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By Kevin "Scrapdog" Quigley on 7/17/2012 11:51 AM

We are midway through 2012 and not much has changed in wrestling over the last five years.  WWE is still headlined by Cena, TNA has been stuck in a rut (last few weeks aside), and ROH is still a fringe player that puts out a great product.  Never has there been a better breeding ground for opportunity to rise up.  

Not so long ago, the wrestling industry was moving along at a snail’s pace.  1993 was the heyday for great gimmicks like Mabel, Shockmaster, Doink (the nice clown not Matt Bourne’s version), PN News, Papa Shango and many more.  On top of the absurdity, the wrestling left a lot to be desired.  Sure, there were good workers and good matches.  But compared to the mid 80s, the early 90s lacked edginess and compelling storylines.

The middle of 1993 is when a young Paul Heyman had enough vision to see an opportunity to revolutionize the business.  Maybe he was too young to know better.  Maybe no one told him it wasn’t his responsibility to challenge the stagnant incumbents.  One thing is for sure.  He didn’t care what anyone thought and set out to prove an industry wrong.  

Needless to say, all of us know that ECW went on to influence this business in ways that still reflect in the current product.  Much to the dismay of any wrestling fans, ECW went bankrupt in 2001 due in most part to Paul Heyman’s poor financial skills.  However, if ECW had come into existence a few years ago, I am confident it would be thriving.  ECW was ahead of its time and, unfortunately, ahead of the technology revolution.  While the 2001 technology bubble played a part in ECW’s demise, today it would have been the reason for their success.  

Here are the top 5 reasons ECW would be thriving today:

  1. I-PPV – One of ECW’s biggest challenges was a cash flow problem.  PPV companies took up to a year to pay out.  If ECW didn’t feel forced into putting all their eggs into one basket with PPV to grow the company, they could have grown at their own pace while not putting out so much money to run a full fledge PPV.  
  2. Underground is now more main stream – With the internet, being underground, as ECW was, is less of a challenge.  Underground can become a mainstream & hot over night.  Large audiences can be reached at minimal cost.  ECW always had a great product but one of its biggest challenges was getting it in front of more people.  
  3. Extreme is now acceptable – ECW always had issues getting sponsors.  Today, companies like Red Bull & Monster would be pouring lots of advertising dollars into ECW without blinking an eye.  Those companies sponsor people jumping out of helicopters and buildings, so someone hitting another man with a frying pan would be acceptable in their book.  
  4. Youtube – In one of ECW’s worst deals ever, they PAID to be on TNN.  This drained the company financially and was made worse by the fact that TNN treated them like their fourth red-headed step child.  Youtube is free and reaches more people than TNN could have ever hoped to.  
  5. Talent Raids Impact Greatly Decreased – One of the big blows was the constant talent raids by WWF & WCW.  These especially hurt as new talent had to be built up all the while paying for TV and trying to increase revenue to stay afloat.  In today’s age, there are numerous media outlets to lessen the impact of talent raids.  They may still sting but they won’t feel like a knock-out punch.

The future of wrestling looks to have a big void for a compelling wrestling company to use the above to re-write the course of wrestling again.  While history can’t be re-written for ECW, it sure seems ripe to be repeated.  

Please check out my auction on Ebay for my ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999 backstage pass.  This is a very rare, collectible item for any original ECW fan.  Click here to check it out.  
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