By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
Wrestling Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin interviewed wrestling manager Paul Heyman for his podcast on the WWE Network on June 2 after Monday Night RAW went off the air.
The two briefly went over their history together in the wrestling industry, Heyman first met Austin when both men were working in World Championship Wrestling. Heyman said that Austin caught his attention immediately because when we went out to run the ropes, he hit them harder that anyone Heyman had ever seen.
“You came in and your stuff looked like a fight,” Heyman said.
Heyman was so impressed that after seeing Austin run the ropes he pressed WCW management to allow him to bring Austin into his wrestling stable, The Dangerous Alliance. The Dangerous Alliance was set up to be a new version of the four horsemen built around wrestling legend Rick Rude, and Austin was a part of a new generation that he wanted to incorporate into the group.
As the two discussed Heyman’s history of managing various wrestlers over the years, Austin asked Heyman when fans can expect to see his client Brock Lesnar back in the realm of World Wrestling Entertainment. Heyman joked that Lesnar will come back “whenever he damn well pleases” before admitting that he will be back soon.
Heyman said that Brock is a man’s man. He is a farmer and a hunter, and when he isn’t wrestling he hunts on his property. When Lesnar made money through his career in WWE or his career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he invested that money to buy more farmland.
“No matter how big he gets he goes back to being a farmer and a hunter because that’s who he really is,” Heyman said.
Heyman touched upon the rumors that Lesnar considered returning to the world of mixed martial arts earlier this year when his WWE contract was expiring. It was explained that Lesnar was prepared to go back to UFC if he couldn’t reach an agreement on money with WWE. Lesnar was torn on what decision to make at the time, as he had an enjoyable run conquering The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania and decimating John Cena at the 2014 Summerslam event.
Both men explained that the fans don’t realize how much Lesnar loves the business of WWE. They discussed the fact that Lesnar only works as a part-timer, and that that fact bothers some of the fans.
“He loves the business but he loves his children more,” Heyman said. “His children need a father more than WWE needs him.”
Heyman went on to explain that Lesnar’s limited schedule also makes him a hot commodity. He compared it to Christmas, and said that if Christmas happened 365 days a year it wouldn’t be as special as it is when it is only one day out of each year.
It was also explained that a part of why Lesnar and Heyman work so well and have so much chemistry is because of their real life friendship outside of the ring. Heyman felt that this is part of the reason why other wrestlers haven’t been as successful with him as a manager, explaining that it’s always Lesnar’s guy with another person.
“The one person it worked with was [CM] Punk because we had a friendship,” Heyman said.
Between October 2012 and April 2013 — and briefly in June 2013 — Heyman was the manager of then-WWE Champion CM Punk. Heyman said that he enjoyed his run with Punk because he played a different character than the character he played when he was with Lesnar. With Lesnar, Heyman was his mouthpiece and did most of the talking. However, with Punk he was more in the background.
Austin asked Heyman if he still talked to Punk, as Punk has kept himself out of the public eye for the most part since he walked out on WWE in January 2014. Heyman confirmed that he texts him every day, but that they never talk about business.
In December 2014, Punk announced that he had signed a contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship and will fight as a professional mixed martial artist.
“I don’t think money is the motivating factor in CM Punk’s life whatsoever. I think it’s the challenge to do this,” said Heyman.
As the conversation transitioned from MMA holds to wrestling holds, Austin asked about the state of certain maneuvers. They discussed how moves that were used as finishers in the past are used liberally every week on RAW.
Austin explained that Harley Race used a suplex, Rocky Johnson won matches with a dropkick, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts won his matches with a DDT. Both men discussed how the maneuvers are becoming more and more complex.
“Are guys overworking themselves?” Austin asked.
Heyman said that wrestlers could get a move over if they consistently use it. He gave a theory in which a big wrestler like Mark Henry could utilize a basic headlock. He said that if the announcers made it sound devastating and the wrestler in the hold writhed in pain that a wrestler could get that move over.
The two men also discussed the art of cutting a promo in the wrestling business. Austin told Heyman that he is a promo master and always had the gift of gab. However, Heyman told a story of a time when a promo went wrong.
In his WCW days, Heyman was given four minutes at the end of the show to cut a promo. He explained that he promoted the stars and talked about almost every possible subject, but he didn’t promote the upcoming Starrcade Pay-Per-View event.
“The question to ask is where’s the money,” said Heyman.
Heyman explained that in the present day he makes sure that he promotes the product while also engaging with the fans. The example he gave was the way that he says “Brock Lesnar” in a vicarious way whenever he introduces Lesnar. He also discussed how for an entire summer his only line was that Brock Lesnar broke The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania.
The two men discussed The Ultimate Warrior, and how while some people didn’t like his promos both Austin and Heyman enjoyed the promos. Ultimate Warrior would endorse his own character while engaging the fans, rather than simply saying that he would beat someone up. They also discussed the energy and charisma that is required when giving a promo on live television.
“It’s not just about content, it’s how you’re saying it,” Austin said.
Austin and Heyman proceeded to share old road stories as Vince McMahon began to tell Austin in an earpiece that they needed to wrap it up. Heyman asked Austin if he would face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 32 in Texas, and Austin teased that he would think about it. Austin said that if it did happen it would have to be a Texas deathmatch, but it is highly unlikely.
“The only way that match will happen is if all the stars in the universe aligned,” Austin said.