Sunday, November 9, 2014

ECW's importance in wrestling history

Scott,

It's been 13 years since ECW folded, and about 17 years since they were really relevant in the world of wrestling. 

I know you'd watched ECW from the mid-90's to the end so I thought I would ask what you think of ECW as a whole all these years later?

Do the big matches and angles still hold up? Do you see the whole thing as more of a fad that people got tired of quickly?

​It was mostly a fad that I got tired of quickly.  I can barely watch the early 90s stuff now, it just seems so embarrassingly low rent and amateurish.  That was part of the charm at the time, but the Attitude Era WWF stuff took that formula and really blew them out of the water.  Some of the matches still hold up and it's a nice change when I'm watching stuff like the Unreleased DVD sets because it is so different than the current homogenized product.  But overall its influence is pretty much limited to the 93-96 run because the ECW product goes off a cliff at that point, business wise and creatively.  IN MY OPINION, haters.  ​

150 comments:

  1. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    ECW was a necessary evil, it was something different. I think the creative peak of ECW was Raven's storyline with Dreamer.

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  2. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    It opened doors to smaller wrestlers, with no ECW there would be no Eddy, Rey, Malenko, Jericho, Psycosis.

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  3. ECW completely went off the cliff around, let's say late 99. When PJ Polaco is your only choice left for top guy, it's time to close up shop.

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  4. It was nice to see a vision when wrestling had become stagnant and corporate.

    This feels familiar.

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  5. I never got the appeal of Tommy Dreamer or Joey Styles.

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  6. I do think its place in history has been elevated to a larger degree than it deserves. Yes, it helped shift things up but it's been stated how many of these guys really were crap, it was Heyman's "accentuate the positives, hide the negatives" style that really made the promotion shine as well as it did. But for all the great talk of him as a promoter, the fact is Heyman failed to make money which is the reason a promotion stays alive. So yes, it was good but do think folks elevate it to a higher place than it was.

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  7. ECW's influence is undeniable. They gave WWF and WCW the blueprint to get out of the cartoon era. They modernized hardcore and also gave that to WWF and WCW. Do most of the matches hold up? Not really. But then again neither do much of the attitude era stuff. All the spots that were crazy have been done to death by now so there isn't anything to get excited about. But, and this is a huge but, the booking was fantastic even into 98 and 99, particularly when you consider the constant talent losses. So no the matches don't always hold up, but the storylines do. And the "low rent" production was quite revolutionary and IMO effective. The promos with Pulp Fiction theme in the background was a fantastic way to get a lot of talent over in limited time. Love him, hate him, criticize his business sense and his honesty, but Paul Heyman is a wrestling genius. I don't use the term lightly but he is a wrestling genius in the same sense that Einstein was a genius. He understand the business like few others and adapts to circumstances and limitations like no one else I have ever seen.

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  8. Dreamer was a classic Southern babyface, which worked oddly well in that particular Northern outpost of the former JCP.

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  9. I don't know I'd go that far. Jericho was a guy clearly ready to make it, ditto for Eddie and Rey. Bischoff was looking for all talent to take on WWF with "Nitro," he'd have found them anyway even without ECW around.

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  10. It gave Austin a chance to cut promos at least.

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  11. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Dreamer in the beginning was hated by the ECW crowd, he started to get over after Sandman beat the crap out of him because he kissed Woman's feet.

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  12. To me, the summation of the ECW fandom was at ONS 2006: Chanting "same old shit" at Cena, who debuted in 2001, while cheering RVD, who hasn't changed his moveset since 1999.

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  13. uggh. Why do we as fans give two shits what makes money and what doesn't. We should care about what entertains us. And if ECW existed today or in 1985 they would have made money. What killed them is existing in a period of time where salaries escalated at an unprecedented rate. Talent costs killed them, along with losing talent because they couldn't afford them. Plus the big two horded talent at levels never seen before. WCW and WWF both had 20, 30 guys making money who never even saw TV, much less had an angle or a ppv match.

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  14. Yeah that's hilarious in hindsight.

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  15. ECW's greatest contribution to the business is starting the chain of "small, North American internet darlings."

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  16. While I like that Heyman was able to "focus on the strengths and hide the weaknesses" of a lot of his guys, his guys had too many weaknesses and not enough strengths.


    Seriously, guys like Tommy Dreamer and Sandman should not have a promotion built around them.

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  17. True. And love the story of how even through 2000, WCW was literally flying a hundred guys to every TV taping even though they wouldn't use more than half of them.

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  18. Heyman himself admits it as he wasn't worried when Public Enemy left for WCW as he knew they sucked and that would be exposed.

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  19. I'll always give Cena credit for how he handled that chant.


    Same old shit? Well, check out this suplex!

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  20. WWF wasn't hording talent to near the insanity levels of WCW.

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  21. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Where's the evening thread?

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  22. exactly. it was just a crazy period for wrestling talent. I mean guys like Nash and Hall walked into salaries that were triple and quadruple their previous contract. Guys like bryan freakin adams were making 500k. How can ECW compete? Now there is tons of talent wanting to work with nowhere to go

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  23. Yeah, do like how Cena goes into a place where literally every fan loathes him and rather than be shaken up, he plays into it, better than most guys would before a hostile crowd.

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  24. The Raven-Dreamer-Sandman stuff still holds up to me. The Cactus Jack stuff, especially his promos, will never get old. And while they were shit in the ring, the Public Enemy's promos and style were so far ahead of what anyone else was doing in 1994.

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  25. YOU'RE an evening thread.

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  26. no not to that level but there were plenty of guys who only worked heat that were making six figures. And there was Brakkus and Tiger Ali Singh who were making GOOD money and did maybe 5 TV appearances.

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  27. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    7/10 for the joke.

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  28. You mean like Batista, who less than a month later cried when that same ECW crowd booed him and Big Show out of the building?

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  29. Most important thing ECW did was put people like Austin, Foley, RVD and Raven a place to shine and help build/mold their characters for the big time (WCW/WWF).

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  30. That Raven/Dreamer stuff was the best feud I've ever seen, particularly when you include the branch off stuff with the Dudleys, Brian Lee, Sandman, Richards, Cactus Jack, Pitbulls, etc.

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  31. Big Dave was still a dick back then. Probably still is today but Drax is almost enough to forgive him of EVERYTHING bad he did.

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  32. Come to think of it, I really hate that Necro Butcher guy.


    It bothers me that he, of all people in wrestling, got to have a prominent scene in The Wrestler.

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  33. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Raven planned with Heyman the whole angle.

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  34. yep, he's a smart guy. Drug free I'd let him book.

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  35. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    I'm surprised no one has died in CZW.

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  36. I really really really wished i had been there so i could throw my chair in the ring and hopefully start a chair avalanche like that one time with Rocco Rock. Classic ECW moment.

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  37. Necro has lived off his match with Joe for the last 10 years.

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  38. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    The whole background about Tommy and Raven could've been a distaster but it was exposed in smart way, It's so sad Raven never had the opportunity to be a main event player outside ECW.

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  39. ECW holds up as a period piece. For late 90s wrestling and what was cool to late 90s wrestling fans (the bulk of which were people weaned on the Rock n' Wrestling from the 80s and were teens-early 20s), yeah it holds up in a way.

    It's like watching 70s blaxploitation films and expecting them to hold up on their own merit. They don't, but they weren't supposed to.

    That's how I feel about ECW. I can't watch Raven/Dreamer like I can watch other long feuds. I can't get into Mikey Whipwreck again. The "hardcore death matches" and Sandman and New Jack are things I don't really care about anymore.

    But at the time it was cool. Even if I don't want to ever see it again, it was cool then.

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  40. Nobody has died but Nick Gage got busted for robbing a bank.

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  41. Raven offered what I still consider one of the most brilliant summations of the entire business: "The smart fans who think they know everything are the easiest ones to con."

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  42. Hey Scott could we get a repost of the Scott vs the Mutants in Philly rant, possibly with some Scott Sez? I promise we'll be good.

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  43. Huh, just checked and he's due to be released in March.

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  44. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    And Drew Gulak used this for his Anti-deathmatch character.

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  45. I was at that show

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  46. Austin's ECW run was so irrelevant and yet it always get made a big deal out of. He did one promo towards the end in his hunting jacket that was a precursor to Stone Cold. That was it.

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  47. Eh, it proved he could cut great promos.

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  48. ThebrazilianpsychoNovember 9, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    No way,his parodies of Nitro were gold.

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  49. Look, Austin was always going to make it. Everyone says it, he was exploding with passion and charisma from the start and showed it in WCW. Took a while for WWF to click with him but clear it was always going to happen.

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  50. yeah both his "run" and Pillman's "run" get way too much attention. Of course one spawned an all time great, the other spawned years of worked shoot crap.

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  51. The Hollywood Blondes had already proved that.

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  52. He already proved he could be a big player in wrestling and WCW dropped the ball.

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  53. Disagree. A guy who never really got to cut promos got five months to cut promos and sharpen the skills that would make him the best promo and biggest money maker in the history of the business.

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  54. Not on the level of his ECW stuff.

    Oh he still would have made it without them of course but he did get a boost.

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  55. I saw him at a Ring of Honor show main evented by Bryan and Rollins. The guy stood out like a sore thumb. Seriously, I never got the guy's appeal.

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  56. To be fair his Stone Cold promos were nothing like his ECW stuff.

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  57. yeah I've always thought the "misuse" in WCW stuff is overstated. Sure he wasn't working with Hogan but he got a TV title run, Tag title run, US belt run and some major angles, particularly the Dangerous Alliance.

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  58. I heard New Jack is being thrown into the same jail as him. They're having a "Loser Leaves Prison" match during Wrestlemania weekend. The reason the loser leaves instead of the winner is because staying in prison is better than wrestling in CZW.

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  59. Yeah but the Blondes still had tons left in them when WCW split them up. Then, he's forced to job the US title in Jim Duggan in 30 seconds and when the Hogan show took over, his time was clearly going to be done. The fact it, this is a guy Bischoff openly said wasn't "marketable" and he ends up becoming the biggest star in the business.

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  60. Were the chairs all regular folding chairs you could have thrown?

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  61. Well no one said he should be fired, I'm just saying that WWE revisionist history acts like the guy was jobbing in the opening match every night. As for "not marketable" that is what you say about a guy you are firing who has a bad attitude. It's a defense mechanism for Bischoff and the company.

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  62. I can't find it but if someone can find the Austin ECW promo in the hunting jacket with the short hair, that would be tremendous.

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  63. Gage was homeless at the time but after I read he used the money he stole to gamble I kinda lost sympathy.

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  64. I never cared for ECW, frankly if I had to choose between them I'd take the 2006-09 version over the original as it at least had the occasional good match.
    That said, it deserves its place in wrestling history. It was to wrestling a little like punk to music, taking it back to the basics and providing a creative shot in the arm to a stagnant industry.

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  65. ECW innovated failing on TNN/Spike.

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  66. Too soon or is that too early?

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  67. Extreme Lucha Libre or GTFO

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  68. I like Dreamer, but Joey Styles is pretty bad.

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  69. We'll find out pretty soon I'm guessing.

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  70. Or that their entire roster doesn't have hepatitis or something.

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  71. Another serious screw up later on for them is completely botching Mike Awesome. He beats Taz and Tanaka for the title, has massive crowd support... and half assed turns heel and they give him the worst manager ever in Judge Jeff Jones.

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  72. yep, they didn't have the depth of talent that could survive multiple raids.

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  73. You know what, that's still a bullshit excuse cause they had Tajiri RIGHT THERE. Or Mikey Whipwreck. Or Sandman.

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  74. Just a bunch of violent crap.

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  75. Extremely Crappy Wrestling

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  76. My first exposure to ECW was an Inside Edition feature on Mass Transit. I started hearing a buzz about them in 98 but didn't actually see a match until the TNN deal. I was terribly underwhelmed but I wanted to like it so bad. Everyone is familiar with the things ECW influenced but only a small percentage of wrestling fans actually know the influence came from ECW.

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  77. We were just having fun chanting. Hammerstein sucks. It took us an hour to get in, we missed the dark matches

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  78. Are you former XPW announced Larry Rivera?

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  79. I never even heard of ECW until that Feb 97 Raw when they "invaded" WWF. It looked intriguing enough, but I don't remember them being on TV at a decent hour in Chicago (if they were on tv at all), so I never really followed them until I went to college and then had regular internet access.


    A lot of it doesn't hold up well today, but I think ECW should get a lot of credit for helping to push the Big 2 promotions in a less cartoony fashion and supplying them with some new talent. No it wasn't the greatest thing of all time, but for a short 3 to 4 year run, it definitely had its moments.

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  80. In Foley's first book he makes an off-handed comment that Vince wanted to take WWE in a more mature direction around 1994 but felt the need to keep a clean image in the aftermath of the steroid trial.

    I really want that little factoid more elaborated on.

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  81. I found them in '96 on WCIU. My buddies and I were partying after a football game in Joliet and were all wrestling fans (obviously). We were HOOKED.

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  82. As someone that basically never watched ECW back in the day, but has watched most of the PPVs on the Network... I enjoy the spotfests which were common in the lower card, but hate most of the garbage wrestling that was rampant in the upper card. Especially New Jack, Sandman, Dreamer, I don't understand their appeal at all. But, that's from 97 on when the influence was gone, I guess.

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  83. I really hope you are trolling because otherwise you may be the lamest wrestling fan on the planet

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  84. Jorge SteinbrennerNovember 9, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    Joel Gertner still cracks me up to this day.

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  85. "they set terry funk on fucking fire!"

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  86. I have a soft spot for ECW. A friend introduced me to it in 1994 and it blew my mind. It was so cool to see guys like Eddie and Dean and the luchadores cut their teeth there. For years ECW seemed to exist in its own little pocket universe and it was our little secret. I know a lot of it doesn't hold up today but the nostalgia factor is so high for me that I'll watch it anyway. I'll gladly keep sipping Paul E's Kool-Aid.

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  87. I'm usually not that bothered by WWE overdubbing old theme music but I really can't get over Public Enemy losing 'Here Comes the Hotstepper.' It bothers me even more than losing New Jack and the Sandman's themes, for some odd reason.

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  88. i'm shocked he never got a look at by someone. He was amazing

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  89. The garbage wrestling had exceptional violence that you could not get at wwe. Dreamer was great just so I could watch him suffer as Raven broke him physically and mentally, New Jack was fun because you never knew how far he'd go.
    P.S., I like the new pick, fierce

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  90. You know...I pretty much lost interest in ECW when Foley left, but I never put much thought into what else didn't click for me after that and I think you nailed it. The only real long feud after 1996 was Sabu vs Taz and it wasn't nearly as intricate as Raven-Dreamer

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  91. I was 10 in 1999 when I first discovered ECW on my local television. I decided to check it out because it was rumored that they were the only legit wrestling company that wasn't fake. I really the grimeyness of it. Adding music videos and showing highlights from past ECW shows was a real great touch. I discovered Limp Bizkit that way lol and those highlight video packages really made ECW seem exciting as hell.


    You can't tell me that Tommy Dreamer going through a mountain of tables, RVD doing a front flip into the crowd, and Tazz and Bigelow going through stage didn't shock the shit out of you the first time you saw it. It was incredible. Especially for a 10 year old. I kept watching til TNN started showing RAW.

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  92. I think Ini Kamoze are trying to scrub that song off the face of the Earth because i remember it being really hard to find even back in the old free for all Napster days. Maybe its on YT

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  93. I was 20 and some of it was mindblowing

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  94. Yep...I remember flipping through channels at 2am one summer and stopped when I saw Luna Vachon screaming at the camera...whether it was planned or a happy accident, 1994-95 ECW just looked not only different, but dangerous too...like 15 year old me should have been watching it any more than I "should" have snuck downstairs to watch late night Skinemax

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  95. Yea, it didn't matter what age because that kind of violence was only starting to get popular around that time. Everything is so overdone now that the crazy stunts that Seth Rollins is killing himself for aren't near as impressive as when RVD was doing it.

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  96. I didn't like the original ECW; it was shit. What do you care anyway?

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  97. In the end, I don't think it really 'holds up' and I was never a big fan of the non-cruiserweight matches they put on for the most part -- but I have to say, I loved the look of it from 1994-1997 or so. It had a really different energy than the WWF/WCW stuff of the time too which definitely made it different.

    I do think their importance is sort of overstated though in terms of influencing Vince or Bischoff, as I think they got just as many if not more ideas from Japan in that same period than ECW.

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  98. ECW was a cancer on the industry, that the industry survived.

    When I had cancer, I underwent a radical change in how I lived my life. I resolved to appreciate the moment, to listen to what people had to say, and to become a better person myself.

    But, in the end, we got the cancer to go away. And, within a year of the cancer's extermination, I was back to being the same self-centered jer I always was. A little wiser for the experience but, for all intents and purposes, the whole thing was just a blip on the radar.

    And so it was with ECW's impact on the business.

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  99. I will say that it definitely made me more aware too of a type of wrestling fan I didn't realize existed, growing watching the more family-friendly wrestling products -- the gore hounds.

    I think imagine there is some cross-over between those fans and splatter film addicts who rate the quality of a horror movie based on how 'good' the kills are.

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  100. I don't give many f's to be sure but wwe's ecw was a fn joke, like you

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  101. While WWF did the hardcore stuff better due to restraint, ECW did get a lot of guys who would be big stars later started(or in the case of Benoit/Jericho/Malenko/Storm/Guerrero/Mysterio, gave them their first big break in the U.S., and gave Steve Austin and Mick Foley a place to grow post WCW, pre WWF) The business would be a lot different without ECW, but the garbage wrestling sure does not hold up.

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  102. Dirty_Dave_DelaneyNovember 9, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    Also Tommy Dreamer, Jerry Lynn, RVD and Rhino would have been better choices for ECW champ during that whole fiasco.

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  103. Yeah also keep in mind, Bischoff was exposed to those guys via the AAA and his relationship with Konnan. WCW helped co-promote the "When World's Collide" PPV which featured all but Jericho and Malenko.

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  104. I don't know that I fully believe it personally as it relates to the specific time era -- Vince was basically on watch from 1992 on with that stuff.



    I'd say he was going in a more 'adult' direction between 1991 and 1992 that got halted due to the all of the scandals.

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  105. Ah, late night Cinemax. Kids today have it way too easy.

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  106. WWE's ECW was really good.

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  107. I know...I can also remember being so proud of myself when I discovered how to mute the sound on the modem for when I wanted to surf the web late at night

    If you'll excuse me, I have to go tell these little punk kids to get off my lawn

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  108. Ahhhh, good ol Channel 26, I'm not sure how I missed that back in the day, but it makes sense.

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  109. 56k modems.....FTW!

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  110. Actually I made an error there; Mick didn't say 1994 but rather "much earlier" than late 1995. So you could be right.

    Do you think the Jake Roberts stuff was a good indication of Vince trying darker angles?

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  111. ECW definitely benefits greatly from nostalgia and remembering it as we wanted it to be, not what it was. But there was some really good stuff: the Raven/Dreamer feud was epic and one of the best ever; RVD was always fun to watch; Mick Foley did some of his best promo work in ECW; the Al Snow/head thing really worked in such a small promotion; Shane Douglas had one incredible year as a heel where fans really hated him and he could work; and Paul E did some great things booking wise like always keeping a focus on the tag team division and the triple threat elimination matches. But there was a lot of junk, too. I couldn't stand the barbaric blood matches. They just went way too far. And Justin Credible was a total goof who had no business being world champion.

    I dunno, I have a much more favorable opinion of it than Scott, but yeah, the later years were really bad overall.

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  112. We never got ECW on TV here until the TNN show started, so every time they appeared on WWF TV I never understood why everyone was making such a big deal about the wrestlers. Even when I stumbled upon the TNN show, I saw Raven and assumed it was a WCW show and changed the channel.

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  113. 56k!? Try downloading porn at 1200 baud, and watching on a computer that only displays 16 colors!

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  114. You mean brian lee going through a mountain of tables?

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  115. You looking at porn on a Commodore 64?

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  116. Teddy Ruxpin>Cole.

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  117. Because you have to manage your expectations. There's a balance between what you want and what's actually feasible, and only talking about what you want instead of acknowledging the financial concerns that would make those ideas untenable is a mite ridiculous.

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  118. Ha that beats me! My high school had computers still running on DOS back in 96, not connected to the internet, but my work study job did have a computer using Windows 95 (!) that was connected to the internet so that was my first experience ever using the net, and I never had a computer at home until 99 when my dad bought a Gateway PC. Fortunately we had an extra phone line at the house so it didn't have to be in competition with the house phone line, so it was on (although I never figured out how to mute the modem connection sound)

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  119. Oh yeah for sure, I think so. The Warrior/Jake stuff was pretty creepy for 1991, the cobra angle was way dark, Jake slapping Elizabeth, Ric Flair intimating that he'd had a sexual relationship with her. Undertaker and Papa Shango were both pretty dark characters, goofy as they may have been to an extent. More blood for sure between late 1991 and early 1992 before they stopped it completely for several years I believe.

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  120. by then it was really apparent that they were way out of their league once TNN hit. The mystique was gone. But seeing it late night in 95 as a teenage was pretty cool (even if half of it was them rerunning the same announcements over and over). I wouldn't be into it if I was my current age when it came out, but it was pretty interesting at the time. doesn't hold up though and I really have no desire to re-watch most of it. Once in a while i'll flip on that crazy 6 man match with taka and togo and sasuke from one of the PPVs which is really awesome

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  121. ECW was so damn overrated. The so called "great matches" were boring spot fests. To me, Memphis had a bigger impact on the pro wrestling world.

    That and the ubber ECW fans are/were a bunch of loads that should have been swallowed.

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  122. ECW from 1994 until Hardcore Heaven 97 is my favorite era of any company ever. It's influence was not overstated and it was not a cancer on wrestling, like say 1995 WWF.

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  123. Sorry I brought it up. I'd forgotten just how seriously some people take fake-fighting for the purpose of providing entertainment.

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  124. Memphis wrestling was and is a bunch of hillbilly, racist bullshit. Thanks for playing.

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  125. STRONG user name.

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  126. And ECW was a bunch of wiggers who probably struggled just to possess a GED

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  127. Also an ECW house show is something that will never be duplicated. Oh to be 18 again.

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  128. OK JC Ice. People still use the term 'wigger'?

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  129. Strong username to post content.

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  130. Pete Labozetta is pretty strong too.

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  131. But his ECW stuff was more like Stone Cold than "Stunning" Steve.

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  132. I don't know what surprises me more. That you didn't know "wigger" was still a word that people used, or that you could even spell. I bet you're one of the smarter ECW fans. You know, the kind that finished high school.

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  133. What part of Memphis wrestling so influenced today's product? I'm not so sure I see black people treated like slaves too often on Smackdown.

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  134. I'm right there with you. I don't care what makes money. I only care about who entertains me. Most fans would be much happie with this information. The money part is irrelevant to fans.

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  135. Virgil's Gimmick TableNovember 9, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    He's not wrong though.

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  136. Thanks mate.

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  137. Oh I don't disagree. Just never seen him around here and then he pops up with the ECW username and the post about the company.

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  138. Not at all. I mean holy crap, is this wrong.

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  139. I've been around for a long time.

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  140. Barely Legal is ECW's Wrestlemania X7. For good and for ill.

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  141. If you mean slasher movies, that's the only way fans grade them. Are there other kinds of "horror movie" fans?

    Slasher movies are murder porn. That's all the substance there ks

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  142. somebody's trolling a bit tonight. Memphis certainly had its racist angles and characters. ECW certainly had its obnoxious fans. Honestly though Memphis isn't exactly a respected territory. Most guys thought the work and angles were hokey and the territory was notorious for low payoffs even during good times. That's the real legacy of Memphis. You want influentail look to Georgia, Florida, World Class, etc.

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  143. that was one of the downfalls of ECW. By the time they got a bigger stage they came off as a 2nd rate knockoff of WWF, when in fact they were the innovators.

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  144. I realize that but the poster I responded to seem to be trying to say that ECW was nothing because Heyman couldn't make it financially succesful. I merely noted that artistic success and financial success are two different things. Realistic expectations is understanding ECW was never going to bring in Hogan or Flair. But appreciating a company's booking or the wrestling quality is exclusive from whether it made money. For me I also don't agree with those (which include some wrestlers) who say whoever made the most money was the best wrestler. As a fan I don't care if Hogan or Austin made the most money or "drew" the most money (whatever the hell that means once cable tv and ppv hit). I care about who entertained me. And while I understand why a guy is on top, that doesn't mean that I personally find them the best. That's my point about ECW. Just because they didn't make money (much of which is because of the salary pressures from the monday night wars era) doesn't mean the company didn't have merit.

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  145. The good old days of Red Shoe Diaries, Emmanuelle, and Bikini Car Wash Company.

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  146. I'd say Heatwave 1998

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  147. Yeah, Heatwave 98 is the best ECW PPV. All of the matches were passable at worst.

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  148. I'm making my way through a collection of 1995 wrestling (and indeed the entire decade of the '90s).


    ECW was an UNBELIEVABLY necessary shot in the arm. It wasn't perfect, and much of it wasn't even good. But compared to the stale, sterile, clueless, inept people in charge of WCW and the WWF for most of '95 and the previous few years, it's mindblowing--a contrast that's still apparent when viewed with 2014 eyes. And it wasn't just OMG BLOOD TABLEZ SWEARING. It was the only promotion in the U.S. that was drawing a true, visceral emotional reaction from its fans. These guys hated--HATED--Bill Alfonso. He was the best heel in wrestling in 1995, and 911 finally chokeslamming him resulted in probably the best crowd reaction all year. When Eddy and Dean wrestled their final match, fans were almost crying. Cactus Jack turning on Dreamer was almost a Koloff-Bruno moment. Public Enemy sucked, both as wrestlers and as interviews, but somehow they really, REALLY connected with the Philly crowd.


    Then throw in the revolutionary TV--the on-location promos, vignettes, and the music videos. Compare the music the WWF was giving us (like the late-'95 Superstars theme) to ECW setting videos to things like Filter, Weezer, Elastica, Nirvana, Coolio, et al and there's no question which promotion came off cooler.


    I'm rambling, but ECW was a prime example that simply *treating* your audience like adults is as important as "adult content" shock-for-shock's-sake television.

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