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Muscle Sport Magazine

ECW Finally Laid To Rest, WWE NXT Begins 2/23

There will be no tears shed in Philadelphia because what was once known as ECW has been dead to them since 2001 when the grassroots promotion went away and swallowed up by the WWE conglomerate. But with the recent announcement that the current brand will be no more after the February 16 telecast on SyFy, there will be a void in the wacky world of professional wrestling.

Replacing ECW will be WWE NXT, which will be a partial reality show similar to the UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” The wrestlers on it will be up and comers from Florida Championship Wrestling, the ‘minor league’ breeding ground for the WWE. Fans will get more insight on the wrestlers outside the ring and they will be competing with each other for more than just a pinfall, adding the extra incentive to become the next big Raw or SmackDown superstar.

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The current ECW roster will become free agents and be dispersed to the other two brands. The current ECW champion Christian will defend his title on the final broadcast on February 16 versus Ezekiel Jackson, ironically enough using exreme rules. No word on what will become of the championship after that.

Although it was a shell of its former self, ECW still had an air about it because of the days when Paul Heyman led it to near stardom status. No other promotion had as much influence on the entire industry, possibly with the exception of the Hulk Hogan-era WWF.

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When you have wrestlers such as the Sandman, Cactus Jack, Terry Funk, Shane Douglas, Raven, Stevie Richards, the Blue Meanie, The Dudleys, the Public Enemy, Taz, Sabu, RVD and so many others, it was a special time, indeed. Tommy Dreamer was the last link to the old days and when he finally called it quits recently, it was only a matter of time before the lights finally went out for good at the old bingo hall near Interstate 95.

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