KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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Former ECW wrestler C.W. Anderson spoke out on a podcast regarding Paul Heyman’s handling the end of ECW as it related to the wrestlers. Paul Heyman replied with his side of the story. The following are key highlights of Anderson’s comments on “The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling” hosted by John & Chad (EPISODE LINK).
•On the Final Days of ECW: “I was devastated. I had no idea. We had heard the rumblings even when we were in Arkansas. Everybody said this was our last thing and on the car ride back I was with Lou (E. Dangerously) and Jack (Victor). (Steve) Corino didn’t show up to that show and RVD didn’t show up to that show because they didn’t get paid and they saw the writing on the wall. Not me, though. I was die-hard to the end because I thought this can’t be it and ECW can’t fold because Paul will figure out something to be done. He always told us that he was out in California working on a deal with USA for us, but we’ve come to find out that he was filming the movie ‘Rollerball.’ I went into a depression spell after that because I was on a high being in ECW and then there was nothing. There were a lot of us like that and a lot of us weren’t told anything. No phone call, no kiss my ass, or anything along those lines. We weren’t given anything. It was just rumbles that we were done.”
•On his own issues with Paul Heyman: “There were a lot of times that he didn’t show up and it was left to Tommy (Dreamer) to run everything and that is where Tommy’s genius came in. He kept us afloat for the longest time. He (Paul) would always have big meetings with us before shows and give us this “ra-ra” speech and still throw it in there even while we weren’t getting paid and we still believed him. Guys would have their own issues behind the scenes by themselves and I think what would have been one of my downfalls as a wrestler is that I’ve never been a confrontational guy. The only time I ever lost it, I had met with him and Tommy one day and broke down because I was riding to the show with the Dupps and the car had broken down and we were in Boston so I had no idea how I was getting home since I was only making 75 dollars a night at the time and was losing money. I said I’ve got to have a raise to continue. He wanted to know how much I wanted and I said I’ll leave it in his hands to pay me what he thinks I’m worth to him. He came back to me again and once I started getting pushed and wanted to put me under contract and guys that I was wrestling were making $3,000 a week and I’m making $400-$500 a week depending on how many shows we had. But he could make you believe anything. That was the gift he had and he knew his stuff when it comes to wrestling and that was his foray.”
•On Heyman still being involved with WWE as a TV character: “Paul will always have a job in one format or another. He is smart enough and wise enough to be able to work his way into anything like that. He is such a good talker and he is always going to have some kind of job in some format and it is perfect for him. The little weasley manager, you will always need that and Paul fits that role and he will always have some part in wrestling. I don’t think he will do anything booking-wise at WWE and I don’t think that will ever be given to him, but he is right where he is right now and he don’t have to make any decisions now and just goes out what they tell him from what I’ve seen when I do watch.”
So Heyman took issue with these comments, in particular the timeline that he was in California to film ‘Rollerball.’ He wrote the following on Twitter:
“As we sit here about 2 enjoy Korean BBQ, I decided 2 go against how I usually handle wannabes who like 2 name drop (after 16 years, no less). I saw an interview in which #CWAnderson claims I was in LA shooting #Rollerball instead of trying to save #ECW back in 2000.
“It’s absurd that people have done nothing to talk about in 17 years so they are constrained to address their heartbreak about 2000/01. Of course, that makes me an even bigger schmuck to feel compelled to ANSWER these moronic comments, but the food is cooking, so …
(1) Rollerball was never filmed in LA. It was filmed in Montreal and then in Yonkers, NY.
(2) My scenes in Rollerball were shot in June and July, 2001. Not when #ECW was in business. I was actually booked for the movie thru @WWE.
(3) The insinuation that I was shooting movie(s) in LA instead of trying to save what was my life (at the time) (#ECW) is just ignorant.
“(4) Not only did I desperately try every angle 2 save the company, I put in every last dime I personally had, even when the ship was sinking.
(5) I have zero regrets over any of this. I went bankrupt trying to save #ECW, and have never regretted my investment and never will.
(6) So when someone repeats a blatant lie about my commitment at the time to the product to which I devoted seven years of my life, it’s nothing short of ignorance on full display for the entire world to see. It’s a shame I waited this long to correct the record on this BS that has lingered for all these years…
He then added:
“So today, I decided to lower myself and answer a claim that people w/ nothing to do seem to repeat with no regard for accuracy. I accept all criticism 4 this diatribe, and confess I should have been above it all, and offer no excuses as to why I decided to address it. Oh I almost forgot. To answer #CW‘s nagging self-question as to why he was paid $75 a night when others had more (at least on paper) … That was the going rate for a lower level stooge who reported on the locker room to Dreamer. But admittedly, he was a damn good one. PROPS!”
Keller’s Analysis: The issue I’ve heard a few ECW wrestlers have with how Heyman handled the end of ECW was that he didn’t call each of them individually to address the end of ECW and show appreciation for their hanging with him when times were tough and they were working for little or no money. It was probably an emotional time for Heyman, and calling wrestlers individually might have seemed like a traumatizing proposition, so it was Dreamer who did that communication in some instances for those who were contacted at all. I don’t think anyone questions how hard Heyman worked and how much he sacrificed and how difficult it was for him to finally admit was over. The issue was that he didn’t reach out personally and individually to wrestlers who didn’t have anywhere else to land in the industry, but stuck with Heyman until the end. It was the “rah rah” speeches that gave some of the wrestlers a sense they were in something together with him, sacrificing as one, and it’s clear to me some felt a phone call from Heyman would have meant the world to them at that time and removed the sense of being “used” or “discarded” once it was over. Seeing him end up on WWE TV with a “golden parachute” of sorts relative to their situation in pro wrestling made it sting more. Heyman seemed to take these comments from Anderson more personally than I would have expected, and calling him a stooge who reported to Dreamer on the locker room felt like he went from rebutting facts to trying to kick dirt on the guy. I get if Heyman was worked up and felt wronged or felt Anderson was sloppy with his memory and timeline that he’d be tempted to take that extra dig at him, but considering where Heyman has been the last 16 years in the industry versus Anderson, I could see it turning some against Heyman even if they were sympathetic to his point until then.