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Tuesday, February 13, 2000

SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column

ECW made the WWF

By TED LECLAIR -- For SLAM! Wrestling

PUBLIC ENEMY Rocco Rock (left) and Johnny Grunge (right), Public Enemy.
If this is truly the end of ECW it's a shame. Many fans of Sports Entertainment today jumped on board when the WWF developed it's "Attitude" but what many don't know is a lot of the stars that they know and love today were either greatly influenced by ECW or came out of ECW directly. Now it's all falling apart, and not many seem to care. Here is why you should.

It's funny how the Dudleys and their gimmick with the tables has caught on so well. Although Bubba and D-Von are ECW originals, they are nowhere near the innovators of table spots. A tag team you may remember by the name of Public Enemy went as far as lighting tables on fire before dropping someone through it. Before their awful stint in WCW the Public Enemy was involved in some of the craziest matches ever seen. Then of course there was Sabu. Every time Sabu went for a high-risk move, he would show no regard for his own well being. Instead, he would leave crowds chanting "Holy S--t!". When The Dudleys super-bomb a woman through a table, it's not new. The Pit Bulls put Francine threw tables 5 years ago; you just didn't see it unless you are a fan of ECW.

Take a look at Perry Saturn. Many don't know that he was part of one of the best tag teams of all time, the Eliminators. He and John Kronus set the tone for high-flying tag team action. Do you like Chyna's gymnastic tumbles across the ring before ramming into her opponent? Kronus was doing that 5 years ago, and he was 300 pounds, you just didn't see it unless you are a fan of ECW.

How amazing is it when Jeff Hardy jumps off a tall ladder and crashes someone through a table? Pretty cool, but New Jack was diving off balconies years ago. Tommy Dreamer has been choke-slammed or suplexed through 3 tables at time over and over again. Stiff chair shots? They all took them, Dreamer, Raven, Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Sabu, the list could go on and on. People couldn't believe back then that these guys would take these shots to the head, without putting their hand up. They were doing it though, five years ago, you just didn't see it unless you are a fan of ECW.

SANDMAN The Sandman, the original beer-chugging brawler.
Boy, Steve Austin sure loves his beer doesn't he? Most would find it funny that he made fun of The Sandman for doing the same thing while he was in ECW. You like Austin promos? Check out this line to Woman after calling her a five-dollar whore. "Well hell, I might just rustle up five dollars and a clothespin for my nose and give you a try." That was one of the first times that Austin was given freedom during a promo. That was the birth of "The Rattlesnake". You didn't know that? That's because you just didn't see it unless you are a fan of ECW.

When one looks at "The Game" today, it's really hard not to be reminded of Shane Douglas. No, not that chubby guy known as The Franchise, when that's what he was. He was so ruthless back then. All he cared about was being World Champion, and he was so ruthless as to how he went about it. A babyface? Next to never, because he thrived at being a heel. His promos centered on being the best, because that's all he seemed to care about. Sound like HHH? Well yeah, it was done before. You just didn't see it unless you are a fan of ECW.

Then you had the unstoppable one, Taz. I know he seems like a goofy commentator now, but many thought he was the best wrestler in the world. It didn't matter if you were big or small, a high flyer, or a brawler, he would dump you on your head, then make you tap out. There wasn't a guy on the ECW roster that Taz wrestled that he didn't beat. He will no doubt go down as the best in ECW's history. It's a shame you didn't see that unless you are a fan of ECW.

The list could go on and on. It's important to for all to know that although ECW never became as big as the WWF or WCW, it's impact was profound. Many gimmicks and matches today resemble ECW's past so much; it's hard for an old ECW mark not get sad. Thanks ECW, if this is truly the end. I guess it's not fair for me to say "You didn't see it", because you see it every day. You just didn't know it.

Ted LeClair is from Scottsdale, AZ, and can be emailed at

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