You gotta give Paul Heyman all the credit in the world. The Mad Scientist is not only the person pro wrestler Ken Anderson describes as having a finger on the pulse on all things pop culture, but he's the ultimate strategist when it comes to positioning himself in an industry.
Heyman, whose revolutionary ECW promotion in 1990s created such fan fervor that major wrestling promotions today still try to capture its magic to this day. After the record-setting
DVD sales of "The Rise and Fall of ECW" in 2004, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon greenlit the promotion's return for 2005's pay per view offering "ECW One Night Stand."
The event was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and charged $400 for ringside tickets. The event sold out, and did remarkable pay per business. So much so, that WWE brought the event back for a second "One Night Stand" in 2006, with ECW favorite Rob Van Dam winning the WWE Title from Anti-ECW stereotype John Cena in front of a rabid crowd.
WWE re-launched ECW, but the conflict in the brand's vision on NBC-U's SciFi Channel
between McMahon, daughter Stephanie, Executive Producer Kevin Dunn, and Heyman lead to Heyman leaving WWE in December 2006.
That's where the fun begins.
According to AOL FanHouse's Ariel Helwani, the creative genius has been looking for a logical entry point into the Mixed Martial Arts world.
An attempted buyout of the Strikeforce promotion fell through, but Heyman remained friends with Scott Coker. Heyman turned down offers from the IFL and YAMMA promotions, but found his way in the door by co-writing the autobiography of UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.
According to Helwani (http://www.mmafighting.com/2010/08/17/is-paul-heyman-on-the-verge-of-entering-the-mma-world/), TNA Wrestling, the closest thing WWE has to competition, has been courting Heyman for months, but as Heyman said on the 90-minute show, "They're not ready for me yet."
Helwani reports that for one reason or another, TNA has been unable to entice Heyman to return to his wrestling roots. Does his "fascination" with MMA have anything to do with his resistance to return to wrestling? Heyman says no, but listen to the man talk about MMA for just a few minutes, and you will quickly notice how much more excited and animated he gets."I'm on the periphery here, and it's a fascinating movement to me. It's fascinating. Fascinating. And it hasn't even scratched the surface yet of it's potential. "
Heyman, the former "Paul E. Dangerously," knows for sure he doesn't want to be in front of the camera anymore. "I don't want to be on camera," Heyman told Helwani on the MMA Hour program, "I'm fat, I'm 45, I'm bald and I'm ugly ... I'm tired of being on TV."
Heyman knows there is no need for him right now in the UFC. He's very open about that, and he understands his best position is going to be where he's needed most. His critique of the Strikeforce television product was on-point. "They need a lot of help television-wise. Because it's the CBS/Showtime vision for MMA, and it's not really a mixed martial arts vision for MMA. You got a bunch of golfing people doing this thing. ... It's really like the golfing channel presents mixed martial arts," he said.
In what was a moment that could be a hint towards the future in MMA, Heyman admitted to Helwani on the show that he attended a meeting with Coker in New York City just last week. He wouldn't go into the specifics of the meetings with Helwani, but once Heyman admitted to the meeting, he backed off any details.
So for now, Heyman will continue writing the book with Brock Lesnar, and promoting his blogs and observations on his www.heymanhustle.com website. What his next move is in
MMA or pro wrestling is anyone's guess. And that's exactly how Paul Heyman wants it.