In 1997, Paul Heyman was looking for effective ways to help promote ECW's very first pay-per-view. Entitled Barely Legal, the April 13 show was a step into the unknown for Heyman and company, and they desperately needed it to be a success. Striking a deal with Vince McMahon and the WWF seemed like a shrewd move.
The WWF would promote Barely Legal on their own programming. In exchange, they would have their pick of ECW talent. Somewhere along the line, the decision was made to run a mini-invasion of Monday Night Raw with ECW talent, and even stage a few matches featuring names like Taz and Sabu on the WWF flagship.
Alongside the likes of The Sandman and Tommy Dreamer, Heyman sat at ringside on WWF shows. Jerry 'The King' Lawler routinely referred to ECW as 'Extremely Crappy Wrestling', something which irked Heyman and later led to Lawler staging an invasion of his own with ECW during the summer months.
Whilst it was definitely a business deal designed to promote ECW's first ever foray into the pay-per-view market, the hardcore promotion's invasion of WWF shows felt memorable.
Before the 'Attitude Era', that kind of thing was unthinkable.