Yes, I admit I had no direct relationship with Rotten (real name Brian Knighton). So it wasn’t an evening ruined in the sense of feeling deep personal loss. But ruined in the sense that I have a soft spot for ECW, and no matter what most main stream folks might think, he was a huge part of the company, especially in it’s early formative years.
Yes, everyone remembers guys like Sabu, RVD and Tommy Dreamer-among others-as the ECW mainstays, but guys like the recently deceased Hack Meyers and Axl were just as important. When I started going to ECW’s TV tapings from the old bingo hall at Swanson and Ritner back when I was in high school, Axl was there. If my memory serves me, I started watching while Axl was still partnering with his “brother” Ian in the team known as Bad Breed. But it was not long after that the duo broke up and had themselves a really remarkable undercard feud. I think it’s fairly safe to say WWE wouldn’t book a Taipei Death Match, or anything equivalent to it, on the undercard of anything.
Look, I get it. Axl won’t be going into the WWE Hall of Fame. That’s not my point. But regardless of the circumstances around his death, his contributions inside the wresting ring-specifically in ECW-deserve to get him some remembrance, beyond just a few blog posts and some dark news pieces that will undoubtedly focus on how his life ended, more than anything else. As with Hack, I am not expecting a 10 bell salute come Monday Night RAW. But, considering the times they had together, it would be nice to see some subtle tribute to him, whether by Paul Heyman or The Dudleys. But even if Axl doesn’t even get that, I wanted to make sure I gave him my own.
Rest in peace, Axl Rotten. Thank you for some really extreme wrestling memories.