Lasting from 1992 to 2001, extreme championship fight was the third major promotion in North America, a scrappy upstart that offered a violent, brash and in-your-face alternative to the stagnant, kid-friendly WCW and WWE of the mid-1990s. While much of it hasn’t aged well , it’s undeniable that the cult favorite had a lasting effect on the world of professional wrestling that can still be seen today.
For both nostalgic and critical reasons, there are many aspects of ECW that have been exaggerated, remembered, or misunderstood over the years. Let’s go back and take a look at a few things about ECW that fans and detractors alike tend to get wrong about the legendary promotion.
10 Paul Heyman founded it
One of the defining masterminds behind ECW was Paul Heyman, who is so synonymous with the promotion that WWE fans to this day still chant “EC-Dub” to him. While former Paul E. Dangerously was crucial to ECW’s success, he was by no means the guy who founded the promotion, even though he did buy it in 1995. ECW, like Eastern Championship Wrestling, was actually founded in 1992 when Tod Gordon bought his business partner’s Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, with Heyman arriving in 1993 and becoming chief creative officer after previous booker “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert left the company.
9 ECW invented hardcore wrestling
Extreme Championship Wrestling can certainly be credited with popularizing the style of wrestling to the death (or hardcore), but it was by no means the innovator of the style. Rather, hardcore wrestling was actually the result of decades of evolution, with the bloody violence of North American territories like Texas, Memphis, and Puerto Rico as crucial influences. From there, these influences coalesced in Japan as the deathmatch style in promotions such as Atsushi Onita’s Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, and ECW subsequently began introducing the style to American audiences.
8 it was just hard
While its penchant for tabletop bouts, chair slams, kendo sticks, and minimal rules certainly helped distinguish the promotion from the big leagues, hardcore wrestling was by no means the only thing ECW had to offer. . All fans need to do to try it out is search for some of the most acclaimed matches in company history.
At its best, ECW offered a healthy variety of looks that fans either didn’t get in WWE and WCW or, in some cases, had never seen before. In addition to ultraviolence, fans were treated to technical classics, wrestling, Japanese styles, and countless other types of wrestling.
7 The meaning of the word “hardcore”
In fact, one of the strangest outcomes of ECW’s time as pro wrestling’s great alternative promotion was the meaning of the word “hardcore.” Initially, ECW’s claim to provide fans with “hardcore wrestling” did not mean the deathmatch style, but rather the traditional definition of the word “hardcore”, as committed or active. In other words, the word was initially employed to suggest to fans that they were wrestling for hardcore or die-hard wrestling fans rather than the more casual audience that WWE and WCW were courting.
6 Barely Legal 1997 was an all-time classic
from the first wrestling, pay-per-views have been a big deal in the world of professional wrestling, and a successful PPV surely is a sign of “making it.” ECW certainly had this moment in April 1997 with barely legal. While it was a landmark show, for many fans it has not lived up to its reputation as a classic show. While there are certainly highlights like Michinoku Pro’s mind-blowing six-man tag team match, there are also plenty of things that disappointed fans who came back and checked it out, like the main event where Terry Funk was defeated by Raven after winning the contender. #1, just to get a win.
5 was totally independent
Part of ECW’s success was the way it catered to its fans, not only in terms of in-ring merchandise, but also how it aggressively presented itself as the quality alternative to WWE and WCW. Direct marketing obviously worked, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, Paul Heyman had forged a secret partnership with Vince McMahon and WWE that allowed access to some of the promotion’s biggest performers, but also kept the lights on during ECW’s lean years.
4 Steve Austin’s ECW Career
Steve Austin’s career path is one of the most fascinating in wrestling. Unceremoniously fired by WCW in 1995, Austin ended the decade as the biggest star in professional wrestling, albeit for WWE. Between the two runs was a stint in ECW that some fans may speak too highly of for what it is.
“Superstar” Steve Austin only spent a few months in ECW, during which he mostly cut promotions as he was still recovering from injury. On top of that, he only wrestled two matches for the promotion before signing with WWE. It was a crucial part of Austin’s evolution, but it didn’t last long.
Every wrestling commentator has their ticks and catchphrases, and when it comes to Joey Styles, the “Voice of ECW” is often remembered for repeatedly yelling “CAT FIGHT!” whenever two women started fighting and uttering their iconic “OH MY GAWD” whenever a particularly crazy move occurred. While there are obviously things that haven’t aged well in Styles’ body of work, he’s also been hailed for being a commentator who not only knew his stuff on a play-by-play basis, but also called countless shows of his own.
2 It was totally different from WWE and WCW
One mistake many fans make when it comes to pro wrestling alternatives is expecting said alternative to offer something dramatically different from the establishment. This is true these days with AEW, and it was true for ECW in the past as well. While the production value was lower, ECW was still professional wrestling and featured its fair share of goofy characters like the Dudley Boyz and Amish wrestler Roadkill, just like WWE and WCW offered at the time. But what separated ECW from the big leagues was their sense of determination and attitude, which made the show feel more edgy.
1 his influence
Once ECW became a cult phenomenon, WCW and WWE were quick to embrace much of what made ECW special, not only signing their talent but also introducing their own special Hardcore Championships and, in WWE’s case, adopting the whole atmosphere and creating the attitude. Was. But wrestling’s proliferation and raunchy content wasn’t ECW’s only legacy in the sport. His presentation of lucha libre and other high-flying styles, some of which fans were seeing for the first time, led wrestlers like Rey Mysterio Jr. and Chris Jericho to move on from WCW and then to WWE to spread the word even further. styles that ECW helped introduce. to broader audiences.