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Paul Heyman lays his cards on the table about what he wants to do business-wise; Update: My new article on where this is all heading

By Zach Arnold | July 5, 2010

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I won’t transcribe this 20-minute interview, but here are the highlights from it:

Now that you’ve seen the video or read the bullet points, READ MY ARTICLE ON WHAT THIS ALL MEANS. And I don’t mean just 30 of you. More like 3,000 of you. Check it out.

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro-Wrestling, TNA, UFC, WWE, Zach Arnold | 19 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

19 Responses to “Paul Heyman lays his cards on the table about what he wants to do business-wise; Update: My new article on where this is all heading”

  1. Tradition Rules says:

    “He said that he didn’t call TNA about a job. He said that if he wanted a 6-figure job in wrestling, he’d call up WWE and ask to write TV reports and send them to WWE.”

    Well, maybe TNA before WWE.

    I’m not quite sure whate he means by “… write TV reports and send them to WWE.”, but if he emans trends, fads, whatever is popular, well Vince just likes to have “yes men” working for him. Paul is FAR from perfect, but I would see him putting a great deal of time and effort into these and then Vince being unhappy because he is not hearing what he wants to hear.

    TNA has plenty of talent & potential,…as well as plenty of stupid people either running the company or having input into what is booked.

    I was not a fan of the “hardcore stuff” in ECW, but he was the guys to give breaks to Malenko, Benoit, Guerrero, Jericho, and others that never had a chance outside of Mexico or Japan. 🙂

    He was able to do a great deal with his…”limited” budget in ECW, imagine what he could do with Dixie Carter’s funding if he had real freedom?

    It may not work, but working for Vince would be a total waste of time. 🙁

  2. frankp316 says:

    He’s saying it’s not worth the aggravation to work for either WWE or TNA for different reasons. He’s willing to be a “consultant” for the WWE but he doesn’t want to sit in a room with guys he doesn’t respect and have Vince and especially Stephanie shoot down all his ideas. Been there, done that. And TNA is too scatterbrained for him. They would have to give him more control than they are likely to want to give him.

  3. Battleman says:

    For Pro-Wrestling to have any relevance in the coming years they need to evolve in a way that makes UFC fans – or those who have even been exposed to MMA – able to suspend their disbelief for any amount of time. I used to love and live Pro-Wrestling, but I have a hard time watching it now. However, I watch two things. Lucha Libre from Mexico on Saturdays and domestically, NXT. I watch NXT for one guy – Kaval or Senshi in TNA or Low-Ki everywhere else. I love his style; he works tight (maybe a bit stiff) and brings some realistic elements to the matches – and then takes those over the top. An armbar over the top rope, Muay Thai knees while on the top rope to a 7′ guy. Whatever it is it is awesome and *cannot be done in the Octagon*.

    Kaval does great stuff that is not “shoot style” but more shoot-inspired. In contrast to Bryan Danielson, who was on Season 1 of NXT, who is just a “submission guy” catch wrestler. Sorry, but simply imitating MMA by trying to do Shoot-style in Pro-Wrestling won’t work and feds that continue to push this won’t work. Things are different now. If you’re so good at submissions and MMA-style fighting, there are plenty of places to prove this. The days of the “legit tough guy” are over, too – unless you can take that over the top as well.

    I think at the individual wrestler level where you have a heel, who has a tough-guy image, or even a “shooter” that is a face, they need to position themselves in a way that takes away the apples-to-apples comparison between what they do and MMA. For the hardcore heel, he should be “too crazy for MMA” – they won’t let him in. That is why he chose Pro-Wrestling – less rules! For the shooter, they need to realize that that stuff doesn’t fly any more and to evolve – perhaps taking a page from Low-Ki’s playbook above. If they can’t do that, figure out how to become a Pro-Wrestler or, if you just have to be “tough” even in real life, go get that out of your system in MMA and then come back.

    As for an organization like WWE to remain relevant – since they are the only company that matters right now – they need to embrace the fact that UFC exists and stop fighting it. Instead, WWE needs to figure out how to position themselves adjacent to UFC – while being careful not to try to imitate – so they can feed off regular wrestling fans and still appeal to the UFC fans. To that end, someone just posted Ken Shamrocks’ first WWF match from 1997 – an NHB exhibition against Vernon “Tiger” White – a fellow Lions Den fighter. This is the match that introduced Raw is War fans to “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” and set Shamrocks’ gimmick where he “snaps” as well as his first feud with Vader. Even more surprising – this was used to promote an upcoming UFC PPV! Here is the link:

    My question, Zach, is this: is there an opportunity for an “ECW” right now in MMA? Please note, I’m not talking about chairs and tables – in fact, if you really know your ECW history that was only about 50% of it, the rest was amazing athletic and scientific matches that the Big 2 wouldn’t have promoted at the time. What I’m talking about is the parallel in MMA right now with late ‘90s Pro-Wrestling. You have a strong market leader in UFC (UFC is cool, not MMA – something I say and something echoed by Paul E.), you have a second-rate organization with terrible marketing in Strikeforce (the WCW in this analogy). You have a bunch of regional feds, and some other big players that tried and failed. Then there is Bellator. Is Bellator the ECW in this analogy and if so how can they be repositioned to start to take market share? (I personally love Bellator – Season 2 finale show was awesome!) Or, is Bellator simply the ROH that is unable to grow outside of a super tiny niche handful of fans – unable to generate the emotional grass-roots emotional viral effect that the original ECW did (when “viral marketing” was unknown and it was done via VHS tape trading)? Not looking for an answer – not sure there is one – but its an interesting hypothetical to ponder.

    – Battleman!

    • Miller says:

      The problem with pretending like a guy was too crazy for MMA is if he gets big, some company is going to call him out to come in and when he won’t go you’ve destroyed his credibility. Not unlike Kurt Angle getting called out about Dana.

  4. Battleman says:

    Zach… just read your article on MMA Torch – adds a whole different angle to my question above. Great article:

    – Battleman!

  5. SixT-4 says:

    I hope Paul goes to TNA. That show is awful and it’s a shame. I’d like to see Paul book anything.

    Zach – how likely is it that TNA will give into Paul? I know it’s a bit of a crazy request, but aren’t they pretty much in the shitter within the next year anyway if nothing changes?

  6. Heyman wanting to be in MMA is about the most irrelevant story ever. I know he’s following around Dana everywhere hoping he can get a job, but I’m glad the UFC has decided to ignore him. I hope that other promotions do the same; a guy who’s hot ideas for the sport include finishing holds and who’s history as a pro wrestling promoter is to not pay people isn’t someone I want to see involved with the sport.

    • shootor says:

      Sentiments, exactly.

      Heyman is a loser.

      • Jonathan says:

        Agree with Alan and Shooter.

        Dana White (in all his glory) > Paul Heyman

        And that is coming from me.

        • Mark says:

          Even as a long-time Paul Heyman fan, I agree with that.

          Any pro wrestling promoter coming in, be it Vince McMahon, Jim Cornette, Eric Bischoff of Paul Heyman is going to go into carnival barker mode, unintentional or not. It’s just an automatic reflex from doing what they’ve done for so long. They could take a job selling cell phones and revert to the same shtick. And if MMA is ever going to be taken seriously as not just “pro wrestling that’s real”, it really can’t have Paul going into Paul E. Dangerously-mode screaming about Brock’s “death clutch”.

          I had really hoped he’d be the one guy who would keep his dignity being around MMA and gain the respect of pro wrestling haters, but he’s fallen into the trap. Now he’s Brock’s biographer, shouting hyperbole, and trying to work Dana into employing him. It’s only a matter of time before Brock’s team is renamed the Dangerous Alliance.

          But, Paul somehow snapping out of “sell everybody as a pro wrestling personality” and changing his frame of mind would be amazing for MMA. The guy really is brilliant and could sell you the glasses on your nose. But there is such a resistance to anything pro wrestling by MMA fans who rightfully think it has sucked for 10 years and don’t want anything to do with it. So he’d have to go through a huge image and mindset make over to do anything beyond talk to his marks in the “media” and write some crappy book nobody will read.

    • edub says:

      Done and done.

  7. Mr.Mike says:

    “MMA’s not part of the culture”

    Well, it is in martial arts schools and, in many MMA schools that are now starting up, likely filled with Michael Kirkham types who don’t learn enough skills to belong in an MMA contest.

    As for the “Death Clutch”, we should just call it an arm triangle, or the senkaku type of move that they Judokas call it. No need to sensationalize a move when all you need to to do end it is tap.

    If your BJJ school is like mine, we worked on that move today and, were reminded that it would be much harder to get it on a BJJ guy than it was on Shane Carwin, who left his arm sprawled out, seemingly asking Brock to take it. He was exhausted and, perhaps wasn’t thinking strait, or maybe he was, feeling that he couldn’t go on and, wanted Brock to submit him rather than face the same ground and pound he gave out. But, he should have worked to get that arm in.

    It’s too bad that the Paul H. types want to sensationalize MMA. All you need do is go to a Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, or Judo school and, find out the reality of combat moves. It’s a science more that spectacle.

    Still, I might have Heyman on an idea team, in the minority position, just because some of his ideas could help out a struggling promotion that knew they couldn’;t go the UFC route, when trying to compete.

  8. Rob Maysey says:

    I know next to nothing about wrestling–admittedly.

    I read the two articles, and am left saying, “I don’t get it.”

    • RoyalB. says:

      “Former Pro-Wrestling Mastermind Talks about Brock The Man And How MMA Is Causing The Decline of Mainstream Pro-Wrestling”

      • Chromium says:

        Well, as Heyman pointed out, it’s a combination of the UFC being hip and cool and in-touch and run like a well-oiled machine, and wrestling shooting themselves in the foot, over and over again. This is why wrestling is on the wane and nowhere near as big in the mainstream as they were ten years ago.

        I don’t agree with everything that Zuffa does, but they generally have extremely disciplined match-making and are just extremely good at what they do. I don’t feel like writing five more paragraphs so I’m gonna stop here.

        • Mark says:

          I mean, just watching some of Monday Night Raw last night you can tell why each place is where they are.

          UFC was a very exciting show, had 2 fights lots of people are considering fight of the year and a main event that delivered to its audience.

          Then I turn on the opening of Raw last night and see a boring 15 minute skit with the NXT guys doing the most unconvincing promos where they clearly should be given scripts to read when they suck at it. Then some weird stuff with a “hidden GM” who has some kind of AIM session with Michael Cole (OMG THE GM IS ROB FEINSTEIN~!) that just absolutely died in front of a crowd because nobody paid $40 to see some guy read off of a laptop. Then the stars came out and it didn’t get any better.

          So you have one company listening to its audience, giving shows that make them happy. And the other sticking to the same formula they’ve run into the ground since 1998 and acting like its the audience’s fault if they don’t get it.

          Forget real versus fake, this is the real issue: giving your audience what they want. And no promotion does that but Ring Of Honor but they’re only pleasing a tiny minority of viewers.

  9. Ajax says:

    Great article Zach. Be sure to link the next one!

  10. Keith Harris says:

    Good article Zach, though I think it misses a key part of Heyman’s motivation in bad mouthing modern day pro wrestling. Vindication that he was ultimately right in all his bust ups with Vince, Stephanie, Hunter and Kevin Dunn. Revenge for leaving his ECW legacy in tatters.

  11. Zeb says:

    Rolls eyes at some of the comments. No, WWE is not at the level of the Attitude era, but people talking like they’ve been failing the past ten years are clueless. From 2001-2004 those were down years. They had a mini boom of sorts from 2005- 2009 with the Cena, Rey, Batista, Orton, Edge, Hardy types especially with merchandise and live attendence. I think now they are at the bottom of the cycle with the Cena era and things have been softening since Mania.

    The lumping of wrestling and MMA is so annoying. People like Heyman should go back into the holes they’ve been in the past four years and just stick to their lame TMZ ripoff projects. People only lump the two together cause they have some retarded little vendettas against Vince and WWE.

    Linking the two is more and more annoying. Hearing people say MMA is pro wrestling and using terms like “heels” and “babyfaces” is an eye roller. It makes fighters come off like they’re actors playing a role rather than being legit athletes.

    If MMA is wrestling then I guess that means everything negative about the wrestling business on and off camera should also apply to MMA and be their responsibility. You can’t only go half way. Either it is pro wrestling or it isn’t. If the negatives don’t apply then calling MMA wrestling so be questionable.

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