Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Paul Heyman like many people that have been able to have success over long periods of time is constantly re-inventing himself. The documentary titled “Ladies and Gentleman my name is Paul Heyman,” has been long awaited since the announcement it was in production. Heyman has lived a fascinating life in general not just in wrestling. He worked in the most famous nightclub in N.Y.C. Club 54, working in print writing and taking photos for wrestling magazines. Working in WCW and starting his own promotion in ECW. Having a stint in the broadcast booth for the WWE reunited with Jim Ross where he had done the same role in WCW. He worked behind the scenes in creative and developmental for the WWE. He is the person most likely responsible that the world knows who CM Punk is. Least we not forget his fascinating relationship and friendship with Brock Lesnar.
His legacy is long and yet as brash and bombastic as he can be, there is a certain humble nature to him and a focus on what he is doing and going to do as opposed to what he has already done. He captures the attention of people both in the ring and out of it.
As an example of this yesterday, I sat fascinated listening to this man talk with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour yesterday. It was an interview lasting close to two hours in length, which was scheduled to be slightly under an hour. It highlighted the genius of this man and the many different sides to this complex human being.
In that interview he talked at length about Brock Lesnar and given it was an MMA show focused on many points tied to his career in mixed martial arts. There was lots of wrestling talk to including Heyman’s thoughts on CM Punk. In which he concludes that CM Punk is very much of the mindset that he will never return to the WWE and feeling of the company is mutual. While he did say that, he would not say that a Punk return could not ever happen he said, the idea of it happening in the next two years is highly unlikely. He did say though that he was in a similar place to Punk of never wanting to return to the WWE. Even to the point when he was in the elevator to be offered a contract to come back with Brock that he was laughing at how he was going to tell them no. Yet he would ride down in the same elevator wondering how he agreed to come back to a company that he had no intention of doing so.
He also previewed the interviews that would see with Brock Lesnar on last night’s edition of Raw. This lived up to the hype Heyman attached to them. He also gave a riveting story about a Raw in which he was going to beg to get out of a match with CM Punk and in order to get in the mood of this scene he would bring a tie of significance to him. It was the tie that he wore to his father’s funeral, which caused him to be emotional and have a genuine reaction. He also commented on if he thought CM Punk would ever compete in MMA. He suggested that he would be more than capable of doing so and would personally want to see it. He went on to say that when Punk does not have to play the role of CM Punk that Phil Brooks at his core is a fighter. He was a fighter that happened to perform and it would not be the case of a performer trying to be a fighter.
He talked about his attempt to buy the MMA promotion Strikeforce and how that was going to be the place that launched Brock Lesnar’s MMA career had he been successful. He commented on the WWE Network and kind of defended the idea and concept of it. Admitting that had he been doing it things might have not been promoted in the same way and I am sure, he was horrified at how it was last night. He did go on to suggest that he felt pay-per-view was on the decline and that this was the right move to make.
The more you listen to Paul Heyman speak the more you understand how this man was able to get people to run through a wall for him in ECW. You understand just how he has been able to be a success for as long as he has. This constant effort to stay relevant and top himself burns inside of him. In addition, his desire to try to not look back on his past successes and failures and simply move forward.
He has lived a fascinating life and what was perhaps the most touching was how he stated at the end of the interview how the fact of being a father has somewhat mellowed him. In the sense that his first concern every day is if his children are healthy and everything in his world takes second place to that.
This latest run of version of Paul Heyman has been his greatest yet in some ways. He just seems to be in a place where he can go out, be happy in the role he has, and get the most out of it. He is a huge resource to the people in the WWE for as long as he remains there and if that resource is not used it is a mistake on whoever is not taking advantage of it.
As Paul pointed out regardless of what he did before or after he has earned a place into history by being a part of that moment with Brock Lesnar defeating the streak. He can’t be erased from history now not that he needed a moment like that to be included in it.
In some ways, time has made us all come to appreciate Paul Heyman more. Even those of us who were not part of his cult following for ECW can clearly see the brilliance of this man and all he has done. He is perhaps the most "over" character on WWE television today. He much like the man I mentioned off the top in Bobby Heenan draws a reaction by just his presence without saying a word. When he does open his mouth that reaction grows to a fever pitch as the audience anticipates what they are about to hear. His promo a few weeks ago to close Raw makes you believe the man when he says that he goes out on the show and feels as if it is an audition to be on the next show. That he feels his best may always still lie ahead.
Paul Heyman is a beacon of light in a sea of darkness on some nights on Raw. We all experienced what a Raw is like without him last week and it was not a fun experience. He is an integral part of the WWE since returning with his friend Brock Lesnar to the WWE.
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