ECW Hardcore TV was a professional wrestling television program of Philadelphia-based promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) composed of footage from live shows and recorded interviews. It ran in syndication from 1993 until 2000.
Even after ECW gained a nationally-available television program on The Nashville Network (TNN), Hardcore TV was considered ECW's flagship program. The rights to the show now belong to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The show was voted as Best Weekly Television Show in the 1994, 1995 and 1996 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
Hardcore TV was edited from footage of ECW's live events from the ECW Arena and other house shows. It also included backstage promos & vignettes, 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 manner.
Music videos from major musical acts were sometimes 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 version of "Misirlou" as background music. These became known as "Pulp Fiction promos". The purpose of these promos was to maximise the show's limited airtime in order to keep the fans up with all the current wrestling storylines.
In keeping with ECW's unconventional approach, episodes were not structured with a build toward a main event as with typical professional wrestling programming. Any given week's program could feature any number or type of matches. Owner/producer Paul Heyman's intent was to keep things fresh by providing variety for the viewers.
Hardcore TV showed graphic violence (including blood), sexual frankness, and harsh language, all of which were key elements of the ECW product itself. Due to the late night time slots, expletives and violence were not edited from early broadcasts, and this helped to get ECW noticed. After the ECW on TNN program became available, this was a major difference between the syndicated Hardcore TV and the more mainstream program on TNN.
Hardcore TV aired in permanent time slots in ECW's home territories of Philadelphia and New York City, and was also syndicated. Shows were broadcast on a Philadelphia local cable sports station, SportsChannel America's local affiliate, SportsChannel Philadelphia, on Tuesday evenings at 6pm until January 9, 1997 when the show moved to Thursdays at 11pm. In April 1996, the ECW SportsChannel airings were upgraded to 6pm and 11pm on Tuesdays, with a late night Friday replay at 2am. After SportsChannel Philadelphia went off the air in 1997, the show moved to WPPX-TV 61 on Wednesdays at 9pm. It later moved to a former independent broadcast station, WGTW 48 in Philadelphia, on late Friday or Saturday night broadcasts.
In the Chicago and Northwest Indiana market, the show traded back and forth among WCIU 26 on Saturdays, and UPN station WPWR 50, broadcast in both Chicago and Gary, on Friday nights, a week behind. Meanwhile, KBS Chicago (a Korean station that also carried Big Japan shows at midnight) broadcast Hardcore TV on Friday nights.
WRBW in Orlando aired Hardcore TV in a very late night timeslot on Saturdays. Also, WNFM (then known as WSWF), a cable only WB affiliate in Fort Myers, aired Hardcore TV in a primetime slot on Saturday Nights. The rest of Florida got Hardcore TV on regional sports network the Sunshine Network very late on Friday nights. WRBW invoked syndex, meaning ECW was blacked out in the Orlando market on Sunshine.
Shows were aired on the MSG Network in New York City and the surrounding area on Saturday nights at 1 am. Empire Sports Network (western NY) and WBGT-LP (Rochester) also carried the show.
Shows were aired on KJLA in Los Angeles on Saturday nights, WUNI in Worcester-Boston very late on Friday nights, WBVC TV-61 in Traverse City, Michigan late Friday Nights, WUCT TV-52 in Dayton, Ohio and WGMB Fox 44 in Baton Rouge. On Saturday afternoons and late night, and WPTT TV 22 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania late on Saturday nights. It also aired very late on Friday nights on KTSF TV-26 in California, and on SportsSouth in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Also of note, ECW was on WPEN in Hampton Roads, Virginia, airing every Saturday at 5pm.America One Network
Bravo (UK TV channel)
Episodes were also available download from the internet at various times, from the websites of some affiliate stations. The show can now be seen on the WWE Network starting from episode #1.