November 16, 2014 by gorillapressonline
The WWE Network is pulling out some more original programming, with a view to catching the attention of Attitude Era fans, in particular. The latest is ECW Exposed, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Lately, WWE have produced a number of essential programmes to lure these fans back and, with a wealth of archived product now available on Network, hopefully they will attract them back into the WWE loop, the end game being to convince them to return to episodic television.
ECW Exposed features ECW alumnus Joey Styles and company owner Paul Heyman, who together host an hour-long look at the extreme, independent federation that was both ground-breaking for its time and fundamental in how wrestling was perceived during the 1990s, also managing to leave a legacy that is still being felt today.
For those not in the know, ECW offered a violent, inventive and innovative alternative to Vince McMahon‘s wrestling ideology and attracted a multitude of hardcore fans. Many of the household names we now know and love appeared in the ECW product, including Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Dudley Boys, to name just a few, all of whom undoubtedly wouldn’t have the focus they do now if not for their time in ECW.
The programme is formatted like a traditional interview show, with Paul answering a number of questions regarding the ECW world, followed by questions from fans via social media – Heyman rightfully points out that if social media was rife in the time the show was on the air, the impact and influence would have been far greater. However, it’s worth noting that even without social media, and today’s advantageous modern advertising channels, ECW still had a remarkable impact on the world of wrestling as we now know it.
Heyman and Styles bounce quite well off each other, their easy rapport allowing them to flit from story to story, weaving together interesting tales and little-known facts, as well as giving background information on how ECW was run as a company with limited resources. Naturally, they also love poking fun at the current WWE format, for example with a hilarious faux trailer for a PPV entitled “Puppypalooza 6”, which showcases just how funny their product actually was. Steve Austin’s Vince McMahon Monday Night Raw parody and Mick Foley playing off his ear injury also provide laughter, alongside many of the ECW originals’ lighter sides.
Elsewhere, the extraordinary matches between Eddie Gurrerro and Dean Malenko are discussed at length, showcasing another, more technically-grounded, side of ECW – sadly Rey Mysterio and a lot of the light heavyweight division, who were a highlight of the PPVs, are only discussed for a short while, so perhaps WWE will allow a little more focus on them in the future. Heyman also divulges which current Superstars would have flourished in the original ECW incarnation, most of whom you could probably guess and, as a fan of the product in the 1990s and nowadays, these selections whet the appetite for what could’ve been.
In fact, the only negative aspect of ECW Exposed – there simply is not enough time to discuss and show everything – is easily rectified with a quick glance at the Network, or even YouTube, where you can find lots of great clips, along with actual matches in full, from this exciting era. Styles also announced recently that ECW Hardcore TV and some more ECW PPVs have been added to their VOD service, so these are more readily accessible too.
In reality, Heyman and Styles could captivate an audience for much longer than they were actually given in this one-hour special. It was broadcast live, immediately after this week’s Monday Night Raw, and in one, particularly great moment the brilliantly deadpan Heyman calls out a crew member who had made a noise during filming.
Put simply, the WWE Network needs more shows of this ilk. Alongside the great, multi episode Monday Night War show, which is currently hitting the right marks (no pun intended) for long-time fans, it could easily lure the audience it so desires – especially considering that, even nowadays, there’s an ECW chant at every PPV and WWE live event without fail.
Catch ECW Exposed on the WWE Network now.