Paul Heyman -- (born September 11, 1965, in Scarsdale, NY) is an out-spoken sports promoter, best known for bringing the renegade wrestling company Extreme Championship Wrestling into a national cable deal with The Nashville Network (later known as Spike TV). Most recently, Paul Heyman has worked directly with Ultimate Fighting Championship, specifically Brock Lesnar.
Paul Heyman got his start as a fan of professional wrestling. The son of a successful lawyer, a popular rumor says that Paul started a mail order sports memorabilia business when he was only 11. He frequented World Wide Wrestling Federation shows at Madison Square Garden, later working as a free-lance photojournalist, but he wanted to be part of the show. In January 1987, Paul Heyman started working as a manager quickly adopting the ring name Paul E. Dangerously (a tie-in to the popular movie Johnny Dangerously). His gimmick was as a loud-mouth New Yorker with a yuppie attitude, often jabbering on an early model mobile phone, and he gained his first national exposure in the AWA.
In 1988, Heyman jumped to World Championship Wrestling where he managed the likes of the Midnight Express and Mean Mark Callous. Later, he used his gift of gab to start working color commentary alongside Jim Ross. After a brief on-screen hiatus, he returned ringside to form the Dangerous Alliance of Bobby Eaton, Ravishing Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Steve Austin, and Larry Zbyszko, which dominated WCW through most of 1992, butting heads with Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Nikita Koloff, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, and others. Heyman was fired from WCW in January 1993, allegedly for falsifying his expense reports.
Paul Heyman resurfaced in the Philadelphia-based NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling, owned by Tod Gordon. Paul E. Dangerously managed a couple guys, but soon he assumed the booking responsibilities of the promotion. In August 1994, a tournament was held for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which was won by ECW's Shane Douglas. Douglas immediately denounced the "traditions" of the NWA upon his victory, claiming the championship in the name of ECW and rechristening the organization Extreme Championship Wrestling. Heyman's beef with wrestling traditions were the fuel behind the rant, dating back to his refused partnership with Jim Crockett Jr. since Heyman felt traditional wrestling was antiquated and a new take on the genre was needed.
As a part of that paradigm shift, Paul Heyman encouraged workers to publicize any spite towards Vince McMahon or Eric Bischoff. Additionally, ECW pointedly eschewed the predictable and cartoon-like nature of the WWF, and it fostered an alternative counter-culture attitude depicting more graphic and realistic violence in its product, as well as more crude behaviors such as profanity, substance abuse, and domestic violence, as well as presenting international wrestling styles alongside the North American style. The company grew an intensely loyal fan base, of which its remanants still exist today.
Unfortunately, the company grew beyond Heyman's reach and, because he was very hands-on, he was unable to fill all the hats that needed to be done. After the WWF took its place on TNN, Heyman adopted the "if you can't beat them, join them" philosophy, starting work on color commentary alongside Jim Ross in February 2001. Heyman worked color commentary throughout the WCW Invasion angle. Afterwards, he was removed from television until the night after WrestleMania X8 when he led Brock Lesnar in a sneak attack. Heyman then led Lesnar through the King of the Ring tournament in June 2002, to the WWE Championship in August 2002, and into Hell in a Cell with The Undertaker in October 2002. He double-crossed Lesnar in favor of Big Show in November 2002 and double-crossed Big Show in favor of Kurt Angle in December 2002. Unfortunately, he could not keep Brock Lesnar from regaining the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XIX, and after sustaining a series of F5s from Lesnar in the lead-in, Heyman suffered serious neck issues which prevented him from working for several months.
After Stephanie McMahon was forced out of the position of General Manager, Paul Heyman filled her vacancy in October 2003. Heyman "quit" WWE in March 2004 after he was drafted to Monday Night Raw. He continued to make sporatic appearances in WWE until the relaunch of its ECW brand in 2006. He made it until the end of the year before parting ways with WWE for good. He has since worked closely with Brock Lesnar in his UFC career, as well as other promotional work for UFC itself. At one point, he was in negotiations with Total Nonstop Action but they could not reach agreement (Heyman since described their offer as replacing what he had in WWE, which if he were happy with, then he wouldn't have left).