Tonight, the very last remnants of a company that I truly loved a decade ago will finally be laid to rest. The letters ECW, which truly meant something to so many wrestling fans before the WWE got it’s hands on them, will finally be put out of their misery at 11:05 PM following a battle for the brand’s championship between two men who never competed in a real ECW match, Christian and Ezekiel Jackson.
Though this contest will be contested under Extreme Rules, it will be nothing like the ECW matches that took place under the watch of Paul Heyman. An independent wrestling promotion that dug and clawed it’s way up from late night showings in the Philadelphia market to become a viable number three (and some would argue number two) promotion in the United States, ECW was a victim of it’s own success. Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff started to notice ECW, and started to buy up the promotion’s top stars. Heyman couldn’t afford to keep his stars paid and ultimately, ECW closed it’s doors in 2001.
The WWE bought the rights to the promotion, and in 2004 released “The Rise and Fall of ECW” on DVD. The success of that release, and a suggestion from Rob Van Dam, led to a WWE produced ECW Pay Per View titled “One Night Stand” in 2005. Several performers from ECW’s past participated in the event, which was a success for World Wrestling Entertainment. By the time the company put on a followup in 2006, the decision had been made to bring ECW back as a brand of the WWE along with RAW and SmackDown, and at One Night Stand 2006, Rob Van Dam defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship. Two nights later, he was given the ECW Championship on the first edition of ECW on SciFi.
By December, Paul Heyman was released from his World Wrestling Entertainment contract following the failed “December to Dismember” Pay Per View, and from there, the brand started to evolve into what we’ve been seeing on SyFy every Tuesday night, which is a far cry from the gift that Todd Gordon and Paul Heyman gave the world in the mid 90’s. Tonight, the show will air for the last time, and the letters E-C-W will finally be able to R.I.P.
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