The true story of the ECW relaunch

Page 2 of 7
December 18, 2012

As work went into bringing the hardcore company back from the ashes, mixed feelings permeated among the ECW Originals who were going to be instrumental in the new brand. They were given signs of reassurance as the relaunch date of June 16, 2006, quickly approached.

Heyman: Mr. McMahon had a meeting with the heads of every department and announced that WWE was going for three brands: Raw, SmackDown and ECW. He made his intentions known that he fully expected every department to offer its resources and create a third global brand for WWE. He got up, announced that Shane was going to run the division and that I was not just the on-air, but the behind-the-scenes brand manager, then he left the room.

I never saw Mr. McMahon delegate authority that way, ever. Ever.

Foley: I’m one of those guys who thinks if anyone can do it, Mr. McMahon can. I just didn’t know if you could recreate the grassroots magic of ECW with anything but a grassroots company. I was skeptical.

Styles: I had no doubt that it was a bad idea.

Dreamer: I was told from day one it was going to be different, they wanted it to be different. They wanted smaller venues and a place to groom talent, what [the original] ECW essentially was.

Heyman: The moment Syfy was willing to pay a license fee for this program, I knew we had to adhere to certain philosophies that would negate the effectiveness of telling people that we are the alternative to WWE.

Styles: ECW was meant to be a throwback to pro wrestling. A Philadelphia newspaper once described coming to an ECW show as “feeling that you were witnessing something illegal” and that it was an “underground, secret event.”

Heyman: WWE had the obligation to present to the public a certain level of production value, shot a certain way, with a style that was identifiable as WWE’s. We were dead before we were ever born.

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