Recently on Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, pro wrestling personality and podcaster Bruce Prichard talked about Paul Heyman's time with WWE. Specifically, Prichard talked about Heyman being against John Cena's rapper gimmick, why Heyman was removed as head writer of WWE SmackDown, Heyman secretly calling into a creative meeting conference call and lying about it, Heyman's relationship with Stephanie McMahon, and how Heyman acted out at the McMahons' vacation home.
According to Prichard, Heyman told Cena that his rapper gimmick would kill his pro wrestling career. Moreover, Prichard suggested that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon only gave the gimmick a chance because of Heyman's opposition to it.
"To quote Paul Heyman, 'you put the rap gimmick on Cena and you will kill John Cena's career. Paul felt that the rap gimmick was going to be the death knell of John Cena and that it would stereotype him and pigeonhole him and he would never be able to work his way out of it. Hated the idea, went to Cena and told Cena, 'they're killing your career', 'don't do it', 'it's going to be bad'. And [Heyman] went to Vince and told Vince it's going to kill [Cena] and the fact that Paul petitioned so hard against it probably helped Vince [decide], 'yeah, let's try it.' And I think it worked out alright for him."
On being removed as head writer of SmackDown, Prichard said it was a cumulation of many things and Heyman and McMahon "were like oil and water".
"He didn't make deadlines. He'd be late for Vince's meetings. It was a combination of things that Paul was almost begging to be off of the team and begging to just be a talent and not have to worry about writing the show from week-to-week because writing the show from week-to-week also came with heat." Prichard recalled, "Paul argued at every chance he got! Paul and Vince were oil and water and Paul just didn't know when to quit! You would think it was over, and then you'd get [imitating Heyman], 'allow me one more volley, sir.' There had to just be some point when Vince said, 'I'm done. No more. I'm done. I don't want to see him anymore. I don't want to hear him anymore. I don't want him on the plane anymore. I don't want him in the writers' meeting anymore. I'm done.' As far as having a five-year no-cut contract, I don't know of anybody that had a no-cut contract at any time."
Apparently, while Heyman was suspended from the company, he secretly called into a conference call and only recently admitted that he did it.
"The conference call story happened at the time of the suspension and Paul was, the phone call story, folks, for those of you who don't know what the hell we're talking about," Heyman explained. "So we were having a conference call on a Saturday, and this was during the time when Paul was suspended from the company, and we used the same conference call number because it was only us that knew the conference call number. And we're in the middle of a creative meeting and, all of a sudden, we hear a 'beep... has left the conference.' There was no name, so Vince says, 'roll call. Who's here? Who was here? Who dropped off? Roll call!' Everybody [says], 'I'm here, I'm here, I'm here, I'm here.' Everyone was there, but someone had been on and had left the conference." Prichard explained, "the call came from a Scarsdale residence that was traced back to a last name Heyman. Correctamundo [it was Heyman's parents' house line]. And Paul denied it. Paul denied it for the longest time and it wasn't till recently where he was [admitting], 'oh yeah, I was on.'"
Prichard divulged that Heyman would constantly push McMahon's buttons, but had real talents that could be leveraged by WWE.
"I think that more than anything, look, Paul had great ideas and Paul has a great mind for the [pro wrestling] business. Vince would look at that as a challenge to try and just mold that and be able to channel it and get as much out of him as he possibly could." Prichard added, "Paul would constantly poke the bear, so I think there's a part of Vince McMahon that loved that, that really liked being challenged. He loves being challenged on s--t, but for Paul, Paul just did not know when to stop. That was his biggest fault."
When asked about Stephanie McMahon's relationship with Heyman, Prichard remembered that 'The Vincess' would supply breath strips for the former Paul E. Dangerously to use around Vince.
"I think the best part of Stephanie and Paul's relationship was the supply of Listerine breath strips that Stephanie would have to hand Paul and remind him to be sure to put one in before you get close to Vince. Why would it not be real? Yes, it's real."
In Prichard's estimation, Heyman aligning himself with current WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar was the smartest thing he did for himself and Lesnar.
"Overall, I'm going to say him aligning himself with Brock Lesnar is without a doubt one of the most genius things Paul ever did for himself and Paul did for Brock Lesnar. They've done very well by each other."
Also during the podcast, Prichard retold a couple of unbelievable stories from Heyman's time writing for WWE. Apparently, writers would have to travel to McMahon's Boca Raton vacation home to meet with him if they needed to see him over the holiday season. Stephanie gave each of the writers cash to go out and have a nice lunch. This inadvertently offended Heyman.
"We were downstairs deciding where to go and they had suggested this really nice restaurant down the road and Paul is like, 'I guess we're not good enough to eat in the family domicile! We're just the help. Send the help out to get lunch. Send a few dollars their way and send them away to get their own lunch while we dine on fine cuisine prepared by the chef and have the staff wait on us!'" Prichard recalled, "so everybody except Paul and Dave Lagana went to this nice restaurant, little Italian place down the street, great food, a little pricey, but we weren't paying for it! Paul and David go to Burger King and just pocket the rest of the money! Just classic Paul."
Similarly, Heyman was insulted by being offered water from a cooler instead of bottled water like the McMahons enjoyed at their home.
"Linda just makes the comment, 'so guys, there's this water dispensary here - the water is ice cold. It's all filtered and good, so you don't have to keep going in to get a bunch of bottles of water. There [are] cups here, big cups, and everything, or just refill your water bottle, whatever you need, whatever is faster, easier, better, whatever, and you're not having 50 water bottles all over the place.' Well, Heyman took exception to that! [Imitating Heyman] 'I guess we're not good enough to drink their water. I will just bring my own water from now on, so for the rest of the trip, Paul brought like a big bottle of water, which normally he never would have drank, but because he was told, and he wasn't told, 'don't drink our water', it was just, 'hey, there's this other water over here.' 'I will bring my own water. Thank you, ma'am.'
Pronouns pal. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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