Hopefully since this is a wrestling forum , Brandon allows this thread...
Maybe it was best for Rob Van Dam he left WWE when his contract 1st came up. Rob has admitted he was burned out after so long in the WWE and meeting the glass famous ceiling 2 years in. But he stuck around and stayed. Along the way he would push Vince McMahon for years as he claimed to do a ECW DVD.
Vince perhaps thought he could just keep Rob at bay and say sure...yeah...maybe one day. Of course by 2004 Vince decided that he was gonna release a ECW DVD. It had been 2 years since he fully beat Acclaim in court for ECW's video rights and 4 years since the ill-fated Invasion angle that fizzled quickly months in.
So as RVD claimed , Vince didn't think the DVD package would do big numbers. He was in for a shock.
2005- By the spring of 2005 the reception the DVD had gotten and sales stunned Vince McMahon. That little rogue outfit from south Philly became one of the top selling DVD packages the WWE ever produced. More money was made from the ECW DVD than what Vince paid for WCW and that brand was essentially worthless to bring back.
Rob as he claimed pushed Vince for a PPV. Because in 2001 , the WWF then offered Paul Heyman its stars to do one last PPV. Heyman refused this and instead signed with the company. This was basically that concept and it was to say good-bye to the ECW fanbase at Hammerstein Ballroom. A famous ECW location .
Vince wanted someone to run the PPV and Rob basically said let Paul do it. ECW was his baby and he grew it. McMahon would even let Heyman write the angle with his approval. A shocking change of fortunes for Heyman who Vince basically demoted from Smackdown head writer to OVW head guy.
Heyman by this point didn't wanna be on camera anymore. In fact Paul himself wanted a backstage writers role and developing stars of tomorrow. But he was a gifted promo cutter and before long helped get Brock Lesnar over with great promos.
He also by 2002 became Smackdown's head writer and was busy making that brand very damn good. Of course Heyman had issues with Vince the entire time due to his wanting to write a good wrestling brand for the company. Vince wanted soap opera and pushed Heyman for an over the top storyline. Paul obliged of course and decided not to use any of his stars like Benoit , Edge or Angle for it. Instead he used Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie .
By 2004 Vince realized what Heyman had did and realized that Paul would never write the brand like he wanted. So he demoted him to OVW to replace Jim Cornette , who got axed for slapping a kid there.
So Heyman was given power over the PPV. To book it how he wanted and run things how it would. Heyman even pushed that Sandman have the "Enter Sandman" music for his entrance. The result was a PPV that surprised the WWE... it did over 300,000+ PPV Buys.
By now Vince basically told Paul and Rob... he was gonna do One Night Stand II next June in 2006.
2006 - Going into 2006 , Vince wasn't just thinking of PPVs and DVDs. He now had his eyes set on the bigger picture. If those 2 streams of money was being made by ECW. Why not a 3rd brand ? This fit in Vince's dream of 16-24 PPVs a year concept he was dreaming of.
Plus 3 brands touring across the country would mean more money too ! But Vince started crunching numbers. To support a 3rd brand he would need more people backstage and to handle the touring . It was a lot of money to gamble with.
By 2005 Vince had brought the WWE rights back to USA Network. Bonnie Hammer ran USA Network very well and knew WWE programming was needed for her network to be #1 again. So she gave them a good deal and Vince was gonna do whatever nice things he could for her.
In 2006 Vince came to Hammer with a proposal for more WWE programming. Hammer already had 2-4 hours of WWE shows a week with AM RAW and RAW. So she told him USA Network couldn't do it. But she did have a network she was trying to build up like she did USA. The Sci-Fi channel was the perfect spot and she would give Vince's new 1 hour show a slot on Tuesdays.
It was cheap programming Hammer realized. Plus spinning off from the popular WWE , the idea was it would do huge ratings and attract people to shows Hammer would debut around it. So it was a win...win for both. Vince made a quick $3 million dollars to televise the new ECW.
In the early 2000s Vince was at a stockholders meeting and discussed why the company bought ECW. An investor basically asked why ECW right after the WCW buyout. McMahon gave an answer basically claiming , the ECW brand as it was could be a harder edged type of product for adults.
Heyman was back on board and wrote the angle again. The idea was to finally put Rob Van Dam over and let him have a run as WWE and ECW World champion. The crossover between RAW and ECW brands was originally gonna run til September.
Rob himself seemed renewed. His matches were more energetic and he had some great matches with Angle and Big Show. Kurt Angle himself was sent to the ECW brand to give it a good talented worker to help the young guys build around plus , give them a top star for RVD to fued with.
Except Kurt by 2006 was in a world of hurt. His repeated neck surgeries had left him in pain and after a 1 month rehab stay , he suddenly saw himself on the ECW Brand...plus RAW one as well. Angle was stunned at this and told Vince his health and marriage needed a half schedule instead of the 250 dates that was shown for him.
Vince weirdly wouldn't give Angle the half schedule. Even though Shawn Michaels himself was on one. Instead the 2 men worked out an agreement on Kurt's release from the company . Which was very odd considering Angle was one of the WWE's best farm league stories and mutiple time World Champion.
Angle would work one more house show against Rob and during the match would pull his hamstrings and hurt himself pretty bad. But Kurt went thru it and put over Rob as being a good man. That he stood up to him and others at times and that got Angle's props.
Of course Rob himself may have gotten Angle's props backstage , but weeks in Rob and Sabu got the famous driving thru the state of Ohio pullover . Which resulted in a wide spread video and Vince scrambling to make Rob drop all the titles before the mainstream press would get a hold of it. (they never did )
RVD was sent home 30 days due to this. But he felt that it was a small bump in the road and he'd be back near the top of the brand helping it take off. Little did he know Vince would hold that grudge a long time.
Heyman was in fact having his own issues with Vince in 2006. Like his time as Smackdown writer , Vince would not let Paul run the brand the way he wanted. Instead he would reject the 1st episode script numerous times as Paul and Tommy Dreamer scrambled to make it work.
Finally minutes before the taping was set to happen , Vince approved it. Sci-Fi according to them wanted 1 thing. They needed one sci-fi element. So Paul basically had a beautiful witch (Shelly Martinez named Ariel) paired with a wannabe Vampire (Kevin Thorne). He also had the ECW Zombie make his famous 1st and last appearance.
The lights were turned down and the arena was tried to be shot small scale as old ECW was. Paul's overall plan was to get future stars like CM Punk , Elijah Burke and Matt Striker over against his older established ECW stars.
end of part 1...part 2 coming (no comments yet guys)