WWE: CM Punk & Paul Heyman's Connection to Ric Flair & Bobby Heenan

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2012

photo by wwe.com
photo by wwe.com

So, CM Punk is a Paul Heyman guy.

No, for real.

On Punk’s way to turning all out heel, he apparently has decided to recruit the one man that so many fans love to, well, love.  Paul Heyman, who is customarily seen at the side of Brock Lesnar, now looks to be in the corner of the WWE champion.  Is it a good fit?  No.

It’s a great fit.

On one side, you have one of the best promo men in the business today, the guy who has the ability to get a reaction, to tell a story, every time he opens his mouth.

And, on the other side, you have a guy who has been doing all that, and a lot more, for nearly 25 years.  Basically, Paul Heyman is the master.

But CM Punk is no pupil, more of a peer, and as we all sit back and brace ourselves for what could possibly happen next week, we should remember to have fun with it.

Because you know they’re going to.

This is perhaps the best pairing of a worker and a manager that we have seen in a very long time, possibly since Ric Flair was placed with Bobby Heenan in 1991.

The circumstances may be a bit different for Punk and Heyman, but in some ways the two situations are very similar.  The reason for this is simple.  Like Ric, Punk doesn’t need any help.

He’s the WWE Champion, quickly approaching a year into his reign.  He is arguably the best on the mic in not only Vince McMahon’s company, but the entire business.  And he could very well be, as his catchphrase suggests, the Best in the World.

The guy works his tail off and can have a great match with anyone on the roster.  Period.

Looking back at Flair’s run with Heenan at his side, I was always of the notion that basically Bobby served one purpose: to get Ric over with the WWE audience.

Though he was known throughout the world, in the house that Vince McMahon built, Ric Flair was that champion from “down south.”

I know, because living in Jim Crockett country myself, we always referred to Hulk Hogan as that champion from “up north.”

Having Heenan provide an assist on the mic allowed Flair to connect with WWE fans who perhaps may not have cared very much about him in the first place.

Bobby’s insane ability to draw heat caused fans to truly hate the Nature Boy from day one.  After all, no matter who the wrestler was, if the Brain was his manager he had to be a bad guy, right?

But once Ric got in the ring, he opened everyone’s eyes who may not have known his work as the living legend that he was.  They recognized Flair’s stature, and over time respect began to build.  

Bobby Heenan got the job done.  And so will Paul Heyman.

Because Punk, like Flair before him, has to get over as a heel.  Attacking Rocky on Raw 1000 was only the beginning, as many fans still considered him a face after that.  Confronting Jerry Lawler the following week did not do much either.

However, kicking Jerry in the back of the head was a good start, as fans began to doubt.  Beating the King down in a cage last Monday, as far as I’m concerned, did the job, as we are now looking at CM Punk as a true heel for the first time in over a year.  But Heyman will take Punk’s heel turn to the extreme.

From heel to super heel in 0.6 seconds.

Some would argue that Heyman is so popular, especially with fans online, that he is loved and respected as much as Punk is.  Not exactly a hated tandem.

But all that matters is the reaction of the live crowd that WWE plays in front of.  And when Heyman talks, they react.  They boo.  They jeer.  They give him everything that one would expect a typical heel manger to receive.  They are, slowly but surely, beginning to give the same reaction to Punk.

And there is no limit to how much these two can do together.  Now, it’s all up to WWE creative to work this angle as best they can, to capitalize on both men’s strengths, and tell a tale that will not only be big, but huge, creating the hot storyline of the year that we have been hearing about for months.

If anyone can help ensure that happens, it is Paul Heyman.  I, for one, cannot wait for it all to unfold. Buckle up folks, this is going to be good.