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Paul Heyman Recalls First Time Working Commentary With Jim Ross In WCW

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Paul Heyman Recalls First Time Working Commentary With Jim Ross In WCW

Paul Heyman discussed his first time working commentary with Jim Ross in WCW during a recent interview on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast

Here is what he had to say: 

Paul Heyman on whether he was nervous his first time working commentary with Jim Ross at WCW Halloween Havoc 1990: “I was antsy, and I would understand why that would come off as that. I’ve never been nervous walking through the curtain. It’s funny – Ric Flair once made the statement ‘The day you’re not nervous walking before you walk through the curtain is the day you shouldn’t walk through the curtain.’ I don’t know if it’s simply because I’m probably more comfortable in performance mode than I am dealing with just being me, but I’ve never been nervous going through the curtain, and the day I’m nervous going through the curtain is the day I shouldn’t go through. I can certainly understand why I gave that impression to Jim Ross and how it could be categorized that way. I most likely, if not definitely, drove him up an f’n wall on that day because he’s so professional and hyper prepared going out for the broadcast. I had never witnessed anybody that did it the way that he was doing it. I also know just how on his game he was when he was on the air…….I was also coming off a period where at 25 years old, I had stopped managing, and anything I do I go all in – I can’t do anything half-ass. So, at the time, the concept was I would never manage again. I was gonna be a commentator for the rest of my career.

“To walk away from how I broke into the industry and to sit next to – people usually get diplomatic and say arguably, but I don’t think it’s arguably – the single greatest play by play announcer this industry has ever heard. Ross was on a roll, and again, another person who had something to prove because he had just moved over three years earlier from Bill Watts. Ross had a mission to be the best, and if I wasn’t absolutely, positively on top of my game, it’s not that he would’ve gobbled me up on the air because that would’ve been unprofessional. I had to learn from him, but I couldn’t put him in a position where he had to carry me like I’m some dumbass rookie. To go out there and put the headsets on and take an opposing view from Jim Ross……all I knew was I had to rattle him, had to piss him off, and I had to take him out of his comfort zone, which would not be easy. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I also knew if I failed, I had just walked away from being a manager, and now I’m put in a position where I’m the best candidate for the job as a commentator. So, I knew I better be No. 1 coming out of the blocks.

On who he studies to be a better pro wrestling manager: “I’ve learned from Bobby Heenan, I’ve learned from all of them. I’ve learned from guys who weren’t even good managers. I’ve learned from everybody. I watch everything I can – I have a voracious appetite for watching what other people do and saying ‘That’s interesting, I wonder how that can be incorporated into what I do.’ I don’t limit it to just people in sports entertainment/professional wrestling. It goes to acting, it goes to theater, it goes to sports, it goes to non-sports announcing – I don’t close to my eyes to being influenced by or learning from anybody.

H/T to 411 Wrestling