The Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship was created on August 27, 1994 - The Night that Crossed the Line - when Shane Douglas won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a tournament. Instead of relishing in the moment, he instead threw down the 10 lbs of Gold and declared himself the World Champion of the NWA affiliate he worked for - ECW, formerly Eastern Championship Wrestling, now to be known as Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Throughout the 1990s, the ECW Championship was the premier title for ECW, until April 11, 2001, when ECW officially closed its doors, and the WWE purchased their assets. Rhyno was the last original ECW Champion.
In 2006, the ECW Championship was resurrected when Rob Van Dam defeated John Cena at ECW One Night Stand II for the WWE Championship. Two days later, at the inaugural broadcast of WWE's ECW brand, ECW founder Paul Heyman awarded RVD with the ECW Championship belt. Van Dam decided that he'd like to be a double-champion, insisting on keeping the WWE Championship; "I kinda like this one. It spins."
Afterwards, the ECW Championship became the third-highest-ranked championship in the WWE (after the WWE Championship and WWE World Heavyweight Championship), and it was the premier title of WWE's Tuesday night broadcast of ECW on SyFy until the program was canceled in early 2010.
Christian Cage was the most successful ECW Champion in WWE, having the longest reign and most reigns (2). The Sandman has the most title reigns, having held five. Shane Douglas has the longest title reign, at 406 days. Tommy Dreamer has the shortest title reign, of less than a day, when he won the belt from Tazz and lost the title to Justin Credible during CyberSlam 2000.