Call him a manager, an advocate, or a wise man… but Paul Heyman will go down being tagged as ‘the greatest in his field.
SPOILER ALERT! Paul Heyman Will Eventually Go Down As One Of The Most ‘Extremely’ Influential People In Wrestling History
If you have been paying attention at all to WWE, it’s been pretty obvious to anyone watching that there’s a lot to like lately.
The rise of The Bloodline angle helped propel the promotion out of what felt like five years of doldrums to recapture (at least SOME of) its past glory.
While the talent in the faction includes some of the greatest performers the promotion has ever produced, the man in the middle with the microphone is the straw that stirs the drink. Just like he has been for over 35 years now.
Bursting on the scene as ‘Paul E. Dangerously’ – a spin on Michael Keaton’s ‘Johnny Dangerously‘ character and because he and the actor looked similar at the time – the future wise man made his name traveling from territory to territory. From the east coast to down South and up to Minnesota, to Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW.
His tenure as the promoter of the trendsetting Extreme Championship Wrestling proved that he was more in touch with the average fan than any focus group could explain. It also established his reputation as much more than a performer. He and his company would change the business for an eternity.
They took the old formula, shook it, up, and then smashed it to pieces. Before long? Half the wrestling world was at least borrowing something from what ECW and their leader had forged. They took on the establishment, and even in defeat and debt, he gained an odd sort of respect for his wranglings.
But it is his WWE tenure that has solidified Paul Heyman as one of the top minds and most influential people in the history of the industry. In 20 years, he has fallen in and out of grace, been the manager, of champions, and stood tall in a world that once shunned him. Quite simply, it’s because he’s always relied on his wisdom, wit, and New York guts to get him by, and that formula has worked.
Panned by his critics for decades, The Advocate has never backed down. Called a liar, a crook, a wimp, and much worse by those who came before him, he took all the spit and garbage and built an empire from it.
It’s easy to say that he’s the best manager, or ‘second’, in the business. It’s even harder to give him the outright crown of the greatest ever, but it would be hard to argue against such, either.
Certainly, no cornerman has ever done what Paul Heyman has done on a global level. He’s done it in WWE for 20+ years now… and still going strong.
Titles and champions come and go. So do factions and federations. But from the mid-80s until now, one man has been pretty much unsinkable. And that man is Paul Heyman.
It’s simplifying things by saying he’s the ‘greatest manager’, or the ‘most creative promoter’ ever. Or, maybe even the ‘sleaziest guy you ever met’. Because those are just labels. And as Paul Heyman has said time and again: He shrugs off labels.
The manager/announcer/promoter/booker/mad scientist will someday no longer grace our screens. He will take his rightful place among the immortals in the WWE Hall of Fame.
When he finally does take that spot with all the legends, there will be a lot of fans who look back and say: “WOW! I forgot how much Paul Heyman really did for professional wrestling. He was a lot more important than I realized.”
And that, my friends… is NOT a prediction. That’s just a spoiler.
Ryan Boman is the author of the 2023 book, ‘Pop Music & Peanut Butter‘ and a freelance writer whose previous work has appeared at SB Nation, The Miami Herald, Fansided, and Yardbarker. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.