The ten things that put ECW on the map
Over the years ECW has had several key matches, angles, and bumps etc.
that brought ECW to the frontline of sports entertainment. These moments
were so bloody, so extreme, so original that they let the “Big Two” know
that ECW was the best, and that it was coming for them. Below are the top
ten things that I have chosen that made ECW what it is today:
10. TNN: In the end, TNN was what killed ECW. Their lack of promotion and overall support was the final three count that put our beloved federation in the annals of wrestling history. But without TNN, ECW would have forever been just another cult federation. Yes, I do know ECW was on television before TNN, and they were doing quite well with the support of a huge following, but TNN gave them a national audience. TNN was supposed to be the greatest thing for ECW since Terry Funk, but TNN couldn’t handle what ECW was; a hardcore federation. They forced ECW to tone down it’s style, and then went back on their word and did almost no television promotion for it. This caused ECW to slowly dwindle and get forced of the station for not getting the proper Nielsen ratings (They were required by contract to have a 2.0 weekly share but instead usually only had 1.2). ECW was already in a tough spot by then, and losing such an audience finally nailed the coffin shut.
9. Cheese graters, pots, and cookie sheets (OH MY!): When ECW began its hardcore ways, who better to show their support than the fans. The fans wanted to help their favorite wrestlers take it to the extreme, so they brought the extreme to the wrestlers. Pans, cheese graters, and keyboards were all commonly used weapons given to the wrestlers by the fans. Tommy Dreamer, arguably the best wrestler to ever grace ECW, was nicknamed “the innovator of VIOLENCE” due to his use of these foreign objects. These weapons were used more and more by the ECW locker room, becoming the “mascots” of the rebellious federation. Nowadays, almost every wrestling federation in the world has a “hardcore division” where the wrestlers use foreign objects to pummel their foe, but none will ever be extreme as ECW’s.
Beulah/Kimona kiss: What better way to stir controversy then to feature
to beautiful women kiss on a television taping? If you know one I’d like
to hear it. During the infamous Raven/Dreamer feud, Beulah went with Dreamer
and Kimona went with Raven. At one point, Dreamer and Beulah were in the
ring cutting a promo, when out comes Kimona. The crowd, anticipating a
catfight, watched in disbelief when a not a catfight, but a total make
out session occurred between the two women. The kiss was so “extreme,”
that ECW censored it on almost all of the video releases.
The blinding of The Sandman: After a brutal caning match in which Tommy
Dreamer was cheated, causing him to lose and be caned ten times, Dreamer
wanted revenge. Dreamer wanted something so violent, so devious that he
could release all his aggression in one match. This is where the “I quit”
match came into play. Throughout the match the action went back and forth.
A little beating here, a frying pan there, a usual match for both these
men. But later in the match Dreamer was starting to take more punishment
than he could dish out. At one point he was on his knees, being pelted
by The Sandman. Sandman, in his usual drunken finesse, lit up his victory
smoke and started grinning at the crowd. As he raised his cane for one
last strike, Dreamer Low Blowed The extreme icon, taking the cane and...CANING
THE SANDMAN’S CIGARETTE INTO THE SANDMAN’S EYE! The Sandman rolled around
in pain and quickly submitted, all without Dreamer knowing why. When he
did find out he felt horrible and tried to reconcile with his blinded opponent.
Everyone in the back was livid, cursing him and telling him to get the
hell away. Heels, faces, everyone in the back had it out for Dreamer. This
was unique for the times, showing that the good guys and bad guys all hung
out in the back, and all felt a camaraderie with the men in the back. That
is why it was unique to see The Public Enemy and the Pit bulls standing
next to each other instead of destroying each other. After Dreamer was
shooed out of the back and everyone cooled down, the camera focused in
on the Sandman, looking totally helpless. Now, Dreamer was not about to
look like a bad guy, so he decided to fight the Beer Drinking’ maniac.
Over the course of a few weeks, Dreamer successfully defended the honor
of Sandman and developed an even more extreme style.
Lucha Libre: In the early nineties, Mexican wrestling was a mere myth.
Sure, there were rumors; fourth generation tapes where you needed a good
imagination to interpret the picture. The truth is, no one really knew
what it was until one night a little man with a mask walked in to the ECW
arena. His name was Rey Mysterio Jr., and he was looking for some action.
The only problem was that no wrestlers in the back were any form of competition
to this masked mad man from south of the border. Because of this ECW got
a surplus of talent from the taco capital of the world. Juventud Guerrera,
Psicosis, and Konnan all gave the deprived American fans a first hand taste
of Lucha Libre. Of course, like everything else good in wrestling, the
talent was stolen away by WCW and the WWF. The end of true Lucha Libre
in ECW, yes. But the small contribution from the ECW arena to the world
changed wrestling forever.
5. The Whole F’N Show: There are probably better choices than RVD, but in all honesty he was the reason that ECW gained half its fan base. His looks charmed the women into seats across the country; his athletic skills wowed old and new wrestling fans alike and his cockiness struck a sort of envious chord with many. All these things added up to a staggering fan base, which became too big to be ignored. He was arguably the most talented wrestler to ever grace ECW and he had combining daredevil moves and hardcore spots down to a science. You may hate him, you may love him, but you sure as hell have to respect him.
Tommy Dreamer: Obvious choice I know but one of the most valid. ECW would
be only a mere fragment of what it became without Tommy Dreamer. He was
the pioneer behind ECW’s extreme movement, and would use himself to further
the company’s hardcore image. If he got a dollar for every image he sustained
he could’ve retired a long time ago. He was constantly innovating weapon
spots, which earned him the name “Innovator of violence.” Besides his innovative
weapon usage, Dreamer could take a bump like no other. This man broke his
back for the company and asked for nothing in return. Every time he raised
his bloody hand above his head in victory, he solidified his place as Mr.
3. Terry Funk: I had a hard time putting this man before Dreamer, but in the long run I believe he was more helpful making ECW’s name. Eight years ago, Funk was still young enough to be a hot commodity. When old school wrestling fans saw that the Living Legend Terry Funk was backing up this fledgling company, they took notice. All of a sudden, more and more fans were flocking to The ECW arena, or trading tapes over the Internet. ECW was popping up in all kinds of magazines, receiving praise in every one. If it weren’t for the Funker’s determination, ECW probably would have never made it past year one.
Blood: The crimson mask graced the face of damn near every wrestler in
ECW at one point. It was a sign of toughness, intestinal fortitude, and
endurance. If you couldn’t bleed you were obviously not a man. When the
juice flowed, the crowd exploded. It’s hard not to notice a small group
of the most determined workers in the world when every one of them is wearing
a red bill board saying “Come watch us if you dare!” Without blood ECW
would have never gotten it’s extreme image, never had Dreamer, never known
the power of Terry Funk, never been ECW as we know it. ECW’s slogan, “Blood
and Guts” pretty much summed it all up with those three words.
1. The Night the Line Was Crossed: The night the earth stood still. No other match is associated with the success of ECW quite like TNTLWC. This match has gone down in pro wrestling history, along with Hart/Michaels Iron man and Malenko/Guerrero farewell match. It is the purest example of what wrestling can be when everything your body has is put into the match. And that is exactly what all the participants did. Sabu, Terry Funk, and Shane Douglas gave the fans everything they had for an hour straight battling to a draw. In the match Sabu injured his knee, Shane Douglas was put through a table and DDT’d on a stack of chairs, and Funk bled like a maniac. Even though all this happened, and interference plagued the match, not one man gave up. To the outside viewer, they realized that the hardest workers were in ECW. Any wrestler that can not get pinned for sixty minutes is a true athlete. Nowadays, the match seems a bi dated. But if you sit down and watch it you see the true genius of the match. It was the greatest exhibition of wrestling prowess ever exhibited by ECW. If you were to study the way to work a match, you would have to sit down for this. Before I get into the habit of repeating myself I should end this. The power and infamy associated with this match was the first and most important thing to put ECW on the map.
"The Night The Line Was Crossed!"