Shane Douglas Talks WWE Network & Lack Of Royalties For Past Performers, The Passing of Axl Rotten, Becoming “The Franchise”

Nick Paglino

axl rotten

Prepare to be “franchised” as today The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling forms a lethal Triple Threat with an ECW Original and former ECW Champion, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas. In an over TWO HOUR discussion with John and Chad, Shane Douglas breaks down highlights of his amazing career, the in ring feuds that defined the Franchise persona and the backstage politics that always seemed to rear their ugly head in the organizations he was a part of for over three decades in the sport of professional wrestling. We also get keyed into what the Franchise thinks about today’s wrestling landscape and what the reason is behind the fewest number of people in history consuming wrestling on a weekly basis. 

Full Episode Download Link: http://tmptow.podomatic.com/entry/2016-02-15T21_00_00-08_00

 

On the recent passing of ECW Original Axl Rotten & His Touching Written Tribute:

Axl was first and foremost a friend and a colleague and one that I respected as a worker in the ring. He was one of the guys that if I saw my name on the card tonight versus Axl Rotten I knew I was in for a hell of a match on my hands and I knew it was going to be a good match. Axl did more than up-hold his end of the bargain in a good wrestling match. So often it is easy for us to digress and we all want to say that the guy deserved what he got and whatever else and there is some validity to that because at the end of the day each of us is responsible for ourselves. I look at it from the perspective of having been through that. Axl Rotten had worked to overcome his demons, he’s been through rehab how many times and if the guy didn’t care he wouldn’t even do that. I can assure you that when you are addicted to something you are not having fun and having a big old party and it’s great, it is a real heavy burden and monkey on your back. So the fact that Axl at so many times worked to try to over come them tells me that he wanted to get well and the nature of that disease is it never goes away, it tries to sneak up on you and is a cunning foe. He (Axl) entertained a hell of a lot of people for a good, long time and he did that with his body. Like I said in what I wrote and it came straight from the heart; all Axl ever wanted was to be a professional wrestler and entertain people and in that context Axl’s life was a success. 

Does a guy like Axl Rotten exemplify what ECW was all about in terms of giving “cast-off” wrestlers the chance to perform to a passionate fan base:

No question about it. With what we were doing in ECW the first thing you had to overcome was the fear of getting hurt. ECW was extraordinarily physical and you can see that in the tapes and Axl did that above and beyond. The Axls, the New Jacks, the Sandmans, Terry Funk those guys went out and gave ECW its flavor. This (ECW) was clearly something different then Saturday morning “rasslin” or even Saturday evening wrestling. That started with the physicality of it and to do that there was no smoke and mirrors and no trickery to what you were seeing because guys were beating the hell out of each other. Axl certainly personified what ECW was all about and helped give it its flavor. 

ECW playing a vital role in the development of the WWE Network and former talent not receiving royalties for their likeness being used:

Their are two ends of this compendium. The one end is the amazement of the technology. When I was a kid it was black and white television with rabbit ears to now with my son he can pull up with his smart phone WWE content or historical content or pay per views or a video game. It is astounding with the technology. It has made all of us present and accounted for to young kids. I can’t even tell you how many 8,9,10 year old kids have come up to me and said you are my favorite wrestler and I’ve seen you on “the network” or on YouTube. All of these social media’s and networks have kept us current and brought us back in a time past where our age would allow and that is the amazing part of it. The other side of that compendium is you have somebody making an awful lot of money off of footage that we all have worked and tore our bodies to pieces to film and shoot originally. Nobody in 1982 or 1992 or even 2002 could have conceived the incredible technology ever existing and coming into the market everyday and that is only going to speed up. It’s hard for you to sign away your rights and say I just filmed you doing this wrestling match today and now we are going to take this and you sign away so that we can use this whenever we want in the future. Nobody could possibly conceive that, that is like Star Wars or Star Trek back in those days.  

I feel strongly that the guy who played Eddie Munster on The Munster’s back in 1965/66 or Leave It To Beaver still get residual checks. I think that clearly we should be getting at least similar feedback and benefits and we are not getting that. So that’s why I have a big difference with Vince McMahon because I think the technology is astounding and as he has always done he has brought wrestling into areas that nobody could have ever conceived of. But again as always in the past, Vince benefits from it and the wrestlers who are literally dying to make that footage (are not). I am not saying that Vince McMahon did it but do you think that Axl (Rotten) came into the business a drug addict? All the banging and Tapie Death matches forced him to self medicate some of that pain. So if we are going to do that then clearly we should be some beneficiary of it. For me, I have two sons 10 and 14 years old and by my thinking if anybody on the planet is going to benefit from what I broke my body up to do it should be two kids named Connor and Caden ,nobody else. If Vince makes a million dollars selling Shane Douglas merchandise or footage then should get I $999,000 ? Absolutely not, but aren’t I worth a thousand of it? Two thousand? Ten thousand? Some percentage of that should be coming to me and my kids and sadly there is a difference of opinion with Vince on that and to my understanding there is a lawsuit being brought over it very soon so it will be very interesting to see how that lawsuit turns out. 

Becoming The Franchise in ECW and the original name of his character: 

It has really stuck after all these years. When Eddie Gilbert had called me to come to ECW my first name in ECW was the “Fabulous One” Shane Douglas and it was going back to the Memphis days for Eddie and my theme song was “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz and I think there would have been something to that character and you would have seen some incarnation of the The Franchise character at that time. But the name (The Franchise) was so perfect because the NFL had each team name the franchise player and since Paul knew who he was building the company around Shane Douglas’s character  and thats where the franchise character came from and it stuck. Paul only gave me one direction of the franchise character and he said you are the captain of the football team that steals everyones girlfriends then screws them and leaves them at the dance. It was a great character and very timely. As hard as it is to do something new in wrestling, it was something new in wrestling. 

In an over two hour interview Shane Douglas shoots on all aspects of his career including, the death of ECW, throwing down the NWA title, Vince McMahon’s promises, How The Kliq killed the WWF, Ric Flair, The Dynamic Dudes and his relationship with Johnny Ace, his last stint in WCW in 2000, The Triple Threat, WWE today and so much more

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