Joel Gertner Says ECW Almost Considered A Reality Television-Like Format

ECW had a lot of turmoil toward the end of its historic run. The rebel company had risen from a little arena in Philadelphia to capture the imagination of the wrestling world in a time where wrestling was dominated by WCW and the WWE. Providing an alternative to their mainstream programming, ECW was a unique program that took the Attitude Era programming of the WWE even farther, with the kind of violence you wouldn’t see on either Nitro or Raw.

The Blue Meanie and Joel Gertner were happy to talk about ECW during “That Was Extreme” with Josh Shernoff, a new podcast on AdFreeShows. Talking about some of their memories of the company, especially during the final days, Gertner revealed there had been talk about changing the format of the show to something that blended what we now call reality television with the in-ring programming they were already doing.

“Later on in ECW, maybe towards the very end to try to save it, you want to talk about urban legend, some of us are hearing that maybe there is talk about ECW becoming a reality show similar to what they have now with Miz & Mrs. or Total Divas or Total Bellas where it seemed like maybe what ECW might become is half what it already was, an in-ring episodic wrestling show like the rest, and the other half would be the boys riding with each other to the towns, and in town, and just show how crazy the Extreme Wrestling life was like. I think the reason why we were given, if it is true, that we were being given serious consideration for the reality format towards the end, I think the reason for that is our company and our troupe and our roster, we had the kind of family and we had the kind of morale and bond that it would have made for riveting, compelling television to see these guys riding to the towns and through the towns as family and then going in the ring and killing each other.”

Gertner brings up the reminder of how close the company was. Several talents weren’t just in-ring performers, but helping take care of back office things like shipping merchandise to working with the venues when it came to renting them out and taking care of the financials of them. The opportunity to pull back the curtain and see that would have been quite the stunning and innovative thing at the time in professional wrestling.

h/t to Wrestling News for the quote

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