ECW was a promotion that will forever be in the hearts of wrestling fans. It’s unique personality and wrestlers has been something that no other promotion or booker have been able to replicate. The legacy of ECW is the deep connection with their fans. Their fans set them apart and were the key to the success of ECW during their time.
WWE and WCW before the Monday Night Wars were obsessed with replicating the success the wrestling business saw with the boom of the 80’s. Characters and storylines were catered towards kids and families. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman and his band of outlaws were catering towards the teenagers and young adults. The fans of pro-wrestling that WCW and WWE at the time were ignoring. The shift to the Attitude Era in WWE and WCW pivoting away from the 80’s cartoon style can be credited to Paul Heyman and ECW to an extent.
The Difference of ECW
One thing ECW did different from WWE and WCW was introducing them to pro-wrestling from different parts of the world. They served as an introduction to U.S. fans, from Lucha libre, to puroresu (Japan). Fans were able to watch different wrestlers and styles. Wrestlers like Masato Tanaka, Atushi Onita, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, LA Park, Tajiri and many others were able to enter the U.S. and gain a following. This and the tape trading culture helped ECW.
ECW also worked as a gateway for indie wrestler. At that time, WCW and WWE ignored the indies and cared very little of them. So, Indie wrestlers found their way to TV thanks to ECW, something that was almost impossible with WCW and WWE.
The wrestlers of ECW were considered cult heroes
Taz, Sabu, Raven, Tommy Dreamer, and more were huge part of the success of ECW. But the mastermind of it all was Paul Heyman and his booking. Something that made Paul Heyman such a good booker and promoter was being able to showcase the strength of his wrestlers and working around weaknesses.
ECW helped introduced styles like lucha and puro to U.S. fans. But, ECW is mostly known for their chaotic matches and crazy stipulations. There’s a reason that to this day every time fans see a violent match they chant “ECDUB”. The violence in ECW was their signature and their identity
To this day, one thing ECW had over any promotion was their deep connection with their fans. Paul Heyman made sure they were a key part of shows. No promotion has been able to replicate this with their fans. ECW fans were loyal to the promotion. So, ECW was loyal to them. This is something we’ll never see again in wrestling.
In some ways GCW can be considered a sucesor to ECW’s spirit, and even the connection with their fans to an extent. The legacy of ECW lives not only in GCW but in the indies. Even in the bigger promotions in the U.S., we feel their energy and spirit.