September 16, 2006
Heyman explains who's in charge of ECW
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
It was Vince McMahon in the boardroom. With the candlestick?
It's as good a guess as any in the ECW booking mystery -- an ongoing guessing game in which grappling insiders try to figure out which WWE higher-up is the real creative force behind the ECW project.
When WWE bosses first decided to resurrect the hardcore wrestling brand, Paul Heyman (ECW's founder) was widely believed to be the puppet master of the new grappling franchise.
By the time the first show aired, word got out that Vince McMahon had taken over the ECW project, and it was his creative vision we'd be seeing on TV each week.
Since then, the internet has been buzzing about the back-and-forth shifting of power between Heyman and McMahon, but no one has gone on the record to clarify the truth behind the ECW backstage politicking.
That is, until now.
Heyman himself recently sat down with the Calgary Sun to shed some light on his involvement in the extreme grappling organization.
"I've read all the stories out there," Heyman said. "I've heard it all: Heyman's in, Heyman's out. McMahon lets Heyman run the show, McMahon bears down on Heyman.
"And in some ways, the stories are all true, in some ways, the stories are all false."
Heyman started by clearing up which stories fit firmly into the latter category.
"Let me make it clear that I was never told that I was getting full creative control of ECW," Heyman said.
"And if anybody were to have implied that to me, I wouldn't have believed them. Vince McMahon is a hands-on boss and in the WWE corporate umbrella, the buck stops with him."
But Heyman says McMahon is always open to suggestions, which is where the real battle of the wrestling minds begins.
"There is a constant struggle as to what the product is going to be," Heyman said. "I see it one way, Vince sees it another. And that's great because if I saw it the same way Vince did, there would be no need to have me on the payroll."
And Heyman says McMahon's arm isn't all that hard to twist. Most of the time, at least.
"Actually, a lot of what you see on the ECW TV show is stuff that Vince doesn't particularly like," he said. "A lot of it just isn't his cup of tea but it's been explained to him and pitched to him. And to his credit, he goes with it."
But the final say on storylines, as is the case with both Raw and Smackdown, is always in McMahon's court.
"If he wanted to, Vince could bring a camera over to the ring announcer and have him sing On The Good Ship Lollipop.
"I don't think it would make very good programming, mind you, but Vince has the power to make it happen."
Despite the backstage bravado, though, Heyman told the Sun he's delighted with the success of the ECW product so far, particularly here in Canada where it scored a national Friday night slot on Global TV.
"This is a huge deal. We're not on Wednesday nights at four in the morning on local cable. We're on Global TV, airing nationally.
"For those of us who lived through the original incarnation of ECW, it was hard to imagine a world without it. But at the same time, we never could have imagined it coming back on this scale."