49. Eddie Gilbert
911 debuted in the promotion's early days as a bodyguard of sorts for Paul Heyman and Sabu. While never becoming an accomplished wrestler, he still transformed into a legend of sorts, chokeslamming everyone from promoters to Santa Claus.
The legendary brawler was responsible for a lot of ECW's early booking around 1993 until he left the promotion, handing the keys over to Paul Heyman in return. He also managed to briefly hold the ECW Tag Team Championships with The Dark Patriot.
Best known for a series of three-way dance matches involving Little Guido and Yoshihiro Tajiri, The Insane Luchador managed to also win the ECW Television Title in 2000, after the belt had been vacated by Rob Van Dam.
What started as a comedy gimmick with the decidedly not-full blooded Italian J.T. Smith spawned a stable that included, at times, Tommy Rich, Tracy Smothers and Little Guido. Variations incarnations of the faction held the ECW Tag Team Titles twice.
47. Super Crazy
48. The Full-Blooded Italians
Although its doors were open for less time than WCW, TNA and even Ring of Honor, the legacy of ECW during its nine-year run still lives on today. The reason why is, in part, because of the incredible cast of characters that performed in the hardcore promotion.
Hundreds of extremists passed through the group's doors, but this is a list of the Top 50 during the promotion's golden years (1992 - 2001). In other words, the WWE-run ECW brand doesn't count because... well, in most people's eyes, it doesn't count.
The following ranking includes tag teams, managers, announcers - anyone whom left a lasting impact on ECW. Please note: this rank is based on what they accomplished while in the Bingo Hall - not before or after it.
Ready? Here we go...
Hired because of his striking resemblance to Kid Rock, Kash became a staple on many ECW pay-per-views because of his hard work and cruiserweight skills. He captured the ECW TV Title as well.
Initially competing under the creative names of Pitbull 1 and Pitbull 2, the duo competed during ECW's hottest period of tag team competition and even managed to capture the championships. Later, both Pitbulls would each go on to capture the ECW TV Title.
One of the few ECW House of Hardcore graduates, Doring began as a womanizing singles wrestler until he was matched up with Amish Roadkill. The pairing lasted roughly five years, with the duo becoming the final pair of ECW Tag Team Champions.
Although the Killdozer didn't last very long in ECW, he waged a very violent war with Tommy Dreamer as an offshoot to Dreamer's feud with Raven. One memorable match saw Lee being tossed off of a scaffold and through a series of stacked tables below.
43. Kid Kash
44. The Pitbulls
45. Danny Doring
46. Brian Lee
Originally a valet for Raven, Kimona first became a prominent character when it was revealed that Beulah McGillicutty was having an affair with her. Later, Kimona's striptease on the stage at the ECW Arena (a distraction while the ring ropes were broken) became a famous moment for the promotion.
On the recommendation of Konnan, Paul Heyman hired Misterio to bring lucha libre to mainstream American audiences. Although his run in ECW lasted less than a year, Misterio's matches with Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera were considered classics.
The Chair-Swingin' Freak joined ECW in 1997 and stayed until the promotion ended. During that time, he teamed with a variety of partners, including Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney and Little Spike Dudley, capturing the ECW Tag Team Title on several occasions.
Candido initially joined ECW in 1993 and captured the ECW Tag Team Titles as one of The Suicide Blonds. When he returned later in his career, it was as part of The Triple Threat with Shane Douglas and Bam Bam Bigelow and later as part of a championship team with Lance Storm.
You may be surprised to see a so-called "comedy character" ranked so highly on this list, but Meanie became one of ECW's most marketable acts through his work in the blue World order. He also was a long-term character, initially wrestling from 1995-98 and then returning in 2000.
Although he was only in the promotion for one year (less a day), The Shooter made quite an impact. He was part of the original Triple Threat stable with Chris Benoit and Shane Douglas and, along with Benoit, captured the ECW Tag Team Championship twice. He was also ECW Television Champion during his run.
Beulah became a long-running part of the Tommy Dreamer-Raven feud, introduced as "the fat girl from camp that Dreamer rejected and Raven embraced". She eventually switched allegiances to Dreamer (and married him in real life), while interacting with most of ECW's biggest names along the way.
During their two-year run in ECW, Paul Heyman booked Perry Saturn and John Kronus as one of the strongest teams in the company, winning the tag team titles three times and clashing with the likes of The Gangstas, The Pitbulls and The Dudley Boys. In 1997, Saturn was injured and left the promotion for WCW.
41. Rey Misterio Jr.
42. Kimona Wanalaya
39. Chris Candido
40. Balls Mahoney
38. The Blue Meanie
37. Dean Malenko
35. The Eliminators
36. Beulah McGillicutty
Stevie was there literally from the start of ECW - he wrestled in the opening match of the first Eastern Championship Wrestling show. He gained fame as Raven's flunky and later led the blue World order, where as Big Stevie Cool he wrestled in the semi-main event at the inaugural ECW pay-per-view.
Though perhaps better known for his runs outside of ECW, Scorpio managed to hold the Television title four times, including one reign where he was also ECW Tag Team Champions with The Sandman. He was also in the finals of the infamous NWA/ECW World Championship tournament won by Shane Douglas.
If I can be serious for a moment.... Storm made quite the mark during his run between 1997 and 2000, forming ECW Tag Team Championship teams with both Chris Candido and Justin Credible. Just as importantly, his defection to WCW noticeably depleted the talent pool in ECW.
Long before he was "Latino Heat", Eddie won the ECW Television Title from 2 Cold Scorpio in his debut match with the promotion. He also headlined a show against Dean Malenko in both competitors' final night in the company, which led to a "Please don't go!" chant.
After leaving WCW, the late Nancy Benoit resurfaced in ECW in 1993, using the same name she'd used in WCW. While there, she managed Kevin Sullivan and The Tasmaniac to the ECW Tag Team Titles and more prominently, she managed The Sandman and Too Cold Scorpio.
The Beast From The East spent about two years in ECW, most notably as a member of The Triple Threat with Shane Douglas and Chris Candido. He also captured the ECW Television Title from Taz in a famous match where both men fell through the ring.
It was in ECW that Benoit was given the nickname "The Crippler" due to injuries he inflicted to Rocco Rock (storyline) and Sabu (legitimate). The gimmick was intended to package him as a top heel, and his run as ECW Tag Team Champion and member of the original Triple Threat added to that status.
The Quintessential Studmuffin began as a ring announcer and color commentator before branching out to manage The Dudley Boys. Gertner became a legend among fans because of his innuendo-laced introductions and continued that towards the end of ECW as he feuded with Cyrus and The Network.
Austin's brief ECW run in 1995 was done mostly to kill time while he was rehabbing an injury. But between his innovative promos and matches with Mikey Whipwreck and The Sandman, Superstar Steve Austin was one of the first mainstream defections to come from a big two wrestling company.
Whipwreck had an amazing transformation during his first five years in ECW, starting as part of the ring crew, becoming a jobber and then, against enormous odds, winning all three ECW Championships. He returned to ECW in 1999 after an underwhelming WCW run and captured the tag team titles again.
Tanaka came to ECW in 1998 after competing in the somewhat-similar FMW out of Japan. While there, he teamed with Balls Mahoney to capture the ECW Tag Team Titles. He returned to ECW a year later and defeated Mike Awesome for the ECW World Championship, the first non-American to hold the belt.
The Japanese Buzzsaw was best known during his ECW run for matches involving Super Crazy and Little Guido. However, he also received World Title opportunities against Taz and Justin Credible, won the ECW Tag Team Titles with Mikey Whipwreck and was part of Cyrus's Network stable.
New Jack showed up in ECW in 1995 as part of The Gangstas tag team, which captured the tag team belts twice. Beyond that, he's remembered for his brutal beating of Mass Transit in 1996 and a scaffold match against Vic Grimes in 2000 that gave The Original Gangsta permanent brain damage and vision loss.
One of the very first creations of the Paul Heyman era in ECW, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge proved extremely popular and captured the ECW Tag Team Championships four times. But perhaps the biggest sign of them being true ECW Legends is that they could never reach such popularity outside the company.
He's not just the coolest, he's not just the best, he's Justin Credible and during his four-year ECW stint, he captured the ECW Tag Team Titles twice with Impact Players partner Lance Storm and held the ECW World Heavyweight Championship for about six months in 2000.
The King of Old School came to ECW in 1998 as a heel manager but quickly transformed into an antagonistic heel, feuding with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and others. Upon turning babyface in 2000, Corino captured the ECW World Heavyweight Title and held it for two months before leaving the promotion.
33. Too Cold Scorpio
34. Stevie Richards
31. Eddie Guerrero
32. Lance Storm
29. Bam Bam Bigelow
27. Joel Gertner
28. Chris Benoit
25. Mikey Whipwreck
26. Steve Austin
23. Yoshihiro Tajiri
24. Masato Tanaka
21. The Public Enemy
22. New Jack
19. Steve Corino
20. Justin Credible
Francine was one of the most successful managers in ECW history, being in the corner of Stevie Richards, The Pitbulls, Shane Douglas, Tommy Dreamer, Raven and Justin Credible, among others. She was also one of the earliest participants in ECW "catfights" against the likes of Beulah McGillicutty.
Awesome was perhaps the biggest heel in ECW history, namely because he left for rival WCW while still the ECW World Heavyweight Champion. Beyond that, he had a memorable feud with Masato Tanaka and, along with Raven ,captured the ECW Tag Team Championships.
Had ECW lasted longer than it did, Rhino would likely be further up the list of legends. In the two years he was with the promotion, Rhino formed an alliance with Steve Corino and Jack Victory, feuded with The Sandman and became the final person to hold both the ECW World and Television Championships.
Mick Foley's 1994 to 1996 run was so memorable that ECW actually dedicated a DVD to it. Between his unusual partnership with Mikey Whipwreck, his feud with Tommy Dreamer and his string of "anti-hardcore" promos and subsequent gimmick, Cactus Jack definitely made the most of his time in the promotion.
The New F'N Show became an ECW Legend because of his feud with Rob Van Dam (thus the nickname), which culminated in several pay-per-view matches. In addition to that, Lynn also feuded with Justin Credible and captured the ECW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000, holding it for a month.
Every ECW match and moment we've described on here wouldn't be what it was without Joey Styles's signature calls and catchphrases on the microphone. He became the only commentator in wrestling history to call a pay-per-view on his own at ECW's inaugural Barely Legal PPV in 1997.
Fonzie became one of the most hated individuals in ECW for a simple reason - he was a referee who enforced the rules. His law-abiding efforts were a thing of legend during his earliest ECW appearances. Subsequently, he went on to manage Taz, Sabu and Rob Van Dam - three of ECW's biggest names.
While Funk's efforts to put over younger talent in ECW was admirable, his transformation from veteran badass to ECW legend was a thing of beauty. When in his mid-50's, he captured the ECW World Title at the company's first PPV, with the fans looking past his age and embracing his hardcore spirit.
While not nearly as visible as his successor, Gordon was the founder of ECW and helped bring it to national prominence. In fact, it was under his ownership that Shane Douglas famously threw down the NWA Title and made ECW "extreme". Gordon sold ECW to Paul Heyman in 1995.
While Bubba Ray and D-Von are the most famous of Dudleyville's first family, there were many other family members including Snot Dudley, Dudley Dudley, Dances With Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, Chubby Dudley and, of course, Little Spike Dudley, all of whom contributed to the history of ECW.
The Extreme Icon was just that - a staple of ECW programming for almost all the time the promotion was in business (except for a brief WCW run). In fact, Sandman has held the ECW World Title a record five times and engaged in prominent feuds with most of the company's biggest names.
Taz was with ECW for most of the company's history (he left for the WWF in 2000). Most famously, he was The Human Suplex Machine, a gimmick he adopted after returning from a year-long injury. Tax captured all of the ECW championships more than once, including his own FTW Championship, which he held twice.
Like Taz, Sabu captured all of the ECW Championships and was with the promotion for a good chunk of his existence. From his initial gimmick (being restrained and strapped to a gurney) to becoming the Homicidal, Suicidal, Death-Defying Sabu, no one could deny he was a legend in ECW.
How much was RVD a part of ECW? He stayed on with the company despite not being paid and when he got to WWE, he fought for ECW to be brought back for a reunion show. The Whole F'N Show was ECW's longest-reigning Television Champion and captured the Tag Team Titles twice with longtime friend Sabu.
Raven has been described by Paul Heyman as his all-time favorite creation, and it's no secret why. The Raven character was groundbreaking for professional wrestling and became a central point for most of the promotion's other gimmicks at one point or another. Even without his two World Title reigns, Raven is an ECW Legend.
Shane Douglas was another character where ECW often revolved around his actions (he was, after all, The Franchise!). In addition to being responsible for turning Eastern Championship Wrestling into Extreme Championship Wrestling, Douglas was a four-time World Champion and was part of many huge moments.
17. Mike Awesome
15. Cactus Jack
13. Joey Styles
14. Jerry Lynn
11. Terry Funk
12. Bill Alfonso
9. The Dudley Boys
10. Tod Gordon
8. The Sandman
5. Rob Van Dam
3. Shane Douglas
Surprised that The Innovator of Violence is number one on this list? You shouldn't be. If the history of ECW was a novel or television series, Dreamer would be the main character. One way or another, whether he was the biggest name in the promotion at the time or not, everything big in ECW always came back to him. Combine that with the fact that he was a massive behind-the-scenes force and you've got the biggest ECW legend of them all.
Check how many times Paul Heyman has been mentioned throughout this list - it's not a coincidence. Between writing all of ECW's biggest storylines, creating most of its biggest characters and fighting behind the scenes for global recognition, Paul Heyman is much more than the man whose client Brock Lesnar broke The Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania -- he was the heart and soul of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
1. Tommy Dreamer
2. Paul Heyman
Any names missing or misplaced? Leave your feedback in the Comments section below...