Audio: ECW Announcer Bob Artese Talks Financial Problems, Defections, Tod Gordon as WCW “Mole”
This week’s IN THE ROOM with Brady Hicks features a one-hour interview with ECW ring announcer Bob Artese. Check it out as Bob talks about “having the best seat in the house” for the rise … and fall of the extreme tribe. Hear Bob’s thoughts on Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA belt, chairshots to the head, catering to “smart” fans, and how ECW’s mature content played into the company’s fortunes. Plus a discussion of WWE’s IC and US belts, the level of prestige these titles hold (compared to last year), and whether or not it is time to unify the titles.
On ECW’s Huge Defections in the Mid-to-Late 1990s:
Some of us saw that it was going to be a financial problem as we got bigger, and we weren’t really going to be able to grow any more. And some of these guys started looking [at] other places. Or other promotions went after them. It wasn’t us always looking somewhere else. Some other people saw the talent in these guys and they started coming after them and they’d have a choice to make. Do you want to stay with ECW and not really know about your future? Or do you want to come with us and hopefully some things would be better?
Where ECW’s Famed Money Problems:
Paul [Heyman] had some tremendous ideas, and a lot of them really worked. I still believe that if we would have had some kind of a backer, like a Ted Turner or somebody like that, ECW would still be [around]. In fact ECW would be battling Vince [McMahon] right now. But we never had that real money guy. Everything we did was kind of like on like a shoestring budget. We could never do it at 100% because we didn’t had that kind of money …. Obviously there was some frustration because of it … We just kept going ahead and we figured we’d find the money somewhere.
Tod Gordon as a WCW “Mole”:
From what I heard and the feeling I could get, I thought there was some credence to that. I think Tod and The Sandman – who obviously were really good friends – I think they were certainly involved. And there may have been some others. And I thought it was with WCW at the time. But it was kept so quiet that everything was really rumors, and I don’t know if anybody really knew for sure. But from what I could gather, I definitely think that there was something going on, but I don’t know exactly what it was.
On ECW’s Shaky Beginning:
We had no clue. When we started it was Tod Gordon, myself, and a couple other people. And I remember some of our shows if we drew 50 people it was a lot. We’d have to put everybody in one section to make it look like it was a full house, if it was being televised. We were at that point just running month to month. Basically having a good time and hoping it would take off, just a little bit. It’s incredible the way it exploded. And I remember as it started to grow, you got that feeling that we might be on to something big. And it really drew us all together. We were all working for the same thing. I’ve never been in a locker room that had so much closeness and so much comradery.