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Paul Heyman: 'I do it better than anybody else who has ever done it' | 'Out of Character'
World Wrestling Entertainment

Paul Heyman: 'I do it better than anybody else who has ever done it' | 'Out of Character'

Updated Aug. 24, 2021 8:04 p.m. ET

By Ryan Satin
FOX Sports WWE Analyst 

For the first time, "Out of Character" left the studio this week to meet with one of the greatest minds in wrestling history.

On the latest episode of the show, Ryan Satin picked the brain of Paul Heyman for 45 minutes on topics such as his start in the wrestling business, ECW’s long-term influence and his more recent work in WWE as the advocate for Brock Lesnar or "Special Counsel" to Roman Reigns. 


Subscribe to the podcast version of "Out of Character with Ryan Satin" on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for weekly candid conversations with your favorite Superstars, legends and on-air talent!

While most fans know of Heyman’s work as far back as WCW, or maybe even in Memphis, "The Mad Genius" broke in as a teenager taking photos at WWF events while it was still run by Vince McMahon Sr.

That’s where he met three legendary managers who would influence the rest of his career: Lou Albano, Freddie Blassie and Ernie Roth.

RS: It's interesting to me how those three guys helped mold you from a young age in the business because I did notice in watching their promos that you seem to be a combination of the three.

HEYMAN: "How could I not be influenced by them? And how could I not want to pay tribute to them while I do this? 

"There have been a lot of very talented people that have had the opportunity to pick up a microphone here in WWE in the past 20 years, but nobody has been the manager, spokesman, advocate, special counsel to the degree that I have. 

"So in many ways, as the three wise men were to Vincent James McMahon, in the Vincent Kennedy McMahon era, where all managers were gone, I brought it forward into a new generation from the old generation. So how could I not pay homage to them while I do it? 

"In the same way that every single day Vincent Kennedy McMahon wears a tie that is the same type of tie that his father used to wear because every single day he pays homage to his father. 

"I paid homage to my father when I came back in 2012, when I called myself the advocate. I was no longer Brock Lesnar’s agent. I was his advocate because I witnessed my father in court – my father was a personal injury attorney, which is an advocate – and my father, as we Heyman males are known to do, pissed off an authority figure (who, at this point, was a judge). 

"The judge would say, ‘Mr. Heyman,’ as we Heymans do get lectured a lot. And my father would say, ‘Oh, Your Honor. Your Honor, I'm just an advocate.’ So when I came back in 2012, I said to Brock, ‘Hope it's OK with you, I want to be your advocate. That’s what my father is. And I'm going to play my father in that role, like my father performing in front of a jury, and I'll perform in front of the jury of the audience and the WWE Universe.’ That's where advocate comes from. 

"There's a lot of things that I will throw out there sometimes just because it tickles me pink. Just because I know I'm paying tribute to somebody that deserves to have a tribute paid to them."

The 55-year-old first-ballot Hall of Famer spoke openly during the conversation about how critical he is of himself, even during a time when most thought he was on fire as a performer.

HEYMAN: "I can’t stand watching my old stuff."

RS: Like, ECW? Or even further back?

HEYMAN: "I can't stand watching myself from the early run to here with Roman."

RS: Really?!

HEYMAN: "Well, here's the thing. This is the highest level I can be. I consider this more accountability, more responsibility, a bigger platform, a bigger job than when I was Executive Director of RAW. 

"I think if you brought me back last August, and you put the Universal and the WWE Championships on me – not that I would be a good champion because I wouldn't be – but if you did, it wouldn't be as big as what I'm doing right here with Roman Reigns. 

"This is the biggest thing I could be doing. I am attached to the hip of the undisputed, uncontroverted No. 1 superstar in not only WWE but in all of Sports Entertainment. And I'm working with him, I assure you, as much behind the scenes as I do on camera. This is a legit, professional, collaborative effort.

"I only want this gig as long as I'm the man for it or the woman for it or whatever, the human being, the being for it. As long as I'm the best for it. 

"If there's someone that comes along that would serve Roman Reigns better, serve the character Roman Reigns better, serve the marketing of Roman Reigns better, serve the intellectual property of Roman Reigns better, serve WWE better in this capacity, I want them to have the gig.

''I don't ever want to be second-best at anything. I just don't. 

"I can't juggle. I wish I could juggle. 

"I watch jugglers, right? I'm like, ‘Oh, man, I wish I could do that!’ And I can't. I blatantly can't. I can't tap dance. I watch James Cagney tap-dancing down the staircase and ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy.’ I’m like, ‘Man, I wish I could do that!’ And I can't. I just blatantly can't. 

"There are things that I would like to be able to do in life, and I blatantly can’t. I can't dunk a basketball! I wish I could dunk a basketball. I can't dunk a basketball. 

"I can't get six inches off the ground. I'm flat-footed, splay-footed. I have no hips. I have no athletic ability, and I'm Jewish. So jumping up is just a schlep for me. ‘Dawwlin, I don't want to schlep!’ you know? 

"But this I can do, and as long as I can do it better than anybody else – and I dare say I do it better than anybody else. I even dare say I do it better than anybody else who has ever done it, that I've redefined the medium from manager to advocate to special counsel. 

"And that may be me drinking my own Kool-Aid, but it tastes good at the moment. So I'm challenged every day to be better. 

"Now, long story even longer, if my promos tomorrow are not better than my promos today, and my promos two days from now are not better than my promos tomorrow, I'm not progressing. I'm not getting better. Throw me out the door. Get rid of me. It's time for me to go. 

"The whole point is to be better tomorrow. 

"So, if I look back a month ago, and I don't go, ‘Oh, God, why did I say it that way?! Why did I do? Why did I?? Why did I?? Oh, God, I SUCKED compared to now!' Compared to now. It has to be that way. 

"I want to look back on my interviews from going into this SummerSlam in a month and just go, ‘How could they not fire me?!?’ You need to get better and better and better and better."

"Fifty-one weeks ago, when this Roman Reigns returned, if he looks back on that person, he's going to see 51 weeks of progress. He's invested in that concept as well. 

"I need to be 51 weeks better than when we returned. Need to be. Better be a whole week better than I was last week. 

"Someone else wants this gig. A lot of people want this gig. And if you don't want this, you’re out of your frickin' mind. This is the gig to have. Trust me. This is the gig. I got to defend it. I'm not advocating my throne. I'm defending it passionately every single time."

Watch Paul Heyman appear as Special Counsel to Roman Reigns every week on Friday Night SmackDown LIVE at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

Ryan Satin is a WWE analyst for FOX Sports. Satin previously appeared on FS1's "WWE Backstage" and founded Pro Wrestling Sheet, where he broke countless news stories as editor-in-chief.


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