The Death Of ECW
April 6, 2005 by D. Simpson
I've been to a lot wrestling forums in the past and there is a lot of
discussion about the death of WCW. However there is less debate about
the death of another promotion called ECW. Now for those who have no
idea what ECW was, it was the promotion owned by Paul Heyman (yes the
guy who manages Heidenreich). Matches were hardcore and I do mean
hardcore; chairs, barbed wire, fire, thumbtacks pretty much everything
was used and the fans loved it.
Whereas WCW and WWF (as it was known then), had loads of money so it
could afford big time promotion. In WCW and WWE you had T-shirts,
coffee mugs, you name it they had it. ECW didn't have that much money so
it lacked coverage. They had t-shirts but they were hard to get.
However this did not put off ECW; the stars (who I'll come to later)
constantly worked hard in order to put on a great show. So the few
people who did see ECW always got a good show.
The stars must be mentioned because each night they constantly worked
hard. If you can check out some of the older tapes of ECW (try Barely
Legal '97) and you'll see the quality I'm talking about. Now admittedly
some of the names were not household names like Stone Cold Steve Austin
but Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Raven, Sabu, Tazz, Rhyno and RVD etc were
just as popular with fans.
So what went wrong" Well, Paul Heyman. In the eyes of many ECW fans and
wrestlers, he went too far. To him, unless he wasn't creating
controversy, he wasn't working. I can't verify this but I do think he
once dared the network executives to throw him off the air on live TV.
The fans loved it at first but they eventually got tired of Paul Heyman
trying to boost ratings by simply swearing or shouting. Another factor
that really killed ECW was the media. Whilst Paul Heyman was creating
controversy, thinking that it would increase ratings, it did the
opposite. The newspaper just dismissed ECW as any form of entertainment
and apparently was corrupting the youth of today. So people just
switched over from ECW to WCW or WWE. Both WWE and WCW were aimed at a
more family based audience, where as ECW was aimed at a more
bloodthirsty, more niche crowd. The final major factor was the lack of
money. Pay Per View was limited, so it didn't have the money to reach
out to a wider audience, and since WCW and WWE had many Pay Per Views
and the money to spend on worldwide promotion. ECW just simply could
So as you guessed ECW went under and Vince bought the dying company.
Many of the stars left and were not offered contracts to join the WWE.
Guys like Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Mike Awesome were all buried in the
roster. RVD got a push with the Intercontinental title and Tazz took up
announcing. So sadly not many people have experienced ECW. However with
an ECW Pay Per View in June, we may hear the chants E C W, E C W one
by D. Simpson..
Jason "Xtremefalls" Simmons wrote:
ECW went under for Money problems its plain and Simple and Heyman couldn't get a decent TV deal but VInce really didn't buy it. VInce Bought it after it went Bankrupt and it was worth nothing. Also Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam were the only ECW wrestlers at the time, Awesome turned his back on ECW for WCW and was blacked ball from ECW and fans, and Raven was in WWE a year before that. Also fans chant ECW, ECW all the time at events in WWE, TNA, and all around so check your facts before you type an article.
Philip From New Zealand wrote:
i just love watching the "real" action that went on with ECW. I live in new zealand and i am a huge fan of the former promotion, a am waiting in anticipation of the ECW PPV thats being put together.
I think the violence shown in those matches is just fantastic, and the fan involvment is just the bomb, how many people can say they have been to an ECW event and hear fans yelling out " shut the fuck up" that just defines ECW as what hardcore wrestling should be about,all about the action, the cursing, the violence and the fans like myself.
First off I'd like to say, Paul Heyman was a genious he bought ECW and transformed it,it went from a hick Wrestling organazation to the stand out Promotion we hear about today, if most people were smart they'd relize what Paul Heyman did, so next time your sitting around and you look to you're friend and say, "Hey, remember ECW"" you'll know what Paul Heyman did, he put ECW on the map, and with the two giants (WCW, WWF(E) ) on his back thats a accomplishment, seeing as Heyman ran ECW out of his basement.
[Name Removed by Request] wrote:
Not only was this column uninformed, but it was also poorly written. The writed has absolutely no idea why ECW failed, and even less of an idea on what Paul Heyman did for the company and to the network. Although the effort of writing the column is appreciated, the lack of research and overall knowledge of the subject in question is not. This column sounds like it was written by a 10 year old kid who never even saw an ecw show, let alone knows what really happened. If it was in fact written by a young kid, then at least I understand it's quality, however, that doesnt excuse the lack of information. I am more than willing to put up with subpar writting, but not with misinformation.
Dustin S. Pierce wrote:
Do the research before attempting an article like this. Media pressures had nothing to do with the demise of ECW. It came down to money, talent raids, and the final nail in the proverbial coffin, the lack of a TV deal. The only time ECW had a large media backlash was for a brief period following the "Mass Transit" incident; the WWF and Backyard wrestling received much more negative press.
This article appears to have been written by someone whose only exposure to ECW was from reading message board posts about it. It seems that the author never watched an ECW event, let alone the recent and widely available Rise and Fall of ECW DVD. No one in ECW had the name recognition of Austin" How about Foley, Mysterio, Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero, Funk, and Austin himself, to name a few. T-Shirts were hard to get" ECW t-shirts were huge sellers, and were available to order to anyone who watched the syndicated show. The fans grew tired of swearing and shouting" Listen to a Gertner, Sandman, or Rhino promo, and then listen to the cheers"
Terrible article. Know your subject before you attempt this again.
ANDREW CAMBRIA wrote:
I really think this guy has NO IDEA what he's talking about. When you hear a crowd cheer in the WWF/WWE, 95 percent of the time, a chant is started with a pre-recording filtering through the microphone system. When people like Rob Van Dam for example, got a chant, they got a friggin' POP. It was the most rediculous thing ever to hear the chants and cheers this man got if you've ever been to an ECW event. Your head hurt, your ears felt like they were gonna pop, because it was a rush of adrenaline, you could almost feel the breath escaping from the lungs of the fans when they cheered because they cheered so loudly. I was present for Wrestlemania's X , XV, and XX, and also for Survivor Series 97, and there was pop, quite possibly the biggest being austin winning the belt at XV, but RVD has RESPECT. Most , if not all the ECW wrestlers had RESPECT. Cursing, violence, going over the line, these were NOT reasons for ECW's downfall. I PRAY this guy is not a staff writer for you guys, because someone needs to bounce a check off his head. He does not know his ass from his elbow when it comes to ECW. You had to LIVE IT to UNDERSTAND it.
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