Paul Heyman announced for WWE Hall of Fame

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Paul Heyman is the first member of the WWE’s Hall of Fame class for 2024.

WWE announced to The Associated Press that Heyman is set to be inducted on Friday, April 5 as part of WrestleMania Weekend.

Heyman, 58, has worked in the industry from every angle since his earliest days as a photographer covering shows in the Westchester and surrounding areas in New York.

While working at Studio 54, he hosted his first pro wrestling event where he introduced Bam Bam Bigelow for his debut match while also presenting an award to Ric Flair with talent from Jim Crockett Promotions in attendance after a show in Philadelphia.

His earliest territories working as a manager were in Florida and Memphis before landing in the AWA at the age of 21 and having exposure through ESPN during the dying days of the Minneapolis-based group.

Heyman would become a booking assistant to Eddie Gilbert in Alabama and started booking on his own for Windy City Wrestling out of Chicago.

His biggest break occurred in 1988 when he was brought into WCW to manage the “original” Midnight Express of Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose for a feud with Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express of Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton.

Heyman became a top manager in the company while doubling as a broadcaster over the next years. His largest role was as the mouthpiece for the Dangerous Alliance consisting of Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, and Madusa.

Heyman was fired by the company and led a lawsuit being filed with the sides settling and Heyman was unable to speak about the terms.

It was expected that Heyman was going to work with Jim Crockett Jr. on a new promotion with Crockett’s non-compete term expiring after the sale of JCP to WCW. The idea never got off the ground and Heyman would embark on his new stop, ECW.

Eastern Championship Wrestling was launched in 1992 by Tod Gordon and Heyman’s initial role was as a manager for Eddie Gilbert, who was working with Gordon to book the company. After Gilbert left the company in 1993, Gordon appointed Heyman as his booker. In Gordon’s book, Tod is God, he stated that Heyman refused to be paid until the company made money but took a 49 percent stake in the company with Gordon unwilling to split the company 50/50.

The company picked up steam as an underground, gritty form of professional wrestling, which expanded its operations into New York and gained exposure on the Sunshine Network in Florida and the MSG Network in New York, which they had to pay for air time but retained 100 percent of the ad revenue generated.

Gordon lost power with Heyman taking over the company through HHG Corporation, which was formed in April 1995. Gordon believes that it was a long-term play by Heyman to usurp the company from underneath Gordon and the story of Gordon serving as a “mole” was a front and not grounded in reality. Gordon’s shares were bought out by Heyman and the founder was out of power.

Heyman got the company onto pay-per-view in April 1997 and had a working relationship with the WWF, which saw talent exchanges and an episode of Raw featuring an ECW invasion at the Manhattan Center before ‘Barely Legal’.

With the Monday Night War in full effect, WWE and WCW were in an arms race for stars and ECW was producing new and cool acts, which were quickly scooped up by the major promotions. It forced ECW to spend more to retain talent and sign contracts as it made the move toward national television, which came in the form of TNN in August 1999. The move to television was a costly one as it forced ECW to upgrade its production and was not the light at the end of the tunnel as hoped for.

The company lost $1.2 million in 1997 and $1 million in 1998, but those losses more than tripled to $3.5 million in 1999 with the company in debt. It led to ECW accepting loans from video game partner Acclaim and the WWF. (Turning the Tables, John Lister)

In 2001, HHG filed for bankruptcy and Heyman filed for personal bankruptcy the same year. The assets of ECW would be awarded to the WWE in June 2003 and they more than made back their money through a 2004 DVD release on the history of ECW, a One Night Stand pay-per-view in June 2005, and re-launching ECW the following year.

Heyman began working for the WWE in March 2001 as a replacement for Jerry Lawler and worked alongside Jim Ross throughout the year while also becoming one of the focal points in the Invasion storyline as part of The Alliance.

After the invasion, he was paired with Brock Lesnar as his on-screen manager while maintaining his role on the creative staff and becoming the lead writer of SmackDown.

He had many ups and downs with Vince McMahon and fellow writer Brian Gewirtz with Heyman in and out of favor over the next several years. After being moved to oversee Ohio Valley Wrestling, he was brought back for the re-launch of ECW in 2006, which lasted until December when he was sent home following the disastrous December to Dismember pay-per-view.

He was gone from the company and launched the Looking 4 Larry agency before returning in 2012 to work with Lesnar as an on-screen manager.

Heyman’s last official role in a creative role was as the executive director of Raw in 2019, which lasted for about a year.

Since August 2020, he has been paired with Roman Reigns and The Bloodline.

The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia immediately following SmackDown in the same building over WrestleMania 40 weekend.

About John Pollock 5574 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.