During the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross talked about Halloween Havoc 1990, which featured the debut of Paul Heyman as a commentator. Ross mentioned that he chose Heyman and thought he was a fantastic fit alongside him. He said Heyman just added something different to the desk and was great to work with.
"He was my choice," Ross said. "I think Mr. Herd said, 'who do you want to work with?' And I said, 'let's try Heyman'. He and I sounded different; he was a caustic chorus at times, controversial. It was natural. He's caustic going into a convenience store - that's just Paul."
Ross continued to talk about a conversation he had with Heyman, reassuring him of just how great at his role he was. He said there's nothing better than a heel who is easy to hate.
"Just like I told him, 'God d--n, you're easy to hate,' " Ross said. "He looked at me incredulously, like 'God d--n, that was a little stiff JR.' 'Paul, that's a compliment, you're a fu--ing-- you're a villain. I'm not supposed to like you. You are very easy to hate.' And that's the best compliment I can give him."
JR went on to talk about Heyman's work today with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Heyman recently compared his relationship with the two top stars in a recent interview with TV insider, saying "They are one and the same." He said Paul probably isn't the most well-liked guy backstage in WWE right now, but his work as a promo guy has made him effective with the top superstars in the company.
"He's probably the best promo guy in the business, if not top 4 or 5 without question," Ross mentioned. "He's effective, he's been effective with every top talent. You think Heyman is ultra popular backstage right now in WWE? Unlikely, but so what? He's trusted with Brock Lesnar, and now he's being trusted with Roman Reigns. That says all I need to hear about how Heyman is perceived. He's professionally perceived as the best in the game."
Ross also talked about another commentator and manager in Bobby Heenan, who used WCW as leverage back in 1990 as a way to re-sign with WWE. Heenan and Heyman have both been regarded as two of the greatest wrestling managers and heels of all time. He also said he never believed that Heenan was coming too WCW, but by the time he eventually got to work with him, it bettered his career and he learnt so much from working alongside him.
"When I first heard it, I thought Bobby was using this for leverage," Ross said. "Because that's the obvious thing, the common sense thing. He got Vince [McMahon's] attention. I eventually got to work with Bobby; it was a dream come true because he's so brilliant. He made me better. He was just a genius to work with. He could be funny, he could be evil, he could be a color guy, he could be a manager. And people forget, in the AWA, he was a hell of a heel."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.