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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Taking WWE To The Extreme
May 29, 2006 by Michael Brown


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As many fans know around the world, World Wrestling Entertainment will be bringing back the Extreme Championship Wrestling brand from the dead in the summer of 2006. ECW hasn't been on television since January of 2001 when they were on the TNN network (now Spike TV). The current brand will have a lot of the older and more notable ECW superstars but it will feature some new talent as well. The confirmed few superstars who are going to return to ECW this year are Rob Van Dam, Jazz, Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, and The Sandman. Since this is now confirmed and set to happen for sure, it brings a lot of questions to go along with what will be brought with the brand. Things like, Will This Only Be An ECW Product" Is McMahon Using This To Only Make WWE Look Superior" Will The New Brand Be Used Properly" How Much Control Will Paul Heyman Actually Have" I guess only time will tell to see what happens with this.

ECW first started in 1993 when Paul Heyman was handed pretty much the leftovers of Eastern Championship Wrestling. Heyman felt that Pro Wrestling needed a change and that it needed to be different. Bringing in the collection of newer superstars that no one really heard of like Sandman, Sabu, and Tommy Dreamer, Paul E. started making a new brand of entertainment that was violent and more risky than from what anyone has ever seen before.

In the late 1990's, many fans started loving ECW and they were very loyal and still are to this day. By the new millennium, ECW was big but many of it's stars were leaving because of issues like creative difference or money problems. Top names like The Dudley Boyz, Tazz, and Raven all left for the WWE and others like Lance Storm and Mike Awesome left for WCW. The problems didn't get any better as the company had to eventually shut down and end Paul Heyman's dream for what he wanted in the business.

After it was over, former top ECW wrestlers like Rhyno, Jerry Lynn, and Tajiri came to WWE and made good names for themselves. Then in the summer of 2001, other ECW stars came to WWE like Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Mike Awesome, and Lance Storm and they even did an InVasion angle where ECW teamed with WCW to try and take out the WWE. As some like the idea, it wasn't too much of a success as it wasn't the real form of fans remember from each brand. Then almost out of no where in 2005, WWE announced that they were doing a one time only ECW Pay Per View called ECW One Night Stand featuring many past ECW stars and current WWE stars from the promotion. The show was a huge success and did a lot better than many thought which probably surprised a lot. This was almost the start of the return for what is to come now.

Now a year later, WWE plans on doing another ECW Once Night Stand show and it hopes to be just as good as before. What was more surprising though is that ECW will return to television as a separate brand on the Sci Fi Network. Many might wonder if this will hurt an outside promotion named TNA, which has many former ECW stars like Team 3-D, Raven, Rhino, and Jerry Lynn. You never really know if any of them might and/or want to "Join The Revolution." This return could even hurt the WWE itself which might not be Mr. McMahon's plan. Lots of superstars from RAW and Smackdown! that used to be in ECW and they will probably end up joining so the roster looks stronger and larger. It would be something if this hurts WWE more than anything with the already hurt Smackdown Roster as it is. One thing is for sure as it was said directly from the man himself, Vince McMahon, "It Just Can't Be The Same."

by Michael Brown ..


Kevin Roberts wrote:
COULD THIS BE THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR TNA. I think so. With the return of ECW, the WWE is gonna have its own "X" division with a hardcore twist. Im extremely excited about the return of ECW 'cause those guys like Axl Rotten, Tommy Dreamer, C.W. Anderson, etc. will have oppurtunity to apply their craft on the biggest stage of them all, the WWE. Im not a big TNA fan, and I think the WWE/ECW guys that are there, which is half of their roster, will go to ECW 'cause they can wrestle the style that made them famous in the first place, while making WWE money, and the guys that have families, it will be the responsible thing to do. I dont think even think TNA will be able to keep their best guys like: Abyss, Samoa Joe, Petey Williams, Elix Skipper or even AJ STYLES! Vince has been wanting Styles for a long time and with the new ECW, he may finally get him. Christian, Dudley Boys, Raven, Jeff Hardy, all you guys PLEASE COME TO ECW. You know its gonna happen, TNAs days are numbered 'cause they are not gonna be able to afford to keep these guys, just like when WCW and WWE was signing away ECW guys back in the day 'cause Paul E. couldnt pay them enough, but things are different now 'cause Vince has his back. In the words of my hero, Tazz: "the mood is about to change."
Robert Burrell wrote:
I agree 100% that the bringing back of ECW is going to hurt both the WWE and TNA in the long run. I dont know how many people actually watch and are into wrestling nowadays, but there sure isn't as much a following as in the "Attitude Era" days, where you had WWE, WCW and ECW all going strong. I think what has happened is first Vince bought up everything, then realized that without the competition, "things just weren't the same." I will admit after WCW went out of business I had little interest to watch anymore, even though I have kept up since. So Vince's solution was to break up into RAW and Smackdown brands, and now ECW. I think he is just spreading the wrestling roster very thin, and starting up this ECW is only going to make things worse.

The simple fact is that wrestling isn't as popular as before, meaning less money for the business. As a result, we are seeing progressively worse and worse superstars emerge into the spotlight (champs John Cena and JBL" cmon.) Vince is trying to bring things back to the way they used to be, but he's ending up competiting with himself, and I think in the long run, he's going to lose!
Carl wrote:
This is the greatest idea that Vince has had since the Attitude Era. ECW truly was in my opinion the number 2 brand in professional wrestling, bringing it back is gonna make ECW even stronger than the days when Todd Gordon folded NWA-ECW, i truly believe it. However, i don't know if it will take down TNA because TNA took it to the next level whether people acknowlege it or not and it gave Vince a run for his money with the X Division, the 6 sided ring, the extream style that ECW was known for that is on national TV, and new rising stars. Once you think about it, TNA and ECW have a lot in common, even though TNA isn't in a bingo hall but there also not at Madison Square Garden or some big arena like that.

Nonetheless, ECW's chapter has never been over. Even though ECW is under the WWE umbrella, but maybe when ECW becomes stronger they'll separate from WWE just like they did from NWA. During the days when ECW was on TNN there was a lot of screwjobs worse than the Bret Hart screwjob: no commericals, lots of censorship, nationwide concern about content that wasn't allowed on Pay-Per-View or national TV for that matter, and not enough employees cause Paul E. was running the whole show. Nowadays you can see UFC on Spike TV thats pretty violent, i think it was only a matter of time before the entertainment industry realized that this is what the people want not to mention ECW being one of the only companies to still have loyal fans after it was shut down.

Since the stars of today started in ECW, there will be the stars of tomorrow that will get there chance at fame for all there hard work just like before. The returning former ECW stars like Van Dam, Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu and Funk will have a lot of the rookies to look up to and have a pure passion for the sport of professional wrestling. Think of it this way, there are more wrestlers on both RAW and Smackdown! that Vince isn't doing anything with and this is a great opportunity for all those stars to make the best out of themselves as well as there in-ring skills and it might be the opportunity for the wrestlers that Vince laid off to come back better than ever.

One more thing, as long as the NWA is still around, WWE will always have competition.
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