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Paul Heyman Reflects On 25th Anniversary Of First ECW PPV Barely Legal

Paul Heyman ECW

13 April 1997 marked the inaugural pay-per-view for Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling brand as he promoted Barely Legal, with Heyman recently reflecting on the 25th anniversary.

By April 1997, the Monday Night Wars were in full swing between World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation, but Extreme Championship Wrestling was maintaining its position in the upper echelon of North American wrestling. 13 April would see their Barely Legal pay-per-view take place from the famous ECW Arena in Philadelphia.

The event was critically-acclaimed, with multiple matches receiving positive star ratings from the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. A four-and-a-half star rating went to the match pitting Gran Hamada, Masato Yakushiji, and The Great Sasuke against Dick Togo, Taka Michinoku, and Terry Boy, while four stars went to Terry Funk, The Sandman, and Stevie Richards’ Three Way Dance.

Terry Funk wound up wrestling twice that night, as after defeating The Sandman and Richards, he would immediately dethrone Raven of the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

Paul Heyman has reflected on the 25th anniversary of the event in a heartfelt Instagram post, accompanied by some behind-the-scenes footage from the event:

Paul Heyman has since been recognised as the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Best Booker for his booking of ECW between 1994 and 1997. He remained in charge of ECW until its final days, when he was replaced by ECW icon Tommy Dreamer. ECW officially filed for bankruptcy just weeks after WCW was sold to the WWF for $2 million.

Heyman currently works for WWE, aligned with Roman Reigns and The Usos. He’s previously worked as a writer, commentator, and Executive Director for Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment giant, while also serving as an onscreen authority figure for WWE’s SmackDown and ill-fated ECW brands.