ECW IS DEAD. LONG LIVE ECW.
I don't blog regularly because I prefer to keep my opinions within WWE. However, as the end of ECW is upon us and I am more passionate about the Original ECW than anything else I ever have been involved in and possibly anything I will ever will be involved in, I thought I would share my feelings on the end of ECW.
The Original ECW, which was the brainchild of pro wrestling revolutionary, Paul Heyman, was inspired by LL Cool J's music video, "Mama Said Knock You Out!" which was a far cry from the majesty and pageantry of WrestleMania. A Philadelphia newspaper reporter once wrote that being at an Original ECW Arena event "felt like watching something illegal" and that was exactly what we wanted.
The Original ECW was designed to be the complete antithesis to WWE. I feel both ECW and my announcing career should have been retired after the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view in 2005. WWE was classy enough to give everyone who was every involved with the Original ECW, all of us who worked for the promotion and the rabid fans who made ECW, the closure we all emotionally craved.
When I heard the success of the ECW One Night Stand 2005 was going to be the catalyst for the re-birth of a WWE owned ECW (or WWECW as we ECW Originals and Original ECW fans called it), I felt strongly that it wasn't going to resonate with WWE or ECW fans. The Original ECW was a gritty and underground pro wrestling alternative to WWE's perfectly produced global entertainment product.
As I feared would happen, ECW becoming WWE's third brand didn't resonate with either Original ECW fans or WWE fans. The resulting hybrid was a huge fiscal success but struggled creatively for years. Thanks to the third ECW writing team of Ed Koskey and Jen Bloodsworth, ECW finally discovered and solidified its identity as the launching pad to Raw and SmackDown for young talent like CM Punk, Sheamus, Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger and many others. Still, the star-making show being named ECW was still more a hindrance than a help because it always drew comparisons to the Fight Club-like, Original ECW.
In my opinion, the greatest thing that came from WWE's ECW was ECW Originals Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman and Sabu finally wrestling for a global TV audience and earning the career validation they deserved when they joined Rob Van Dam at WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field in Detroit. The three greatest moments of my announcing career were the Original ECW's Barely Legal pay-per-view, WWE's ECW One Night Stand 2005 pay-per-view and Taz and I calling The ECW Originals defeating the New Breed at WrestleMania 23 in front of 80,000 fans chanting "ECW!" The credit for that match belongs to both Paul Heyman and Vince McMahon.
I'll always be thankful to Paul Heyman for creating the Original ECW and giving me the opportunity to begin a career in pro wrestling that lasts to this day and may last for years to come. I'll always be thankful to WWE for resurrecting the Original ECW perfectly at ECW One Night Stand 2005 and inviting me to call the show.