Heyman: This is the holy grail
Since 1993, there has been one undeniable face of Extreme Championship Wrestling. That man is former owner and current ECW representative, Paul Heyman. Over the last decade and a half, few have represented ECW with as much passion, heart and pride as the controversial "messiah". The recent announcement that ECW has a permanent TV home on Sci Fi through at least 2007 has surprised many, but not Paul Heyman. The hardcore founder gave WWE.com an exclusive interview in which he detailed his feelings on ECW's new lease on life.
"The minute Vince McMahon told me 'We're resurrecting ECW', I knew we were in it for the long haul," said an emotional Heyman. "So many people joke about the ‘cult' environment that surrounds ECW. They say everyone ‘drinks the kool-aid'. But in this hyper-competitive television environment, in today's attention deficit disorder society, the odds are astronomically against you. If you don't believe, it will never work. You have to imagine the impossible and then take it into your heart that you will defy the odds, be the exception to the rule, and not just survive, but actually thrive."
Now that ECW has survived their "trial run" so to speak, and ECW has a permanent home for the foreseeable future, Heyman believes that the extension will open the door to dramatic improvements in the product in both the present, and the future.
"This extension means that we now have the ability to think long term. What do we envision for Big Show at WrestleMania? The twists for RVD, Sandman and Sabu. When will C.M. Punk be put to the test? Who are the next breakout stars that have yet to debut on ECW? In the original ECW, Sabu vs. Tazz was the number one storyline for 18 months, and they never touched each other until our first pay-per-view. We had the luxury of long term planning. Now, we finally have that luxury again, to take the time to tell these kinds of epic stories."
ECW's ratings have remained strong since its debut in June and throughout the summer months. The success left Sci Fi with no choice but to sign on with ECW for at least the duration of the 2007 calendar year. Right now, ECW on Sci Fi comes in one-hour helpings which Heyman fully supports, but he also says that if Sci Fi ever wanted to expand ECW to a second hour, they would be ready, willing, and able to answer the call.
"I love the one-hour format because it's different," said an excited Heyman. "It's so fast paced. You're just slurping down your first beverage when the main event is headed to the ring. I would also love to see a 75 or 90 minute offering of ECW as well, but if they told me tomorrow, ‘we are going to two hours', we'd be ready. It would give us more time for longer matches, more characters like C.M. Punk to introduce, more time to explain the background of legends like Sabu, Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. But right now, one-hour is a god-send. It sure beats marketing only the memories. Now, we're creating new moments, new characters and new memories. This is a fantasy come true."
Heyman has always attributed much of ECW's success to its loyal fans. The extreme representative has a special message for the long time ECW fans, and those that have joined the revolution since the re-launch in June.
"For those audience members who were with us since the beginning, this is the holy grail. Thank you for your continued support. ECW has successfully been resurrected and we couldn't have done it without you. For the new audience, welcome to ECW. This is the ground floor of the premiere brand under the WWE umbrella."