Statement from Paul Heyman on 25 years since ECW Barely Legal, still being indebted to the fans

Thursday marked the 25th anniversary of the ECW Barely Legal pay-per-view, which was the inaugural pay-per-view event hosted by the original ECW promotion led by Paul Heyman.

Barely Legal took place at the legendary ECW Arena (aka 2300 Arena) in Philadelphia on April 13, 1997. The show was headlined by WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk defeating The Sandman and Stevie Richards in a three-way dance to become the new #1 competitor, then defeating Raven to win the ECW World Heavyweight Title.

Heyman took to Instagram this week to mark the milestone. He posted behind-the-scenes footage from Barely Legal and commented on how ECW took on WWE and WCW “in the most hyper-competitive environment” in professional wrestling history.

Heyman noted how he was still overambitious as he looked for new things to accomplish, and he thanked the fans for getting ECW on pay-per-view. He said ECW was a true revolution, which changed the company forever.

Heyman said he will forever be indebted to the fans of ECW, and will spend the rest of his career pursuing the passion, drive and ambition to exceed anyone’s expectations, to be a part of something. where the level of performance is… extreme.

You can read Heyman’s full statement below and see his full Instagram post:

April 13, 1997: #ECW’s very first PPV, BarelyLegal.

Sigh.

I suck at being nostalgic.

I’m still too ambitious, looking for new things to accomplish. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t say SOMETHING about this anniversary.

ECW Barely Legal didn’t take place in a time when there was a brand so dominant that it was easy for companies to call themselves alternative or revolutionary.

We’ve faced two billion dollar companies in the most hyper-competitive environment in the history of the industry.

ECW’s fight for access to the PPV has been covered in books, documentaries, and more. Confusion of ppv distributors with MMA; our competitors are doing everything to keep us out of the PPV; our uncompromising insistence on making the show with our directors, a one-man announcement booth, from the world’s most infamous bingo hall, literally on the wrong side of the tracks in South Phily; we were ready to die before selling our vision.

As much credit as we get for being outlaws, true to our cause…we weren’t the ones who got ECW clearance on PPV. They were our fans.

Emails; letter writing campaigns; bombarding cable company executives with 24-hour faxes (what’s a FAX?); picketing in the offices of #Cablevision. ECW was a real revolution.

We had no sponsors, billion dollar trust funds, secret financiers. We had bullets, self-belief and our fans, who stood up for the cause, changed the industry forever.

I don’t like writing these lookbacks because the journey to PPV has been filled with such thrilling moment-to-moment pressure that it’s impossible to sum up in simple words. That’s why I avoided all the pressure to have a scripted movie made about it. #BubbaRayDudley likes to say ECW was the wrestling version of #Napster. We weren’t meant to last. We were there to lead the revolution, if not the evolution, of the direction the company would take. I often tap to try to describe it better.

We did it. We did it. ECW fans brought us there.

For this I will be forever indebted… and I will spend the rest of my career pursuing this passion, this drive, this ambition to exceed anyone’s expectations; being part of something where the level of performance is… pun intended… EXTREME!

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