Paul Heyman explains why he feels WWE's absolutely in the right to script their talent.
Many people feel that nobody can touch Paul Heyman on the microphone. In his 2014 WWE documentary release, Paul Heyman said that while he is afforded the opportunity to speak without being scripted, he views every performance as a trial run because if he screws up one time, he will lose his privilege of being able to speak without being scripted.
Speaking on the Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch, Paul Heyman discussed how his verbal freedom is more the case now than ever and folk glowingly about the effort everyone puts into the Talking Smack WWE Network series.
“I dare suggest it's more the case now than ever before especially on Talking Smack. We put a lot of effort into that show. Kudos to the performers, by the way, who raise their game on that show and trust me enough to open up when they're in that chair sitting next to me and props to Kayla Braxton for simply surviving me, let alone tolerating me.”
Shifting his focus from his duties on Talking Smack to WWE as a whole, Paul Heyman spoke about the multiple billion-dollar deals that WWE has on the table and how they cannot afford to allow any one person to ruin that multi-generational effort to grow the business to such a degree.
“As for other performers, that, again, is something without a perfect answer. Vince McMahon owns a content creation conglomerate that now has on the table and in application, three separate billion-dollar deals, and I'm sure he's working on more. Knowing Vince, he is probably trying to envision the first trillion-dollar content output deal. There is a billion-dollar deal for Fox television for SmackDown. There is a billion-dollar deal with NBCU for Monday Night Raw and there is now a billion-dollar deal with Peacock for the domestic streaming rights to WWE Network. When you have such deals, you have to protect those deals from someone else screwing them up.”
Heyman continued, “So, if Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. X goes out to the ring and on live television or a livestream says something that is egregiously wrong and it gets through or it said in front of all these witnesses and it causes a major scandal, and cancel culture or not, deservedly gets WWE thrown off of fox or NBCU or Peacock and blows a billion-dollar deal, who is to blame besides Vince McMahon for not saying, ‘I want to know what this person is going to say before they say it?’ Peaky Blinders is not streamed live no. It's filmed. You know what these characters are going to say. Better Call Saul is not streamed live. It's not a Broadway play that then goes live to the universe where someone can say something so controversial, whether it is QAnon or a left-wing conspiracy, it doesn't matter. We don't leave ourselves open to someone screwing multi-generation lifetimes of work to get to where we are.
“Therefore, if someone walks out to the ring, Vince McMahon has the right to know exactly what that person is going to say. Otherwise, he is jeopardizing the shareholders' right to a return on their investment hoping and counting on the chairman to maintain control in a creative environment which can always go wrong. Look at the trouble the NBA is having with the controversies that are arising out of the social views of some of their top stars. Whether their top stars are right or wrong, the NBA is suffering the backlash of what some people and what some top stars are feeling in their hearts. Look at the trouble the NFL has had in dealing with the social ramifications, political viewpoints, and social viewpoints I've some of their teams' top players and even some of their teams' secondary players, whether they're right or wrong is not what I'm discussing. What I am discussing is, there are ramifications of all things that are said and done, and WWE, as a scripted performance that allows some improv, tries to keep control of that environment.”
At WrestleMania, Paul Heyman will have the opportunity to address a live audience on the microphone for the first time since March 2020 when he accompanies Roman Reigns to the ring as Roman Reigns defends his WWE Universal Title against Daniel Bryan and Edge in the main event of the second night of WrestleMania.
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