WWE ECW was a television program for WWE, based on the independent Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion that lasted from 1992 to 2001. The show's name also referred to the ECW brand, in which WWE employees were assigned to work and perform, complementary to WWE's other brands, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown. It debuted on June 13, 2006, on Sci Fi in the United States and ran for close to four years until it aired its final episode on February 16, 2010, on the rebranded Syfy. It was replaced the following week with WWE NXT.

Original format (2006)Edit

The ECW brand was initially produced differently from WWE's other brands. For televised events, the main ring-facing cameras were placed on a different location in the arena while the wrestling ring itself featured an ECW logo on the mat and blank turnbuckle covers. The male performers were referred to "Extremists" instead of "Superstars" while female performers were called "Vixens" rather than Divas. However, the brand steadily began being produced following the same format of the other brands, and as opposed to the original promotion, match rules, such as count outs and disqualifications, were now standard. Matches featuring the rule set of the original promotion were then classified as being contested under "Extreme Rules" and were only fought when specified. The only pay-per-view event hosted exclusively by the ECW brand since its launch was WWE ECW December to Dismember in December 2006. On March 14, 2007, before another one could be scheduled, WWE announced that all future pay-per-views would feature all three brands.

Former ECW owner Paul Heyman served as the on-air "ECW Representative" (a reference to how Heyman had been identified on Monday Night Raw back in 1997). According to an interview in the UK newspaper The Sun, Heyman wrote the brand's weekly scripts and submitted them to writers for possible changes, and then Vince McMahon for final approval. Following December to Dismember, Heyman was relieved from both his on and off-air duties with World Wrestling Entertainment.

Change in format (2007–2010)Edit

While the show started out a ratings success, it began drawing criticism from fans of the original ECW early on. This was most evident by the negative crowd reaction "old school" fans gave the main event of Batista vs. Big Show at the August 1, 2006 show from Hammerstein Ballroom, which often held original ECW events while it was a company. After Heyman left in late 2006, there was no ECW authority figure until August 14, 2007, when Armando Estrada was announced as the General Manager.

On October 16, 2007, a "talent exchange" was started between the SmackDown and ECW brands, allowing their respective talent to appear on either brand. On May 6, 2008, ECW celebrated its 100th episode on Sci Fi. On June 3, 2008 Estrada was replaced by Theodore Long as General Manager of ECW. On the September 8, 2008 edition of Raw it was announced a "talent exchange" was started between the Raw and ECW brands, allowing their respective talent to appear on either brand. Following the 2009 WWE Draft, both of these talent exchanges were quietly dropped. ECW moved to 9:00PM Eastern/8:00PM Central on September 30, 2008. ECW moved back to 10:00PM Eastern/9:00PM Central on May 5, 2009. On the April 7 edition of ECW it was announced that Theodore Long was returning to SmackDown to fulfill the role of General Manager. From this point the Interim General Manager was named as Tiffany who took over as full-time General Manager on the June 30, 2009 episode. On July 7, 2009, the Sci Fi Channel renamed itself to "Syfy", prompting WWE to rename the show ECW on Syfy to reflect the changes. In 2009 a "superstar initiative" was established for the purpose of introducing new talent to WWE programming, mainly those from WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling to ECW's roster.

Cancellation and AftermathEdit

On February 2, 2010, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced that ECW would be going off the air and would be replaced with a new weekly program in its slot in which McMahon announced as "groundbreaking, original show." It was later announced that the show would air its final episode on February 16, 2010. On the February 9, 2010 episode of ECW, the new show's name was announced as WWE NXT. With the ECW brand permanently disbanded, the ECW roster became free agents.

Authority FiguresEdit

  • Paul Heyman (under the title of ECW Representative) (June 13, 2006 – December 4, 2006)
  • Armando Estrada (August 14, 2007 – June 3, 2008)
  • Theodore Long (June 3, 2008 – April 7, 2009)
    • Tiffany – Assistant General Manager (June 10, 2008 – April 7, 2009)
  • Tiffany (June 30, 2009 – February 16, 2010)

See AlsoEdit

Extreme Championship Wrestling, ECW Championship

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