Wrestling Epicenter sent along the following:

ECW Original CW Anderson joins us just days after he and his fiancé got engaged and he announced his return from retirement. This emotional chat goes through CW’s dark times, why he retired, why he returned, and what he thinks of pro wrestling through the years. And, the cool thing? This was recorded on the 20 year anniversary of the final ECW show from Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 2001. In the words of Super Crazy from the farewell in the ring, “Don’t worry, be happy!” We’ve got CW talking about his beef with Paul Heyman, WWE’s failed ECW brand, and so much more. This is a fun chat with a great man who the wrestling world is blessed to have back in it. Visit WrestlingEpicenter.com for the full interview!

Highlights are below:

CW Anderson on his emotional farewell video and decision to return to pro wrestling: “Without getting into too many details, those who know already know, I was in a very dark place over the summer to where you would only hear the bad news from the other wrestlers. You know, I know some people believe in God, some people don’t. I was one that didn’t. I believed the Bible was a book of myths. But, the day I posted that (retirement announcement) video was kind of my own cry for help. A local preacher reached out to me a few days after that and that is when things changed for me. The reason I did it, again, is I was in a real dark place and I was listening to others and I thought it was the thing to do to make others happy but at the end of the day, it was supposed to be making me happy. I realized after a few months, I made a big mistake. I wanted to walk away from wrestling on my own but when I felt I had nothing left to give. For people that know me, I just turned 50 years old. I get called Benjamin Button. (laughs) The older I get, the younger I look! If you look at me in ECW, and January 7th was the 20 year anniversary of the (ECW Guilty as Charged) I Quit match on my 30th birthday, I look better now than I did then. I’m in better shape, I move faster… I get called, yeah, that I’m Terry Funking it. But, after this, when I do decide to retire, it will be when I have nothing left but there won’t be another one of those emotional videos. The night after that video, I collapsed. It was bad. It was really bad. But, since then, things have done nothing but gone upward. I was talking to my fiancé, my girlfriend at the time, she used to be my valet and she still will be when we get back going again. She told me to do what makes me happy and she knows that wrestling makes me happy. I knew it wasn’t going to be like it was before with this pandemic but to get back in the ring again, man, it is like my home! It is something that I’ve been doing for 27 years.”

On the emotional retirement video endearing him to people: “I’ve had several people message me and tell me it was hard for them to watch – Even some who weren’t fans and maybe didn’t know me. When I decided to come back, I went on Instagram and deleted it because I never want to see it again. At that time, I was under 200 pounds in weight! It was really bad. I hadn’t been under 200 pounds since high school!”

On who at WCW told him he wasn’t cosmetic enough for television: “Paul Orndorff and James J. Dillon. I was in the last match there, and man they had the Natural Born Thrillers there, Elix Skipper, Lash LaRoux, Mike Sanders… Guys like that. They were all under contract. I was not. I got to wrestle with a good buddy of mine, a guy I traveled up and down the road with. It was inevitably through him, through Lodi, through Raven, that I got my job with ECW. He was doing pull overs and stuff that Kid Kash and I would be doing later in ECW. We had an ECW match there (at the WCW Power Plant). Brad Armstrong came over to me and “Toad”, that was his wrestling name, said, “Man, that was awesome!” Guys were high fiving! Then, Paul Orndorff and JJ Dillon walked over to me and said, again, cosmetically, I was about 250 pounds then, 255? They said they didn’t think I had any kind of look, that WCW was a cosmetic company and not as much wrestling, that I was an OK wrestler but their opinion was that I couldn’t make any kind of waves in WCW.”

On ECW’s legacy being changed by Jim Cornette & Eric Bischoff’s podcasts: “I’ll start out with Jim Cornette. I was a huge fan of Jim Cornette. I still am! I listen to snippets of his podcast every week. I have nothing but respect for Jim Cornette and his opinion. I’ve always valued his opinion. Eric Bischoff? I think I met him on on a couple of occasions. But, I don’t really know him like that. But… Some people don’t like the stuff that we did in ECW. I get it. It wasn’t their forte. They didn’t grow up with it. They like a more old school wrestling style. To others, it didn’t make sense and didn’t tell good stories. We were ladders, tables, and chairs. But the “hardcore” wrestling wasn’t about tables, ladders, and chairs. It was about us going out there and wrestling our a** off knowing we weren’t getting paid! Knowing we were back-dated pay and owed checks. Knowing we were wrestling injured – For instance, one night I had to wrestle Raven and New Jack on the same night and my back was out on me. I remember Paul (Heyman) and Bill Wiles carrying me to the Gorilla Position, my music hit, and I went out there and wrestled Raven and then Nw Jack, I came to the back and collapsed and Road Kill put me in the back of his van and took me to the airport. That is the hardcore style that I remember. Guys from WCW, guys from WWE would never have wrestled like that without getting paid. They were spoiled! They were used to getting catered and used to making six figures when I was making $75 a night paying my own way. The legacy to me and the fans, you know, I can’t get in the ring now, 20 years later, without the crowd chanting “ECW, “ECW!” Most, I won’t say most but some of the fans were either very young or weren’t born yet. Hey, that’s thanks to the WWE Network who still airs us. A lot of the older guys don’t like us. That’s OK. That’s their stuff. But, there is a volume of fans that do because of the cult that we were. We were like the Rocky Horror Picture Show of wrestling! You don’t hear people go to shows chanting “WCW” or “WWE”. But, every show I go to, you hear “EC-Dub, EC-Dub!” and that is because of the Hardcore, the heart and the soul that we put into it.”

On the documentaries about ECW that have come out since it closed: “Everybody that watches the documentaries, and not that BS documentary that WWE put out about the “Rise and Fall”, that was such a BS documentary because you were seeing it from the view of the people that WWE took care of – Like, that Paul took care of. How about interviewing guys like myself, Danny Doring, Chris Chetti, Roadkill, Mikey Whipwreck… The ones that were left behind. The ones that had to go somewhere else, that had to go get real jobs. Some guys just quit wrestling over not getting paid and the lies we were told by Paul. I remember one night we had the biggest house show the company ever had in Canada. I remember because I wrestled Rob Van Dam. Paul told us he couldn’t pay us because it was in Canadian! I remember he gave us this speech and I still went out there with Rob Van Dam, I don’t remember if we were main event or not, and we went 45 minutes and I separated my shoulder for the ECW fans. That’s the hardcore. That’s the legacy – And people aren’t going to agree with me and that is OK. But, people that went to the shows know the blood, sweat, and tears we poured into this company when we were getting lied to by Paul Heyman and still going out there and performing for fans.”

On ECW wrestlers deserving more credit for being good talent: “There was a guy from ECW who went on to be a long time champion in WWE – He wrestled Steve Austin, Ric Flair, and a lot of top guys, and he told me that I was one of the best guys he was ever in the ring with. Dave Hebner once told Steve Corino and I, “You guys are my favorite guys to ref.” We were like like, “You mean nowadays in this promotion?” He was like, “No, ever!” I know my talent speaks for itself. So, again, Jim Cornette. I respect that. That is his opinion. Midnight Express? Bobby Eaton was and still is my idol! He is the guy I patterned my style after – It wasn’t Arn. It was Bobby because I wanted to be able to go out there and wrestle Ric Flair or a broom stick and have a 5 star match!”

On borrowing from Bobby Eaton’s punch: “I started mimicking it a little bit and started working on it and making it my own at the Power Plant. Sarge (Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker) saw me and he still says, we spoke a few years ago, and he says “CW, you still have the best punch in wrestling!” He used to tell me, because I would hit it 32, 3 times in matches, “You’re wasting your punch. Hit it one time!” You can go back and watch some of the ECW footage. I’d hit one punch and those fans would pop because it looked so real!”

On his ECW Guilty as Charged 2001 “I Quit” match with Tommy Dreamer being his career highlight: “Absolutely! That is the match that I’m most known for. Whoever watches this, just know that that night was my 30th birthday! That match meant so much to me. They were making me the next champ at ECW and you’re right, it didn’t look like a company that was going under because we had no idea that it was going out fo business. I never got paid for that “I Quit” match! Rob Van Dam got like $10,000 or $20,000 of money owed to come back that night and wrestle – And he wasn’t coming back, that is what I was told. Wrestling Tommy on pay-per-view, especially in an “I Quit” match, was special. Some people said it was going to be difficult. When you think of “I Quit”, you think of Magnum and Tully. And, it really upsets me that when some people talk about “I Quit” matches, our match isn’t put in there. Most people talk about Magnum and Tully, me and Tommy, and then you’ll get the WWE marks and they’ll go on about the “I Quit” matches there. And then, of course, you’ll always get the Terry Funk versus Ric Flair match thrown in… Tommy said, “If I think it is good, I’m going to shake your hand.” When he shook my hand at the end of that match, and you can’t really hear it unless you’re listening to the audio, the fans are chanting “C F’n Dub” as I walk back. I’m getting a standing ovation from over 3,000 fans because of that match!”

On why ECW Guilty as Charged 2001 had a white ring instead of the typical blue mat: “I think it was happenstance because, the finish of that match was a table over my eyes. It was supposed to be barbed wire. But, when we got to the building, there was so much stuff missing out of the ring truck including barbed wire. I don’t know exactly why.”

On life back on the indy scene immediately after ECW: “I went through a depression spell for months afterwards and a lot of others did as well. Mine was because I worked so hard to get this opportunity and the brass ring was so close to me. I was signing my contract right after the “I Quit” match, I was going to get the Television belt at Living Dangerously, and then the World belt… And then all that got snatched away from me and you’re right back to zero. All of us went through that depression spell. I used to tell my mom before I’d head to go to the ECW shows, “All right, mom. I’m going to work.” She’d say, “You’re not going to work. You’re going to see your second family.” You’ve probably heard other people tell you this and if you’ve listened to any of my interviews, we used to all exchange Christmas gifts! To go from that and them being my second family to not having that and not getting to see these guys every weekend… It was a huge depression.”

On being in MLW in 2003 and forming the Extreme Horsemen: “As far as working in MLW, I loved it. It was another high point of my career. Everybody knew each other and we welcomed a lot of new people in. As for the Extreme Horsemen, Dusty Rhodes gave us that gimmick name during the TCW days. It was myself, Steve Corino, and Barry Windham. Anyone who knows me knows Steve and I have been really close for 27 years. And Simon (Diamond), he was really close to us as well. We had wanted to do that in ECW. Court (Bauer) let us run with it in MLW. He said, “Whatever you guys want to do, lets run with it, lets see if it draws!” It did work! We were out-drawing ECW. When ECW would go to Florida, MLW was out-drawing what was the ECW crowds. But, MLW was so much fun. Being able to wrestle Dusty (Rhodes), Terry Funk, and “Dr. Death” Steve Williamson a nightly basis? And, of course, you could never go wrong going down to Florida to work! I loved working for Court Bauer and all those guys.”

On what he thinks of modern MLW: “From what I’ve seen, I’ve liked. They’ve got Low Ki, Tom Lawlor, and a lot of other guys that I know. It is a newer style. But, from what I’ve seen, it is very interesting. I’ve talked to Court a few times about me coming in to work for him again if anything opened up.” He continues, “It sucked. It was a Disney version of ECW. If Vince (McMahon) would have kept his hands out of it, it would have done well. The only reason i signed (with WWE) was because Tommy (Dreamer) called me and said “Paul (Heyman) and I will have complete control of ECW. It will be exactly like it used to be. We’re going to run little towns, little shows, you’re going to be one of my top heels again. We’re going to pick up right where we left off.” And, at the first night at the ECW Arena, he (Vince McMahon) didn’t like how it looked on TV and he took control of it. He implemented his own people and it just wasn’t ECW. Not at all. Once that happened? I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I was actually excited the day I got fired.”

On the name change to Christopher W. Anderson in WWE’s ECW: “I wrestled one TV match with CM Punk which was fine. I always liked wrestling Punk. And, they were getting ready to push me. But, I wrestled Kevin Thorn and I blew out my F5 and S1 again. I was done. I would be left off of loops. It would be Saturday night and I’d be at home or hanging out at a local show and WWE would call and say, “We need you on a plane in the morning to get back on the road.” I’m like, “What the Hell?” But yeah, that whole WWE version of ECW sucked because he (Vince McMahon) had control of it and started implementing his guys and didn’t let Tommy and Paul have control of it.” He continues, “And then they changed my name to that stupid Christopher W. Anderson because he said, “I don’t want people to think you work for the CW Network.” Who do you think they got the idea from? The very first time the two actors were promoting the CW Network in TV Guide, they’re doing my CW sign! And then he was like, “Well, we’re going to change your name because CM Punk, CW Anderson, it is too close!” Yeah, i get it! I was a little heavier then, Punk was slim. Punk had hair, I was bald. He wore trunks, I wore a singlet. I guess people would see us as twins!”

On if he and Paul Heyman ever patched things up after their online feud a few years ago: “I haven’t talked to him since. Tommy (Dreamer) was trying to mediate saying, “Paul, what the Hell are you doing calling CW a low level stooge?” Who did I ever stooge off to? He was paying me $75 a night and yet I was his flavor of the month when I first came in. I couldn’t do no wrong! I guess he didn’t mention on Twitter that he got down on his hands and knees and begged me not to go to WCW after my Massacre on 34th Street (2000) match? I guess he didn’t mention that. He thought I was going to WCW. I wasn’t going to because I’m loyal to who hires me and I loved ECW and I would have stayed. He got mad that I said he was in LA filming Rollerball when he was telling us that he was out there to save us by talking to the USA Network. It is funny because I did an interview with 3 or 4 ECW guys including New Jack and New Jack started telling that same story and he never saw me post that before. Of course, Paul didn’t say anything to New Jack because he knew New Jack would kill him. Paul felt he could pick on me because I wasn’t New Jack. What people don’t realize is because they were kiss a**** and they were kissing Paul’s a**. When I came back with my story, you could hear crickets. The people that sided with Paul were trolls because they didn’t know the true story. That story (Rollerball) was told to me from higher ups. I didn’t make that s*** up.”

On his stint with NWA Powerrr last year: “I loved working NWA Powerrr! I knew Billy Corgan from ECW. He brought me in to do some stuff and I had some really good matches. I knew most everybody there. It was the closest to the ECW locker room that I’ve seen in a long time. Everybody was there to help each other out. You had agents there like Homicide, Trevor Murdoch, Simon Diamond, Crimson… Guys I think of the world of who were agents plus wrestling and still there to help everybody else. That is the kind of thing that I like. When you’re out there to get yourself over and you come back and still help everybody else, that is what I love about this business. If Billy (Corgan) decided to bring it back and do something with it (the NWA), I would want to be one of the first ones there! I absolutely loved working with Billy, Dave Lagana, and all of those guys.”

On COVID impacting independent wrestling: “You’re 100% right, it did suck because it took everything away you look forward to. Before it hit, there was a string of like 6 months that I was working every single weekend. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a weekend! And then, overnight, there was nothing. Then, all the personal stuff in my life hit, I was in a black hole!” He continues, “I’m tired of going to Walmart every day just to walk around! (laughs)”

On how his fiancé has helped him emotionally through the tough times: “It might sound stupid but sometimes it makes you feel like you could fly! You know that song, sunshine you could go away? I forget who sings it. But, sincerely, going from someone who does not support you and does not want you to do this (wrestle) to someone who supports every single decision you make in this business… I’ve never had so much in common with one woman! We’re both gamers. We both work out, We both love wrestling! She loves rottweiler and, of course, I have two and she loves them like they are her own. The love of a good woman can do amazing things and can get you through those dark times!”