10 Things You Didn’t Know WWE Copied From ECW

In 1992 a wrestling promotion launched which was set to change the face of professional wrestling forever. While the behemoths of the then-WWF and WCW were battling it out for dominance on Monday nights, ECW gave fans something completely different and its influence is still felt across the business today.

The mastermind behind Extreme Championship Wrestling, Paul Heyman, once described his creation as being to the mainstream wrestling companies what Nirvana and the launch of grunge were to the hair bands and power ballads of the 1980s.

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But the top two quickly realized that ECW was making waves and did everything they could to get on board. Indeed many of the traits we associate as regular parts of WWE programming today were lifted straight from the bingo hall in Philadelphia.

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10 The Attitude Era

The swearing, the anti-establishment approach, the violence and the controversy which marked out arguably WWE's most successful period were all courtesy of ECW. Paul Heyman has reveled in the fact that ECW changed the game by offering something completely different to mainstream wrestling at the time.

It moved the product away from family-friendly shows and into a focus on a younger, edgier product. Vince McMahon and his team saw it working and ran with the idea.

9 Stone Cold Steve Austin

Not only was the Attitude Era a product of ECW, but so was its biggest star. Austin left WCW under bad terms in 1995 and was picked up by ECW and Paul Heyman, who had managed him in WCW. During his short run with the company, Austin developed the persona and promo style fans would come to know and love in WWE.

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He debuted at The Ringmaster, but within a year had adopted the Stone Cold nickname and was putting everything he had learned and developed in ECW to good use. The rest, as they say, is history.

8 The Hardcore Championship

The whole hardcore ethos which developed in WWE in the late 1990s was thanks to ECW. The Hardcore Championship was created to celebrate the hardcore credentials of Mankind, who had wrestled in ECW as Cactus Jack. Mick Foley's debut as Mankind in 1996 was a sign of the company's shift towards incorporating more hardcore characters.

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But the Hardcore Championship took it to new heights. This was a belt specifically fought for under no DQ and extreme rules - all lifted straight from ECW.

7 Lucha Wrestling

Paul Heyman's theory with ECW was simple; the company could not compete with WWE and WCW on production values and sets, so he shifted the focus to engaging storylines and top-notch wrestling. A big part of this was the introduction of luchadors to the mainstream American wrestling market. Super Crazy and Eddie Guerrero are among those who got their big break in the US thanks to ECW in the mid-1990s.

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By the turn of the century, however, both WCW and WWE were featuring luchadors and WWE's 205 Live today owes a lot to the matches in ECW.

6 Tapping Out

Historically, wrestlers in the WWE (then the WWF) would nod to the referee or verbally announce their submission in a match. But that all changed with ECW and its attempt to tap into the growing trend for MMA in the United States.

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Tazz is widely credited as bringing tapping out into professional wrestling with his Tazz-mission finisher after his re-debut in 1995. Ken Shamrock pushed it when he arrived in WWE in 1997, but Tazz and ECW had got there first.

5 Crucifixion Angle

In 1998, The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin were engaged in a high-profile feud in WWE. One night on RAW, The Undertaker and his acolytes tied Stone Cold to a crucifix as a sacrifice. It was a controversial angle - it was also copied from ECW.

Two years previously, at the height of Raven and The Sandman's feud in ECW, Raven had tied The Sandman up in the ropes in a crucifix pose and crowned him with a laurel of barbed wire.

4 Extreme Superstars And Gimmicks

Vince McMahon has history cherry-picking the top stars from rival promotions. He did it with the territories in the 1980s and in the late 1990s he turned his sights to ECW. As the extreme upstart began to have cash-flow problems, McMahon began to pick up its top stars.

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Tazz was the most obvious example, followed by the Dudley Boyz. What was remarkable was that WWE did not re-brand these stars; much like with the indie sensations of today, the company looked to capitalize on their popularity from ECW.

3 Crowd Brawling

ECW took wrestling beyond the ring and into the crowds and across the arena. Superstars performed moonsaults from the balcony onto their opponents and they fought among the audience.

While WWE had featured occasional out-of-the-ring matches, they were structured and in a fixed location. But as the extreme flavor began to spread throughout wrestling, superstars brawled all over the arena.

2 Table Spots

Putting superstars through a table is almost an everyday occurrence on WWE television in the modern era, but there was a time when it would have been a surprising level of violence.

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That changed with the popularity of ECW and the fans' thirst for more hardcore action. The company did not invent putting people through tables, but it made it a normal part of a show and something which a superstar could (in some cases) continue after.

1 Beer Drinking

Stone Cold Steve Austin's iconic beer bash may be one more part of his iconic character which owes more than a little to ECW.

The Texas Rattlesnake's beer-swilling ways borrow heavily from the antics of ECW icon The Sandman, who used to down a can on his way to the ring. Austin moved his beers to the end of the match, but it's hard to miss the similarity.

NEXT: 10 Things You Didn't Know WWE Copied From WCW

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