Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman profile


Paul Heyman (born September 11, 1965) is an American entertainment producer, most well-known for his former roles in professional wrestling as promoter, manager, and commentator. He is also an occasional actor in film.

Heyman is famous as the creative force behind Extreme Championship Wrestling's rise to prominence in the 1990s. He has also worked in World Championship Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association and World Wrestling Entertainment, including WWE's ECW brand where he was recognized as the ECW Representative.

Heyman was named in a list of Top 100 Marketers by Advertising Age magazine. (Credit: Wikipedia)



Heyman discusses the past, present and future, by Phil Speer
Nov. 14, 2003 (credit:

Paul Heyman is one of the most polarizing figures in sports entertainment.

“Some people really love him, some people really hate him,” Chris Benoit says. “Paul’s not afraid of controversy. He’ll tell you what he thinks, and a lot of people don’t like that. He is who he is. He’s not afraid of standing up for what he believes in, even if he’s going against the grain. You have to respect that. I know I do.”

While Heyman may have his share of detractors, there are also a great many SmackDown! Superstars who are glad to see him back on the show, including Benoit, as well as the Big Show.

“I love Paul Heyman,” says the Big Show. “He’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life. He’s got a great sense of humor, and he’s got a terrific, wonderful insight into the business. Some might find him a little bit pessimistic because he doesn’t agree with their views, but in everything he has to say, I always find something insightful about it.”

His supporters, including Big Show, Benoit and Tazz, among others, say Heyman has a great mind for the business, is a great teacher and knows how to create stars. Both Benoit and Tazz credit Heyman for helping them develop their interview skills.

“Paul taught me how to conduct myself as a Superstar in the ring,” Tazz says. “He also taught me how to talk. I never cut a promo. Paul’s the one that gave me the confidence. He pulled out of me what you see on TV now. As an announcer, and I think I can speak for Michael Cole on this, Paul taught Cole and me a lot of things. We spent a lot of late nights at the TV studio together, and I learned a ton from Paul. And still now that he’s here, I might go to him once in a while for a commentary question.”

Says Benoit, “I’ve got a lot of respect for Paul’s genius when it comes to booking. Out of all the people I’ve gotten to know in the industry, I really believe he’s got his hand on the pulse when it comes to creating stars and storylines. I’ve got a lot of faith in him and I believe in him. You look at what he did in ECW with the funds that he had. It seemed like every time he’d develop a name, one of the companies would pick him up, and he’d develop someone else.” was able to touch about many of these topics with Heyman in this recent interview, where we learned that Benoit’s comment – “He’s not afraid of standing up for what he believes in, even if he’s going against the grain” – is indeed true. How does it feel to be back on TV?

Heyman: I’m still at the deflowering the virgin stage. It’s still a novelty for me to be back, and I’m sure it’s still a novelty for a lot of people here. I haven’t settled in yet, so I really can’t be a good judge of how it feels. What are some of the reasons that you were away for so many months?

Heyman: I was away in a creative capacity because I was removed as lead writer for SmackDown! And I was away in a performing capacity because I suffered three bulging discs in my neck and a herniated C7, which is a significant neurological injury. I was pulled off because of how badly I was hurt. I wasn’t allowed to perform. At first, I was even told not to travel – by their doctor.

Actually, this is an interesting story. It was at the very beginning Brock Lesnar vs. the Big Show. I had just got on the road. I got hurt taking the F5 in San Francisco. We were scheduled to then go to Alaska, and I kept taking the F5 every night, and it was tearing up my body, because I had already suffered the injury. From there, at Armageddon, the Big Show picked Kurt Angle up over his head and threw him on top of me, and Kurt came down right on top of me, which furthered the injury. Then at the Royal Rumble, Brock pulled me over the top rope, and I always end up landing on my head. But I’ve always been lucky because I guess my head is hollow. I never got hurt taking it. But I already had an injured neck and wouldn’t get it checked out because we were in the middle of a main-event run, and I wanted to continue on. The only two people who knew I was hurt were the Big Show and Brock. I landed on top of my head at the Rumble and I started getting the shockwaves throughout my body after that. Then we did Handicap Matches and I kept on taking F5s. I was just ripping my body apart. So as we were heading into WrestleMania, and plans changed, I mentioned, “You know, this might be a good time for me to get an MRI.” And once I got the MRI, that was it. I was told, “You’re finished.” I was told that my career as a performer in that capacity was clearly over, without any room to negotiate. Did you have surgery?

Heyman: No, there’s no reason for me to get surgery because I’m not a wrestler and I’m not going to be taking bumps on any kind of consistent basis. There’s no reason to put me through the trauma of the surgery. That aspect of my career pretty much has to end. Today, you are in less pain...

Heyman: I’m not really in any pain because taking the F5 is kind of like smashing your head into a wall – it feels so good when you stop, or at least when the headache goes away. I didn’t get thrown around for seven and a half months. You start to feel better, or you just resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to have a headache, or this is going to twinge. You just learn to deal with it, or cope with it. I feel a lot better than I did back then. Much, much better. Much, much better. I look back on how I felt in January, February and March. If you fall in love with it, if you have a passion for doing it, it’s not only being in denial – because I was in denial about it – but also I just didn’t want to come off the road. We were doing a main-event run and I didn’t want it to stop. How much weight have you lost? And what was the reason for that?

Heyman: I really haven’t gotten on a scale. The reason for it is, I can eat better when I’m home. I feel better with less weight. The way I did it was by having sex with my girlfriend. She’s a remarkably sexual woman, and she provides me with as much exercise as I could ever get in the gym. What is your status right now as it relates to the creative team?

Heyman: I’m not on it. I am a consultant, which means I give them advice in advance of and after the shows. It has been said by some that you don’t have any hesitancy at all stating your opinion and standing up for what you believe in even if it directly contradicts what others want.

Heyman: I’m flattered by the recognition of my abrasiveness. I’m blunt. In an industry where diplomacy carries as much weight as the context and content of your suggestions, I choose to be blunt, and willing to suffer the consequences based on that. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion of you, positive or negative. Why do you think that is?

Heyman: Because I’m me. I am who I am, flaws and all. And I’m not apologetic for who I am, and I’m not going to be. It’s just not me. I have no desire in life to be unhappy, and I can only be happy if I accept myself for who I am and what I am, strengths and weaknesses. I’d rather be held in contempt for who I am than loved for who I am not. I’m me. I have opinions. I welcome anybody else with differing opinions to engage in discussion with me. I don’t shy away from it. I actually enjoy it. I learn from it.

I think it’s a learning experience and can be for the other person as well. Some people don’t like that attitude. I understand that; I’m not even saying I disagree. But I know in my heart that the only way for me to contribute to this maximum degree that I’m able to, and learn from there, is to do it bluntly and do it the way I know how. Some people don’t like that, and some people appreciate it. I’m not saying either one’s right. And I don’t spent my life worrying about their opinions either, which I think also is against the industry standard. Because I guess you’re supposed to worry what everybody thinks, and I couldn’t care less. I care about the opinion of the reflection in the mirror, and if I can look at myself, then I’m OK with it. One of the things a lot of people say about you is that you’ve had a lot of success in creating stars. Why do you think that is?

Heyman: Because I’m a fan. Because I view this industry as an art form, and I have a deep appreciation for that art form because I’m not physically able and never have been and never will be physically able to do what they do in the ring. And even if I was physically able, I don’t think I have the balls to attempt it. It’s so dangerous. It’s so hard. It’s so intricate. It’s so difficult. It’s so taxing. I couldn’t do it. And I have enormous respect and admiration for those who do, let alone do it well. So I look at someone who is in this industry, to me, it’s two double assessments. One, and most importantly, what are this person’s weaknesses, and how do we hide them? Two, what are his or her strengths, and how do we accentuate them? I think if you go along the pattern of accentuating those strengths and hiding those weaknesses, you will find that people will emotionally invest in a character, and the next thing you know, you have a star on your hands. I don’t have any magic formula. It’s not that I see things more clearly than anybody else. I just appreciate the magic that they have the unique ability to bring, and I’m conscious of the fact that they are human and therefore imperfect. And if I’m going to present them in a larger-than-life situation or presentation or scenario, I’m going to hide their weaknesses because otherwise there’s no reason to believe in them. How do you foresee your long-term future in WWE?

Heyman: (Laughs) I’m surprised I’m still here. I am waiting in anxious anticipation for the moment where enough people here realize, “Oh, he’s back?

My God, get rid of him. We didn’t want him back here.” I’m surprised I’m still here.