Raj Giri of WrestlingINC.com recently spoke with ECW icon Shane Douglas about Extreme Rising. The next Extreme Rising event takes place from the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, December 29th. You can purchase tickets for the event or get more information at ExtremeRising.com.
Leaving ECW for WWE and being given the "Dean Douglas" gimmick: [The change was] Tectonic, to me. I mean, coming from ECW where I was basically given the chance to shoot my promos. There were no scripted out promos given to me. The finishes in our matches and the story lines -- Paul would give us the general outline of a story line he was developing and then we would take it and steer it with how we were finising the match, the spots that we would show. We really did have input in that, to me, was very refreshing. I'd never seen that before that.
"To go from that then to the WWF... I remember the first time I was doing the promo, which I was well known for in the business, and given the time cue countdown into it. I'm looking into the camera and all of a sudden I see the teleprompter feeding these words up to me. I said, 'Stop, stop, stop. I don't need that.' They said, 'No, we want you to...' I said, 'Please take that off, I'll do this without it.' So that just started to make me begin to realize that this may not have been the smartest move.
"For me, at the time though, I can still explain what my reasoning was. I had had a pretty strong run as ECW champion and I knew that that was coming to a close. For a company the size of ECW, there wasn't room for multiple over-the-top personalities. So I though, well, this might be the perfect time for me to leave. So, I'll make money there and then come back in a year or two. Id' of had that exposure on a national level. it wasn't until I left and had gone to the WWF that I realized that this was a universal change from what I was familiar with and what I thought my character did best.
"So, almost from the very beginning of getting there, it was time to get the hell out."
Returning to ECW after his WWE stint: "It was like being reborn. I remember the first day I was back and I just felt like a kid in a playground. Being home and being around everybody. Several things had changed in the six months that I was gone. Paul had leaned back from the more straight-forward hey-were-a-shoot to leaning towards the more entertainment side of things. Not that the Dudleyz were entertainment-based but their presentation with the broken glasses with no glass, the stuttering from Bubba. One black, one white brothers. It was just a shift from what I was familiar with.
"At first, I was a little turned off by it. Then, once I saw the Dudleyz work, for instance, I realized that, hey, the presentation might not be my cup of tee, but these guys are like a hand and a glove, they fit."
Why he started "Extreme Rising": "Well, over the last several years on the independent scene, I caught myself almost nightly seeing a piece of talent here, two pieces of talent there at these independent shows. I kept saying to myself, 'Man, this guy would have been great in ECW. This guy would have fit perfectly in Extreme.'
"After several times of doing that, over and over and over again and at nauseam, I thought, what if we gave them that forum? What if we were able to give these kids that open forum where we're not saying, 'Here's a script, here's what we want you to read and say. Here's what we want you to do and be.' But, allow those kids -- the same as I was allowed to create the Franchise character and flesh that character out.
"What would happen with these group of kids that are so athletic today and yet have no real connection or understanding of where the business used to be and how it was put forth and created. And, if you gave them that, what would be the outcome of it? What will they come up with creatively?
"As the promoter of Extreme Rising, I'm enamored by the idea the same as the first time I saw Sabu hit his triple-jump moonsault. I was in the back watching the monitor and I jumped out of my seat like a mark. I was so impressed by seeing that, thinking, my God, that is so cool as hell. I want to see these kids not go out and mimic us or imitate us. Or just use a chair or table because that's what we used to do. I'm enthralled with the idea of seeing these young kids who are so talented and athletic show me what the next thing is. What's the next triple-jump moonsault? What's the next putting-somebody-through-a-table?
"Give us their take on extreme in 2012 and 2013. That's what brings the fan out in me."
Douglas also discussed leaving ECW for WCW stint, his thoughts of ECW folding, why he turned down WWE One Night Stand and TNA Hardcore Justice and much more. You can check out the full Shane Douglas interview here.