courtesy of Geoffrey T Spaudling.
This is part one of ECW Founder Tod Gordon's appearance on Top Rope Radio.
This show is heard every Sunday on WNWR radio out ofPhiladelphia at 1540 am
or on www.toproperadio.com.The show is hosted by Liberty All-Star Wrestling
commissioner Bay Ragni and Deacon Lucky Larry. Joining everyone in the
studio was ECW ring announcer,now the announcer for Liberty- Bob Artese.
were discussed by the hosts and guests and gavea great insight on
the behind the scenes aspects of ECW!
Tod Gordon got involved in the wrestling business through
JoelGoodhart. Joel, like Bay Ragni had a radio show and also ran a promotion.
Todgot to know him and then started getting involved with his TWA. He started
When Goodhart went out of business, many of the wrestlers including
Ragni and Bob Artese persuaded Tod to bring wrestling back. There wasa
meeting held at the Springfield Skating Rink in which Tod announced
theformation of Eastern Championship Wrestling back in 1992.
First match took place at Mike Schmidt's Sports Bar at 8th& Market
streets in Philadelphia. When the word got out that Tod was apromoter, his
phone rang off the hook from wrestlers looking for work. One ofthe better
stories Tod told was from someone named Bob Merrian looking forwork. Tod
thought that this was his real name, not wrestling name, but thecaller
insisted it was Bob Merrian- turns out after some checking that it wasthe
Barbarian and Tod wasn't able to understand him due to the accent.
The employees at Carver W ReedÂ (Tod's store at 10th &
in Phila) werealways excited when the wrestlers would call and be in awe of
the visitors toTod's back office. Gordon mentioned that even to this day
since he says intouch with a lot of the core group of early ECW you never
know who might beback there now.
The first ECW match was between Stevie Richards and JimmyJannetty (
Jannetty is now the Liberty All-Star Wrestling Champion). Baypointed out that
the first match to be aired on TV was a tag match involvinghim and his
partner (the Hellriders) and the Super Destroyers.
Bob Artese pointed out that in the early days of ECW, the
big name talent that was brought in was a much smaller percentage than what
Goodhartdid with the TWA, and that ECW built up a lot of the newer talent.
Todmentioned that the big name wrestlers that they brought in were so
interestedin making sure that they got the company over, instead of
themselves. Some ofthe early ECW talent brought in was Magnificent Muraco,
Tito Santana, IvanKoloff and Jimmy Snuka)
Tod pointed out how incredibly generous Terry Funk was withsharing
his talents. If it weren't for him people like Sabu, Shane Douglas andThe
Public Enemy would have had a tougher time getting over. Lucky Larrymentions
that ECW too was a place in which the fans could see some of thesestars in a
close up atmosphere as well.
One of the successful things about ECW back then was theaction was
a lot more storyline driven, action driven. ECW ran monthly and theTWA ran
quarterly so ECW could begin to build those storylines and allow fansto get
into the product more.
Tod was approached by SportsChannel Philadelphia to air theshow,
this after a dismal half hour show on Suburban Cable in which at one timethe
host of the show knocked the show off the air by kicking a plug out of
awall.Tod envisioned ECW to just be a little Memphis in the beginning.
Runonce a month, draw a couple hundred people have a good time. He had no
ideawhat ECW was going to become.
Caller asks why Tod got out of the business. Tod says it wasbecause
the travel was getting to be too much to him and he wanted to spendtime with
his family. Once they hit the ppv, that was the top of the mountainfor him.
Tod's been approached by thousands of promoters looking for him to getback
into the business again. He's done a few things back with Dennis Coraluzzoand
its said that Bob Artese is trying to talk Tod into getting back in again,so
who knows where he'll show up.
The highlight for Tod in ECW was Barely Legal. He also addressed the
â€śmoleâ€?(NOTE:This is the way it came to me.) situation. Saying that around the time he left there were some unhappy
people who wanted an other opportunity. He helped the Public Enemy make it to
WCW, Shane to the WWF. He felt he shouldn't stand in the way ofsomeone who
could make 200,000 instead of 2000. The mole thing was going toevolve into an
angle, but he and Paul couldn't agree on how it would play out. He also
didn't want to make a one-time thing because he would take from theguys who
bust their ass week in and week out.
ECW got away with a lot of stuff on the TV show back on
SportsChannel Philadelphia. That was because they were the highest rated show
duringthe Tuesday from 6p-7p slot. This was around the time that Eddie
Gilbert cameinto the company. Tod met Eddie at a charity show and then they
got to knoweach other, so Eddie was the booker and produced those early TV
shows. Thefirst shows were done at Cabrini College.
Tod mentioned that looking back at the old tapes and seeingthe
talent back then and how much they have become such solid performers, suchas
the Dudleys. Tod wonders if the people who see the Dudleys in the WWF realize
that they were 8 or 9 of them at one point ( Bay Ragni was known as Chubby
Dudley at a point) and that the promos that they cut were some of the funniest
ones in the history of wrestling.
Bob Artese points out that how violent the locker room was ishow
close they were in the back. It was an amazing family like atmosphere
witheveryone pulling for each other. They were all sitting around the monitor
inthe back watching each other's matches.
more to come in this interview with Tod Gordon andBob Artese on Top
Rope Radio w/ Bay Ragni. In part 2 talk about how ECW set thestandard for
what wrestling is now, how ECW broke kayfabe and pushed theenvelope, the fans
, Internet and moreâ€¦..
on Top Rope Radio, Sunday at 5pm- Missy Hyatt inpart 1, April
Hunter in part 2. 1540AM in Philadelphia or on toproperadio.com.
for the next Liberty All-Star Wrestling show June 23rd atthe Goodwill
Fire Company in Glenolden and Super Summer Sizzler 2k1 areavailable by
Geoffrey T Spaulding.