A History of Extreme!
Gearing up for WWE Extreme Rules, in the May issue, 'WWE Magazine' sits with Joey Styles (@JoeyStyles) to talk ECW—the promotion that wrote the book on extreme.
Philadelphia-based promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling debuts a new tag team, The Public Enemy. Their hardcore style and anarchistic credo hints at a new, darker and edgier direction for the fledging promotion. The era of "extreme" begins.
- Styles Says: "I had no idea ECW was going to become as big as it did. But we're perceived as being bigger because of our legacy. WWE’s Attitude Era was just the playbook from ECW, so we’re seen as being bigger than we were due to our contributions in terms of changing the industry.”
Shane Douglas wins the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and shocks the crowd when he hurls down the belt and declares himself the ECW Champion. The NWA splits from ECW and the promotion is re-christened Extreme Championship Wrestling.
- Styles Says: “Nobody used the word ‘extreme’ back then. In fact, the word kept us off pay-per-view! People were afraid of it. Now, of course, there are extreme value meals and everything else. It’s really just silly. But it was us trying to break through and do shocking wrestling.”
Tommy Dreamer and Brian Lee wrestle in a Scaffold Match that sees Lee fall from the rafters of the ECW Arena through 10 tables. It’s a match that sets a high-water mark for extreme. Without this bout, WWE Extreme Rules would definitely be a much tamer affair.
- Styles Says: “ Our scaffold wasn’t safe-it was a board hanging from the ceiling. I think Sandman rigged it. That should tell you a lot. We have top-tier professionals designing all of our stuff today; we had Sandman the outrageous construction worker building our Scaffold!”
Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Tazz for the ECW World Television Title. As the bout reaches its climax, Bigelow and Tazz fall backward, crashing through the ring and leaving a gaping hole in their wake. As one, fans rise their feet and chant in unison!
- Styles Says: “People had come up through the ring, but no one had crashed into the ring. I remember seeing it happen and thinking, ‘I work for the greatest wrestling company in the world.’ God bless Bam Bam. Arguably the most athletic big man to compete in this business.”
To read more about Styles recount of ECW, pick-up the May issue or SUBSCRIBE TODAY and save 70% off newsstand sale price!