Crossing the Line
Issue 1

By SuicidalByNature420

Hello everyone and welcome to the first of what I hope will become many 
columns on ECW2K. For this first column we're gonna hop into the time machine 
and take a ride down memory lane, welcome to The Evolution Of Pro Wrestling 
101. Today's topic is a man named Paul Heyman, how he has changed 
professional wrestling forever, and how pro wrestling's recent rebirth into 
the mainstream can be directly linked to Paul and his baby Extreme 
Championship Wrestling.

When people think of ECW, they think of a lot of things, but usually this 
isn't one of them. ECW never gets the mainstream credit they deserve for 
being the true innovators of modern pro wrestling. Back in 1993, Eastern 
Championship Wrestling became Extreme Championship Wrestling and a legend was 
born, back then Paul must have had no idea what he was getting into. He was 
just staying involved in what he loved more than anything else in the world: 
wrestling. I doubt Paul envisioned bi-monthly PPVs, a national TV show, and a 
cult following that would make David Koresh green with envy.

The Man that changed Wrestling Forever!

His Cult!

Back then Pro Wrestling was not what it is today; wrestling's best days had 
passed. Hogan was no longer filling stadiums and there was no one to step up 
and fill his shoes, many tried but none succeeded. The WWF and WCW were 
trying to repeat Hogan's success by doing the same things and the result was 
dwindling interest and the industry as a whole becoming a joke. If you're a 
follower of, you'll know that a large portion of wrestling's 
most notorious crap came from this era. The early 90's spawned people like 
Duke "The Dumpster" and T.L. Hopper, I'd long-since stopped watching. Hell, 
even if I had still been watching, I wouldn't admit it, I'd be embarrassed to 
admit that such utter garbage held my attention. But everything was about to 
change The Revolution was about to start!

That small upstart I mentioned before you know ECW? Well, they were 
gaining steam, they were offering a product VERY different from anything else 
in the good ol' US of A. In this company the draw was not the goofy 
characters and zany storylines it was wrestling. The spotlight was on the 
athletes and what they did best, Paul demanded MUCH more out of his 
performers. Being charismatic wasn't enough in ECW, you had to be able to go 
out there and put on a 15 minute match and make it a GOOD ONE, too. Pushing 
wrestlers based on their wrestling ability⦠what a keen idea. Well, it turns 
out it was more than keen, it was a pretty damn good one. Fans were swarming 
to see smaller, more talented guys like "The Crippler" Chris Benoit and "The 
Shooter" Dean Malenko put on wrestling clinics. In ECW, the old saying still 
stood true. "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the 
fight in the dog." Malenko, Benoit, and Eddy Gurrerro were wowing audiences 
with incredible work rates, unseen in the US before. Here we were used to 
5-minute mini-matches where the high spot was a suplex. But fans started 
taking notice of this ECW thing and their 20 minute matches with little guys 
bouncing all over the place, diving off the ropes, over them, wrestling on 
the outside and those moves oh the moves! This Benoit guy uses more 
different moves in the first 5 minutes of his matches than Hogan used in his 
whole career!!!

One Helluva Wrestler!

The Crippler!

Something clicked American fans were swarming to this "ECW Arena" place to 
see guys really WRESTLE. Enter Vince McMahon Vince saw something that was 
working and he decided to borrow it. Go ahead take a look at the work rates 
in WWF matches 10 years ago as opposed to today's matches. There is no 
comparison, today's WWF superstar is expected to be able to do more than the 
WWF superstar of yesteryear. Even guys like The Rock and Steve Austin who are 
often blasted for lack of ability by Internet Smarks are LIGHT YEARS ahead of 
what we were seeing back then. ECW's eternal influence on this industry that 
we so love is obvious in every match we watch, they raised the bar. 10 years 
ago, Test would be World Champion by now, however now he is held back by his 
lack of wrestling ability. 

But come on get to the juicy stuff, work rates are only a small portion of 
what ECW offered let's get to what made ECW famous!

Lack of Ability?
HARDCORE!!!!!! Yeah, Paul Heyman's insistence that his performers give 110% 
every night changed wrestling forever, but that's not what made ECW what it 
was. Without that "E" this company would have gone nowhere inside that E is 
where the true innovation lies and that one little letter has left 
shock-waves that can be felt in every wrestling match to this date even 
more-so than the increased work rates. Extreme. Without it, ECW was nothing, 
just another Indy Fed, but with that E, Paul Heyman offered something else 
that American fans were unfamiliar with: Barbed Wire, Babes, And Blood!!!! 
Not too long ago, a chair shot was extreme, putting someone through a table 
was unheard-of, all the stuff we see 1000 times a night now none of it was 
there. There was no Hardcore Division, no Table Matches, Hell In A Cell? 

Now This is HARDCORE!
Then, along came Extreme Championship Wrestling, a small Philadelphia-based 
wrestling company run by former NWA/WCW manager Paul E. Dangerously. ECW 
threw out the count-out and ignored the DQ, basically killed the Screw Job 
Ending. Everything from common household items like frying pans and rolling 
pins to true hardcore stuff like barbed wire and Singapore Canes became 
common sights inside the ring (or outside). Wrestling was no longer confined 
to the squared circle, the wrestlers were now free to venture out and find 
new things in the arena to play with. Blood used to be something that sold an 
attack/match as being truly brutalnow the night is not complete without a 
little red stuff. Of course, "Extreme" is not something that exists only 
inside the ring, it also meant other things. Wrestlers were free to express 
themselves any way they chose⦠wanna swear up a storm? Go ahead. Wanna walk 
to the ring smoking a cigarette and chugging beers? Go ahead. Want a 
beautiful half-naked woman to accompany you to the ring? GOOD IDEA!!! All 
bets were truly off. In ECW anything goes.

I want her to accompany ME to the ring!
Hey Vince McMahon is back. That's right, ECW had another idea that was 
working and once again Vince decided to borrow it. The first time a WWF 
wrestler went through a table was Kevin Nash putting Shawn Michaels through a 
table surprised it's something so recent? Well, don't be, the WWF never even 
DREAMED of stuff like this until ECW strolled onto the scene. Before ECW, the 
Ladder Match was as hardcore as it got in the WWF. Without ECW there would be 
no WWF Attitude, it simply wouldn't exist. ECW's catch phrase was "Join The 
Revolution" they thought it was just a catch phrase who knew it was quite 
a startling prediction. One that came true.

So, every time you turn on WWF Raw Is War every time you see the WWF 
Attitude logo every time you see Stone Cold chug a beer every time you see 
The Dudley's put someone through a table every time you see Chris Benoit 
wrestle in a true classic every time you see a non-PPV match go longer that 
5 minutes, remember. Remember ECW, that little independent promotion based in 
Philadelphia, PA that changed the world of professional wrestling forever. 
With his new role in the WWF, people often ask if Paul Heyman influences the 
WWF's storylines. The answer? Hell yes he's been doing it for 8 years.

The Innovator of WWF hardcore!

Innfluencing the WWF for a Long Time now!