The Death of Hardcore
July 4, 2005 by Wes 'The Demon' Martinez
Everyone knows what hardcore wrestling is. While some absolutely love it and some can't stand it, one thing they can all agree on is the impact it had on the business. Hardcore wrestling became an integral part of professional wrestling in the 90s, when Extreme Championship Wrestling popularized the death-defying, bloody style. As the 90's progressed, even larger organizations like the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling started doing hardcore matches, which were, of course, a bit watered down. However, with the downfall of ECW in 2001, it seemed for a while that hardcore wrestling was over.
Enter the independent promotions. Many promoters decided to take the concept of ECW and try to improve on it. And by improve, I mean turn the violence knob to just plain grotesque levels. Fluorescent light tubes became a mainstay, as well as sheets of glass and even staple guns. While a very small minority of people are attracted to this new type of hardcore wrestling (which Combat Zone Wrestling has aptly dubbed "ultraviolent"), most veteran ECW fans believe that it epitomizes everything wrong with wrestling today. They loved and respected the wrestlers, and although they did enjoy violence, they didn't want them to kill each other. However, many indie promotions seem to have not picked up this memo, and continue to jump off two story buildings and staple things to each others bodies.
Another prime example is backyard wrestling. Now, I know that some backyard wrestling "federations" don't do "extreme" things and just wrestle, and that, I'm okay with. However, what has really made it popular are the kids who jump off of their roofs onto their scrawny friends; the kids who think it'd be cool to smash their scrawny friend's heads in with a golf club; the kids who do it for the sake of it looking cool. And I'm sure everyone agrees that this is just plain stupid, and if it's one of our alternatives to hardcore wrestling, count me out.
Nowadays, when they have hardcore matches on television, chances are it'll be a very watered down product, even more so than the former WWE hardcore division. Chances are the most you'll see people use as weapons are garbage cans and stop signs. Blood" Nah, they don't want to put that much of it on TV, save it for the pay-per-views. Also notice how things like tables have become very uncommon, when in the 90s, they were part of what made the style popular. Let's face it, the era of extreme wrestling is dead. Just like the kayfabe era, and just like the Hollywood era. Sure, we have countless copycat indie federations that give out a hardcore product, but they'll never be able to popularize it again. Hardcore wrestling is dead, and although I enjoyed it, I can firmly state that the era is over.
by Wes 'The Demon' Martinez ..
Anthony Mcmullen wrote:
if hardcore wrestling still exists (i.e. hardcore matches) than how can you say its dead
Like you said, some people hate it some people like it. I don't enjoy the ECW type violence. I like the WWE violence, but it can still be extreme. Like in Hell in a cell matches, they'll use barbed wire 2X4's and thumbtacks. Which can still be kind of disgusting. Hardcore isn't dead, but I wish the people who aren't professionals, don't try it. Back Yard Wrestling is very dangerous, and could probably end up killing someone. (If it hasn't already)
Jeremy Nutting wrote:
I would like to say thanks for posting this column. It has been
something I have wanted to discuss for a while now, seeing as how the
ECW stuff came back just briefly..
-I think he meant the era of hardcore wrestling, not the matches
themselves, its just not a big draw like it was 5 or so years ago...
- I agree, the style of hardcore wrestling, was taken way to far by
certain match types and wrestling (CZW: weedwhacker, powerbombs from
U-Hauls through tables baring lighttubes on them, etc). I also agree
that backyard "wrestling" when it involves jumping from a roof through
glass plated tables is a terrible idea... While I agree on this, I
also enjoy watching it... its just the sick and twisted weirdo I am,
and trust me, theres a LOT of people like me in that aspect, see a lot
of CZW fans and a group of way hardcore former ECW fans..
Regardless, in general this style, like you said, is dead. There are
groups who get a kick out of it and the massive bloddshed it provides,
but most wrestling fans probably dont enjoy this like they used to
May I react in there" MY reaction is I know WWE is violence, but ECW is hardcore, and it didn't died. Also ECW lived in One Night Stand PPV, also WWE is violent, but ECW is more violent also I don't agree that ECW sucks, because many fans loved ECW in the past.
Kevin Kelly wrote:
My opinion is that hardcore isn't exactly dead. Hardcore wrestling has taken a step back but it is not dead. There are still people who use that hardcore style. There are still hardcore matches and hell in the cell matches and stuff like that. And just one thing I would like to correct you on is hardcore wrestling wasn't invented by the ecw. It was invented by sabu's uncle
The sheik in the 50's. people who went to see him wrestle knew that they were in for a blood bath every time. Anyway hardcore wrestling is not dead. Its not as big as it used to be but it is still alive and well.
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