Since forming at the beginning of 2019, AEW has drawn some comparisons to ECW, mainly thanks to their rebellious mentality. AEW has rallied fans who may have been turned off by WWE over the years in a similar fashion to ECW, which gained a cult-like following in the 90s.
Justin Credible was in the middle of the ECW revolution as a member of the Impact Players alongside Lance Storm and serving as ECW Champion in 2000. Speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Credible discussed comparisons between AEW and ECW.
"Their style is different. I don't always like what they do, I feel sometimes it's very much repetitive to me. I think they can do better storytelling," said Credible. "But they have that rebellious attitude. There is a spirit about AEW. It's catching on, especially with the millennials and that 18 to 48 demographic, which is so important. I do see some similarities, but the one thing they don't have, and I'm not being critical -- [ECW] had Paul Heyman. Paul was a crazy, insane, visionary, and he threw a bunch of shit against the wall and whatever stuck, stuck. [AEW] are finding their footing. There are a lot of things that are very similar. They have a huge opportunity and I want nothing but for AEW to succeed."
He continued, discussing why ECW worked in the 90s but may not work today.
"It's not the violence. What ECW did wasn't necessarily so groundbreaking, they just did what they did back in Texas in the late 70s and 80s. We brought in guys like Terry Funk and veterans who could work. Really brought back wrestling. Especially in the city of Philadelphia, they were clamoring for just, real, good hardcore professional wrestling, which I feel as if AEW is trying to do. Everything evolves. ECW wouldn't work today, the way we did it. What made us cool was Shane Douglas would get on the mic and bury Vince McMahon or Eric Bischoff. It's not about that today."
AEW has also brought hardcore wrestling back to the mainstream to an extent. For example, Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega headlined the latest AEW pay-per-view in a Lights Out match that featured a barbed wire spider web, glass, a mousetrap board, and more. Despite wrestling in ECW, even Credible was a bit uncomfortable during the AEW Full Gear main event.
"Even for me, seeing what I've seen, I cringed a little bit," admitted Credible. "The glass, some of the barbed wire stuff. I had never done that stuff. I've done some barbed wire stuff, but not at that level. But it shows the passion. Jon Moxley has been waiting ten years to do that. Omega is one of the best in the entire world. But it was cringeworthy. I watched it uncomfortably. I didn't want to see anybody hurt themselves."
AEW recently borrowed a phrase from ECW, trademarking "Join The Revolution," which was a rallying cry used by Heyman and company. AEW's next pay-per-view event is titled AEW Revolution.
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