When ECW broke away from the NWA and officially became the third major professional wrestling promotion in the '90s, it helped usher in what later became the Attitude Era of WWE. While the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW is what officially led to the boom period in wrestling, ECW was just as significant when it came to bringing in more fans.
However, the reliance on violence in addition to the Luchadore movement to America and the overreliance on sexual situations led to many ECW originals struggling to find success outside the Extreme wrestling promotion. Here is a look at where 10 of the most successful ECW originals are now.
10 SHANE DOUGLAS
The man who started it all as the Face of ECW was Shane Douglas. The former Dynamic Dude in WCW went to ECW and won the NWA world title before throwing it down and proclaiming that he was the new face of ECW, which broke away from the NWA and set out on its own.
In his time in ECW, Douglas won the world title four times and was also a two-time TV champ. He left ECW once to go to WWE before returning and did the same one more time in WCW. After ECW, he went to TNA for a short time and has since wrestled in the indies. Most recently, Douglas wrestled for the Detroit-based XICW.
Originally, Taz was part of the tag team The Tazmaniacs and worked mostly in tag team wrestling before he started making noise in ECW. He worked as the Tazmaniac until he fell to a neck injury and was out of action for a short four months. He returned as Taz, turned heel, and started tearing through the roster.
Taz made a lot of noise when he brought his own created title to the ring with him and called himself the FTW Champion. He held this until he finally won the ECW world title, which he had two reigns with, on top of two TV title reigns and three tag title reigns. After ECW, Taz went to WWE, wrestled for a short time before retiring, and later worked for TNA. He now runs his own podcast and hosts a radio show on CBS Sports Radio.
8 DUDLEY BOYZ
Originally, ECW introduced the Dudley Family, which included a ton of members. After a time, it was Bubba Ray and D-Von who rose to the top and the Dudley Boyz became the face of that faction and the most successful tag team in ECW history. They held the tag team titles there eight times.
On top of ECW, the Dudley Boyz also won the WWE tag titles 10 times, the TNA titles three times, and the IWGP titles twice. They are also a WWE Hall of Fame tag team as well. D-Von is now working as a producer for WWE while Bubba Ray is working for Ring of Honor.
Sabu is the prototypical WCW wrestler -- a crazed superstar who put his own body through as much trauma as he did his opponents. A hardcore legend, he is best known for his feuds with names like Taz and Rob Van Dam, as well as his partnership with Van Dam in ECW.
In ECW, Sabu was a two-time world champion, one-time TV champion, and held the tag team titles three times, twice with Van Dam and once with Taz. He had short stints in TNA and WWE and has most recently resurfaced in Impact Wrestling after a few years of medical problems.
Raven was the perfect ECW wrestler, a hardcore legend with a brilliant mind for both storytelling and booking matches and long-term feuds. Originally appearing in WCW as Scotty Flamingo and WWE as Johnny Polo, Raven changed everything about his character and became a grunge-styled villain -- the best character in ECW history.
Raven is a two-time ECW world champion and also held the tag team titles four times. He had a short stint in WWE where he won the hardcore title 27 times, but his success there was minimal compared to ECW. He was also a champion in WCW. In recent years, Raven has made appearances in indie promotions and even hosted his own podcast.
5 ROB VAN DAM
Rob Van Dam was, in the era of ECW, one of the most revolutionary wrestlers in the world. His mixture of martial arts, high flying moves, and his innovation with chairs in his matches made him one of the most exciting stars in ECW and a massive fan favorite, even when playing the role of a heel.
RVD was a two-time tag team champion and a TV champion, but he was so good in ECW he didn't need titles to remain a top name. He went on to WWE and won their world title by beating John Cena, so he was one of the most successful ECW originals after the company folded. Most recently, RVD returned to Impact Wrestling, where he is a former world champion as well.
4 TOMMY DREAMER
Tommy Dreamer was the heart and soul of ECW. Dreamer himself said that he never needed a world title to be successful in ECW and demanded the one time that he won it, to immediately drop it because he felt holding the title would have hurt his character. He was also a three-time tag team champion for ECW.
Since leaving ECW, he worked on the short revival of the company in WWE and then worked behind-the-scenes as a producer for WWE. Dreamer still makes appearances in indies as well as Impact Wrestling, but he spends most his time now running his own promotion called House of Hardcore.
3 THE SANDMAN
The Sandman is one of the most iconic ECW originals due to his character more than his minimal wrestling skills, to be honest. He came to the ring to the Metallica song "Enter Sandman" while drinking beer and smoking a cigarette, which was a big reason his entrance didn't receive the same reaction from fans in WWE.
Sandman, despite his limited wrestling skills, limited mostly to brawling, was still successful. He was a five-time ECW world champion and held the tag team titles once. He had a chance in TNA, WCW (as Hack) and WWE but never replicated his fan-favorite experience in ECW. In 2018, Sandman appeared in Ring of Honor, and in 2019 in MLW.
2 2 COLD SCORPIO
When Shane Douglas won the NWA world title and threw it down to kickstart ECW, the man he beat in the finals of that tournament was 2 Cold Scorpio. After Douglas made his speech, the two men shook hands and Scorpio was one of the original signings for the new ECW and had a solid career there.
2 Cold Scorpio won the tag team titles once with Sandman and was a four-time TV champion. He went to WWE where they called him Flash Funk and wrestled in WCW where he was a tag team champion as well. Now aged 53, 2 Cold Scorpio still works the indies in special appearances.
1 MIKEY WHIPWRECK
Mikey Whipwreck was an amazing story. He was a true underdog story that ECW was able to take credit for creating his career as a wrestler. He worked in ECW as part of their ring crew, where he was allowed to mess around in the ring before and after shows. When Paul Heyman saw what he could do, he booked him as an underdog wrestler.
Mick Foley took Mikey Whipwreck and trained him. ECW then put Whipwreck in situations he had no chance of succeeding in and allowed him to overcome the odds, and he won over the fans. He ended up as a three-time tag team champion, two-time TV champion, and actually won the world title once. He also worked in Ring of Honor, and he finally retired as Mikey Whipwreck in 2015.