WWE News: Why did Paul Heyman leave WWE in 2006?
What's the story?
He's the advocate for "The Beast Incarnate" Brock Lesnar. He's the creative mastermind behind the original ECW.He's been a legendary mouthpiece for stables such as The Dangerous Alliance and world champions like "Ravishing" Rick Rude and CM Punk.
Ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman, and back in 2006, he took his ball and went home.
In case you didn't know...
The original ECW folded in 2001, but fans refused to let the name be forgotten. Those three letters became synonymous with table spots and bloodshed, a sentiment that wasn't lost on Vince McMahon.
After a successful duo of "One Night Stand" PPV's, stellar sales of "The Rise and Fall of ECW" DVD, and a relaunch of the brand on the Sci-Fi network in 2006, conflict between Paul and Vince forced the former owner of the company to bow out and disappear from the mainstream pro wrestling landscape for several years.
The heart of the matter
While WWE's version of ECW would ultimately live on for a total of four years, it was but a shell of the original iteration. This was something that Paul Heyman, who served as a figurehead and on-screen character for the second coming of the brand was aware of almost immediately. He knew what made the original ECW work so well, but realizing that times and tastes had changed, he also understood that WWE's sanitized version won't click with diehard fans.
In December of 2006, the relaunched brand would hold their inaugural PPV, titled "December to Dismember". The show was abysmal. It ran just over two hours whereas typical PPV's run closer to three. The card felt thrown together at the last minute, with almost none of the matches having been advertised or receiving any storyline build prior to the event.
The Extreme Elimination Chamber main event, which saw performers enter into the chain-link structure armed with weapons, fell flat with the crowd. In a match that saw original ECW headliner Rob Van Dam, a young WWE upstart named CM Punk, and veteran superstar Big Show, it was Bobby Lashley who would go on to win and claim the ECW title.
Fans were irate, and chants of "E-C-W" were replaced with "Change the Channel."
It was at this event that tensions over creative direction between Paul and Vince came to a head, and two days later, Paul walked away from WWE.
All of ECW's programming, both the original version and WWE's revival, are available on the WWE network, as are all of the PPV's.
TNA attempted on a few occasions to recapture some of the hardcore nostalgia with their "Hardcore Justice" PPV, but only a few of the original ECW alumni worked the show, leading to dismal attendance numbers and buy rates.
Paul Heyman has since returned and graces the screens of WWE fans whenever Brock Lesnar makes an appearance, delivering some of the best promos the wrestling world has ever heard.
I actually had the chance of attending the "December to Dismember" PPV, and it was unlike anything I'd ever seen before in terms of a live pro wrestling production. The crowd was visibly upset over the quality of the show. Probably, it was best that this was WWE's last attempt to run an ECW-branded PPV.
As Paul himself has stated numerous times in the past, ECW's time has come and gone.
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