ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) is a one-hour wrestling program produced by Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which airs Tuesday nights on the Sci-Fi Channel. It is also an important part of pro-wrestling history, which dates back to the nineties.
During that time, pro-wrestling was a red-hot cultural phenomenon ruled by two competing promotions — McMahon's WWE then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (or WCW).
As the "big two" duked it out for ratings supremacy on it's competing Monday night shows, Raw and Nitro, Paul Heyman's ECW provided the viable alternative, with an emphasis on both old-school wrestling and elevated levels of simulated violence. This "hardcore" brand of wrestling featuring lots of blood, barbwire, and scantily clad babes soon gained a huge underground following that eventually influenced the big two — particularly in the case of WWF's Raw.
But without national television, Paul Heyman eventually sold the promotion to McMahon, who after a few successful reunion pay-per-views, brought back ECW. Early shows featured original ECW wrestlers like Sandman and Rob Van Dam, but eventually they would be gone. Today's ECW resembles the old one in name only.