The true story of the ECW relaunch

Page 5 of 7
December 18, 2012

Though the new ECW was struggling to figure out its place, a crop of new Superstars was emerging. Somewhere latching on to a straight-edge, tattooed grappler from Chicago who unleashed a flurry of martial arts strikes on unlucky foes. (WATCH CM PUNK'S ECW DEBUT) They were enamored with a pretty blonde so nice, they named her twice. Plus, they had throwbacks like Dreamer, Sandman, Sabu and Van Dam to remind them there was still a spark of the original ECW.

The brand would get another chance to shine on pay-per-view in December 2006. December to Dismember, for better or worse, marked a major turning point in the future of ECW as a WWE brand.

Richards: [December to Dismember] was set up to fail. It was in between two other pay-per-views, there was only 10 to 14 days from the previous one.

Heyman: The pay-per-view was scheduled right after Survivor Series in Philadelphia, where the audience reacted to CM Punk as such a huge Superstar that Triple H and Shawn Michaels let him do the “Are you ready?” portion of the D-Generation X routine.

There was no doubt in my mind that CM Punk was ready to explode and carry ECW. But because the headbutting had gotten so out of control between me and Mr. McMahon, I couldn’t get him on board.

Styles: On the show, every ECW Original lost. Bobby Lashley leapfrogged over Rob Van Dam and CM Punk [by winning the ECW Championship] (WATCH EXTREME ELIMINATION CHAMBER), which I believe was Paul’s breaking point and led to the confrontation between him and Vince. December to Dismember confirmed that this was a bad idea.

Richards: I know it’s popular to say you’re a Paul Heyman guy. I’m not a Paul Heyman guy, but he was right to walk out.

Heyman: The struggle over the course of the brand had turned personal between us. One of us had to go. I dare suggest that [Mr. McMahon] needed to stay, which left the other person in the equation, Paul Heyman, on a course back home for a much needed break.

Richards: Tommy Dreamer and I asked for our releases after the show. John Laurinaitis said no. I’m glad he did.

Dreamer: It was the worst pay-per-view ever. I had a long meeting with Mr. McMahon. I went to quit and he told me no. I told him how fed up I was with everything and we had a great talk. He told me not to quit. That was that.

Striker: What stands out most to me is seeing Paul Heyman cry. The show went off air, I believe a half-hour or 45 minutes earlier than any other pay-per-view does and Paul Heyman is crying. It told me that Paul knew something I didn’t, as usual.

Heyman: You can’t put a price on happiness and I was no longer happy in an industry that always fulfilled me. It was time for me to go.

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