The Rise and Fall of ECW

February 8, 2005

Once I saw that the WWE was putting out this DVD, I was pretty excited. I had always been a fan of ECW, but because of syndication times and living in Chicago, I could never watch ECW so I was limited to what I could read about it online. With this DVD, I could finally get the whole story about some of the rumors I had heard and see some old footage, it was very exciting for someone like myself.

I started the DVD without knowing how long it was, but I had an idea from the Monday Night War DVD that was about 55 minutes long, so I was expecting about that length. I was surprised and pleased to find out that this documentary was actually 3 hours long and was quite comprehensive about the business side of the 8 year run of ECW. There were a couple of disappointments where they did not spend much time talking about the wrestlers late in the ECW run, focusing more on Tazz, Raven and Tommy Dreamer, but that can be overlooked. There were some rather interesting stories about how much work all of the wrestlers put into the organization. Most of the guys in the old days put their heart and soul into making the ECW succeed working not only as wrestlers but also as ticket agents, shippers and hotline operators. I couldn’t imagine any of the people in the company having any sort of family life with the travel and work they put into ECW.

The story starts to get sad right when ECW is starting to gain momentum. Unfortunately Paul Heyman was not as good of a businessman as he was a wrestling promoter and he ran the business into the ground. The rumors of workers not getting paid for months on end were true and a number of guys still stuck around. I can’t imagine many places where workers would have their pay checks bounce yet keep coming back to work for months on end. That stands as both a tribute to the dedication that these wrestlers had to ECW and the way the business was being run at that time. Most of the guys in ECW were seen as “flawed” by WWF and WCW, so they either kept working at ECW or headed to Japan.

Also interesting in the documentary is seeing the opinions of both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff. Whether Vince is sincere or not, the documentary makes it come off as if Vince really wanted ECW to succeed to present a challenge to his organization. My guess is that there is some truth to this, Vince probably really did hate WCW because they used some underhanded methods to get wrestlers and trash the competition. ECW didn’t do that, they just kept putting out a good product by working hard and fighting all the time. Vince would respect that and my guess wishes he still had that fight to go after. Eric Bischoff, on the other hand, showed no respect to ECW and basically said that they were just a breeding ground that he could pilage whenever he liked. He gave ECW no credit for what they did for the business. Maybe this is why Eric now works for Vince and is kept on a short leash.

All in all the documentary was well worth the money. The commentary from Tommy Dreamer was the best part as he was involved with the business side, but also a wrestler, so he had the unique viewpoint on the whole operation. If you are a wrestling fan, I would definately recommend checking this out. The ECW was one of the things that made wrestling what it was in the late 90s up to today and you owe it to yourself to check this out.