The following is an excerpt from an interview with Rob Van Dam from TheSun.co.uk:
THE SUN: How long did it take that dream to die? Do you remember when you lost faith?
ROB VAN DAM: I had some great matches with Test, Bob Holly and Big Show.
But almost right away they added "credibility" — as Vince put it — to the show, by adding rules.
So then it became that Extreme Rules would be one match out of the night, like a lottery drawing. It watered down the rest of the card.
I lost faith at a very precise moment, when I lost an argument with Vince over it.
I told him: "In ECW you have a product that is different, you should capitalise on that difference. That’s why the fans like it and are attracted to it."
That’s when Vince told me that nobody remembered the old ECW and he created this enthusiasm for this new ECW.
I said: "Wait a second, didn’t we bring it back because of the success of the DVD and One Night Stand. Didn’t that tell us there’s a lot of support still."
He said: "Well Rob, there’s a lot of support because they’re watching WWE promote ECW. They weren’t around back then. People grow up, have kids, things change."
I replied: "That doesn’t make sense. Come on Vince, why do you think they chant ‘ECW’ when we’re doing something out there."
He said: "Well, because I spent the last five years training them to chant ‘ECW’. We’ve got to have credibility Rob and that means we have to listen to the referees."
I realised I can’t tell Vince McMahon what is best for a global product. You have to dumb things down to hit the mainstream, and if you only target the hardcore then you’re going to have a much smaller cult following. That wasn’t what he wanted.
I even put it like that, and he agreed!
That was the moment I thought: "OK, bye bye old ECW. At least we still have the DVDs and the memories."
THE SUN: Despite hating the rules and the storylines, a lot of fans like myself stuck with ECW right up until the disastrous December to Dismember at the end of 2006. How bad was that PPV to be involved with?
ROB VAN DAM: It was funny, because in that period there were so many times Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu and myself would say: "OK, now ECW is really done."
One of the biggest moments we thought that was at Dismember to Dismember.
They beat RVD on that show because they knew I stood for that Extreme style and fought for it.
They wanted to squash that whole idea and make Bobby Lashley the new face of ECW.
That was a changeover moment where we all agreed: "If we thought ECW was dead before, then f*** that, it is definitely dead now."
Check out the complete interview at this link.