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The fans were also allowed to bring their own weapons to the show in its early days, and wrestlers would use them during matches (infamous weapons included a cactus, a ladder, an NES, a VCR, a and a cast-iron skillet, whose use by Mick Foley against The Sandman brought "Bring Your Own Weapons" nights to an end).
The promotion was not without its share of controversy, either - in 1996, two incidents marred the company almost to the point of ruination.
ECW presented a product for a more mature wrestling fan, giving them flawed heroes, deeper storylines, dramatic matches, and - oh, yeah, how could we forget - plenty of sex and violence.
Their product was a stark contrast to the family-friendly comic-book superheroes of the WWF and WCW, as well as the highly-kayfabed style of the NWA.
Backyard CZW would take over ECW's territory, projecting itself as a successor, but proved to be a very different promotion; Pro Wrestling Guerilla opened in a different territory and is typically seen as a more "proper" successor to ECW, though it's still not quite the same.
ECW also brought back old-school technical wrestling and high-flying spot-wrestlers, and thus served as a big influence on Ring of Honor.
(Amongst the ECW alumni that left the company to go on and have memorable careers were Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Mick Foley, Rey Mysterio Jr., Lita, Chris Jericho, Raven, Rob Van Dam, and - arguably the most famous of them all - "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.)Even the ECW crowds had a big influence on other wrestling fans. " when one wrestler chops another (a homage to Ric Flair), the "This is awesome! " chant for a particularly impressive move, and the "You fucked up!
(Incidentally, the show was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, the same building where the two pay-per-views were held.) Once the company officially declared bankruptcy, the WWF bought the promotion, getting all of its trademarks and its video library in the deal.
The incident caused ECW to come under major scrutiny and almost cost them their first big pay-per-view spot until Kulas' lying to the booking team came to light. Once the colorful supermen the WWF had built their company on started to fail and they found themselves chasing WCW's lead, its rise back to dominance came through mimicking the ECW style.
Both the WWF and WCW raided ECW's talent rosters with varying levels of success (the biggest success being "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, whose firing from WCW led him to go to ECW for a brief period before entering the WWF and becoming the most famous pro wrestler since Hulk Hogan).
The NWA president was worried that ECW was going to monopolize the title much like Jim Crockett Promotions did in the '80s, so he took control of the tournament.
In retaliation, Tod Gordon and Paul Heyman devised a plan with the man booked to win the tournament - Shane Douglas - that went into effect after Shane won the title.