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Franchise Forum

June 23, 2007- The Franchise Comments on the Passing of Sherri Martel
Once again I sit here at my computer to write my epitaph of a close friend, co-worker, and pioneer. I guess that, due to the sick nature of our business, this will be a never-ending responsibilty. It is indeed my honor to have had the pleasure to work with, AND learn from Sherri Martel. Just as it was a blessing to have been put with Ricky Steamboat when I was, it was a God-send that I got Sherri Martel as my valet at what would turn out to be the most opportune time in my career. Thrust into the glare of the spotlight and scrutiny of the "smartest" fans in the world, I was frozen by the weight of it all. That was until I stepped into that glare with Sherri Martel. In the ring she was a great talent. Watching her perform so effortlessly and skillfully gave me the courage to try and do the same. I credit her with helping to mold me into ECW's "Franchise". Sure, along the way there were many contributors- Benoit, Malenko, Sabu, Sandman, Taz, and yes, Terri Funk! However, preceding all of those great encounters there was HER!!! Sherri made me feel at ease, confident, assured. Its not hard to see why. She was the modern day Moolah. She was the greatest female wrestler of her era. Indeed, anyone who knew her knew that she could kick the asses of the aforementioned talent and, no doubt, mine included. She could perform with the best of the best- male or female. In our business, it was her curse to have been born female. I say that because, had she been born a man, most of the champions you have known over the past 20+ years would have been supporting players to "Sammy" or "Stevey" Martel. Yes!!! She WAS that good!!! Period!!! End of sentence!!! I've heard it said that "only the good die young". Over the years that adage has seemed to be true. Last week, when Sherri passed away in her sleep, that saying became an altruism. Goodbye Sherri. Kiss Chris, Bammer, Anthony, Owen, and all the rest of my fallen friends. You guys are ready to put on one hell of a main event upstairs! I am only sad that I have to wait to see it. God Bless, sweetheart!!!

January 28, 2007- The Franchise Comments on the Passing of Bam Bam Bigelow
I have been putting this off for as long as I could...

This is becomming an all-too familiar responsibility for me and I must say that it is heartbreaking. I was talking with a friend the other night and I said, "there aren't too many people in our demographic (35-45 yrs. old) that can say they have personally witnessed 35-45 friends, mates, and/or acquaintances pass away at such untimely ages. The scars from burying my "little brother" Chris Candido have not yet healed, and yet, here I am again writing the epitaph for my "big brother" Scott Bigelow. To say it was my pleasure to have worked with Scott (as well as against him at the 1997 November to Remember in ECW) would be a clicheic understatement. Scott was, in spite of his size, one who could truly work a great match and angle. Scott has often been called the best big man in the business. That was undoubtedly a true statement. In fact, it has now become an overused phrase for every man who tips the scales above 350. That is, this phrase has become a mere cliche. But for Scott Bigelow, the Beast From the East, it stands as an altruistic statement of his career. Indeed, he was capable of adapting to any opponent and entertaining the fans despite his`size. I never heard anyone say of a Bam Bam match, "that was OK but boy was Bammer slacking behind...". Scott was able to give and get a great match out of any opponent. He will be sadly and sorely missed. Plenty has, and will, be written about Bam Bam-the wrestler. I want to close by saying a few words about the other Bam Bam. That is Bam Bam- the father, the friend, the man. Seeing Bammer perform was a treat for all of us. But there were precious few of us who got to see Scott in this other element. I know for a fact that Scott's greatest loves were found in the names Shane, Colton, and Richey. These were his children and Bam Bam adored them. Make no mistake here, Scott Bigelow was a man who could handle any situation, and a friend who always had your back. Fierce when he wanted, or needed, to be, Scott was a big pussycat or teddybear around his kids. Oftentimes, Scott would invite us over to his house when we were in the area. He would cook some elaborate spread enough to feed a large army. However, as soon as we were done eating, his wife Dana would inherit the chore of entertaining us guests. That was because Scott was off goofing around with Shane and Colton. His youngest child was just an infant then. Her name is Richey and she is adorable. This is the image that makes my eyes well with tears. 3 wonderful children who now are fatherless. I can only hope their memories of the "Beast From the East" will sustain and comfort them. Goodbye Bammer!!! I'll miss you Big Man.

"The Franchise" Shane Douglas

November 18, 2005 - Shane Douglas comments on the passing of Eddie Guerrero
It is with a great sadness that I again have to make a statement of this sort- the untimely passing of a brother of the fraternity that is professional wrestling. Coming so soon after the tragic death of my closest friend, Chris Candido, I have again been rocked by the passing of Eddie Guererro. Although I have some very strong feelings about the strains this business has on those of us who are in it, that is for another time and another debate. For now, I want to pay tribute to a great performer and, of utmost importance to say, a DAMN GOOD MAN!!! In a business where backstabbing, two-facedness, and lying are common (even rewarded!) traits, Eddie was one of a rare breed who got over by the sheer quality of his in-ring talents. In recent years, it seems, that being a great worker relegated you to a supporting role of being used to get over some green, untalented, and undeserving lug. Eddie Guererro, in direct opposition to that scenario, became a star because he was, simply put, one of the finest in-ring performers our sport has known. Watching Eddie was like watching poetry in motion. He brought a passion that, coupled with his technical skills, made his gimmick, Latino Heat, more than just some contrived label. He exuded an intensity that made his matches seem more shoot than work. Today, as we see a resurgence of the ECW legend, it is, in large part, due to the performances that wrestlers like Eddie brought to the "extreme table". When Eddie, Benoit, and Malenko arrived in ECW, it was a clear signal that the "bingo hall company" was definitely going to change the face of American wrestling. I would sit in the back and watch the moniter while Eddie wrestled and was, simply put, amazed and thoroughly entertained. The one regret I had in Eddie's association with ECW was that it was too short.

While I am a huge mark for great wrestling, I would be remiss if all I talked about in eulogizing Eddie was his public persona. In the greater scheme of things, wrestling ranks very low in the game of life. Eddie was, warts and all, the type of man we should all endeavour to be. Sure, we have all heard of Eddie's demons and problems. But to let those be the defining traits of Guererro's life would be criminal. Like my good friend, Chris Candido, I am happy to know that Eddie had "wrestled and pinned" the very demons that threatened to destroy his life and end his incredible career. The time that I spent on the road with Eddie cemented, in my mind, the true and strong love he had for his wife and daughters. Eddie lived and worked solely for them. It was for them that he confronted those oft-mentioned demons. My prayers go out to them and I hope they can find solace in the outpouring of love and support you all have emoted for them. While it will never fill the void Eddie has left behind, I am sure your support will help buoy their broken hearts.

Finally, it is of comfort to me me to know Eddie's love of our Lord and Saviour. Even in the depths of his problems, Eddie was a true christian. While no bible thumper, Eddie could quote the perfect bible passage to help you with whatever problem was encompassing you. A very emotional person, Eddie always knew when a hug or pat on the shoulder was needed. And he distributed them without delay when he felt it necessary. I have no doubt that Eddie is looking down right now and giving those of us who are broken-hearted one of those timely hugs. Rest in paece, Eddie, you will be missed. And the business that you had devoted your life to will forever be tarnished by your absence. God bless you and your family.......

Shane Douglas

May 1, 2005 - Shane Douglas Comments on Chris Candido
"This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I was to post a message the day following Chris' death, but was emotionaly unable to do so. Chris was a friend, a true friend, in a business where that word usually rings hollow. Chris was someone you could count on being there whenever you needed someone. Much has been writen about how much he cared for the sport AND the fans. That was Chris! He ate, slept, and drank this business. If Tammy wasn't such a beautiful girl I fear for her that Chris would have married the business if he could have. Luckily for her, and him, he had the sense to take the beautiful girl, but I'm sure it would have been a tough decision. HaHa Chris was, in my humble opinion one of the greatest performers this business has had the good fortune to witness. Working inside the ring came effortlessly for Chris. Some of us have to work at it, but to Chris it was as easy as taking a breath or going for a walk. The success of the Triple Threat and the indelible mark it left on the business was, and is, directly attributable to Mr. No Gimmicks Needed. Bam Bam and I were simply along for the ride. Chrs was the glue that held it together and made it work. He could always be depended on to deliver a trmendous performance. In fact, we had him scheduled at Hardcore Homecoming to wrestle 2 Cold Scorpio because they would have torn down the house, now... Chris' spirit will certainly be alive and present at the reunion, but it will now be only a bittersweet evening. Chris was one of the good guys in a business full of snakes. You could always count on Chris to make you laugh and smile. I am thankful to have called him friend. It is becoming cliche to say this seems so unfair but IT IS DAMNED UNFAIR!!! Chris had done everything right. He had gone over on his demons. He had wrestled to rumours and pinned them. He had made the promoters tap and take notice of his considerable talent when all said he was washed up. He had come to TNA with a vengeance...a vengeance to prove everyone wrong. And boy did he prove them wrong, BIG TIME! He had quickly become a go-to guy in the locker room. We could count on Chris to elevate any segment he was in. Watch his performance on this week's Impact as a testament to that.

As I write this, I am running short on time as I have to get my bags packed to get to the airport. I have to fly to my best friend's funeral. I have to go to my best friend's funeral. Those words seem so strange writing, and even stranger and more difficult to speak. It warms my heart to see such an outpouring of love for my friend. I wish to send my love and condolences to Tammy and all of Chris' family and friends. I also want to say to his fans for Chris: "Thank you for allowing me the time and opportunity to try and entertain you. It has been the most fantastic ride of my life and I thank you for it. God Bless you all". I am positive that is what Chris is thinking right now as he looks down at us and smiles with a tear in his eye. Now, heaven gets to see why Chris really was "No Gimmicks Needed". God bless you, Chris. May you rest in peace. Now get up there, your music is playing........"

- "The Franchise" Shane Douglas

November 6, 2003

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April 13, 2003

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