The “land of extreme” will officially be laid to rest in three weeks. Of course, for all intents and purposes, the real ECW has been gone since Paul Heyman closed the promotion’s doors in 2001. Vince McMahon would purchase the rights to the name and tape library and restart it, but it wasn’t anywhere near the same as the independent promotion that found its way to a national audience in the late 1990s.
McMahon had been running his version of ECW on Syfy since 2006. While he, at first, allowed some of the same extreme attitudes that made the original ECW popular, his intent, seemingly, was to rebrand it with his own vision. And that pretty much meant just another hour of WWE programming when he had a chance to bring in and hold a completely different audience. Not a smart business decision from a guy who is supposed to be the pro wrestling mastermind.
Ratings plummeted from the mid-2 range since the show debuted to barely reaching 1 in recent months, and Syfy has been getting increasingly frustrated.
So Vince is heading back to the drawing board. Instead of mixing the ECW roster with veterans and rookies, he’s going to an all-rookie show. If Syfy thought the ratings were bad before, then wait until the established stars are gone.
And, current rumors, that the show will drop the ECW title and rename the program WWE NXT, for Next Generation, may just be another big mistake waiting to happen. There’s already a small promotion called NXT over in Scotland.
This is something that Vince should be awfully familiar with. The World Wildlife Fund had some kind of legitimate claim to the WWF acronym, the letters Vince had used for his company for years. Essentially, they had an agreement with Vince that would limit his usage of the initials in the U.K. Vince, being Vince, did whatever he wanted. The wildlife group sued and Vince lost, needing to change his company’s name to WWE. This may not end up being the same kind of situation, but, still, you’d think he would’ve learned his lesson.
At any rate, while we may still see plenty of ECW matches on future WWE DVD releases, in three weeks, we’ll effectively see the end of ECW on TV. Hardly a fitting end to an organization that, had it been a bit more financially secure years ago, probably could’ve given both WWE and WCW a run for their money.