Ah, ECW, the little promotion that inspired WWE’s Attitude Era and influenced pro wrestling to such an extent that fans will still chant its name today. Sure, in the end it was a failed experiment that only survived due to Paul Heyman convincing a lot of people that they would get paid eventually and generous under-the-table financial assistance from WWE, but at least it created a bunch of wrestlers that eventually went on to make it big in professional wrestling, like Rob Van Dam and The Dudley Boyz and…um…
Actually, the truth is, except for a few specific cases, many wrestlers that were big stars in ECW went on to do pretty much nothing once they finally made it to WWE. Part of that is WWE’s fault, because they couldn’t look past the flaws of some talented wrestlers to see their real potential, but to be fair, in some cases a lot of those flaws were pretty big, and far more noticeable on the grand stage of WWE than they were in the tiny bingo hall of ECW. Throw in the fact that the hardcore style of ECW left many wrestlers with chronic injuries that seriously hampered their careers by the time they signed their WWE contracts, and it’s probably not so shocking that many of the wrestlers that were the pillars of ECW ended up as footnotes in WWE.
When ECW went under, Rhyno was both the ECW Champion and the ECW TV Champion, mostly because there was nobody else left. But during his time in ECW, he became one of their top young prospects, and when ECW folded, he was brought into WWE as an enforcer for Edge and Christian, playing off their real life friendship. Unfortunately, despite having a unique look and hard-hitting arsenal of moves, things never quite clicked for Rhyno in WWE. A neck injury led to a year-long absence just as the Invasion angle was ending, and when he returned, he didn’t have the same momentum as his original debut. He stuck around for a while as a lower-card worker before getting released for a public outburst in a hotel during WrestleMania weekend. Recently, Rhyno made a return to WWE as part of the NXT developmental system, where he works as a guest trainer and occasionally wrestles televised matches.