Paul Heyman Talks Adapting To WWE ThunderDome
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Paul Heyman is seen as a master manipulator and someone who understands how to best work the emotions of an audience full of people. Now, he is talking about it adapting to virtual crowds in the COVID era of wrestling.
Paul Heyman returned at the end of August alongside Roman Reigns. Aside from “The Big Dog” undergoing a shift in moral alignment, Roman also gained the services of Paul Heyman as an advocate and hype man for big fights.
Speaking with TVInsider, Paul Heyman discussed the necessity of adaptation in life and how that applies to his storytelling inside the WWE ThunderDome, which uses a virtual audience instead of a live one due to current safety protocols.
“There is no choice but to adapt. It’s the reality of the situation,” Paul began. “My father’s favorite joke was the pessimist says things can’t possibly get any worse. The optimist says of course they can. My father loved that joke because he felt stupid people won’t get it. The moral of that story is you have to be a realist. I look at the situation as a realist. Either we present the product in the best possible light, constantly adapting on a week-to-week basis as we move forward, or we don’t, and there is nothing to present. I always loved the interaction with the audience. It’s one of the reasons why, when I went out to the ring with whomever I was working with, I knew the message I wanted to deliver. I never worked off a script or worked on a word-for-word, sentence-by-sentence basis because it depended on the mood of the crowd. Would the crowd try to hijack the interview?”
Heyman continued, “If something happened during the promo, I could adapt and interact with the audience. I thought about the interaction with the audience. When you can make that musical synergy with the crowd, [it’s] the greatest high in life. It was better than sex—or at least the sex most people would have. Getting used to not feeling that [due to the lack of audience participation] when there is a message to deliver is a completely different presentation. It’s something you either get used to very quickly or you’re going to fall behind on the times because someone else on the roster is going to figure out the best way to deliver their message on ThunderDome. If you want to stay at the very top of the industry, you adapt to the circumstances presented to you. You have to not only survive but thrive.”
Currently, Paul Heyman can be seen every Friday on WWE SmackDown alongside the current WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. WrestleZone will have live play-by-play coverage of SmackDown every Friday beginning at 8 p.m. ET.