ECW Hardcore TV was the weekly professional wrestling television program of Philadelphia-based promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). Even after ECW gained a nationally-available television program on The Nashville Network, Hardcore TV was considered the flagship program for ECW.
was edited from footage of ECW's events (both from the ECW Arena
and house shows
elsewhere) and backstage promos
, which were not shown to the live crowd or included on home video
releases of the events. A segment called "Hype Central" advertised upcoming events and ECW merchandise in a tongue in cheek
On occasion, music videos from major musical acts were shown, interspersed with footage detailing the history of current feuds, as well as spectacular spots. Frequently, the ending of the show would feature a montage of several different promos, with Dick Dale's cover of "Misirlou" as background music. These became known as "Pulp Fiction promos".
In keeping with ECW's unconventional approach, episodes were not structured with a build toward a main event. Any given week's program could feature any number or type of matches. Heyman's intent was to keep things fresh by providing variety for the viewers.
Censorship and content
showed graphic violence
), sexual frankness, and harsh language, all of which were key elements of the ECW product itself. Due to the late night time slots, many times expletives and violence were not edited out of the early broadcasts, helping to get ECW noticed. This was a major difference between the syndicated Hardcore TV
and the more "mainstream ECW on TNN
TNN censored a great deal of the latter program, despite the violence and raunchiness being the signature ingredients that made ECW unique. TNN didn't want the ECW theme song ("This is Extreme!" by Harry Slash & The Slashtones) because according to Paul Heyman (owner of ECW), it sounded "too demonic." TNN also didn't want any references to "hate" (they preferred "intense dislike") and wanted no music videos on the ECW program.
TNN's restrictions angered Paul Heyman to the point that he actively tried to get ECW thrown off that network, and thus kept Hardcore TV as a backup. (See the ECW on TNN article for more info.)
In addition to being syndicated, Hardcore TV
aired in permanent time slots in ECW's home territories, Philadelphia and New York City
Shows were broadcast on a Philadelphia local cable sports station (SportsChannel America's local affiliate, SportsChannel Philadelphia) on Tuesday evenings. After SportsChannel Philadelphia went off the air in 1997, the show moved to WPPX-TV 61. It later moved to a former independent broadcast station WGTW 48 in Philadelphia on either Friday or Saturday nights at 1 or 2 a.m.
Chicago/Northwest Indiana market
In the Chicago/Northwest Indiana market, the show traded back and forth among WCIU
26 at 2 a.m. Saturdays. Then, UPN
broadcast in both Chicago and Gary on Channel 50, at 10 p.m. on Fridays, a week behind. Meanwhile, KBS Chicago
(a Korean station that also carried Big Japan
shows at midnight) would broadcast Hardcore TV
at 11 p.m. on Fridays.
aired Hardcore TV
at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday nights (early Sunday mornings). The rest of Florida Sunshine Network (now known as Sun Sports
) aired the program at 3:00 a.m. on Friday nights (early Saturday mornings). WRBW did invoke syndex
, so ECW was blacked out
in the Orlando market on Sunshine.
Other markets in the United States
Shows were also aired on the MSG Network
in New York City
on Friday nights (early Saturday morning) at 2 a.m., KJLA
in Los Angeles
on Saturday nights at 11 p.m., WUNI
on Friday nights (early Saturday morning) at 1:00 a.m, and WPTT
TV 22 (later WCWB, now WPMY
) in Pittsburgh
on Saturday nights at 12:00 a.m.
Episodes available online for download
Episodes were also available online for download
at various points, from the websites of some affiliate stations.