During a recent interview with Squared Circle Pit, “special counsel” to the WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, looked back at the origins of his career with WWE. Heyman, a staple to the company for decades now, noted how he first met Vince McMahon Sr. by showing him some photographs he took.
“I hustled my way into WWWF — we’ll just say WWE to make it easy for everybody to understand. I almost got thrown out at my second show because I approached Vince McMahon Sr… I was walking through the Garden locker room, about to turn right to go out to the ring. And I’m fifteen years old at the time,” Heyman recalled. “And I see Vincent James McMahon with Andre the Giant in the hallway, and I turned off my flash and I kept my camera low. I just started clicking away, and I had 36 photos to take and knew I would get a good one out of it. No flash, 400 ASA film, didn’t need a flash with the natural light in the Garden locker room cover. And when I developed the pictures, I had quite a few good ones, and because I had shot at such a low angle, Andre just looked massive.
“So I printed out some black and white 8 x 10’s, and my father who was a personal injury attorney in the Bronx wrote up what was some sort of a photo release that the then-company Capitol Wrestling Corporation that had all the rights to the pictures could do anything they wanted. Put it on posters, put it in magazines, use it in press releases, you know? Do whatever they want with it, full rights with no fee, no credit needed,” Paul Heyman explained. “Or as much of a release as he knew how to write because he wasn’t an entertainment lawyer, he was a personal injury attorney, but he kind of understood how to write it up. And I put it in a nice manilla envelope and I approached Vince James McMahon with it, and two cops from the Garden picked me up from underneath my elbows. They took me and they were throwing me out, and Howard Finkle of all people came over and said, ‘Officers, officers, hold on, he’s okay, officers,’ because I had a press pass.
“And he brought me back to Vince J. McMahon and was asked, ‘Did you take these pictures?’ I said, ‘Yes, last month in the Garden.’ ‘Oh, they’re very good pictures. What’s with the photo release?’ I said, ‘Well, they’re of you, they’re of Andre and your locker room, and I appreciate the opportunity to be backstage, so you can do whatever you want with them.’..He said, ‘Every month, come to me with a couple of pictures and please, let me contribute to your transportation fund to come to the Garden. Oh, thank you very much.’ He said, ‘Take your education seriously, young man.’ ‘Ah, yes sir, yes sir.’ So every Garden show, I’d go up to Vincent James McMahon, take him a couple of pictures and we’d have thirty seconds of, ‘Oh, what did you think of the show? What are you looking forward to seeing tonight? What do you think the audience wants to see?’ Thirty-second conversations, always pleasant. A true gentleman, the pope of Madison Square Garden,” Paul Heyman stated.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Squared Circle Pit with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.