As Raw and SmackDown’s ratings swirl downward and WWE Network’s
subscriber count drops, it's clear fans are unsatisfied with the
biggest pro wrestling entity in the world. You could debate a myriad of factors
for the lack of interest in the product, and back in the day, promoters would claim
that the business is simply cyclical. They’d argue that it’s just a matter of
time before the right performer, match or storyline sparks interest once again.
In the 1990s, Extreme Championship Wrestling was the spark
that reignited the industry, providing an alternative to fans burnt out from cartoon
characters and hokey drama. Based out of a dingy bingo hall in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, Paul Heyman’s underground cesspool of violence and vulgarity
caused a ripple effect throughout the wrestling world. In the years to come,
WWE and WCW would adopt elements of ECW such as its adult-oriented content and
international talent pool, ultimately propelling the genre back into the
mainstream dialogue for the first time since the Rock 'n'Wrestling Era.
It’s been 16 years since Extreme Championship Wrestling
ceased operations, but its legacy lives on in the industry.