Paul Heyman has admitted to using licensed tracks without paying for them during his time as the owner of ECW. Heyman was a guest on Metal Injection’s Squared Circle Pit podcast where he talked about all things ECW music.

“We actually had three different types of deals in ECW regarding music,” the 56-year-old said. He continued, “One, which is the easy one to talk about — they’re all easy to talk about. The easiest one to talk about was there were several labels; Tommy Boy Music was a sponsor of ours from the very early days.”

“There was another label in New York. I wish I could remember the name of it and I should and I have no excuse as to why I don’t remember the name of it, but there was another label in New York that had some real avant-garde music with some great up and coming artists and they would always provide us — Gerald Cosloy I believe was the President of the label and they would provide us with music and we also went out of our way — the very early days of ECW, we featured ‘Slam’ by Onyx and we had written rights to that music.

“We had Jeru the Damaja, we had Three 6 — we were the first television show to ever feature Three 6 Mafia and we had cut a deal with the band and the label so we had deals like that. We went out of our way to find up and coming artists that we knew we could feature.”


The ECW mastermind added that though the company had the rights to White Zombie, the management was involved in a type of deal that allowed them to use the music without actually paying for it.

“We did have rights to White Zombie, we cut a deal for that. There was no money involved. It was a publicity deal and a rights exchange, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. That was the first type of deal that we had. The second type of deal that we had was at times with playing the music video and intercutting the ECW action with the music video.

“So we would get, you know, certain rights to run the music video along with the ECW footage as long as we didn’t use the music live which we ended up doing anyway, and the third one which was like what we had with Metallica or certain other — Natural Born Killaz for New Jack and a lot of [the other] music. We just gangsta’d it. We just stole it. That’s who we were. We were a, no pun intended — all puns intended for the name of our first pay-per-view; we were a Barely Legal promotion. We were gangsters.”

Heyman, who serves as the special counsel to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, said the rebel nature of the promotion was the driving factor behind ECW stealing music and getting away with it.

“We had no money, first of all. We were in the most hyper competitive environment in the history of sports entertainment/pro wrestling against two billion dollar companies and we had no money.

“All we had was balls, bullsh*t and bravado. So, we would say, ‘Hey, Sandman’s gonna come out to Enter Sandman by Metallica’ and he did, so when we would get these cease and desist letters from the labels or from the publishers, what are they gonna sue us for? We had no money. So come and sue us.

“You can probably stop us with a court order, but then they’re gonna have to pay their attorneys to go into court and file an injunction and then serve us which we’re pretty good at avoiding servicing for a while.”

Formed as Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1992, ECW was rebranded into Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1994. Though not a direct competition to WWE (then WWF) and WCW, ECW was seen as a viable alternative to mainstream wrestling promotions due to its graphic nature and compelling matches.

Tags: Paul Heyman
Manik Aftab

Manik Aftab serves as a news writer at Ringside News. He has covered pro wrestling and sports entertainment for a variety of publications, including Sportskeeda Wrestling, The Sportster, and WrestleZone. Outside of his professional duties, Manik likes to indulge in fiction, thrillers, comics, manga, and anime.

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