Paul Heyman has been in the wrestling business for over 30 years, and he is deservedly considered one of the greatest minds that the industry has produced.
AEW's Jim Ross shared his experiences working with Paul Heyman during the latest edition of the 'Grilling JR' podcast on AdFreeShows.com.
Jim Ross said that Paul Heyman was the ideal person to replace Jerry Lawler and that he was familiar with Heyman's work as they were colleagues in their early WCW days. JR revealed that he helped Paul Heyman land his first gig on national television despite the booking team not being a big fan of Heyman.
"It was a different presentation. You know, Jerry was, at that point in time, we'd been together so long that the angst, the dynamic between the heel and the babyface announcer was kind of passé. Not passé in the sense that the concept didn't work anymore because it worked with Heyman and I. But the Lawler dynamic had changed over the years. Then Stacy Carter got let go, Lawler left in somewhat of a protest, you know. To me, Heyman was the logical successor. I'd worked with Paul in WCW, you know, and I helped him get his first real TV gig on national television because the booking committee didn't want to work with him."
Jim Ross admitted that while Paul Heyman was an "a** " to him sometimes, the legendary manager's talent usually outshined his controversial personality. Ross noted that Paul Heyman knew exactly what he was being paid to do. JR had a wonderful time working alongside Paul Heyman, and he is proud of their work as a unit.
"He was a pain in the a** to them, and sometimes he was a pain in the a** to me, but he was so talented that he knew how to, he knew his role, and did a good job. So, I enjoyed working with Paul, and I see all the time on social media that Paul Heyman and myself were their favorite team."
Jim Ross and Paul Heyman didn't have a long run together as a commentary duo in the WWE, and JR believes the alliance would have stood the test of time had it been given a lengthier stint.
"We weren't together that long, but if we'd been together longer, I think that might have stood the test of time. But I truly enjoyed working with him. He is just so damn smart, and he gets it."
JR praised Paul Heyman's awareness of the business and said that Heyman knew how to be the perfect antagonist. Heyman has often been commended for putting over other talents with his microphone work, and Jim Ross highlighted this invaluable trait of the SmackDown personality.
"He knew what the hell he was doing. And he was a really good antagonist because sometimes the best antagonists, Conrad, are the villains that say things that you know are true, but you just don't want to hear them, and Heyman had the ability to tell them his version anyway or the truth possible. He just wasn't a heel getting himself over. He got talent over, and he did a great job."
Jim Ross recalls doing commentary with Paul Heyman at WrestleMania 17
Jim Ross said he was happy to see Paul Heyman still performing at the highest level as Roman Reigns' manager.
JR would recollect providing commentary for the matches at WrestleMania 17 (X-Seven) with Paul Heyman and how uneasy they were heading into the pay-per-view.
JR and Heyman realized what was at stake, and their goal was to deliver memorable performances. Jim Ross was satisfied with what he and Paul Heyman accomplished that night, and he lauded Heyman's contributions.
"Obviously, he is still doing a great job as the mouthpiece for Roman Reigns and so forth. But, it was a good experience. I think we were both a little apprehensive going into that show. We knew we had to deliver. It wasn't. 'Well, we'll be okay. We'll get through it.' That's bull**** to me. I don't want to get through something. I want to make it good. And so, we got through it alright, obviously! But I think it was better than getting through it; we did a good job that day. He did a really good job. I'm proud of working with him."
Do you think the pairing of Jim Ross and Paul Heyman ended way too soon in the WWE? Where would the team rank amongst the greatest commentary groups of all time? Sound off in the comments section below.
Please credit Grilling JR and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.