The forgotten stars of ECW


When WWE Classics asked Paul Heyman if there was anyone he wanted to include in this feature, no one competitor exceeded the ECW architect's enthusiasm for 911.

"He was a phenomenon," Heyman said. "911 popularized the chokeslam."

Originally taking the role of the maniacal Sabu's "handler," wheeling out the Arabian madman to the ring on a Hannibal Lecter–esque gurney, 911's popularity grew to such enormous levels that Heyman decided to break him loose on his own. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound mustached tough guy became the enforcer of all things Extreme, and even once chokeslammed Santa Claus much to the delight of the hardcore Philadelphia fans. In one of wrestling's most mismatched pairings, 911 even formed a briefly tenured duo with Rey Mysterio.

"We always faced the quandary of trying to never put 911 in a match," Heyman explained. "The mystique was built around wondering when in the show 911 would come out. If you watch the very early days of ECW, there were shows where anytime the villain did anything to a hero, people starting chanting '911.' "

He never won any titles in ECW, but that didn't matter. "He was one of the popular and iconic stars of the early days of ECW," Heyman concluded. "No history of ECW can truly be written without including a chapter on 911."