ECW (September – October, 1999)
It’s hard to tell for sure since everything about the game is so shambolic, but ECW Hardcore Revolution seems to roughly cover September and October of 1999. For evidence one need only look toward The Dudleys and Sandman, some of ECW’s biggest, most marketable names who are, nonetheless, not in the game. The Dudley’s left ECW near the end of August so Acclaim must have started assembling Hardcore Revolution’s roster after then, and Sandman returned in early November, so you’re left with a very narrow two-month timeframe.
Believe it or not, Sandman failed to make a go of it in WCW.
Narrow as it was, it was still an important piece of ECW history. ECW on TNN had just debuted in August, bringing ECW out of the world of Internet discussion and tape trading and into the harsh light of the mainstream for the first time. Unfortunately just as ECW was getting its big break, it was falling apart at the seams — as alluded to every second time Paul Heyman’s on WWE TV, them checks were a-bouncin’ and every even remotely promising talent was being snatched up by WWF and WCW. Within less than six-months friggin’ Aldo Montoya was champion, and the writing was on the wall.
But hey, in September/October not quite everyone had jumped ship yet and the promotion was still pumping out a lot of great matches, despite the fact that Heyman was running on fumes as a booker. Taz was still the human suplex-machine and rounding out the last great ECW title reign in the belt’s history in September (well, unless you count that legendary WWECW Chavo Guerrero run) and by late September Mike Awesome would win the title, setting off his storied (and horrifying in hindsight) title feud with Masato Tanaka. RVD was still a fixture and we totally weren’t tired of guys holding chairs in front of their own faces so Rob could spin-kick them yet. A whole host of talented guys like Jerry Lynn, Tajiri, Lance Storm, Rhino and Super Crazy were also tearing it up in pointless, yet exciting matches on the undercard.
“Man, can’t wait to go to WWF, put on a shirt and track pants and start eatin’ me some sammiches.”
I’d kept up with ECW somewhat. I’d read results, watched the occasional tape and squinted at postage-stamp sized Internet videos, but this was the first time I could sit on my couch and watch ECW on TV on a weekly basis like a proper promotion, and for a brief snippet of time, it felt like the most vibrant thing in the world. That vibrancy was as fleeting as money in Paul Heyman’s bank account (heeey-oh!) but I still remember the period with fondness.
And Your Winner Is…
ECW Hardcore Revolution was the product of two companies on the decline, but despite the fact that both ECW and Acclaim are long-since dead, one is definitely better remembered than the other. 1999 ECW was a company going down fighting and doing everything it could to entertain its fans. Early-2000s Acclaim was a company about to release BMX XXX. Don’t let anybody tell you all failures are created equal.
The Undisputed Unified Champion (This Week): ECW (September – October, 1999)
Feel free to share your own memories of late-period ECW, or Acclaim’s wrestling games (come on, we all played them) below!