Jim Ross, the legendary wrestling commentator, recently spoke about Vince McMahon paying Paul Heyman to keep ECW alive. ECW was Extreme Championship Wrestling, and was at one time the only promotion that used extreme rules in almost every single match.
It was led by Paul Heyman. However, the company was eventually bought by WWE, and most of ECW’s best wrestlers joined WWE.
Jim Ross on Vince McMahon Paying Paul Heyman to Keep ECW Alive
According to Jim Ross, Vince McMahon just wished to keep the company alive long enough so that he could buy the company along with all of their intellectual properties.
“We knew the dire straits that unfortunately Paul was in financially and we figured the logical conclusion in his case was bankruptcy,” Ross said. “At that point in time, we were prepared to buy the assets which included the library in bankruptcy court.
We had been helping Paul, I think we paid Paul $50,000 a month, I can’t remember, I don’t remember. That $50,000 a month number sticks out but I may be wrong on that too. In any event, we were helping him. He was getting a regular cheque to try to keep his doors open longer so that if he did indeed have a legitimate buyer, he had more time to negotiate a deal.
Vince was very very kind to Paul in that part. “It would’ve been very easy to put him out of business, all of his top talent wanted to leave because I hired most of them. We got everybody we wanted and they were calling me, I wasn’t soliciting them, they were calling me because at Vince’s insistence we’re not going to go out of our way to do anything harmful to ECW.
We wanted to buy the library at some point because we had the goal to do this network”. Ross stated that Vince McMahon wanted to keep a good relationship with ECW and Paul Heyman as he knew they would eventually be bankrupt.
Vince McMahon really wanted his hands on the library that ECW had so they could use the footage without any controversy. “Paying Paul was like moving around the deck chairs in the Titanic, you kind of knew it was going down, so you just tried to stop the bleeding as best you can and get in line for some of those talents,” Jim Ross said.
“They did have some really good talent; I think we did a nice job of hiring the best that they had. Vince recognized talent, for any of us to try to argue the point that Paul Heyman didn’t have significant talent from a cerebral standpoint would be ridiculous.
He did a lot with the little engine that could, Paul did a phenomenal job motivating. Paul did a good job of us vs. the world mentality. We knew what we wanted to get out of ECW, library #1, and select talents #2. All of that worked out, we knew we could do better if we stayed closer to Paul and showed him our loyalty.
If the only person we got out of that deal was Paul Heyman and no talent, we’d win because he’s a brilliant TV writer and a great creative guy, one of the smartest I’ve ever been around”.