The ECW Initially Attempted to Differentiate Itself from WWE's Other Brands.

brian kellyCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2008


Original format: WWE acquired Extreme Championship Wrestling and its video library in 2003 and later began reintroducing ECW through a series of DVDs and books. The enormous popularity of ECW merchandise prompted WWE to organize ECW One Night Stand, an ECW reunion pay-per-view in 2005. The financial and critical success of the event motivated WWE to organize a second One Night Stand the following year. With rejuvenated interest in the ECW product, WWE began exploring the possibility of reviving the promotion full time. On May 26, 2006, WWE announced the launch of ECW as a stand-alone brand, congruous to Raw and SmackDown!, with its own show on SCI FI. Despite initial concerns that professional wrestling would not be accepted by SCI FI's demographic, network President Bonnie Hammer stated that she believed ECW would fit the channel's theme of "stretching the imagination". SCI FI is owned by NBC Universal, parent company of USA Network and exclusive cable broadcaster of WWE programming. The ECW brand initially attempted to differentiate itself from WWE's other brands. The hard cameras were placed in a different location. the ring mat featured an ECW logo, and the WWE logo turnbuckle covers were replaced with blanks. The male performers were also referred to as "Extremists" as opposed to Superstars, and female performers were called "Vixens" instead of Divas. It also featured original ECW talent. Later however, changes were made to differentiate it from the original ECW promotion, including changing the original promotion's rules where weapons were legal in all matches and there were rarely any count outs or disqualifications. WWE now classifies such matches as having "Extreme Rules", and are only fought when specified. The only pay-per-view event hosted exclusively by the ECW brand since its launch was December to Dismember in December 2006. On March 14, 2007, before another one could be scheduled, WWE announced that all future pay-per-views would feature all three brands. Former ECW owner Paul Heyman served as the on air "ECW Representative" (a reference to how Heyman had been identified on Monday Night RAW back in 1997). According to an interview in the UK newspaper The Sun, Heyman wrote the brand's weekly scripts and submitted them to writers for possible changes, and then Vince McMahon for final approval. Following the December to Dismember 2006 Heyman was relieved from both his on and off air duties with World Wrestling Entertainment. After Heyman left, there was no ECW authority figure until August 14, 2007, when Armando Estrada was announced as the General Manager. On June 3, 2008 Estrada was replaced by Theodore Long as General Manager of ECW.  ECW on SCI FI ECW's weekly series was originally given a thirteen episode run as a "summer series" on SCI FI. The premiere received a 2.79 rating, making it the highest rated show on cable in its time slot. Because of its good ratings it was granted an extended run through the end of 2007. On October 23, 2007, the network renewed the series through 2008.The ECW set used from October 31, 2006 - January 15, 2008. The ECW set used from October 31, 2006 - January 15, 2008. While the show started out a ratings success, it began drawing criticism from fans of the original ECW early on. This was most evident by the negative crowd reaction "old school" fans gave the main event of Batista vs. the Big Show at the August 1, 2006 show from Hammerstein Ballroom. During the match, fans chanted "Boring", "You both suck", "same old shit" and "change the channel". On October 16, 2007 a "talent exchange" was started between the SmackDown! and ECW brands, allowing their respective talent to appear on either brand. On May 6, 2008, ECW celebrated its 100th episode on SCI FI. ECW will move to 9:00PM Eastern/8:00PM Central beginning Tuesday, September 30, 2008.Online presence At ECW's launch, introduced Hardcore Hangover, a video feature which allowed fans only in the United States to stream or download video footage from the weekly show. On October 16, 2007 it was replaced by a new feature which made full episodes of the show available for streaming on the day after they aired. After gathering a list of names from fans and conducting an online poll, the feature was named ECW X-Stream on October 31, 2007.Production ECW's version of the universal WWE HD set has been used since January 21, 2008. ECW's version of the universal WWE HD set has been used since January 21, 2008. ECW brand shows are held in large arenas as a part of the SmackDown! brand's Tuesday taping schedule. This is in sharp contrast to the original Extreme Championship Wrestling which ran most of its events in smaller venues. The show generally airs live on Tuesdays directly before — when touring the west coast — or after SmackDown! has taped, though it has been recorded and placed on a broadcast delay until later in the night depending on what circumstances dictate. ECW's initial theme song was "Bodies" by Drowning Pool, which had been used by WWE for Extreme Championship Wrestling since before the brand was established. Since then the theme song has changed between a number of different songs before settling on "Don't Question My Heart", sung by Kyle Morrison of the band Shattersphere. It has also used "This Is the New Shit" by Marilyn Manson. A remix of "Don't Question My Heart" by Saliva featuring Brent Smith is now used.