When ECW began back in 2006, many people thought that WWE was trying to make a third brand that would gather 2.0 or even 3.0 ratings. In reality they established a show where young talent could get face time and eventually become important to the WWE.
This was not WWE's initial intention, but after CM Punk accumulated a large fan base he was drafted from ECW and made the World Heavyweight Champion. Then it finally clicked in my head.
As Punk covered Edge for the three count I remembered Mike Knox, Elijah Burke, and Colin Delaney—why? They are in the same spot now that CM Punk was in two years ago. Winning (or in Colin's case, losing) squash matches on ECW to under-carders.
ECW's purpose is to elevate new talent so that in the future they will be ready to catch the torch that Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker will eventually pass down.
ECW. When you hear those three letters what do you think about? Do you think about Sabu jumping into a barbed wire ring rope? Or do you think about RVD's 24-month Television Title reign? Or maybe you think about Raven hanging The Sandman from a cross?
Regardless of what you think when you hear those three letters, all Vince McMahon thinks about is money! He sends a few veterans over to bring in some ratings and then he throws in all the accomplished FCW/OVW talent to elevate them and give them TV time.
ECW has a nice mix of established talent and new/unknown talent to keep it afloat, while continuing to elevate the new guys.
Before ECW indie talent had a very small chance of making it to the grand stage of WWE. Even if they did they were likely lost in the crowded under card on Smackdown or Raw, and ended up being released before they made any impact.
When ECW became what it is today it was like they put one big stepping stone in between WWE and the indie world.
ECW is basically an indie show with a television deal. Having a show full of new and fresh talent is the best thing going on in WWE today. It’s a breeding ground for future World Champions and WWE recognizes this.
ECW (despite what anyone else says) is the BEST thing WWE has going today. WWE is planning ahead for its future, and nothing is better than planning ahead.