Paul Heyman started out in the wrestling business as a photographer when he has just 13 years of age. He would go on to become a promoter, manager, and pioneer in the wrestling industry. Heyman's Philadelphia-based promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling still has a cult following to this day, despite having gone out of business over 15 years ago. His no rules, over the top brand of wrestling, revolutionized sports entertainment. He took the word "hardcore" and permanently embedded it into wrestling fans vocabulary. He is also responsible for some of the best promos in the history of professional wrestling.
Today, Heyman primarily serves as a manager (or advocate) for one of WWE's biggest stars, Brock Lesnar. Barring an unlikely change of events, it's possible we've seen the last of Heyman at the helm of a major wrestling promotion. However, what if Heyman was given another shot at running his own wrestling company? Moreover, what if that company was none other than the WWE? In this universe, Vince McMahon's XFL doesn't go out of business. In fact, the league becomes so popular it eventually rivals the NFL. The McMahons see revenue potential that far exceeds what they can make promoting professional wrestling. Therefore, the family decides to devote all their energy to making the XFL the biggest league in all of professional football. With limited options available, Vince reluctantly asks none other than Paul Heyman to run WWE. Let's take a look at 15 things that happen under Heyman's watch.
15 John Cena Becomes A Heel
Despite getting a mixed reaction from fans for years, WWE has been reluctant to turn their top star into a full-fledged heel. Cena's merchandise sells extremely well and the company is likely concerned about the impact a heel turn would have on their bottom line.
However, Paul Heyman is a bit of a risk taker. He believes the money from the feuds a heel Cena could generate, may be able to offset the drop off in merchandise sales. Heyman's gamble winds up paying off. The heel turn generates a great deal of buzz and renews some fans interest in the character. Furthermore, being able to rely on underhanded tactics, allows Cena to simplify his move set, which in turn extends his career.
14 Lesnar Signs With The UFC & WWE... At The Same Time
At one point, Brock Lesnar was forced to chose between WWE and continuing his mixed martial arts career with the UFC. He was allowed to return briefly, for UFC 200, but that ended up being a one time deal.
Heyman see's the benefit of being able to bill Lesnar as a two-sport athlete. He allows "The Beast" to be involved in wrestling and MMA as part of his WWE contract. The notoriety he gets from still being an active fighter makes Lesnar even more popular. It also helps strengthen WWE's relationship with the UFC. As a result, UFC President Dana White, allows more fighters to appear on WWE programming.
13 The Hardcore Championship Is Reinstated
The Hardcore Championship debuted back in 1998, with Mankind being the inaugural belt holder. The belt basically looked like a world championship belt, if it were smashed with a hammer. The word "Hardcore" was written in marker across the front of it. The title was usually defended in no-rules style match ups.
Heyman never liked having rules during his tenure with ECW and being the man who helped popularize the term "Hardcore", he decides to reinstate the title. However, instead of bringing back the shoddy older belt, he has a new more glamorous model created. The belt helps fill the void created by the newly defunct Unites States and Intercontinental titles.
12 CM Punk Returns
Punk left the company in large part due to a falling out with management. However, with Paul Heyman now in charge of WWE, Punk begins to soften his stance in regards to returning to his former place of employment. Heyman actually managed Punk at one point and the two are good friends in real life. Punk goes on to suffer another one-sided defeat in the octagon and decides to retire from the sport of MMA. When he notifies Heyman regarding his interest in coming back to WWE, he is welcome with open arms. CM Punk goes on to headline WrestleMania and wins the Universal Championship during the last match of the card.
11 The Cesaro Section Becomes A Wrestling Faction
Cesaro is one of the most physically impressive stars on the WWE roster. Despite, being one the best in-ring performer in the company, there are some who feel that Cesaro has been underutilized.
Heyman briefly managed Cesaro and wants to do right by him. The "Cesaro Section" can often be seen on signs held by supporters of The Swiss Superman. The signs inspire Heyman to create a faction and call them the Cesaro Section. Cesaro join forces with Sheamus and former tag team partner Jack Swagger. The newly formed faction initially feuds with the Wyatt Family, which helps to solidify the team as an upper-mid-card act. While it doesn't happen overnight, Cesaro establishes himself as the stables top star and is eventually able to propel himself into the main event picture.
10 The Divas Revolution Never Happens
Heyman excels in many aspects of the wrestling business. However, he's never had much success when it comes to creating female stars. The current Divas Revolution, as its called, is about focusing more on female wrestlers in-ring ability, as opposed to their success being largely based on sex appeal.
Heyman decides against having his own "Divas Revolution". Instead, he tries to portray women as sex objects (similar to how he did in ECW), who can also deliver great matches. Unfortunately, Sasha Banks gets seriously injured performing a frog splash into a bowl of gravy, resulting in a major lawsuit. Moreover, his lingerie submission matches don't go over well with the new generation of WWE fans... or shareholders for that matter. A frustrated Heyman eventually scraps the women's division altogether.
9 Rules Are Abolished
Heyman decides that having rules limits wrestlers creativity inside the ring.Therefore, he decides to abolish rules altogether. He recalls how much success he had in ECW using this format and decides to try it on an even bigger stage, that being WWE.
The idea works well initially. However, over time wrestlers are continually forced to try and out do themselves. Fans come to expect wrestlers to take risky bumps, go through tables, and hit it each other with increasingly dangerous foreign objects. This leads to wrestlers bodies breaking down even sooner and thus shortens many promising careers.
8 Intergender Matches Are Introduced
After failing to establish a solid women's division in the WWE. Heyman needs to figure out something to do with all the female wrestlers on the roster. Heyman decides to go back to his ECW playbook and bring back intergender matches. In fact, he even creates an intergender title. Heyman initially doesn't have very high hopes for his newly established championship. However, a surprisingly popular feud between Heath Slater and Charlotte would go on to make the division relevant. Intergender matches become so popular, Heyman considers allowing women to compete for any title.
7 The Roman Reigns Push Finally Ends
Paul Heyman is the type of promoter who listens to his audience. When it becomes clear that WWE's fanbase has rejected Roman Reign's babyface main event push, Heyman immediately decides to pull the plug.
While Heyman decides to scale back on Reign's push, he still has high hopes for the Samoan star. He decides to repackage Reigns. He has him lose his old Shield gear, shave his head, and gives him entirely different entrance music. Oh, and he also decides to make him a heel. Over time, Reigns becomes one of the companies top villains.
6 The Intercontinental & U.S. Titles Are Done Away With
For the last several years both the Intercontinental and United States Championships haven't had the luster, they used to. Virtually every mid-card wrestler who's spent any length of time with the company has held at least one of these titles at some point.
Heyman recognizes that both titles have become stale and decides to do away with them. He replaces them with the Television and Hardcore Championships. Heyman makes sure both new titles aren't needlessly passed around from wrestler to wrestler and is able to restore some prestige to WWE's secondary titles.
5 Rob Van Dam Wins The Television Title
Rob Van Dam might not be the performer he once was. However, Heyman recognizes that the veteran still has some tread left on the tires and invites the former ECW standout back for another run in the WWE. In fact, Van Dam is even selected to be the first ever Television Title Tournament winner. Despite initial complaints about Heyman giving a former ECW guy preferential treatment, Van Dam is able to eventually win the locker room over with his outstanding work rate. If you would like to read more Rob Van Dam tales in an alternate wrestling universe, check out 15 Things That Could Have Happened If The Original ECW Stayed In Business.
4 Dean Ambrose’s Character Becomes Ultra Violent
Paul Heyman see's a lot of potential in the Dean Ambrose character. However, he doesn't feel The Lunatic Fringe is quite crazy enough. He decides to have Ambrose bring a kendo stick and a pair of brass knuckles to the ring with him. Following his matches, the Ambrose character will beat his fallen opponents, often resulting in bloodshed. Dean Ambrose also begins to cut nonsensical promos, in order to enhance his lunatic persona. WWE's network affiliates begin to complain about the character. However, once Heyman shows them how high the ratings are for Ambrose's segments, they soften their stance. There is also some initial concerns about shareholder backlash, but once they see Ambrose is good for the companies bottom line, the complaints soon subside.
3 NXT Invades The WWE
The intimate setting and rabid fanbase of WWE's developmental promotion NXT takes Paul Heyman back to his ECW days. As a result, he immediately falls in love with the promotion. Heyman periodically incorporates the use of an NXT invasion angle on Monday Night RAW, in order to see how Raw fans respond to various members of the NXT roster. He even features NXT showcase matches on both Raw and SmackDown. If you're interested in learning more about some of the stars of NXT, check out 15 Hot Pictures Of NXT Women You NEED To See.
2 Joey Styles & Corey Graves Become Lead Commentators
Joey Styles is probably best remembered as "the voice of ECW". Heyman has always been a fan of Joey Styles's play-by-play and decides to bring him back into the WWE fold. Styles has particularly good on screen chemistry with another commentator, Corey Graves. Graves sarcastic wit blends well with the former ECW alums over the top play-by-play. As a result, the two quickly become the top commentators on WWE's flagship show Monday Night Raw.
1 Bray Wyatt Sets Kane On Fire
Kane has been a major contributor for WWE over the years. However, The Big Red Machine is in the twilight of his career. When Kane tells Paul Heyman he is ready to retire, they both decide the character needs a proper send-off. Instead of having your typical retirement ceremony, Heyman decides to have Kane go through a series of flaming tables into a coffin. In a casket match against a revamped more sadistic Bray Wyatt, Kane goes out in a blaze of glory. A fitting end for the future Hall of Famer.