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Paul Heyman (born September 11, 1965) is an Americanmarker entertainment producer, best-known for his career in professional wrestling as a promoter, manager, and commentator. He is also an occasional actor in film.

Heyman is famous as the creative force behind Extreme Championship Wrestling's rise to prominence in the 1990s. He has also worked in World Championship Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association and World Wrestling Entertainment, including WWE's ECW brand where he was recognized as the ECW Representative.

Heyman was named in a list of Top 100 Marketers by Advertising Age magazine.

Professional wrestling

Early career

Paul Heyman began as a photographer and writer for third-party wrestling publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

Heyman made his managerial debut on January 2, 1987, initially appearing on the Northeast independent circuit before moving to a more high-profile stint with Florida Championship Wrestling in February, 1987. There he joined forces with Kevin Sullivan and Oliver Humperdink and first became known as "Paul E. Dangerously" because of his resemblance to Michael Keaton in the movie Johnny Dangerously. From there, he traveled to Memphismarker and the Continental Wrestling Association to manage Tommy Rich and Austin Idol in a heated feud with Jerry Lawler, a war which later carried over to the American Wrestling Association (AWA), with the Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose) taking over for Idol and the face-turned Rich.

The Paul E. Dangerously gimmick was basically an extension of Heyman's own personality: a brash New Yorkermarker with a yuppie attitude, often seen holding a mobile phone, which was occasionally used as a "foreign object" (it was quite large, due to the technology of the late 1980s).

Continental Wrestling Federation

After departing the AWA, Heyman went to the Alabamamarker-based Continental Wrestling Federation. Paul E. Dangerously became allied with Eddie Gilbert's Hot Stuff Inc. stable. Behind the scenes, Gilbert was the head booker of the promotion and Heyman became his assistant. Heyman was also the head booker for Windy City Wrestling in Chicago, and started developing a reputation as being an innovative television writer and producer.

World Championship Wrestling

In 1988, Heyman jumped to Jim Crockett Promotions, where Dangerously again managed the Original Midnight Express in a feud with the new Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) and their manager, Jim Cornette, as well as managing "Mean" Mark Callous. who later became The Undertaker in WWE. Before long he settled into the role of an announcer, joining Jim Ross to call the matches on WTBS' World Championship Wrestling and other programming. During his role as an announcer, he feuded with Ross, Missy Hyatt, and Hyatt's boyfriend, actor Jason Hervey.

After stepping off-camera for a brief period in 1991, he returned as the manager of the Dangerous Alliance, with Madusa as his assistant, managing Bobby Eaton, Ravishing Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, WCW TV Champion Steve Austin and Larry Zbyszko. Heyman led Rude to the United States title and the Anderson-Eaton tag team to the Tag Team titles. The Dangerous Alliance dominated WCW through most of 1992, meeting their biggest foes in Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Nikita Koloff, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes and the Steiner Brothers (Scott and Rick Steiner). He left WCW in late 1992.

Eastern Championship Wrestling / Extreme Championship Wrestling 1993-2001

Heyman in a ECW show in 1998.
After departing WCW, Heyman attempted to start a new promotion in Texasmarker with Jim Crockett, Jr., but Crockett wanted to build a traditional wrestling brand while Heyman declared traditional wrestling was antiquated and a new take on the genre was needed.

At this time, Eddie Gilbert was booker for a Philadelphia-based promotion, NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling, which he did under the ownership of a local pawn shop owner named Tod Gordon. Heyman came in to help Gilbert teach the younger wrestlers how to perform on interviews, but Gilbert's erratic behavior became too much for Gordon, who had a major falling out with Gilbert right before the "Ultra Clash" event on September 18, 1993. From that point forward, Heyman was in charge of the creative direction of the company.

As Paul E. Dangerously, he managed a few wrestlers, including Sabu and 911, but Heyman's increased workload led to him making fewer and fewer appearances on-camera.

A year later, the company was the flagship promotion of the struggling National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). A tournament was scheduled to be held in August 1994 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, at an ECW-hosted event mostly featuring ECW wrestlers. The proposed outcome was the current ECW champion Shane Douglas becoming champion, but Heyman conspired with Douglas and Gordon without the knowledge of NWA president Dennis Coraluzzo to have Douglas (and by extension, ECW itself) publicly denounce the NWA and its "tradition" after winning the tournament. In his post-match speech, Douglas aggressively assaulted the title's lineage, throwing the belt itself down, proclaiming the NWA a "dead organization" and declaring his ECW title a world-level championship. The plan for this shoot screwjob was known only to those three men; the surprise of the incident made headlines throughout the wrestling industry.

Heyman addressing the crowd at an ECW television taping in 1999
That same week, Heyman and Gordon rechristened the promotion, eliminating the regional branding "Eastern" and declaring the promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling. They broke the company away from the National Wrestling Alliance and ECW became its own entity, with Heyman encouraging wrestlers to express their true feelings about the WWF, the NWA, and WCW and allowing them to help develop their own characters. Many wrestlers willingly took on additional roles in company operations, such as handling merchandise and answering phones. The company grew an intensely loyal fan base with which Heyman encouraged interaction. Eventually, Heyman became sole owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling and helped it to grow and become the third-ranking promotion in America. Heyman served as booker, promoter, and the executive producer of both live events and television. After Gordon left, he also had to deal with financial matters, which led to ever-increasing debts owed to the wrestlers.

Under Heyman's guidance, Extreme Championship Wrestling became a catalyst that altered the standard of pro wrestling in North America. The company pointedly eschewed the predictable and cartoon-like nature of the mainstream products, and fostered an alternative counterculture attitude; Heyman specifically analogized it to the grunge movement in music. With this, it also depicted more graphic and realistic violence in its product, as well as more crude behaviors such as profanity, substance abuse, domestic violence and sexuality. Additionally, ECW introduced traditional Japanese and Mexican wrestling styles, which were previously rare on American television, and presented them alongside the North American wrestling. Journalists and those who worked with Heyman credit him alone with these innovations, and their effect reached to the mainstream even after the company had ended.

ECW achieved national prominence, but folded in 2001. Paul and a handful of other wrestlers have said that the death of ECW was for two reasons: One was that Paul did not like sharing power and thus put too much workload and stress on himself; he was getting 2–3 hours of sleep a night, if any. The second reason was ECW could not get another network deal after being kicked off The Nashville Network in favor of WWF. Heyman has also frequently cited Eric Bischoff as a primary architect of the company's downfall, expressing his long-held belief that Bischoff's hiring of ECW wrestlers away to WCW was intentionally meant to weaken ECW, which couldn't afford WCW-level salaries.

Many critics say Heyman's hands-on approach to the entire company led to his inability to save the company when TNN dumped ECW in favor of the market leader WWF. Heyman supporters point out that the total debt for the company was $7 million US, with InDemand pay per view owing over a million in PPV revenue.

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

After ECW folded, Heyman became a broadcaster for the WWF (using his own name), replacing Jerry Lawler (who had quit the WWF in protest when then-wife Stacy Carter was released by the company) as color commentator for Raw in March 2001. During that time, he resumed his storyline rivalry with Jim Ross. In July, while retaining his commentator role, Heyman recreated ECW as a stable, which then immediately merged with Shane McMahon's WCW to form the Alliance during the Invasion angle. He was "fired" following the 2001 Survivor Series.

He returned in March as the manager of Brock Lesnar. Heyman led Lesnar to the WWE Undisputed Championship when Lesnar beat The Rock at SummerSlam. Then at the Survivor Series, Heyman turned on Lesnar and helped Big Show take the title from him. Heyman became the first man in professional wrestling history to manage three successive World Champions when it was revealed that he was Kurt Angle's agent just days after Angle beat Big Show for the title.

Heyman suffered a real life injury in January, when taking the F-5 from Lesnar at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. A major falling out between Heyman and McMahon occurred when McMahon ended the Lesnar - Heyman feud on television just weeks before WrestleMania, when Heyman was scheduled to manage Angle in the main event against Lesnar. Heyman left for a while, and was on WWE payroll for several months as a consultant regarding the television shows as he also received therapy on his neck. After McMahon "defeated" daughter Stephanie in October at the No Mercy pay per view, the Heyman character was brought back to assume the on-camera role of General Manager (GM) of the Thursday night show SmackDown!. During this time, he re-aligned himself with Lesnar and proceeded to infuriate Undertaker, John Cena, and especially Chris Benoit by making sure he had no WWE Championship opportunities as long as he was GM. Eventually, on SmackDown! right before WrestleMania XX, Heyman asked the entire locker room to back him and Lesnar up against Stone Cold Steve Austin, but they just stood there and walked away from him, including one of Heyman's main supporters, The Big Show. He served as GM until March 22, 2004, when he was drafted to Eric Bischoff's Raw and promptly "quit" rather than work for arch-nemesis Bischoff, the man who he blamed for killing ECW by raiding its talent.

During Heyman's tenure on SmackDown!, he served as the head writer and is credited with being the creative force behind the successful so-called "SmackDown! Six": (Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero). He placed them in a "triple threat tag team feud" (Angle and Benoit, Edge and Mysterio, Los Guerreros) over the WWE Tag Team Championship. This resulted in a string of high-caliber matches over several months, one of which was awarded 2002 Match of the Year by the Wrestling Observer; Heyman was awarded Best Booker. All of the "Smackdown! Six" went on to become world champions, with Edge, Benoit, Mysterio, & Angle becoming World Heavyweight Champions, Eddie Guerrero, Angle & Edge becoming WWE Champions, & Chavo Guererro later becoming ECW World Champion on the later revived ECW.

During 2004, Heyman's on-camera role was again as a manager, this time to the Dudley Boyz (not including Spike Dudley; Heyman's role in that regard disappeared just as Spike became "the boss" of his "big brothers"), and Heidenreich. In these managerial roles, he mainly led his stars in feuds with The Undertaker. Heyman's last appearance on SmackDown! saw him sealed in a coffin by Undertaker during a handicap match which featured Heyman and Heidenreich against The Undertaker on January 6, 2005.

Paul Heyman was heavily involved in the booking and promotion of the June 12, 2005 ECW reunion PPV, One Night Stand. Heyman returned to Raw on May 23 and confronted former WCW President Eric Bischoff, lauding ECW and criticizing WCW. Among other things, Heyman told him the following: "ECW was a lifestyle, it was anti-establishment, it was counter-culture, and it was up in your face!" Heyman finished it up by setting Bischoff's ECW funeral wreath (made out of barbed wire) on fire. At One Night Stand, a visibly emotional Heyman came to the ring, got on his knees and bowed to the fans, who chanted "Thank you Paul!" He then cut a shoot promo insulting Bischoff, Edge and JBL. On the show, Heyman was portrayed as a face who successfully prevented the heels, Bischoff and his crusaders, from putting ECW out of business once and for all.

On July 10, 2005, it was reported that Paul Heyman took over the positions of head booker and writer in OVW, a developmental territory maintained by WWE.

Return of ECW

On May 25, 2006 it was announced that ECW would relaunch, as a third WWE "brand". Heyman was in charge of the new brand on-camera but had minimal creative input off-camera as well. Four days later on Raw, during a face-off with Mick Foley, Heyman announced that he was granted a draft pick from both Raw and SmackDown! by Vince McMahon. His Raw draft pick was former ECW wrestler (and Money in the Bank contract holder) Rob Van Dam, and his SmackDown! draft pick was Kurt Angle. Angle then came down to the ring and attacked Foley, hitting him with an Angle Slam. Heyman predicted that Van Dam would defeat WWE Champion John Cena at ECW One Night Stand 2006 and then declare himself the new ECW World Heavyweight Champion. On the June 2, 2006 edition of SmackDown!, Heyman served as a guest commentator for Kurt Angle's final match on SmackDown! with World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio.

At One Night Stand, Van Dam defeated John Cena to win his first World Championship, the WWE Championship. After Cena knocked an ECW referee unconscious, Edge (in a disguise) appeared and speared Cena through a table, before taking out SmackDown! referee Nick Patrick, allowing Van Dam to hit the Five-Star Frog Splash on Cena. With no referee available Heyman ran down the aisle to count the pinfall. The next night on Raw Heyman confirmed that because the championship match was contested under "ECW rules" (which means, essentially, there are no rules) that the decision stands and RVD is the "Undisputed" WWE Champion. As the WWE Champion, Van Dam was the number one man in the reformed ECW, so on the debut of ECW on Sci Fi the next night Heyman, announced as an "ECW Representative", presented him with the re-instated ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman had previously implied that RVD would "re-christen" the WWE Championship into the ECW Championship. Van Dam, however, elected to keep both title belts and was recognized as both the WWE and ECW Champion.

On the July 4, 2006 edition of ECW, Big Show challenged Van Dam to a match for the ECW Championship. Near the end of the match, Big Show took out the referee prior to RVD hitting a Five-Star Frog Splash on Show. Heyman then came out to count the pin (just like at One Night Stand) but stopped at the count of 2. After realizing what happened, Van Dam began chasing Heyman. The distraction allowed Big Show to recover, and knock Van Dam to the mat. At this time Heyman began barking orders at Big Show. He then instructed Big Show to chokeslam Van Dam on a steel chair that had been used earlier in the match. Big Show pinned Van Dam and Heyman made the 3 count, "screwing" Van Dam out of the ECW Championship. Being that Philadelphiamarker was "the home of ECW", and the audience at the Wachovia Centermarker was the first "true ECW-style" fanbase for an ECW on Sci-Fi show, the fans were so incensed by the title change that many of them threw garbage and debris into the ring. This incident has been referred to by the WWE as the "South Philly Screwjob" (evoking comparisons to the Montreal screwjob). then kayfabe announced that Heyman was suspending Van Dam for 30 days (mirroring the legit WWE executive decision, due to his and Sabu's recent arrests on drug possession charges.) Heyman began referring to himself as the "Messiah" and "Father Of ECW", justifying his actions stating "anything [can] happen in ECW" and RVD got what he deserved. He also began being accompanied to ECW events by a pair of "private security guards" in riot gear (in actuality the Basham Brothers), ostensibly to protect him from ECW wrestlers and fans who are angry about his recent actions. Heyman's character has also been shown as having a bias toward the "new faces of ECW" (wrestlers who never wrestled for the original incarnation) instead of the "ECW Originals". The only "new face of ECW" he had not shown bias towards was CM Punk, likely due to Punk's status as a then-babyface.

Due to a behind the scenes dispute over ECW's first (and only) solo pay-per-view under WWE (December to Dismember) which aired December 3, 2006, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Heyman clashed in front of several members of the writing team on McMahon's corporate jet the day after the pay per view, and Heyman ended up traveling home from the RAW/ECW taping in South Carolina. After turning down Stephanie McMahon-LeVesque's behind the scenes offer to return to his post writing tv for WWE Developmental television shows, Heyman quietly parted ways with WWE. It was over a year after his dismissal before Heyman commented on the departure, revealing that the resurrection of ECW was mishandled in his opinion and how his booking ideas for December to Dismember were completely different from Vince McMahon's.

After wrestling

Having left WWE, Heyman attempted to invest in mixed martial arts when he joined a consortium which looked to buy Strikeforce; although the bid failed, Heyman praised Strikeforce owner Scott Coker in subsequent interviews.

Since leaving wrestling, Paul Heyman has entered into a collaborative relationship with The Sun, a UKmarker-based newspaper and website.

On February 4, 2008, he gave The Sun an exclusive interview (his first since leaving WWE) about his problems with WWE's handling of the ECW brand, and the events leading up to his quitting.

Heyman has also begun a multimedia project with the paper called The Heyman Hustle, which he describes as "the high definition video blog of a rambling mind." It features video of Heyman interacting with celebrities from various fields of entertainment on the streets of New York Citymarker, as well as regular writings of Heyman's take on the world of professional wrestling, including his thoughts on the McMahon wrestling family, the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, Ric Flair's retirement, and Joey Styles being replaced by Mike Adamle as the ECW play-by-play commentator. Notable guests of the 1st season of the Hustle include Holly Madison, Ice-T and Coco, James Lipton, Aubrey O'Day, and Jesse Ventura.

Paul Heyman currently resides in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife and children.


Heyman portrayed a sports announcer in 2002's Rollerball. His performance received critical acclaim, even though the movie did not. "Director John McTiernan's Rollerball is an atrocious remake," reported Variety, "whose only saving grace is the hysterical performance by wrestling producer and performer Paul Heyman, who pretty much plays himself to perfection." Heyman was later tapped by "I am Legend" executive producer Michael Tadross to play Gino in the film adaptation of long-running Off-Broadway show Tony n' Tina's Wedding.

Wrestlers managed

Stables and tag teams:

Awards and accomplishments


  1. SLAM! Sports - Wrestling - Paul Heyman
  2. Dangerously did work some ECW shows during the year but most of the year saw him trying to get a new promotion off the ground in Texas with Jim Crockett, Jr. The effort would not fly and, by October, Gordon wanted Dangerously brought into ECW.
  4. WWE: TV Shows > ECW > WWE launches ECW as third brand
  5. WWE: TV Shows > ECW > News > Heyman out
  6. Heyman Parts Ways With WWE
  7. Paul Heyman:Why I Left WWE

External links

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