He first arrived on the WWE scene in 2001 as a color commentator, but since then, Paul Heyman has been so much more than a man who simply calls the action for the company.
Sure, he had a pretty notable commentary role at one point, when he commentated on the culmination of The Invasion storyline alongside Jim Ross. However, from that moment on, it was almost all management for Heyman.
And 12 years on from that first foray into management with WWE, when he took control of Brock Lesnar's affairs, Heyman has become part of the framework of the company. He is one of the most recognizable and controversial guys on the roster, and he has elevated fast to legendary status.
There are only a few managers who can hold that accolade next to their name deservedly—people like Bobby Heenan and Jimmy Hart, for example. However, such is Heyman's impact on WWE that he deserves to be named the finest manager in the history of the company.
In an era where managers have become almost redundant, or at least, any worthwhile ones have, Heyman is the shining light in a sea of darkness.
For starters, you just need to take a look at the kind of guys he has worked alongside.
The predominant example of a Heyman "guy" is, of course, Lesnar. He assumed control of Lesnar in March 2002, and by August, Lesnar was the WWE Undisputed Champion. However, Heyman quickly turned his back on Lesnar to manage the Big Show, who quickly became champion under Heyman's management.
It wasn't long before Heyman became the first man to manage three successive World Champions. After Kurt Angle defeated Big Show for the championship, it was quickly revealed that Heyman was his manager, too.
A return to ECW followed, with an intermediary spell managing The Dudley Boyz and Heidenreich, before he finally came back to WWE in 2012.
His defining moment in management though was surely his spell in charge of CM Punk. It was brilliantly put together so that Punk's heel turn was slowly gathering momentum before it exploded when he aligned with Heyman. The fact Heyman could generate so much heat on a newly turned Superstar justifies exactly how huge he is to the company.
Records tumbled as Punk and Heyman's alliance went from strength to strength—and we all know how long Punk had the WWE Championship around his waist. You would assume that one such reason for the longevity of the reign—although not the biggest reason—was Punk and Heyman's excellent on-screen relationship.
Even when that relationship ended, it was done in such a way to transform the wrestler at the disadvantage of Heyman. Punk turned face once again, and Heyman continued to play an incredibly strong role on screen—even without a significant client to speak of.
There was even Curtis Axel. He quickly went from NXT reject to Intercontinental Champion under Heyman's control. None of these examples are coincidences.
Heyman has the one big trait all great managers should have: the ability to talk. Most recently, the promo he cut on The Undertaker whilst Taker stood in the ring was excellent, and it justified just how great Heyman can be.
Heyman managed to boost the hype for Lesnar vs. The Undertaker in that promo without one of the guys actually being in the arena. That is the sign of a man who knows exactly what he is doing.
A second straight WrestleMania feud against The Undertaker—the biggest and most important guy in WrestleMania history—once again underlines just how important Heyman is in the current WWE landscape. When the history books are written, Heyman's name should be at the top of the tree when it comes to managers. He is one of the very best.