Do you remember a promotion known as ECW? Known more to fans as Extreme Championship Wrestling? I remember; and simply put, the ECW we have today is NOT ECW. I know, I know, we can’t expect it to be the “true” ECW because let’s face it, that ECW is long since gone. However, the WWE decided to bring back the name, and have done little to maintain the legacy of a once proud company.
It all started with a pay-per-view known as One Night Stand. This was one night for the men and women of the orginal ECW to return and give love back to all the diehard fans out there. An idea proposed by none other than ECW original Rob Van Dam himself. Now I don’t know about you, but the first One Night Stand I thought, was simply amazing! Since then however, it has become nothing but a mockery by name, and really a PPV that fans could care less about.
This is my issue; why have a third brand named after ECW when it resembles nothing of the original name? Now, I’m all for change and evolution within a company but to pay NO respect for the true lineage of ECW is just a shame. Just think of how bad RVD felt when he saw the name of ECW tarnished right in front of his eyes. Quite sad really.
Some could argue that this is being done purposely. The WWE saw that ECW succeeded originally, and sought to bring it back to bury it once and for all under the WWE umbrella. How else could you explain how Paul Heyman started out in control, but didn’t last? Or why Joey Styles was replaced after more than a year as the voice of the “new” ECW? Was it done with intentions? Only one person truly knows.
But it goes much deeper than this doesn’t it folks. ECW does after all stand for EXTREME Championship Wrestling. i see two things wrong with that name, and the first is the very LACK of extreme instances on the brand. This of course was the first hit to the original name. Taking away the “extreme rules” matches that were once exclusive to the brand, they were then relegated to sparingly used. Now, even more so!
This is what defined ECW, this is what ECW was, EXTREME! Let’s face it, Sabu didn’t get the nickname he did for wrestling WWE style! Tommy Dreamer the same. And…what about Raven?? This..this is what ECW was. A place where Steven Richards could shine, where the F.B.I. could have some tv time, a place where cruiserweights could wrestle! All these elements made ECW the “extreme alternative” that it was; and that’s why it was a threat!
Perhaps the biggest thing about the old ECW that I loved, was the dedication the fans had to the product. If they, scratch that, if WE didn’t like something we made sure people heard it! The fact that shows took place in smaller venues helped as well creating that smaller, more intimate feel! Fans really truly felt a part of the action, and in many cases joined in as well. This is something the WWE does not use. They go the exact opposite way with large arenas that create a “larger than life” feel, where the wrestlers are untouchable and fans can’t truly participate in the product they pay for.
The second part is the “Championship” part of the name. Who do we have now, Mark Henry? Mark Henry are you serious? Now I’m all for a guy getting his due (Eddie Guerrero, CM Punk, even Rey Mysterio) but Mark Henry? Why? Since the return of ECW we fans have been treated to one, ONE ECW original as the champion. That man was Rob Van Dam. A man who finally got the title because the fans made it happen! Others include Henry, Big Show, Bobby Lashley, and Chavo Guerrero.
Notice how I left out both CM Punk and John Morrison? That’s because I felt that the WWE could have really capitalized with these guys as the champ. The WWE could have made the ECW title mean something with these two guys, and chose not to. Hell, even Chavo Guerrero could have had a far better run than he did if the WWE wanted. And, what about Kane? Sadly his run was average at best.
The WWE has the tools and talent to make ECW worth something again. Guys like Morrison, Bourne, Richards, Chavo, and dare I say…Elijah Burke! Why this brand is treated like a C-movie is beyond me. To me, Extreme Championship Wrestling has become a mere shell of itself. No longer extreme, and no longer represented by a champion or championship with credibility. Face it extremeists, ECW may forever be… Lost In The Shadows!