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“An Evening with Paul Heyman” Tour Report
July 12, 2016
Report by VIP member Martin of Norwich, U.K.
The evening started about 15-20 minutes late due to Paul Heyman apparently being quite generous with his time during the meet and greet. According to someone I talked to in the building he was happy to sign as many items as people bought (including a giant inflatable cellphone in one instance).
The show started with a video package showcasing Paul’s career and then the curtain rolled back to show Paul already sitting on the stage. There was a host who attempted to introduce Heyman, but Paul cut him off and said he does his own intros and then did his “my name is” intro. The host then said the format of the show was, to quote Paul, “anything he f—— wanted it to be.” He said it was suggested to him that he comes out to the ECW theme, to Brock’s theme or swinging off the balcony, but as people had paid to see him talk he insisted that the curtains pull back and the show begins.
The host then pointed out an unmasked Juventud Guerrera in the balcony seats, who acknowledged the applause and then when the attention shifted, quickly slipped his mask on.
The show then followed a question and answer format, some of which wasn’t newsworthy as it covered subjects Paul has spoken about before in various mediums so I will focus on the questions and stories I personally hadn’t heard before.
– On Brock Lesnar & UFC 200 – Paul said he was a nervous wreck during Fight Week as Mark Hunt is one generation removed from cannibals and has, in his opinion, the hardest punch and the best takedown defence in UFC. Again, in his opinion, he considered Hunt the worst opponent for Brock’s skill set. He said Brock told UFC he wanted to be tested and was happy with Mark Hunt being his opponent.
– On Brock vs. Randy Orton at Summerslam – Paul said he’s heard people complaining ‘why is Brock facing Randy Orton?’ He said he asks us this: ‘Could Brock Lesnar spend 20 minutes throwing Orton around the ring while he stands at ringside and counts 14, 15, 16 suplexes? Yes he could, BUT could the bell ring and Randy Orton hit one move and pin Brock there and then? I don’t know the answer to that but…’ (At this point a heckler shouted out: ‘I can answer it!’ Paul stopped what he was saying and said, ‘Did someone just f—— heckle me? I tell you what I’ll let you repeat what you just said but it better have been good or I will verbally destroy you.’ The guy said, ‘All I was saying is when was the last time Brock Lesnar lost to one move?’ Paul, without a pause said, ‘Let me ask you one question… How many times has The Undertaker lost at WrestleMania?’ Huge pop.
Paul went on to say at WrestleMania 30 they shocked the world and following WrestleMania everyone was talking about Brock Lesnar. Now let’s just say that at Summerslam the bell rings and Randy Orton hits the RKO and pins Brock Lesnar 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring. Suddenly everyone is talking about Randy Orton and we shocked the world again.
Heyman then added that he finds it strange that the same people that were b—– about the match against Ambrose at WrestleMania are the same people that think Ambrose as the champ is the best thing in the world. No pop or applause for that.
– Paul on his current feelings for ECW – This was the most emotional part of the show and the only moment it didn’t seem like Paul was being a showman. Paul told a story about how the company promoting his tour had sent him an idea for what the VIP guests would get that the normal guests wouldn’t. He said the idea presented to him was he would wear his Paul E. leather coat and baseball cap along with the headphones and ’80s cellphone and take photos with the VIP fans.
Paul said that while he thought it was a nice idea and in the future didn’t rule out doing something like that, he would have to turn it down. He said he owed it to all the fans back in Philly who for them ECW was a religion, he said he owed it to everyone from Tommy Dreamer who spent seven years with him to the guys who came in for one shot deals and everyone in between not to whore out the memory of ECW. He talked with real emotion and everyone seemed to be really hanging on his every word. I actually thought, judging by the tone of his voice and his delivery, that he was going to address wrestler deaths of guys on his watch, but he stopped just short of acknowledging.
– Paul on leaving WCW and his relationship with Bill Watts – Paul said that he was given a choice by Bill Watts when he came in and that choice was to continue being paid at his current rate and not be on TV or take a paycut and get a push. Paul ran down Watts as a prick and bully, among other things, and said they are the sort of people he cannot stand, so he didn’t like Watts and Watts didn’t like him. Long story short he was fired from WCW for fabricating his expenses and because he could prove that was b.s. WCW has to pay him a lot of money.
– Paul on the current wrestling scene – Paul put over the indy scene huge and pointed out Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay in the crowd. He said that the business has changed and fans have never had it so good. He finished by saying “F— you Vader” to a massive pop (Ospreay meets Vader next month in the same building).
– Paul on Jim Cornette – Paul said Jim refused to accept that wrestling will never go back to how it was on the ’70s and ’80s and what makes them different is Paul HAS accepted that wrestling will never go back to how it was in the ’90s and early 2000s and that’s why he has a job and that’s why he’s relevant.
– Paul on One Night Stand 2005 – Paul said he tried really hard not to get emotional and not to cry, especially during his promo when he told himself to take it all in because this is the last time he will be in this environment. He also talked about his kids being there and being very young, but he wanted them there so they could grow up saying they had been at the last true ECW show.
Heyman said what got him was while he was sitting in the back producing the show, The Sandman came out and the whole crowd started singing his song. He said it was only him and Vince McMahon sitting there and Vince was eating a protein bar paying no attention, so Paul elbowed him. He said Vince turned to him and said, ‘G-damn it pal, what’s with the elbows?’ Paul said with tears streaming down his face he pointed at the monitor and said, ‘Vince, this is what ECW is all about.’ Vince looked at the monitor, looked back at Paul, and said, ‘Yeah, Sandman, the music, I get it,’ and started to hum his theme as he went back to his protein bar. It got a huge laugh.
– Paul on the PG product and Brock seemingly being allowed to bleed – A fan asked Paul how he finds the PG product considering the rivalries never end in a match with blood and with that in mind how come Brock almost always bleeds in his matches. Paul said without knowing it the guy had just given an example of how PG is now ingrained on WWE fans. He said: ‘You just asked about rivalries and not feuds and I’ll tell you why… Vince doesn’t like the word feud so they aren’t allowed to use it. Rivalries isn’t a natural word when talking about wrestling, but you used it like it was second nature and that’s what they want.’ With regards to Brock and blood, Paul said he can only tell you one thing, and that’s Brocks gonna do what Brock wants to do.
– Paul on his first night in WWF post-ECW – Paul told an hilarious story. I’m gonna try and tell it how Paul told it. Paul said once Lawler was fired they needed a new colour guy to work with Jim Ross and he’s pretty sure just to f— with JR they picked him. He said first night in and he felt like ruffling a few feathers because they signed him to a five-year deal and if he got fired they still owed him four years & 364 days pay (wink).
Raw was in Washington and Vince was in the ring getting Trish Stratus to strip off while walking on all fours pretending to be a dog. Paul said a line came to him that no one could call him out on because the boss was in the ring, so as Vince tells Trish to get naked, Paul says, “Look ma, I came to D.C. and I saw Bush.” He said JR grabbed his wrist and shook his head over and over. A voice in his headset then said over and over again ‘Calm down, Paul, easy does it, calm down, bring it back, calm down.’ He said the voice talked for so long that he has no idea what JR’s follow up line was.
Heyman said the next day they’re on the corporate jet going to Smackdown and he sat next to Vince when someone handed Vince the feedback sheet for last night’s Raw and he saw that it says under the commentary section: ‘Heyman mentioned Bush.’ Vince read it and turned to Paul and said, “You brought up politics last night?” Paul replied: ‘Vince, I wasn’t referring to Barbara or George.’ He said Vince thought about that for a few seconds before saying: “Oh I see, let’s not go to those levels again.” The crowd was in hysterics.
– Paul then asked if he minded if he did a little shooting as he likes getting in trouble. He asked Will Ospreay to come onto the stage. He said that this guy is changing the industry amongst other compliments and that he understands that he’s currently working for New Japan, and that’s a great place to work, and not to let anything jeopardise that relationship. BUT, one day when he doesn’t work for New Japan he should give Paul a call and he will hook him up with his New York attorney so they can go over this together. (He handed Will an envelope.)
Heyman said he was talking to Gabe Sapolsky last night and he asked him to pass this along and to let Will know if and when he’s ready for a job in America, EVOVLE is waiting for him to call it home and they will never stop him from joining NXT or WWE and will treat him like family. I’m paraphrasing slightly here as the pop for this made it difficult to hear. Ospreay seemed genuinely emotional and for all I know it could have been a work, but it sure didn’t seem like it. Paul then said, “And, Mr. Scurll, you’re next.”
– Paul on if he would like to be a writer or commentator again – Paul said he likes to write the end of the story first and then work his way back, but how things are done today means that he could be in the middle of a 42-week story and one of the 26 other writers would try to interject. For example, putting Jack Swagger into the story on Week 26 and suddenly it’s not his story anymore.
As for commentating, Paul said he learned from the best talker in the business, Jim Ross, that a commentator’s job is to do three things: tell you who’s fighting, why they’re fighting, and why you should care. He said he wouldn’t last a single night at the desk with how it’s done these days.
– Paul on the GM role – Paul talked about how the general manager role is not needed. He said I’ll give you an example. When I acknowledged Will Ospreay and Marty Schurll at the start of the show, Scurll, the heel, got a bigger pop than Ospreay, the face. If two months down the line they came back here and had a match over that fact you’d all come, right? The crowd cheered. Paul said: ‘You see… a match is made and it didn’t take five general managers to make it.” It was a great point and got a huge pop.
– Paul on Shinsuke Nakamura’s prospects on the main roster – Paul said its up to Nakamura how far he goes. If he takes a “no” as a “no,” then he’ll be a mid-carder for the rest of his career. However, if he learns how to turn a “no” into a “yes,” then he can be whatever he wants to be. He said if he goes out there night after night and has a Shinsuke Nakamura match, he won’t have to hear “no” very often, but when he does, he needs to have the confidence to risk getting fired because if he’s told “no” and he does something anyway and the fans react, he ain’t getting fired.
Paul said ‘You know who had that attitude? C.M. Punk.” He was told no the moment he walked in the door, they didn’t like his, look, his size, his tattoos, his work, his attitude; they straight up didn’t like Phil Brooks. Heyman said he was sent to him in OVW and “I was told to find a reason to fire him.” He didn’t take “no” for answer and C.M. Punk is the longest-reigning WWE champ of the last 25 years.
– Paul on advocating for someone else – Paul said while Brock is employed by WWE he has absolutely no interest in being the advocate for anyone else because while Brock is there he will overshadow anyone, just like he did with Cesaro, Curtis Axel, and Ryback. Paul said after Brock is a different story and he does sometimes think about what he could do with Charlotte or Sasha Banks or even Randy Orton. He said he’s also thought about Nakamura or Prince Devitt but at the moment it’s Brock and Brock only.
– Paul on Brock’s UFC future – Paul said Brock beat a Top 8 heavyweight in Mark Hunt so they’re going to offer him another match. If he wins that then they’re probably going to offer him a title match. Once again, he said Brock will do what Brock wants to do.
– For Paul’s last question, he was asked about The Streak and the “creative” that went into the decision to have Brock win. Paul said all night I’ve been saying Brock does what Brock wants to do, right? Let’s talk conspiracy, I’m gonna leave you asking ‘has Paul just fed us a load of b—— or has Paul just told us something we shouldn’t know?’
So, Paul revisited WrestleMania 30 and Brock Lesnar ending the streak. Who knows what happened that night? The referee didn’t know, the guys in the back didn’t know, even the music guy didn’t know. Four people knew what happened that night: Undertaker, him, Vince, and Brock. ‘Why would I ruin that? Why would I tell you what happened? Vince went on the Stone Cold podcast and was asked about it and talked about giving back to the industry… But he didn’t answer the question.’
Heyman wanted to talk conspiracy. Let’s say that Brock Lesnar got to WrestleMania and decided he was going to drop The Undertaker on his head, let’s say that Brock Lesnar decided he was gonna F5 the Undertaker, let’s say that Brock Lesnar decided he was going to hook that man’s leg for a count of three and break The Steak. Who’s gonna stop him? Not Undertaker, who spent the night in the hospital. Not Vince McMahon – he’s out the back, he can’t do a thing. Not the referee – his job is to count 1-2-3. What’s going to happen to Brock if that’s the case? Nothing. They can’t fire the man who just broke Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak.
Paul continued: “I know some of you are thinking Paul’s talking bulls—, but I also know someone of you will be driving home saying, ‘Ya know, I’ve never heard that theory before… What if?” I’m sure Paul was just having fun, but man he had the crowd oh’ing and ah’ing as he spun this story.
To close the show, Paul filmed a spot for his Heyman Hustle show in the crowd. All in all, this was fantastic and worth every penny. I’ve seen few of these spoken word shows and as good as some of them are, this was something else. Paul is a captivating storyteller and I would implore anyone within driving distance of Glasgow and Manchester to see this show. Five stars.