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Ladies and Gentlemen: My Tribute to WWE’s Paul Heyman by Mike Sanchez

Ladies and gentlemen. My name is Mike Sanchez, and I am here to talk about one man who is entertaining us every week on WWE television. That man is Paul Heyman.

Survivor Series is almost upon us and whatever match you’re excited about, I’d guess that would be because we’ve never seen them before. That type of match up, with the unknown factor in the participants, brings intrigue and excitement. There is however, only one match on the card that we’ve all seen before in Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar, and how did that turn out the first time we saw it?

DUD Awful match. Crowd hated it. It’s not the crowd’s fault that it sucked. The effort just didn’t seem to be there and it appeared as though they just wanted to get through it so they could go home.

  • Mr J Canton, (fearless leader & boss of TJR Wrestling), Wrestlemania XX review

Given that Mr. Canton spoke for the majority of wrestling fans, myself included, what could possibly excite us for round two? The time spent since their last bout? A thick pair of rose-tinted spectacles? No, WWE pulled out the big gun. The hype man himself (sorry Hype Bros, not you guys)…Mr. Paul Heyman.

You see, Paul Heyman is incomparable to anyone who has gone before in professional wrestling. He’s on a level where he has no equal. Where he is so unique, so different to anything that has gone before or since, that he is on his own pedestal in that what he brings to the product is unmatched.

The build to Brock and Goldberg began a bit bumpy. We know WWE wants to portray Lesnar as the heel with the returning Goldberg as the good guy or the kid’s ‘superhero’ once more. Their first promo didn’t go that way, with the crowd siding with Lesnar. Fast forward to this week and the crowd was definitely split. Yes, there were till cheers for Brock, but now punctuated with Goldberg chants, each subtly started by Brock’s advocate in the ring. It’s almost as if he meant to do that….

Paul Heyman has a talent that only the best performers have – the ability to read and feel a live audience. You see him strut to the ring, take the mic and in those first few seconds, his experienced mind is analysing the audience. He is formulating words and building to the promo that will have those in attendance cheer when he wants, boo when he wants or start chants whenever he wants. That’s a true art, especially to do week after week with new material in different arenas across the globe. All the while talking not about yourself, but about someone who isn’t even there with you.

Take a look at the first WWE live event when CM Punk left the company. Punk’s music hit and out came Paul Heyman to a deafening chorus of boos. To those watching, it looked as if Vince McMahon had kicked him into the lion’s den. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. Within moments Paul had quelled the angry storm in the arena. He’d quietened the screamers and doused the flames of hatred. He shut everyone up then told us what he wanted to talk about and we all sat and listened. That is skill. There aren’t many other WWE stars who I’ve seen do that with the exception of Triple H and John Cena (Cena has a real knack for it).

Heyman has made us care about Goldberg vs. Lesnar. I care about it and want to watch, and it’s all down to him. Have we really heard Brock talk about it much, other than his sit-down interview? Does he rant on the mic every week? No, that’s Heyman’s job and he does it really well.

This past week, I watched him faux respect when talking with Foley and Steph. He has that grin on his face where you think he’s saying nice words, but thinking awful thoughts. His expressions, both facial and physical create the aura that he’s in charge. He moves so much we have to keep our eye on him. His slow shuffle behind Brock when in the ring give us the impression of a schoolyard bully calling you names all the time standing behind his burly big brother.

He has an excellent use of language and tone of voice. He rarely screams, but raises his voice when required. I can’t remember him ever swearing or coming close to doing so. Heyman’s vocal strength lies not so much in how he says it, but what he says. That jab about Goldberg’s son calling Lesnar ‘daddy’ was the verbal form of poking an angry lion with a stick. All while the lion is behind a fence and you have a beast standing between you and the lion. It was a deliberate, nasty, provoking cheap shot. And it was great.

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Paul Heyman has left a lasting legacy in professional wrestling and he isn’t a wrestler. I think it’s unfair to even label him as a manger as he is so much more. A natural leader when in command of ECW, ensuring all those he worked with believed in the product. His excellent stint as Smackdown writer in which he developed storylines that threatened to rival Raw and even bring the viewing figures close to their rival show.

Paul Heyman has a great deal with WWE. He doesn’t travel all over the world every week. He isn’t on the road all the time, because he’s gone on record as saying his family is more important to him now. I totally get that and respect his decision. Paul Heyman has done more than enough for us fans over the last twenty years. If he were to retire tomorrow, all fans would forever speak highly of the man who would smirk and sneer at us while believing he was the most important person in the building. He had words that would cut deeper than any knife and a mind for wrestling that a fraction of promoters have ever had.

Ladies and gentlemen. His name is Paul Heyman. And he is fantastic.

Thank you, Paul. Thank you.