Jim Ross has revealed Vince McMahon used to pay Paul Heyman monthly in order to keep ECW running, with the long-term goal of buying the company's library off of them before they went bankrupt.
Extreme Championship Wrestling officially ceased operations in April 2001 but the dire financial situation the promotion found itself in meant ECW could have closed its doors much earlier, had it not been for the WWE Chairman giving his rival company monetary support.
Ross believes the amount McMahon used to pay Heyman was around $50,000 a month in order for ECW to remain active, which was done in order to keep a good relationship between WWE and ECW, while also putting them in a strong position to purchase the ECW backlog and library when the time was right.
Speaking on the Grilling JR Podcast, the AEW commentator said: "We knew the dire straits that unfortunately Paul was in financially and we figured the logical conclusion in his case was bankruptcy. At that point in time, we were prepared to buy the assets which included the library in bankruptcy court.
"We had been helping Paul, I think we paid Paul $50,000 a month, I can’t remember, I don’t remember. That $50,000 a month number sticks out but I may be wrong on that too. In any event, we were helping him. He was getting a regular cheque to try to keep his doors open longer so that if he did indeed have a legitimate buyer, he had more time to negotiate a deal. Vince was very very kind to Paul in that part.
"It would’ve been very easy to put him out of business, all of his top talent wanted to leave because I hired most of them. We got everybody we wanted and they were calling me, I wasn’t soliciting them, they were calling me because at Vince’s insistence we’re not going to go out of our way to do anything harmful to ECW. We wanted to buy the library at some point because we had the goal to do this network.
“The library had value knowing where we were going. You’re not buying contracts, you’re buying the library. That’s tangible, you can touch it, you can feel it. Vince didn’t have the product knowledge at that time on the positives and negatives of the talent because he did not watch the show. He didn’t know Joey Styles did commentary solo. The library in general is what we had our eye on."
H/T Wrestling Inc