Paul Heyman, longtime main event manager, booker, promoter, to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


WWE will induct Paul Heyman into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Heyman, who started his involvement in pro wrestling as a ringside photographer in Madison Square Garden as a teenager, has had numerous influential on-camera and off-camera roles in pro wrestling during his nearly 40 year career. He current manages The Bloodline, WWE’s top faction.

WWE’s website announced the induction plans today. Excerpt of the storyline-based write-up:

Credited with inspiring WWE’s landmark “Attitude Era,” the controversial brand became the third-largest wrestling company in the world before it was crippled by financial problems in 2001. Heyman joined WWE as Jim Ross’s broadcast partner, but it wouldn’t be long before the nonconformists of ECW reemerged in WWE as part of the infamous “Invasion.” Aligning himself with Stephanie and Shane McMahon, Heyman came frighteningly close to overthrowing WWE but ultimately failed to bring down his competition.

Heyman’s influence on wrestling is so wide-ranging and spans so many years that different generations will see his primary role differently.

The oldest fans who saw his work will remember him most as the emerging top manager in the AWA, WCW, and other territories at a time that another brash controversial young manager, Jim Cornette, had also emerged. Both were seen as not only talented on-air managers, but potentially forward-thinking wrestling minds who would have influence on the industry for years to come.

Other fans will primarily see him as the founder and face of ECW, a company that changed the course the wrestling industry in the ’90s, moving it out of a staid, stale style into the “counter-culture” Attitude Era.

Another generation will remember his work in WWE as a color commentator and on-air authority figure who also ended up being the face of WWE’s revival of ECW.

Yet another generation will first think of him as the manager of Brock Lesnar and perhaps C.M. Punk. Current fans will think his run with The Bloodline is the defining chapter of his career.

Heyman has been a controversial figure off-air including butting heads with his bosses in his early years, including Verne Gagne in the AWA and Bill Watts in WCW, and a number of incidents during his tenure running ECW including disgruntled wrestlers feeling left behind when ECW shut down after money ran out with Heyman landing in WWE shortly thereafter.

He’s rebuilt his reputation over the last decade, avoiding controversies behind the scenes and earning respect of top talents he has worked with on and off camera including Punk, Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, and most recently Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes. At 58 years old, he’s showing no signs that he’s nearing the end of his contributions on and off camera.

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