Paul Heyman he is one of the greatest and most influential minds in all of professional wrestling. He possesses an incredible amount of knowledge about the industry and has been involved in it for decades. Heyman has managed some of the biggest stars in the industry. Furthermore, his ability to offer promotions can only be matched by a handful of people. Heyman was also the former owner of ECW. ECW was an alternative to the mainstream of WWE and WCW. His product was much more daring and violent, something fans still love to this day. Heyman’s acquisition of the promotion forever left an impact on professional wrestling as we know it.
ECW separates from the NWA
Before ECW became the promotion fans know and love today, it was originally called Eastern Championship Wrestling. An extension of the NWA, Heyman had started working there after leaving WCW. Heyman had thought that professional wrestling needed to be shaken up. Seeing the ways that WCW and WWE were booking their products, he recognized the need to try something more innovative and different from the mainstream. His opportunity for this came in 1993. ECW booker Eddie Gilbert left the company after disagreements with ECW owner Tod Gordon. The result was that Heyman became ECW’s new booker. However, with the arrival of Heyman, the NWA would also leave ECW.
The NWA hosted a championship tournament to crown a new champion for the promotion. The tournament was won by Shane Douglas, in a moment that changed professional wrestling history forever. After winning the title, Douglas was verbally critical of the NWA. He threw the world title at him, declaring himself ECW champion. The only people who knew this was going to happen were Douglas, Gordon, and Heyman. The NWA was out. ECW became its own company, and in 1995, Heyman bought it from Gordon. As Bleacher Report wrote, “he wanted to orchestrate a change in wrestling equivalent to the way Nirvana led the impact of the music industry in the early ’90s.”
ECW ushers in a new era for professional wrestling
Heyman’s changes to ECW were drastic. It was no longer the old traditional format that the NWA had stuck to for decades nor was it anything close to the kid-friendly product that WWE and WCW offered. ECW was the alternative to all of that. He put the hardcore style of wrestling first, but also showcased wrestling and Japanese professional wrestling styles.
Stars like 2 Cold Scorpio, Taz, Rob Van Dam, The Dudleys, The Sandman, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer and many, many more made the list. They even had a working partnership with WWE. ECW broke all the established rules of professional wrestling and it worked. Under Heyman’s leadership, the company evolved into something truly special and innovative. He revolutionized the business.
WWE buys ECW
Heyman managed ECW until its final days in 2001. Due to several different issues with the promotion, such as financial issues, the Philadelphia-based promotion had to close its doors. He was acquired by WWE, where Heyman was eventually employed and works to this day.
Although WWE eventually rebooted ECW, it was only ECW in name only. This version was much cleaner and lacked what made the original ECW so special. Nothing about it was reminiscent of the old company that had sprung up that was everything WWE wasn’t. This iteration of the brand lasted from 2006 to 2010.
The legacy of Paul Heyman and his role in ECW
Heyman’s post-ECW career has seen him working primarily in WWE. He had served as chief creative officer, commentator, and general manager. The most popular angles of him came as a manager. Well known for his time with Brock Lesnar, Heyman oversaw numerous “The Beast” championships. He has also managed many other world champions. During CM Punk’s historic 434-day WWE Championship reign, he was his manager. In recent times, he has served as a Special Advisor to WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns and the rest of The Bloodline. Without a doubt, he is one of the best managers in the history of professional wrestling.
What Heyman and ECW did is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. With Heyman’s acquisition of the company, many things in professional wrestling could have turned out completely differently. They rejected the old traditional wrestling order and tried something new. There’s a reason the chant of “EC-Dub” continues to roar through the throngs of fans today. Heyman’s role in the rise of ECW is something of history in professional wrestling.