WWE's Bruce Prichard Explains How Paul Heyman Put ECW In An 'Awkward Position'

No one would deny that nostalgia is a big part of being a wrestling fan. Some of wrestling's all-time best moments have hinged on surprise returns that get monster pops. Wrestling fans love to reminisce about the stars they loved and the companies they followed, and despite the brand shuttering its doors over 20 years ago, perhaps no other wrestling company garners more nostalgia than Extreme Championship Wrestling and its controversial Hall of Fame promoter, Paul Heyman.


On a recent episode of "Something to Wrestle", Bruce Prichard sat down with Conrad Thompson to discuss the territory days of wrestling, and although ECW emerged long after the golden age of the wrestling territories, Prichard felt its niche appeal in the Philadelphia region made it comparable. 

"Paul wanted to be different," Prichard said. "Paul didn't want to do the same old, same old. So Paul went extreme, as far as extreme different as he could get. Hence, Extreme Championship Wrestling. It was blood and guts and it wasn't for everybody, but there was an audience out there, a small audience. And unfortunately for them, that audience for them was too small to sustain it."

ECW experienced minor success through word of mouth and a hush-hush working relationship with WWE. But, perhaps due to its violent nature, ECW struggled to find a wider audience.


"I don't know that it was sustainable, because Paul just wanted blood and guts and to be different," Prichard said. "And sometimes being different and not giving anybody anything of what they are used to is like ... you either have to love it, or you hate it. And I think that put him in an awkward position."

The original incarnation of ECW folded in 2001. WWE carried out a watered-down attempt at a reboot in 2006, but it was dropped in 2010.