The Evolution Of A Franchise

The Double Tables show that I last reviewed was cut up and aired in pieces over the next 3 weeks on ECW Hardcore TV leading up to the next show that I will be reviewing, Return of the Funker. On the February 21st episode, the first half of the show consisted of a 25 minute long promo with Shane Douglas entitled "The Evolution of a Franchise". Through the promo Douglas talked about his career as highlights of him played on from his early fued with Terry Funk in 1994 to his tossing of the NWA belt. Douglas got to a point in the promo where he pretty much did a shoot on why he hated Ric Flair.

"At WWF I was just on the verge of exploding into greatness when my father became terminally ill. When I burst back on the scene in WCW, I became the worlds tag team champion alongside Ricky Steamboat. And it was something that was made possible by the fact that Ric Flair was not in WCW, now let me explain. Has nothing to with me ever backing down from Ric Flair, or that Flair was a better man.

But Ric Flair, for just a minute I'm going to look into the camera. Because I'm tired of talking to the announcer over here, and I'm going to talk to you.

You see Ric Flair, as long as you were in WCW. As long as you were the political force there that you had always been, Shane Douglas was never going to get a fair shake. Everybody told you about it Ric Flair.

From the front office.

From Steamboat.

Even your own Four Horseman, Arn Anderson and JJ Dillon looked at you and said, "This is the kid", "This is the guy that we got to pass the torch to", "He is the next great athlete", "He is the next Nature Boy", "He is the next Bruno Sammartino", and Ric Flair like a coward, you took a pencil from behind your ear, and with that eraser, and that political power that you had because you kissed Ted Turner's rear end, You erased my name off of all the great matches, and instead the world saw Shane Douglas, a great athlete in the making, relegated to opening card matches, relegated to a fiasco in a ring with Jim Cornette, when I should have been wrestling you Ric Flair. When You should have been teaching me exactly how it was to be a worlds heavywieght champion.

You should have been teaching what it took to be a worlds heavywieght champion Ric Flair.

And so now let me answer once and for all the question. The burning, eternal question in this sport. The sheets have asked it. The magazines have asked it, and I know you've thought about it day in and day out.

Is Shane Douglas really talking the truth?

Does he really hate my guts as much as I think he does?

Does he really abhor the things that I've done as much as he says he does?

Well Ric Flair, I can look at you through this camera tonight. I can't look you in the eye man to man, because you ain't man enough to face me, but I'll say it once and for all and for the last time.

Ric Flair, I hate your guts. I hate everything you stand for, and worse than that I hate everything you've done to this sport. You've made my job that much harder as a "Franchise" in this industry to get this sport back to the level it once was. Back into the condition it was handed to you in, as a thriving, invigorated sport capable of putting people in the seats.

And instead Ric Flair, you handed me a dead horse. You didn't hand it to me, I took it from you. A dead horse that we are resurrecting, and I am in the process of doing that, and it ain't easy. Whenever I turn on and see Hulk Hogan stuffing handkerchiefs in your face, an entertainer.

Ric Flair, you don't have to face me, but for the rest of you stinking life. Every single time you look in the mirror, every time you turn on the TV for a wrestling match, every time you hear a bell, whether it's a doorbell or a bell signifying the start of a match. Your going to think of one thing. Could I have taken Shane Douglas in my prime? Could I have defeated the Franchise?

And Ric Flair, I'll tell you now, for the rest of your life, the answer will always be no. I don't have what it takes to defeat the Franchise.

Ric Flair, stay in retirement, because this sport belongs to me now."

The thing that stands out about this promo, and something that stood out in the last show I reviewed with the beginning of the Raven/Dreamer fued, ECW was using an anti WWF/WCW stance to build and develope their main characters. In the Dreamer vs Stevie Richards match on the last show I reviewed it was like Raven & Richards were invading WWF wrestlers. Stevie Richards ripped Tommy Dreamer's ECW shirt off, put it on, and did an HBK pose in the center of the ring. Tommy Dreamer took the shirt back off, defeated Richards, and told Raven to go back to the WWF to tell them to kiss the ECW's ass. When Dreamer started the ECW chant after saying that It was really the beginning of Tommy Dreamer becoming the ECW peoples champion. It was "That Moment", similar to when DDP became the WCW peoples champion.

Something similar here with this Shane Douglas promo. Something else that I realized was that this promo was eerily similar to Steve Austin's promo's later on in the year when he would come over after being fired from WCW. It was becoming clearer with this promo that at the core of "The Franchise" character was a bitter, disgruntled worker that was sick of being done wrong by the politics in pro wrestling. At the core of the "Stone Cold" character that was really the same thing.

Shane Douglas is coming off of a victory over former Four Horseman Tully Blanchard at the last ECW show, and was in the process of forming his own Horseman type of stable with Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko called The Triple Threat. Douglas was still the ECW World Champion at this time, and was set to defend his title at the next show I will be reviewing against former WWF Intercontinental champion Marty Jannetty.

Also something to note. Flair's generation really did hand down a dead horse to the next generation. In 1993-94-95 the sport was really at an all time low as far as ratings/ticket sales are concerned. It wasn't really until the Monday Night Wars/NWO that the business really started to pick back up. Me personally, I think ECW had some influence on what brought pro wrestling out of the sad state that it was in from 93 to 95, so in a way Shane Douglas was really speaking a bit of truth here.

1 comment: