Saturday, December 17, 2016

OMG Vol. 3: The Top 50 Incidents in ECW History

I have a rare timely wrestling blog covering one of the latest features that WWE released just a few weeks ago. This one is for OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History (trailer | excerpt). I had a similar somewhat timely review with the last entry in the OMG series, covering WCW’s Top 50 OMG moments and for some bizarre reason that is my most viewed entry on this website so it only seemed right to do the series justice and have another somewhat timely blog with OMG Vol 3!

It is worth noting that OMG Vol 3 did not have a retail release. One was planned, but WWE cancelled it and a couple weeks ago released it as a WWE Network exclusive in tandem with an excellent ECW roundtable discussion with Paul Heyman and other ECW alumni. The awesome folks at WWE Network News fill in the details here and I will reference the fine people at WDN for their awesome original BluRay artwork and this article where they came up with their dream rankings so you can watch it along with the network’s countdown and see how it stacks up.

I had some original fears that since OMG Vol 3 was quietly getting released on the WWE Network with very little to no buzz that it was going to be a quickly slapped together hour long piece, but that is not the case. Like the previous two installments, OMG Vol 3 dedicates ample time to all 50 ECW moments that yields a total runtime of 2 hours and 18 minutes. This retains the same television countdown format style where they show clips of the moment interspersed with interview excerpts from talent who were involved in the ‘incident’ and/or were part of that ECW alumni. These are all new interviews as well, as WWE did not reuse prior interviews for this countdown.

Notable interview subjects include Joey Styles since his interview presumably was recorded before his release this past summer, Chris Jericho, Tommy Dreamer, Mick Foley, Rhyno, Rob Van Dam, the Dudleyz (including tracking down Spike and Sign Guy Dudley also), Joel Gertner, Cyrus, Mikey Whipwreck, Tazz, Lance Storm and Raven. Several of these names have gone many years since or never have been interviewed before for a WWE feature. Noticeably absent is Paul Heyman which is a head scratcher since he is still under WWE employment. Paul is seen throughout in moments he is a part of throughout the countdown, but I have no idea why Paul did not want to be interviewed for this. He is part of the excellent roundtable mentioned above, and he does talk about ECW in great length in other documentaries by WWE so perhaps he was just burnt out and needed a break.

The prior OMG releases had many moments of lightheartedness to them, especially the WCW installment that had many countdown moments that involved many embarrassing hokey incidents in their final years that led to the promotion’s demise. I presumed ECW’s countdown would get the same treatment, but that is not the case as the countdown has a constant dark and gritty feel that parallels ECW’s ‘Blood and Guts’ slogan they were known for. They even changed up the lovably corny OMG theme music from the past two countdowns my friend and I loved so much and replaced it with a much more fitting Joey Styles sound bite between each and every countdown. Just a quick heads up, this only goes covers the original ECW promotion from 1992-2001 and none of the ECW re-launch from WWE is featured. That is too bad because I would have popped to see a nod to my beloved ‘Gulf of Mexico’ match.

The countdown list has a lot of fitting moments that earned their spot on the list. I watched OMG Vol 3 with the same friend I watched the last two with and we noticed a lot of repeating moments with the Dudleyz, Shane Douglas, Beulah, Raven and Tommy Dreamer. Most were very OMG-worthy moments, but it got to be a bit repetitive seeing the same acts over and over. If you were there for ECW’s history you recall there were a ton of crazy moments in the Raven/Tommy Dreamer/Sandman lore where they got their families involved and seem an inspiration for a lot of the soap opera theatrics dominant in WWE storylines today. Rest assured the Sandman crucifixion spot ranked high on the list, and my friend called the Tommy Dreamer/Kimona/Beulah hardcore make out session making the top 10, albeit a bit higher than he predicted.

While WWE nowadays likes to boast they are in the PG era and are family entertainment, this is one of the rare releases by WWE to get a TV-MA rating. While I loved some of the dumb cheeseball nature of the past OMG entries, the dark, serious nature of the ECW version is the right tone to take with it, and it definitely wears its TV-MA rating proudly on its sleeve. If you have kiddos make sure to keep them out of the room because there is buckets of blood and some nasty violence nonstop throughout this, and they hold nothing back when it comes to the moments featuring the ladies from ECW as well since OMV Vol 3 has a few moments featuring previously unreleased footage. Perhaps this is another reason why WWE decided to go with making this a streaming exclusive. This way it had less of a visible retail presence and it could possibly go more unnoticed by the general public they try so hard to appease with their family friendly branding.

I hate to take this blog to a dour note, but I kind of have no other choice. The unfortunate reality of what we know about concussions today resulted in the loss of a lot of lives from ‘Attitude era’ wrestlers of the mid-to-late 90’s, and especially for ECW wrestlers who upped the violence and risk to new levels. It seemed WWE wanted to keep the spotlight away from wrestlers who passed because they are only featured at a minimum. There are a few exceptions like the Malenko/Guerrero classic, Tazz beating Mike Awesome for the ECW Title and Dreamer sending Brian Lee through a stack of tables but I guess I can see why WWE took this approach to the countdown so it did not appear as a nonstop ‘point out who all is dead’ marathon.

Now that I got that out of the way, whether you know your ECW History or not, definitely make time to check out OMG Vol 3: The Top 50 Incidents in ECW History. I have covered a lot of ECW material on here already and seen other documentaries, but there were still around a dozen ‘incidents’ on here I had no idea of or I had long forgotten about them and it was nice to get a refresher with new insight from the subjects that were interviewed. It is easily the best produced and most enjoyable of the three OMG releases.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016

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