242) The Rise & Fall of ECW (2004)
For nearly a decade, ECW redefined professional wrestling with a reckless, brutal, death-defying, and often bloody style that became synonymous with ‘hardcore’. Through extensive interviews with Paul Heyman, Mick Foley, Tazz, Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, and many more, The Rise & Fall of ECW reveals what made this upstart company from Philadelphia great.
9/10 – I’ve watched quite a few wrestling DVD’s this year, but none really felt like they could take place on my challenge as they either weren’t long enough or the matches were more interesting than the content. In this instance, clocking in at nearly 3 hours, it was definitely worthy of being on my list and one I encourage anyone with the faintest interest in wrestling to watch. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t watched this yet, the most downloaded/rented/bought WWE DVD out there and there’s a reason why.
It’s interesting. It is as the title suggests, about the Rise and Fall of ECW throughout one of the most pivotal moments in professional wrestling history. What I didn’t realise was just how close they came to being that other genuine big tier player in the industry, how constrained they were by the network and as I only caught onto it quite late, how there was collaboration prior to the Invasion angle between Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman.
What stood out too was seeing the angles that went too far, the feuds that transcended what they thought was possible, the gimmicks and personas that the likes of the Dudley Boyz, Steve Austin and Tazz took on in their first runs in ECW, and how grainy and underground this promotion actually was. You often hear on reflection about promos or ‘bits’ wrestlers wished they hadn’t done, it seemed the envelope was pushed too far too often in ECW but the fans ate it up so it kept on going.
As much as I would have liked to have seen it succeed, and the way that everyone looks back on it so fondly, knowing what we know now, it looked dangerous. Really dangerous. Extreme was one thing, but the head shots and piledrivers would have landed them in hot water at some point in the near future regardless of TV deals.
Chances are, if you like wrestling you will have seen this already. If you haven’t, get on it and enjoy.