The Clap Comes To ECW
Alright, after reading that title you might have laughed and thought, “of course the Clap was in ECW!” However, I’m not talking about the sexually transmitted disease. No, instead I’m talking about the career resurgence that a former WCW star would have in the world of extreme, ECW.
From 1995 to the fall of 1999, Scotty Riggs was mostly used as a tag team wrestler and low mid card act for the company. He formed the American Males with Buff Bagwell, which saw the creation of the Clap taunt, and they would win the WCW World Tag Team Championships in ’95. Riggs would have a run as a member of the Flock after being blinded by Raven and transform into a narcissist obsessed with his looks to end his run in WCW.
According to Riggs, he rejected a contract renewal in 2000 because he wasn’t happy with the company. At the time, Riggs could have been lined up for a big push since a lot of the top guys in the company had left for the WWF. Instead, Riggs tried his luck with ECW and he ended up having a successful run.
While the run isn’t especially long due to an injury, from May 2000 to October 2000, Riggs was part of the top programs in the company and was set for more plans had he not gotten hurt and the company continued onwards, which will be noted in the article later on.
I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t ever all that entertained by Riggs in WCW. He was a low mid carder who didn’t especially get over with the crowd when he was in a singles role. His failed face push in ’97 and he didn’t contribute much as a member in the Flock throughout ’98. The narcissist gimmick came across like a cheap attempt to mimic Lex Luger’s gimmick.
However, when Riggs entered Extreme Championship Wrestling under his real name, Scotty Anton, he was instantly greeted with heat since he was the prototypical “body” and came from the major two companies. Upon his arrival, he was associated with his real life best friend, Rob Van Dam. His association with Van Dam lasted less than fifteen minutes at Hardcore Heaven 2000 when he cost Van Dam a singles match against Jerry Lynn. With Anton’s help, Lynn got the only victory over Van Dam he would ever achieve.
Anton’s association with the heel stable The Network, brought a new life to his career and a freshness to the group since the group was mainly compromised of ECW wrestlers. Anton had largely been a non-hardcore wrestler, but it wouldn’t take long for his hardcore side to come out.
After turning on RVD it was clear that Anton was going to be getting a significant push in ECW, something he didn’t accomplish while competing in WCW. Anton’s first high profile match took place on the June 9th ECW on TNN episode which saw him defeat his rival and former friend Raven with the Clapper. The Clapper is his version of the Sharpshooter or Scorpion Death Lock.
Anton’s first and only pay per view appearance would take place on July 16th at Heatwave 2000. It’s basically nineteen minutes of high spots and not a lot of selling, so it’s not really all that important to see. After doing the job to Van Dam at the event, Anton stuck around competed again against Van Dam on the September 9th edition of Hardcore TV, which Anton lost again. Anton would get several wins on the house show circuit against Tajiri, Mikey Whipwreck and Kid Kash during the time.
Sadly, Anton would suffer an injury and wouldn’t compete again for ECW after October 12th. Anton was an entertaining heel act who’s Clap taunt fit perfectly for the ECW crowd and garnered the heat necessary to keep Anton over.
According to Anton, there were plans for a face turn and plenty of t-shirt designs to sell. The Clap taunt is corny enough to hate, but it’s also corny enough to like and actually do. Considering the ECW fan base was so responsive, I could have seen Anton get over in a major way as a baby face act. He had certainly gotten over as a heel and helped freshen up ECW programming for the brief time he was on television.
I think is an example of Paul Heyman seeing the strengths in an act and taking full advantage of them to get the most he could out of the character. There were many feuds that Anton could have continued on with since his heel exposure was largely with Van Dam but an eventual face turn could have produced some revenue especially with the t-shirt ideas. Heck, ECW fans would probably by a Clap t-shirt just for the hilarity of it all being named after a STD.
It may come across as a strange topic to write about, but after watching his shoot interview I remembered that I enjoyed his run in ECW and though perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce or remind others about it to get discussion on the topic.
What are your memories of Scotty Riggs/Anton in ECW? Could you have seen him as a top star had he not gotten hurt?
Thanks for reading.