Paul Heyman Reveals He Never Wanted To Be On WWE TV

Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman has revealed that he was never meant to be on WWE television when he joined the company in 2001 but when Vince McMahon needed a favor that all changed.

Paul Heyman has been a featured talent in the wrestling world for the best part of forty years but when his ECW promotion was in the midst of closing down, Heyman looked to be settling down for a backstage role in WWE but Jerry Lawler quit the company and plans changed.

Speaking on the Tetragrammaton podcast with Rick Rubin, Paul Heyman revealed that Vince McMahon asked him to replace Lawler on commentary and when McMahon asked, Heyman was in no position to say no:

“I came to WWE and my first thing I said to Vince (McMahon) in coming in the door was, ‘I don’t wanna be on television. I’m 35, I had my fun. I wanna be behind the scenes only’ and then the whole thing happened with they fired Jerry Lawler’s wife and Jerry Lawler quit and I wasn’t supposed to get into WWE until WrestleMania because I was too busy dealing with the ridiculous amount of legalities of what was the pending ECW bankruptcy.

“So I’m going into a personal bankruptcy and a corporate bankruptcy and I’m jumping into WWE and I cut my deal to come in behind the scenes and I get a call from Vince on a Tuesday and he says, ‘Are you aware that Jerry Lawler quit last night?’

“And I said, ‘Yeah. I heard the whole story. I’m sorry to hear that’ and says, ‘Well I’m gonna need a little bit of a favor from you’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m not really in a position to turn down a favor from you in this moment. My company’s gone. I’m entering bankruptcy and you’re offering me a lifeline in life. So the answer to the favor is yes. Now please tell me what I’m doing’ and he says, ‘Need you to start on commentary next Monday night’ and I’m like, oh my God. I’m back on television.

“That’s exactly where I don’t wanna be and then of course I realized, well, I get to play with Jim Ross a little bit. I always liked being Jim Ross’ color commentator and you know, if I’m gonna have to do anything in the public eye anymore, replacing Jerry Lawler on Raw is not a bad way to debut. That’s a pretty iconic position. That’s what today, we would refer to as relevant.”

Jerry Lawler returned to WWE by November 2001 and Paul Heyman was fired from his commentary role as a result of his place in the Alliance during the Invasion storyline. However, it was just a few short months later that the wrestling business changed forever as Heyman re-emerged with the next big thing, Brock Lesnar.

h/t POST Wrestling