The original Extreme Championship Wrestling revolutionized the way the sport of professional wrestling was viewed in the nineties. The hardcore style, mixed with the lighter international stars made ECW the land of misfits. As a shocking member of the big-three for wrestling promotions in the era, ECW helped create stars out of some of the most unlikely of men. Who were the biggest names made in ECW that wouldn't have gotten a chance in the business without the Philadelphia-based promotion?
The overweight, beer-bellied, cigarette smoking Sandman was one of the most popular wrestlers in ECW history. His constant caning of Tommy Dreamer after a match made them both stars. When WWE decided to revive ECW, he was one of the major players that the company brought in. He has the honor (or dishonor) of saying he took part in the first ECW revival match against The Zombie, but can say he competed in the final match of the original ECW, losing to Justin Credible. While he never saw great success in WWE, he will always be known as an ECW Original.
Kronus didn't look the role of the typical professional wrestler, but coupled with the talented Perry Saturn, he was part of the greatest tag team in ECW history. Double elimination was one of the most popular tag team finishers in the sport and the team was a success in part because of his athleticism. When Saturn left, Kronus was left for dead, teaming occasionally with New Jack.
The former Portuguese Man O' War in WWE was never thought of as a big star, but in ECW he was one of the best, if not the best. He is a former ECW World Champion and was one half of the second best tag team in ECW history, the Impact Players. With Lance Storm, the Impact Players won the ECW Tag Team titles two times, allowing Credible to use the slogan, "I'm not just the coolest, I'm not just the best, I'm Justin Credible."
The original ECW saw the beginning of several legendary careers in the United States, including Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. ECW was also home to Mick Foley and Steve Austin, who were both looking for work and used the promotion to show their skills. While ECW never had a chance to overtake WWE as the best promotion in the world, they were the home to some of the most exciting action in the sport.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of professional wrestling since watching SummerSlam 1992 with his father and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes .