WWE: 7 Innovations Paul Heyman Did That Changed Wrestling

2. Solidified The Fall Of The NWA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kpEjrKqf3s When Paul Heyman joined forces with Tod Gordon as the new head booker of Eastern Championship Wrestling in September 1993, it had just become the NWA's top viewed televised show thanks to the departure of WCW from the NWA banner. The former WCW owner Jim Crockett asked Gordon to stage a tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion after the title was vacated in the fallout with WCW. But NWA President Dennis Coralluzzo was suspicious that the two wanted to monopolize the championship the way Crockett previously had in WCW, stating that they didn't have the permission of the NWA Board and he would oversee the tournament personally. Gordon didn't react well to this obvious power play from Coralluzzo and considered removing his brand from the NWA banner. Instead Gordon and Heyman came up with a plan that would change history. It was decided that in the tournament final Shane Douglas would defeat Too Cold Scorpio but instead of accepting the belt graciously he would throw it to the ground in defiance. Naturally Douglas was sceptical of the idea at first but he was talked around by Heyman who told him that the only real negative would be being viewed as traitors by NWA traditionalists. Ultimately Douglas would decide to go along with the plan, motivated by his father, whose life motto was to "do right by the people that do right by you." Coralluzzo had been telling NWA affiliated bookers not to book Douglas on their shows due to a belief he was unreliable, so there was no doubt who was doing right by the future champion. In the infamous speech (above) he looked to the sky and said "This is it tonight Dad" before throwing down the belt and stating that he didn't want to be the champion of a promotion that "died seven years ago" before proclaiming the ECW Championship a World Title and raising that triumphantly instead. And the rest is history. The NWA would be completely overlooked during the Monday Night Wars, relegated to independent level. It would briefly rise to prominence again with the birth of NWA: TNA in 2002, 8 years after ECW separated from them, but TNA would split from them after only two years in order to try and become a major promotion (and signalling even more the stigma attached to the NWA name).
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Founder of ForTheRecordNews.com; he is a long time fan of wrestling, television, film, sports and video games from North Yorkshire.