Inside The Ropes presents…An Evening With Paul Heyman – Review

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Ladies and gentleman, his name is……….

You know his name. You know no one says his name quite like he says it, and if he wasn’t happy with how an affable gent like Kenny introduced him, he won’t be satisfied with how a dick like me does it here, so I won’t bother even disgracing his name by saying it. Apart from all the times I do throughout this review, but listen; That’s one of the pitfalls of writing about a specific thing, referring to it is completely unavoidable unless you write for the Daily Sport where articles are merely there because its probably illegal to print a newspaper that’s exclusively tits and phone numbers that connect you to a service dedicated to talking about tits. We’re getting off topic here, the topic is *gulps* PAAAAAUL HEEEEEYMAN and for 2 hours on Friday night, he and Inside The Ropes provided a show that was for the fans. Whatever they wanted from the show they got from the show, unless they were sitting in the front row interrupting every 5 minutes, although maybe what that guy wanted from the show was to be escorted out the side door for being a dick. Who knows mate. I don’t know the cunt, all I know is that he was a dick and if you go to a show where Paul Heyman is talking about wrestling and thing anything YOU have to say about wrestling is more important than what he’s saying, you’re the worst kind of fanny.

Paul began the show by letting us all in on a wee secret. He was oot his bin. Having spent the morning in Amsterdam he was stoned out his box. Maybe he wasn’t really stoned and it was all just showmanship, but it immediately relaxed the audience and let them know they weren’t in for a show that was going to require a lot of brain power. Paul Heyman was going to have you eating out the palm of his hand for the duration, because that’s what he does. He makes the audience give a fuck no matter what it is and as much as I respected his opinion when he said on more than one occasion that he regards Jim Ross to be the best purveyor of the spoken word ever in wrestling, in my opinion its the self professed “Jewboy with the gravelly voice from New York” simply because he could make ANYTHING sound interesting. If Jim Ross spoke to you for hours on end about his new garden shears, for a while he’d make it good. He’d make you wonder why in the name of fuck you don’t own those garden shears, but an hour in you’d get a wee bit sick of hearing him talk about garden shears because there’s only so many things one can say to make such a thing sound interesting. Paul Heyman is a guy who could leave you feeling like you don’t know ENOUGH about the garden shears. That he should tell you more interesting things about the cerebral process a person goes through when it comes to picking the instrument that trims their bushes (steady) and that’s a skill that cannot be taught. As he told the audience, when people suggest to him that he should work on promos with the talent down in NXT, he would really only have one thing to tell them. An attitude that he embodies with every word that comes out his mouth. Believing in what you say is the key. Nothing else matters apart from that, because if you don’t believe what you’re saying as a performer, how the fuck do you expect your audience to believe it?

This was billed as An Evening With Paul Heyman but what Inside The Ropes really presented to the ABC in Glasgow was a free lesson. For anyone maybe wanting to make a career out of wrestling, or anyone who just wanted to learn a bit more, he was giving out a lesson. At the start of the show he asked the audience if they just wanted to hear him talk or if they wanted all the bells and whistles (video packages etc) and they chose just hearing him talk. That’s no knock on the Inside The Ropes guys who always do a great job of structuring their shows well to make sure the paying punters get the absolute best show possible but in this case, the best show possible is letting Paul Heyman cut a 2 hour long promo on us all. He doesn’t need to be guided towards a good show with structure and even a wee visit from a pal like Scott Steiner was because he’s a different kind of performer. With Steiner the material for a good show was there but needed carefully extracted, but Paul Heyman gives you the material. Paul Heyman is the material.

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He even referred to a former Inside The Ropes guest and the first show of theirs I ever seen personally, the bold Sunny. Sunny’s show for Inside The Ropes wasn’t terrible despite the performer using it as an excuse to promote her book (before telling us the stories we’d need to read in said book anyway) and photos of a burd who she claimed was her “sister” but in reality was definitely some manner of glamour model/hooker, but compared to the standard of their recent efforts, its not one they look back on with a huge amount of fondness, so to have Paul Heyman sitting on that stage, in typical AC Slater chair facing the wrong way (or the right way depending on your perspective) fashion, talking about how his roster pretty much had their way with her one after the other must have been therapeutic. A clear sign that all the hard work that went in to shows like the Sunny one, and the no doubt challenging tour with Steiner was all worth it. The dream was happening there and then. A huge venue sold the fuck out because the show and presentation of it was just that good. Simple. No matter what you pay for an Inside The Ropes ticket, you’ll get your moneys worth. They aren’t ripoff artists running shows with big names and presenting shite formulaic shows for huge amounts of money. They do this because they love it, and that’s the reason Paul Heyman ever agreed to do it in the first place. I’m sure it was a nod from a guy who’s wrestling career started when he blagged his way into a photography gig for WWE towards two guys (and their team) who started a wrestling podcast in their flat and turned it into sold out tours with living legends.

I have a big list of notes from this show. I could paint a picture of how the night was and go over every single detail but to be perfectly honest, it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t resonate as much as it did hearing the words come out of his mouth because when you have art almost painting itself in front of your eyes, no one telling you about it the next day is going to be able to do it justice. That’s what it is. I don’t think I’ve ever applauded anything more than I did when I applauded his words about how wrestling is simple, and as long as you have two wrestlers, a reason they’re fighting and if that reason matters to the paying audience, you have success. Its that simple and it always has been that simple but it gets bogged down by over complication. It gets bogged down by multi layered storylines with subplots and sub-sub plots and even super secret sub-sub-subterranean-submarine plots when in reality all wrestling fans ever want is a reason to give a fuck. That’s why Paul Heyman is seen as a controversial figure, because he knows people believe the words that come out of his mouth and it will evoke a reaction so even if those things might get the average person in trouble, they won’t get Paul Heyman in trouble because the people listening give a fuck, and in wrestling a lot of the time that’s all that matters. Matt Hardy is a prime example of that, having garnered a level of interest for his storyline with Jeff in TNA based on the ridiculously genius way its being presented, he is now pretty much free to do what the fuck he likes because the people care. They care about aerial assault robots and dilapidated boats a lot more than they care about about Wrestler A fighting Wrestler B for a bunch of reasons no one cares enough to properly keep track of.

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He was asked a lot of good questions by the Glasgow crowd which I took some pride in because at time’s we’re dodgy when it comes to that, but the absolute ball he was clearly having when someone asked if he knew ahead of time that Undertaker’s streak was ending was Paul Heyman in his element. No offence to the dude who asked that, but really brah? Of course he did. Its wrestling. He knew because he was directly involved and it would have been fairly stupid not to clue him in, but as soon as the words left that dude’s mouth, the wheels were turning in Heyman’s head. How can I turn this fairly daft question into a way to fuck with hundreds of people, and he did that by presenting a theory without revealing if its true or not. That him, Vince, Brock, Taker and the ref knew about the streak ending in advance, but what if Brock decided to take it? What if Brock Lesnar decided to beat The Undertaker up the point that he could legit get a three count on him and what would the WWE be able to do about it if that happened? Nothing. The streak was too valuable to come out and say what had actually happened, so they’d have to spin it. Play up to it. Make Brock sound like the human decimate-r that he truly is. While he told us things at either end of that “theory” that pretty much confirmed it wasn’t true, he still left us wondering because fucking with hundreds of people at a time is what he does. Fucking with us because its fun and he can and we would all undoubtedly do the same if we were blessed with such a wonderful way with words.

The main thing I took from the way he spoke and the things he said is just a refreshing attitude towards pro wrestling. Most of the time in shows like this you get the impression the person involved is bitter towards wrestling. Blaming it for things that have gone wrong in their lives, attributing it to their personal failures, and you can understand that. Its human nature to lay blame for things away from the source because no one likes to feel like their problems are their own doing, but Heyman didn’t speak like a man who had any ill feeling towards the industry that gave him the platform to do what he does better than anyone. There was no hint of bitterness towards ECW ending, because that’s life. They lost distribution and at a time where the internet wasn’t as big as it is now, that was it. No distribution means no one sees the product and that means its time up. Yer tea’s oot. He wouldn’t change a thing about ECW and is thankful for the amazing run they had and how his crew of misfits were the best thing around for a long time. He then turned to his left and gave a very heartfelt speech to ICW owner Mark Dallas. Recognising him as the only person in that room who was like him. The only person who knows what it is to sink absolutely everything you have to make something work. Every fibre of Paul Heyman’s being was ECW, and the same goes for Mark Dallas and ICW. There’s no clocking in and clocking out. There’s no downtime when you’re driving a runaway train. To hear a legendary figure like Heyman not only endorse a product that is often compared to the one he held so dear, but to endorse the man running it and to THANK him for doing what he does must have been one of, if not the proudest moment in Mark Dallas professional career and a moment he deserved because much like Inside The Ropes themselves, they’ve come a long way in the past few years and the only way that happens is if you burst your arse making it happen.

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There was real regret when he was asked about Cesaro. A talent he has a lot of admiration for but never felt like he got the chance to get the very best out of their pairing because it was pretty much an afterthought and a reason for Heyman to be on TV to continue talking about Brock beating the streak. He spoke of admiration for Nakamura and when asked who he’d like to see Brock Lesnar face in the future, his answer was Nakamura because of course it was. Whether its in a wrestling ring or the Brocktagon, Brock vs Nakamura is money waiting to be made and no amount of dodgy piss samples is ever changing that. He spoke of his admiration for Roman Reigns in front of a crowd who really weren’t having it, but he didn’t give a fuck because he’s Paul Heyman and I’m not just saying this as a fan of Reignsy, but he’s right and your wrong. He called Seth Rollins the best in ring performer in the world right now, and in general his tone was so positive in such an entertaining way it was difficult not to be sucked in by it. Unless you were a heckler you were his friend.  No one person was eviscerated during the course of the 2 hours as much as that dude who was eventually escorted out but along with some playful remarks about Eric Bischoff, Heyman did single out Jerry Lawler for a very real verbal beatdown. When its Paul Heyman delivering it, it doesn’t have to even be any longer than a sentence. That sentence being “Fuck you, and your puppies”

I literally couldn’t have said it better myself mate.

Big thank you to David J.Wilson for the photos I used and to Inside The Ropes for a top drawer show. 

 

 

 

 

 

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