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Bruce Prichard Explains Who Paul Heyman Helped While Running Smackdown

Posted By Caroline Walsh on 09/06/17

During a recent edition of his podcast (via wrestlinginc.com), Bruce Prichard spoke about who received more favorable booking with Paul Heyman running Smackdown’s creative…

On Heyman Supporting Lesnar in 2002 & Becoming His Mouthpiece: “Paul was a big advocate of Brock Lesnar then, behind-the-scenes. Hell, it was a meal ticket, number one, for him. We didn’t think that Brock could talk. We didn’t think Brock would be able to cut a good promo. We knew what we had as far as the athlete, Brock Lesnar. We knew what we had with ‘The Beast’ and we knew what we had when that bell rang. Brock was going to deliver. He just looks like a badass, but he wasn’t a badass when it came to cutting promos. He needed a mouthpiece, so you take an All-American kid and you put him with a sleazy manager like Paul Heyman, the last person you’d think he’d connect with. And they made a great pair, but Paul lobbied pretty hard for that, to be the mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar. And it was an easy lobby because it made sense. That was a really easy pitch because everybody was on Team Lesnar saying, ‘we need to bring him in – he’s ready to come in, but I don’t know if he’s going to be ready on the promo side’ and Paul cutting his promos for him worked.”

On Heyman Coming Up With ‘The Next Big Thing’ Name: “It was Heyman that coined that phrase, ‘The Next Big Thing’ and that was Brock Lesnar. And as we were talking about what is the next big thing, it was Heyman going, ‘Brock Lesnar’ and Paul pushing for him behind-the-scenes, Paul truly is an advocate for Brock Lesnar.” Prichard continued, “Vince didn’t want Brock to have a manager. He didn’t want an old fashioned wrasslin’ manager. We looked at it from the standpoint of ‘what did we hate most in the [pro wrestling] business?’ Agents, so make Paul an agent and let Paul be Paul. Paul kind of fancied himself as more than a [pro] wrestling manager anyway, so let Paul be Paul.”

On Who Got More of a Push Due to Heyman: “Probably Chris Benoit got pushed more to the forefront and his talents recognized for what he could do inside the ring. Paul was a big proponent of Benoit at that time.” Prichard recalled, “I think that Paul probably looked at Benoit as one of his guys that he pushed and saw a lot in and thought that Benoit should have been so much more and WCW mistreated him. Eddie Guerrero as well and, I’ll go on the other side, as much as Paul pushed Eddie, Paul was vehemently against making Eddie WWF Champion. Hated it, absolutely hated it. I don’t know if it was because Eddie had to beat Brock to get it and Paul wanted to hold onto that mystique. It’s a work, folks, but he did not see Eddie as WWF Champion. And I don’t know if his true feelings were that he didn’t want to lose his meal ticket and Brock being the champion even though Brock was leaving. But, God, he fought us big time: [imitating Heyman] ‘he will never get over on the big stage!’ And Paul was one of the guys who first gave Eddie the stage to be seen in the United States and when nobody would book Eddie, Paul booked Eddie.”

On Who Heyman Supported: “The guys that you would’ve thought Paul, not in cahoots, but that Paul was going to trumpet, those were not the guys that he trumpeted. They really and truly were not.” Prichard mused, “but it’s funny to hear about the guys that you’d think we’re Paul Heyman guys, but just weren’t. Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, RVD, CM Punk, Spike Dudley, Mike Knox. For those of you who may remember Mike Knox, Paul was a huge Mike Knox fan.” Prichard said, “you’d think that the ECW contingent were the guys that Paul was fighting for and they were kind of in a lot of ways the guys that Paul fought against the most.”

On How Heyman Treated The Old ECW Guys: “Paul would be like, [imitating Heyman] ‘you don’t want Sandman – he’s an alcoholic.’ Yeah, and ‘Sabu can only do so much’ [and] ‘Tommy Dreamer’s best days are behind him.'” Prichard continued, The Dudleys, love/hate relationship: ‘they’re so passed their prime – their prime was in ECW – there’s nothing left for them.’ ‘Pete Senercia, don’t make me kick your ass, sir.’ You think I’m kidding on that one, but no. “Paul loved to call Taz ‘Mr. Senercia’ and it was just, again, another love/hate relationship, but Taz felt very comfortable with Paul and Taz never had a problem telling anybody how he felt, so they would kind of go back and forth with each other, but, of course, as soon as Taz would leave, or go outside, or out of earshot, ‘he may find his ass whooped at the end of a Paul Heyman shoe, sir.’ It was just fun.”