When you look back at the stars that went through the doors of ECW over the years, there’s no doubt that “The Land of Extreme” was a breeding ground for wrestling talent and future superstars.
Many of today’s most beloved wrestling legends made a name for themselves in ECW; however, before they became icons of the extreme, a lot of these names would get their first taste of TV time by laying flat on their backs in a WWF ring.
In the WWE, everyone has to start somewhere and, for these hardcore heroes, that start came way sooner than many would remember. So join us as we take a look back at the forgotten WWE debuts of five ECW icons.
5. Shane Douglas - 1986
There's no doubting Shane Douglas' impact on the wrestling business during his time in ECW. Throwing down the NWA Championship in '94, Douglas kick-started a revolution and went on to become a four-time ECW Champion. However, it's fair to say his run in New York wasn't quite as he or anyone else had hoped.
While many remember Douglas’ WWF tenure under the doomed gimmick of Dean Douglas in 1996, what’s often forgotten is that he actually had a very brief run in McMahonland several years earlier.
Way before he was “The Franchise” and before he was even Shane Douglas, Troy Martin was an up and coming fresh face on the US wrestling scene. Wrestling under his real name, Douglas would appear several times in the WWF in 1986; serving as an enhancement talent for some of the biggest names in the industry at the time.
Sharing the ring with the likes of Jake Roberts, Paul Orndorff and Harley Race, a pre-“Franchise” Douglas appeared on WWF Superstars and WWF Wrestling Challenge from August to October, as the world got its first glimpse of Troy Martin - the wrestler.
His very first appearance as Troy Martin came opposite reigning Intercontinental Champion, Randy Savage. Savage would make short work of Martin, roughing up the youngster before taking it home with the big elbow in typical squash match style; even laying in the boots after the fact for good measure.
Following the initial debut under his real name, Douglas would soon begin appearing under the guise of Mike Kelly in what was seemingly a forerunner to the random name generator we have become accustomed to for modern day talent in WWE.
Occasional wrestler, full-time gym rat and lifelong lover of the grapple game. Would probably buy you a shot of Jack at the bar in exchange for witty banter...and preferably more Jack.
@MartynGrant88 for more wrestling-related musings and weight room wisecracks!