi doesn't exactly bash me over the head with the steel chair of enjoyment.
A quick history lesson (I'll be brief, I promise). ECW in the early 1990s changed the pro wrestling business, which was cartoony and silly. ECW earned a feverish following by catering to the fans who were on the then- growing Internet. The shows contained more violent-looking action and more mature storylines. The ECW style was noticed by WCW and WWE and they used it for themselves, which helped lead to the wrestling boom of the late 1990s. As a reward, ECW went out of business and was bought by WWE.
Sci Fi's first episode, a new ECW produced by WWE but containing ECW's old stars, lacked pretty much every aspect of the ECW style. It was silly and cartoony, with a vampire, a "hardcore" battle royal where people whacked each other with cookie sheets, and a supposedly-popular good guy whom fans greeted with silence.
I will illustrate with a very strained analogy. Imagine the reverse of the new Battlestar Galactica TV series. The new Battlestar is a hip and stylish show that improved on the sci-fi genre's often campy and derivative past, offering a stylish creation not seen before. This new ECW is often campy and derivative, showing none of the stylish creation that was seen before.
For example: The old ECW had hot ladies doing sexy things. The new ECW had a woman who appeared on stage and began to strip . . . but she could not get her bra off. I don't mean that her haplessness was meant to be funny. I mean that she yanked, twisted, and fumbled desperately with one hand while the cameras rolled, to unsnap with one hand the silken deathtrap that restrained her boobular areas that the viewer was never going to see on basic cable anyway.
It's always possible that it could get better. This is same way the geek fan lived through Star Trek: Voyager. Every week, hoping. In other words, we are as brothers. Now let us join forces and make fun of dog show lovers.