Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Extreme Circumstances: The Untold Story Of Extreme Championship Wrestling

Many of you have watched the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD that WWE put out in 2004, but lets face it, WWE only tells you what they want to know. Here's the true story of the Rise and Fall of ECW. In 1994, Jim Crockett's no-compete agreement from when Ted Turner purchased World Championship Wrestling was up and he decided that he wanted to revive the National Wrestling Alliance again. He went to NWA/ECW founder Tod Gordon and had him set up a tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, which Shane Douglas was booked to win. NWA president Dennis Coralluzzo thought that Crockett and Gordon planned to monopolize the title like Crockett did in the 80's. Coralluzzo said that they did not have NWA approval and took control of the tournament. Gordon became irate and plotted along with Paul Heyman to have Douglas throw down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and declair himself the ECW World Heavyweight Champion thus splitting Eastern Championship Wrestling from the NWA and giving thier championship World Title status. In the infamous speech Douglas said that he didnt want to be a part of a organization that had had died 7 years earlier. After withdrawing from the NWA, ECW changed it's name to Extreme Championship Wrestling and the underground wrestling sub-culture was born. Specializing in bloody hardcore matches, nudity, vulgarity and insaine storylines, ECW offered a grittier alternative to the multi million dollar companies WWF and WCW. ECW brought Japanese and Lucha Libre to the United States Wrestling fan's attention with star's such as Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Deam Melinko, Psicosis, Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrea. They also brought in wrestler's that WWF and WCW considered to dangerious like Sabu, Cactus Jack, The Sandman, Tazz, New Jack and Public Enemy. Controversial angles like the Raven/Sandman crucifix brought in a whole new generation of wrestling fans. ECW held Bring Your Own Weapon's Night in which fans provided weapons, them bulk of which came from a dollar store next door. Weapons such as crutches, kyak's, vinyl record's, VCR's and Ninetendo's were used during shows. he Bring Your Own Weapon's concept ended abruptly when Cactus Jack nailed The Sandman in the head with what he thought was a cheap aluminum pan. Turns out it was a cast iron skillet and Sandman had to miss 2 weeks due to his injury. ECW Hardcore TV 1st began airing on Sport's Channel Philadelphia before moving to multiple independent tv stations airing Friday or Saturday nights at 1am or 2am. Because the stations were so small and the time slots they were give, most explectives and violence wasnt edited out, which resulted in a bigger fan following. WWF and WCW took notice of ECW and began adopting it's idea's and signing away ECW wrestler's. At the 1995 King Of The Ring, the fans broke out into a ECW chant which caught the attention of Vince McMahon which led to WWF begining a working relationship with ECW. ECW star's made a small appearence. At the September 96 In Your House PPV, ECW stars were sitting in the front row when Sandman spit beer in Savio Vega's face. On Febuary 24th 1997, ECW invaded RAW to promote thier 1st PPV. This episode of RAW is said to be the begining of the Attitude Era in WWF. On April 13 1997 ECW held thier 1st PPV Barely Legal, which was highlighted by Terry Funk winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestlePalooza 97, Jerry Lawler joined up with Rob Van Dam to beat down Tommy Dreamer. This led to Dreamer vs Lawler at Barely Legal 98, which Dreamer won. WWF began providing ECW with financial aid to compensate for wrestler's that they were signing away. Eric Bishoff refused to compensate them and WCW wouldnt event mention ECW on the air. In August of 1999, ECW on TNN debuted and despite not having any advertirer's, became the highest rated show on TNN. In March of 2000, Mike Awesome left ECW for WCW, while he was still the reigning ECW World Heavyweight Champion. Rumor's came out that Eric Bishoff planned to have Awesome throw the title into a trash can on Nitro, like he had Alaundra Blaze do with the WWF World Womens Championship. Paul Heyman threatened legal action. .against WCW so Awesome agreed to return to ECW to drop the title to anyone they wanted. Awesome lost the title to Tazz, who was now a WWF contracted wrestler. This was the only time in history that a WWF contracted wrestler wrestled a WCW contracted wrestler during a ECW event for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. In October of 2000, TNN canceled ECW On TNN due to them reaching a agreement with WWF to move RAW to TNN. This began the downward spiral that led to ECW's demise. ECW struggled to find another national tv deal to no avail. On December 30th 2000 the last Hardcore TV aired. In January of 2001, Guilty As Charged took place, which ended up being ECW's last PPV. Living Dangeriously was scheduled to air in March of 2001 but due to financial issues it was canceled. Despite still being financed by the WWF On April 4th 2001, Paul Heyman declaired bankruptcy on behalf of ECW. ECW listed it's asset's as having $1,385,500. It owed $8,881,435 to wrestler's, building owner's, tv stations, travel fee's
and attourney fee's. owed Rob Van Dam $150,000 , Tommy Dreamer $100,000 , Joey Styles $50,480 , Shane Douglas $48,000 and Francine $47,275. A few month's after ECW folded it was revived as part of the WCW Invasion Angle in WWF before being phased out when WCW and ECW joined together to form The Alliance. The Alliance angle ended at the 2001 Survivor Series. In 2003, WWE purchased ECW's assets in bankruptcy court, aquiring rights to the ECW video library, which they used to make The
Rise And Fall Of ECW dvd that was released in 2004. In response to the WWE's dvd, Jermey Borash released his own unauthorized dvd Forever Hardcore which featured stories told by non-WWE employee's. Due to the sucess of both DVD's, WWE held a ECW reunion show One Night Stand, due to a high PPV buyrate, the next year it held the reunion show again this time turning it into a WWE brand. In
2005, ECW founder Todd Gordon filed a lawsuit challenging WWE's ownership of the Eastern Championship Wrestling part of the library since Eastern Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling are two seperate entities. In May of 2006 the case was thrown out. Gordon is still trying to appeal for a new

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