Wrestling fans who have been chanting “ECW” for the last 10 years are thrilled that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has revived Extreme Championship Wrestling. The “ECW One Night Stand” pay-per-view in June 2005 was a success, and so were the WWE-produced DVDs of old ECW matches. In order for ECW to succeed in 2006 on the Sci-Fi Channel, WWE will have to do a lot of things right. Here are some tips:
1. Make the show look different. The old ECW show had a gritty, underground look to it. Joey Styles hosted the program while standing in front of a black ECW banner. The show had no fireworks, a simple set and familiar entrance music. The WWE needs to make sure ECW does not have the glossy look and fancy production values of its Raw and Smackdown shows.
2. Make the wrestling different. ECW lost its niche in the Nineties when the WWE and WCW copied its weapons-oriented style. If ECW can provide one insane hardcore match per show, along with some solid wrestling and high flying, the fans will stick with it.
3. Make the storylines simple. The WWE has trotted out every soap-opera storyline imaginable in the past five years. ECW wrestlers should fight over championships, women, and improving their won-loss records. That’s it.
4. Let the wrestlers do interviews anywhere they want. Raven gave some of ECW’s best interviews on tape from a local playground. Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie acted goofy everywhere they went. Fans connected with the realism of the wrestlers when they weren’t confined to the arena for interviews.
5. Give younger wrestlers the chance to shine. ECW launched many stars into WCW and the WWE such as Tazz, The Dudley Boyz, Rhyno, Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera. Now, WWE can use ECW to give its developmental wrestlers experience in front of larger crowds. In particular. C.M. Punk could become a big star in the new ECW. ECW was a part of the WCW Invasion storyline in 2001, but the WWE buried both brands after eight months. This time around, the WWE should stick with ECW, even if ratings get off to a slow start. With a little patience, the WWE could create a new generation of fans who will chant “ECW” for another 10 years.