February 14, 2010
Gary Mehaffy

ECW: Who stays and who goes?

Iím not one to plagarise another writerís work, but before I begin let me quote part of Dan Wahlerís last column:

ďEveryone is saying that ECW died. No, ECW died back in 2001 when Paul Heyman went bankrupt. It was resurrected for the One Night Stand PPV in 2005, which was as close to the old ECW as anyone will ever get again.Ē

I couldnít agree more. The ECW that will cease to exist on WWE TV this coming Tuesday has been, of late, ECW by name and certainly not ECW by nature. And by ďof lateĒ I mean on pretty much every episode since they brought the show back.

Now, Iím not here to have a retrospective look at the ups and downs of Vinceís version of ECW (or should that be downs and even further downs?) but Iím here to look at the future. As of Tuesday, February 16th, there will be a lot of talent available as Ďfree agentsí Ė well, within the parameters WWE-land that is. The ECW roster will obviously cease to exist, and it will be interesting to see what they do with them.

Raw and SmackDown are laden with performers as it is Ė can they accommodate an influx of new talent and if so how will that talent fare? After all, they rarely appear on either of the two main shows during any crossover and itís even rarer to see many of them on PPV (even the Royal Rumble).

With that in mind, I want to have a look at the ECW roster and see where they all may end up. Some will end up on Raw, some on SmackDown, some may remain in their current timeslot as part of NXT and some will likely be future endeavored.

Ok, so some may be future endeavored via FCW, or end up there for a while before being brought up to the main rosters again. Hereís my ten cents worth. (The roster list is taken from the WWEís official roster list.)

Christian: I hope to see Christian on SmackDown, regardless of his appearance and loss on Raw last week to Sheamus. Then again, Iíve been calling for him to be on SmackDown since he returned to WWE, but what would I know. The obvious re-pairing with Edge is almost too obvious, but it would be a money partnership again, no doubt. I donít know that he will ever reach the heights of a world or heavyweight champion (unfortunately) but heíll do ok.

Abraham Washington: Be afraid, be VERY afraid. They are trying to get him wrestling in FCW so someone obviously sees some sort of potential in him. Who exactly is what I want to know? Surely the point has come for him to be quietly released. Or released to the sound of great cheers!

Byron Saxton: If Jim Ross comes back then Byron will be surplus to requirements on the main roster commentating rota. Until then, and if JR doesnít reappear anytime soon, then he should be thankful to be still heard on NXT.

Caylen Croft & Trent Barreta: There was a mention on commentary this week about how they like to hang out with Zack Ryder, so that may be a hint at things to come. They would be more suited on SmackDown than Raw, but all things considered they should stay on NXT and get some more seasoning before being tried on a main roster.

Ezekiel Jackson: The man, the myth, the legend. SmackDown doesnít need any more man monsters, so I could see him ending up on Raw, worrying as that sounds. Heíll have one shot on the roster, and as soon as HHH doesnít rate him heíll be future endeavored IMO.

Goldust: What a turnaround for Dustin Runnels. He has totally repaired his reputation during his stay on ECW. He and Yoshi Tatsu are getting a tag title shot this coming week on ECW, although not for one minute do I expect them to win. If it were possible, I would move them as a tag team and not as singles wrestlers, sorry, I mean sports entertainers. Move them to Raw, build them up a la Goldust & Booker T from several years ago, make the crowd care, then give Yoshi a go as a singles competitor. Splitting them up at this stage would only see Goldust job on Superstars or else as a name (of sorts) on NXT.

Gregory Helms/Hurricane: While it pains me to say it, I just donít see him ever getting over again on either of the main rosters. That being said, I donít know that WWE will release him, as surely TNA would join him with Shannon Moore & Jeff Hardy (if they can sign him!). So, itís either future endeavored or jobbing on SmackDown for everyoneís favourite TMZ mugshot.

Josh Matthews: No change. Commentating on NXT and interviewing on SmackDown.

Zack Ryder & Rosa Mendes: I will say it now Ė stick with this partnership! Much as I saw potential in Miz before many did (or would admit to), I see it in Ryder/Mendes too. Give him time on SmackDown (not Raw, heíll get eaten alive) and he could evolve into a good mid-level heel. If they still want to pair him with Croft & Barreta then fine, but not for a few months yet.

Savannah: FCW & NXT.

Shelton Benjamin: He confuses me. He has all the talent in the world (and then some) but for whatever reason he just doesnít connect with the crowd. Yes they pop when he does a crazy move (generally in one of the Money in the Bank matches at WrestleMania) but then they forget him. He is one of the most underutilised performers in not just WWE but the entire industry. He will always get opportunities, but has his detractors in the corridors of power. The SmackDown mid card beckons, although Iíd like to see him shake up a (slightly) stale Raw roster.

Tiffany: Keep drinking the cocktails Tiffany, cause youíre time on the main roster is up. I could see her staying on NXT and appearing on Raw & SmackDown from time to time to try and have some of the NXT roster signed to the main ones.

Tony Atlas: Future endeavored. He has laughed his last laugh.

Tyler Reks: FCW and then over and out.

Vance Archer: I am worried that someone in management sees something in him, which not many others do. He has received a mini push (of sorts) on ECW and in FCW and will probably be moved to SmackDown. But if they wonít use Mike Knox then theyíll never use Archer. Not too long for this world, or the WWE Universe.

Vladimir Koslov: He had better hope the Santino sit com gets picked up! He could end up on either Raw or SmackDown, and within six months be out of WWE. He hasnít developed at all as WWE had hoped and so I think itís time to cut their losses and future endeavour him.

William Regal: Ok, so Iím biased. Put him on Raw, give him a PROPER stable Ė i.e. with guys that can actually wrestle Ė and let him do his stuff as a high mid-card heel. I always had hopes of a SmackDown title run for either Regal or Finlay, but it didnít happen. Actually, thereís a thought. Forget what I just wrote for him about Raw. Put him on SmackDown as a stable leader and let him wrestle Finlay and show everyone how itís done. Actually, I donít mind either way Ė just give the man a proper push!

Yoshi Tatsu: See Goldust.

On a related note, has anyone seen Paul Burchill? Now he could make a good partner for the Regal stable! (Are you listening Vince?)

I genuinely hope that there arenít too many guys & girls cut as a result of the ECW cull. WWE is doing so much good on the road to Wrestle Mania at the moment, but there are several people from all 3 brands who should be worried about being released, and in some cases itís well overdue. Raw and SmackDown will both receive a shot in the arm in the next couple of weeks, with superstars turning up out of the blue on both brands (surely itís better that them all just appearing in the same week?).

Yes, Vinceís version of ECW has been put down once and for all, but for several of its talent roster itís time to put up or shut up.

garymehaffy@hotmail.co.uk

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