Posted July 12th, 2016 by 1Wrestling News Team

Bethnal Green, London.

A sold out crowd of 500+ gathered in London’s York Hall to be treated to quite
the history making event as the advocate for Brock Lesnar and creative genius
behind ECW Paul Heyman held court in what was billed by Heyman himself as his
first ever Q&A session in front of an audience. From the start it was made clear
by the promoters (who are from previous personal experience a well organised
outfit) that essentially the format for the evening had been thrown out in it’s
entirety by a clearly enthusiastic Heyman who was in rebellious mood. After
giving HIMSELF a full promo style introduction as the advocate of the “beast
incarnate” Brock Lesnar, he was asked to reflect on Lesnar’s recent UFC 200
success. Heyman admitted he had been very nervous about the outcome given the
incredible one punch knockout power that Mark Hunt was capable of, and he
labelled it the “worst styles clash possible”. He did however note that it was
an opportunity that Brock relished, and that he had ultimate faith in Brock’s
abilities saying that it was clear the option for Brock to continue on in UFC
all the way to title is a plausible one at this point. In what would become a
theme for the night Heyman insisted that if he wanted to carry on in UFC and
become the champion, he could because “Brock Lesnar does, whatever Brock Lesnar
wants to do”. Regarding Lesnar’s upcoming match with Randy Orton at SummerSlam
he expressed the sentiment that despite the dominance of Lesnar, Orton was
clearly not going to return after such a long hiatus just to be treated like a
punching bag for Brock, and he insisted (despite some audience members protest
to the contrary) that Mark Hunt had been only one big punch away from a victory
at UFC 200, and similarly Randy Orton was “only one RKO away from a victory” at
SummerSlam. Later on in the evening Heyman touched upon the much discussed idea
that Brock may yet become both the UFC and WWE champion simultaneously, saying
it would “behoove Vince McMahon” to put the WWE title on Brock if he did in fact
pursue and win the UFC title, given the revenue that would generate for all

A variety of other subjects were covered including a 2002 meeting on Vince
McMahon’s private jet between himself, Vince, Michael Cole, Tazz and an unnamed
WWE “producer” who openly dismissed the idea that Cole & Tazz would call the
Smackdown main event of SummerSlam that year between Brock Lesnar and The Rock,
calling the commentary duo (present at the meeting) “the B team”. Heyman took
this as a challenge and spent countless hours with Cole & Tazz re-dubbing
commentary after Smackdown tapings, as part of his effort at that time to prove
that Raw was the B show compared to Heyman’s version of the of the blue brand.
He extolled the virtues of long term booking insisting you should always “book
the finish first” in any feud, and then work backwards across the weeks and
months from there.

He spoke passionately about ECW discussing the companies first PPV and the
infamous power outage that immediately followed the show seconds after the
broadcast ended, describing the company as a “religion”, and that moment as
being a religious experience that was the closest feeling he had ever to some
sort of divine presence. He recounted a story from the WWE produced One Night
Stand PPV where he noted that up until that point only Vince had ever been
allowed to work the headsets in the Gorilla position, yet Vince allowed him to
produce the show on headset that night whilst Vince sat next to him. He
described the moment he returned to Gorilla from the emotional speech he had
given in the ring, only to then witness what he felt was his “ultimate Sandman
memory” as Sandman entered to his Metallica theme fuelling a raucous and wild
sing along from the ECW faithful in attendance. A moment which Paul said brought
him to tears. He then nudged Vince who was eating a protein bar at the time to
draw his attention to the passion that was pouring from the crowd, telling him
“That’s ECW”. This resulted in Vince entering into a small sing along of “Enter
Sandman” with a mouth still stuffed full of protein bar! He also touched upon
how an out of court legal settlement following his dismissal from WCW was so
lucrative it was the very thing that allowed him to run ECW for the next 7 years
without ever actually getting paid.

High praise was dished out for the person he described as “the greatest talker
in the history of the business” and his mentor when it came to learning
commentary, Jim Ross. He mused on the incredible intangible appeal of Steve
Austin, referred to Bobby Heenan as “the greatest manager of all time”, noting
this is why he insists on being called an “advocate”, as he feels he could never
be the greatest manger of all time (as he wouldn’t be able to top Bobby’s
achievements) so he decided to become the first ever advocate. He discussed his
rivalry with Jim Cornette noting that “Cornette would rather wrestling was the
way it used to be”, Heyman insisted “it will never be the way it used to be” and
Heyman himself seemed at ease generally across the evening with the ideas and
ethos of the new / current wrestling landscape. He emphasised this when an
audience member used the word “Rivalry” to describe what used to be known as a
“feud” in the business, claiming that the dominance of Vince’s PG era is so
complete that terms such as “feud” (which is on Vince’s list of banned words)
had been replaced in fans minds with a phrase like “rivalry” alongside a whole
other set of wrestling vernacular now replaced by the modern PG era terms.

As is usual in a UK Q&A, the “Will WrestleMania come to London?” question was
posed, and Heyman mentioned he had pitched Mania in Japan around the time of the
Network starting, thinking the Network would lift a lot of the restrictions on
an overseas Mania. His opinion was that London is a possibility in the next 5
to 10 years, citing the very UK heavy crowd that attends WrestleMania and the
post Mania Raw. He sensibly pointed out that with so many passionate UK fans
willing to spend so much on flights and hotels to attend each year, surely WWE
should just bring Mania to the UK so UK fans could save those big sums of money
and instead give it to WWE at the merchandise stand etc.

He discussed CM Punk’s willingness to take risks and how it was his willingness
to take those risks (risks that could potentially get him fired) that turned a
performer whom WWE “didn’t want” and “didn’t like” into the longest reigning WWE
champion of the modern era, something they both laugh about to this day. Paul
added that anyone scared to take those risks would be in the mid card for life,
but those that did successfully take those creative liberties would make
themselves the centre of attention for WWE fans and somewhat un-fireable even if
they had gone against the tight constraints of the WWE creative process.
Speaking of the “creative process”, Heyman offered up a fascinating and rather
intriguing theory about the moment Lesnar broke the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania
streak. Fashioning one of the best promos I have ever seen in person, Paul
questioned whether there really was a “creative process”, and asked how did we
really know it wasn’t just Brock Lesnar’s decision to do whatever he wanted on
the night, musing that Lesnar “dropped The Undertaker on his head and hooked his
leg” with the intention of breaking the streak essentially without permission.
The idea being that Lesnar knew that if he pinned The Undertaker on a live
WrestleMania, he would essentially be “un-fireable” and would cement his spot at
the top of WWE because they wouldn’t ever fire the man that broke streak and
indeed they would need to exploit his status as the 1 in 21 and 1. Heyman
brilliantly weaved a convincing tale around this idea that clearly made those in
attendance at least pause for thought as to whether he had just let us in on a
backstage secret.


Amongst those in attendance were former WCW & WWE Cruiserweight champion
Juventud Guerrera, who donned his mask during the show and received a warm
ovation, as did UK star Marty Scurll, and another notable UK wrestler who
received the surprise of his young life when Paul Heyman invited him onstage.
The wrestler in question was the currently much hyped star of the UK scene and
New Japan Pro Wrestling performer, Will Ospreay. Set to wrestle WCW legend Vader
in the same room in a matter of weeks from now, initially the 23 year old
Ospreay was just excited by the high praise Heyman offered to him by Heyman in
front of the capacity crowd (he was referred to by Heyman as an “innovator”
amongst other plaudits). His excitement quickly turned to disbelief however as
Heyman handed him his “personal business card” so he could put in him in touch
with his attorney who could offer him immigration advice. This was the
pre-cursor to Heyman producing a fully fledged Evolve wrestling contract from
the inside pocket of his jacket which Heyman had seemingly brought on the direct
instruction of Evolve’s Gabe Sapolsky. This drew gasps of shock from the
audience in attendance and Ospreay was visibly moved to tears at this
extraordinary unexpected offer. Heyman added he “shouldn’t answer now”, and the
contract was not about stopping him from wrestling in New Japan, or indeed they
wouldn’t stand in the way of any offer from NXT. Paul then continued by looking
to the front row at Marty Scurll and informed him “you are next”! Heyman
finished the night by walking across the auditorium floor to get amongst the
audience and film the opening to one of his “Heyman Hustle” You Tube shows
ending the evening to a standing ovation. It was an extraordinary performance
from the master orator Heyman in his first ever Q&A, which was capped off by an
incredibly emotional climax that won’t soon be forgotten… but like Paul says,
“book the finish first”!

Review by Henron Sound

Category: Wrestling.

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