Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman DVD Review
Yesterday, I picked up WWE's newest DVD release. A documentary on the career of arguably the greatest manager of all time, Paul Heyman. The DVD is aptly titled "Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman."
As a big fan of Heyman, I had been anticipating the release of this DVD for quite some time. With that being said, there were obviously high expectations for it. So right off the bat, I'll say that my expectations were exceeded as this documentary was fantastic.
The DVD starts off discussing Paul's parents and how his mother surviving the holocaust drove him to achieve his dreams. His dreams of a career in the professional wrestling industry. Paul discovered wrestling and knew it was his future career when he saw Vince McMahon interviewing
Billy Graham. Heyman stated that the way Graham's voice resonated through the TV told him that he had found what he wanted to do with his life.
This led to Heyman doing everything he could to get in the wrestling business at an early age. From publishing his own wrestling newspaper to sneaking into Madison Square Garden & production meetings simply to learn more - Heyman did all he could to get his name out there. This section of the documentary served as a big inspiration for me as a young man aspiring to find a job in the business that I love - pro wrestling. Seeing Heyman's detailed story on striving to succeed reminded me of why I continue to write articles and work towards a career in wrestling.
The next phase of this documentary took us through Heyman's days as a manager in Memphis, AWA, and WCW. It showed Heyman's versatility as he worked with a number of different talents, but excelled in each position. Many people that were around Heyman at this time knew he was something special. Jerry Lawler even fired him from his Memphis promotion, but said that he knew Paul had a bright future ahead. There were alot of interesting areas touched on here including Paul's rivalry against Jim Cornette's Midnight Express as well as his role in the Dangerous Alliance in WCW alongside Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, and others. All of which were very interesting as we saw Heyman's first splash into the role of developing talent.
After leaving WCW, Heyman states that he wanted to get out of the wrestling business until Jim Crockett cut a promo on him which inspired him to get back on the saddle and revolutionize the wrestling industry. With that aspiration in mind, Heyman found himself in a leadership role in Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) which would soon become Extreme Championship Wrestling.
During the ECW portion of this documentary, things were taken to a whole nother level as Heyman discussed his vision for ECW. Friends and co workers such as Raven, Rob Van Dam, Gabe Sapolesky, and Ron Buffone all gave their insight during this time. We saw Heyman at his best during the peak of ECW, but this also showcased him in a darker place near the end of ECW. This was a very informative chapter of the documentary as alot of topics were discussed that had never been touched on before such as the relationship ECW had with WWE and whether or not Heyman got paid by Vince during their work together while Paul was still operating ECW.
Beyond the interesting topics, the ECW part of the documentary showcased Paul as the genius that he is. Never before seen clips of Paul motivating talent during promos were shown which was just amazing to watch. Heyman could really transform someone into a star and that was made ever apparent here when Gabe Sapolesky discussed Paul's work with Tommy Dreamer and Taz. Also discussed was the way Paul could see a star from a mile away and how he scouted talent from Japan & Mexico as well as in America. Heyman's starmaking abilities and passion for the wrestling business were showcased very well here.
Heyman's first run in WWE was the next focal point of the documentary. There was alot of behind the scenes things discussed here such as why Heyman began appearing on WWE TV before filing for bankruptcy with ECW. Also discussed was Heyman's chemistry on commentary with Jim Ross and their history working together. They really brought out the best in each other.
After working as a commentator, Heyman shifted to a managerial/talent developing role by taking Brock Lesnar under his wing. Lesnar discussed how Paul showed him the ropes and helped him during his early years in WWE. It was very cool hearing about what brought Heyman and Lesnar together.
Heyman's work with Lesnar on Smackdown led to him becoming the head writer for the show. This led to Heyman working with and grooming young talent such as Edge to come into their own as singles competitors. The tremendous work that Heyman did as a writer for Smackdown showed as the show brought in higher ratings than Raw! This success somewhat rubbed the McMahons the wrong way however as Big Show discussed instances where Heyman would outright argue with Vince about ideas during production meetings.
This conflict with the McMahons led to Heyman being sent to the developmental system to work with young talent. In OVW, Heyman became close friends with CM Punk and began working alot with him. On top of that, Heyman did alot of work with Beth Pheonix. Both of which were discussed here. As with everything else on this DVD, it was very interesting hearing from Beth and Punk on what Heyman did for them in OVW.
The New ECW was the next chapter of the documentary. This chapter was filled with untold stories such as how Shane McMahon originally came up with the idea to reboot ECW as a third brand. On top of untold stories, controversy was a main feature of this chapter as we got insight from Heyman on how vicious the falling out he had with Vince in 2006 was. As Heyman stated, "You would have never expected me back in this company again."
After ending his tenure with WWE, Paul turned his focus towards his own business Heyman Hustle as well as another venture called the Looking for Larry agency. Both were discussed in depth as well as how Heyman's life changed when he had kids. It was cool seeing a different side of Heyman in the role of being a father.
The final chapter of this amazing documentary may be my favorite of them all. It discusses Heyman's return and current run in WWE. Paul seemed so happy with how things are now and stated that he is having a blast. His on screen work with Brock Lesnar and CM Punk was discussed as well as his work with younger talent on the roster. Clips of him talking with Paige, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, Cesaro, and many others were shown. Natalya even appeared discussed how she goes to Heyman for advice and how he's a mentor backstage. Heyman's bond with current WWE interviewer Renee Young and how they learn from each other was discussed as well. It was just an all around epic closing chapter to this wonderful documentary. Seeing Heyman working with all that young, hungry talent gives me hope for the future of WWE.
After watching this documentary, I became even more of a fan of Heyman than I already was. This documentary showcases how much he's grown over the course of his career and that he truly is at his best right now.
At the beginning of the interview, various wrestlers were asked to describe Heyman in one word. Words such as "genius", "mentor", "friend", "mastermind", and "family" were used multiple times and each of those were showcased throughout this documentary. From his role as an onscreen personality to his role as a father to his role as a mentor to talent backstage - this DVD shows Paul Heyman at his finest.
I'm going to go ahead and close this review by simply saying that I highly recommend this documentary to EVERY wrestling fan out there. Whether you're young or old. New fan or long time fan. I think every fan can get something out of this DVD. Whether it's knowledge or inspiration or both (like myself). This is a documentary for the ages that portrays Paul Heyman as the mastermind that he is and tells the story of his legendary career that spans two decades. This is a DVD that you should have in your collection.
I would look to end this review with a quote from Heyman himself in the documentary that I really liked.
"It's the unbridled passion and the fearlessness to just go into something with reckless abandon that allows you to create something from nothing. That allows you to innovate. That allows you to take things to the extreme." - Paul Heyman