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ECW on TNN
ECWTNN.PNG
Created byPaul Heyman
StarringSee Extreme Championship Wrestling alumni
Opening theme"This is Extreme!" by Harry Slash & The Slashtones
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes59
Production
Production locationsECW Arena, South Philadelphia Burt Flickinger Center, Buffalo NY
Camera setupMulticamera setup
Running time60 minutes (with commercials)
Release
Original networkThe Nashville Network
Original releaseAugust 27, 1999 (1999-08-27) –
October 6, 2000 (2000-10-06)
Chronology
Related

ECW on TNN, also known as ECW Wrestling, is an American professional wrestling television program that was produced by Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and aired on The Nashville Network (TNN, now Paramount Network). Created by Paul Heyman, the owner of HHG Corporation (parent company of ECW), it presented original ECW matches on Friday nights and was the only national television program in ECW's history. It debuted on August 27, 1999 - five years to the date that Shane Douglas threw down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and rechristened ECW (then known as Eastern Championship Wrestling) as Extreme Championship Wrestling. The final episode aired on October 6, 2000. All episodes are available on WWE Network and Peacock (streaming service).

History

Origin

In 1999, Heyman signed a three-year contract with TNN in the hopes of expanding national awareness of his company. Prior to ECW on TNN, ECW shows were only televised via syndication. For its part, TNN added ECW to its "Friday Night Thrill Zone" lineup in an attempt to help build on the increase in teenager/young male viewership that RollerJam had brought to the network.[1] Into 2000, the network claimed a vast improvement in the young male demographic on Friday nights due to ECW's addition.[2]

ECW–TNN differences

Early signs of a rocky relationship between ECW and TNN came when TNN president David Hall implied that the program would be "toned down" from the usual ECW fare[3] – which emphasized more violent matches and explicit content than that offered by the two leading professional wrestling companies of the day, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). On WWE's The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD, Heyman alleged that the requests from TNN to tone down ECW's content were excessive.

Another source of contention was the lack of original programming. Unsatisfied with the first TNN shoot, Heyman instead chose to air a compilation of promos and old ECW matches designed to act as an introduction to the company for those who had never before heard of it or seen it. ECW commentator Joey Styles said that "the network crapped on" this episode,[4] and ECW wrestler Tommy Dreamer's recollection supported this assertion.[5]

The network also had reportedly placed a great deal of importance on ECW retaining top star Taz. Initially, the company announced that he signed a lucrative deal to remain with the company.[6] However, the deal fell through shortly thereafter and Taz signed a contract with the WWF just months after the show's premiere.

On Rise and Fall, former ECW producer Ron Buffone stated that TNN provided ECW with a very small budget to produce the program while simultaneously asking for high-quality production on par with WCW Monday Nitro and WWF Raw. Heyman and former ECW wrestlers also alleged a lack of promotion of the show by the network specifically and by its parent company Viacom in general.[5]

The relationship between the promotion and the broadcaster was reflected in The Network stable, which became part of ECW's storylines during period the program aired.

Cancellation

ECW on TNN's run lasted thirteen-and-a-half months. As part of an agreement between the WWF and TNN owner Viacom, Raw moved to TNN on September 25, 2000, coinciding with a major relaunch of the channel as The National Network. Despite brief rumors that the two shows might co-exist on TNN for an extended period of time (in spite of the WWF agreement having an exclusivity clause),[7] ECW on TNN was canceled only two weeks later. Paul Heyman stated on the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD that he felt that the ECW show was aired as a test run for TNN to see how wrestling would perform on the channel; former ECW wrestler Jerry Lynn would later agree with this opinion.[4] In later years, Heyman also acknowledged that an effort he made to put ECW on the USA Network proved unsuccessful.[8]

However, Raw continued to air on TNN/Spike TV (renamed to Paramount Network) until 2005 when it moved back to USA Network. Spike later reached an agreement with a competitor, TNA Wrestling, to air its program TNA Impact! on the channel instead. TNA's run would last through 2014.

See also

References

  1. ^ Hoping to Put a Hold on Viewers, TNN to Air Friday Night Wrestling, Daily News (New York), July 1, 1999, p. 110
  2. ^ Wrestling has choke-hold on cable fans; WWF, WCW, ECW score with young male target market, Advertising Age, April 10, 2000, p. S20
  3. ^ Fighting Words From a Bantamweight, The Washington Post, July 2, 1999, p. C07
  4. ^ a b Forever Hardcore (DVD). Franchise Promotions, LLC. 2005.
  5. ^ a b The Rise and Fall of ECW (DVD). WWE. 2004.
  6. ^ TNN PINS DOWN TAZ: Cabler secures grappler on eve of ECW debut, Daily Variety, August 13, 1999, p.4
  7. ^ TV Show Was a One Shot Deal, The Toronto Sun, September 30, p. S15
  8. ^ Castillo, Alfonso A. (August 1, 2014). "Q&A with WWE's Paul Heyman". Newsday. Retrieved May 12, 2021.