At its height, Extreme Championship Wrestling was the third biggest wrestling promotion in the United States. However, it was tiny in comparison to Goliaths that were WCW and WWE. It also didn't the help that WCW ransacked a bunch of ECW's top talent.
ECW was considered an alternate to the WCW and WWE product, as it was known for its hardcore style of wrestling. The fans were rowdy, loyal, and very knowledgeable.It seemed like ECW would always have their own little slice of the pro wrestling pie, but they ran into money problems and were bought out by Vince McMahon in 2001.
Not all of their wrestlers took the big money that was being thrown out by WCW. A few of their top wrestlers stayed loyal and were rewarded because of it. Guys like Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, and Sabu made their name working for ECW.
Although ECW was great at making its own stars, they didn't turn down an opportunity to bring in an established star. A couple of these established guys had lengthy runs with the company, like Bam Bam Bigelow and Terry Funk. However, most of these guys seen ECW as just another paycheck. ECW was a minor league promotion to them and they wanted to get back to the big leagues, that being WCW and WWE.
The wrestlers on this list all had brief runs with ECW. Some wrestled for six months, some for one month, and some for one night only. Either way, they all made a impact both big and small, even if it was special attraction for the fans on a particular night.
Here are the top 15 wrestlers you didn’t know performed in ECW.
15 Joey Mercury
Most of today's new wrestling fans only know Joey Mercury as one half of J and J Security. However, Mercury has had an accomplished career. The most successful time for Mercury was when he teamed up with Johnny Nitro, along side Melina to form MNM. In their three years as a team, they would capture the WWE Tag Team Championship on three different occasions.
Mercury's road to the WWE was a long one, having started his professional wrestling career in 1996. After finding some success on the independent scene, he would sign a contract with WCW. He never appeared on WCW television and was released after just seven months. After WCW, Mercury started a successful tag team with Christian York on the independent circuit. They eventually grabbed the the attention of ECW. Sadly, their run in ECW was short, as the company shut down six months after they debuted.
14 One Man Gang
One Man Gang had the best years of his wrestling career during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In WWE, he was having main event matches against guys like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. After his time with WWE, he had a couple of different runs with WCW, which included a run as the United States Champion.
In 1998, One Man Gang signed with ECW and became a member of the Full Blooded Italians. His run only lasted a year with ECW before going into semi-retirement in 1999.
Before David Heath became famous for portraying the character of Gangrel in WWE, he was a successful wrestler in various promotions. He spent time with Stu Hart's famous Stampede Wrestling, as well as Ali Baba's All-Japan Promotion. After a few appearances with both WCW and WWE, he appeared with ECW in 1995. Wrestling under the name of The Vampire Warrior, Heath's most noteworthy feud came against ECW legend Tommy Dreamer, which saw the two wrestlers fight over Health's real-life wife Luna Vachon, with Dreamer getting the upper hand.
12 Mabel/Viscera/Big Daddy V
Nelson Frazier Jr. is perhaps best known for his character of Viscera, but he arguably had his most success during his first run in WWE as Mabel. The highest point of his career has to be winning the 1995 King of the Ring tournament. After his victory, he became one of the top heel' in the entire company and it seemed like Mabel was destined to get a championship run, however just a year later he was mostly used as a jobber, before being released in 1996.
After wrestling in the independents, Mabel would make his one and only surprise appearance in ECW, at the 1998 November to Remember Pay-Per-View. He teamed up with the Full Blooded Italians in losing effort as the giant Mabel would be pinned by the tiny Spike Dudley.
Frazier would eventually head back to WWE as Viscera, although the character would soon shift into a lighter version who wore pyjamas and enjoyed a good time. Frazier was then repacked as Big Daddy V, his final gimmick with the company.
11 Marty Jannetty
Marty Jannetty is most famous for his six year tag team partnership with Shawn Michaels, known as The Rockers. They started off with the NWA in 1984, then they went to the AWA, until finally getting to the big leagues with WWE in 1988. When the team broke up in 1991, it was all downhill for Jannetty. He was released by the WWE in 1992, in part for being arrested for attacking a police officer. He was given a couple more chances in WWE, but his personal problems got the best of him.
Once WWE was no longer an option, Jannetty decided to take his talents to ECW. He only wrestled with the promotion for five months, but had some significant matches. His first ever match was against ECW World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas, which he lost. He also received a Heavyweight Championship shot against The Sandman, before once again heading back to WWE.
10 Doink the Clown
Doink the Clown is one of the most enduring characters in WWE history. Even today, when he makes a rare television appearance, he gets a great crowd reaction. The character of Doink has been played by multiple wrestlers throughout the years, with Matt Osborne being the first and longest running. Doink was a heel when he first entered WWE in 1993 and had feuds with likes of Crush and Bret Hart, before he would turn face by dumping a pail of water on Bobby Heenan. Osborne didn't get much of a chance to play a babyface Doink, because he was fired over drug issues.
Osborne made his ECW debut in 1994 as the Doink character. The hardcore ECW fans hated the gimmick, so Osborne changed his ring name to Borne Again. He still portrayed a clown gimmick, except he had no wig, less face paint, and a beard. His character was starting to gain some traction, but Osborne's drug problems got the better of him again, and he was subsequently fired.
9 Ron Simmons
Ron Simmons started his wrestling career in WCW in 1987, where he had great success. He was the first ever African-American to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Simmons held the title for five months, before losing it in a match against Vader. Simmons never got another championship push and left the company in 1994.
Simmons joined ECW in September of 1994 and stayed with the company until May of 1995. He came close to winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Shane Douglas, but came up just short.
8 King Kong Bundy
King Kong Bundy was a top heel during his first run in the WWE from 1985 to 1988. The pinnacle of Bundy's career was headlining WrestleMania II against Hulk Hogan in a Steel Cage match. After leaving WWE, Bundy would wrestle for various independent promotions. He made his one and only appearance with ECW at the 1993 November to Remember event. He teamed up with Terry Funk in a losing effort against Road Warrior Hawk and Sabu.
7 Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart was a part of one of the most popular tag teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s: The Hart Foundation. Teaming up with Bret Hart, they would go on to win the WWE Tag Team Championship on two different occasions. Once Bret was becoming popular as a singles competitor, the team was split up. Neidhart briefly teamed up with Owen Hart before being fired for unprofessional conduct in 1992.
Neidhart did a few tours in Japan, as well a short run with WCW, before heading to ECW in 1993. The highlight of Neidhart's time in ECW was match against The Sandman at November to Remember, which ended in a draw.
6 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Jake "The Snake" Roberts is considered one of the best wrestlers of all-time when it came to ring psychology. It's just too bad he is also known for squandering his career due to drug and alcohol problems.
He had a successful six year run as a crowd favourite with WWE, despite not winning any titles. He left for the WCW in 1992. The only noteworthy thing he did with WCW was engaging in a feud with Sting.
After a second run with WWE, Roberts joined ECW in the summer of 1997. In his only match for the promotion, he teamed up with Tommy Dreamer in a winning effort against Justin Credible and Jack Victory.
5 Road Warrior Hawk
Road Warrior Hawk represented one half of one of the most popular tag team in wrestling history, The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom. Along with his partner Animal they won titles all over the world. When Animal suffered a major back injury, Hawk was forced to go out on his own as a singles competitor. He first went and competed in Europe and Japan, where he had some decent success. Hawk then made the trip to ECW in 1993. However, the company had not yet adopted the extreme name as they were still known as Eastern Championship Wrestling. He would wrestle a handful of matches for ECW, but left the company after they changed their name to Extreme.
4 4. Sid Justice/Vicious
Sid accomplished a great amount during his career. He is a combined four-time World Champion in WWE and WCW. He headlined WrestleMania on two different occasions, facing Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VIII and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 13. So, when he made his ECW debut in 1999, it was a big deal. Sid was involved in feuds with ECW's biggest stars like The Dudley Boys and Justin Credible. After just a handful matches, Sid went back to WCW for his second and final run.
3 The Steiner Brothers
The Steiner Brothers, made up of real life sibling Scott and Rick, were one of the best tag teams of the early to mid 1990s. They won titles in both WCW and WWE. They took their talents to ECW in the summer of 1995, only staying for a few months. Just like in WCW and WWE, they would win the majority of their matches. They defeated stars the likes of Chris Benoit, Stevie Richards, and Raven.
Lita is considered to be one of the greatest female wrestlers of all-time. She pulled of high risk moves that women never dared to attempt before. She won the WWE Women's Championship four times.
Before she got her break in WWE, like most wrestlers she started off in the independent scene. Lita debuted in ECW in 1999, under the ring name of Miss Congeniality. She started off as a manager, but was recruited by Dory Funk Jr. to train at his school. Funk Jr sent a tape of her training to WWE and they loved what they saw as they immediately offered her contract, thus ending her run in ECW.
1 Scott Hall
Scott Hall was one of the most popular wrestlers of the 1990s. He would have been even more successful had he not battled with personal demons. It was those demons that landed him in ECW. After an amazing run as Razor Ramon in WWE, Hall left for WCW in 1996 and became an original member of the nWo. He would go on to have four fairly successful years in the WCW, before injuries and drug problems got the best of him.
In November of 2000, Hall would make his only two appearances with ECW. His first was a surprise house show appearance, while the second was an actual television appearance. In his one televised match, he went on to defeat former ECW Champion Justin Credible. There were plans for Hall to have more matches in ECW, but those plans never came to fruition.