In the '90s, while WCW and WWE were involved in the Monday Night Wars and Nitro was beating Monday Night Raw in the ratings for a year, there was a third major company that was growing bigger and bigger and chopped out their part of the industry with ECW. They were violent, included a ton of sexual storylines, and featured some of the best wrestling in the world at the same time.
Once ECW started running into financial problems, WWE helped finance them, and after ECW went out of business, some of their stars moved on to WWE. Tommy Dreamer worked behind-the-scenes, Rob Van Dam became a huge success, beating John Cena to become a world champion, and the Dudley Boyz became one of the best tag teams in WWE history. Here are 10 ECW wrestlers that WWE did not want to succeed when they signed with the company.
When WWE held their One Night Only PPV, they knew they needed to bring in some of the most popular stars in ECW history. Sandman sits at the very top of that list; however, he is not WWE wrestler. Plus, by adding him to WWE ECW, they lost what made Sandman most popular.
Sandman was no longer able to use Metallica's "Enter Sandman" as his entrance music. Add to the fact that by the time WWE restarted ECW, they no longer used the ultra-violent hardcore fighting style that Sandman was known. Sandman also couldn't drink beer on his way to the ring and smoke his cigarette, and after WWE neutered everything that made Sandman great, he had no chance to succeed.
9 SHANE DOUGLAS
At one time, Shane Douglas was one of the most important figures in professional wrestling. He won a tournament to win the NWA World Championship by beating Scorpio Sky. Then, without telling the NWA governing board first, Douglas threw the belt down and said the NWA was a dead promotion and he was now the champion of the new Extreme Championship Wrestling.
With his name so huge at the time, he helped launch ECW. Then, he left for WWE. However, instead of taking advantage of his notoriety, WWE made him Dean Douglas -- a college dean that insulted the intelligence of other wrestlers. Add in the fact that the Kliq hated him, and Douglas had no chance to succeed in WWE.
8 PUBLIC ENEMY
Public Enemy got their start in ECW, first when it was still Eastern Championship Wrestling in the NWA and then when it became Extreme Championship Wrestling. They left for WCW and then returned to ECW where they were just one of many extreme hardcore tag teams on the roster.
Then, Public Enemy left for WWE in 1999. Most backstage rumors indicate that many wrestlers hated them because they chose WCW during the Monday Night Wars and they ended up losing more matches than they won. When WWE decided to sign the Dudley Boyz, Public Enemy was disposable and only lasted two months in WWE.
7 JUSTIN CREDIBLE
Justin Credible got his big break in WWE when he worked there from 1994 through 1997 as Aldo Montoya, the Portuguese Man 'O War. He was a joke to many fans due to his mask, but he became friends with the Kliq and was a member of that backstage faction while in WWE.
He was never more than a lower card wrestler, and WWE ended up sending him to ECW in a talent exchange in 1997. In ECW, he changed his name to Justin Credible and became a star and an eventual world champion. That meant nothing when he returned to WWE in 2001 and was just a sidekick for X-Pac.
6 KID KASH
Kid Kash got his break in 1996 when he signed with ECW. He ended up leaving for the indies and even got some small chances to try out for WWE but ended up back in ECW in 1999, which is when he took the name that indicated that he looked a lot like Kid Rock at the time.
After he left ECW, he went to WCW, but then WWE purchased the company the same week Kash debuted, and he left for the new TNA Impact Wrestling and worked the X-Division. Finally, in 2005, Kash went to WWE, and while he held the Cruiserweight title for one month, he was soon put into a comedy tag team and released one year after he signed.
5 MIKE AWESOME
Mike Awesome was one of the most impressive big men in professional wrestling. Take one look at his match for WWE at One Night Stand against Masato Tanaka when the two ended up in one of the best matches of the night to see why he deserved more than he got.
ECW made him a world champion, and he actually beat Taz for the title. WCW made him a joke with the "Fat Chick Thrilla" and "That '70s Guy" gimmicks that killed any momentum he had. Awesome was then part of the Invasion after WWE purchased WCW but was released one year later. Awesome actually said he was happy when WWE fired him.
4 JERRY LYNN
The fact that WWE saw nothing in Jerry Lynn is ridiculous. In ECW, Lynn and Rob Van Dam had some of the best matches in the history of the company. While Lynn didn't have a huge personality, he was still a great wrestler at least on the same level of Lance Storm.
He was an ECW world champion before working for WWE, and he was a Ring of Honor world champion after WWE refused to do anything with him. Lynn joined WWE when ECW went under and won the Light Heavyweight Championship in his first match there. He held the title for just over one month and then did nothing else before WWE released him eight months later.
3 THE BLUE MEANIE
It really is no surprise that WWE had nothing at all for Blue Meanie. Out of the three members of the bWo, Stevie Richards had the best career, eventually becoming the leader of Right to Censor. He was the best promo guy in the group. Nova had a decent run as well, first as fitness guru Simon Dean but more importantly as a talent development manager in OVW.
However, Blue Meanie was an overweight parody wrestler with no real skills and nothing WWE could build on. He got a chance to parody Goldust as Bluedust and then returned at One Night Stand where JBL legitimately beat the crap out of him in the ring for no apparent reason.
2 SUPER CRAZY
Super Crazy should have been a massive star in WWE. He had an enormous fanbase in Mexico, which WWE is always looking for. Despite his appearance, he was also a fantastic cruiserweight star who could do just about anything in the ring. He proved in ECW how great he could be and signed with WWE in 2005.
While Super Crazy was incredible and Juventud Guerrera was one of the top high flyers in wrestling at the time, WWE decided to have them dress like lawn workers and come to the ring on riding lawnmowers in an embarrassing stereotypical gimmick. Juvi was released, and one year later Super Crazy was gone too.
1 2 COLD SCORPIO
2 Cold Scorpio was the man standing across the ring from Shane Douglas on the night that Douglas won the NWA title, threw it away, and launched ECW. Scorpio also shook Douglas' hand after that and soon joined him in ECW. While there, Scorpio won the TV title four times and the tag titles once with Sandman.
He was also one of ECW's most popular wrestlers. When Scorpio signed with WWE in 1996, he was renamed Flash Funk, made to dance in the ring, and then put into the J.O.B. Squad with Al Snow as a perennial loser.