Monday, 24 March 2014

Spotlight: Paul Heyman

WWE's most valuable asset?

Paul Heyman. Paul E Dangerously. The advocate for Brock Lesnar. The voice of the voice of the voiceless. Promoter, manager, commentator. Whatever his role, whatever you want to call him, one thing is undeniable. Paul Heyman is a legend and is one of the most influential figures in professional wrestling history.
 
My memory of Paul Heyman really began in ECW - I remember the original ECW invasion of the WWE (then WWF) back in 1997 - from then on I was hooked and watched it weekly on the Sky channel BRAVO. I like many others have fond memories of ECW and can't wait to watch everything all over again when the WWE Network launches in the UK (late 2014/early 2015)
 
                                                      The Sandman, Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer
 
The stars of ECW didn't have bodybuilder physiques. The didn't have Hollywood style looks. They looked like you or me - but Paul Heyman made them special. They had heart, they had talent and they were given the opportunity to showcase that to the world.
 
The high risk, hardcore style incorporated in ECW paved the way for the "Attitude Era" in the WWF and had a large influence on the WCW product too.
 
                                                                       Paul Heyman in his ECW days
 
As ECW became more and more popular, we started to say goodbye to Doink the Clown and Duke "The Dumpster" Droese and hello to Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. The cartoon characters we had seen for years were phased out and the WWF introduced an edgier product.
 
Even in this PG era we still feel Paul Heyman and ECW's influence - the gimmicks, storylines and matches can still have that "edge" and we are seeing real characters on our screens.
 
When ECW folded in 2001, Heyman became a commentator on RAW (replacing Jerry Lawler) and was awesome. His verbal dialogue with Jim Ross was always great to listen to and although I was sad to say goodbye to ECW, I was pleased to see Paul back on our screens.
 
                                                                            Paul Heyman and Jim Ross
 
In the years to come Heymans role changed significantly - from commentator to manager, Smackdown GM (Heyman was also head writer on Smackdown), Ohio Valley Wresting booker, on screen GM of the revived ECW brand to manager again - he really has done it all in this business.
 
Heyman left the WWE in December 2006 following the revived ECW's first and only PPV (December to Dismember) - we would not see him again on our screens until May 2012 where he returned as Brock Lesnar's legal advisor. I was very pleased to see him back.
 
                                                                         Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar 
 
Since then we've seen him manage Brock (which he still does to this day), manage and feud with CM Punk and introduce a new "Paul Heyman" guy (Curtis Axel). He is always a highlight of WWE.
 
 
                                                                           Paul Heyman and CM Punk
 
I have touched upon a little bit of history - but what could the future could hold for him in WWE? What if Brock Lesnar leaves or gets injured?
 
In my opinion there a few wrestlers in WWE who could benefit from becoming a "Paul Heyman" Guy - keeping Heyman on screen and pushing them to the next level.
 
Here's my 3 picks and a little bit of fantasy booking - a little out there but why not!!
 
1. Kofi Kingston
 
 
I really feel that Kofi Kingston could be a main event star in the WWE. The problem is the babyface character he is potraying has become really stale and he seems to be mired in the mid-card. Kofi needs an edge to him and I would love to see him as a heel.
 
Imagine Paul Heyman introducing his new "guy" - a new slower entrance theme hits and Kofi walks down to the ring all suited up, gets into the ring and hugs his new manager. He then goes on to denounce his fans. He tells them that they are the reason he has been stuck in mid card hell and they have ruined his career. How he could have headlined Wrestlemania and become WWE Champion by now if he hadn't pandered to them - but Paul is the one to get him to that next level etc.
 
I think Kofi on his own might struggle to be hated - but with Heyman by his side this could really work.
 
2. Sheamus
 

 
Just like Kofi, I feel that the Sheamus character has become a little stale. He is really talented but works better as a heel in my opinion. The smiles, jokes and talk of pints become quite old and I feel like he needs that edge to get back to main event stardom once more. Paul Heyman is the guy to give him that edge.
 
Daniel Bryan and Sheamus had a good feud a couple of years back (lets not mention the pathetic 18 second Wrestlemania 28 match) specifically the 2 out of 3 falls match at Extreme Rules 2012. Why not revisit the feud with the roles reversed - Sheamus as the heel and Bryan as the face?
 
Following a victory by Daniel Bryan, Heyman could walk down to the ring and tell Bryan that he misses the days when he managed CM Punk. How he wants to manage a long reigning world champion again and with Brock gone he needs a new "Paul Heyman" Guy.
 
Sheamus music hits and he walks down to the ring - Bryan begs him to think it through while Paul screams at him to hit the Brogue kick. Sheamus kicks Bryan and holds the world title above his head while Heyman applauds.
 
                                                                 3. Curtis Axel
 
 
 
Yes I know. Axel used to be a Paul Heyman guy. I really don't think this partnership was given the chance though. Axel became the Intercontinental Champion but hardly ever defended the belt. The focus was more on the Heyman - CM Punk story and Axel became a background character.
 
This would be easy enough to do. Axel realises his career is floundering following his split from Heyman and begs him to let him back into the fold. Heyman tells him he has to prove himself and Axel does so brutally attacking a much loved character or legend - a returning Chris Jericho for example.
 
Heyman tells Axel he will become his manager once more and then a Y2J vs Curtis Axel feud is born - maybe with the IC title on the line. This time around though Axel needs to be the focus and needs time to develop his character. He has a shedload of in ring talent and needs time to work on aspects of his character.
 
 
Okay so this blog was a bit longer than I intended it to be and has turned into a bit of an essay! I got a bit carried away with the fantasy booking too!
 
The reason I write these blogs is so I can give my opinion and use a bit of creativity. Wrestling is something I enjoy and I like to discuss all aspects of it.
 
I will do this type of thing again but might shorten things a bit next time!!
 
Thanks for reading!!!

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