Even though ECW paled in comparison to the size of promotions like the WWE and WCW, one thing it certainly had going for it was the cult following it had amongst fans. ECW’s fans and wrestlers seemed to wear a badge of honor for being associated with the company.
ECW was originally known as Eastern Championship Wrestling from 1992 to 1994 before changing its name to Extreme Championship Wrestling that year. ECW was known for the hardcore wrestling style as well as promoting lucha libre and other types of wrestling. The promotion’s owner Paul Heyman filed bankruptcy in 2001 which led to the end of the company. The WWE purchased ECW’s assets in 2003 and brought the brand back from 2006 to 2010.
Several wrestlers made a name for themselves in ECW and were able to have a long and successful career based on what they achieved for that promotion. Some of these guys have retired from wrestling, but most of them seem to have kept at it in one way or another.
15. Tommy Dreamer
Tommy Dreamer was one of the few wrestlers to stay with ECW throughout its entire original run from 1993 to 2001. He won the ECW World Heavyweight Championship and also held the ECW World Tag Team Championship with Johnny Gunn, Raven, and Masato Tanaka. Dreamer was inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2010. He wrestled in the WWE from 2001 to 2010 before joining TNA and being part of the groups EV 2.0 and Immortal. Since 2010 he has competed on the independent circuit and in 2012 Dreamer founded his own promotion called House of Hardcore. He appeared in TNA from 2013 to 2015 and returned to the WWE in 2015.
14. Justin Credible
Justin Credible started out in the WWE under the gimmick Aldo Montoya before joining ECW in 1997. He managed to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship and also won the ECW World Tag Team Championship twice with Lance Storm as the Impact Players. He returned to the WWE when ECW folded and competed on the independent circuit for much of his career. Credible revamped the Montoya gimmick in 2012 in Chikara where he teamed with Tatanka and the 1-2-3 Kid as Team WWE. He retired from wrestling after facing Tommy Dreamer in his last match in November 2015. Credible lives in his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut with his wife Jill Marie and their son Nicholas.
During his storied career Raven has competed in the WCW, WWE, ECW, TNA, and in independent promotions. He was a two time ECW World Heavyweight Champion and held the ECW World Tag Team Championships with Tommy Dreamer, Mike Awesome, and twice with Stevie Richards. He has done some acting and appeared in the movies The Jesse Ventura Story, Death Racers, Sleeper, and Cool as Hell. He also starred in a music video for the Smashing Pumpkins and has worked as a stand-up comic. Raven has released many shoot interviews and has often appeared on the wrestling convention and signing circuits.
Rhyno was prominently featured in ECW from 1999 to 2001. After that he wrestled in the WWE, TNA, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Legend City Wrestling, and Ring of Honor among others. During his career Rhyno has held the ECW World Heavyweight championship, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the WWE Hardcore Championship, the United States Championship, and the ECW Television Championship. In 2015 he returned to the WWE and joined the Dudley Boyz as part of The ECW Originals, as well as having an extended stint in NXT. In 2011 Rhyno starred in the horror film Death from Above with Kurt Angle. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1994 and continues to compete to this day.
11. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam is a very popular superstar who competed in ECW from 1996 to 2001 when the company folded. During that time he won the ECW World Television Championship and captured the ECW World Tag team Championship twice with Sabu. RVD joined the WWE and competed in the reformed ECW where he won the WWE Championship, ECW World Championship, Intercontinental Championship six times, Tag Team Championship with Rey Mysterio, World Tag Team Championship with Kane and Booker T, and Money in the Bank. Van Dam left the WWE for the independent circuit for a few years before joining TNA in 2010 where he won the World Heavyweight Championship and X Division Championship. He briefly returned to the WWE before rejoining the indy circuit. RVD has done some acting and also hosted radio and TV series.
10. Stevie Richards
Stevie Richards wrestled for ECW from 1995 to 1997 where he was a part of the factions Raven’s Nest and The Blue World Order. During that time he managed to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship twice with Raven. Richards briefly joined WCW and wrestled on the independent circuit for a few years before joining the WWE. He was a part of the group Right to Censor and rejoined The Blue World Order. During that time Richards held the WWE Hardcore Championship an amazing 21 times. He wrestled in TNA for a brief period and joined Ring of Honor in 2015. He had hosted a podcast and has served as an instructor at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
“The Human Suplex Machine” Tazz competed in ECW in the early days back when it was called Eastern Championship Wrestling. He held the ECW World Heavyweight Championship and the ECW FTW Heavyweight Championship twice, as well as the ECW World Tag Team Championship with Sabu and twice with Kevin Sullivan, and the ECW World Television Championship twice. Tazz joined the WWE in 2000 as part of The Alliance. His career was cut short due to injury and he became a commentator for the WWE from 2002 to 2009. Tazz joined TNA in 2009 where he also worked as a commentator until 2015. He has since hosted his own podcast titled Human Podcast Machine w/ Taz.
8. The Dudley Boyz
Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley started out in ECW where they competed from 1996 to 1999 before joining the WWE. The Dudleys were very successful there and won the WWE Tag Team Championship once as well as the WWE World Tag Team Championship eight times. They also captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship once. Those damn Dudleys went to TNA where they won the TNA World Tag Team Championship twice and the NWA World Tag Team Championship once. The pair split up and “Bully Ray” led the infamous Aces and Eights faction and won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship twice. The Dudley Boys were inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame and are headed for the WWE Hall of Fame at some point. In 2015 the team reformed in the WWE.
7. Mikey Whipwreck
Mikey Whipwreck actually started out as part of ECW’s ring crew and worked for free in exchange for being able to mess around in the ring before and after shows. ECW’s booker Paul Heyman asked him to wrestle after watching him practice after Joey Styles recommended him. Whipwreck basically had on the job training while he wrestled in ECW and became the promotion’s third Triple Crown Champion after winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, ECW World Television Championship twice, and ECW World Tag Team Championship with Yoshihiro Tajiri and Cactus Jack twice. After ECW disbanded Whipwreck competed in the independent circuit off and on. In 2015 he announced his official retirement and also became a playable character in the WWE 2K16 video game.
6. Al Snow
Al Snow made his professional wrestling debut in 1982 and joined Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1995. He then wrestled in the World Wrestling Federations using the gimmicks Avatar, Shinobi, and Leif Cassidy. Snow won the WWE European Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship with Mankind. He also won the WWE Hardcore Championship six times. He returned to ECW in 1997 before going back to the WWE in 1998. Snow has wrestled on the independent circuit and has been with TNA wrestling. Since 2010 he has been a road agent for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and has also worked as a show producer for their developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling.
5. Spike Dudley
When The Dudley Boyz returned to the WWE in 2015 and feuded with the trio of The New Day, many wrestling fans were expected the return of Spike Dudley, but it did not happen. Spike wrestled for ECW from 1996 to 2001 and held the ECW World Tag Team Championship twice with Balls Mahoney. Spike was part of the WWE from 2001 to 2005 and won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Tazz as well as the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, WWE European Championship and WWE Hardcore Championship eight times. He wrestled in TNA as Brother Runt and renamed himself Matt “LSD” Hyson. He is now semi-retired and works as a financial planner.
4. Dean Malenko
Dean Malenko is now retired and works as a road agent for the WWE. He worked on the Florida independent circuit from 1979 to 1994 before joining ECW where he would hold the ECW World Television Championship twice and the ECW World Tag Team Championship with Chris Benoit. Malenko then went to WCW where he would be a part of The Four Horsemen and The Revolution and held the WCW United States Championship, the WCW Cruiserweight Championship four times, and the WCW World Tag Team Championship also with Chris Benoit. Malenko briefly wrestled for the WWE when it purchased WCW and won the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship twice before retiring. He was inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2015.
Sabu has to go down as one of the wildest and most fun to watch wrestlers to ever compete in ECW. He competed in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling before joining ECW in 1993. After a brief departure to WCW, Sabu rejoined ECW from 1995 to 2000. He won the ECW World Heavyweight Championship two times and the ECW World Tag Team Championship three times: twice with Rob Van Dam and once with Tazz. Sabu also held the FTW Heavyweight Championship and the ECW World Television Championship and was inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2009. He has since competed in Juggalo Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Allstars, TNA, WWE, and on the independent circuit. He started wrestling in 1985 and is still competing after 30 years.
2. The Sandman
The Sandman made his professional wrestling debut way back in 1989 and first wrestled for Tri-State Wrestling before joining ECW in 1992. He would hold the ECW World Heavyweight Championship five times and the ECW World Tag Team Championship once with 2 Cold Scorpio. The Sandman was elected into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2007. He briefly competed in WCW before returning to ECW until the company folded. The Sandman then wrestled for Xtreme Pro Wrestling and TNA before joining the new ECW brand owned by the WWE. Since 2007 he has competed on the independent circuit and briefly returned to TNA. In 2014 The Sandman teamed up with his son Tyler Fullington as well as with Tommy Dreamer.
1. Terry Funk
It seems like Terry Funk has been around forever. The man that inspired hardcore wrestlers such as Mick Foley debuted in 1965 and finally hung up his boots in 2015 after 50 years of in ring action. Funk wrestled for ECW from 1993 to 1997 after he competed in the WWE, NWA, and WCW. During his ECW days he captured the ECW World Heavyweight Championship twice and the ECW Television Championship once. He was also inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2005. Although he has retired more than once, his last retirement match came in October 2015 when he was defeated by Jerry Lawler in Jackson, Tennessee.