Before we go any further, I’d like to send my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Jon Huber. 41 is no age and by all accounts he was a smashing bloke and loving family man. An absolute tragic passing in an already miserable year.
Back in February 2019 I decided to try something new by reviewing all of the ECW Hardcore TV shows up to Living Dangerously 99, being as that had been the first ECW pay per view I had ever watched way back in the day. Once I’d finished Living Dangerously I decided to keep going, reviewing each episode Twenty Years to the day of the original airing. Along the way I saw the TNN TV deal form and crumble, as well as enjoying some cracking matches and some fun angles.
On more than one occasion I wanted to jack it all in and do something else, but I felt compelled to keep trudging on with it, and ultimately I’m glad I did as this represents nearly two years of work and reaching the end feels almost like some kind of bizarre achievement.
I’d like to thank the small, yet loyal, readership of these Hardcore TV reviews that has stuck with them throughout, especially when the show took a notable dive in quality once it was clear it was playing Velocity to the TNN show’s Smackdown. The fact there was still some people willing to read these certainly helped with motivating me to stick with them. I hope the quality of the reviews themselves didn’t dip too much when it became clear that the show was starting to become a drag for me.
The relatively small regular readership these had did kind of ram home a point to me though, which is that ECW really doesn’t have the pulling power it once had amongst the IWC anymore. It’s funny to think that as the company’s legacy survived for a long time after it died, with the Rise and Fall DVD that WWE released in 2004 selling really well. I’m not sure why exactly, but that enthusiasm for ECW just doesn’t appear to be there anymore.
The simple fact that ECW’s hot peak happened nearly 25 years ago is probably the biggest factor, but it wouldn’t shock me if the WWE’s miserable attempt at rebooting the brand in 2006 didn’t contribute also. Another possibility is that a lot of fans who weren’t around to watch ECW back in the day have discovered it on the WWE Network, where all the music is dubbed out and the product itself can be censored from the original airing, which means they have never watched it the way it was intended. The wrestling business as a whole has moved on as well, and a product that features lots of dangerous unprotected chair shots, shedloads of extreme violence and mountains of unapologetic misogyny probably isn’t going to connect as strongly with the modern wrestling fan as it did back in 1996.
About a year ago now in a pre-COVID world I attended a Christmas wrestling show and it had a holiday themed hardcore match where guys were hitting each other with Christmas presents and whatnot. I decided to jokingly start an “EC-Dub” chant at one stage, because it was a relatively smarky crowd and I thought it would get over in an ironic way. Absolutely no one joined in and quite a few people shot me and my friend a quizzical look as if they had no idea what we were doing. That not only rammed home how old I personally was but it also kind of startled me, because even ten years ago that sort of crowd would have gotten the reference and joined in, even if they’d never actually watched ECW themselves at any point.
Anyway, thank you for reading these if you are one of few who dug them and I’ll try and make this review a fitting end to the series. I’ll do a more general recap on what I’ve enjoyed and disliked during the past couple of years in the final conclusion, and I’ll also update you and what I’ll be doing next now the Hardcore TV reviews are done with.