To many fans, Paul Heyman is one of the greatest managers in the history of professional wrestling. Fascinated by wrestling, Heyman endeavored to become a popular name early in his career. Using his journalism skills to suspiciously enter backstage at various events, Heyman used this to go further into the business. While he was seen as a color commentator for World Championship Wrestling, his time as a manager really allowed to fans to see how creative Heyman is as a character. Two of the most notable times in his career as a manager while in WCW was his Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose) vs. New Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) feud, and his re-creation of the Dangerous Alliance.
During an episode of WCW programming, Heyman recreated the Dangerous Alliance, a stable he once had in the American Wrestling Association and introduced the members. Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko, Arn Anderson, and Rick Rude all appeared, with Madusa and Michael P.S. Hayes playing managerial roles. Although this stable did not last long, it gave Heyman the confidence he needed to create his own brand. Hence, in 1993, Eastern Championship Wrestling, operated by Tod Gordon, became Extreme Championship Wrestling, led by Heyman.
Although the company lasted only a little over seven years, many names – such as Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio – would become future WWE World Heavyweight Champions.
During the heat of ECW was the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW. From 1995 – 2001, WWE and WCW went head-to-head on Monday Nights, giving fans the difficult choice on whether they would watch more of WWE Raw or WCW Nitro. WCW was so bold and aggressive, they spoiled a title change to the viewers of Nitro for the purposes of them not changing the channel. However, it would backfire, and Mick Foley’s WWE Championship win is widely felt as one of the most pivotal moments in the shift of supremacy from WCW to WWE.
Meanwhile, ECW was using their hybrid style of hardcore and technical wrestling, and the unique style of the brand gained a rapid attraction. Although Heyman knew that usurping the power of WWE and/or WCW was a bit insurmountable, at least he was going to create a brand that viewers would not want to turn the channel. ECW would continue to gain a following. However, the company disbanded due to a lack of commitment from television stations, as well as a severe deficit of pay to many of the ECW talent, including main event names.
During an interview with the Fight Society podcast, Heyman shared his thoughts on whether fans will ever see another version of the Attitude era.
“The Attitude era is not coming back. Its just not. What made the Attitude era so great was the fact that it was finding new ways to present the product. There was something wild and different and innovative every week. It’s not just the fact that people would curse or crotch chops, or all the assorted things that are severely R rated, because we were doing that in ECW as well. But, I felt towards the end of ECW that it had reached its peak. That the shock value had satiated the appetite, and that something new was needed to be presented and promoted anyway. “
Heyman agreed that the Attitude era was thrilling, but he also stated that people who talk about how those days are gone, and they want it back, are similar to an older generation talking about how things were so great during the era of Bruno Sammartino, or Jim Crockett and World Class Championship Wrestling.
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