An entertainer who has not only remained at the top of his game but improved over the course of four decades would be considered a legend in any other industry. In other words, Paul Heyman my friends is a legend.
Heyman’s ability to remain relevant, timely, and connected for close to thirty-years in an industry that has seen numerous changes in pop culture, audience, presentation, and mediums is simply remarkable. Not Steve Austin, The Rock, Bruno Sammartino, or even Hulk Hogan have been able to draw money as long as the mad genius from Scarsdale. That is quite an accomplishment.
Think about this for a minute. Paul Heyman entered the pro wrestling business in 1987. 1987! Who from 1987 has been able to remain as relevant and marketable as Heyman in this or any other entertainment industry? The answer is nobody in pro wrestling, few outside. In regards to managers, is there any manager from that time period that could draw main-event money for the WWE today? Not Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan, or any of Heyman’s other peers he may have passed along his 30-year journey could pull that off. This is why Heyman is the greatest manager in pro wrestling history.
What is different about Heyman? Why couldn’t any of the greats from Albano to Heenan have pulled this off? Oone of the biggest differences is that Heyman never lost his appetite to be the best. Complacency was probably the biggest enemy to Heyman’s former colleagues, yet Heyman has fought off complacency every step of the way. In listening to interviews with Heyman, he freely admits that he is always learning and trying to tap into the popular culture of the moment. Time may have passed the others by, but Heyman has reserved himself a comfortable seat along that ride.
It is simply remarkable to comprehend that Heyman may be doing his best work today, almost thirty years since he started. There is nobody in the business that comes close to delivering a promo with the conviction, charisma, authenticity, passion, and intrigue that Heyman does. Heyman could take an opening match and generate enough heat to turn it into a main-event with four weeks build if given the chance. Brock Lesnar broke records in the UFC without Heyman at his side. Imagine how much more money he would have drawn with Heyman cutting his promos on Randy Couture, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, etc.?
It’s ironic because most polls or discussions about the greatest manager in social media or on forums generally settle on Bobby Heenan or Jim Cornette. That said, WWE.com has given him props in the past but it still amazes me that he doesn’t get his due among critics. Again the difference between Heyman and these usual suspects is that he never stopped learning. It isn’t pro wrestling that he spends his time learning about…it’s you!
Nobody and for that, Paul Heyman truly is a living legend.