The If Factor: Billy Corgan Offered Ownership Stake in ECW

Brian Damage

The ‘If Factor’ are a series of articles that takes a look at real scenarios in pro wrestling that at one point or another were suggested, planned, considered…but did not get the green light to continue. What would the landscape of professional wrestling look like if these ideas came to fruition?

The If: Billy Corgan Buys Ownership into ECW

In 2000, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) was reeling financially due in part to the TNN cable channel pulling ECW programming. Billy Corgan, the front man for the rock band Smashing Pumpkins was a big fan of wrestling and ECW. ECW owner Paul Heyman contacted Lou D’Angeli aka ECW manager Lou E. Dangerously and also previously ‘Sign Guy Dudley’ who was friends with both Corgan and Heyman to set up a business meeting.

Before Corgan agreed to meet with Heyman, Corgan approached several wrestlers for the promotion and asked how much money they were owed by the company. After which, Billy Corgan agreed to meet with Heyman in New York City. Their meeting was set at a famous deli in Manhattan and the two talked about the potential of Corgan financing the company. According to Corgan, Heyman asked him to invest one million dollars into ECW.

Corgan asked Paul, ‘What do I get for my million dollar investment?’, to which Heyman replied a 10% stake of ownership. Corgan who already did his homework leading up to the meeting said that ECW at this time wasn’t even worth 10,000 dollars. Heyman countered by saying…”Oh, I don’t know. You should think about that.” Corgan never got back to Heyman on his offer and a few months later…ECW was sold to Vince McMahon and WWE. Billy Corgan did have a small regret in not giving at least a counter offer to Heyman. If he had and agreed to an ownership stake, Corgan would have been able to be involved in negotiations with WWE for the ECW sale. What if Billy Corgan agreed to invest in ECW? Would ECW still be around in some form today? What would the company look like under Corgan’s ownership?

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9 thoughts on “The If Factor: Billy Corgan Offered Ownership Stake in ECW

    • I’d say that was a different world. Corgan’s NWA was certainly a viable proposition pre AEW launch, but more importantly the pandemic really hurt his promotion more than any other.

      A Corgan financed ECW would have been the only alternative after the WCW collapse. It’s survival would likely have kept ROH or TNA from being launched, Or possibly both. The company itself would have transitioned more to resemble Ring of Honor, and Heyman could have positioned it as an alternative to the increasingly self indulgent WWE of the Ruthless Aggression era.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Who knows most if not all of the Ring of Honor roster would’ve ended up in ECW. Some WCW talent that wouldve got released by WWE in late 2001-02 would find a home in Philadelphia and would battle NWA – TNA for 2nd place in the 2000s wrestling scene.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. A very interesting idea for sure. I wonder if it wouldn’t be a case of delaying the inevitable though. As per many accounts of former ECW talent, Paul was just so burnt out by 2001, even sooner by some say. While the money would’ve kept them afloat, they still needed to get back on national television. Now unless Corrigan was able to help them do that, they’d still be stuck in the position they were at, just being allowed to drown for longer. I will say though, by delaying ECW’s fate, you’d also be delaying the legacy of ROH and possibly TNA to some extent. I say to some extent because even with ECW still running, I can still see ol Double J wanting to start up his own wrestling company regardless.

    I do wonder though, if Paul would’ve been willing to let others help him write, like Gabe and other ECW talent, maybe they would’ve been ok, barring the tv deal part.
    If nothing else. you’d have seen plenty of ROH talent in ECW by then, like maybe a Homicide, CM Punk. Briscoes, a Chris Hero, etc. What might’ve been indeed.


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