Paul Heyman’s recent promotion as one of the lead creative voices running Raw is just another great run to add to his legendary career. The path of Heyman would see him work in various roles from manager to promoter to advocate to broadcaster to writer. WWE, WCW and ECW would have Heyman with a noteworthy role in their promotion at different times. Heyman’s controversial reputation would see him have a track record of many bold decisions making enemies along the way.
We will look at some of the choices from Heyman that made him such a polarizing figure in the history of the wrestling industry. Heyman will likely add more moments to this list during his time running Raw given his visionary often featuring risky moves. Find out just the genius mastermind has done in wrestling to earn his reputation. These are ten of the most controversial things done by Paul Heyman in wrestling.
10 Quitting WWE during ECW return
The project to bring back ECW in 2006 created excitement for fans that missed the promotion. Unfortunately, the ECW return would see Vince McMahon having more input despite claiming he wanted Paul Heyman to run the company like he did in the old days.
WWE’s version of ECW was an instant disaster with fans souring after a few episodes. McMahon’s ideas would see ECW lose the charm culminating in a horrible standalone PPV titled December to Dismember. Heyman got into a huge argument with Vince following the show and made the call to quit WWE for a few years.
9 Worked shoot promo ripping apart Vince McMahon
The storyline of WCW and ECW trying to take over WWE after Vince McMahon purchased both companies would see Paul Heyman involved. Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Heyman were the three leaders of the Alliance looking to make ECW and WCW’s group the dominant brand.
A memorable worked shoot promo during the storyline would feature Heyman and Vince getting into a heated exchange. Heyman called out Vince for trying to kill all competitive promotions and stealing ideas from ECW for the Attitude Era. The controversial promo didn’t lead to much future success, but it provided a spark to create a great moment.
8 Insulting TNN during ECW television show
ECW’s biggest opportunity as a company came when they landed a television deal on TNN. The company struggled to get on that platform like WWE and WCW with national shows each week. Paul Heyman hoped this would get ECW to the next level, but it turned out to be a disaster.
TNN started censoring the ECW show and set out rules that took away from the product. To make matters worse, they eventually canceled ECW to make a run at the television rights to WWE Raw. Heyman ripped apart TNN on the ECW show calling them out for their lack of commitment to ECW in true controversial fashion.
7 Sued WCW
Paul Heyman’s WCW run is most remembered for the great time managing the Dangerous Alliance. The careers of wrestlers like Steve Austin, Rick Rude and Madusa were positively impacted from Heyman’s time working alongside them.
Booker Bill Watts did not like the work of Heyman leading to a clash between the two. Heyman eventually left WCW and sued the company for anti-Semitic comments by Watts. The claims of Heyman were that he made enough money from the lawsuit to start running ECW. Heyman had valid reasons for his lawsuit, but a talent suing one of the two major companies was highly controversial at the time.
6 Parodying the New World Order in ECW
Paul Heyman clearly did not care about upsetting any personalities in WWE or WCW. One idea that annoyed quite a few people in WCW featured the Blue World Order parodying the iconic New World Order faction. The comedic spoof would see fans entertained by the joke.
Stevie Richards, Nova and Blue Meanie mimicked the actions of Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall. ECW fans loved the Blue World Order enough to support them despite the silly aspect of the gimmick. Heyman knew it would upset Bischoff and he likely found more joy from it.
5 Sensationalizing Sunny for ratings
Tammy “Sunny” Sytch joined ECW after a falling out with WWE to work alongside her boyfriend Chris Candido. They were a very popular act together, but Paul Heyman tried to find even more success from Sunny joining the company.
One of the ECW television shows was centered around a tell-all interview with Sytch revealing various personal issues stemming from her time in WWE. The hope was that Tammy discussing her downfalls would lead to ratings success, but it just made ECW look bad for such a ploy.
4 Listening to Raw phone call meetings while running Smackdown
Paul Heyman became the lead writer of Smackdown shortly after the WWE brand split. The work of Heyman helped Smackdown find incredible success. Talents like Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Brock Lesnar and Edge became bigger stars during the run of Heyman.
One controversial moment to put him in hot water featured Heyman breaking company rules by listening to the opposing Raw team’s conference call. Writers of opposing teams were not allowed to hear the other show’s plans, but Heyman did it and received a lot of heat for not following company guidelines.
3 Raven and Sandman angle
The most controversial storyline in ECW history offended many people including Kurt Angle. Taz picked the wrong night to invite his friend Angle looking to get a feel for the promotion. The storyline between Raven and Sandman already had controversial elements with Raven dating Sandman’s ex-wife and brainwashing his son.
Things escalated even more when Raven attempted to crucify Sandman to add more heat to the angle. Fans would have a mixed reaction and Angle had a tirade backstage before leaving. Paul Heyman regretted the idea and made Raven go back out into the ring to apologize.
2 Threatening to fire all older wrestlers if gaining control of TNA
Paul Heyman made many enemies in wrestling when he was considering joining TNA in a management role. Dixie Carter wanted Heyman to join the team and contribute to the creative side of the company. Heyman demanded full control and revealed some of the ideas he had.
One controversial reveal was that he wanted to fire all the older wrestlers over 40. Kevin Nash and a few others ripped Heyman in interviews following this idea. Heyman did have some more beloved ideas like his plan to bring Daniel Bryan in before his WWE success to feud with Kurt Angle, but TNA never agreed to his demands in negotiations.
1 Not telling wrestlers ECW was ending when he signed with WWE
Many wrestlers in ECW developed a hatred for Paul Heyman towards the end of the company’s run. Heyman was already behind on the pay of many wrestlers, but they remained loyal out of the love for ECW. This made it even worse when Heyman ended the company without warning the talent.
Quite a few wrestlers learned the company was closing when Heyman surprisingly appeared on Raw to replace Jerry Lawler as the lead color commentator. Some would make peace with Heyman while others still have a problem with him today. Heyman risked the controversy when making the jump to WWE leaving his talent high and dry.