From WWE.com: ECW Going Global
May 26, 2006
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has big plans for ECW. In fact, in a Friday afternoon interview with WWE.com, McMahon revealed, We are taking the ECW brand global.
Going worldwide with the likes of Paul Heyman, Tommy Dreamer and Sabu, however, is miles away from where ECW was prior to its closing in 2001. In fact, stationed out of Philadelphia, many looked at ECW as just a northeastern wrestling promotion. But the recently re-launched ECW will not have much of a struggle making an impact both here in the United States and overseas. In fact, according to Mr. McMahon, ECW already has plans for its own Merchandising and Licensing, International Sales, consistent Live Event schedule, as well as its own set of pay-per-views.
But with so much of WWE s global enterprise behind it, can ECW be expected to be the same ECW it was when it developed its cult-like following in the late 1990s and early 2000s?
We will bring forward many of the more legendary characters of ECW s past, said McMahon regarding today s ECW. But it can t be the same. That s pretty much impossible. It s now five years later. A lot of the performers now have five more years under their belt, and the ECW style has taken a great deal out of them. This is something that the ECW audience already realizes. They know that if ECW was still in business today, they would be very different from what they were five years ago.
While the re-launched ECW will undoubtedly be different from the original ECW, McMahon is adamant that the brand will not stop pushing the envelope, nor will it be like the already successful WWE brands SmackDown and RAW.
It will be an alternative, there s no doubt about that, claimed the WWE Chairman. It won t be shot the same way we shoot SmackDown or RAW. It ll have a different feel. It will be more gritty. There will also be more imagination put into concepts and characters. But at the same time, there will need to be a delicate balance because there are three masters to serve. There s the small, vocal ECW audience. Then there s the SCI FI audience that is accustomed to things more SCI FI. And obviously, you have to also be true to our broader audience in terms of what sports-entertainment is today.
With so much of the vision of the new ECW brand already mapped out, many wonder what took WWE so long to re-launch the brand. According to McMahon, it was all about timing.
Over the last several years, we have been busy re-establishing the concept of ECW without it having to be its own brand, said McMahon. Now, with the success of The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD and the success of last year s One Night Stand pay-per-view, it just seemed right. And it feels like this year s One Night Stand pay-per-view will be a launch to re-establish the brand.
So with the launch of the re-established brand right around the corner, will former ECW head Paul Heyman have a role? Absolutely, exclaimed McMahon. But at the end of the day, Mr. McMahon is in charge.