While the original ECW promotion is still revered to this day, the WWE reboot of the company is remembered a lot less fondly.
After ECW folded in 2001, WWE went on to acquire the assets from the now bankrupt company. After the promotion was represented in The Alliance as part of the Invasion storyline, it eventually faded from view.
This was until 2005 with ECW One Night Stand. The show took place in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York and served as something for a reunion for the fallen promotion. The success of the event led to another show the following year and the promotion being brought back as WWE’s official third brand.
On a recent episode of Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw, ECW star the Blue Meanie joined the show and reminisced about his former wrestling home. After JBL compared NXT’s fanbase to that of ECW, Blue Meanie agreed, adding that when the promotion was rebooted in 2006, it would have been better served with a more underground feel.
“Absolutely,” affirmed Meanie. “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.”
Continuing on, Gerald Brisco who worked for WWE at the time, admitted that the company made a mistake by making the brand look and feel like just another WWE show.
“We, being the WWE, really blew that, I think,” said an adamant Brisco. “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.”
After a strong start, the show’s popularity began to fall as it became less an less distinctive from the rest of WWE’s programming. Vince McMahon even briefly held the show’s World Championship in 2007.
Appearing on a recent episode of The Broken Skull Sessions, former ECW Champion Bobby Lashley recalled the now infamous December to Dismember par-per-view in 2006, describing the day of the show as “chaos.”
In February 2010 it was announced that ECW was being taken off the air once more. The final show was broadcast on February 16th, with Ezekiel Jackson winning the ECW Title in the main event.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.