Show:Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Tod Gordon
Date: 10/31/2023
Your Host: James Walsh

Tod Gordon is the founder of ECW and has a new book talking about the experience of creating a promotion that changed the world. It is called "Tod is God" and here to talk about it is the man himself! Check out the adio below. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you have not already done so.


Get Tod's new book "Tod is God" now on!


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On the reaction to his book thus far:
"Great! I've been so thrilled with the reaction to the book. Not only from the people who have been buying it but also from the wrestlers, the people who worked for ECW who are buying it too. It is crazy! I've been extremely excited about the reaction, reading reviews. All positive! I've been doing book signings... I just did one last weekend in Philly. It is doing very, very well. Thank you for asking!"


On the title of his book being "Tod is God":
"It was a sign that Sign Guy brought that caught on. It wasn't Sign Guy Dudley, it was sign Guy. Sign Guy Dudley was created to combat Sign Guy. That's how that whole thing came about. That is the way we were with our audience. We loved our audience. We loved that they gave us stuff that we could play off of like that."


On why this was the right time to write the book:
"30 years have gone by. Things have played out how they played out. And, Sean, the co-author, kept telling me, "You've got to do the book! You've got to do the book!" I said, "I'm not doing the book!" I didn't want to do a book! But, he said, "Get the real story out there! You've got the real story of this big, monumental thing in wrestling and you've sat back for 25, 28 years and said nothing." I was like, what do I have to gain from it? Why? Anyway, WWE came out with the DVD... The Paul Heyman DVD. Paul asked me to come down and speak on it and I did. Anyway, after it came out, I was sitting there watching it and I saw how the whole story was told and I said, "What?" And, I realized the reason he was saying all that stuff is because he never smartened up the guys in the locker room." NOTE: Tod is talking about the fact Paul Heyman was working for WWE and under an agreement that had ECW as a territory type system. He continues, "Some guys knew but most of the New York guys didn't know. Taz, Tommy Dreamer... Francine didn't even know until I told her. He was losing the locker room. It had turned into clicks which it had never been before. He was going to try and put the locker room back together and in order to do that, I helped him. And, after I left, we never ever spoke a bad word about each other. And, I'm not trying to say anything bad about him (Paul Heyman) now. But, everything that comes out... The damn videos, the books. It is all the unauthorized story of ECW. The Unauthorized Story of the Rise and Fall of ECW. Well, you know what? How about we get the Authorized Story written the guy who was there for every minute of it, who created it, and who is trying to get the real story out there? The stories are great, the road stories are great. Some of it is funny as Hell!


On Terry Funk writing the forward to "Tod is God":
"Let me start by saying that there is nobody more responsible for any success I had in pro wrestling than Terry Funk. He was the most gracious, humble, talented man I ever met in this industry. He single handedly elevated Shane Douglas, he single handedly elevated Sabu to where they could work main events against each other after their 3 way with him. He single handedly elevated the Public Enemy first by incorporating them into his stuff and then working against them. He made everybody he was involved with into a star. And, he did it without any introspection because he knew he already had his day. And yet, we were giving him another day because he was that damn good. To have Terry Funk write the forward to the book? WOW! I had a picture of he and I together on my Facebook and I wrote under it, "Forever Grateful.""


On the nostalgia for ECW still today:
"It was lightning in a bottle. You couldn't recreate that because if you could, we would have recreated it. It was the right everything. It was the right time, the right place, it was a TV show that nobody monitored so we could say and do whatever we wanted. We had a building owner at the Arena that let us do whatever we wanted to the arena as long as we paid for the repairs. It was like the perfect storm of everything. I always put on shows that as a fan, I would have wanted to watch."


On ECW melding the mix of big name stars with new stars:
"That was the agenda from day one, all the way back when we were Eastern Championship Wrestling and we were running bar shows. If you bring in big names, then what happens? What are you going to do after everyone has seen the big names? It is like, "Ok, I've already seen him. Then what happened?" Especially when we didn't have TV.... The first show I ever did was in front of 80 people at Mike Schmidt's Sports Bar. I brought in Ivan Koloff. That was it. He was a reasonable price, he was a drive away. so, he comes up to me and says, "Ok, and who am I putting over?" I said, "I'm sorry?" He said, "Who am I putting over?" I said, "I have you winning! You're Ivan Koloff! You beat Bruno Sammartino in the Spectrum for the WWE Title!" He said, "No, that doesn't do you any good! Let them win and that elevates them!" It was a learning curve from day one! Thank God I was around guys like Ivan Koloff, Jimmy Snuka, Terry Funk... Guys who would teach! I learned so much from them! They were God sends. Absolute God sends."


On if Eddie Gilbert would have been a bigger star if he was bigger:
"When he was with Bill Watts, he was one of the biggest stars in the company. He was up there with Ted DiBiase and Dr. Death! His size meant nothing. What happened was WWE became the Land of the Giants until they saw ECW and saw Eddie Guerrero and saw that he can really wrestle. That was entertaining as Hell! They saw Malenko and they were like, "Huh, I guess you don't have to be 6'7, 350 pounds to be entertaining in pro wrestling. Then, I saw Eddie had a belt, Benoit had a belt and that was the Land of the Giants. I guess we did it better!"


On if AEW is the next progression of what ECW created:
"You know, I don't really see that at all. Don't get me wrong. I think it is great that they are an alternative. I think it is great that the guys can get paid and make a living when there is only a limited number of places to go to make a living in pro wrestling. I'm all for that! But, do I think AEW is like ECW? No. We (ECW) were like the old Our Gang. "Lets go out back and put on a show!" and they threw a stage up. We were like that. "Hey, lets get this group and call them the Dudleys and we'll keep adding to them! Hey, the BWO!" We would have comedy come to our mind and we would make matches. But, it all made sense, though! The Taz and Sabu feud where they didn't touch each other for almost a full year. A whole year, the hottest feud going, and they hadn't touched! They hadn't even really been in the ring together! I don't think AEW is doing stuff like that. They do have their own niche and good for them! I don't know how many times I can watch a guy do a triple moonsault off a ladder onto the floor only to get up a couple seconds later and do another spot. It is like, wait, what? That is not the business to me. i put on shows that I liked and Tony Khan puts on shows he likes. It is his money. God bless him! As long as the guys are working and getting paid, that is all I care about. But, I don't see AEW as something that came out of ECW's ashes at all."