Scotty Riggs Talks Leaving WCW, ECW's Dying Days, Working With Paul Heyman & More
No matter what anybody else said, Vince said, 'This is what we're doing.' He's the boss. In one sense, that's a great thing to have. In another, it's, like, 'Wow!.' If he doesn't have any flexibility, I'm a little nervous.
Paul E. was just so good but all of the times, he got squashed with what he wanted to do which was keep things sparked. Keep things alive. Instead of going one route in a story, you'd have a fork in the road. You could go either way. He had that golden horse shoe that could tell which way you needed to go with this. The crowd would go nuts over it.
WrestlingINC: You mentioned the business end of it with him. You were there at the end when ECW finally went under. Did they ever miss payments to you?
Riggs: Long story short: Yes. We started working shows towards the end with no pay. Once certain guys that had been there for a while like RVD, Sandmanů Dusty Rhodes was actually the first guy to [leave]. When they stopped paying him, he just said, 'Hey, I'm not coming to your shows until you pay me.' He was still under a deal with him and he stopped coming. Then, even their top guys were not getting paid.
Some of the guys stayed and worked because they knew that that's what helped establish the company. So, I stayed there for a short period of time working and then even tried to re-structure my deal Paul so that I would still get paid something. But, they just didn't have the funds to pay anybody anything towards the end of it.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of ECW, they were a mom and pop operation in the sense that when they made money, they just spent it as best they could. Everybody was working. When Paul got that deal with TNN, he sat down with them and got one pay-per-view that was done using their satellite trucks, lighting and rigging, and one SpikeTV program that was taped using their lighting, rigging, cameras, production process and everything else. That's all he was guaranteed. One of each.
So, when they came in and did their one, that was it. But we had to deal with them to be on TV, which ECW never had before with actually being on TV. If you notice, the production value of the first couple of shows was great, but after that, Spike pulled their stuff out and said, 'Hey. We've fulfilled our obligation. You got on TV. Now, you've got to keep doing the TV thing for us,' So, we went from having hard cameras, two hand held cameras and everything else, to having one guy on the side of the ring with one hand held camera and one guy with a hard camera that they had used in the past.
The lighting went to hell. The whole production value went down because, all of a sudden, they had to produce it themselves. Because we were on TV, we were actually making money and we were drawing the house show money and stuff like that. But Paul was having to pay his past creditors from buildings that he didn't pay and stuff like that. Towards the end of it, unfortunately, he could go back to a lot of the buildings because he owed them money for renting the buildings. There were very little places you could go because he owed money.
That was the thing. If Paul would have just hired somebody to be a businessman for him, instead of him trying to do the business side of it himself and he could just be the creative guy that he was before -- I don't know what the relationship with Todd Gordon and him was and how they worked together. I was a wrestler, not a businessman. But, just as a fly on the wall, I saw how everything just started going straight down hill. The money started drying up and you stopped receiving your paycheck.