During the Monday Night Wars, while WCW and WWE were jockeying for position, Extreme Championship Wrestling was a pivotal part of the war as well. Vince McMahon would sponsor the brand, occasional sending some of his guys down there to train a little more and only pilfering a few guys. Conversely, Eric Bischoff was going on full-on talent raids/talent acquisitions. ECW was a proving ground for so many talents during the Monday Night War.
Everyone had to start their wrestling career somewhere. In the mid to late nineties, there was still a WCW and an ECW to go to in order to hone your craft, and as Paul Heyman would grow his fledgling cult promotion, he would fill his roster with legends, well known grapplers, journeymen, and guys who just needed someone to give them a shot.
The alumni of ECW are a lot deeper than one might think. Besides stalwarts like Tommy Dreamer, The Dudley Boyz, and Rob Van Dam, the Land of Extreme would be a proving ground for all kinds of competitors. It’s a tradition that briefly also was carried into the WWE's version of ECW as well, thanks to its developmental feel. Take a look at the below roster of men and women who got their start in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
14 Fake Razor Ramon (Big Titan)
13 Tye Dillinger (Gavin Spears)
12 Rodney Mack (Redd Dogg)
At this point in his career, Rodney Mack will seemingly go down as the answer to two trivia questions – 1. Who is Jazz’s husband? and 2. Who used to be a bodyguard for John Cena? Rodney Mack came to the WWE as a blue chip prospect and besides covering Cena’s back for a brief moment, became a part of Theodore Long’s Thugging and Bugging group, which was a poor man’s Nation of Domination, complete with their own token white guy – Chris Nowinski.
11 Luchadores (Rey Mysterio, Psychosis, Juventud Guerrera)
10 Dean Malenko
9 Rosey (Mack Daddy Kane in Samoan Gangsta Party)
8 Taka Michinoku
7 Joey Mercury (Joey Matthews)
6 The Pope D'Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke)
5 Crowbar (Devon Storm)
4 Crash Holly (Erin O'Grady)
3 Brooke Tessmacher (Brooke Adams)
2 Chris Jericho
1 Lita (Angelica / Miss Congeniality)
Before she became a household name in the WWE, Lita spent some time in the Madhouse of Extreme as a valet for the cult favorite tag team of Danny Doring and Roadkill. As Miss Congeniality and later Angelica, Lita was the girlfriend of Doring,who even proposed to her at Heat Wave 1999. Her time spent in ECW was brief, but it was enough to earn some "street cred" with the die-hards when she debuted with Essa Rios, before she went on to becoming one of the greatest Divas of all time.
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