Extreme diamond anniversary
It has been nearly two years since the rebirth of ECW, as the extreme brand reaches its 100th episode of bending reality on Sci Fi. The Land of the Extreme has certainly experienced plenty of change throughout those 100 nights, but one thing has remained, and that's the unique, over-the-top style of wrestling that is unmatched anywhere else in the world of sports-entertainment.
Since its debut on June 16, 2006, ECW has been one of the Sci Fi Channel's highest-rated programs. It is also one of the top performing cable programs on Tuesday nights among men.
In remembering the past two years, it's nearly impossible not to recall the original ECW — a breeding ground that has produced Superstars like Tommy Dreamer, Stevie Richards and Hardcore Legend Mick Foley, to name a few.
"We in ECW faced a huge mountain to climb when it came to trying to compete on the same stage as WWE or WCW," Foley said. "We didn't have the resources, but we had the talent and the heart to put on a show that was as good, if not better."
While Foley, SmackDown's new commentator had a deep appreciation for the early days of ECW, he is also excited about the revived extreme brand.
"I really like how [ECW] lets younger wrestlers get an opportunity to show what they can do on an international stage."
Mike Knox is a Superstar who has enjoyed much success from his ECW opportunity.
"I'm proud to be on the 100th episode," said Mike Knox. "I was in the new ECW back pretty much from show number one and I always thought it was made up of the most extreme athletes."
Of those young athletes, none are greener than Superstar hopeful Colin Delaney. For the "lovable loser," episode 100 has an even greater meaning than it does to the rest of the roster. Tuesday night will serve as the stage for his final chance at an ECW contract, which the brand's General Manager holds the key to.
"Colin Delaney has the biggest match of his career," said Armando Estrada. "All he's got to do is beat the former Cuban Heavyweight Champion, the former Havana Freestyle Champion, the General Manager of ECW, Armando Estrada. If he doesn't, then I guess he won't be around for the 101st episode."
Big Show doesn't make regular appearances on Tuesday nights; however, ECW still occupies a large part of the giant's heart.
"I really understood the attitude of ECW against the world," he said. "ECW has never been the big flagship promotion that some of the other brands have been, but it will always be a collection of guys that dig deep, work hard and give 100 percent every night. That's something you can get caught up in and respect."
CM Punk sees the brand in a similar light, calling ECW the underdog of WWE. But for Superstar Shelton Benjamin, ECW serves as a vehicle for personal success.
"I've seen a lot of great athletes come out of ECW, but obviously none as great as the ‘Gold Standard' himself, Shelton Benjamin," he explained. "ECW has been a rebirth for Shelton Benjamin, and with the 100th episode around the corner, I can't wait to actually be a part of that."
Matt Striker also expressed his excitement for being a part of this milestone, using his words as eloquently as ever.
"I know what it's like to be hit in the head with a garbage can, to go crashing through a table and at the same time eat worms," Striker recalled. "Whether I enjoyed it at the time or not, the bottom line is that after 100 episodes, I can look back and say that Matt Striker did his part to entertain our fans. Even though I'm the most hated man in wrestling, you have to admit that I am extremely entertaining and I look forward to doing it a whole host more."
Believe it or not, Tuesday also marks 100 episodes for Kelly Kelly. The blond beauty has been a staple in the Land of the Extreme since the brand commenced. In fact, she is the only Diva on the WWE roster who has been with the ECW brand since day one.
"I've been through a lot and I've had a lot of boyfriends," she said. "And I've loved every minute of it."
The Sci Fi Channel fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming. A network of NBC Universal, Sci Fi was launched in 1992 and currently airs in 85 million homes.
Be sure not to miss this week's milestone edition of ECW. Celebrate 100 episodes in the Land of the Extreme, find out if Colin Delaney will achieve his dream of becoming an ECW Superstar, and check out Tommy Dreamer in action as he tries to avenge Mike Knox's attacks in the squared circle. It's all Tuesday at 10/9 CT on ECW on Sci Fi.