|>> || 1568098052665.jpg -(25184B / 24.59KB, 507x337) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. I think his push in ECW was purely political. For those uninitiated, Justin Credible was affiliated with The Kliq. His partner Lance Storm having been from Calgary and one of the last people to be trained by Stu Hart, made their whole gimmick out of the Montreal Screwjob. Heyman successfully lured Scott Hall to working a few house shows by exploiting Credible's connection, and they nearly talked Shawn Michaels into coming out of retirement in ECW but Vince McMahon put the nix on that. Who knows what else could have been negotiated had the ordeal lasted? |
Anyway, the obvious political strategy aside, I believe through actually watching Justin Credible's heel run that the company and fans alike understood that Justin was not great, his whole character was that he was underwhelming. Even his gimmick name 'Justin Credible' is a nod to this. His name is "credible," not INCREDIBLE, but he believes and is pushed as if he IS incredible, almost as if his position in the company is based purely on political ties with the powers that be.
There are references in every single one of his ECW storylines to him being a "hack" who steals people's gimmicks, moves, nicknames, and even poses. He was accused by announcers on-air of ripping off Raven, Shane Douglas, The Sandman, Undertaker, Goldberg, Steve Austin. Many of his opponents were scripted to call him a coward who sucked, and that his catch phrase and gimmick were lame as fuck. Those are nearly direct quotes. He barely ever defended his title successfully without interference or cheating. For all of the hate that this character and wrestler got, I truly believe they were looking at an example of meta wrestling art, and judging it based on pedestrian standards.
Looking back, I think that the dedication to keeping the content and the art form interesting for only extreme smarks is a major reason why ECW became less marketable and dead as a result. This sort of extremely "inside" content was clever as hell, and it would fair very well today, because there is more of an audience for it. At the time, the industry was booming and the hardcore fanbase was huge. As it all dropped off in general, it made the need for 'smart' or artistic wrestling totally unnecessary.
I have seen people on /wooo/ recently trashing Cyrus' early ECW character where he was pandering to smarks. Again, he was a heel and the whole point of his character is that he was a WWF reject who was fired because nobody fucking liked him and he had too much heat. Cyrus' gimmick was based partly on Vince McMahon backstage in WWF. Just goes to show ECW was too ahead of its time and is still working the marks even in archive broadcasts and encore presentations.