WWE: 7 Innovations Paul Heyman Did That Changed Wrestling
7. The Heyman Guys
While the term has become popular in recent years thanks to a certain 'pipebomb' it is not a recent happening. The obvious candidates are of course Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. They are undeniable successes of the modern era and are both history makers in their own rights, but they are well chronicled Heyman successes and there are so many more 'Heyman Guys' out there that show how he changed the face of wrestling. Starting back in WCW as Paul E. Dangerously, Heyman had two stand-out guys. Ravishing Rick Rude and Stunning Steve Austin. Rude had been Intercontinental Champion under Bobby Heenan in the WWE and continued to exceed in WCW where he won the United States Championship and had some of the finest rivalries of his career against the likes of Sting and Ricky Steamboat. Austin was a relatively new face but captured the Television Championship under Heyman's tutelage. It was in ECW though that Heyman would have the biggest effect on Austin's career, as Austin credits him with "finding the 'Stone Cold' within" during his excellent interviews with the company. Another former WCW man that gives endless credit to the ECW boss is Mick Foley. Ending up in ECW as a result of Heyman's legal disputes with WCW, Foley had a glorious two year run with the company where he showed himself to be more than ready for the biggest possible stage with truly standout promos before he would end up signing with WWE as Mankind. Before any of that Heyman debuted a 24 year old Bam Bam Bigelow to the world, giving him his first professional wrestling match on a heavily media attended event featuring Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes. In ECW he also handed out big debut opportunities to the likes of Taz, Joey Styles, The Public Enemy and Rob Van Dam all of whom Heyman himself describes as 'Heyman Guys'. Taz and RVD weren't viewed as marketable by the Big Two and Public Enemy and Styles were receiving their first opportunities to make it on a big stage. Heyman went to bat for Styles in particular, telling his pay-per-view carrier that he wouldn't run their first PPV event without Styles as solo commentator. Once Heyman reached WWE he continued to create stars. He revived the Big Show's career in late 2002, as head of OVW he encouraged Mike Mizanin to be himself and began the path to unleashing The Miz upon the world and he had a major hand in the future success of 'The SmackDown Six'. Comprising of Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie and Chavo Guerrero, Edge and Rey Mysterio the six men took the tag division by storm, even resulting in the 2002 match of the year, and would each go on to become World Champions (if WWE's ECW Championship counts for Chavo). Some of these men had previously been exposed to American audiences by Heyman in ECW, but more on that later.