Joey Styles and Tommy Dreamer celebrate the 15th anniversary of ECW Barely Legal

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April 12, 2012

Later this month, WWE will present the fourth annual Extreme Rules pay-per-view event, but pay-per-view has been extreme long before that. 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of ECW’s inaugural pay-per-view event, Barely Legal.

The show introduced the cult-like Philadelphia-based company to the masses, and changed the face of sports-entertainment forever. WWE.com recently had the opportunity to be a fly on the wall while old pals and ECW Originals Joey Styles and Tommy Dreamer reminisced about this extreme milestone.

JOEY: Does it seem like 15 years has gone by to you?

TOMMY: Absolutely not. Where did the time go? As I look back and reflect on my career, it happened so fast. Now I get to sit back and read about stuff that I did. You just wish you took the time to soak it all in because it goes by so quickly.

JOEY: Do you remember what it was like trying to get Barely Legal on pay-per-view? Were you privy to that drama?

TOMMY: Back then, the main revenue stream of a wrestling company was being on pay-per-view. WWE was on, WCW was on, and we were trying to get there. We had a lot of setbacks. At ECW, we lived and died by every show. We always had to have good shows, because we needed that repeat business. Momentum was swinging our way, and the fans were along for the ride with us. Our first setback occurred when the pay-per-view company got word of a controversial incident from one of our shows in Revere, Massachusetts, and they pulled us off. Barely Legal should have happened earlier, but we had a problem. They thought we were too extreme. Barely Legal was pushed back, but we finally had a limited pay-per-view release.

JOEY: I don’t know if the satellites would carry us, but we weren’t available on the entire pay-per-view universe. I think we were just on Request TV, not Viewer's Choice [now iN DEMAND]. And they wouldn’t let us start at seven o’clock! We had to start at nine.

TOMMY: I forgot about that, yeah. We had so many uphill battles to go through. And to his credit, Paul [Heyman] wanted to do the show at the ECW Arena, and the pay-per-view companies said, "You can’t do it at that place, it’s a dump." I remember we were sitting at [ECW director, producer, cameraman and editor] Ron Buffone’s studio, and Paul said, "We have to do it at the ECW Arena, or else I’m not gonna do it. If I do it anywhere else, I’m betraying the fans that have supported us so far." And he stuck to his guns. The building said, "We’ll get it up to code. We’ll do everything possible to make this thing happen." Request wanted us to go to the Civic Center, or even the Spectrum. And Paul said he wouldn’t take it anywhere but the ECW Arena.

JOEY: And how’d that work out from a technological standpoint?

TOMMY: It worked out great until the end, but that’s later in the story, Joey.

JOEY: I got you here now, so what happened as soon as the show was over?

TOMMY: I’m gonna get to the pay-per-view.

JOEY: Okay, all right.

TOMMY: I’m a storyteller. Shut up. Do your own interview with yourself as Joey Styles. [laughing]

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