Debra "Debbie" Beaumont, who was one of the top backstage staffers for the original Extreme Championship Wrestling, passed away last month following a battle with cancer. She was 58 years old.
Beaumont's illness was not well known among those within the business as she had separated herself from pro wrestling after the demise of ECW. Friends from ECW circles only learned of her passing this week as her family initially only contacted names that were in her current phone book. Beaumont had been under hospice care before her passing.
Beaumont was well known to ECW fans as the "nasty ticket lady" who sold tickets at the front door of the events from the mid-1990s on. She even had that term describing her on the back of a t-shirt sold by the promotion.
Behind the scenes, however, the former Corrections Officer was one of Paul Heyman's top lieutenants. She was brought into the company by Heyman as someone he could trust to work the door and insure that money would not disappear.
As ECW ran its course, Beaumont became the first and last line of defense for the company all at once. She was often scrambling on the phone making late night flight reservations, changes and hotel room bookings, which would always change 100 times thanks to the haphazard, "fly by the seat of your pants" way ECW operated.
In one funny story, Beaumont was tasked with finding "riot gear" for those who would take Shane Douglas to the ring at the first ECW PPV. Barely Legal. The problem was that she was told on a Sunday, so late in the day that finding the gear would be impossible. So, off Beaumont and other staffers went into Philadelphia bribing, stealing and cajoling motorcycle helmets and anything else they could use for the "police officers." That last minute scramble was as much ECW as anything else, yet she and the rest of the staff, a small, overworked group of people, handled it.
Beaumont was in Heyman's inner-most circle, trusted to get talents booked for surprises into town, hidden away and into the buildings. The talent knew that the best way to get a read on what was going down was to talk to Debbie, although her utmost loyalty was always to Heyman. In many ways, she was the unspoken COO of ECW since so much went through her in terms of the day to day operations.
At live events, Beaumont was also the person visitors would have to get past in order to gain access. You were not getting a visitor's pass without an audience with Debbie. A number of times, wrestlers and management from WCW would find themselves unable to enter or thrown out of shows because Beaumont would not allow them access, specifically at PPV events.
In one funny story, after Beaumont refused Terry Taylor backstage access to a PPV in Atlanta (he was working for WCW management at the time), others who worked for ECW would try and trick her into writing some variation of Taylor's name (later the Red Rooster's name) down onto the guest list.
When ECW closed down in 2001, Beaumont left the business completely, working in the medical field as an assistant. She only returned to wrestling to visit a few times - I can recall seeing her at the last Elks Lodge event in Queens, NY as she wanted to say a personal goodbye to the venue that was ECW's home and maybe one other indy show. But, when ECW was dead and buried, she moved on with her life. She never even popped up at any of the reunion shows that I can recall offhand.
On a personal level, I can't say enough wonderful things about the woman. There is no doubt she was absolutely evil if you crossed her, but if she liked you, you were golden. She was order in the chaos that was ECW.
There were a lot of people associated with ECW who were really saddened and shocked to hear of her passing, specifically since by virtue of how late they heard the news, there was no way to attend her services.
On behalf of everyone associated with PWInsider.com, especially those of us who worked with Debbie during our time at ECWWrestling.com, our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends. She was one of a kind.