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By PWInsider.com Staff on 2005-06-10 06:00:00

Byte This! Report
Wednesday 11/17/04
ECW Reunion Show
PART ONE OF A FOUR PART RECAP

This week’s Byte This opens up with Josh Matthews welcoming everyone to the show, which has Paul Heyman in studio and a number of former Extreme Championship Wrestling stars calling in to discuss the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD. Heyman jokes that they are starting late with technical problems, so it’s absolutely an ECW show. They talk about the release the DVD and thousands of copies have flown off shelves across the nation. Heyman picks on the co-host of the show, Mark Lloyd and makes him leave, even though he’s wearing an ECW hat.

Heyman says that he watched the DVD and it was difficult to watch the DVD because he tries not to dwell on the past. He wasn’t sure how the seven years of their lives that they worked on ECW was going to be displayed. He said that thus far its the most authentic documentation of ECW, both the ups and the downs, thus far that he’s seen. He said that it was fun to relive the early days of the development of the characters and his favorite part of the DVD is seeing the passion of the performers that still exists today. He says that the fans will always have that passion but to see it from Bubba Ray Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, Dawn Marie and so many others having the love and passion for a company that died four years ago. He says that watching Tazz choke up while discussing the history is very moving to him and he’s glad it was documented.

Heyman said the downside is that there’s only so much you can go into in three hours and he would have liked to have seen more on the success of the company. He says that ECW was more than just a bingo hall in Philadelphia, noting sellouts at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan and all the sellouts in Queens, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Texas, Chicago, and even Canada after they were off TNN. He said he wishes they had time to show that they were selling more tickets when they were dying then they did when they were hot. He says that he doesn’t know whether people knew they were dying or it was just a case of the brand was so hot, yet they still couldn’t find a Network once they lost TNN to WWE. He said if there was more time on the DVD, that was something he would have liked to have gotten into, although it doesn’t take away from the release.

Heyman said that he had zero editorial process on the DVD and neither he nor WWE wanted the DVD to be his recollections. Heyman says that he takes his knocks on the DVD and he deserves them and doesn’t have a problem with anything that was said, complimentary or negative. He says that the people who commented have that right because they were on the inside of the company. Heyman says that it’s the not the ECW story through the eyes of WWE because ECW gets too much credit on the DVD. He says that he doesn’t think WWE and certain people in the company don’t want to acknowledge how big the company got and how dangerous it was. He says that some don’t want to remember the enormous contribtions that ECW and its performers gave to the business.

When asked if he misses ECW, Heyman says that he did watching the DVD. He says that he doesn’t dwell on it and doesn’t worry about the past. He says that he doesn’t watch the tapes anymore because he’d rather envision the future. He said that confronting ECW and watching the DVD makes him miss ECW and the adrenaline rush of creating something and the locker room’s creative stimulation and that is something he needs to deal with. Heyman says that it’s something he tries not to think about every day of his life. He says that ECW is who he is and it’s on his sleeve and in his heart, so he takes it with him everyday but he doesn’t dwell on it because it would either bring him down or give him a false high. He says it’s who he is and what he did, and now he takes that to try and do other things and build other things with his life.

Droz

Droz joined the show. Matthews noted that Droz was a Philadelphia native and asked him his ECW thoughts. Droz mentioned that WWE sent him to ECW for a few months and one of the best experiences of his life. He says that the atmosphere of the fans was such a cult following that he doesn’t think anyone could have had a better experience learning in front of the fans. He says that it had a great following across the country. Droz said that the DVD opened his eyes to the startings of ECW and it was great watching the timeline of the company, and seeing the challenges that everyone had to deal with. He says the first disc is a top notch DVD that every wrestling fan must have. When asked about WWE stars’ thoughts on ECW as it grew, Droz said that he got to see some of the stuff firsthand and the WWE Attitude area came from ECW. He says that we all know how well the Attitude era and how well it was for everyone.

Heyman says that the ECW revolution gave birth to the WWE Attitude. Heyman says that in the mid-1990s, the business was about cartoonish characters and the demographics were low. Heyman said that they came in with sexy storylines and hard hitting adult actions, and WWE and WCW had to take notice of their 18-34 male demographic. Heyman notes the ECW chant at the 1995 King of the Ring PPV made everyone take notice and WWE and WCW did what ECW was doing on a larger scale with more exposure and a bigger budget.

Droz was asked his favorite ECW moment. He said that he loved seeing the Al Snow-Head stuff on the DVD and talked about the night he and A-Train spiked head after a hardcore match with Al in WWE. Matthews says that everyone who was a part of ECW has big memories of the company.

Matthews asks if they are going to give away three autographed copies of the show. Heyman says that it isn’t his show because if it was it’d have dancing lesbians. Matthews brought up Jerry Lawler mentioning ECW setting the fans on fire, so Heyman asked the date of that show, using it as a trivia contest. Heyman was sure to point out that it was by accident, “at least that’s what we testified in court.”

BUBBA RAY DUDLEY

Bubba Ray Dudley joined the show via telephone. Dudley said he had so many concussions in ECW that he doesn’t remember his entire five years there, but his favorite memories include his first ECW Tag Team championship win against the Eliminators and the first PPV, Barely Legal. Heyman pointed out that Bubba shattered his ankle and kept going during the PPV. Dudley said that the whole time was one big memorable moment, mentioning flaming tables and the farewell in the Elks Lodge on the Dudleys’ final ECW night.

Matthews asks them about the ECW atmosphere. Bubba said that the fans were full of energy, and they would be lined up for hours before the shows, tailgating and talking about ECW. He said there was a huge buzz among the fans and amped up like they were going to see a great punk rock show and they were right up against the stage in the mosh pit. He says that D-Von mentioned it best on the DVD when he said that in ECW, every night was Wrestlemania to them.

Dudley is asked about his outside of the ring responsibilities. He says that he got to be a promoter for the company and booked the venues for the company. He says that he was able to get involved with the advertising for the shows, via print, radio, or TV. He said that he got a chance to learn the business outside of the ring, mentioning that he had a hand in everything with the merchandise. Matthews brings up the Dudleys being “injured” by the Big Show and Dudley said that after 10 years of being beaten up, it was the last straw and they needed a break to let their bodies heal.

TAZZ

After showing a clip of Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow at Living Dangerously ’98, Tazz joined the show via telephone. He noted that he was at the WWE studios filming on camera inserts for the History of ECW show on WWE 24/7 and mentioned The Night the Line was Crossed.

After joking around about 24/7, Tazz said that he’s watched the DVD three times. Tazz said that he loved the DVD and he feels he and ECW were portrayed properly. He says that from his recollection, it’s pretty accurate. He says that he doesn’t like the title of the DVD as it’s a negative and there was no real negative to ECW. He says that he doesn’t need to shill or sell the DVD because it will sell itself because ECW always sold itself – it was the real deal and the best thing on TV at the time. Heyman said that’s what he loves about Tazz – he gives you an endorsement but says what he likes and doesn’t like about the DVD.

A fan asks Tazz if we’ll ever see him back in the ring. Tazz says that the chances are slim and none and he apologizes to the fan. Matthews says that they always get that question and Tazz says that people care. Matthews asks about the differences between Taz and Tazz. He says that Taz with one “z” would have been fired five years ago by WWE. Heyman says that Taz gave him his life and would fight and argue over every little thing about ECW. Heyman said that part of the freedom of Taz in ECW was the right to fight over what he believed in with Heyman and they would argue about small minor things loudly because they all cared so much about ECW and they all cared about everything good and bad about the product, no matter how big or small it was. He says that they were intesively passionate about the product and he doesn’t think people in WWE would like people being in their face that passionately about how they feel.

Tazz says that unless you were there, it’s impossible to understand. Tazz said that ECW always grinned and beared it no matter how good or bad it was and Heyman was the coach of the team. He said that Paul didn’t have an office, he would set up a table in the middle of the locker room and made himself accesible to the boys. He says that he was happy in ECW and everyone around him was happy too.

Heyman says that the thing he likes the most about Tazz on the DVD is that everyone gets to see not just the Tazz that was in the ring in ECW but the human side of Tazz in ECW as he breaks down on the DVD. Heyman says that it’s like Behind the Music on VH-1 and it’s the most compelling thing on the DVD in his opinion.

This week’s Byte This continues with Josh Matthews and Paul Heyman discussing Heyman being on the WWE payroll. Heyman that in 1996, Vince McMahon came to him and offered to pay Heyman as a way to give back for the company taking talent.

Heyman says that during the time, WCW was taking talent left and right and he discusses that on the DVD, which is TV-MA because of the language on the DVD. He says that his comments on Bischoff are something that Bischoff will have to live with. Heyman said that they were offering six figure bonuses just for talent to jump, and then they would negotiate contracts.

Heyman says that it’s 100% true that he was on the WWE payroll. He says that at the time, WWE was looking to sign Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, 2 Cold Scorpio and Terry Gordy. He says that Vince didn’t want to rape the ECW landscape and wanted to make sure that he gave back. He says that to his credit, Vince McMahon came to him and said that they wouldn’t do business the way WCW was and that if ECW could grow and become a competitor, then he looked forward to it.

McMahon offered to pay Heyman and put him on salary as a way to thank him for the talent and to send others to be groomed for the future. Heyman turned that down, seeing it as a conflict of interest for the company that he gave his life to. He instead asked WWE pay HHG Corporation, ECW’s parent company, a $1000 a week payment for talent that was made accessible to WWE, talent that was repackaged in ECW like Al Snow, and guys like Brakkus and Droz who needed a place to learn and work.

Heyman said it wasn’t to tunnel guys to WWE as Rob Van Dam had an offer and said no. He said that it was never a case of sending talent up when they were ready. He says that when it was time for guys to go, they had their choice to go where they wanted. He says that Vince McMahon said at the time that he just felt it was right to do. He says that its a classic example of something right that WWE did by ECW.

Heyman says that Vince McMahon also gave ECW a loan in July 2000 during their dying days that kept the company going while they were searching for a new Network after losing TNN. He says that ECW was done at the time if they didn’t have a bailout from WWE at the time. He says that it’s all in the bankruptcy paperwork, so there’s no reason to hide it.

When asked what some of the things that Vince McMahon did wrong by ECW, Heyman brought up Tazz winning the ECW World Heavyweight championship from Mike Awesome. He brings up Tazz vs. Triple H, champion vs. champion on Smackdown, and McMahon says that he doesn’t know if it speaks well for ECW to have their champion lose to the WWF champion. Heyman says that Vince took their Network, but if the situation was reversed, ECW would have done the same.

When asked about seeing WWE as competition, Heyman said that he saw them as a hill to climb and he would have loved to have competed with them. He says that if ECW had closed the deal with the USA Network, he would have welcomed the chance to compete with WWE and it would have rejuvenated their creative juices.

When asked about TNA being competition to WWE, Heyman says absolutely not. He says that Jerry Jarrett is the single most brilliant businessman he has ever met, including Vince McMahon, in his entire life because of their current situation. He says that TNA has put a spin on their situation the likes that he’s never seen. He says that when ECW filed for bankruptcy, ECW was owed so much money by PPV companies, “that it was sick.” He says that they were owed so much money that the PPV companies decided to hold out because they could settle out in the bankruptcy court. He says that not including the money owed to ECW (because they couldn’t get to it), they were $7 or $8 million in the hole after ECW’s run.

Heyman says TNA has lost far more than ECW ever did with reports that they have lost up to $15 million. He says that Jarrett goes down in history as the brilliant businessman because it’s not his money, it’s Panda Energy’s. Heyman says that he lost his ass and filed for personal bankruptcy and he’s not ashamed of it because he put his life into it and never took a paycheck from it. Meanwhile, Jerry Jarrett made money, Panda Energy is sinking money and everyone thinks they are going to go against WWE when they are losing money. Heyman says that everyone says Jarrett is brilliant, “while I’m the dumbass who destroyed ECW.”

Heyman says that Jarrett should be hired by a spin-meister by anyone in business because of how brilliantly he has spinned the situation. He says that he wishes someone would step up and be competition, but it won’t be TNA.

This week’s Byte This continues with footage of Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn from ECW Hardcore Heaven ’99. Rob Van Dam joined the show via telephone. Josh Matthews asks for one word that describes ECW. He says, “Extreme.”

Van Dam says that one thing he misses about ECW is the feeling that he had no barriers or perimeters holding him back from giving his fans their money’s worth of entertainment. He says that the thing he doesn’t miss the most is trying to cash Heyman’s checks as they bounced across the room.

Matthews says that a lot of people were fans of RVD because of the things that he did in the ring, like the Van Terminator. RVD says that Joey Styles and Paul Heyman were hyping that move up so much to the point that the fans were chanting for it before they even knew what it was. He says that when fans come up to him and say that he’s the “Whole Fn’ Show” he knows that they have been with him since ECW. He says that any fans that he picked up once he came to WWE, he advises them to get the DVD and sell the full blown Rob Van Dam.

Matthews asks Heyman to describe Van Dam. Heyman asks if he means the RVD of today or ECW. Matthews says ECW. Heyman says, “Wow.” He said that the reaction watching his matches is wow. He brings up the Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam match from Hardcore Heaven where Lynn gets knocked out four minutes in, shakes it off and they deliver (in Heyman’s opinion) the best match of the ECW style that could be put on the DVD. Heyman says that ECW wasn’t just barbed wire, tables, and ladders. He says that the talk that they were just a blood promotion was bullsh*t as it was about the story that got them to that level and the emotions between the competitors. He says that anyone who has never seen what Rob Van Dam is truly capable of should get the DVD to see RVD at his best and see what he is truly able to achieve without handcuffs.

Matthews mentions that Rob Van Dam has a DVD coming out on January 4th. Van Dam says that there are some really exciting matches from ECW, WCW, and WWE. He says that the Jerry Lynn match is his favorite match and he’s sad that he hasn’t had a match on that level that he’s happy with since. He says that the closest since was the match with Jeff Hardy when he first came in at the Invasion PPV. He says that when he was Hardcore champion, that was the best way for him to be showcased and when that went away, so did that chance. He says that he’s really proud of the matches that will be on the DVD.

When asked about why the Jerry Lynn matches worked so well, Van Dam says it was the chemistry that they brought out of each other. He says that the first time they wrestled at the ECW Arena it was only supposed to a 6-7 minute match with RVD going over but he knew they could do something special where both looked great so it meant so much more in the end when Van Dam eventually did win that match because everyone had a great match – he, Lynn, and the fans. He says that everytime they got back in the ring after that, they kept remembering their moves and had counters upon counters for each other’s moves. Matthews thanks Van Dam for coming on the show and they’ll have him back when his DVD comes out in January.


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