ECW has an important place in wrestling history and some of the best names held its top title.
The original ECW has an exceptional place in my heart because I remember staying up at 2 am with my father and older cousin watching it. When I first started watching ECW, I thought for sure that this wrestling felt more real than WWF and WCW. Everything from hardcore wrestling, the versatility among the wrestlers, such as the first time we got to see Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero. The edgy storylines, the evil mind of Paul Heyman putting together wrestling storylines.
The ECW Championship is one of the most critical world titles in professional wrestling history. When you think of ECW, it is essential to know that the wrestlers in ECW had to work twice as hard as the WWF and WCW wrestlers because to the other companies, ECW wasn’t as big as them. ECW was an essential part of the Monday Night Wars because both companies would take talent and copy ECW hardcore style to get viewers. This is a look back to the top ten men to hold the ECW championship.
Rhino was the final ECW world champion in 2001 and it was well deserved because at that time Rhino was one of the best heels in the business. Paul Heyman built Rhino up so well as being an unstoppable monster that was destroying everyone in his path.
9. The Sandman
The Sandman is an ECW legend that had the most reigns in the company history. But, when people talk about The Sandman, they never bring up his title reigns because he never felt like a strong champion. Sandman was the type of wrestler that was so over with the fans he never needed a world title to prove how great he was.
8. Steve Corino
In the final year of ECW, we got to see new stars being pushed into the spotlight, which was a good thing. One of those stars in ECW’s final year was Steve Corino, who was made the company’s top heel and even got to feud with Dusty Rhodes. Joining ECW was a significant career move for Corino because it showed the wrestling world that he could be a top guy in a company and be a heel champion that could create a buzz.
7. Mike Awesome
Mike Awesome was a big star for ECW in the ’90s. He had come from Japan to work in ECW, where he would become a world champion. The thing that made Mike Awesome such as great wrestler is that he was a big man that could move around like a smaller wrestler, and the way he was able to adapt to the hardcore style of wrestling with ease. I recammand watching Mike Awesome matches with Masato Tanaka because they worked very well together. Mike Awesome probably could have been ECW’s greatest champion, but he decided to jump to WCW in one of the most controversial ways during the Monday Night Wars.
6. Bam Bam Bigelow
When it comes to Bam Bam Bigelow’s professional wrestling career, the company that used him the best was ECW. Paul Heyman allowed Bam Bam to be himself and showcase his talent in the best way possible. Bam did a great job being ECW world champion because he proved that he could be a major player in ECW.
When people think of ECW, they always mention two wrestlers Tommy Dreamer and Sabu. Sabu was the wrestler who embodied the spirit of the Hardcore wrestling company. Sabu was one of the first wrestlers to use tables, ladders, chairs, barbed wire, and thumbtacks all in one match. Sabu was able to capture the ECW World title on two different occasions, but just like Sandman, the world title never really added to Sabu because of how over he was with the fans.
4. Terry Funk
Terry Funk was already a professional wrestling legend way before joining ECW, so his run in the promotion can be seen as a victory lap. Terry Funk could have just taken a backstage role in ECW, and that could have been the end of his professional wrestling career, but he wanted to prove that as a veteran, he still had a lot to give the business. Terry Funk had some of the most dangerous matches in the history of professional wrestling. In ECW., Terry Funk made history when he won the ECW world title at the first-ever PPV ECW put together titled Barely Legal. Terry Funk winning the ECW world title gave the company more credibility.
3. Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas’s time in ECW was the best success he received in his professional wrestling career. WCW and WWE failed to use Shane Douglas to the best of his abilities. Shane Douglas had the total days as ECW champ, which was an incredible 874 days over the course of four different title reigns.
Shane Douglas was the first ECW world champion when ECW decided to separate itself from the NWA, which was Eastern Championship Wrestling. Shane Douglas made history when he threw down the NWA belt and cut the promo on not wanting to be champion of a dead wrestling promotion.
Taz was the reason why I thought the wrestlers in ECW were real because he felt more like a UFC streetfighter that was on a mission to take out anyone in his way. The rise of Taz in ECW is one of the greatest stories ever because he came back from a career-ending neck injury to go on a monster run as ECW world champion. When Taz was world champion, he added credibility and helped add to the legacy of the belt because of how believable he was in the ring.
Raven is one of the most significant characters in professional wrestling because of how connected he was to the fans. When Raven talked, you listened. Raven was one of ECW’s most dominant champions when the company was first starting up. Raven held the championship on two different occasions, which ended in great storytelling matches between him and The Sandman and him and Terry Funk.
Raven deserves the top spot because he was ECW champion that did things his way and could bring out the best in people when he was on the mic and in the ring. Raven would go on to have Success in Impact wrestling becoming the NWA world champion proving that once again he had what it takes to carry a world title.