The 2006 WWE relaunch of ECW created a lot of buzz at first but ended up folding a few years later.
When the original version of ECW died in 2001, WWE acquired its assets. From there, ECW was part of The Alliance storyline as an ally of WCW in their attempt to overtake WWE. That failed miserably at Survivor Series 2001 with WWE claiming victory.
Following the success of some ECW DVDs, WWE produced the 2005 One Night Stand event that wrestling fans loved. One year later, WWE did ECW One Night Stand 2006, which saw Rob Van Dam capture the WWE Championship from John Cena, and then the ECW brand was born as WWE’s third brand. The ECW brand was a Tuesday night show on Syfy (named Sci-Fi channel at the time).
During a recent episode of Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw, The Blue Meanie joined the Hall of Fame hosts to talk about the ECW relaunch. JBL mentioned that the fanbase of ECW was similar to hardcore NXT fans and Meanie that he thought the ECW relaunch should have had more of an underground feel. Here’s what The Blue Meanie said:
“Absolutely. I totally agree with that. I kind of wish, when they brought ECW back, I wish they would have done it with the original ECW. Kind of take it out of the big arena, have it in a studio with a smaller crowd and have that more of a underground feel. NXT is part WWE, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the product because it’s such a different [product]. It’s a darker building [and] heavily based on wrestling. You know, stuff like that. . . You watched the ECW they brought back, and it was really good TV. But the only thing that hindered it was the three letters, E-C-W.”
Gerald Brisco was a longtime WWE employee that admitted that the company made a mistake by making the new ECW look like a regular WWE show.
“We, being the WWE, really blew that, I think. I don’t think any of us really gave it the respect and had the vision that Vince actually had to make this thing work. Our early TV’s were really good ECW product. Then when we started getting at, ‘it needs to be slicker, it needs to be this.’ You know, it didn’t need to be any of that stuff except the way we started and the way you guys had it there. So, I think we blew that opportunity to really make another competition and another brand with the WWE.”
By the end of 2006, ECW hit a really low point with the awful December to Dismember PPV. It is regarded as one of the worst PPVs in WWE history. Former ECW and WWE Champion Bobby Lashley recalled the event saying it was chaos backstage that day.
In 2007, Vince McMahon even booked himself to become the ECW Champion. Needless to say, that wasn’t well-received by fans of the “extreme” promotion.
The WWE ECW brand aired its final episode of the show on February 16, 2010.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.