Paul Heyman Discusses First Doing Commentary with Jim Ross, more

Nov 14, 2020 - by James Walsh

Photo Credit: WWE

In a recent interview on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Paul Heyman discussed his first time working commentary with Jim Ross in WCW, who he studies to be a better manager, and much more. You can read his comments below.

Paul Heyman on whether he was nervous his first time working commentary with Jim Ross at WCW Halloween Havoc 1990: “I was antsy, and I would understand why that would come off as that. I’ve never been nervous walking through the curtain. It’s funny – Ric Flair once made the statement ‘The day you’re not nervous walking before you walk through the curtain is the day you shouldn’t walk through the curtain.’ I don’t know if it’s simply because I’m probably more comfortable in performance mode than I am dealing with just being me, but I’ve never been nervous going through the curtain, and the day I’m nervous going through the curtain is the day I shouldn’t go through. I can certainly understand why I gave that impression to Jim Ross and how it could be categorized that way. I most likely, if not definitely, drove him up an f’n wall on that day because he’s so professional and hyper prepared going out for the broadcast. I had never witnessed anybody that did it the way that he was doing it. I also know just how on his game he was when he was on the air…….I was also coming off a period where at 25 years old, I had stopped managing, and anything I do I go all in – I can’t do anything half-ass. So, at the time, the concept was I would never manage again. I was gonna be a commentator for the rest of my career.

“To walk away from how I broke into the industry and to sit next to – people usually get diplomatic and say arguably, but I don’t think it’s arguably – the single greatest play by play announcer this industry has ever heard. Ross was on a roll, and again, another person who had something to prove because he had just moved over three years earlier from Bill Watts. Ross had a mission to be the best, and if I wasn’t absolutely, positively on top of my game, it’s not that he would’ve gobbled me up on the air because that would’ve been unprofessional. I had to learn from him, but I couldn’t put him in a position where he had to carry me like I’m some dumbass rookie. To go out there and put the headsets on and take an opposing view from Jim Ross……all I knew was I had to rattle him, had to piss him off, and I had to take him out of his comfort zone, which would not be easy. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I also knew if I failed, I had just walked away from being a manager, and now I’m put in a position where I’m the best candidate for the job as a commentator. So, I knew I better be No. 1 coming out of the blocks.

On who he studies to be a better pro wrestling manager: “I’ve learned from Bobby Heenan, I’ve learned from all of them. I’ve learned from guys who weren’t even good managers. I’ve learned from everybody. I watch everything I can – I have a voracious appetite for watching what other people do and saying ‘That’s interesting, I wonder how that can be incorporated into what I do.’ I don’t limit it to just people in sports entertainment/professional wrestling. It goes to acting, it goes to theater, it goes to sports, it goes to non-sports announcing – I don’t close to my eyes to being influenced by or learning from anybody.

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