As I'm sitting here watching WWECW content on the network, I wondered about something. If that third brand started in 2006 was called literally anything else…would it have been successful and still be around today? If they would have just taken Velocity at the time and spun it off into its own brand with exclusive roster and championship, could we have today an 11 year old third brand of WWE?
If you go back and watch 2006-2007 ECW, if you took away the name, Heyman, and extreme concepts, it wasn't that bad. If they would have taken Angle, RVD, Big Show, Lashley, CM Punk, Dreamer and mixed in a ton of new guys like they eventually did…Miz, Morrison, Swagger, Sheamus, etc. they really could have had something decent. It was so refreshing to see different camera angles, no WWE watermark, logo on the canvas, unique scaled back entrance way, etc.
I feel like Triple H would have come along in 2012 and taken Velocity and turned it into what NXT is today. Eventually creating Velocity tag titles and Velocity women's title all while staying in the big arena taping before Smackdown.
Well, don't forget ECW literally did get replaced by NXT, so in a way that's kind of what happened. I think though that ECW had certain branding problems that prevented it from integrating fully with the PG philosophy, so yeah, something without the "hardcore wrestling" stigma might have done better. But the problem is that ECW's rebirth came about because the One Night Stand shows did so well, so clearly people wanted ECW and not Brand X. Really, they were trying to serve two masters with the idea, and then Vince got bored of his new toy after a few months anyway. So it was a catch-22: The third brand couldn't have existed with ECW as the subject, but it couldn't survive with ECW as the subject.