Extreme Championship Wrestling was a professional wrestling organization unlike anything before its time and unlike anything that exists today. The brand was so popular that World Wrestling Entertainment attempted to relaunch it in the 2000s, but fans failed to accept what was, in reality, a poor imitation of the original promotion that captivated audiences in the 1990s. ECW is now dead and gone for good, and any and all attempts to once again resurrect that organization should be put to bed before they see the light of day. May ECW rest in peace.
Casual ECW fans who have not been reliving the company’s glory days via the WWE Network probably remember names such as Raven, Sandman and Taz working in the promotion. You may, however, have forgotten that wrestlers who made their names working in the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling also made appearances in ECW during that company’s existence. This includes individuals who won world championships in other organizations, and also a member of the legendary Four Horsemen faction.
20. Christopher Daniels
Long before he would become known for having five-star matches in companies such as TNA Wrestling and Ring of Honor, Christopher Daniels was an unknown talent being fed to ECW stars such as Rhino. Those of us who did not know the inner workings of ECW at that time were unaware that the company was dying a death when Daniels was in ECW, and thus he was mostly an afterthought during the final days of the promotion. Things worked out rather well for Daniels after the demise of ECW, even though he has never had a chance to be a star in WWE.
Odds are that you probably remember when Viscera/Big Daddy V was a prominent member of the re-branded ECW that was featured on SyFy television. That was not the wrestler’s first ever appearance underneath the ECW umbrella. He was, while playing the character Mabel, used for an ECW pay-per-view in the 1990s at a time when the company and the WWF had a working relationship. It is likely that you would not recall this unless that November to Remember show remains a personal favorite of yours, but it is nevertheless a moment that lives on in history.
Duane Gill was one of the weirder stories to emerge out of nowhere during the “Attitude Era.” Gill was a jobber and enhancement talent in the WWF until he was turned into Gillberg, a playful jab at the Goldberg character that had become a superstar in WCW. Before either of those events took place on national television, Gill had a very brief run in ECW that you most likely missed out on unless you were in the arenas for those shows. Those appearances occurred long before the names Goldberg and Gillberg were known to worldwide wrestling fans.
17. Chris Jericho
It has, during some WWE documentaries on the state of wrestling in the 1990s, been mentioned that cruiserweight acts such as Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera and others got their start in ECW before they became known stars performing on WCW Monday Nitro. It has thus been forgotten by some that Chris Jericho was also in ECW before he emerged in WCW as a babyface worker. Among his appearances for the extreme outfit involved a feud that featured Jericho taking on Taz well before the nickname Y2J was even a thought in his mind.
16. Bill DeMott
Bill DeMott has been in the news in 2015 for some training methods that made him rather unpopular among some younger WWE performers and that resulted in his exit from that company. WCW fans first saw DeMott appear as the character Hugh Morris, one that was part of the Dungeon of Doom faction and one that was the first victim of Bill Goldberg during a television match. Before those days, DeMott appeared in ECW as Crash the Terminator. Crash was not a real fit in ECW for whatever reasons, and his time in that organization was a pit stop before he made his way to WCW.
15. Jerry Lawler
Before he was a neutral and even a babyface commentator for shows such as Raw, Jerry “The King” Lawler was a heel announcer who trashed certain wrestlers during matches. This included Lawler hitting out at ECW performers and referring to that company as “Extremely Crappy Wrestling.” Lawler had a brief feud with Tommy Dreamer, one that involved the King caning the extreme superstar in what would become a famous segment. Dreamer would eventually get his revenge during a match, and he would win the feud before Lawler was finished working with ECW.
14. Crash Holly
The diminutive Crash Holly went from being somewhat of a comedic figure in the WWF to one that became the holder of the Hardcore Championship on multiple occasions. Before Holly became a known figure of the 24/7 era of the Hardcore title, he was given a chance to perform in ECW as the character Erin O’Grady. O’Grady had a handful of matches that made it to ECW television before the wrestler linked up with the WWF and went through a gimmick change. That was probably for the best, as O’Grady probably would not have gotten over with fans.
13. La Parka
Much like Chris Jericho, La Parka has, for some reason, become a forgotten former ECW performer who wrestled against men who would become cruiserweight stars in WCW. His stint in the company occurred before he became the “chairman” of WCW, and it featured some entertaining matches that you can view via WWE Network or on websites such as YouTube and Daily Motion. Check them out if you missed out on La Parka’s run in ECW and you want to see the wrestler before he was known to casual United States wrestling fans.
12. Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was a babyface who became a sensation among pockets of fans when he famously took flight from the top of a steel cage during a match that took place at Madison Square Garden. One of his journeys outside of the WWF saw Snuka work for ECW for a time. Snuka was not just a special performer who had a one-off with the company, as he won the ECW Television Championship. He was also involved in a feud with Tommy Dreamer during Dreamer’s early days with the organization and before Dreamer became an underdog favorite among ECW supporters.
11. Scott D’Amore
Somewhat of an underrated performer on the microphone during his stint in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as the “coach” of Team Canada, Scott D’Amore had an opportunity to feature in WCW and the WWF during the 1990s. Just as with his time in those companies, D’Amore’s stint with ECW was short-lived and did not result in him being a star for that promotion. D’Amore is now one of several former TNA talents who have once again linked up with Jeff Jarrett and new company Global Force Wrestling that officially launched earlier this year.
Konnan had many different roles during his time in WCW. He was the Mexican Heavyweight Champion who was a loner. He linked up with the Dungeon of Doom and then the New World Order. Konnan was also a member of the nWo Wolfpac. Before any of that occurred, Konnan was one of several AAA wrestlers to have a run in ECW. Konnan had multiple feuds while in the company, including one against Sandman. Before he really picked up steam in ECW, though, he made the jump to WCW that would launch his career in the US.
Due to the gimmick of a heel clown and then as a babyface, some casual wrestling fans did not appreciate the true talent had by Matt Borne. What started out as a “No clowns allowed!” run in the company eventually evolved into the wrestler changing his gimmick to the extraordinary “Borne Again” character, one that some compared to The Joker from Batman films and comics. Those who were not watching the promotion when Borne was working in ECW need to find a way to watch his performances, as they were spectacular.
8. Marty Jannetty
Some tag-team wrestlers go out on their own and become “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, one of the best overall performers in the history of the WWE and a man who has his night at the Hall of Fame. Others, however, are Marty Jannetty, guys who never reach superstar status as solo performers and wrestlers who find themselves working for multiple companies. Jannetty, who was a talented in-ring worker to the point that he was underrated by some fans, had a brief stint in ECW that occurred in between runs in the WWF. You did not miss much, however, if you did not see Jannetty in ECW.
7. Scott Hall
The member of the Kliq who famously made the switch from the WWF in WCW in 1996 en route to being a founding member of the New World Order has battled personal demons for years, and those real-life problems were even made part of a storyline when Hall was in WCW. He parted ways with the company before it went under, and Hall would then show up in ECW for a couple of matches. Hall was in rough shape and ECW was about to be swallowed up by the WWF during that time, though, and thus Hall’s time in ECW was lost to history.
6. Arn Anderson
The Enforcer of the Four Horsemen also worked with Paul Heyman as part of the “Dangerous Alliance” faction, and it was that partnership that played a role in Arn Anderson showing up to the ECW Arena for a show in part to help fill that venue. Anderson was part of a tag-team match that involved other WCW personnel and ECW wrestlers, a contest that ended when Sabu scored a pinfall. That night would not prove to mean much of anything long-term for ECW, as Anderson remained a part of WCW up until he was forced to retire as an active wrestler due to injuries.
5. Jim Neidhart
“The Anvil” was one of the mainstays of the Hart Foundation stables that were in the WWF, and he also worked for WCW. Along with his appearances in the former “big two” North American professional organizations, Jim Neidhart performed in ECW on two occasions. His first run occurred in 1992 before the majority of US wrestling fans knew of the company. Neidhart’s return to ECW, which happened three years later, saw him battle against fellow WWF competitor Marty Jannetty. He would never achieve main event status in ECW, as he instead made a return to the WWF.
4. Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of many wrestlers to work in the WWF, WCW and ECW during the 1990s. Roberts was the opponent for Steve Austin when Austin famously became “Stone Cold” at the King of the Ring, and The Snake feuded with Sting while in WCW. Roberts first arrived on the scene at ECW in 1993, and his return to the company in the summer of 1997 saw the master of the DDT finishing move interrupt a match between Jerry Lawler and Tommy Dreamer. Those were not the best days personally for Roberts, and the hope is that he has now defeated the demons that haunted him for decades.
3. The Steiner Brothers
Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner were set to make a return to WCW after a successful run in the WWF, but the duo first had multiple matches in ECW. The Steiners competed against the Eliminators and also in matches versus future WCW talents such as Dean Malenko and Steven Richards. This was to be but a stop along the career highways of the two brothers, as they eventually completed the journey back to WCW. They would remain a team for some time until Scott joined up with the New World Order, and it was during his time in that faction when he evolved into “Big Poppa Pump.”
Those who were actively following ECW in the late 1990s when the company was attempting to grab the minds and hearts of a national television audience may remember seeing Lita play the characters Miss Congeniality and Angelica. The future WWE Diva wanted to be more than just a manager and valet, however, and she received wrestling training while with ECW. That training would result in Lita getting a look from the WWF. Those running the company liked what they saw from Lita, and she would go on to be one of the best female performers of the 2000s.
The self-proclaimed master and ruler of the world who won the WWF Championship during his third run in the company made the jump to ECW in the winter of 1999. Brought in as a storyline hired gun of Judge Jones, Sid drew massive pops from ECW crowds during his time in the organization. The company’s financial problems that are now public knowledge resulted in Sid not hanging around in ECW for long, and he returned to WCW later on in 1999. Sid suffered a brutal and horrific leg injury while performing during the final days of WCW, one that you will have to look up on your own if you want to see it.
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