WWE Extreme Rules 2018 is finally here. That’s why now is an ideal time to honour this pay-per-view’s namesake, Extreme Championship Wrestling.

ECW was a wrestling promotion that was owned by Brock Lesnar’s manager Paul Heyman from 1994 until they were acquired by the WWE in 2001.

They were known for their grimy atmosphere, global mix of wrestling styles, and innovative Extreme Rules matches.

Legends such as Rhyno, Tajiri, The Dudley Boyz, and Rey Mysterio have all made their marks in ECW.

Let’s imagine what would happen, in the current wrestling landscape, if the heart of Extreme Rules were to be revived. Who would be on the roster? What kind of matches will happen at the reboot?

In the latest instalment of WWE Alternate History, we entertain the thought of WWE Extreme Rules 2018 being the platform to introduce ECW as an additional brand for the second time.

Before coming up with our card, we need a roster. I’m selecting five wrestlers from RAW, five from Smackdown LIVE, five from NXT, 205 Live, or part-timers, and five free agents. Commentators included as well.

The roster

  • Dean Ambrose
  • Finn Balor
  • Rhyno
  • Bray Wyatt
  • Sasha Banks
  • Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
  • Asuka
  • Jeff Hardy
  • Samoa Joe
  • Aleister Black
  • Nikki Cross
  • Tommaso Ciampa
  • Rey Mysterio
  • Hideo Itami
  • Jeff Cobb
  • Jimmy Havoc
  • Hana Kimura
  • TAKA Michinoku
  • Rob Van Dam
  • Commentary: Joey Styles and Scott “Raven” Levy

The card

ECW World Title qualifier

Jeff Hardy vs. Dean Ambrose

The centrepiece of ECW Extreme Rules 2018 is the mini-tournament to determine the undisputed ECW World Heavyweight Champion.

Hardy and Ambrose are no stranger to Extreme Rules situations. Jeff does his famous high-risk offence, but this ruthless, maniacal side of Dean Ambrose acts as a foil.

ECW’s Dean Ambrose should be akin to his persona on the indie scene, a character who feels like a combination of Cactus Jack and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Ambrose should outsmart all of Hardy’s chaotic strategies.

With every opportunity, he counters with a barrage of brawling, technicality, and steel chairs. Jeff Hardy is weakened enough for Ambrose to finish him off with a Dirty Deeds.

Winner: Dean Ambrose, advances to the main event

6-person tag team match

bWo Japan (Taka Michinoku, Hideo Itami, & Asuka) vs. Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Jimmy Havoc, & Nikki Cross)

Taka Michinoku returns to ECW to inject new life into the Blue World Order: Japan. Bray Wyatt seems to have the same plan for his diabolical cult.

This should act as a cool down match between the two more serious main event qualifiers. Have a few comedy bits with the bWo playing the “funny man” and The Wyatt Family playing the “straight man”.

Bray Wyatt and Jimmy Havoc must look dominant.

In the end, Asuka makes Nikki Cross tap out to the Asuka Lock, starting a feud that will hopefully become like the new Tajiri versus Super Crazy.

Winner: bWo Japan 2.0

ECW World Title qualifier

Aleister Black vs. Rhyno

This one is a no-frills, hard-hitting, barnburner type of Extreme Rules match. They start off fast and hot, almost brawling their way out of the ring and into the crowd. It almost seems like they keep challenging each other to endure harder and harder punishment.

Think Katsuyori Shibata versus Tomohiro Ishii from NJPW G1 Climax 23.

At some point, Rhyno drops Black with a piledriver on the outside. Once back inside, Rhyno stalks his prey to hit The Gore. He charges and Aleister Black dodges it by jumping high enough to double stomp The Man-Beast to his upper back.

Rhyno gets back up in blind rage, only to be hit with the Black Mass for the 3-count.

Winner: Aleister Black, advances to the main event

ECW World Television Championship

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Finn Balor

The story here is that everyone wants to take out Samoa Joe first, as he is the strongest and largest competitor here.

Ciampa takes advantage of the situation by attacking Jeff Cobb from behind with a kendo stick, then framing Finn Balor by leaving the ring.

One by one, they all exhaust themselves by taking each other out with big moves and trash used as weapons. One of those weapons is a ladder, which Finn Balor uses to finish off Jeff Cobb with a 5-meter high Coup De Grace

Winner: Finn Balor, new ECW World Television Champion

Single match

Hana Kimura vs. Sasha Banks

When you put The Femme Fatale of Yokohama and The Boss in the same ring, it’s bound to be a clash of egos.

The first half of the match is characterized by this ego clash expressing itself in showboating. When things pick up, it’s a technical clinic. There is no need to push the Extreme Rules style.

In its second act, more underhanded tactics are being used. Hana Kimura starts to bite off more than she can chew. Sasha Banks gets a sneaky win with an Oklahoma Roll pin, aided by bridging to grab the rope for leverage.

Winner: Sasha Banks

ECW World Tag Team Championships

Rob Van Dam & Rey Mysterio vs. The Good Brothers (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson)

The classic story of power versus speed is a common thread in the battle for the vacant tag team titles. Gallows and Anderson will use their brute strength to suffocate Mysterio and RVD’s high-flying move sets.

The carnage is some of the most gravity-defying displays of violence in the history of all Extreme Rules matches

Raven, who is on commentary, knocks the referee down and all hell breaks loose. No need for a tag now in a two-on-two brawl. The new Television champion Finn Balor teams up with his Club brothers Anderson and Gallows to take out RVD and Mysterio.

They finish off Rey Mysterio with a Magic Killer through a table for the win. Raven drags the ref over to count the pin.

Winners: Gallows & Anderson, new ECW World Tag Team Champions

The Club continues to beat down RVD and Mysterio as Raven stalks them on the outside of the ring. Jeff Hardy runs to the ring to protect them, as he has crossed paths with the team before.

He turns around and shockingly joins Balor, Gallows, and Anderson in stomping the heroes. Raven grabs a microphone and declares that Raven’s Nest is taking over, once again.

ECW World Heavyweight Championship

Aleister Black vs. Dean Ambrose

Aleister charges with a Spinning Jump Knee Strike, but Dean Ambrose instinctively grabs a chair and swings it without a hint of caution at his flying knee. The impact upon the chair hurts his hands as well.

Dean gets ejected through a table set up in the corner with an Exploder Suplex for a kick out at 2.9.

Both bloodied and exhausted, Ambrose locks Aleister Black in a deep Arm Trap Cross Legged STF, but Black gets the rope break.

In a strike exchange, Ambrose goes for a chair again in a sudden frenzy. Aleister whips a desperation Black Mass, Dean ducks and smashes the steel to his mid-section.

He stands the chair up, Dirty Deeds on the metal to Aleister Black as he collapses on him for the three-count

Winner: Dean Ambrose, new ECW World Heavyweight Champion

Watch the real WWE Extreme Rules event only on the WWE Network.

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