|By Raj Giri||September 18, 2012 | Comments|
I had been to ECW when they would come near me, but I had never been in the actual ECW Arena. So, once I started going -- there was a whole culture there where people camp out all day and drink beer, get wasted and act stupid. [Laughs.] They'd do cook outs. I wanted to kind of document the Arena experience.
That was the first idea. I've learned since then that your original idea for documentaries are just seeds that grow into something. In this case, it grew into something a lot more serious and a lot more objective. It wasn't just a fan thing anymore.
WrestlingINC: Was that the first documentary that you'd ever done at that point?
Philapavage: Yes, that was the first one I started. I believe that summer, we did our first mockumentary. We went through a faze where we had fun doing fake documentaries. We ended up producing two -- one, I think, was an hour and ten minutes, which was cut down to an hour. The other was feature length.
This was the first. When we started, we were 19. I mean, we were pups.
WrestlingINC: You started in 2001, right, this particular documentary?
Philapavage: No, March of 2000 actually. The company was still around. We actually shot at their internet fan convention in April of 2000.
WrestlingINC: How supportive were they of you making the documentary?
Philapavage: It's hard to say because they were out within a year of us starting. Really, at first, we had no momentum. We were just so young. We didn't get a major interview until Tod Gordon and that was January of 2001 and the company was falling apart at that point.
Then, the flood gates kind of opened with access to people. I mean, people in the company knew that we were doing stuff. But, it's not like I got Paul Heyman on the phone or anything. [Laughs.]
WrestlingINC: What most surprised you while you were filming and making this documentary back then?
Philapavage: How many people contributed. There's this generalized idea that Paul Heyman did everything -- and he did a lot -- but it's amazing how rich the history of the company is. Both positively and negatively.
But, I mean, Paul didn't start the company, Tod Gordon did. It came out of the ashes of TWA and there's a whole story there. Then, Eddie Gilbert was there for a while booking and then he brought Paul in. There's just a lot of people that helped out along the way. A few fans, but always just front office people.
I was also surprised that I didn't realize when I started how much Paul's family was involved in it, his mother and father. it was kind of more of a family business than I had realized.
WrestlingINC: What were some of your favorite moments from that era?
Philapavage: A lot of stuff in '95 and '96. That was the golden age for me. It's also when I really started watching. I went back and I watched from the beginning years later on VHS tapes. But, that fall of '95 really sticks in my head. Again, it was fresh. When Steve Austin came in and you still had the Public Enemy there. The Sandman character was just so over. The Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer feud.
There were just a lot of interesting things that were weaving -- the Taz turn, he turned heel at that point. The state athletic commission angle with Bill Alfonso was brilliant, to bring a guy in and pretend he's part of the state athletic commission and he won't let people do hardcore things. Then, of course, they do them anyway. You had the Mick Foley heel turn there, too. There was just a lot of stuff going on.
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