In not-so-loving memory
PHILADELPHIA -- Even in death, there was no brotherly love for WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon in Philadelphia.
Very few handmade signs in homage to the Chairman peppered the Wachovia Center as some of our fans fell to a hush at the beginning of ECW on Sci Fi. The fans in Philadelphia have been known for their passion and sometimes-harsh treatment of sports figures. And they had no mercy on Mr. McMahon, as many booed, flashed thumbs-down signs and rained catcalls in the Chairman's memory as 10 metallic tings of the ring bell reverberated throughout the arena and McMahon's face appeared on the TitanTron.
A few "R.I.P Vince" signs were scattered in the audience. Some of our fans cheered and applauded the fallen Chairman, who presumably perished at the end of Raw when his limousine exploded. But mixed reaction aside, Monday's tragic events shook the core of all of WWE and ECW. (WATCH: Exclusive video of the explosion's aftermath)
There was debate on whether tonight's ECW on Sci Fi -- or the upcoming Vengeance: Night of Champions -- would go on as scheduled because of the Chairman's death. But, as ECW announcers Tazz and Joey Styles pointed out, Mr. McMahon would have wanted the show to go on -- and the ECW Superstars put on a show in tribute to the sports-entertainment pioneer.
The public and most Superstars were mostly familiar with the tyrannical Chairman who delighted in being vindictive and crushing any and all who opposed him. But privately, Mr. McMahon often said that the Superstars' jobs were to make our fans forget about their everyday lives and put smiles on people's faces. And tonight they did.
From Originals Dreamer and Mahoney waging war under Extreme Rules to the revolting ECW debut of Boogeyman to the triumphant Extreme return of Chris Benoit, our fans were able to -- albeit temporarily -- abort the disturbing image of Mr. McMahon's fiery limousine and the shroud of mystery hovering over the explosion.
For the Rabid Wolverine, an ECW Original who was drafted from SmackDown Monday night, his return to the Land of the Extreme was bittersweet. Benoit had an opportunity to team with CM Punk, a Superstar many consider the future of ECW, against the New Breed's Elijah Burke & Marcus Cor Von.
At the end of the night, they had their hands raised and were able to soak in our fans' cheers, but their faces told a different story. Given their glum, deflated expressions, the ECW heroes probably would have rather celebrated a victory under much different circumstances, even though they were not exactly close to the Chairman.
For the full results of ECW on Sci Fi, click HERE.