AS I SEE IT 7/25/2001
A few thoughts...
First, can someone explain to me why the WWF couldn't find time this past week in either of their three major television programs, or on their Invasion PPV to even briefly acknowledge Terry Gordy's death?
With people like Jim Ross and Michael Hayes in prominent positions within WWF Entertainment, Inc., the failure to take 30 seconds out of at least one of these programs to mention the passing of such a wrestling legend is inexcusable. There wasn't the usual excuse of the WWF and WCW avoiding a death that was related to drug use. Whatever may have happened in his past, Gordy died Monday of a blood clot in his heart...of natural causes.
Why the task of honoring Gordy was left solely to independent promotions like Jim Kettner's ECWA, Frank Iaedevia's Jersey All-Pro Wrestling, and Dave Republic's NWA/ECCW... and not the major wrestling promotion of North America is beyond anything imaginable.
I don't want to hear that the WWF production crew couldn't find the time within the 120 minutes available...and that they instead had to sneak in one last installment of the Austin-McMahon Comedy Hour ... or Spike and Molly doing their version of Romeo and Juliet.
The failure to take the time to honor Terry Gordy was simply irresponsible.
Next... is the real-life soap opera surrounding the use of the ECW/HHG, Inc. trademarked properties by the WWF, and of the ECW/HHG bankruptcy itself, surpassing what we're seeing Monday and Thursday nights?
For those of you who haven't been following on PWBTS or the website you read this column on, here's a summary of the soap opera:
First, after the ECW "invasion angle" first aired, a number of creditors, including 1wrestling.com's Bob Ryder (owed money from services provided by his travel agency to ECW), contacted the Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court to complain that WWF Entertainment, Inc. was illegally using trademarked properties of ECW/HHG, Inc.
When three sources within WWFE, Inc. were contacted regarding whether or not WWFE, Inc. had acquired assets of ECW/HHG, Inc.; only one responded, saying "we view this as a element of our fictional storyline".
The Bankruptcy Trustee disagreed.
As it turned out, frequent denials notwithstanding, representatives of the Trustee were involved in negotiations with the WWF's legal team; involving an agreement that would call for the WWF to pay $250,000 for ECW/HHG's assets. Along with that purchase price, WWFE would agree to pay $50,000 to the estate for the use of ECW trademarks the last two weeks on WWF programming.
The trustee had been prepared to go so far as to get a restraining order preventing the use of ECW trademarks at Sunday night's Invasion PPV, and had considered seeking an injunction to prevent the event from happening.
As all this had been happening, details were leaking out (thanks to the folks at The Other Arena.com and a1wrestling.com) regarding the fact that Paul Heyman was turning his wrestling company's bankruptcy proceedings into a fiasco.
ECW/HHG's bankruptcy turned into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, owing to what the Trustee referred as Paul Heyman's failure to act in good faith with the creditors and the bankruptcy process...and the fact that he hadn't shown shown up for meetings with meeting, nor had he provided documents required for the process to go forward.
The Bankruptcy Court went so far as to call for a Order designating debtors principal, directing appearance at §341(a) meeting of creditors and directing turnover of documents.
The supporting documentation in the order by the court states:
"In support thereof, the Trustee represents and alleges as follows:
1. On April 5, 2001, the Debtor filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. On June 20, 2001, this Court entered an Order converting the case to Chapter 7. Barbara Balaber-Strauss was appointed interim Chapter 7 Trustee on June 22, 2001, and is currently acting as such.
2. As reflected in the Statement of Financial Affairs in the Debtors petition, Paul Heyman was the President, Secretary, sole director and 85% shareholder of the Debtor.
3. Upon information and belief, during the pendency of the Chapter 11 case, Paul Heyman failed to appear at any of the duly scheduled and an adjourned §341(a) creditors meetings, which failure occasioned the U.S. Trustees motion to convert the case to Chapter 7.4. Additionally, on or about June 25, 2001, the Trustee has sent her Memorandum to Debtors to counsel wherein she requested an inventory of the Debtors books and records.
To date, the inventory has not been received, although Debtors counsel forwarded such request to Mr. Heyman.
5. The Trustee has grave concerns that the Debtors principal may continue this pattern of absenting himself from an examination at a creditors meeting.
6. Accordingly, the Trustee respectfully requests that an order be entered: 1) designating Paul Heyman as the Debtor's principal; 2) directing Paul Heyman to appear for examination by the Trustee at the §341(a) creditors meeting to be held at the United States Bankruptcy Court, 300 Quarropas Street, 2nd Floor, and Trustee Hearing Room, White Plains, New York, at 11:00 A.M.; and 3) directing Paul Heyman to turnover an inventory of the books and records outlined in the Trustee's Memorandum to Debtors on or before July 30, 2001."
Around the same time, Paul Heyman himself filed for personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. Heyman claimed to be $2.7 million in debt, and listed ECW/HHG as the codebtor.
An item that many have looked at with great interest is the statement that Heyman had assets with "unknown" value a two KEOGH Plans with The Dreyfus Trust Company, one a profit sharing plan, the other a money purchase plan.
Heyman listed his current employer as World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, with his occupation listed as TV Writer with wages of $4,000 per month, which many speculate to be an inaccurate or incomplete claim; given the expected income Heyman should be receiving in such a position from the WWF.
Then, on July 20th, the Chapter 7 trustee of the HHG, Inc. bankruptcy filed an application to employ an attorney to handle a variety of matters including:
"...the investigation of the Debtors business transactions and assets including, but not limited to transfers, unauthorized use and/or concealment of assets..."
While the WWFE, Inc. portion of this real-life drama may soon be concluding, following the asset purchase agreement with the Bankruptcy Court by WWF Entertainment; the mystery of Paul Heyman and ECW/HHG's finances may well be just beginning.
The only drawback for those seeking information on the real deal with the finances of all concerned is that if/when WWFE, Inc. completes their purchase of ECW/HHG, some of the financial information that has been a part of the public domain will be harder to find.
Stay tuned, readers...this could be a good one.
Finally, another reminder about the Brian Pillman Memorial Weekend, organized by Les Thatcher's Heartland Wrestling Association...which will be held at Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati, OH on Thursday, August 9th. The Mark Curtis Wrestling Camp will return for its second year and takes place at the HWA headquarters on Wednesday, August 8th.
Independent talent such as Machine (OVW), Nigel McGuiness (HWA), J.R Ryder (ECWA), Principal Richard Towne (Stampede Wrestling), Disciples of Synn (OVW), Rob Conway (OVW), Ron "H20" Waterman (OVW) will all be appearing.
Matches already scheduled include:
Terry Taylor vs. Bobby Eaton (with Jim Cornette)
Steve Corino defending the NWA title
Hardy Boyz vs. X-Factor
Booker T vs. Kanyon
Island Boys (Memphis) vs. Cody Hawk (HWA)/Logan Caide
Flash (OVW) vs. Randy Orton (OVW)
Donovan Morgan (APW-NOAH/Japan) vs. Chad Collyer (HWA/Michinoku Pro)
A Squad (with Brock Guffman) (HWA) vs. Minnesota Stretching Crew (OVW)
Haas Brothers (Memphis) vs. Rico Constantino (OVW)/Steve Bradley (Memphis) with Kenny Bolin
Jerry Lynn, Perry Saturn, William Regal, and Raven will also be appearing on the show. Chris Jericho will be additionally appearing at the Mark Curtis Fantasy Camp. Tickets are selling well, with the 2600 seat building already having its 800 seat reserved seating section sold out.
Fans who want to order tickets for Pillman and Curtis 2001; can do so at this direct ticket link. Overall information on the Pillman 2001 weekend can be found at http://pillmanshow.com.
It's a funny thing how Les Thatcher hasn't have any problem remembering one wrestling legend who died too soon, and has spent so much time, money, and effort doing so...while Vince McMahon couldn't take 30 seconds of his precious television time to honor another.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)