5 Times Paul Heyman Had a Point
Writer: Brett Porter
Paul Heyman is an interesting entity in the WWE Universe. For the most part, his on-screen role’s been that of a manager for a dominant star. Among others, Heyman’s managed Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and the Big Show. His persona as a slimy businessman is so convincing that many fans hate the guy. Is that just a character? Is that how he is all the time? That’s not a topic for today.
Paul Heyman has had a handful of live Q&A sessions where he’s offered his perspective on things. I can’t say I agree with everything he says, but I will say he’s made a few good points over the years… at least enough to write an article about. Without further ado, here’s five times Paul Heyman had a point.
5. On the Undertaker
Being a former big cheese in ECW before their merge with WWE, Heyman’s spent a lot of time in the industry. When ECW and WWE became one, many of Extreme Championship Wrestling’s top talent didn’t fare well. When asked about this, Heyman goes in depth about the soul of a character idea. The WWE didn’t care about these ECW originals because they didn’t create them, therefore weren’t really invested in their development. He goes on about what makes a good character, and says The Undertaker is the greatest character the promotion ever created, and it’s hard to argue. Even if it doesn’t prove the point in it’s entirety, the argument can be made that the WWE’s emotional investment in The Undertaker’s character helped it flourish.
4. Only Goldberg Could Squash Brock Lesnar
Even though WWE is by definition sports entertainment, there has to be some level of realism. Brock Lesnar was slated to go against Goldberg at the 2016 Survivor Series. The amount of hype around this match was palpable. Instead of the long-haul match everyone anticipated, Goldberg had Brock Lesnar pinned in under 90 seconds. When Paul Heyman spoke on the outcome, he made a point many would struggle to disagree with. If Goldberg wasn’t the person to put Brock away so fast, then who? Goldberg’s overall build and above average athleticism made him the perfect guy for the job
3. Ending a Streak
The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak was one of the most impressive feats in the world of professional wrestling. Getting ready to face Brock Lesnar, the Deadman was 21-0. For more than 8,000 days, he was undefeated at the grandest stage of them all. To the surprise of literally everybody watching, Lesnar would F-5 The Undertaker, and get that coveted three-count. The Beast Incarnate beat the streak in a match for the ages. Following the match however, The Deadman would go to an actual hospital, thus spawning boatloads of speculation and conspiracy theories. Paul Heyman was asked about this infamous Wrestlemania 30 moment. He prefaces right off the bat that this is his own speculation, but after hearing his theory it seems well more than a valid possibility. Brock Lesnar truly is a force. Octagon, wrestling ring, locker room, you name it, he’s still an absolute menace. Although WWE’s creative can give him a script, nobody in the company is able to truly enforce it. In short, Heyman speculates Brock Lesnar could have hurt The Undertaker bad enough to pin him and win the match. From there he’d forever be the person who ended the legendary streak. Obviously this is just his take. There’s only two people who genuinely know what happened and I highly doubt either will speak up on the matter.
2. On Chris Benoit
If you try to find backlogged matches featuring the Rabid Wolverine, you’ll find that the WWE’s removed most, if not all of them. Prior to his death in 2007, Chris Benoit was enjoying a career renaissance. He was one of a handful of stars to transition from WCW to WWE and maintain popularity. Once it became public that Benoit murdered his wife and son before taking his own life, everybody in the industry distanced themselves from him as fast as humanly possible. Everybody had their own angle on this tragedy in the weeks to follow. Some pointed to steroid abuse while others chalked it up to CTE, a form of brain degeneration with ties to aggressive behavior. Paul Heyman provided a surprisingly balanced take on the matter, only doing so after a crowd member interrupted a live talkshow to tell the world Chris Benoit was his boy. Heyman worked with Benoit back in their ECW days, even calling him a top five all time talent. He didn’t shy away from the elephant in the room, however. Even if Chris Benoit had severe CTE, three people died that night and two of them didn’t have a choice in the matter. Heyman, without saying it outright, separates the art from the artist with his take on all of this. Reader’s Digest version? Phenomenal wrestler, but a terrible human being. Leave it to one of the loudest and outspoken people in professional to have such a balanced take on something.
1. Make Profesional Wrestling Matter
Yes, Heyman makes this sound simpler than it truly is. That being said, he does lay down some foundational advice on how to make people care about your brand. By avoiding complication in storylines, you can keep things believable. It can be boiled down to these three questions. Who are these two people? Why are they fighting? Why should I care enough to watch? Every wrestling circuit is guilty of having over-the-top plotlines over the years. Nobody’s perfect. Keep plots and matchups simple and realistic and you reduce the risk of viewers hating the product. The five Ws are a great tool for many different things, and the world of sports entertainment could possibly benefit from a refresher course on that.
Love him if you want. Hate him if you want, too. Paul Heyman tends to invoke one or the other out of wrestling fans. Even if you fundamentally disagree with everything he says, you have to admit he makes some good points. Call him wrong if you want, but don’t you dare call him stupid.