19. February, 2013


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I like the new WWE championship belt design.  Not sure how durable it will be but it looks better than the spinner belt IMO.  I didn’t see anywhere to put the champ’s name on the main plate.  Maybe they will make custom side plates  as done for The Rock.  A simple eye catching design has been a long time coming.  My favorite championship belt was the NWA title last worn by Harley Race and retired in Houston on July 20, 1973.  That belt was worn by Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Gene Kiniski and Dory Funk Jr. before losing it to Harley.

Harley took the belt off before his match with Jack Brisco and made the exchange with then NWA president Sam Munchnick. He then posed with the new belt wrapped in red felt that was dubbed “Ten Pounds of Gold” years later.  The spinner lasted eight years.  It will be interesting to see how long this one stays in service.

There will be those who love the design and others that don’t.  I remember some WWE belts that didn’t last two years much less eight.  Remember Brock Lesner and Eddie Guerrero’s title reigns?

My good friend JBL wrote a blog last week about his experience with The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge).  John was teaming with Ron Simmons as The Acolytes during this time and were in “tag team limbo.”  PE got a bad rap right from the start by showing up late and perceived to have a bad attitude.  I know all four guys and my perception was there was a severe misunderstanding!

Perception is reality.  That’s something you hear many times in professional wrestling/sports entertainment.  A lot of mis-perception takes place too!  I think PE were trying to find their way and they had a producer who wanted to push them.  While they were both good guys and well respected in ECW, respect is given, earned and then got when you enter a new land like WWE!

JBL was pretty straight forward, naming names and saying he “hates stooges!”  I have to agree with him there.  I don’t care for stooges myself.  I understand they are a necessary evil in any business but I never cared for them and in the end they can’t be trusted with anything.

I do remember watching the match between The Acolytes and Public Enemy.  Funny thing was I didn’t think JBL or Ron were doing anything different than usual!  They beat the hell outta PE, then put them through a table.  There might have been a small misunderstanding before the match but during the match it was classic Acolytes.  I’m sure it’s not the first time Public Enemy felt like they had to fight for their lives either!

I made shots for ECW and Paul Heyman.  I knew Paul from my days in Continental Wrestling in Alabama.  He was a young, brash New Yorker who came down to help Eddie Gilbert book the territory. It was obvious that he “wasn’t from ’round them parts.”  Paul is Paul; what you see is what you get. Self assured, abrasive, cocky, talented.  It’s no surprise he  started ECW the way he did.  Paul knows how to get people to react.  People know he’s the real deal.

Years ago, Paul booked me on a show with him in the famous Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn, NY.  I was wrestling the Rochester Roadblock and he was huge! It was the middle of winter, snow on the ground and I wasn’t too sure the Roadblock was in a very good mood.  Paul explained that he was going to hit Roadblock in the back of the head and I would get the pin.  Everything seemed OK until…

We went to the ring first.  Paul grabbed the microphone to cut a promo and it kept cutting out.  He threw the mic down and we started the match.

The time came for Paul to hit Roadblock and he didn’t go down.  He didn’t sell anything!  Paul hit him two more times and it was then I decided I’ll take a walk and get counted out.  We went upstairs to the dressing room where we were met by an old man with a crooked nose who started screaming at Paul, “You broke my microphone!” Great.

Paul started yelling back and by this time a couple of young boxers who were hanging around started closing in.  Before I knew it, Tony Atlas had one of the guys by the throat and Paul told me to “get your stuff, we’re leaving!”  We were clearly outnumbered but grabbed our bags and made our way downstairs, out of the building and into the snow. We got in Paul’s car and sped away.   I had no shirt, short trunks and it was freezing!  Never a dull moment…

Deny, deny deny… Paul denied that was him talking to Brad Maddox on tape.  Even when confronted with hard facts and evidence Paul Heyman denied and then justified his actions.  Classic.  I can’t help but like Paul because he is so blatant about his convictions, right or wrong.  At least he has convictions and an opinion.

Paul’s management style in ECW was very much cult like.  He can look you in the eye and make you believe you can ‘change the world.’  And that’s great…if you were one of ‘his guys.’  It was very much ECW against the world and those band of misfits did eventually make profound changes!  And when they got their opportunity they grabbed it by the throat!  Paul Heyman brought his hard core attitude and style to WWE and proved he had something people would tune in to watch.

Sometimes you have to eat some crap to get your way.  Paul’s no stranger to adversity and people trying to manipulate him.  This is where his strategy and experience come into play.  Deny. Manipulate into his court! He could say something enough times with conviction that there was no way he could ever be lying!

Why is Paul so convincing?  Because he’s not “acting.”  Paul Heyman turns the volume up and does his thing.  If he sees something special in someone he can cultivate it and make that person a star.  Watch some old ECW footage and you’ll see what I mean.

I worked with Public Enemy in ECW.  They were good guys.  But we were in their backyard and I knew it was their rules. That was fine.  But once they got to WWE and the Acolytes it was a different story.  It wasn’t their fault.  They were conditioned to believing they could walk through walls.  Reality told a different story.  PE was released a couple weeks later. Eventually they landed in WCW and did pretty well.

Paul Heyman’s influence should continue up to and past Wrestlemania.  With CM Punk, Brock Lesnar and who knows what surprises he has up his sleeve, the WWE should be an exciting place the next few months.

Thanks for reading.

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