Independent wrestling promotions were once the norm. However, with the rise of World Wrestling franchises, the possibility of an independent succeeding grew faint. When Eastern Championship Wrestling, based in a warehouse in Philadelphia, hired a brash New Yorker, Paul Heyman, he created a company that dared to push the boundaries of sports entertainment. Rather than relying on local talent and down-and-out veterans, he created new characters and story lines. In the matches, ECW broke even farther from the mainstream: tables, ladders, barbed wire, and even frying pans were used with abandon. Wrestlers put their bodies on the line, taking ever greater risks, daring to jump, leap, and fall from places never tried before. For nearly a decade, with a reckless, brutal, death-defying, and often bloody style, ECW became the stuff of legend. Extensive interviews reveal what made this upstart company great--and what ultimately led to its demise.--From publisher description.An account of the rise and fall of Extreme Championship Wrestling describes its cult-like fan base, its influence on the rules and policies of World Wrestling Entertainment, and the contributions of such figures as Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin.