The previous Masked Man article was completely no-sold by the Blog of Doom, most likely because there weren’t any Scott Keith references contained within. But it is worth a read, as it explains in meticulous detail why Paul Heyman is the biggest pro wrestling star in the industry today.
Now I will go a step further and explain when Paul Heyman is, unequivocally, the greatest wrestling manager of all time.
There are generally two men that, based on the breadth of their careers, the large variety of stars they have associated with, and the extent to which they enhanced those stars, are considered in the conversation for being the greatest wrestling manager of all time: Bobby Heenan and Paul Heyman. There is a third that belongs in the conversation that most people reading this post are too young to remember: The Grand Wizard.
All of these managerial geniuses reached their peaks in different eras, so it is difficult to compare and contrast the impact that they had in the traditional manager role. Since they were the best of their eras, and since we have no real way to match them up against each other in a competitive manner, I like to simplify matters and say that they are all on equal footing.
However, in recent years, there are two factors that set Paul Heyman apart from his peers:
1.Both The Grand Wizard and Bobby Heenan were at their peak in eras where managers were the norm. It was an established pro wrestling position to enhance talent, and while these men were the best at what they did, they weren’t really breaking new ground with what they did.
But by 2012, the wrestling manager was an anachronism, tucked away with the wishbone offense, long relievers, and underhand free throws as a relic from a bygone era, killed by the move from bookers to Creative that eliminated the need for a manager to speak for a wrestler because the wrestler’s every word was meticulously scripted and memorized. This in turn made the product so bland that WWE was forced to spend millions of dollars on movie stars and UFC fighters to keep people’s interest.
But the movie star couldn’t stay, and the UFC fighter couldn’t talk. He wouldn’t talk. To save Brock Lesnar’s mystique, to save the last special attraction that WWE had left, everyone dragged Paul Heyman back, kicking and screaming, after being away for the better part of a decade, to bring back the lost art of being a pro wrestling manager.
The Grand Wizard and Bobby Heenan perfected the art of managing. Paul Heyman rebuilt it from scratch and took it to a still higher level than either of them. Because…
2. The Grand Wizard and Bobby Heenan were great at supporting the wrestlers. Paul Heyman has become great at supporting the entire wrestling promotion.
Paul Heyman single-handedly returned Brock Lesnar to beast status. Paul Heyman single-handedly cemented CM Punk’s heel turn, single-handed cemented CM Punk’s face turn, and single-handedly squelched the protest movement once CM Punk left. Paul Heyman single-handedly squeezed value out of the ending of The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak. And finally, Paul Heyman single-handedly closed the flagship show with a ten minute monologue introducing the Summerslam main event. The final RAW spotlight was on a fat Jew running his mouth off…and it was the best thing on TV in months.
In the foreword to Bobby Heenan’s first autobiography, Hulk Hogan said of Heenan “In the wrestling circles, he made sure that, in between the geeks, the freaks, the midgets, and the ladies, his spot didn’t overshadow anyone. He could have – he was so talented. He could have stolen your spotlight at any moment.”
But Bobby Heenan never had to give a 10 minute promo in front of a live audience to hard sell Wrestlemania. Paul Heyman took the main event spot on RAW and used it not to get himself over, but to make John Cena and Brock Lesnar look the most compelling they’ve been in years. More people cheer Cena than ever. More people fear Lesnar than ever. The desperate quagmire of only a couple of months prior has been replaced with mega-anticipation for August 17th.
All because of Paul Heyman.
No promotion has ever relied on a manager to the extent that WWE now relies on Paul Heyman. And no manager has ever delivered to the extent that Paul Heyman does now.
For taking a dead art and elevating it to levels that have never been seen, and never will be seen again, Paul Heyman is the greatest wrestling manager that has ever lived.
This week’s episode of WWE Countdown ranks the top ten greatest factions of all time. Speaking of which, the Greatest Factions DVD set was released this week. Coincidence? The voice over lady says “We list them, you rank them”. Again……that’s the problem. So here is the list presented. I am the messenger of said list, and I do not endorse this list. If it angers you, seek help. It’s a wrestling list! CLICK “READ MORE”!
10. The Heenan Family – Bobby Heenan was one of the more successful managers of the 80’s. Dean Ambrose states that if you’re in the Heenan Family, you had instant credibility. Brodus Clay brings up that Heenan wanted to manage the champion, and Hulk Hogan stood in the way, making him a constant target of the Family. Heenan’s coup was supposed to be Andre the Giant, but we know how that turned out. Cesaro says that Heenan never cheated, he just helped his clients win. Mean Gene says the Heenan Famly is the greatest faction of all time, but they’re only #10 on this list.
9. The Dangerous Alliance – Paul Heyman brought together one of the more talented factions to the forefront. Heyman says that their favorite target was Sting, because Sting was the face of WCW at the time. Of course, Steve Austin was being groomed as the next big star. The Dangerous Alliance held every major title except for the World title.
8. The Nation of Domination – The Nation was memorable because they were controversial. Rocky says that when he joined, he was able to be himself. They show the members in their various less successful incarnations (Papa Shango, Gladiator Faarooq, Olympian Mark Henry, etc). They bring up Rock’s ousting of Faarooq, and Faarooq says that he should have whipped Rock’s ass sooner.
7. The Corporation – This group was borne from Vince McMahon’s need to have guys in his back pocket to carry out his efforts to control everything. Steve Austin was the biggest adversary because of his refusal to cower to The Boss. Vince brought The Rock into the fold because he saw him as a foil to Austin. They bring up Vince’s Royal Rumble win due to the help of the other Corporation members.
6. The Hart Foundation – The group formed during a match between Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, when Bret Hart came out and reunited everyone. This kicked off the excellent Canada vs. USA angle. Dean Ambrose says that was a revolutionary idea. Bret himself says some Americans thought Bret had a good point. No tears in his eyes there, however. Canadian Stampede saw every member of the Hart Foundation get a bigger pop with each individual entrance. One of the hottest crowds ever, in my opinion.
5. Evolution – Three generations came together in one group, with Ric Flair, Triple H , Batista and Randy Orton. Their peak was at Armageddon 2003 when all four won titles in one night. Everyone was banking on Orton being the breakout star of the group. Batista says that before Evolution, he was lacking that credibility he needed. Of course, it all started to go downhill when Orton won his first World title, then Batista felt that Triple H was holding him back. Orton and Batista would go on to become big stars after their stint.
4. The Four Horsemen – Each individual member of the Horsemen was an accomplished wrestler. They considered themselves the elite of the business. With JJ Dillon at the helm, they won title after title. Mean Gene says that one prerequisite to be in the Horsemen was you had to have a strong liver. Rolexes, limousines, fancy suits; the party never stopped. However, they still took care of business, breaking various bones of guys like Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Morton and Nikita Koloff. Should be #1, honestly.
3. The NWO – The goal of the New World Order was to take over WCW. It was the height of the Monday Night War, and when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash showed up, WCW made no bones about WWF stars invading the company. Hulk Hogan revealing himself to be the ringleader was a bombshell that turned the ratings tide to Nitro’s favor. It seemed that every week, people were tuning in to see who would join next. The group became so hated that it became cool to cheer them. NWO merch went through the roof, and a lot of people got rich.
2. The Brood – Dafuq?? Gangrel, the gothic blood-drinking vampire, taking Edge and Christian under his wing. Their entrance was attention grabbing, with them rising from a ring of fire. The bloodbath gimmick came about due to the lack of verbal communication from the group, but they thought they needed a calling card. Eventually, Edge and Christian went on to become huge stars. Gangrel……not so much.
1. D-Generation X – It started out as Shawn Michaels and Triple H acting like a couple of frat boys, enjoying ruffling those feathers. When Shawn Michaels left due to injury, they brought in Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac with Chyna as the straight man. The crotch chop transcended wrestling. When HBK and HHH reunited in 2006, it really became more of a comedy routine every week.
The Post-Game Opinion: The Brood being on the list surprised me. The actual factions that should be on the list are here, but the order is out of whack, as per the usual for this show. I do not have too many complaints with the list other than the Horsemen should have been #1, as they are the bar for all factions to meet. NWO should be #2. Thoughts?
OK, let’s talk about this now, shall we?
– Austin v. Michaels at #1…no way. Hogan slamming Andre is clearly #1, not only on a list of WM moments but of moments in wrestling history all-time.
– John Cena v. Rock II at #7 or whatever it was can suck my ass.
– Hogan-Rock should have been higher still. 70,000 people losing their minds and jumping up and down like little kids at least warrants #3.
– I kind of liked the contrast of Shawn’s career ending, followed immediately by Flair’s career ending.
– The Savage-Liz reunion is insultingly low.
They sure do love them some Shawn Michaels, don’t they?
First thing’s first: if anyone was following the TCW reviews, the reason why you haven’t seen one in the last couple of weeks is due to TCW airing “TCW Classics”, which is basically rerunning their shows from this time last year. My understanding is that production of current episodes has halted for the time being. I have seen the “classics” episodes, and the in-ring product leaves a lot to be desired, so I will return to reviewing the show when new episodes return.
Now, the thread you have all been waiting for. I present to you the Top 5 February PPV Matches of ALL TIME! You, the BoD Universe, had the opportunity to choose the #1 match courtesy of a poll I had posted about two weeks ago. 233 votes were cast, but we did have a clear cut winner; but let’s run down the runners up, shall we, with the Honorable Mention roll.
5. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga – Elimination Chamber Match – No Way Out – 2/17/08.
4. Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair – WrestleWar – 2/25/90.
3. Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader vs. Steve Austin – 4-Man Elimination Match – In Your House: Final Four – 2/16/97.
2. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle – No Way Out – 2/25/01.
1. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell Match – No Way Out – 2/27/00.
Based on voting results, I can see at least one call that people may disagree with in the Honorable Mention roll. To the Top 5, then!
5. Sting/Brian Pillman/The Steiner Brothers vs. Ric Flair/Larry Zbyszko/Barry Windham/Sid Vicious – WarGames Match – WrestleWar – 2/24/91.
WarGames makes the list! This is one of the more notorious ones, thanks to Sid and Pillman.
4. Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar – No Way Out – 2/15/04.
Here we have one of the more feel-good moments in the last 10 years, as Eddie Guerrero finally gets established as a top guy, and reaps the rewards. Brock was headed to infamy as the guy who quit, but we all know that “I quit” in wrestling is never really “I quit”.
3. Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman – SuperBrawl II – 2/29/92.
One of the greatest PPV openers of all time, and it really helped establish Pillman as a good worker, as he hung with Liger the whole way. Not exactly an underrated match, but it certainly is a forgotten one amongst this list.
This was a truly awesome PPV from top to bottom. But the highlight was this match, a masterpiece between two hated rivals. Austin was fresh back from neck surgery, and a Royal Rumble win. Triple H had just gone through 2000 on a famously good run at the top of the card. It gave #1 a run for it’s money for a while, but it’s still a favorite among you, the BoDers.
The BoDers have spoken, and you voted this match #1, with 68 of the 233 votes. The first of a trilogy of classics from Steamboat and Flair in 1989. Steamboat had made a surprise return to the NWA after leaving the WWF after WrestleMania IV and taking time off to be with his family. Flair…..was Flair. A contrast between the family man vs. the jet flying, limousine ridin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, son of a gun.
Thank you for your participation, and we’ll have another list next month for March, where I will break up Wrestlemania between March and April.
The 2014 Royal Rumble is almost upon us, which means we will all soon be looking past that event and watching what will unfold on The Road to WrestleMania. That also means that another month will be here, and the BoD’s monthly feature called The Greatest PPV Matches in (insert month here). I have decided to make this list somewhat interactive, and give you, the BoD Universe, the opportunity to influence my decision-making, by means other than pitchforks and torches, and switchblades and other weapons of influence.
I present to you……the poll. A most diplomatic way to pick a front-runner. The BoD will pick the greatest match in February PPV history, and I will honor that choice. The remaining Top 5 will be decided by myself through study, review and science. The nominees:
|What is the greatest match in February PPV history?|
|Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – Chi-Town Rumble|
|Steve Austin vs. Triple H – No Way Out 2001|
|Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman – SuperBrawl II|
|Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader vs. Steve Austin – In Your House: Final Four|
|Cactus Jack vs. Triple H – No Way Out 2000|
|The Rock vs. Kurt Angle – No Way Out 2001|
|Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar – No Way Out 2004|
|Sting/Pillman/Steiners vs. Flair/Zbyszko/Windham/Sid – Wargames – WrestleWar 91|
|Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair – WrestleWar 90|
|HBK vs. Jericho vs. Triple H vs. J. Hardy vs. JBL vs. Umaga – Elimination Chamber – No Way Out 2008|
|pollcode.com free polls|
First of all, I loved the ending to Raw this week. It was a balls-to-the-wall ending that planted the seeds and foreshadowed things to possibly come. That said, I am not excited for this unification match. The unification of the titles is something fans have looked forward to seeing for years, and the build just hasn’t come close to living up to the hype. It feels like just another PPV main event, to be honest.
Anywho, what is the greatest Orton and Cena match in your opinions? Personally, I have to go with their “I Quit Match” from Breaking Point 2009.
Road-agents and wrestlers sometimes put a lot thought into the match and surprise me with their creativity. That is what happened on this night: They structured out a masterpiece that displayed a strategical plan and in-ring characterizations (two things that lack in modern wrestling imo.)
Santana/Martel: When/did this even properly end?
Hart Foundation/Bulldogs: I know these guys had tons of great matches, but did any of them actually signify "And this feud is over, here is your winners.."
Piper/Flair: Seriously, before/after they decided to not do a Hogan WM8 match for whatever reason, (I've seen them make worse decisions on wrestlers still fighting each other after less than stellar House show reviews), these guys were Golden against each
other on the mic and in the ring. Was RR92 their definitive ending?
I tried to go beyond WWE late 80's/early 90's, but it was my peak of interest, so sue me. Any ones that also really pissed you off? Keep up the good work Mr. Keith
Funk used neck breakers, forearm clubs, piledrivers, and other moves injury Flair’s impaired neck even more. However, Flair retaliated by attacking Funk’s knee, prompting Funk to limp away like a scalded dog. Then, Funk ended up saying those famous five words as the pain from being in the figure-four leg lock had been just too much to endure.
What makes this match so exceptional? Everything. Just absolutely everything.
> Just like you predicted…Stone Cold #1 during Rock/Mankind. Can't argue with many of these choices. Nope. I knew Dolph and Brock would be up there too. The Brock one was amazing, with grown men screaming like tweener girls at a Bieber concert. Hell of a list.
Some REALLY good choices here. Frankly I’m kind of excited to see what they picked for the top 10 next week. If we’re confining it to WWE matches, then I’d have to think Stone Cold’s run-in during the Rock-Mankind title switch is #1 by a wide margin because that was one of the loudest noises of any kind, wrestling crowds or otherwise.
> Enjoy. Oh, Irish whip, how I hate you. JUST STOP RUNNING.