While the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were locked in a fight for national supremacy for much of 1995, a renegade promotion based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania built a cult-like following. Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) relished challenging wrestling’s norms and conventions. When Jim Crockett sought to revive the prestige of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1994, ECW star Shane Douglas threw the title on the canvas in disgust after winning it in a tournament final against 2 Cold Scorpio. While the WWF tried to tone down violence in its product by not allowing the use of chairs or ladders as weapons, ECW encouraged its brawlers to put each other through tables and use weapons liberally. And whereas WCW sought to take wrestling back to the 1980s with a revival of Hulkamania, ECW’s owner and booker Paul Heyman – known at this time by his television name Paul E. Dangerously – tapped into the 1990s Jerry Springer-like zeitgeist with risqué storylines and promos that featured colorful language.
Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: ECW Hardcore TV – January 3, 1995