Shane Douglas Talks Extreme Rising, ECW, Leaving WWE, WCW Folding, WWE's ECW Revival

So, I knew at that point what Paul was thinking was get the belt off of Shane because the belt was the only leverage that I had. There was an offer made to me at the time to go and drop the belt to Ric Flair for a considerable amount of money. And I have to admit and be honest, I certainly thought about it because I was owed a lot of money and I really couldn't afford to lose $144,000.

So, I entertained the thought. Then, once I got my head into and I was like, I can't possibly go drop the belt to Flair. It would kill ECW, it would kill my resolve and my connection with the fans -- how loyal I had been to the company and how loyal they had been to the company -- it would have broken that. So, I knew that I couldn't do that. That's why I ultimately decided to go ahead and do the match with Taz as Paul wanted it. Albeit, keeping myself as strong as possible.

The outcome of that match, if you look closely at the end when we do the finish -- I had told Tax beforehand because I knew the ECW fans. I knew that them seeing this huge paradigm shift going from this ultra-heel character that had been so prodiminate in ECW. The fans would see that and they were definitely going to give the 'Thank you, Shane,' and all that. I told Taz, 'If you climb the ropes like you do every other time, the fans are going to crap on it. So, don't do it. Be very humble. Take the belt, hold the belt up, almost look at me out of respect and leave.

So, as I'm laying there and I'm looking out at the crowd, they're all flipping me the middle finger. I'm thinking, boy, did I misjudge that. It's rare that I misjudge something that extreme. Very quickly, I realized, they weren't flipping me the middle finger. I rolled over and Taz had taken the belt and climbed the ropes like he always did. And the fans, I think, saw that as a sign of disrespect. Not that taz meant it that way but that's the way the fans took it. Still, the fans flipped him the middle fingers and it was something very different. It humbled Taz a little bit that the crowd turned on him that quickly.

WrestlingINC: When you did go, the writing so starting to appear on the wall. ECW's talent was being raided by WCW, you could see the problems with TNN. What were your feelings during that time knowing that ECW was kind of on it's final leg?

Douglas: None of us wanted to leave, all of us were extremely comfortable, no pun intended. I can speak for myself personally, I loved ECW. I loved everything about it. I loved the crew, I loved the fans, the style, working there. I was the last person in the world that wanted to leave ECW. So, when I got to the realization that, hey, this thing is on the wane, the money that we're owed is only getting larger and larger by the week. So, it's either jump out now or once this this ship sinks, then you're going to have to take whatever pittance they throw at you because you have no leverage.

So, for me, as much as I wanted to stay there after I came back from WWF -- for me, I had already experienced that and learned my lesson very, very, quickly. I was worried that it would happen again. But when Eric Bischoff put on an offer on the table that, really, could never -- it was more money than I ever dreamt of making in my entire life time. And more money than I ever made in wrestling. From that point, from being owed so much money, that was literally a life preserver to me financially.

If I didn't have that offer, and had to take the money that WWF was offering me at that time to return, which was only $115,000 a year, I would have been in financial trouble very quickly. So, as much as I didn't relish my run in WCW the last time, I was extremely happy for the offer and opportunity financially.

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