The Wrestling Review Corner: The Rise and Fall of ECW [DOC]

funkbarbedTerry Funk meticulously checking the ropes – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for checking out another wrestling review. We have another documentary, and another rise and fall. This is an absolute classic and probably the best of all time. I watched it again recently, for like the tenth time. It’s essential viewing for anyone who I used to love the old ECW, and for any wrestling fan in general really. Let’s take a look at a few key elements that set this apart from the rest.

The high quality level of filmmaking that you come to expect from WWE is once again present here. This was one of the first documentaries of it’s kind made by the company, and definitely set a high standard for those that followed. They typically utilize the vast video library at their disposal to chronicle the company’s greatest moments. The movie does of course show how the company came to an end, but it focuses heavily on the accomplishments and the high points, I think rightly so in this case. The downfall of WCW was a little sour and full of politics. That kind of sensation isn’t really prevalent here.

Like with most of these things, the film relies mostly on the comments of some excellent interviewees. They get the thoughts of everyone who was anyone in the company, or in the business, at that time. The likes of Paul Heyman, Tazz and Tommy Dreamer paint the picture perfectly. The snippets of classic matches, promos and moments help you see first hand what the evolution of hardcore really looked like. You see the brutal, the intense and the emotional. You see Mick Foley and Steve Austin come into their own and show off the skills that later took them to the main events in WWE, and you see Terry Funk give the fledgling company credibility. No major milestone is unturned.

Unlike films on other promotions, the company never comes across as a melting pot of egos and politics. It is always portrayed as humble in rebellion, and fearlessly alternative. Rather than try to destroy WWF by producing a very similar style of product and using backers money to poach most of their roster, ECW created a product unlike any other in the world, with a fanbase built on ferociously partisan support. This film really puts that across, while avoiding the temptation to become a sickly lovefest.

I don’t ever tire of watching this, and I don’t think this will be the last time. I love to relieve the history of ECW. It’s a product I loved and I know a lot of other people did. It had a huge impact on the business, and definitely deserves to be recognized.

Thanks for reading, and share with me some of your favourite ECW moments in the comment box below. If you’ve seen the film, let me know what you think of that too.

Craig [Editor]


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