8 Ways ECW Shaped Modern Wrestling

Paul Heyman's revolution was a success.

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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.

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Formerly the assistant editor of Wrestledelphia, John has joined the Muthaship at WhatCulture.