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This Week In WWE Vintage Collection History: New Beginnings For A Tag Team, An Entire Promotion And Dr. Thuggypants

By Aaron Wood Jan 22, 2012 - 7:24 AM print

Remember when at the end of last week's episode, I noted that Mean Gene said "we're only in the middle" of these New Beginnings shows. Well, either Gene doesn't know what "middle" or he'd been ribbed because he opened up noting that this was the LAST New Beginnings show, which would include a new start for one of the WWE's biggest names.

However we would be starting with a tag team, namely The Midnight Express. But which one? For at Starrcade 88, two versions of the team would collide as the Original version of the team, in "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey and "Ravishing" Randy Rose were brought in by Paul E. Dangerously to take on the-then current iteration with "Sweet" Stan Lane and "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton, managed by Jim Cornette. Paul E. thought the original was better than Corny's which which would prevail?

Now, this video is a segment of the show, rather than the match, as I couldn't find the match as a self-contained unit. However, this video does pick up mere second after the introductions and bell.

Back in the studio, Gene said that for years, ECW had been the alternative to WWE and WCW, and some of the most memorable matches and moments took place in the arena that housed Extreme Championship Wrestling. And even after the doors closed, they had such an impact on wrestling that crowds would continue to chant "ECW" for years to come. And on June 13th 2006, the ECW brand was resurrected and had it's debut show, main eventing with a 10-man Extreme Battle Royal, with the winner getting John Cena at Vengeance. Gene noted earlier this was the first time ECW was featured on Vintage Collection. Without checking, he could be right as I can't remember any ECW previously, for obvious reasons.

Some notes on how it aired, at least on this UK airing on Sunday morning. After the break, when Joey said "ECW On Sci Fi", the "On Sci Fi" was muted. Also, given that this aired on a Sunday morning, suffice to say that when the weapons came out, it became a nightmare of freeze-framing and clever editing.

After the break, it was time for our final "New Beginning", as we went to Smackdown on the 4th of July 2002, and backstage with Vince McMahon & Chris Jericho, who were talking as as the young rookie who had debuted the week previous knocked on the door and came into the room. That young rookie? John Cena.

Vince shook his hand and said he was impressed with him last week, showing the Ruthless Aggression he was looking for. Vince introduced Jericho, who refused to shake Cena's hand. Y2J riled against him and his "ruthless aggression" with his green tights and spiky hair. He wondered what ruthless aggression Cena had. So Cena slapped the holy hell out of Jericho. He sure got the note to "make it look good".

Back in the studio, Gene set up the match that would take place later as when Cena burst on the Smackdown scene, he attracted the attention of the WWE Universe right away, as well as the unwanted attention of Chris Jericho. While Cena would put a halt to Jericho's career a few years later, it was Jericho to tried to stifle Cena's early run.

After the break, we went to the Smackdown of January 30th 2003, as Cena came out with Redd Dogg (Rodney Mack), cutting a rap. However, we didn't hear it as Gene talked about his change in attitude, as Cena was coming to the ring for a match against Eddie Guerrero. We did end up hearing the last few lines of the rap. But then again, it's all in the video...

Gene said that the Lie, Chest and Steal mentality of Los Guerreros would prove too much for Cena on this occasion. Some months later, they would engage in a bitter feud over the US Title, ending a in Parking Lot Brawl, where would once again would lose. But it was only part of the ascent to the World Champion leader of the CeNation. Gene then signed off.

A match was set up for the Midnight Express & Jim Cornette against The Original Midnight Express & Paul Heyman for the February PPV, with the loser of the fall being fired. However, due to politics backstage, Dennis Condrey quit the promotion before the match rather than take the pay day. The match went ahead with Jack Victory subbing for Condrey. The result of the match would see Randy Rose take the loss and indeed leave the NWA.

Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton would themselves leave the NWA for a short period later in 1988 due to issues with their direction and booking. However, they soon returned to what was a thriving tag team division, coming back in time to take part in a tournament to crown new tag champions after the belts had been vacated, although they lost in the finals to the Freebirds.

The ressurected ECW would last nearly four years on Sci Fi/Syfy before ending in February 2010, although Heyman's "vision" of the new ECW was killed off after the disastrous December To Dismember PPV, although in my view, it was often under-rated, especially around the 2009 time frame when it had week upon week of good matches and simple booking.

As for the winner of the Battle Royal, Sabu, he faced Cena at Vengeance in what ended up as an Extreme Lumberjack match, featuring members of both the RAW and ECW rosters. Cena would win the match however by submission. Sabu would however engage in a feud with Paul Heyman and his chosen ECW Champion Big Show, a move which came about after RVD was busted for drugs by the cops.

Jericho had been due to face Edge at the upcoming Vengeance, but elsewhere on that Smackdown episode, Edge and Hulk Hogan would defeat Billy & Chuck for the Tag Titles, defending them (and losing to) against the UnAmericans at the PPV, so Jericho ended up in a rematch with Cena, wich Cena pulling out the win this time.

After that. a couple of months after Vengeance, Jericho found himself sent back to RAW, although he would quickly win the IC Title. And despite dropping that quickly, he'd then soon win the World Tag Titles with Christian.

Cena would float around for a while after his feud with Jericho until teaming with Billy Kidman in the tournament to crown the first WWE Tag Champions, since the World Tag Titles were exclusive to Smackdown. However, after losing in the first round, Cena attacked Kidman, before he famously dropped a rap at the Halloween party and turned his career around. Indeed, he saved it as he was being considered for being cut.

Despite losing to Eddie here, they would meet again a couple of months later in a tournament to decide a contender for Brock Lesnar's WWE Title at Backlash. Not only did Cena win that match, but he would win the shot at Lesnar, although he would be ultimately unsuccessful. Then soon after a PPV loss to Undertaker, Cena would turn babyface once again, and has never turned since.

At the time of his match with Cena, Eddie was actually tag champion with Chavo. However, on the following week's episode, they would lose to Haas & Benjamin, then part of Team Angle. Los Guerreros would remain unsuccessful in rematches, both at Wrestlemania 19 and Backlash. However, after Chavo tore his bicep, Eddie would start teaming with Tajiri, and they would win the Tag Titles at Judgement Day.

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