There was a time when every great heel in pro wrestling had a manager. Their purpose was to act as both a mouth piece and to interfere on behalf of their clients. The truly great managers brought hatred and disdain with them no matter who they were representing. From the Grand Wizard to Freddie Blassie, Bobby Heenan to Lou Albano, JJ Dillon to Gary Hart etc. Then, they began to fade away into extinction…
What caused the managerial downfall? Simple…wrestlers became more prepared for promos. The manager roles decreased. If they weren’t heels who were going solo, they had female valets instead of a crusty looking manager. Most things in professional wrestling are cyclical. It took a member of the “old guard” to resurrect the position. Ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman is perhaps one of the greatest managers in the history of the industry. Some will say Bobby Heenan…others may say Jim Cornette…it’s all subjective who is the all time best at their craft…but he certainly is in the conversation. While measuring the greatness of a manager can’t really be done by looking solely at scripted achievements…the promoter must have some confidence in your abilities to get a certain wrestler “over.” Paul Heyman has had that confidence bestowed upon him by many promoters through the years.
His ability to talk and his classic facial expressions have helped elevate him as the top heel manager in the WWE. His success has opened the door for others like Zeb Colter and possibly others. He has continually through the course of his career manage the top guys at one time or another. Heyman has burned his fair share of bridges along the way, but he keeps getting hired back…Why? He is uber talented. Fans love to hate him….wrestlers want to be affiliated with him and that is no accident.
Heyman hasn’t only been a manager’s manager…he has also been an announcer, an interviewer, a booker and promoter. He has an eye for untapped and misused talent. He molded the small Philadelphia based Eastern Championship Wrestling and turned it into a global phenomenon called Extreme Championship Wrestling. A promotion whose ideas, concepts and wrestlers were stolen by the much more powerful groups WCW and the WWE. Despite the revolving door of talent in ECW, Heyman always managed to find something or someone to fill the void.
After ECW’s eventual downfall, Paul Heyman moved on to the WWE and despite success was “demoted” to book Ohio Valley Wrestling.(At the time a WWE developmental territory) Once again, Heyman showed his keen eye for booking talent and made it a hot, must see promotion by utilizing talent like CM Punk and Brent Albright.
No matter what the WWE asked of him, he seemingly gave 100% every time. Despite all the success, Paul Heyman has also had his share of disappointments and failures. Of course the downfall of ECW could be partially attributed to him….his opinionated demeanor has caused him run ins with WWE hierarchy. No matter how hard he tried, clients like Ryback and Curtis Axel failed to move the meter of success with fans. He is both loved and hated in the same breath.
When the sun finally sets on his career…how will Paul Heyman ultimately be remembered? Will he be known as a visionary? A despised, yet beloved manager of champions? A liar? Conniver? Regardless, where you may personally stand on the career of Paul Heyman…he is without question successful. Always remember and never forget…that his client Brock Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. How was that possible? I guess it took a Paul Heyman Guy to defeat a Paul Heyman Guy. 😉