The New ECW

November 8, 2006

This week Iím going to take a look at the New ECW, which Iím sorry to say, is starting to look like it could be more aptly named the New Velocity. Apart from having itís own World Champ and a more talented talent roster the New ECW product on the whole is starting to have more in common with the Old Velocity program than itís Original ECW name sake.

The current ECW TV program on Sci Fi is more interesting to watch than the old Velocity program but still very much feels like a WWE B-Team show. When the New ECW started there was talk of their own TV tapings, their own live events, and their own PPVs, truly their own Identity. Sadly this is becoming less and less the case. ECW is exclusively taped in conjunction with SmackDown, much like Velocity was back when it existed. With the product being taped in the WWE environment all the atmosphere and grittiness that was ECW is lost, and with the current talent roster consisting of mostly, completely new talent (CM Punk, Kevin Thorn) and former WWE talent (Big Show, Test, Bob Holly) there is very little association with what once was ECW.

They have also cancelled all future ECW Live Events. This was done primarily because of poor tickets sales and the fact that ECW attendance figures were pulling down the company average and looking bad on quarterly reports. I think the poor tickets sales can, at least in a small part, be attributed to this new product being so different from the old one. Instead of the current products blend of the New ECW and the Original ECW attracting fans of both WWE and ECW I think the blend is doing the opposite. Die-Hard loyal ECW fans find WWECW to be nothing like the Original they loved so much and WWE fans view it as a lower end WWE product. WWE fans would rather see the A shows like SmackDown and RAW than the secondary WWECW events, and ECW loyalist donít want to support a product they view as a slap in the face to the original.

So instead of their own ECW events ECW matches will be incorporated into SmackDown and perhaps RAW live events. This will just further water down itís uniqueness and ECW matches will no doubt be treated as preliminary bouts (much like live event matches with guys who used to be on Velocity) compared to the WWE brand matches. As soon as an ECW World Title match is placed in a mid card spot that brand will be forever viewed as second rate. While I understand the business thinking behind this decision it will do nothing but further erode the ECW product, which is eroding at a fast enough rate already.

Sci Fi ratings for the ECW show have dropped significantly since its debut. When ECW began back in June it was drawing ratings as high as 2.8, now only 5 months later it is drawing 1.6, which is a 43% drop in their viewing audience. Over 1 million people have stopped watching ECW since itís debut 5 months ago. I donít know what kind of numbers Velocity was pulling at the end of itís run but I would hazard to guess if it was in the ECW Tuesday Night time slot it wouldnít be far off the current ECW numbers.

So with ECWís ratings and live event status now mirroring that of Velocity where does that leave it? Well it still has itís own PPV. December to Dismember ECWís first brand exclusive PPV since itís full time resurrection. If it can produce PPV numbers ECW still has a chance of being a success. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. I tend to doubt it. I wouldnít even be surprised to see some last minute WWE talent or matches added to the show to help salvage it. With only the one-hour of TV each week ECW has not produced a lot of brand exclusive feuds and has not as yet established a large enough portion of their roster to even fill a PPV card. With the main event being an Extreme Elimination Chamber match ECW is putting 6 of itís top guys in one match and leaving very little talent to round out the rest of the card.

If I had to make a prediction, which I donít but will anyway, I think ECW is not long for this world. If it still exists in 1 years time it will be strictly a minor WWE brand and its only true claim to fame will be destroying the legacy of the Original ECW. No more will you here the chants of ECDubbÖECDubb that company and that time will be but a faint memory, what a SHAME!

Lance Storm