Paul Heyman Article

The Miami Herald featured the following article on Paul Heyman.

Beulah, Popeye's words inspire Heyman
BY SCOTT FISHMAN
Miami Herald Writer

''I was on 57th Street and Madison Avenue in New York a couple of weeks ago,'' said former ECW mastermind Paul Heyman.

`Not that I wish a car wreck on anybody, but as it happened there were about four cars behind a car wreck. I saw this and was in a car, and as soon as these cars hit, there were a couple of kids that were right next to the accident that started chanting,E-C-W!, E-C-W!, E-C-W!'''

This captivating journey Heyman and his dedicated performers embarked on is chronicled in WWE's newest DVD The Rise and Fall of ECW. The renegade company broke new ground and in the process not only interjected itself in between the two pro wrestling juggernauts WCW and WWE but also pop culture.

The first two weeks along this piece of sports entertainment history rose to the top of the sports DVD list on Amazon.com and sold out at retail stores everywhere.

''To me I was so flattered,'' said Heyman, ``that in the middle of New York City, four years after our death, people are still chanting our name when they see a car wreck of all things.

``I dedicated seven years to the project, and those of us who went through it don't have a lot financially to show for those seven years. The pride and creative fulfillment for what we had for what we did. The work is what we gave back to it is very fulfilling.

``It's kind of like the Elvis Presley or the Tupac Shakur thing in that it's remembered so fondly, and people praise when it's gone as much or if not more than when it was alive. I kind of knew that this thing was going be a rabid success. I know how much people miss ECW. I see it everywhere I go.''

Stamped with a TV-MA rating, much like the promotion itself, the DVD is unconventional and goes against the grain of any other WWE DVD release. While Heyman was not involved with putting together the product, he was given an opportunity to speak candidly about the company he helped build.

''There was no preparation,'' said Heyman, ``as to what I was going to be asked. It was just put a camera on and best of luck to you, and that was the way it was to a lot of people.''

When approached about the idea, Heyman was against it. He was afraid ECW would not be presented fairly, and the company's history may be tarnished.

''After the interview, I was very upset that they were actually going to do this DVD,'' Heyman said. ``I did not think in any way, shape or form that justice would be done to who we were, what we were about and what happened to us. I was really upset because I knew who we were going to be prostituted out. What happened was the preview version came out, and I didn't watch it.

'Tazz, Tommy Dreamer, Rey Mysterio, the Dudleys and Rob Van Dam started calling saying, `You got to watch this. It really does us justice.' The crowning point as I said on [WWE internet show] Byte This! was when Tommy Dreamer's wife [Beulah] got on the phone who I never speak to. She said, 'You know I watched it, and I was moved to tears.' For her to be moved to tears, it really had to do it justice, so I finally sat down and watched it.

'When it was first coming out, I wouldn't do any promotion for it. I basically said, `You guys are on your own and screw you.' Once I saw it I said I would be happy to do interviews for it because I think it is the most authoritative retrospective of who we were and what we did.''

Watching the DVD elicits memories of how ECW broke new ground and changed the sports entertainment realm. Never had a wrestling company come along and shook the foundation of how wrestling and sports entertainment was being presented. WCW and WWE took notice barrowing some of ECW's concepts and hardcore style.

Continued

Before its demise in 2001, ECW had independently grown into a worldwide entity complete with merchandise and pay-per-view. The company sold out modest-size venues including the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, the Elks Lodge in Queens and even Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium.

''I would of loved to have sold out Yankee Stadium,'' said Heyman. ``I believe in time we would have. I would love to have given Vince [McMahon] a run in Madison Square Garden, and I believe in time we would have. I would have loved to figure out a way to run the Roman Coliseum, and I believe one day we would have figured it out. There are a lot of things we could of revolutionized, and there are a lot of concepts that are just now bringing the taboos on television that we broke a long, long time ago.

``The idea of reality TV, we were doing that when we broke down the walls of the ECW Arena when the Sandman did the storyline of being blinded. We did the lesbian kiss long before it was fashionable. We did the inter-spliced music video long before they were fashionable. So there were many things we did, and I think we had many different things to take forward not just in wrestling but television as well.''

Although the wrestlers and fans were there, with the absence of a big financial backer and a network deal, ECW could not survive. If these things were in place Heyman undoubtedly believes the whole business would be different today.

''[NWA] TNA has lost a reported anywhere between $10, 12 and 15 million to this project already,'' said Heyman, ``and they're bleeding to the tune of $250,000 a week. We made our stars. WCW made two people. Sting they inherited from the purchase of [Jim] Crockett, Ric Flair also they inherited, but they never made anybody. They made one guy in that whole time there. They made Goldberg. They didn't make anybody else. We made all these people.

``We made more stars than WWE made stars. They sold 70,000 tickets to WrestleMania for Austin vs. the Rock, and their stars got to be bigger stars than ours, but their stars also had a much bigger platform, too. If you look at the percentage of people that purchased our PPVs against the percentage of the audience that purchased Vince or Turner's we blew everyone else away.

``TNA is bleeding to death. We've never had that advantage. Every fight we had was a fight to the death. I think in all candor, and to give ourselves the credit that I think we deserved, if we had that type of funding or if we had kept the network, even if we didn't have the network, if we just had the funding just to have stayed alive, I think the entire industry would have been entirely different than it is today.''

After the sale of ECW, Heyman officially arrived in WWE as a commentator with Jim Ross. During the invasion angle Heyman returned to his roots as a manager and performer.

''I think the most humble I've ever been was while running ECW,'' said Heyman, ``because I never forgot where I came from. I get that from both my mother and father. I've never forgotten where ECW came from.

``As the owner of ECW, I sat in the middle of the room [in WWE], and I was among my own people. I've never had my own thing. It was boom we'll all get together and brainstorm this thing. I didn't find it humbling to go to WWE. If anything else it was a lot easier because I only had to worry about my performance instead of worrying about every single solitary thing on the show.''

The outspoken Heyman also contributed creatively to the show and behind the scenes, a position that made him comfortable and happy.

''As a performer you have this many moments to get one message across,'' said Heyman. 'The message of I'm the #$@%*# heel. Come pay to see me get beat up' orHe's the wonderful babyface. Believe in him like you would John Wayne.'

``That's it. You have a certain number of minutes allotted to you to get one message across. When you work behind the scenes, you have the entire show to get all these messages across and can help all these people become stars, instead of yourself or the one or two guys assigned to you.''

After his most recent stint on the writing team, Heyman was removed from the role.

''Nobody can shut me up,'' said Heyman. ``I'm always throwing out my ideas, whether they're implemented or not is another story. I knew I was going to be removed from the writing team. I saw it coming.

``It wasn't a surprise, but I think everything in this company is a temporary position, and that is something in this company that I really do like in that nothing is forever in WWE. That's the law of the jungle, and I subscribe to the very same law.

``When I was a kid there were two big heroes in Miami. Don Shula and Bob Griese, no bigger stars in Florida than that, but there had to have a time where Shula had to leave. There had to come a time when Griese got replaced. No matter how good he was, the Dolphins had to move on. That's the mentality in WWE. You're good today. Okay, we use you today.

``You're no good tomorrow. We're going to find someone else. That should be the mentality here because otherwise it gets real stagnant real fast and not just from a performer's standpoint but from a management standpoint, writer's standpoint, producer's standpoint, a director's standpoint.''

Continued

The failure to change is what the former ECW owner believes is one of WWE's current issues.

''It's the same format,'' said Heyman. ``It's the same formula. It's the same show that it was in 1999. It's even written the same way, so I think change is always good. I think even radical change if for nothing else but because it gives you something different. Something different doesn't necessarily have to be something better. It just has to be something different.

``If you look at a show today and a show from 1999, the personas have changed, the storylines have changed, but the flow of the show is the same. The entranceway may be different and maybe have different decorations on the entranceway, on one show may have a ramp and the other show doesn't, but it's all the same feel.''

One thing Heyman sees is the need to continue with the brand extension. A move WWE remains solidly behind in hopes of increasing the chances of developing new stars.

''I see so many characters now on SmackDown! and Raw on the verge of burning out,'' said Heyman, ``and this is just from appearing on television one day a week. Now if you're going to appear two days a week on television and your on top on Raw and your on top on SmackDown!, what kind of longevity are you going to have?

``There are guys I just don't want to see anymore because I see them every week. I can't imagine if I had to see them twice a week. The burnout factor would be infinitely faster, and I think that is even more dangerous than giving people half of the overall roster on either given show.''

Even though his backstage presence may appear minute, the veteran continues to remain a force on SmackDown! representing the enigmatic poet John Heidenreich. Given Heyman's recent history with former WWE champ Brock Lesnar, it is safe to assume the near 7-footer is in good hands.

''I like working with John. He's a lot of fun,'' said Heyman. ``He's legitimately nuts. He's two McNuggets away of a Happy Meal. He spends his whole day reciting movie lines and accurately.

``The poetry is the tip of the iceberg. If you sit in a conversation with him, he can verbatim recite to you the entire screenplay of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Full Metal Jacket or The Godfather or The Exorcist or Hamburger Hill or Stone Cold or any one of a number of a dozen movies. He knows them by heart. He is a really interesting guy, and he also takes a lot pride in his performance and his improvement in the last six months has been remarkable.''

As the controversial figure continues to stir the pot in WWE, Heyman moves forward in post-ECW life.

''I deserve a lot of credit, and I deserve a lot of criticism,'' said Heyman, 'and that goes along with the turf of having your own beliefs and having a strong opinion to implement your ideas. I subscribe to the great philosopher of the 20th century Popeye, `I am what I am, and that is all I can be,' he, of the temple of Olive Oil.''

good stuff... ttt

The respect I have for Heyman as a human being is very high.

That's why when I hear he's "suspended" or "removed" from the writing team,it personally gets to me.

Nobody screws with mah wrasslin damnit.

To be blunt Paul Heyman was suspended for lying to the people he works under. He was suspected of eavesdropping, denied it and then finally admitted his guilt when confronted with irrefutable evidence. For a period of time the information that was discussed was mysteriously 'leaked' to the Internet. Since Heyman's absence the leaks have stopped. Draw your own conclusions.

For the record this was not the first time Heyman has been caught being deceitful. It took the direct orders of Vince himself to bring Paul Heyman back for his most recent stint with Creative. Typically in any business when you outright deceive the people you work under you are not suspended or put on leave...but in fact terminated.

Paul Heyman is respected for his creative talents and is capable of being an asset to the company. Yet it is the behavior choices he makes (and not some conspiracy or creative jealousy or other nonsense often repeated on the Internet) that results in situations like his recent suspension (with pay).