Perhaps as a result of Paul Heyman's recent almost-firing, WWE.com has released a list of the top 30 stars of the once Heyman-owned promotion ECW.
The WWE.com list includes a brief history on the now-defunct Philadelphia-based promotion, including Heyman's purchase of Tod Gordon's Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1993 and eventual re-branding to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).
The WWE.com article is quick to give Heyman much credit in his innovation of the world of sports entertainment with his ECW crew and speaks highly of Heyman's "hardcore revolution."
The editors of "Top 30 ECW Stars" have provided a set of criteria regarding which stars were considered for this list. These criteria include: "Competitors were rated only on their accomplishments while in ECW," "Rankings were based on everything from championship success to cultural impact" and, lastly, ECW "managers and valets didn't make the cut."
The full WWE.com list includes a brief biography for each of the 30 ECW stars listed. Among the people who came together to write this list are "The Innovator of Violence," Tommy Dreamer, WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel and "The Extreme Announcer," Joey Styles.
Most surprising of all is the low rank of stars such as Eddie Guerrero, No. 21; Mick Foley (listed as Cactus Jack), No. 20; and Dean Malenko, No. 18.
Also notable is the complete omission of ex-ECW star Chris Benoit from the list—Benoit had been a one-time World Tag Team champion with Dean Malenko during the promotions early days.
Benoit has been blacklisted by the WWE since his tragic double murder and suicide in 2007 and has yet to appear on any WWE content.
The list's top five ECW stars (in descending order) are Tommy Dreamer, the Sandman, Tazz, Sabu and Rob Van Dam as the ECW top star.
Of note is the fact that only one member of the top five is still an active WWE employee—Tommy Dreamer—while Tazz and Rob Van Dam are currently under contract with the WWE's rival promotion, TNA. The high positioning on the list of both Tazz and Rob Van Dam could be a way to court the two former ECW and WWE talents, as was recently done with ex-TNA talent Ric Flair.