5 Things That Made the Original ECW Truly Unique
Another documentary-style DVD focusing on the story of the original ECW has been released.
"Barbed Wire City" is now in stores and it gives fans of the unforgettable company that rose to power in the mid to late-90s a chance to reminisce on what was.
There were plenty of things that set ECW apart from any other wrestling show that had ever been televised, leading to some of the other companies trying their hand at some of those things.
Here, we will take a look at the five main things that made ECW stand out.
Tables, steel chairs, barbed wire and even a frying pan. These are just some of the objects that would routinely get entered into an ECW match.
There was no such thing as a disqualification in the original ECW as all matches basically had no rules. That was one of the drawing points for fans, especially those that wanted to see something more "real."
Sandman, who was never a great in-ring technician, made a career out of hitting people with a Singapore cane...and drinking beer, of course.
But it was the realism seen in an ECW match where the competitors seemed to stop at nothing to brutalize their opponents.
Many matches in ECW featured blood and some incredible spots where guys went through flaming tables or smashing their opponent with a weapon.
The first time you turned on an episode of ECW, this is likely the first thing that caught your eye and made you want to tune in again.
Later, both WWE and WCW created their own divisions and championship belts dedicated to hardcore wrestling.
In WCW, their division even featured some of the guys who had excelled in ECW, such as Hardcore Hak (Sandman), Bam Bam Bigelow and Raven.
Many of ECW's detractors seemed to feel that hardcore wrestling was all the company was about.
That couldn't have been further from the truth.
While the emphasis was generally on the street fight-style matches, ECW was very good at putting together all types of wrestling. Watching any of the matches of Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero will prove that.
ECW boasted a deep, talented roster, and guys like Rob Van Dam and Sabu always had strong, entertaining matches.
But, ECW is also where guys like Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho were first discovered in mainstream wrestling.
The promotion always had solid tag team matches as well, with teams like the Dudley Boyz, The Eliminators and The Public Enemy.
ECW was more than just hardcore wrestling. In fact, it was much more.
Remember the time Raven convinced Sandman's son to join his group and deny that Sandman was his father?
It was this storyline that helped usher in the era of soap opera angles in wrestling.
Gone were the days of fighting just to see who the best wrestler was. That may be perceived as a good thing or a bad thing now.
ECW was always willing to push the envelope and that was another reason fans began to tune in more and more.
Paul Heyman, who was the creative mind behind ECW, was always looking to give viewers something they had never seen before, and he usually succeeded.
The aforementioned Heyman was certainly as big a factor as any for ECW gaining the level of popularity that it did.
When Heyman started with the company, he was a manager going by the name Paul E. Dangerously. His stable of wrestlers included Sabu and 911.
It was also known as Eastern Championship Wrestling and was part of the NWA at that time.
But in 1994, Heyman and Tod Gordon broke away from the NWA after Shane Douglas won the title and made a now-infamous speech, on which he tossed the title aside.
This led to the birth of Extreme Championship Wrestling, of which Heyman would eventually become the sole owner.
Heyman is easily one of the most innovative minds that the professional wrestling business has ever seen. He did a masterful job of giving viewers fresh and exciting content while also having the respect to give them what they wanted to see.
Many fans believe that Vince McMahon and WWE took ideas from ECW and presented them as his own. In arguably one of the better promos ever, Heyman had his chance to address that.
Heyman certainly had his faults and they helped lead to the demise of ECW. But he did an incredible job with what he had.
There is absolutely no question how big of an impact the crowd had on ECW. They had one of the most loyal fanbases you will ever see.
The fans were not only loyal, they were encouraged to be as much a part of the show as they wanted.
There were even nights where the company would promote matches in which the fans could bring their own weapons for the wrestlers to use.
The fans were loyal and they were rabid because they believed in the product that they were paying for. That's the reason you still hear the "ECW" chant ring out in wrestling arenas to this day.
If you ever want an idea of just how passionate an ECW crowd was, go back and watch the One Night Stand pay-per-view events that took place after WWE acquired the company.
Though the original ECW has been out of business for over a decade, those fans haven't forgotten how good it was.