The true story of the ECW relaunch

Page 4 of 7
December 18, 2012

Just two days after One Night Stand, the relaunched ECW kicked into full gear with the first edition of ECW on Syfy. The first episode was almost a mashup of WWE and ECW styles featuring characters like The Zombie interacting with hardcore originals like The Sandman. The main event saw Sabu defeat a mix of new and original ECW Superstars, including Big Show, in an Extreme Battle Royal. The show got mixed reactions from those involved and those who watched.

Dreamer: There were little glimmers of hope for the ECW fan. I felt like the fans knew what we were going through, because it wasn’t what we were told it was going to be.

Foley: I really enjoyed [the first shows]. I understood it couldn’t be what the original ECW once was, but I liked the spirit of the show. Kevin Thorn and Ariel stood out as an entertaining duo. It was quite different from SmackDown and Raw, which was probably the goal.

Heyman: I tried to find a way to save [the fans’] image of that brand for them. I kept thinking that by anointing Rob Van Dam as the World Champion and building a new generation around CM Punk, with Kurt Angle implementing an MMA hybrid style, we had a 1-2-3 punch that could get the audience hooked without alienating the original audience.

Striker: The thing that stands out to me the most is The Sandman hitting The Zombie with the Singapore cane and all the dust coming off his jacket. (WATCH) It was very interesting. It wasn’t the ECW I remember, but it was also something new. I was excited that something new was out there.

Styles: [The first show] in Trenton, N.J. was awful. Original ECW fans were so disappointed with One Night Stand 2006 and the fact that it was so different from the original. I got in the car and drove home realizing this wasn’t ECW. This was WWE’s ECW.

Dreamer: The biggest case in point was the last time WWE’s ECW went to the Hammerstein Ballroom, one of the original ECW’s home venues. They said the show needed more star power, so they gave them Big Show vs. Batista. Audibly, you could not even hear the announcers at the time. The fans just tuned out because it wasn’t what they signed on for.

Styles: I think that audience specifically bought tickets to boo us out of the building.

Richards: [The early episodes] sucked. We knew it wasn’t going to be what we saw at One Night Stand. However, I think [the fans’ treatment of Big Show vs. Batista] was overreaction. That kind of strong reaction can lead to a lot of interest.

Heyman: It looked like a show that was undergoing a struggle. You could see the square peg of where we wanted to take it and you could also see the round hole of it being the third WWE brand. It was a terrible fit. 

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