Hello, my name is Roj… Naylor. A simple statement to make. A greeting, and a name. Something many of us has made repeatedly in our lives. It’s nothing special, it’s not even informative. Sure, it gives a name, and a greeting, but that’s it. Paul E. Dangerously. The Mad Scientist. The Twisted Genius. The Evil Mastermind. The Master Manipulator. The Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless. The Advocate. The Special Counsel. THE WISEMAN. Whatever you want to call him, when Paul Heyman introduces himself, you listen. His voice commands instant attention. Throughout his career, hearing him say his name tells you exactly what mood he is in. It makes you sit up straight and tune in to what he’s got to say. Don’t believe me?

    Those two words, in isolation, drip smugness, confidence, and condescension. He’s better than you and knows you’re going to hang on to every word – whether you like it or not. This ability to hold instant power over an audience is rare, and one Heyman has been able to channel for more than three decades. Here are just a few of his Greatest Hits.

    #1 Lawsuit for Lawler, 1987

    Shortly after his debut as a manager, Paul E. Dangerously surfaced in the CWA. There he managed an early version of The Dangerous Alliance in Tommy Rich, Austin Idol, and Lord Humongous (portrayed at the time by Sid Vicious). During a feud between Rich and Jerry Lawler, Idol became involved and helped Rich “crotch” Lawler on the ring post. In retaliation, Lawler enlisted Bam Bam Bigelow to return the favour to Rich.

    This interview is a response to the “assault”, where Dangerously confirms he has filed lawsuits against Lawler and Eddie Marlin (CWA’s General Manager). References to the “yuppie” lifestyle are abundant. Dangerously flaunts his financial power, noting that he paid to fly in the videotape to show the audience what happened. After a reference to groin attacks, delivered with traditional wrestling masculinity, the intensity ramps up to the Heyman we’re used to. Even the closing line, aimed at the interviewer – “if you get in my way, I’ll sue you too, man” – is an early example of the consistency of Heyman’s characters through the years.

    #2 ECW vs TNN, 2000

    In 1999, ECW signed a three year deal with TNN. This was, from a historical viewpoint, a bad idea. Less than fourteen months later, ECW’s time on the network was over, replaced with WWF RAW Is WAR in September 2000. The relationship between ECW and TNN was “rocky” at best. The network made repeated attempts to change the content of the shows, and notoriously never advertised the show. ECW turned this into an on-screen storyline, with Cyrus (Don Callis) leading a stable called The Network in trying to turn ECW into a more traditional wrestling show.

    In June 2000, ECW Television opened with a segment from Heyman shooting on TNN (the video link above also includes a later segment from Joel Gertner). In between thanking ECW fans for being loyal in tuning in despite TNN’s lack of advertising, he mentions the rumours of TNN signing WWF programming. Daring TNN to pull the show (which would free ECW up to negotiate with other networks), and threatening legal action, the detest Heyman had for the network is evident throughout. This helped cement Heyman’s anti-wrestling-establishment standpoint, even at a time when his company was beginning to struggle to stay afloat.

    #3 No More Uneasy Alliance, 2001

    We all know the WCW/ECW Invasion angle was terrible. We all know it was a waste of time and effort – and a fair few careers. Despite the potential, the handling of this from all corners was woeful at best. The “defections” didn’t make sense; the individual feuds and storylines were convoluted; and there was only ever going to be one winner (thank you, Vince’s ego). However, it wasn’t all bad. A few faces were introduced to the WWF/E fans and went on to be a success.

    The biggest success though was on the go-home Smackdown before Survivor Series 2001. With the “winner takes all” stipulation in place, the people involved were doing their best to make you believe they were going to win – and survive. Nobody did this better than Paul Heyman in just one emotional, heartfelt speech directly to the Chairman, Vince McMahon. Part promo for Survivor Series, part verbal beatdown of a ruthless businessman, part personal sob story. The segment was a perfect showcase of the difference between McMahon’s all-business demeanour and Heyman’s personal investment. It made everyone watching believe at least one person truly had everything riding on Survivor Series.

    #4 Graceful in Victory, 2014

    Wrestlemania XXX had seen Brock Lesnar do the unthinkable. He broke The Streak and defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania (something we here at TWM predicted – ah, smug mode!) even if it is still seen as controversial to this day. Paul Heyman was in the middle of an incredible period as the mouthpiece of The Beast, so you knew Raw the next night would be something special – and it did not disappoint.

    Due to the nature of the segment, the crowd regularly boo references to both the result at Wrestlemania XXX and Brock himself. However, Heyman also gets cheers – for stating Lesnar is there to make children cry, and for calling Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler “things” especially. Every single sentence is delivered perfectly – from the “shoot” about Undertaker’s injuries to put Lesnar over to the condescending repetition of the “one in 21-1” lines.

    In a near-ten minute solo performance, from the exceptionally smug introduction to the enforcement of Brock being a stand out individual in a company of plural “wannabes”, Heyman delivers a masterclass in working a crowd.

    #5 Punking Punk, 2013

    Everybody knows how good CM Punk was on the microphone, and not just in the “pipe bomb” promo – watch Punk’s interruption of Undertaker’s tribute to Paul Bearer in March 2013. The decision to pair him with Paul Heyman in 2012 was interesting. Punk was ten months into his WWE Championship reign at the time. Heyman and Punk regularly bounced off each other verbally during the nine-month run. Heyman particularly relished in counting the days of Punk’s championship reign – becoming a record-breaker of the “modern era”.

    However, the highlight of this run is the promo from the Raw after Money In The Bank 2013. Heyman cost Punk the WWE Championship in the MITB ladder match and came out on Raw the next night to explain why. Heyman and Punk were friends outside of the ring, so this felt more real than most promos at the time. Heyman criticizes and insults Punk from his viewpoint, with personal attacks thrown in for good measure. However simultaneously, he is praising him in the fans’ eyes. The four and a half minutes Heyman has an active microphone not only wrapped up their association and explained a plot point, it helped build an intensity in Punk’s performance which positioned him perfectly as a potential threat to Brock Lesnar.

    Ultimately, Paul Heyman has a unique gift. When he speaks, you pay attention. You listen to his every word, regardless of who it’s aimed at. You believe everything he says – or at least believe that HE believes everything he says. His ability to hit the right tone, tempo, and emphasis is second to none. His ability to take the crowd on an emotional journey with him is unparalleled. Whether scripted or shooting, Heyman’s intensity and delivery never falter.

    Sure, he may not be the most trustworthy guy in wrestling history – which says a lot when you consider how many dodgy people have stepped in a ring. Yes, he might be responsible for the collapse of a revolutionary company. Admittedly, he has probably pissed off more people than most in his career. But his passion for the business shines through in everything he does, especially when he has a microphone in his hand.

    Paul Heyman may well go down in history not only as a fantastic Manager / Advocate / Special Counsel but as one of the greatest orators in the history of wrestling. If he does, he deserves it.

    BONUS: Toy Salesman!