Before I begin, I want to stress that the following is MY, ECW story. Perhaps you might not care how ECW touched David Jakielo, but this goodbye, hopefully, will show how truly special ECW was. Everyone's story of ECW, in his or her life is unique, and what you are about to read supports that theory. The previous ECW farewells written on this website explained the magic of ECW from inside the ring, my story shows ECW's magic was far more than what you saw on television. My story of ECW, is a fan turned employee, and when the dust settled an indelible impact was left on my life.
Two important events happened to me in 1995. One being that I fell back in love with an old friend known as professional wrestling, which I had taken a few years off from viewing. The second being my first time signing onto the global medium known as America Online which would prove to be a much better investment than I ever could have imagined. These two events would end up coinciding and in turn took me on a ride I never thought possible.
While reading a newsstand magazine one day, I remember coming across a mention that wrestling could be found on the internet and AOL. It recommended AOL users to check out the "Grandstand", which featured a message board where fans could chat about pro wrestling. I checked it out but didn't post much. I could tell the people posting were a "smarter" fan than I. I read the discussions and learned from them. I did happen to notice one of the topic folders had the three unfamiliar letters I saw in previous magazines. Every once in a while, I'd read through the threads, and quickly noticed that on what seemed to be a weekly basis something special was happening in abingo hall.
I kept reading up on this promotion until one day while on AOL I read a post that informed the Pittsburgh area that they now had a reason to stay up until 2AM Friday nights with the dial on the Prime Sports Network. I was finally going to be introduced to the strange three-letter acronym I was unaccustomed to.
What I randomly saw to start the show was a match that has stood the test of time and to this day is still one of my all time favorites. Two wrestlers whom I had never seen (Chris Jericho and Pitbull #2), competing for a belt I had no knowledge of, in a very small building, with an announcer I never heard before. The match was exciting; action packed, and showcased moves I had not yet seen. Pure wrestling and storyline twists, the three letters weren't foreign to me now, a new era for me had begun, the era of ECW.
I continued to watch and loved what I saw. I read about ECW until I made the next step, attending a live event. It was 1997, right before their first pay-per-view, Barely Legal, a house show was happening near Pittsburgh in a high school gym. It was up until that point the best house show I ever attended. Also at the same time I decided to take AOL up on its offer and create my own, free, website. I found the idea cute at first not knowing the path it would take me down.
One day, I came upon an old website which had archived RSPW posts. In the posts were old ECW television reports written by Tom Misnik and ECW Arena reports by Dave Scherer who's name I recognized from a site that was given plugs on ECW TV, 1wrestling.com. I read the reports and was fascinated. I soon emailed Tom and Dave asking if I could archive these reports on my website, they both gave me the green light. By emailing Dave the seeds were planted for my connection to working in wrestling.
It was around this time that I decided to create a "tribute site" to one of my favorite ECW personalities, Joel Gertner. A freak incident occurred months after launching my Gertner site, where people who knew Joel informed him of my website. Joel saw the page, and thankfully, liked what he saw. Word was passed to me that I could label the website official. Joel Gertner gave me hope that great things could come from my computer work.
I continued to watch ECW, worked on learning the website craft, and continued to talk to Joel. The waves were set in motion; I was about to go on the ride of my life.
I decided to put together another tribute site for an ECW wrestler that I admired, Justin Credible. The site was launched and I was proud of my work. I showed Joel and he took a liking to it as well and apparently showed Justin. Joel was nice enough to tell me to stick around after a local ECW show to meet him. I took Joel up on his offer and we met up. We talked for a few minutes catching up and talking about the show when he told me he wanted me to meet Justin. Justin, still catching his breath from the great main event he just worked in, started talking websites with me. He told me he wanted to go with me as his webmaster for his official website, I eagerly looked forward to this new challenge.
Pittsburgh at one point lost their ECW television, which was not a pleasant experience, but a learning one. Luckily we gained it back and I knew I had to use my website as the forum to introduce ECW television to as many people as possible. I therefore decided to teach myself the art of making multimedia. After getting the right connections, my VCR was hooked up to my computer, and I was able to snap pictures and capture video from video tape, to computer, to internet. From that point on I made ECW television multimedia for my website and decided to inquire with the top ECW fan based organization, Strictly ECW, about putting my multimedia on their website as well. Strictly ECW was nice enough to let me be part, albeit a minor one in comparison to what the rest of the crew did, of their website. Strictly ECW would serve as the catalyst to the line of work I would soon be involved with, they are forever held in my debt.
Funny story, weeks after I'm making multimedia and part of the Strictly ECW crew, Pittsburgh loses its ECW TV again. Ed Cleveland Jr. didn't give up on me and was nice enough to send me ECW TV, so I could continue to see the shows and make multimedia. On a side note, Ed is great, one Christmas he sent me a ton of wrestling videos just for the hell of it, to make my collection more respectable. Just another in the line of MANY great people I would meet through ECW.
Just as I started working for Strictly ECW, ECW was set to go national with its Friday evening show on TNN. Around the same time, ECW held a show in its ECW Arena, and as legend has it, someone from Strictly ECW showed more of my work to Dave Scherer. Dave had just taken over the webmaster duties at ECW's official website, ECWwrestling.com. I was told to email Dave and offer my services, I did. Dave mailed me back and I was aboard ECWwrestling.com. I have to credit Dave to giving me the coolest break I've gotten in my eighteen years of existence.
I'm not going to bore you in great detail with the opportunities working for ECWwrestling.com and Dave Scherer allowed me, but in brief, here is what I got to do
- Created and maintained ECW's multimedia and history sections from scratch.
- Created graphics for the ECW website.
- Created a graphic that appeared on ECW Hardcore TV.
- Designed and maintained thirteen individual wrestler websites, with my lackey, yet, all around good guy, Michael Johnson. Mike always made sure I was welcomed and introduced to certain number of people, if it wasn't for Mike I would be dead in the subways of New York City now.
- Spent hours writing recaps to Wrestling Observer Live, thanks a whole lot for that experience 1wrestling.com.
- Did live play-by-play on the website on nights of big shows in New York City, in buildings without phone jacks. (Although the majority of the credit should be given to Buck Woodward, who gave me detailed results from the building via a cell phone.)
- Had my name mentioned on ECW pay-per-view telecasts.
- Conducted audio interviews for the internet with Joel Gertner and Tazz.
- Given the opportunity to venture to the ECW Arena on two occasions as a staff member, and at the ECW Massacre on 34th Street show. Through these times I had the privilege to meet the staff of ECWwrestling.com, Joey Styles, the ECW locker room, and many many many others.
As you can see my fondest ECW memories don't include storylines, gimmicks, or matches. Yes, that is what initially got me hooked, and my ECW video library is worth more to me than probably Mike Johnson's life (unfortunately, over half of my collection are HIS tapes that I need to return) but ECW took me places and introduced me to people I only dreamed of going and knowing. When my ECW work grew to 5-6 hours of work a day I was forced to close my original website, and therefore this piece could very well be the last thing I ever write, on a forum this big, concerning wrestling. With that said I would like to take this space to thank the following people.
Thank you to.
Joey Styles: For being the most professional person I ever had the pleasure to do business with. Thank you for keeping me on ECWwrestling.com, for making me feel like part of the team, and for sending me the golf shirt, which I appreciated more than you'll know.
Dave Scherer: For my endless hours of computer work to be rewarded with energetic Schererisms in email such as "whatever you want is fine", "I like it", etc. But seriously, thank you for the break, experience, and giving me the ball, when everyone else would have kept me on the sidelines.
Joel Gertner: For putting your trust in me when no one in his or her right mind should have and for taking me, at the age of 16, into the bar at the Holiday Inn after my first ECW Arena show.
Justin Credible: For being the hero on my television that lived up to my expectations in every way possible, as a class act. Unless we're not breaking kayfabe here, in which that Justin Credible is a real prick.
Mikey Whipwreck: For actually caring about making your website the best it could be and informing me that I'm a talented young man and that all I need is a little gimmick and the world is my oyster.
Francine: For being down to earth and nice, when you could have been like the others.
Mike Johnson: For everything, including the times you carried my bags.
Ron and Charlie: For taking the time to FedEx me the Hardcore TV tape on a weekly basis to make multimedia from.
Paul Heyman: For obvious reasons. David Jakielo is still designing websites and can be reached at www.PrimetimeDesigns.com.
Everyone else: To those who visited the websites I created and complimented me, and Holly for helping me tweak the designs so they turned out the way they did, and check my grammar.
David Jakielo is still designing websites and can be reached at www.PrimetimeDesigns.com.