I remember the first time I saw an ECW show live in 1994, without even knowing they had a television show and not knowing really anything about it, just that Chris Benoit, Cactus Jack, Sabu, Woman and Paul E. Dangerously would be on the show. I traveled 4 hours from Connecticut to a hotel, yes I was actually going to go this far and planned to stay overnight for a WRESTLING SHOW!
What I saw that night was the best damn wrestling show that I ever dreamed about seeing. US Wrestling was in a decline and I only thought that by saving up some money and traveling to the Orient, I would actually get to see some great wrestling matches live in my life. The WWF and WCW events I went to were really starting to bore me. I was in shock with the ECW product.
My God, I was coming back to Philadelphia in 3 weeks to see this promotion try to up their performance. 3 weeks later, I was back in the bleachers with the same bleacher bums as the last time from all over the east coast. These guys all came for the same reasons as I did, an alternative product. And once again, EVERY single worker on that show BUSTED their asses for us making it better than the last time, something I regularly began saying every time. I saw a Barbed Wire Bat match happen right in front of me. I saw Cactus Jack pound this Sandman guy into a complete concussion. And I saw a spot I just couldn't believe as Chris Benoit powerbombed Sabu off the top rope through a table while Rocco Rock lay on top of it.
Once again, I went to the Travelodge afterwards and without once again even introducing myself to anyone, at certain times, these ECW workers of all types would just ask everyone in the lobby "Did you enjoy the show tonight?" I never heard any other wrestler ask me that question. They all usually just brushed me off when I wanted a picture or just to simply tell him how much I enjoyed their efforts. All the guys were glad to talk about ECW with anyone who asked.
Over the course of the next five years, I continued to make my road trips to Philadelphia until ECW began to run shows in different towns, eventually coming closer and closer to my hometown. And as they traveled, I traveled with them. What loyal ECW fan would miss their first PPV venture in 1997? How about the Terry Funk Tribute banquet that was put on the day before that show, where almost every wrestler told an audience what Terry Funk has meant to them and ECW?I went to as many shows as I could no matter what the price nor the location, whether it be Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, New York City, Asbury Park, Queens, Pittsburgh, Poughkeepsie, Revere, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, wherever.
As I usually traveled with Bill Pancoast, we met people I thought we would never meet and am thankful to have them as friends today, such as George Mayfield, Tony Brown, Jeff Lynch, Dave Scherer, Rat, Scrapdog, Quigley, Blackjack Brown, George Napolitano, Bill Apter, Dave Meltzer, Bob Ryder and more that could fill a page.
I met hundreds of wrestlers and fans in a way that I never thought I could and after a while felt like I had a new family in my heart. I loved not just ECW but everything about ECW. Everything and everyone in ECW gave me some great life experiences as I traveled on what I called vacation weekends, mainly to catch a show in an area and hang out with the boys just one more time.
I heard some of the greatest tales, saw some of the greatest moments and had, without a doubt, the greatest times of my life within my ECW experiences. Of course we all wish ECW could just try and continue on but ECW did not WANT to shut down, it's been forced to.
Let it rest in Peace. And let the man who tried like Hell to keep ECW alive to the end, Mr. Paul Heyman, have his much deserved rest. Paul has been a zombie all these years for us and I am sure he still will be in the WWF because he has an unbelievable passion for the wrestling business. But at least the whole company and every function of it is off his shoulders now and he can focus on a less strenuous job of doing what he does best with some of the greatest talent in the world today.
So keep the dreams and memories alive for ECW. As much as we all miss it, I can bet there is another who misses it more. So in a tribute no where close to fitting, as there never could be such,
Thank You for being there.
Thank You for the moments.
Thank You for the inspiration.
Thank You for allowing me to meet the greatest fans in the world.
Thank You ECW.
Thank You Very Much.
Wild Bill Brown