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Top 15 Concepts From The Original ECW That Could Save WWE

Admittedly, sometimes it’s hard to tell whether WWE is actually at a creative low point or if wrestling fans are complaining a lot because wrestling fans always complain a lot. Nonetheless, ratings and online rants from disgruntled viewers indicate that WWE could use a little guidance these days.

Roman Reigns didn’t resonate as a champion or top babyface, many crowd favorites are locked in feuds that don’t lead anywhere or mean anything. The best new concept WWE has offered up in the last two years is The New Day, which was originally a terrible concept that got great once the writers decided they didn’t care about it anymore and let Kofi Kingston, Big E. Langston, and Xavier Woods do with it whatever they pleased.

When every new idea you have sucks, it helps to look back at old ideas, possibly old ideas other people had, that seemed to work out a lot better than what you can come up with. So if WWE must rehash the past to forge its future, perhaps it’s best that it avoids repeating itself and rehashes the history of a completely different company instead of its own.

We used to complain when WWE ripped off ECW, but today, ironically, we’re saying WWE hasn’t ripped off ECW enough.

And we don’t mean the crummy knockoff ECW WWE tried to pass off as ECW - we mean the low-budget syndicated cable show we had to watch at 3 a.m. on the Spanish channel. Paul Heyman’s greatest creation wasn’t meant to last, but it infused some outsider grit, political incorrectness, and an element of “reality” into wrestling at a time when it was otherwise occupied by literal circus clowns, Shockmasters, and special guest appearances by Robocop. ECW shook things up for a while, things need to be shaken up again, and if WWE steals a few more of ECW’s concepts, perhaps the shaking can commence.

10 More Visual Diversity 

via follownews.com

Let’s say one of these nights, WWE feels like booking a three-way dance between Dolph Ziggler, Tyler Breeze, and Chris Jericho. Were they to do such a thing - and it’s certainly not implausible- viewers who aren’t already familiar with WWE storylines may struggle to tell the three combatants apart, especially if Jericho develops an eating disorder and/or starts doing steroids again. Back in ECW, it wasn’t uncommon to see Spike Dudley to take on Bam Bam Bigelow, or Sabu battle the One Man Gang, and in those cases, nobody watching got any of the pretend fighters mixed up.

9 Characters Fans Can Identify With 

via thepunkeffect.com

The Sandman was a bloated, unrepentant alcoholic drug addict who - to say the least - wasn’t the greatest in-ring athletic talent of his time. Yet he was wildly popular. Why? Because other bloated alcoholics in the audience could look at The Sandman and say, “I feel as though this wrestler speaks for me. Our life experiences may be similar in many regards. I want him to win, because his victory is vicariously my victory.”

8 Weirder Special Attractions 

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via flickriver.com

Plenty of ECW brawls spilled over into the audiences and, often due to fans lacking a clear sense of boundaries or concern for their own well-being, it was not uncommon for wrestlers to take a swing at an audience member. Obviously, WWE would find itself in substantial legal trouble if their performers pummeled idiots in the crowd with any regularity. But remember when those fans were jumping the barricades and bothering formerly-Shield-affiliates? Reigns, Ambrose, and Rollins should’ve been allowed to beat those guys up.  

via fightnetwork.com

Speaking of Bailey and Sasha Banks, the pair of upstarts clearly had the best WWE-sanctioned match of 2015. The problem was it was on NXT: Takeover, not Monday Night Raw. Because if it was on RAW, Banks and Bailey would’ve had to limit their contest to less than 10 minutes and it would be saddled with an ill-conceived storyline to set up a PPV match.

7 Evil Dudleys 

via via ign.com
via rollingstone.com
via the-warzone.net

6 Inter-Gender Matches 

via fanpop.com

5 Focus On An Absent, Abstract Adversary 

via ecwfrenchtribute.free.fr

On many occasions, Paul Heyman got on the mic and denounced the pitifully subpar programming and shady business tactics of his greatest enemies - Titan Sports and Turner Broadcasting. The punk rock, anti-establishment aesthetic of ECW made viewers feel like they had discovered a secret or like they were part of an underground subculture with access to an arcane, extreme wisdom that WWE and WCW viewers could never understand. Then, later it turned out ECW was basically a farm territory for WWE that entire time and Tommy Dreamer's probably still kind of bitter about that.

4 Pulp Fiction Promos 

One of the biggest criticisms against the current WWE product is a lack of meaningful storylines, at least outside of the main event picture. Most matches, from a narrative perspective, are basically just two guys who are mad at each other because they’re fighting and that’s how fighting people behave. In WWE's defense, it’s difficult to present clear motivations and personalities for a dozen-or-thereabouts characters within a two-and-a-half hour TV show in which some, by necessity, must take grand precedence over others.

3 Raven’s Nest 

via killeroflegends.blogspot.com

2 To Hell With the PG 

via rollingstone.com

1 Stop Calling It Sports Entertainment 

via impacttym.com
via eyesonthering.com

Not literally.

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Top 15 Concepts From The Original ECW That Could Save WWE