Here is a list of top 10 ECW stars aka ECW extremists as provided by WWE.com;
#10 Terry Funk
If you could describe Terry Funk in one word, it’s “giving.” He’s given so much to the wrestling business. In ECW, he was the main veteran who was really trying to lend credibility to a bunch of unknowns. As a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, he had that legendary, iconic status where you could say his name and an arena would explode.
He’s been around wrestling his entire life and he saw that ECW was different. He was an amazing in-ring competitor and adapted with the times. In his 50s, he was doing moonsaults into the crowd. Terry never went out there said he was Superman. He admitted he was an old man among kids, but had a lot of fight left in him.
Terry Funk has done a lot for this business and he doesn’t get enough credit. But in ECW, we gave him all the credit in the world. – TOMMY DREAMER, as told to Z.L.
#9 The Public Enemy
One of the first homegrown creations of the new-look “extreme” ECW in 1993, The Public Enemy duo of “Flyboy” Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge was emblematic of what set the Philly-based independent apart from the competition. Unglamorous almost to a fault, Rock & Grunge were gritty and contemporary, and in many ways they represented the bleak and aggressive outlook of inner-city America.
The team was never celebrated for its technical brilliance, but for whatever Rock & Grunge lacked in scientific skill, they more than made up for with tough-as-nails brawling ability. Wearing oversized sports jerseys and baggy athletic shorts, the four-time ECW Tag Team Champions brought table-breaking into the sports-entertainment vernacular. By the time they departed ECW in late 1995, P.E. had solidly won over the ECW faithful thanks to their freewheeling fights with The Gangstas, Dory & Terry Funk and Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck. – J.C.
Raven was a perfect fit for the era of grunge in the ’90s. He was disenfranchised as a manager in WWE and wanted to reinvent himself. Paul [Heyman] thought he was going to jump right back to WWE, but Raven’s interviews and persona really connected huge. It was a perfect fit. He hit his stride in ECW and Raven took off.
Raven’s in-ring performance, his mind, his psychology at that time was great. In Raven’s first run in ECW, he was in his prime. He became Paul Heyman’s favorite persona. He had so many dimensions and his interviews were always right on the money. There was a three-year period when Raven did not have a bad match. He did nothing wrong in the ring. And in a rarity in the wrestling business, he remained a bad guy. He had a chip on his shoulder and liked to be the bad guy. You ask him how great he is, trust me, he’ll tell you. He had something to prove. And he did one hell of a job. – T.D., as told to Z.L.
#7 Shane Douglas
After WCW failed to use him to his full potential, Shane Douglas arrived in the NWA’s Eastern Championship Wrestling as the fledgling promotion’s “Franchise.” As the ECW Champion, Douglas shocked the wrestling world when he won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in August 1994 and threw down the once prestigious title in the center of the ring. Douglas then hoisted his ECW Title in the air, proclaiming himself the ECW World Heavyweight Champion! That same night, history was made again as ECW was renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling.
“The Franchise” continued to use the microphone as a flame thrower, directing vitriolic tirades against sports-entertainment institutions like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. With the gorgeous Francine by his side and Bam Bam Bigelow and Chris Candido watching his back, Douglas ruled as ECW’s most dominant figure for almost five years until losing the ECW Title to Tazz in January 1999. – J.S.
#6 The Dudley Boyz
During the glory days of ECW, the most despised villain wasn’t in pay-per-view main events competing for a singles championship against the organization’s top hero. The personalities who earned the fans’ most intense ire were a tag team: those damn Dudleys.
Bubba Ray and D-Von emerged as the standouts from a family of several other Dudley half-brothers. Together, the duo’s venom was unmatched as they incited riots by erupting a volcano of hostility toward their foes and fans alike. For all of the verbal punishment the Dudleys administered, they backed it up in the ring. Bubba and D-Von were crowned ECW Tag Team Champions on a record eight occasions, and opponents unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of a Dudley Death Drop – through a flaming table or not – were never the same.
ECW afforded The Dudley Boyz the platform to hone their craft en route to becoming the most decorated tag team in wrestling history. But that doesn’t mean we have to like them. – Z.L.
#5 Tommy Dreamer
If there is any one individual who exemplified the heart and soul of ECW, it was Tommy Dreamer. The Yonkers, N.Y., native began carving his legacy in Eastern Championship Wrestling as a grinning pretty boy in neon suspenders. But over the course of nine years in Philly, Dreamer revealed an unbreakable spirit as he stood strong in the face of adversity against The Sandman, Raven and The Dudley Boyz.
Known as The Innovator of Violence for his ingenious applications of tables, ladders and chairs, Dreamer had a quality unlike any other competitor in the organization – resilience. That trait, combined with his never-say-die attitude when in competition, endeared him to the passionate ECW fan base like no other man in the locker room could. A key member of the Extreme organization both in the ring and behind the scenes, Tommy remained with ECW until the day the company closed – proof that no competitor was ever more loyal. – HOWARD FINKEL
#4 The Sandman
In the years since ECW’s demise, Tommy Dreamer has been recognized as the heart and soul of the defunct brand. During ECW’s glory days, though, there was one Superstar who personified the renegade spirit of the promotion: The Sandman.
With Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” pulsating through the arena, the hardcore brawler would make his way through the raucous crowd with Kendo stick in hand, guzzling adult beverages both for himself and for nearby fans. The manic scene of The Sandman’s entrance helped define ECW as an unorthodox alternative to WCW and WWE and his matches were every bit as chaotic. Yet there was a method to the madness – not only was The Sandman the second ECW Champion following the group’s transition to “Extreme,” but he also held the title a record five times. – K.P.
In July 1995, a 5-foot-9 man with a thick New York accent entered a Florida emergency room complaining of pain after a wrestling match. The hospital staff couldn’t believe he had walked into the building. The competitor known as Tazz had a broken neck.
Upon his return to active competition, the Red Hook, Brooklyn, native shed the tattered garb of The Tazmaniac and became known simply as Tazz (the second “Z” is silent). With ease, The Human Suplex Machine executed innovative “Tazzplexes” to foes twice his size. But it was the Katahajime judo choke that became Tazz’s meal ticket. The hold was so effective at incapacitating opponents that it popularized “tapping out” in a wrestling ring, long before MMA reached national prominence.
The entire ECW locker room knew Tazz meant it when he said: “Beat me if you can. Survive if I let you.” Even longtime rivals Bam Bam Bigelow and Sabu became “just another victim” as Tazz earned his spot as the most dominant ECW World Champion in history. – Z.L.
An Arabian savage from the deserts of the Middle East, Sabu became wrestling’s version of Evel Knievel when he crashed into ECW in 1993. With scars littering his upper torso, Sabu performed revolutionary and spectacular maneuvers on a regular basis, often injuring himself as much as his opponents.
Sabu never spoke, but he didn’t have to. The long-haired maniac forced the Philadelphia faithful to wait a full year before agreeing to face off with Tazz in a highly anticipated encounter at ECW’s first pay-per-view, Barely Legal. Later that year, the madman won the ECW World Championship from Terry Funk in a gruesome contest where the ring ropes were replaced with barbed wire. Sabu shredded his bicep and taped it up mid-match, prompting Paul Heyman to admit he should have reconsidered allowing the match to take place.
Sabu was brutal. Sabu was awe-inspiring. But most of all, Sabu was revolutionary. – Z.L.
#1 Rob Van Dam
Dubbed “Mr. Pay-Per-View” for his routinely stellar matches on Sunday nights, RVD’s unorthodox style, laidback attitude and martial arts abilities were a perfect fit for the outlaw Philly institution. Van Dam’s jaw-dropping Five-Star Frog Splash decimated opponents from above and his innovative battles with rivals like Sabu and Jerry Lynn took him from a bingo hall to the world stage.
A two-time ECW Tag Team Champion, RVD made his reputation as ECW’s greatest Television Champion with a tenure that lasted 700 days – by far the longest in the title’s history. In the late ’90s, RVD claimed that he was better than everyone in ECW and believed he deserved to perform on either WCW Monday Nitro or WWE Monday Night Raw. Van Dam’s arrogant attitude led Jerry “The King” Lawler to name him “Mr. Monday Night” – a moniker RVD fulfilled years later when he became WWE Champion. – K.P.
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