‘I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today’: Mikey Whipwreck Looks Back On His Career, ECW’s Lasting Legacy
Mikey Whipwreck is taking some time to look back and appreciate his accomplishments, and the influence ECW had on the wrestling business.
Mikey Whipwreck recently spoke with WrestleZone’s Bill Pritchard ahead of his appearance on the Extreme Virtual Signing presented by 80s Wrestling Con’s Virtual Signing Series. Whipwreck, the first-ever ECW Triple Crown winner, became ECW Champion at 22 years old and talked about what advice he’d give to his younger self if he could.
“Honestly what I would say is when Paul E. comes and asks what you think, in May/June 1995, about doing a program with the Sandman…you tell him no. [laughs] No, seriously, that whole period for me was just…it never made any sense to me. It was just awesome and it was amazing, but it didn’t make any sense. A buddy of mine, Stormin’ Norman, went to wrestling school with Sunny Blaze and Sunny would not take money from me to train because he felt he’d be ripping me off. He thought there was no way I’d ever make it in the wrestling business just because of my size, and then I started wrestling. Then Paul E., after a while, put the TV belt on me without me doing any offensive at all.”
Whipwreck went on to talk about the surreal experiences he had in his career, from working with Mick Foley to replacing Terry Funk on an event. He referenced a famous line from Clerks to explain that most people didn’t give his career much of a chance, but he made the most of it and wished he enjoyed it a little more while he was in the moment.
“So, then I’m the Television Champion and I’m like ‘oh that’s cool’ and then Terry Funk is not gonna show up in August during the NWA tournament, and I’m gonna replace Terry Funk and logically that makes no sense. You’re gonna replace Terry Funk with Mikey Whipwreck? I would’ve been screaming ‘refund’ myself. So, then I’m teaming with Cactus Jack who I’d been a huge fan of, and I pretty much idolized him,’ Whipwreck said, ‘just watching him on TV when he was down in Texas and he’s a Long Island guy and I’m like ‘this guy’s f*cking awesome!’ So, to get to meet him and team with him and then get to become friends with him was surreal. And then to win the tag team belts with him is just insanity and then to win the belt from Hak, I’m just like ‘this is insane, this doesn’t make any sense.'”
“I’m not even supposed to be there. It’s like the guy from Clerks, ‘I’m not even supposed to be here today!’… I’m not supposed to be there, ever. It all happened by a fluke and I would tell myself now, I’d say ‘take a minute and enjoy it.’ It was so much fun but I didn’t take the time to stop and take it all in. Ya know it was just next, next, next, next, so I would tell myself to just every now and then take a break,” Whipwreck said, “just sit down, look around and take it all in. Terry Funk used to tell me, ‘before ya know it, your career is over,’ and I’d say ‘Terry, you’ve been saying that forever,’ but he’s right. I’m 47 now and it just seems like when I look back, [I see] just how fast it went.'”
— Mikey Whipwreck (@mikeywhipwreck_) April 13, 2021
Mikey Whipwreck also talked about how ECW has been able to remain popular today, noting that you still hear “E-C-Dub” chants when someone gets put through a table. He said the crazy part about it all is that the company wasn’t around very long, but we’re still talking about it passionately despite shutting down twenty years ago this month. Now moving WWE Network to Peacock in the United States, Whipwreck sees ECW brand getting more attention in the future. He pointed out how word of mouth and tape trading is what made ECW catch on the first time, but now it’s just so easy to find it that he could see the brand find another new audience and become relevant again.
“A whole new generation of people can come and watch it. Because when I was coming in and people were talking about these matches,” Whipwreck explained, “you’d have to get a videotape or go somewhere and buy it but now with the [WWE] Network, you just go on there and watch it. I think Peacock will bring a whole new level of potential exposure because I think the Peacock network is gonna get a lot more [attention] than the WWE Network did. So, I mean it potentially just rolled out to many, many more millions of people with the ability to see it. So, it’s cool, you don’t expect it. It’s like okay, ECW is gone, done, but every now and then something pops up and we get somewhat relevant again.”