ECW Hardcore TV

ECW Hardcore TV is a professional wrestling television program that was produced by the Philadelphia-based promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) composed of footage from live shows and recorded interviews. It ran in syndication from 1993 until 2000.

Even after ECW gained a nationally-available television program on The Nashville Network (TNN), Hardcore TV was considered ECW's flagship program. The rights to the show now belong to the WWE. The show was voted as Best Weekly Television Show in the 1994, 1995 and 1996 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.

ECW Hardcore TV
ECW Hardcore TV
Created byTod Gordon
Eddie Gilbert
StarringSee Extreme Championship Wrestling alumni
Narrated byJoey Styles
Opening theme"Closer"/"Thunderkiss '65" mix by Nine Inch Nails & White Zombie (1994-1997)
"This Is Extreme!" by Harry Slash & The Slashtones[1] (1997-2001)
Country of originUSA
2 specials from Japan
No. of episodes401[2]
Production
Executive producer(s)Paul Heyman (September 1993 - 2000)
Production location(s)ECW Arena,[3] South Philadelphia Burt Flickinger Center, Buffalo NY
Camera setupMulticamera setup
Running time58 minutes (with commercials)
Release
Original networkSyndication[4]
Original releaseApril 6, 1993[5] –
December 31, 2000[6]
Chronology
Followed byECW on TNN

Format

Hardcore TV was edited from footage of ECW's live events from the ECW Arena and other house shows. It also included backstage promos & vignettes, which were not shown to the live crowd or included on home video releases of the events. A segment called Hype Central advertised upcoming events and ECW merchandise in a tongue in cheek manner.

Music videos from major musical acts were sometimes shown, interspersed with footage detailing the history of current feuds, as well as spectacular spots. Frequently, the ending of the show would feature a montage of several different promos, with Dick Dale's cover version of "Misirlou" as background music. These became known as "Pulp Fiction promos". The purpose of these promos was to maximize the show's limited airtime in order to keep the fans up to date with current wrestling storylines.

In keeping with ECW's unconventional approach, episodes were not structured with a build toward a main event as with typical professional wrestling programming. Any given week's program could feature any number of matches or match type. Owner/producer Paul Heyman's intent was to keep things fresh by providing variety for the viewers.

Censorship and content

Hardcore TV showed graphic violence (including blood), sexual frankness, and harsh language, all of which were key elements of the ECW product itself. Due to the late night time slots, expletives and violence were not edited from early broadcasts, and this helped to get ECW noticed. After the ECW on TNN program became available, this was a major difference between the syndicated Hardcore TV and the more mainstream program on TNN.[7]

Broadcast history

Philadelphia market

Hardcore TV aired in permanent time slots in ECW's home territories of Philadelphia and New York City, and was also syndicated.[8] Shows were broadcast on a Philadelphia local cable sports station, SportsChannel America's[9] local affiliate, SportsChannel Philadelphia, on Tuesday evenings at 6pm until January 9, 1997 when the show moved to Thursdays at 11pm. In April 1996, the ECW SportsChannel airings were upgraded to 6pm and 11pm on Tuesdays, with a late night Friday replay at 2am. After SportsChannel Philadelphia went off the air in 1997, the show moved to WPPX-TV 61 on Wednesdays at 9pm. It later moved to a former independent broadcast station, WGTW 48 in Philadelphia, on late Friday or Saturday night broadcasts.

Chicago/Northwest Indiana market

In the Chicago and Northwest Indiana market, the show traded back and forth among WCIU 26 on Saturdays, and UPN station WPWR 50, broadcast in both Chicago and Gary, on Friday nights, a week behind. Meanwhile, KBS Chicago (a Korean station that also carried Big Japan shows at midnight) broadcast Hardcore TV on Friday nights.

Orlando market

WRBW in Orlando aired Hardcore TV in a very late night timeslot on Saturdays. Also, WNFM (then known as WSWF), a cable only WB affiliate in Fort Myers, aired Hardcore TV in a primetime slot on Saturday Nights. The rest of Florida got Hardcore TV on regional sports network the Sunshine Network[10] very late on Friday nights. WRBW invoked syndex, meaning ECW was blacked out in the Orlando market on Sunshine.

New York area

Beginning on January 7th, 1995, ECW Hardcore TV aired on the MSG Network in New York City and the surrounding area at 1 am (late Friday night/early Saturday morning). Empire Sports Network (western NY) and WBGT-LP (Rochester) also carried the show.

Pittsburgh market

WPTT-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania aired Hardcore TV late on Saturday nights. The station, now known as WPNT and owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (which at the time operated the station on a local marketing agreement with sidecar Glencairn, Ltd. alongside WPGH-TV, which Sinclair owned outright), now airs Ring of Honor Wrestling from Sinclair-owned Ring of Honor, which is often seen as the spiritual successor to ECW.[11]

Other markets in the United States

Shows were aired on KJLA in Los Angeles on Saturday nights, WUNI in Worcester-Boston very late on Friday nights, WBVC TV-61 in Traverse City, Michigan late Friday Nights, WUCT TV-52 in Dayton, Ohio and WGMB Fox 44 in Baton Rouge on Saturday afternoons and late night. It also aired very late on Friday nights on KTSF TV-26 in San Francisco, on Fridays at 11 on KGMC 43 in Fresno, and on SportsSouth in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Also of note, ECW was on WPEN in Hampton Roads, Virginia, airing every Saturday at 5pm.

Additional networks

Online Streaming

Episodes were at one time available for download on the websites of some affiliate stations.[12]

All episodes are available for streaming on WWE Network.

References

  1. ^ ECW Music Archived 2008-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ RF Video - Hardcore TV listings RF Video - official ECW videographer
  3. ^ ECW Arena Results
  4. ^ ECW TV LISTINGS
  5. ^ ECW TV - 4/5/1993
  6. ^ ECW Hardcore TV - 12/31/2000
  7. ^ Interview with Paul Heyman
  8. ^ ECW ran shows mostly in Philadelphia and was syndicated on television by various stations before it was brought to TNN in 1999.
  9. ^ History of the National Wrestling Alliance
  10. ^ Psychedelic fanhood
  11. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/sports/features/ring-of-honors-declaration-of-independence-20160211
  12. ^ a b The Wrestling Oratory
  13. ^ AS I SEE IT - 3/10/2001
  14. ^ News and Rumors for Tuesday, January 2 The People's Wrestling Website

External links

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ECW/IWA Japan

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ECW Gangstas Paradise

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Gangstas Paradise saw the ECW debut of "Stunning" Steve Austin, Psicosis and Rey Misterio, Jr., all of whom would go on to greater prominence in the late 1990s in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).The event was released on VHS later the same year and on DVD in 2002. The bout between Psicosis and Rey Misterio, Jr. was also featured on the 2000 compilation DVD Path of Destruction, while the tag team bout between The Pitbulls and Raven and Stevie Richards was featured on both the 2001 DVD release ECW: Hardcore History and the 2004 DVD release The Rise and Fall of ECW.

Although not airing on pay-per-view, in July 2019 the event was added to the WWE Network, in the ECW pay-per-view section.

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Hardcore Heaven (1994)

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Nine professional wrestling matches were contested at the event. In the main event, Terry Funk fought Cactus Jack to a no contest after The Public Enemy interfered and attacked both men. The show had a notable ending, which saw the audience throw dozens of folding chairs into the ring, burying Public Enemy.Although not airing on pay-per-view, in July 2019 the event was added to the WWE Network, in the ECW pay-per-view section.

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Heat Wave (1995)

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Eight professional wrestling matches were contested at the event. The main event was a steel cage match, in which The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) squared off against The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa Saed). A notable event took place after the steel cage match between Stevie Richards and Luna Vachon, which saw Tommy Dreamer handcuff Raven to the cage and break a folding chair over his head in what was described as "the chair shot heard around the world".

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November to Remember (1994)

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Nine professional wrestling matches were contested at the event. The event featured two main event matches. In the first main event, Shane Douglas defended the ECW World Heavyweight Championship against Ron Simmons. The second main event was a singles match, in which Chris Benoit took on Sabu. During the match, Sabu suffered a spinal cord injury, which resulted in the match ending in a no contest. Benoit was then challenged by 2 Cold Scorpio to an impromptu match, which ended in a double count-out.

Although not airing on pay-per-view, in July 2019 the event was added to the WWE Network, in the ECW pay-per-view section.

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Seven professional wrestling matches were contested at the event. In the main event, Shane Douglas defeated Al Snow to retain the World Heavyweight Championship in Snow's farewell match in ECW as he departed the company after the event to jump to World Wrestling Federation (WWF). On the undercard, Rob Van Dam successfully defended the World Television Championship against Sabu in a match that ended in a thirty-minute time limit draw and Chris Candido and Lance Storm successfully defended the World Tag Team Championship against The Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks (Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten).

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