I decided to reorder the WWE Network in preparation for the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania season. The first program I went for was the critically-acclaimed “Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman” documentary.
This almost two-hour piece was heralded by fans and critics as the best documentary the WWE has produced. I came into it expecting Heyman spewing and ranting about the problems with the WWE and why ECW was so great along with wrestlers – Heyman guys – expressing their love for this wrestling genius. What I saw was an honest portrayal of a man who at the core was a human being whose passions are professional wrestling and his family.
The documentary goes through Heyman’s beginnings, his rise through the territories, ECU, Smackdown, ECW on the Sci-Fi channel – or ECW-lite – his fallout with the WWE, his advertising agency and his return to sports entertainment. Heyman also talks about his family. After learning about his parents, it’s easy to see where he gets his drive and passion. Seeing the way he talks about his children was nice because you don’t see a lot of that on television.
What you have in Paul Heyman is a wrestling fan who found several ins and worked his way up. He fell on his rear a few times but he always stood up. I admired his work ethic especially in an age where the most wrestling fans will do is complain on social media about how they will never buy a WWE pay per view again – until the next month. By the end of the documentary, I wasn’t drinking the Paul Heyman juice, but I would recommend that others try it.
The documentary features testimonies from wrestlers who Heyman helped over the years. ECW stars like Tommy Dreamer and Raven reflect on Heyman and the promotion. WWE stars like Edge and the Big Show talk about Heyman’s impact on them during his tenure as head writer for “Smackdown.” Retired wrestlers like C.M. Punk and Beth Phoenix give their Heyman stories on his days at Ohio Valley Wrestling. There are also stories from Heyman’s detractors, who talk about his antics and “personal demons” – something they Heyman brings him – but also acknowledge his passion for the business, his eye for talent and his willingness to help superstars.
I had reservations going into this documentary, but I’m glad I watched it. I don’t necessarily like Paul Heyman the character but I respect Paul Heyman the man.