WWE: ECW

ECW began it’s life as Eastern Championship Wrestling, formed in 1992 by Tod Gordon with Eddie Gilbert. In 1993 Gilbert was replaced by Paul Heyman consequent to Heyman’s departure from WCW. In 1994 former NWA President and WCW owner Jim Crockett approached Gordon and Heyman about a relaunch of the NWA involving ECW. The NWA World Title was vacant after they parted ways with WCW the previous year, and a tournament was arranged. But reigning NWA President Dennis Coralluzzo then took charge of the tournament claiming Crockett was trying to monopolise the title as he had in the 1980’s and pushed him out. Both Gordon and Heyman didn’t like that and responded with a plan that involved Shane Douglas, who was booked to win the tournament. Douglas, after winning the final, delivered the now infamous promo trashing the NWA World Title (vacating it again in the process) and promoting himself as the ECW World Champion instead. Gordon and Heyman left the NWA instantly and Heyman changed the E in ECW from Eastern to Extreme.

Throughout the rest of the 90’s, ECW established itself as the third promotion in the United States. It brought a different style and was best known for hardcore wrestling. However it was also known for bringing Japanese strong style and Mexican lucha libre to American fans as well. Heyman made arrangements with both the then WWF and WCW over promotional angles and got himself a strong fan base. But the base wasn’t supported by regular fans and as the two main promotions started to adopt some of ECW’s styles, ECW began to struggle. Finally it went bankrupt in 2001 around the same time the WWF bought out WCW.

WWE bought ECW’s assets in 2003, and in 2005 on a suggestion from Rob Van Dam held a special pay per view event, One Night Stand. Heyman booked it and in the lead up had a crack at both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff (at the time the general manager of Monday Night Raw) noting rightly that it was the first time the three of them were in the one place at the same time. The event was highly successful.

In 2006 WWE promoted a second event which was not booked by Heyman and was less successful. But it led to the ECW television show and a third brand for WWE. This arrangement lasted until 2010 when it was replaced by the original version of NXT. One Night Stand was presented yearly later changing it’s name to Extreme Rules.

In Australia, ECW started being presented on Fox8 a couple of months after it’s original US debut. It was shown on Saturday originally but debuted in April 2007 on Thursday afternoon. In America, ECW was originally shown live on a Tuesday after the Smackdown taping, but that became problematic when the tapings over ran. Eventually it shifted to being taped before the live Raw on Monday.

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