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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Hall Of Fame Hopeful: Paul Heyman
September 14, 2006 by Andrew Rudd


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He brought the likes of Sabu, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman to our attention. Managed Brock Lesnar, Big Show, Dudley Boys, The Undertaker, Heidenreich and even been SmackDown General Manger, so is Paul Heyman a deserved future Hall of Famer.

Heyman started managing in WWF under the name Paul E. Dangerously before changing his name. He then set up ECW in 1997, making a name for himself. From the moment Barely Legal, ECW's premier PPV, was broadcasted nobody denied that ECW was going to go off air without a fight. Over the years, Heyman introduced superstar after superstar to the ECW roster making it a major threat to WWF.

ECW got more brutal after every match, but Heyman was to make his first regrettable decision and this decision was to haunt him. "I dare you network, throw me off air", Heyman famously ranted, with courage. It was all the network needed to do what Heyman had dared them to do, but Heyman made sure that the WWF knew the name of ECW by teaming up with WCW to form The Alliance. The Alliance took on the WWF at Survivor Series 2001and lost in what is now a Survivor Series classic.

When Eric Bischoff brought ECW to an end, Heyman and many of ECW's extremists had made a name for themselves. Heyman then started again doing what had made him famous in the first place- managing clients. The former ECW owner started managing Brock Lesnar. "The Next Big Thing" was to create a reputation for himself and re-earn his manager one. Lesnar won King of the Ring in 2002, but his first defeat was just around the corner. At Vengeance 2002, Heyman pulled the referee out of the ring to avoid Lesnar being pinned, and as a result, Lesnar lost by disqualification. Soon enough Heyman had another client- Big Show.

Big Show won the WWE championship at Survivor Series 02, but was to lose the WWE Championship at Armageddon. Ironically it was Brock himself who cost Big Show the title getting revenge. Very soon Heyman was GM of SmackDown but Bischoff pulled another one over Heyman and picked his name out of the lottery draft. An exchange by new GM Kurt Angle meant that as quickly as he had left SmackDown, he was back managing the Dudley Boys and soon had Undertaker's urn.

At Great American Bash 2004 Heyman asked Taker to "do the right thing" and destroy Paul Bearer in a Concrete Crypt match. The right thing got done, but Heyman was soon left begging for mercy.

Heyman continued to show up on SmackDown and even once became acting GM. Heyman then went into hiding and came back managing Heidenreich. Heidenreich even assaulted a fan, forcing an apology written by Heyman. But Heidenreich's most shocking moment came when Heidenreich cost Taker the WWE Championship at No Mercy 2004. Heyman even drove the Hurst to give JBL the victory, and even encouraged Heidenreich to destroy the Hurst using a 4x4. Heyman then got a contract signed for Survivor Series 04 for Heidenreich to have a match against the Deadman. Heyman distracted the referee but Heidenreich lost. Heidenreich again cost Taker the title at Armageddon and in an effort to avoid the resulting casket match at Royal Rumble 2005, Heidenreich left Heyman alone.

Heyman was put in a casket as a result and was not seen again until ECW One Night Stand 2005, which saw ECW gain revenge against Eric Bischoff. Heyman even decided to have a go at the crusaders, branding Bischoff a "traitor" and telling Edge that only two words mattered - Matt Hardy.

ECW One Night Stand occurred in June and ECW take on WWE. Heyman even had Angle, RVD and Big Show from WWE, as the result of a draft. For Heyman, however, One Night Stand was the beginning of a rebirth for ECW. So as ECW has been reborn from the ashes, I view Heyman's career in WWF/ WWE/ ECW and see a manager who's been a General Manager and owned a company. Add his impressive efforts under Lesnar and Big Show, and a man daring enough to manage Taker and you get a deserved Hall of Famer.

by Andrew Rudd..


Fraser Allen (Hertfordshire, United Kingdom) wrote:
Good article Andrew, but unfortunately you got a few things wrong about Paul Heyman.

Firstly he was known as Paul E Dangerously in WCW (as opposed to WWF) forming the Dangerous Alliance with Arn Anderson, Steve Austin etc...

Secondly, Vince McMahon (as opposed to Bischoff) 'fired' Heyman after the Alliance finished and replaced him with the returning Jerry Lawler in commentary.

Should be in the Hall of Fame for changing the way wrestling was and making the WWE/WCW stop and look at the way they did things. In the new ECW, whether you like it or not, is developing new stars and using the old extremists in an effective way on the programming. Apparently he was booted of the Smackdown writing team because he disagreed with Stephanie McMahon, which was part of the reason he was written out of the storylines in January 2005. He is one of the great talkers still today.
Mike Timko wrote:
One major thing that's going to work against Heyman, he did run ECW into the ground. Call it what you like, but when a company fails, the head man is always looked at as the fall guy. He didn't manage long enough to get in the Hall as a manager. He has accomplished some nice things, but there's no room in the Hall for bookers. I love ECW, and I love what Heyman has done for wrestling, but I don't think he's Hall of Fame worthy.
Ike Eisen wrote:
Sorry to say this, Vincent Kennedy...KENNEDY McMahon has a greater right to be in any pro wrestling hall of fame than Paul Heyman.

While Heyman was influential, he and Eric Bischoff now earn paychecks from Vince McMahon. This isn't a bash on Paulie, but McMahon became the last man standing among the heads of the Big Three. Moreover, Heyman's ideas for ECW arguably could not have happened if Vince had not created a market of cartoony characters and angles for Heyman's gritty, edgy ideas to take root and grow.
Jonathan Preston wrote:
I agree with you. Paul Heyman is definitely deserving of the Hall of Fame. He has done so much for the wrestling business its not even funny. ECW was the most innovative wrestling concept ever. A combination of wrestling with a hardcore twist. Kind of like today's ROH. Not only that, but Paul Heyman has aligned himself and found really good talent. Think about the Dangerous Alliance back in the NWA/WCW days. That had Ravishing Rick Rude, Stunning Steven Austin (Of Course Stone Cold), Bobby Eaton, and Arn Anderson. That was a great faction back then. Besides that, think of all the wrestlers that came out of ECW who are stars. Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Tazz, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Rey Mysterio, The Dudleys, Chris Benoit, Sabu, Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and the list goes on and on. Paul Heyman was responsible for all those wrestlers success. Now the new breed of ECW is not like the old school, but each week it gets better. It'll only be a matter of time til it blows back up. So to wrap this up in one statement, Paul Heyman better be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It would be a crime if he didn't.
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