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COMPLETE ECW EXPOSED REPORT: HEYMAN AND STYLES REUNITE TO DISCUSS EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

By Mike Johnson on 2014-11-11 00:12:00

Welcome to PWInsider.com’s coverage of ECW Exposed on the WWE Network!

They opened with the old ECW “remote control” graphics and had Joey Styles in front of an old ECW banner with the camera tilting like the old ECW TV show. Joey said he and Paul Heyman would have to get along and then stopped and asked if they have to do the show live after all. He then said it might not be ECW Exposed, but “ECW…fired.”

They went to Joey Styles and Paul Heyman (no ECW hat!) in the WWE HQ. They had ECW “warning” tape in the background. Joey invited everyone to send in questions and asked Heyman to imagine if ECW had the social media of today. Heyman talked about social media today and discussed how everything in the 1990s was “Extreme” after them. He said that they were hashtags without hashtags.

Joey said that the landscape was different back when it was wrestling as opposed to today’s sports-entertainment and they went to a video feature on ECW spotlighting crazy action and passionate fans.

When they came back, Joey Styles said, “You gotta love ECW.” Styles said that they were in seven figure studio. Heyman said they used to get knocked for producing out of a basement, but Garth Brooks, Jay-Z and Eminem all produce in their home, as does Martin Scorcese. He said it’s en vogue now. He said they did it for budget constraints but now everyone does it.

Joey explained that parents can use the parental guidance options to block ECW episodes from their childtens. Paul said he thought it was going to be a show about exposing ECW. Heyman said they should curse and be profane. Styles began to get befuddled. Heyman embraced him and asked Joey if he missed this. Styles looked disturbed and said he didn’t have the words to explain how he felt. They began cursing (which was bleeped) which was obviously a comedy bit.

Joey ran down all the new shows added to the WWE Network for ECW. Joey mentioned the November to Remember was the return of Sabu. Paul said it was one of the most memorable moments of the show. He said he publicly fired Sabu but explained that the fans really fired him because they were angry. He said several months later, things changed in ECW, including accidentally setting a fan on fire. Styles looked shocked. Heyman said things “went awry” and they didn’t mean for it to happen but it happened and he needed to do something to get the fans’ respect and faith back, so he brought back their hero Sabu.

They showed the clip of Sabu’s return to at that show.

Joey said that the fans were obviously happy to have Sabu back and asked who didn’t like it. Paul went on and on before admitting Taz didn’t want him back. He said that since his ride home was often Tommy Dreamer and Taz, it led to many, many interesting conversations on the way home.

Joey asked what it was like dealing with Sabu and Taz as he was building to Barely Legal. Heyman said that every day, Dana White says that when he gets up, he knows he’s going to have a ton of problems. Heyman said that was the gig when you run a company. Heyman said Sabu and Taz didn’t want to be linked together, which is what made their chemistry in the ring. Heyman said that no one was madder than Taz. Heyman said part of his pitch to Sabu to return was how angry Taz would be. Joey said the first time he saw a wrestler curse out his boss, it was Taz.

This led into Steve Austin’s first appearance on ECW TV.  Joey said that if ECW wasn’t successful at anything else, it allowed a platform for Steve Austin to find the voice that led to him becoming Stone Cold Steve Austin, they could hang their hat on that. They then went to clips of Brian Pillman in ECW.

Joey noted that Pillman was under contract to WCW when he was in ECW and asked Paul how he pulled that off. Heyman said that when Steve Austin was in ECW, he used his anger towards WCW on ECW TV and that was one of the things that allowed him to sell Austin on coming to ECW. Heyman said they received a ton of legal letters from WCW over what Austin was doing.

Heyman said there were people in ECW who liked what they did with Austin. Pillman was feuding with Kevin Sullivan, the booker. Sullivan called Heyman and gave him permission to talk to Pillman. Pillman pitched the idea and said that it would end with him giving ECW a match for free. The idea was to do Pillman vs. Shane Douglas as part of rehabbing Shane following his “disastrous” run as Dean Douglas in WCW.

Eric Bischoff signs off on it and gives him a release that allows him to go to ECW and still be paid as long as he doesn’t go to WWF. Pillman gets hotter and WCW decides to bring him back for the three tiered cage PPV [Note from Mike: WCW did, but Pillman no-showed by scheduling a surgery without WCW knowing ahead of time]. Pillman makes them miserable and tricks them into giving them a legitimate release, which allows Pillman to sign with WWF. He agreed to still come to ECW for his Douglas match, but his car wreck puts him out of action for a long time. They never get to the match but they do have him return for injuries.

Joey Styles said that fans don’t realize how many WWE Hall of Famers competed in ECW and names a bunch. Joey then asks Heyman which current WWE stars would have fared well in ECW. Heyman said that you can’t have asked that question without knowing that Paul would say Brock Lesnar. He goes into Lesnar’s long resume and said that he would have obviously done very well. Heyman says that Dolph Ziggler would have done well. He said that Ziggler reminds him of Shawn Michaels and Shane Douglas. He said that if they could turn back the clock, he’d have wanted Cesaro in ECW. He said Cesaro is a main event player who is still underutilized in WWE today. He said you have to acknowledge Daniel Bryan and said that had ECW stayed in business in 2001, they had the connection to Shawn Michaels’ school and had the first graduate, Michael Shane, working for them. He said there were a lot of Michaels students traveling to the shows with Shane and he doesn’t know if Bryan was one of them. Heyman said that when ECW was unfortunately brought back in 2006, he wanted it built around CM Punk and that he would have done phenomenal in the original ECW.

Heyman’s last pick was John Cena. Joey asked him to elaborate. Heyman said he’s been the top star for the last decade and deals with a global community. Wrestlemanias have been built around Cena for a decade and when talked about the level of Cena’s stardom, Cena was one top longer than Austin or Rock. He said that Cena’s work ethic and longevity would have been awesome in ECW.

They talked about work ethic and went to a video feature on the Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko farewell in ECW. I believe this is originally from the Eddie Guerrero “Cheating Death, Stealing Life” DVD.

They ran a parody video called “Puppy-Palooza” featuring characters like Terrier Funk. Joey said that he guessed that was a joke and said, “no one does comedy like WWE.” He was being sarcastic and acted annoyed.  He told WWE to put it on Youtube and watch how ECW fans react to it. This led to Joey sending it to a video of funny ECW clips.

Joey said that he was done being funny and buried all the bad comedy bits from earlier. They had a shopping cart full of weapons. Joey said they were going to get serious and ran down all the weapons in the cart. He said that ECW was serious business and said he was done with jokes and props. He shoved the cart away and they played a breaking glass effects. Joey acted annoyed at that and they went to a video feature on some of the wilder weapons used in ECW.

When they returned, Joey went into a hard sell for all the new ECW material. He said it was time to get into some questions.

Joey asked how Terry Funk and Arn Anderson ended up in ECW when they were under contract. Heyman corrected him that it was Bobby Eaton and Arn. It was Arn and Funk vs. Sabu and Bobby. That’s actually the match that brought me to the ECW Arena for the first time. He noted that WCW crossed the line with something and challenged ECW to sue them so ECW did. Since it wasn’t worth suing from a financial standpoint, he went for talent and did “what was best for business.” Bischoff agreed to the settlement. Heyman said it was something they did a lot and mentioned a number of stars including Mick Foley, Sherri Martel and others. He claimed there were seven lawsuits against WCW before 2000 that were settled.

A fan question asked who the biggest star that went through ECW and went on to bigger things. Heyman said Steve Austin. He then asked when he was going to get some hard questions.

A fan question asked who would have thrived from today he would have wanted to see in ECW. He said Brock Lesnar.

A fan question asked what the differences between running ECW and OVW was. Heyman said he was only in charge of writing the TV and developing the talent while in ECW he was in charge of every single thing, just like Vince McMahon is in today in WWE. Heyman namechecked some of the names he worked with including Beth Phoenix, CM Punk and Ken Anderson.

Heyman was asked what was Heyman’s biggest flaw. Heyman said that the biggest flaw was not having an ad sales team. Joey said that he felt that they lacked a corporate structure. Heyman said having that lack of a structure brought the creativity that propelled the company forward in the early years. He said that they were spending the money on talent, not structure. If it was a choice between an office or bringing in Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko.

A fan asked what made Heyman decide that hiring New Jack was a good thing to do. Heyman said that New Jack was one of the most fascinating characters in the history of pro wrestling and that he was worth hiring, even with all the problems and lawsuits and legal fees. He said that New Jack was as legitimate a character as they come and probably one of the top five most real, hard-hitting, legitimate characters in ECW ever.

A fan question asked if Heyman was under contract to WWE. Heyman said he was never paid once by WWE. He said they paid HHG, Corp the $1000 a week that Tommy Boy used to pay ECW when WWE wanted to hire 2 Cold Scorpio, as Tommy Boy was paying for their music to sponsor him and the show. He then said that when WWE opened discussions with Viacom to go to TNN, which ECW was on, Heyman was loaned $500,000 so ECW could afford satellite time for ECW Heatwave 2000, which was WWE’s way of preventing Heyman from suing them for going on Viacom when he already had a deal. He said they then lent ECW about $88,000 in December 2000 to keep ECW going as they looked at the books during a period Shane McMahon wanted WWE to buy the company. Joey seemed surprised at that. Heyman said he never took a dime and was never personally paid by WWE. He said he went into personal bankruptcy when ECW went bankrupt. Heyman said he “drank the Kool-Aid” more than anyone and when people talk about all the speeches he gave and how he was fighting for the cause, “No one believed it more than me.”

They announced the Rise and Fall of ECW would debut on the WWE Network this Friday at 10 PM Eastern.

Joey told Heyman he was shocked Heyman answered all those questions honestly. Heyman shrugged and told him, “Ask me more.” Joey was about to and they went off the air.

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