In 1993, a organization called Eastern Championship Wrestling held its first show in Phildelphia, PA. It was owned by long time local wrestling promotor Tod Gordon, in conjunction with Denis Carluzo's newly rejuvenated National Wrestling Alliance. But back then there was no HARDCORE violence, no blood, just wrestling.
Two years passed before the company would get recognized, they were running shows under NWA rules. They would swap wrestlers back and forth , one night they would work for ECW and the next the NWA, ECW was tring to find there nitch in the sport. August 27th 1995 would become the night that ECW would change the face of wrestling forever as The NWA and ECW ran a 4 week tournament to crown A new NWA world heavyweight champion that the ECW heavyweight champion at that time, Shane Douglas, won.After his hard earned victory over 2 Cold Scorpio he talked about all the past NWA champions and how honored he was to hold the belt, but Douglas shocked the world when he threw down the NWA belt , and told all the past NWA champions they could kiss his ass, and proclamed the ECW Heavyweight Title was the only world title. Then he made the announcement that EASTERN Championshp wrestling was no more and he renamed it EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING!!!!!!!!!!!! Tod Gordon and Paul E.Dangerously(now known as Paul Heyman) then formed their own company, independetly.
Douglas Throwing Down the Belt!
This ushered in the era of violence that has revolutionised the sport,mixing the Mexican lucha libre style with the violent,high flying stlye of japanesse wrestling. Renagade wrestlers that werent alowed to wrestle anywhere else were allowed to wrestle in ECW, But the 4 men who got the HARDCORE ReVOLUTION of ECW started were, the legendary Cactus Jack, SABU , Terry Funk and The SANDMAN. ECW was the first amercian wrestling promotion in years to have barbed wire matches, scafold matches and all kind of hardcore stuff. They jump started the carrers of such stars as, Eddy Gurrero, Dean Malenko,Konan,Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, The Public Enemy,Rey Misterio Jr, and the biggest star in Wrestling today Stone Cold Steve Austin (then known as SUPERSTAR Steve Austin), among others ,and has made stars out of guys that wouldnt be given the chance in the big two like Rob Van Dam,Tommy Dreamer, and Justin Credible.
Through the years ECW has built a cult like fan base that CRAVE the extreme violence that only they can give them, where else do youy hear fans scream the initals of the organization, this was started at the now infamous ECW ARENA, an old converted bingo hall in south Philidelphia, that is now a shirne to wrestling fans. Probally the most violent, and remembered acts in wrestling history have taken place in this palace of EXTREME, one that comes to mind is, the now legendary, tag team match, Terry Funk/Cactus Jack VS Public Enemy. At one point when the FUNKER asked fans in the crowd for a chair, the fans in attendance threw thier chairs in the ring at the two, filling the ring with chairs!!!, another legendary EXTREME battle took place there when Cactus Jack hit Terry Funk with a steel Chair THAT WAS LIT ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!,In a Cage match between Tommy Dreamer and Raven at Heatwave 95, Dreamer handcuffed raven to the cage and then in what is now know as the CHAIRSHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD , nearly broke a metal folding chair on his head!!!!!! I could go on and on about the violence that has taken place in ECW but i dont have that much space.
But for all this plus the racy content or there syndicated TV show ECW was labeled TRASH by the mainstream , nobody gave them a chance at anything especially getting on Pay Per View.But in 1997, ECW hit it big,and shocked the wrestling world with there first Pay Per View event, BARELY LEGAL, the ppv featured some of the most hardcore action that has ever been on pay television, the main event was TAZ vs SABU in what was billed as the biggest grudge match of all time, and it saw the Living Legend TERRY FUNK win the ECW world heavyweight title from RAVEN.