Paul Heyman: Vince McMahon Thought The "Next Big Thing" Nickname Sucked

Paul Heyman on how he partnered with Brock Lesnar.

Since Brock Lesnar entered in the WWE in 2002, he's been accompanied by his manager and advocate Paul Heyman. Seventeen years later, Heyman and Lesnar are still running strong in WWE with Lesnar currently holding the WWE Universal Title.

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Speaking with Inside The Ropes, Heyman took fans back to Lesnar's days in Ohio Valley Wrestling when he first partnered with "The Beast."

[Brock Lesnar] is in the ring [in OVW] as an NCAA Division I Heavyweight Champion and people are saying to him, 'You should be a Russian' [and] 'You should just stand there.' Like he's the Warlord or something. Come on! Are you kidding me? Here's Taz. He goes, 'They're giving you the wrong advice, brother.' Taz brings him to me. I look at Brock and say, 'You realize that if you do what they're telling you, you'll leave here in six months. You want me to talk to Vince about this?'"

Heyman talked with Vince about potentially partnering with Lesnar, which set things in motion. But partnering with Lesnar meant Heyman's original plans had to be changed.

"I was scheduled to come back at WrestleMania X-8 with Chris Benoit," revealed Heyman. "That was set. I went to Vince, two or three weeks before WrestleMania, and I said, 'I'd like to produce Brock Lesnar's matches.' He said, 'Go ahead. Let's see what you can do with him.' I went to Brock and said, 'Pick an opponent.' He picked Funaki and Spike Dudley. He knows what he's doing. He tossed them around and beat the living crap out of them. I went back to Vince and asked, 'What did you think?' [He said], 'Damn this guy is money.'"

Heyman continued, "The night before WrestleMania, we're going over the show. We get to the Benoit match, and Vince mentions nothing. I wait until after the meeting, I look at him and say, 'This thing with Benoit is off?' He goes, 'I think I'm gonna put you with Brock Lesnar.' I said, 'Sure. Give us a little time.' [Vince said], 'You start the day after Mania.' I said, 'Okay. Watch out, though. You know, he's The Next Big Thing.' Vince looks at me and goes, 'God damnit Paul, that nickname would suck.' I have butted heads with Vince McMahon for many years. To his credit, he has been right most of the time. But on that one, I can tell you, I was right."

Heyman and McMahon continue to work hand-in-hand with Heyman recently being named Executive Director of Raw.

You can listen to the entire clip with Heyman in the video above.

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