Watching WWE TLC and Raw today, and they had a couple of outstanding 8-man tag matches with the Wyatt Family vs. the Hardcore Legends from ECW. I was reminded of a thing I learned recently: Vince McMahon gave money to ECW. They were technically a competitor, but they were also competing with WCW, so I guess Vince figured ECW would take viewers away from WCW…. That, or he was paying them to act as a “farm” of sorts–a developmental company; which would then backfire when WCW snatched up Chris Jericho, Dean Malinko, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, etc…. But we all know that Vince won out in the end, buying out ECW and WCW.
The story is muddled–I’m sure it’s one of those “three sides to every story” (his side, your side, and the truth) situations. But either way you look at it tho, technically Vince gave money to Paul, and it’s sad to find out ECW wasn’t as indy as I thought it was back in the day….
Yahoo! Answers is divided on the issue with Candle IWC Illuminati providing the best Answer:
This is truth, it’s no storyline, this is in unkayfabe documentaries and published print. During the Monday Night Wars, Vince gave the folding ECW money to stay afloat. That doesn’t mean he funded it, it means on one or two occasions he loaned Heyman money. If Vince actually financially supported it, ECW would still be around as an independent from WWE today and not reduced to a third rate brand on WWE programming.
With that being said, remember that the winners of every war is left with the task of writing the history books, and odds are they’re going to write whatever makes their side look good. If you watch stuff like The Rise + Fall of ECW, and then watch the independently produced Forever Hardcore (Which is on youtube for anyone interested) you’ll get two similar, but very different stories. Both paint WCW as the “Big Bad Guy” which is okay, because at a time, WCW was the top promotion in America, and they did get cocky, they did do a lot of underhanded things, and Eric Bischoff will openly admit to you that he hated ECW, as if watching the last days of Mike Awesome’s American career in WCW as “The Fat Chick Thrilla” wasn’t enough proof. But WWE isn’t some saving grace. Vince benefitted greatly by leaving a creative mind like Heyman in the market of wrestling. A majority of what the Attitude Era was made of happened in ECW first. Who pushed Austin like a badass antihero first? Wasn’t WCW, and it sure as hell wasn’t WWE. Who crucified a man during a live event for the first time in wrestling? Wasn’t Mark Calloway, it was Scott Levy. Who created the loose cannon Brian Pillman and gave him the forum to be the crazy man he can be? It was ECW first. Hell, who parodied nWo first? Wasn’t Shawn Michaels and Triple H in DX, it was Hollywood Nova, Big Stevie Cool and the Blue Guy in a little faction called bWo.
ECW was the biggest thing that happened in wrestling that nobody saw live, but vicariously through WWE goggles. Vince benefitted by keeping Heyman and his very creative, very backstage active roster around, and when WCW started stealing away the worthwhile talent, WWE followed suit and sealed their little creative cell’s fate.
But then, after that, Paul Heyman addressed the issue in a DVD:
“I never took a check from WWE while I was running ECW … In 1996 I had a meeting with Vince McMahon, and there was some talent in WWE that he was going to send to ECW, and keep on his payroll, as long as I could work with these talents and develop them. There was some talent in ECW that Vince was looking to bring into WWE … ECW had a deal with Tommy Boy Records, to use some of their music. Every time 2 Cold Scorpio was on the ECW TV show, we put a lower third of his music, and the first commercial was always an ad by Tommy Boy Records. And for this, Tommy Boy Records sponsored ECW to the tune of $1,000 per week. If I were to send 2 Cold Scorpio to WWE, ECW would lose the sponsorship – we’d lose $1,000 a week … Vince says, ‘I’ll cover the grand. I’ll send you a grand a week for the rights to use 2 Cold Scorpio.’ And if you look, since that day in September 1996, WWE paid ECW $1,000 a week.”