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Of course. WCW from late 1995 onwards were doing the technical and lucha libre matches that ECW had been doing before them (think Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, Mysterio, Psychosis, Guerrera, Jericho), Steve Austin with long blond hair was basically doing in ECW in late 1995 what would become the bald headed Stone Cold persona in the WWF. The whole blending of faces and heels, of encouraging kayfabe and real life to mix where possible, the incredible promos that could draw gasps etc. was also in ECW long before the WWF's "Attitude".
ECW took what had already been done and put it together in the context of one promotion. They took the technical wrestling that was done in Japan, combined it with lucha libre from Mexico and topped it all off with the wild brawls & hot angles of the southern territories.

So, while they did these things before WCW & WWF, they certainly weren't the innovators of it.

Bret Hart has himself talked about ECW fan influence on him turning heel in 1997, how ECW fans would go to WWF shows near Philadelphia, or the north east USA in general, and boo a lot of faces, which was starting to change the culture in wrestling, which was Paul Heyman's plan at the beginning.
Bret may very well have been influenced by that but that particular dynamic didn't originate with ECW. Jim Cornette has talked about it often, from his experiences in WCW and Crockett years prior. It was the northeast fans that caused the planned Jake-Hogan program to be scrapped. And beyond wrestling, look at how Philadelphia sports fans used to behave at games.

Heyman didn't change the culture in wrestling. What he did was reactionary. Noticing the change and accepting it, rather than resisting it. And that was a philosophy he adapted from Eddie Gilbert.

Paul Heyman was a creative genius. Nearly all the great stuff in the Monday Night Wars seemed to start in ECW, although the nWo started in Japan. Paul Heyman has said himself that the whole September 1993 and on period, until about 7 years later, while he was running ECW, was consuming him almost all the time. But in the last month or so of ECW, Joey Styles said that Paul Heyman was a "disaster" and "checked out", and that Tommy Dreamer was actually running the shows by that time.
When it came to presenting a compelling product, he was a genius.

But, he wasn't creative or innovative. While the big two may have copied him, he did his fair share of copying, too. To me, he was great at what he did but what he actually did shouldn't be defined as more than what it actually was.
 

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ECW was pretty good but also very overrated by certain fans (Generally those who didn't watch all of it and instead only watched One Night Stand and Rise And Fall Of ECW)

I'll start with the negatives, as others have said much of what they did in terms of in ring stuff was pretty repetitive especially with the undercard stuff. A typical ECW style match would be two guys wrestle for a bit, go to the floor, hit one another with weapons etc. If they are doing this for a reason or the match begins to get out of control and you build to that then it's fine but in ECW you'd have some guys just using weapons because that's all they could do and they'd do it in the first minute or two of the match. That becomes boring very quickly.

They did have a lot of shitty wrestlers as well who are praised simply for being ECW guys. Blue Meanie for example was awful but has had a 25 year wrestling career based off of Raven finding him amusing, Jason Knight wasn't strong, 911 was awful, Brian Lee wasn't great, Hack Meyers etc etc.

The positives are that when they did hit on something big they really really hit on it especially in their primes. In 1996 you had Shane Douglas fresh off his WWF run, early beginnings of The Dudley Boys, rise of Taz, Raven, Dreamer, Eliminators and Gangstas doing gang style fights, Jericho, Pitbulls, Francine, Sabu, Van Dam, Pillman etc. Hard to say that all of those guys lead by Heyman can't put on a good show...
 

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ECW was pretty good but also very overrated by certain fans (Generally those who didn't watch all of it and instead only watched One Night Stand and Rise And Fall Of ECW)

I'll start with the negatives, as others have said much of what they did in terms of in ring stuff was pretty repetitive especially with the undercard stuff. A typical ECW style match would be two guys wrestle for a bit, go to the floor, hit one another with weapons etc. If they are doing this for a reason or the match begins to get out of control and you build to that then it's fine but in ECW you'd have some guys just using weapons because that's all they could do and they'd do it in the first minute or two of the match. That becomes boring very quickly.

They did have a lot of shitty wrestlers as well who are praised simply for being ECW guys. Blue Meanie for example was awful but has had a 25 year wrestling career based off of Raven finding him amusing, Jason Knight wasn't strong, 911 was awful, Brian Lee wasn't great, Hack Meyers etc etc.

The positives are that when they did hit on something big they really really hit on it especially in their primes. In 1996 you had Shane Douglas fresh off his WWF run, early beginnings of The Dudley Boys, rise of Taz, Raven, Dreamer, Eliminators and Gangstas doing gang style fights, Jericho, Pitbulls, Francine, Sabu, Van Dam, Pillman etc. Hard to say that all of those guys lead by Heyman can't put on a good show...
pretty much this. Sad part is soon as they hit TNN shit start going downhill pretty fast. I think Justin Credible mr jobber himself being they world title was the writing on the wall
 

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This is a genuinely hard question to answer, but to some it will be.

It was no secret that ECW was far from a polished product. Neither was it overly successful in the face of the major competition. What it did do well though is merge styles that were previously unseen in American wrestling. You had the synonymous hardcore style, which was new to a lot of fans. You had the outrageous characters, that represented an alternative fringe of society that was less-represented (think out and open drinking problems, cults, mental illness, metal/grunge/insert hard rock sub-genre here fandom and a smashmouth style that was lacking or less common in early 90's WWF and WCW. You had your luchadores, your Japanese wrestlers and your technicians. Overall, ECW was experimental and daring to try (and fail) in the name of putting something different out there. Compared to the WWF at the time, who attempted to engage with the common man with rubbish occupational gimmicks, ECW just used fairly normal looking people and gave them fairly normal (but messed up) personalities. This made them far more relatable than a Repo Man or a cleaner gimmick.

Truth be told though, the ECW that we knew and loved followed a rather sober and dying relic from a by-gone era too. What did arrive was a fun to watch product, but not without its many faults.

What made ECW's run a contender for the "greatest" run ever, is not anything in particular that was on the show itself. It was the influence it had on the industry, that is still prevalent today. Hardcore matches? Admittedly not pioneered by ECW, but definitely became synonymous with. "Vanilla midgets?" While Hogan, Nash and Hall were galivanting over on Nitro and Undertaker was over in the WWF, we were treated to the likes of Malenko, Guerrero, Mysterio and many more. The whole setting was rough and ready, with a less-is-more approach that focusses on wrestlers rather than light shows. The same could be seen until recently in the likes of ROH. I would mention the use of parody too (think bWo), but this was nothing new in the industry or particularly standout in ECW.

Then to top it all off, the amount of poaching of ideas and talent by the WWE/F and WCW (as well as many companies that came later) showed it was a huge cultural influence. Some examples include: more relaxed or extreme rules, the TLC match (and other similar concepts, Cruiserweight and Light Heavyweight (and X) divisions, the three-way dance, arguably the Attitude Era etc.

Whilst it was clearly of the time in some aspects, it was way a decade and a half ahead of its time in others.
 

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Heyman didn't change the culture in wrestling. What he did was reactionary. Noticing the change and accepting it, rather than resisting it. And that was a philosophy he adapted from Eddie Gilbert.
When it came to presenting a compelling product, he was a genius.
But, he wasn't creative or innovative. While the big two may have copied him, he did his fair share of copying, too. To me, he was great at what he did but what he actually did shouldn't be defined as more than what it actually was.
100000%

Even I have to credit to Paul, he studied and learned from the most creative minds, Gilbert, Lawler, Watts, and Jarrett.

And he gave the story starved Northeastern fans exactly what they didnt know they wanted, and didnt understand what they were seeing.....

Territory Southern Style wrestling with an edgy Northern costume.
 
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