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ECW and WWE’s Secret Partnership, Explained

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  • WWE is all alone on top of the mountain
  • McMahon wanted the ECW library

In the modern world, WWE is the be-all and end-all of professional wrestling and for fans, WWE is professional wrestling just like UFC is the sport of MMA.

Vince McMahon is the most powerful individual in business history and after trampling on the territorial system and buying out his competition, the company has come to personify the whole sport. Successful across the world and more profitable than any other wrestling promotion, WWE existed in a vacuum because no promotion came close to Vince McMahon’s empire.

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After acquiring WCW and ECW, Vince McMahon banned any mention of foreign wrestling promotions. Commentators were not allowed to say that a returning wrestler had participated in other promotions, and Vince McMahon closed his business to outsiders.

WWE is all alone on top of the mountain

Vince McMahon is considered a selfish businessman because he not only brought his competition, but for years before his purchase of WCW, he single-handedly destroyed the old system of territories. He’s been ruthless throughout his ambitious run to the top of the industry, but among the very many promotions he’s destroyed, Vince McMahon has offered a helping hand to one company in particular: Extreme Championship Wrestling.


Yes, Vince McMahon actually helped Paul Heyman and his cash-strapped company, and without McMahon, ECW would have perished long before 2001. It was definitely a one-time event, and perhaps that was because for once, McMahon was in uncharted territory, on the verge of defeat at the hands of Eric Bischoff and WCW.

Meanwhile, Paul Heyman, the owner of ECW, had some personal issues with WCW himself and perhaps through this common bond, McMahon and Heyman developed a kind of working relationship with each other. ‘other. ECW was on the verge of collapse as early as 1996, and it was Vince McMahon who provided Paul Heyman with much needed funding.

According to people involved with the business, McMahon loaned Heyman around $500,000 and it was quite a large sum in the mid-1990s. With this capital, Heyman was able to maintain the promotion and ECW survived into the new millennium. . More importantly, in a rare case of cross-promotion, ECW and WWE reunited on television and we were treated to one of the most underrated invasion angles in pro wrestling.

The catalyst for this invasion was the actual hatred between Jerry Lawler and Paul Heyman. Out of nowhere, Lawler began calling out ECW during a live commentary, slamming Heyman and company for being too bloody and violent.

This led to ECW wrestlers appearing on WWE television and eventually Heyman himself showed up for a heated debate with Lawler. The story continued for a few months and many ECW stars were exposed on national television and a few WWE wrestlers were sent to ECW to train and develop.

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Unfortunately, ECW was only able to survive a few more years and in 2001 the company was declared bankrupt. McMahon purchased the defunct promotion’s assets and the ECW intellectual property became the sole property of WWE.


McMahon wanted the ECW library

Out of work and in debt, Heyman was brought into WWE, and McMahon never asked Heyman to repay the $500,000 loan. Heyman worked as an on-screen talent and behind-the-scenes worker for many years. He had a falling out with the boss in 2006 and left, but found his way back to WWE and remains an important part of the company to this day.

Longtime WWE employee Jim Ross commented on the matter during an episode of his podcast and said McMahon loaned the amount so he could purchase the video library later. Ross also mentioned that Heyman received $50,000 per month, but he did not say if this was in addition to the $500,000 loan or if the amount was given to Heyman on a monthly basis and not as a lump sum. Maybe Vince McMahon treated ECW as an investment and helped Heyman so he could nurture talent for Cherry Pick later.

This is Vince McMahon we’re talking about, so we’ll never know the truth, but the fact remains: once in a blue moon, Vince McMahon could help out a rival promoter. He probably had his own interests at the forefront of his mind, but maybe he appreciates the kind of talent that Heyman was and wanted to help where he could. Or maybe Vince McMahon was a secret ECW fan and the promotion was his guilty pleasure.