As noted earlier, Paul Heyman appeared on The Steve Austin Show for a two part interview. It really is a great episode, and it's so interesting to listen to two of the most influential names of the modern era talk about the business. In part two of the interview, Heyman discussed keeping up with technology, his past problems with WWE, Vince McMahon being ashamed of sneezing and much more. He also spoke in depth about ECW's demise.
Heyman made a surprising revelation when talking about the promotion folding, stating that the company's best year financially was 2000, the last full year that it was in business. Heyman noted that to be successful in entertainment you have to have content, financing and distribution, and what killed them was distribution. ECW lost their distribution on TNN to WWE, which led to TNN rebranding as Spike TV.
Heyman said that he had a deal with the USA Network to replace WWE, however USA Network Chairman Barry Diller decided that he didn't want any wrestling programming unless it was #1 or it would change the image of the station. Arthur Smith of FOX Sports wanted to do an afternoon strip at 4 in the afternoon with half hour shows from Monday - Thursday, however Heyman said that the economics were not viable for doing that show, and that they would have folded within a few months if they went with that deal.
Heyman then talked about being owed $2.8 million by In Demand for past pay-per-view revenue. Heyman said that the Executive Vice President of In Demand at the time, Dan York, said that he would pay them the $2.8 million that they owed ECW if they could get distribution. York said that if they didn't get distribution, he wouldn't pay them because he knew that they would go down, and then they would only have to pay pennies on the dollar in bankruptcy court. Heyman said that if they would have received the money that was owed to them, they could have stayed in business and "re-defined the company." It would have allowed them to have options, like syndication or taking the FOX Sports deal and finding a way to make it work and eventually get a new timeslot.
Heyman noted that when they filed for bankruptcy, the total debt of the company was $7 million. Of that $7 million, $4 million was his family's investment, not to mention the $2.8 million that they were owed. Heyman then said that TNA has lost that amount in a month "many, many times." Heyman said that while he doesn't know about TNA's finances today, when he was talking to them about being President of the company years ago, people in the organization told him that they were anywhere from $70 million - $90 million in debt.
You can listen to the full podcast below: