|Federation||WWE for Extreme|
|Creator|| Paul Heyman|
ECW was a professional wrestling television program for WWE for Extreme (WWEFE, or just WWE), based on the independent Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion that lasted from 1992 to 2001. The show's name also referred to the ECW brand, in which WWE employees were assigned to work and perform, complementary to WWE's other brands, RAW and SmackDown!. It debuted on April 4, 2006 on Sci Fi in the United States and ran for two years until it aired its final episode on July 22, 2008 on the rebranded Syfy.
Launch on Sci Fi/SyfyEdit
WWE acquired Extreme Championship Wrestling and its video library in 2003 and later began reintroducing ECW through content from the ECW library and a series books, which included the release of The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary. The enormous popularity of ECW merchandise prompted WWE to organize ECW One Night Stand, an ECW reunion pay-per-view in 2005. The financial and critical success of the event motivated WWE to explore the possibility of reviving the promotion full time. On March 26, 2006, WWE announced the launch of ECW as a stand-alone brand, congruous to RAW and SmackDown!, with its own show on Sci Fi (now Syfy). The show debuted on April 4, 2006 as part of the newly-established For Extreme Era. Despite initial concerns that professional wrestling would not be accepted by Sci Fi's demographic, network President Bonnie Hammer stated that she believed ECW would fit the channel's theme of "stretching the imagination". Sci Fi (now known as Syfy) is owned by NBC Universal, parent company of USA Network and exclusive cable broadcaster of RAW. ECW's weekly series was originally given a thirteen episode run as a "summer series" on Sci Fi. The premiere received a 2.79 rating, making it the highest rated show on cable in its time slot. Because of its good ratings it was granted an extended run through the end of 2007. On October 23, 2007,the network renewed the series through 2008.
Original format (2006)Edit
The ECW brand was initially produced differently from WWE's other brands. For televised events, the main ring-facing cameras were placed on a different location in the arena while the wrestling ring itself featured an ECW logo on the mat and blank turnbuckle covers. The male performers were referred to "Extremists" as opposed to "Superstars" while female performers were called "Vixens" as opposed to Divas. Matches featuring the rule set of the original promotion were then classified as being contested under "Extreme Rules" and made up the majority of the programming.
Former ECW owner Paul Heyman served as the on-air "ECW Representative" (a reference to how Heyman had been identified on Monday Night RAW back in 1997). According to an interview in the UK newspaper The Sun, Heyman wrote the brand's weekly scripts and submitted them to writers for possible changes, and then Vince McMahon for final approval. Following December to Dismember, Heyman was relieved from both his on and off-air duties with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Change in format (2007-2008) Edit
While the show started out a ratings success, it began drawing criticism from fans of the original ECW early on. After Heyman left in late 2006, Christian Cage was announced as the General Manager.
On May 6, 2008, ECW celebrated its 100th episode on Sci Fi. On December 26, 2006 Cage was replaced by Patrick Hunter as General Manager of ECW. On the March 9 edition of ECW it was announced that Misery would be taking charge of the booking on-screen for the show. On the August 13 edition of ECW, she handed over control to Devin Jacobs. From this point on ECW saw a dramatic increase in ratings, lasting until December 4, 2007 when a returning Stone Cold Steve Austin took control, assisted by Tiffany.
On July 15, 2008, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced that ECW would be going off the air. It was announced that the show would air its final episode on July 22.
At ECW's launch, WWE.com introduced Hardcore Hangover, a video feature which allowed fans in the United States and Canada to stream or download video footage from the weekly show. On October 16, 2007 it was replaced by a new feature which made full episodes of the show available for streaming on WWE.com the day after they aired. After gathering a list of names from fans and conducting an online poll, the feature was named ECW X-Stream on October 31, 2007. Past episodes of ECW are now viewable on Hulu.
ECW brand shows were held in large arenas as a part of the taping schedules of WWE's other brands. This was in sharp contrast to the original Extreme Championship Wrestling which ran most of its events in smaller venues. The show generally aired live on Tuesdays directly before — when touring the west coast — or after SmackDown was taped, though it was also recorded and placed on a broadcast delay until later in the night depending on what circumstances dictated.
ECW's initial theme song was "Bodies" by Drowning Pool, which had been used by WWE for Extreme Championship Wrestling before the establishment of the brand. "Don't Question My Heart" by Saliva featuring Brent Smith, a new version of the song originally performed by Kyle Morrison of the band Shattersphere, was later used to open ECW for the rest of the program's run. On January 22, 2008, ECW began broadcasting in HD, along with a new HD set, which is shared among all three WWE brands.
|ECW||April 4, 2006||2.9||Series debut.|
|Best of ECW 2006||December 26, 2006||1.4||Featured clips from 2006.|
|Best of ECW 2007||December 25, 2007||1.1||Featured clips from 2007.|
|Tribute to the Troops||January 1, 2008||1.2||Performed in military base in Iraq.|
|ECW The Final Episode||July 22, 2008||1.1||Series finale.|
|Authority||Position||Date started||Date finished||Notes|
|Paul Heyman||Representative||April 4, 2006||June 13, 2006|
|Christian Cage||General Manager||June 20, 2006||December 12, 2006||Cage was moved to the iMPACT! brand when it debuted.|
|Patrick Hunter||General Manager||December 19, 2006||January 16, 2007|
|Misery||Interim General Manager||January 23, 2007||March 27, 2007|
|Devin Jacobs||General Manager||March 27, 2007||November 27, 2007|
|Stone Cold Steve Austin||General Manager||December 4, 2007||July 22, 2008||Tiffany served under Austin as Assistant General Manager.|
|Joey Styles and Tazz||April 4, 2006 - March 11, 2008|
|Joey Styles and Matt Striker||March 18, 2008 - July 22, 2008|
|Justin Roberts||April 4, 2006 - July 22, 2008|
|Kelly's Exposé||Kelly Kelly||2006||Striptease segment.|
|Tin Can||Refugee Mike||2006||In-ring interview segment.|
|The Abraham Washington Show||Abraham Washington||2008||On-stage interview segment.|
In addition to being broadcast on Syfy, Mun2, and Universal HD in the United States, ECW was broadcast on a number of channels in many different countries
|Algeria and The Middle East||Showtime]|
|Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico||FX Latin America|
|Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan||TEN Sports|
|Malaysia||Astro Super Sport|
|New Zealand||The Box|
|United Kingdom and Ireland||Sky Sports 3|