Thursday marked the 25th anniversary of the ECW Barely Legal pay-per-view, which was the inaugural pay-per-view event held by the original ECW promotion led by Paul Heyman.

Barely Legal was held at the legendary ECW Arena (aka 2300 Arena) in Philadelphia on April 13, 1997. The show was headlined by WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk defeating The Sandman and Stevie Richards in a Three-Way Dance to become the new #1 contender, and then defeating Raven to capture the ECW World Heavyweight Title.

Heyman took to Instagram this week to mark the milestone. He posted behind-the-scenes footage from Barely Legal and commented on how ECW took on WWE and WCW “during the most hyper-competitive environment” in pro wrestling history.

Heyman noted how he is still too ambitious while looking for new things to accomplish, and he credited the fans with getting ECW on pay-per-view. He declared that ECW was a true revolution, which changed the business forever.

Heyman said he will forever be indebted to the ECW fans, and he will spend the rest of his career continuing the passion, drive, and ambition to over-deliver past anyone’s expectations, to be part of something where the level of performance is… extreme.

You can read Heyman’s full statement below, and see his full Instagram post:

April 13, 1997: #ECW’s very first PPV, BarelyLegal.

Sigh.

I suck at being nostalgic.

I’m still too ambitious, looking for new things to accomplish. Yet I would be remiss if I didn’t say SOMETHING about this anniversary.

ECW Barely Legal did not take place at a time where there was 1 brand so dominant, it was easy for companies to call themselves alternative or revolutionary.

We took on two billion-dollar companies during the most hyper-competitive environment in the history of the industry.

ECW’s fight to get on PPV has been covered in books, documentaries, et al. From ppv distributors’ confusion w/ MMA; our competitors doing everything to keep us off PPV; our uncompromising insistence on doing the show w/ our directors, a one-man announce booth, from the world’s most infamous bingo hall on literally the wrong side of the tracks in South Phily; we were willing to die before we’d sell out our vision.

As much credit as we get for being outlaws, true to our cause … we weren’t the ones who got ECW cleared on PPV. It was our fans.

The emails; letter writing campaigns; bombarding cable company execs w/ round-the-clock faxes (what’s a FAX?); picketing #Cablevision offices. ECW was a true revolution.

We didn’t have sponsors, billion dollar trust funds, secret financiers. We had balls, a belief in ourselves and our fans, who championed the cause, changed the industry forever.

I don’t like writing these looks back because the journey to PPV was filled with such moment-by-moment heart-pounding pressure, it’s impossible to encapsulate in mere words. It’s why I’ve shunned all pushes for a scripted movie to be made about it. #BubbaRayDudley likes to say ECW was wrestling’s version of #Napster. We weren’t meant to last. We were there to lead the revolution, indeed evolution, of where the business would go. I often tap out trying to describe it better.

We did it. We made it. The ECW fans got us there.

For that, I will forever be indebted … and I’m going to spend the rest of my career continuing that passion, drive, ambition to over-deliver past anyone’s expectations; to be part of something where the level of performance is … all puns intended…EXTREME!

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