How the WWF ripped off ECW
The bottom line is Vincent Kennedy Mchmahon did what he does best. He did it in the 80s by stealing alot of the homegrown talents and running those promotions into the ground and he did it recently to ECW to save his company from being put in the dirt by WCW: Stealing most of ECW’s companies talents, storylines, gimmicks, and brand it himself so he can take the credit for creating a new era in the late 90’s “Hence the WWF Attitude” The Attitude era was a clear knock off of ECW but it ended up being a smart move by Vinny Mac, Shady move but smart nevertheless and Ill break it down for you.
I found it very funny that all of a sudden the WWF had a attitude when their idea of attitude was Doink the Clown, Papa Shango, The Repo Man, Tuxedo matches involving Bobby The Brain Heenan and Howard Finkel along with the happy go lucky rating G feel the show had at the time. Vince seeing the stream and momentum that Paul Heyman’s renegade company were building. They were establishing a new cult like following within the East Coast so Vince pulled a hustler move and offered to do business with paul.
Love him or hate him Vinny Mac is one of the best hustlers in this business and he pulled the ultimate hustler move by using ECW to destroy WCW. When Vince McMahon discovered ECW, He couldn’t believe his luck and decided to use them for promotion. Paul Heyman being so desperate at the time to take ANY form of new promotion because of the Pay Per View deal at the time falling through due to their content agreed to Vince’s offer and the two started doing business together with Paul being allowed to promote his PPV on Monday Night Raw.
The ECW did a company vs company storyline with ECW wrestlers feuding with WWF wrestlers. ECW wrestlers started appearing on Raw and vice versa for Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, and other wrestlers started to appear on ECW. The Interpromotion thing seemed to work and ECW’s Pay Per View was a success. ECW started taking off in a route of its own and even if they didn’t have the millions of dollars behind them, They still found a way to make themselves known with their extreme style, back to basics wrestling and over the top storylines
Despite the success of the Interpromotional storyline, McMahon was still in trouble and he knew that the wall were starting to crumble around the empire he had built. From 1996-1997 The WWF had lost close to 6 million along with its Wrestlemania buy for Wrestlemania 13 being at an all time low. WCW was continuing to dominate in the ratings and they had just acquired one of their biggest stars(Bret Hart) so the future was looking very bleak for the WWF during that period.
With ECW building off at its own, McMahon figured he start copying more of ECW’s ideas and extreme style for their programs. He knew the NWO was still fresh and represented Anarchy in wrestling so he started copying everything from ECW. From Sandman’s beer gimmick(For Stone Cold), Women being abused, More cursing, more blood, The Franchise gimmick(Triple H), Edge’s gimmick(Raven) along with angles such as the Sandman-Raven crucifixion angle(Austin being crucified by Undertaker) and the spot where Bam Bam Bigelow and Taz fall through the ring(Big Show chokeslams Undertaker through the ring).
He knew Paul wouldn’t be happy about that shit so Vince compensated him with money(Most likely chump change) to keep Paul E off his back because he know Paul E wasn’t afraid of speaking his mind and would go public into airing McMahon out. With the WWF pulling way ahead of the ratings war, Vince continued to dig into the ECW talent pool taking both their World champion(Taz) and Tag Team Champions(The Dudley Boyz) at one swoop before they finally got their television show aired. This was the death of ECW as we knew it and Paul E. couldn’t really say nothing bad about Vince because he felt Vince was looking out for him by giving his promotion screen time and getting the ECW belt back from Mike Awesome who had walked out on the company as ECW champ to sign with WCW.
Paul E. knew he had gottened fucked by Mcmahon but he couldn’t go on publicly and acknowledge it because it would be looked upon as a bad look for Paul because people would figure “Why is he mad at Vince gave him promotion and compisation” All while using ECW’s style and talent to take WCW out of business and making himself a billionaire in the process. The loss of Taz and Tha Dudleyz were the biggest blows that ECW never recovered from and they went under on January 31st 2001
So in a manipulative, cold calculating way, McMahon suckered a desperate Paul Heyman into believing that he was his ally. Mcmahon knew Heyman HATED Eric Bischoff with a passion because Bischoff and Heyman never got along when Heyman was in WCW. It was mainly the fact that Eric would steal ECW’s talent without any form of respect or acknowledgment. McMahon knew this so he pretended to be Paul’s friend by giving a desperate Paul the promotion he really needed for his company to promote his PPV all while “borrowing” ideas from ECW knowing Paul couldn’t come out and denounce it because McMahon painted a picture that he was looking out for Paul to the public.
The reality of the situation is that it was all to benefit himself and to win the war against WCW which he eventually did. McMahon’s true intentions of ECW is that he doesn’t really respect it and you can tell he didn’t with his watered down version of ECW he tried to run from 2006-2010. You can tell by the way he rarely acknowledges it which is silly because ECW’s Rise and Fall along with the ONS PPV’s being the highest of that year next to the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania.
When I seen the direction that Vince was taking the company in the late 90s. I thought it was a great thing for the business and the fans because they were bringing new fresh characters and storylines to the forefront to combat the already red-hot NWO storyline in WCW. The problem with what I have as a fan is that just about 80% of the storylines and gimmicks were COPIED and Vince did a great job of brainwashing the people into believing that he didn’t copy anything from ECW.