Been watching ECW stuff on WWE Network this week. The matches may have aged badly, but excitement of it still there. It was 20 years ago I was introduced Extreme Championship Wrestling through magazines of Bill Apter on the newstands. Being at supermarket and browsing through the magazine I came across article of Texas Deathmatch between Cactus Jack and Sandman on super exaggerated account of being in hospital after the match. While so used to watch WWF and WCW while growing up this fed stuck to me due to article written about the match. I didn't have internet at the time or heard anything about dirt sheets til 1997. These Apter magazines were gateway to indies and ECW stuck out. I followed ECW through these issues mentioning about Public Enemy breaking tables to Mikey Whipwreck a champion and pictures Axl and Ian Rotten bloody feud and Tommy Dreamer about to piledrive Beulah McGillicutty. The pictures of bloodied ECW wrestlers and mayhem told the story. It was when RAW episode ECW invaded and it was my first chance seeing them. In their three matches I came away hooked. At time it was fresh and out of ordinary. It was different. The first ECW PPV I saw was Living Dangerously 98 and loved the show from RVD and Scorpio match to three-way tag team brawl which New Jack and Spike Dudley dove off the balcony onto Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley. How can I forget Taz and Bam Bam Bigelow match which Bigelow put Taz through the ring. Then next PPV Heatwave 98 as they put on building burning show with Masato Tanaka and Mike Awesome crisscrossing their feud from FMW to ECW along with RVD/Sabu battling Hayabusa/Jinsei Shinzaki. Main event of Tommy Dreamer/Sandman/Spike Dudley plundering the Dudley Boyz with appearance of New Jack after the match. Something that clicked while watching ECW. Whether its wild frenzy brawls or the fans or the matches it stood out and it during time WWE/F Attitude went full speed. Soon I got tapes of ECW shows and was amazed of the action. I stuck with ECW even when they were going down the drain til it died.
Watching through episodes of ECW Hardcore TV I understood its importance. At the time they were cutting edge and breaking down the barriers with their feuds, storylines and in-ring action. The fans were very rabid becoming very loyal to ECW. What also stuck out more was "us vs them" mentality whether its WCW, WWE/F, censors, and various third parties. They were not going be this puppet to anyone unlike current landscape of wrestling. They will step on toes and be progressive in wrestling with their product. ECW is so influential as their roster gets raided and storylines get lifted into mainstream. Many indy feds have tried copy ECW success to no avail. Some indy feds have been influenced by ECW.
How many closed down feds will have "reunion" show years later and fans still be rabid about it? Just one and its ECW. Whatever Kool-Aid the genius mind of Paul Heyman offered it must be good as he and the wrestlers took us one hell of a ride. E-C-DUB! E-C-DUB!