The WWE version of Extreme Championship Wrestling launched 15 years ago and is not remembered fondly by wrestlers like The Blue Meanie, who believes that it was “doomed from the start.”
When WWE launched ECW in 2006, it came after the very successful 2005 ECW One Night Stand PPV that led to ECW One Night Stand in 2006. That show ended on a happy note as Rob Van Dam beat John Cena to become the ECW Champion (thanks to an assist from Edge) with Paul Heyman counting the pinfall. Two days later, WWE’s ECW TV show launched on the Sci-Fi channel, which became SyFy after.
The Blue Meanie was recently a guest on the Stories With Brisco And Bradshaw Youtube show where he talked about how the ECW brand failed to succeed even though it was popular with fans in the 1990s.
“In my mind, ECW was doomed from the start because, again, the Attitude Era where everyone is competing for talent you have to overpay a little bit to make sure your marquee guys don’t jump ship. And then, when ECW kind of started making money, say in , they made money. They’re still paying for . So, when they go to , they make money in ’98, but they’re still paying for ’97 and part of ’96. So, they’re kind of bailing water out of the boat while water is still coming in.”
“If they could have just got a deal if the TNN deal would’ve worked where TNN put out money for the cost of production and advertising, and stuff like that, I think ECW could’ve stayed afloat. I say this all the time, if ECW would’ve survived, it would’ve become a promotion like what Ring of Honor became.”
In 1999, Paul Heyman’s ECW signed a three-year deal with TNN, which would later become Spike TV. ECW was their highest-rated show even though TNN didn’t support it and promote it that much. When WWE moved Raw to TNN in 2000, that was it for ECW on the network and the company folded soon after with WWE acquiring its assets. Heyman has worked for WWE for most of the last 21 years.
The WWE version of ECW had 193 episodes starting on June 13, 2006 and ending on February 16, 2010.