Throughout history there have been controversial figures. Whether they’re in politics or TV there are number a people who ride the line between genius and radical figure.
In the world of Pro Wrestling Paul Heyman is one of those people; he’s either seen as a mad scientist who created a brand of wrestling that still holds up today or a bad business man who ultimately couldn’t talk his way out of a failing business. Either way, Paul is one of the most important figures in Pro Wrestling for is mind alone.
Now it seems that WWE has interest in telling his story and much like their current batch of documentaries this title is worth the wait.
Ladies and Gentlemen, My name is Paul Heyman is a documentary produced by WWE Home Video.
As you’d expect the film follows the career of wrestling manger and promoter Paul Heyman. The film starts by looking at who Heyman was before wrestling as we see him as a slick business minded kid who watched his parents and learned from their drive and experiences.
Shifting his focus to the world of Wrestling, Heyman soon lies and hustles his way into the wrestling business through getting noticed while working on several wrestling magazines all before the age of 18.
The film then moves to his early Paul E. Dangerously days moving from various promotions like AWA and Jim Crocket Promotions to working and booking Eastern Championship Wrestling. Later promoting it as Extreme Championship Wrestling, Paul takes the company from a small time a Philadelphia bingo hall to Network TV and PPVs.
The rest of the film goes over his various stints in the WWE from starting on the writing staff, to working colour commentary with JR, becoming the lead Smackdown writer to eventually being forced out of the company only to return some years later.
Over the course of the 2-hour documentary, the WWE production team interviews a great deal of Heyman’s former associates and partners; from original ECW owner Todd Gordon and ECW staples Tommy Dreamer, Joey Styles, to his assistant and Ring of Honor founder Gabe Sapolsky, to WWE stars past and present such as the Big Show, Stephanie McMahon, Bray Wyatt and CM Punk, Beth Phoenix.
While most WWE documentaries normally focus on the positive sides of the stories, this one digs a bit deeper into the history of Heyman. While he was one of the greatest wresting minds of the past 30 years, his list of accomplishments are rivalled by his detractors. Whether it was lying to talent or not paying them, Heyman used any method he could to put on a show for the ECW fans that craved the product.
Despite these criticisms it seems that the only ones who speak badly of Heyman is Stephen McMahon as she’s seemingly cast as the heel in this documentary. The rest spend a great deal of time defending him and his actions.
In between these interviews, the WWE library is used a great deal, with several matches and moments from his past used to add visuals to the stories. What’s even more impressive is the collection of unused raw footage from Hardcore TV and personal home videos from wrestlers at the time that show Heyman’s creative process at work.
One of these moments came across well as Raven describes the long production days of Hardcore TV we then cut to footage of Heyman either yelling or cajoling one of his Wrestlers to give a better performance during a promo.
Overall, the documentary is great giving fans a better look at the one behind the one in 21 and one, but there are a few issues with the documentary as a whole.
While Heyman’s interview was done in a comfortable setting (possibly even his own house) the rest are done is a very plain studio setting with a dark backdrop and standard lighting set-up. Despite this being the norm for modern WWE documentaries, several of the interview subjects were shot in odd angles or in the case of Tommy Dreamer slightly out of focus.
Additionally, there was a real lack of negative comments from anyone other than McMahon or Heyman himself. I get the fact that this is his DVD but more context could have been given to build a better story. What we get are around 20 people singing his praises while just two bringing up the negatives of the man and his business choices.
That being said the quality of interviews is high. Little from WWE’s past ECW DVDs is repeated, this time even adding more to the overall ECW story.
Past the documentary, the package features a great deal additional content like full promos from his work in AWA, WCW, ECW and WWE as well as some cut footage from the documentary.
Additionally the Blu-ray has close to an hour and a half of supplemental footage mostly featuring people’s stories about Heyman. Some of these stories are quite funny, such as several ECW employees recounting Paul’s terrible driving to Paul no showing at Joey Styles wedding, but wouldn’t fit the documentary but make the Blu-ray the better package.
In the end, this might be one of the best DVD/Blu-Ray packages that WWE has done in while. The package is on the same level of WWE’s new documentary style first done with the CM Punk package.
If you’re a fan of Heyman, old wrestling or even the modern day product this is a must have. I highly recommend Blu-Ray be in your collection.
Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman was produced by WWE Home Video.