Famous Old School ECW/WCW/WWF Manager Paul Heyman was recently interviewed on the Tetragrammaton podcast and spoke about joining the World Wrestling Federation in early 2001.
Here’s what Heyman had to say:
“I came to WWF and my first thing I said to Vince McMahon in coming in the door was ‘I don’t wanna be on television. I’m 35, I had my fun. I wanna be behind the scenes only’, and then the whole thing happened when they fired Jerry Lawler’s wife and Jerry Lawler quit and I wasn’t supposed to get into WWF until WrestleMania because I was too busy dealing with the ridiculous amount of legalities of what was the pending ECW bankruptcy.
So I’m going into a personal bankruptcy and a corporate bankruptcy and I’m jumping into WWF and I cut my deal to come in behind the scenes and I get a call from Vince on a Tuesday and he says ‘Are you aware that Jerry Lawler quit last night?’.
And I said ‘Yeah. I heard the whole story. I’m sorry to hear that’, and he says ‘Well, I’m gonna need a little bit of a favor from you’, and I said ‘Well, I’m not really in a position to turn down a favor from you in this moment. My company’s gone. I’m entering bankruptcy and you’re offering me a lifeline in life. So the answer to the favor is yes. Now please tell me what I’m doing’, and he says ‘Need you to start on commentary next Monday night’, and I’m like ‘oh my God. I’m back on television’.
That’s exactly where I don’t wanna be and then of course I realized, well, I get to play with Jim Ross a little bit.
I always liked being Jim Ross’ color commentator and you know, if I’m gonna have to do anything in the public eye anymore, replacing Jerry Lawler on RAW is not a bad way to debut.
That’s a pretty iconic position. That’s what today, we would refer to as relevant.”
Paul Heyman worked as a heel manager for pretty much all of the big promotions from back in the day, including the World Wrestling Federation / WWE (2001-2006 & 2012-now), Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (1988-1993), Championship Wrestling from Florida (1987), CWA Memphis Wrestling, American Wrestling Association, … among several others.
He’s most famously remembered for his time with Extreme Championship Wrestling, a company he eventually took over from Tod Gordon as the promoter.
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