The Styles Files: Meeting Paul Heyman
The Styles Files is a new monthly ECW.com feature that will run on or around the first of each month.
During my recent relocation from witness protection in Atlanta back home to the civilization of Connecticut, I came across an envelope full of my personal photographs (many from before my June 1993-January 2001 Original ECW tenure) featuring myself and various professional wrestling personalities. Every month until the envelope is empty, I will post one of these photos and the corresponding story here on ECW.com.
This month's photos were taken in late 1992 in Long Island, N.Y. at the offices of Pro Wrestling Illustrated Magazine (PWI). I was a college intern from Hofstra University and Paul Heyman (then Paul E. Dangerously) was managing The Dangerous Alliance of Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Rick Rude and Larry Zybysko and Bobby Eaton in WCW. In my humble opinion, Paul was the most hated villain in wrestling at the time. He had come to the offices for a front cover photo shoot wearing an Uncle Sam outfit complete with top hat, and the headline was to be "Paul E. wants YOU for the Dangerous Alliance"
I had chosen Hofstra University because it was near the offices of PWI, and my plan was to get an internship at PWI and then network my way into announcing for either WWE or WCW. I had spent the summer of 1992 doing some play-by-play for a regional Westchester County, N.Y. wrestling company that managed to get six episodes of their weekly television program aired on the now-defunct SportsChannel America. On a side note, one of the matches I called for that little company featured two local wrestlers named Tommy Dreamer and The Tazmaniac (who of course went on to become my new announcing partner, Tazz). My plan was to show Paul a tape of my play-by-play work and hope that he would help me get signed by WCW. However, God had a different plan for me, Paul, Dreamer, Tazz and many other ECW Originals.
By the time I graduated from Hofstra a few months later in May 1993, Paul
had been forced out of WCW because he had run afoul of his
superiors…shocking, huh? Paul was now working for a small wrestling
company named Eastern Championship Wrestling that ran shows every six weeks
from a dilapidated bingo hall in South Philadelphia; they would then edit
these events into a weekly television program that aired on SportsChannel
Also during that time (January 1993 until my graduation from Hofstra in May 1993), I had been sending resumes and audition tapes to WWE and WCW only to receive no response. Furthermore, I left unanswered weekly follow up telephone messages with both offices for five months, but neither WCW nor WWE wanted to take a chance on an unknown announcer.
In June, I was working as an entry level sales trainee for a division of News Corporation (FOX, TV Guide, DirecTV, etc.) but still ached to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestling television announcer. I called Paul and he told me to come to the broken down bingo hall in South Philly for an audition.
Three months later, on September 19, 1993, Paul Heyman succeeded the late Eddie Gilbert as the Executive Producer of Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW), and the very first change he made was to take a chance on a young unknown named Joey Styles from Stamford, Conn. by making him ECW's new play-by-play announcer. The rest, as they say, is hardcore history.