I’ve been watching wrestling since before I had a choice in the matter. Many years later, I’d realize that I started watching right around the time that Vince McMahon was starting to make the WWF (at the time) a household name. Every Sunday, we’d rush home from church to watch Hillbilly Jim, Mr Fuji, Bobby Hennan, and of course, Hulk Hogan on television. I ended up watching as much wrestling as possible, whenever possible. From WWF, I went into NWA, GCW, GWF, USWA, and whatever else I could get to through cable and Pro Wrestling Illustrated. I started watching as many VHS tapes as I could get my hands on, and when a new guy popped up in WWF or WCW (what was once NWA), I knew where they came from and what they called themselves.
As I grew older I developed a taste for the smaller superstars. They just seemed better, faster, and smarter. And the bad guys. Oh, how I loved the bad guys. It started with Ted DiBiase and Ric Flair, and grew into loving most of them. However, a decade later, as 1994 came around, I found myself as a teenager, without many good heels to look up to. Wrestling had become a bunch of generic small grapplers, stiff babyfaces, and silly heels with horrible personas. I watched great Southern Wrestlers become Alligator Fighters, Trashmen, Pig Farmers, Radioactive Supervillans, and Clowns. I even saw an Olympic Athlete turn into a shield-carrying Jungle Savage.
For good wrestling, I’d watch WCW, but it was starting to get filled by guys that already had their best days elsewhere in the main events, and great wrestlers being shuffled around the mid and undercard. There was a ton of greats that just got bounced around from silly feud to silly feud. It was getting really tough to watch and still be interested. I really needed someone to shake things up or I might be lost forever.
That’s when I found a little promotion, run out of my hometown of Philly. It was on so late at night, on a channel I never watched, but the second I saw it, my mind was blown. People were going through tables. There was blood everywhere. Tons of great music being used by the wrestlers. And the wrestlers… oh the wrestlers. Guys I’d never heard of (except on that worked with my Dad on the weekdays), but that went out and fought for their lives. And there was familiar faces too. Some of the guys Id seen in WWF and WCW, even a favorite of mine, Shane Douglas, was there as a main player. My favorite manager ever, Paul E Dangerously, was there as well. Now this was something I could get behind. This was Eastern Championship Wrestling.
I had finally found a promotion I could call my own, and tell all my friends to check out. We were all hooked and would start taping the shows so we could watch them together. This was so much better than what we were getting out of New York or Atlanta. The only downside, was that this was an NWA territory. That meant it was under the watch of the oldest, most boring, wrestling organization running. This also meant, no one would would ever take this company seriously. Then came the night that changed everything.
There was a tournament to crown the new NWA Heavyweight Champion. It was supposed to be a big deal, since WCW had severed ties with the NWA, no one really seemed to care. ECW hosted the event, making us feel that maybe, if ECW was the standard bearer for the NWA that maybe it had a little hope. What happened next was something none of us could have ever imagined. My guy, Shane Douglas was in the tournament finals with 2 Cold Scorpio, another ex-WCW guy that never got used right. It was a good match, not great, but good, and better than what we were seeing the other companies put out at that point, and Shane won. I was so happy. Things were going to change, I could feel it. And I was right.
As Shane took the title, and stared at it, admiring all it stood for. As he held it he began to talk about tradition, the great champions who had held the title before him, and he said that all of that legacy could “kiss his ass”. He then threw down the title, grabbed the ECW Championship and added a new word to it. The ECW WORLD Championship. He proclaimed it to be a new day for the business. A new way of doing things. He promised that things would never be the same. He, and Paul (E. Dangerously) Heyman, had delivered us from the evils of the Big Two companies. It would forever change the business we all love so much….
Vol 2 coming soon, if you all like this one. You can follow me @FakeSting03 on Twitter and join in our discussions 24/7 by using the hashtag #TwitterWorldOrder