If Paul Heyman’s tearful interview performance last Monday on WWE flagship series “Raw” wasn’t the most skillful wrestling promo of all time, but many fans and entertainment critics would tell you that it’s right up there. It was so good, in fact, that some people are even talking about Emmy consideration — yes, seriously, and for a (somewhat) rehearsed interview from a fake sport.
Don’t take our word — or that of the “marks,” an unflattering wrestling term for a fan who buys into everything the organization tells them to — about the merits Heyman’s performance, here are some influential blue checks feeling the same thing:
.@HeymanHustle as good as Daniel Day-Lewis tonight.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 7, 2018
.@HeymanHustle deserves an Emmy.
— Kristopher Tapley (@kristapley) August 9, 2018
Additionally, movie news outlet Slash Film called Heyman’s ongoing and evolving role on “Raw,” “One of the best performances currently on television.”
This is all music to WWE’s ears as Vince McMahon’s professional wrestling promotion is currently on a kick for an Emmy nomination. Earlier this year, the publicly traded corporation spent a ring-load of money throwing its first-ever For Your Consideration party, and submitted its programming in the following categories:
WWE submitted its programming for consideration in the following Emmy categories this year:
- Primetime Programming: “Raw”/”Raw 25” in Structured Reality Series category (USA Network)
- Unstructured Reality Program: “Total Bellas” (Bunin/Murray)
- Outstanding Structured Reality Program: “Mixed Match Challenge” (WWE)
- Short Form Comedy or Drama Series: “Southpaw Regional Wrestling” (WWE)
- Unstructured Reality Program: “Total Divas” (WWE)
- Documentary or Nonfiction Special – “WWE 24: Empowered” (WWE)
- “WM34” (“WrestleMania 34) [WWE]
- Variety Special (Live)
- Directing for a Variety Special
- Production Design for a Variety Special
- Lighting Design/Lighting Director for a Variety Special
- Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special
The first-ever push didn’t work, but that deadline was before this Heyman offering.
Per IMDb, WWE’s music composer Jim Johnston has won five BMI Film & TV Awards and “Raw” won a Bronze Telly this year, but that’s about the extent of the company’s (non-Slammy) trophy nods — including nominations.
Heyman’s continued performance as the dejected and occasionally assaulted on-screen rep for “The Beast” Brock Lesnar — who is much better at letting his fists, elbows and giant trap muscles speak for him than his own mouth — is finally catching the mainstream media’s attention, but fans have known about his unique on-mic abilities for quite a while. Those same members of the WWE Universe have been clamoring for more details on the (particularly) standout interview. So we got them.
There wasn’t a full script for the Heyman interview, a WWE insider tells TheWrap. Interviewer Renee Young was given the first and last questions to ask, and had been simply instructed to show some compassion for Lesnar’s “advocate.” The faux journalist normally would not be so nice, as Heyman and Lesnar’s characters are both “heels,” the wrestling term for a bad guy.
The whole thing was pre-taped in one take backstage just before Monday’s “Raw” kicked off from Jacksonville, Florida. Heyman had a stand-in for the initial setup because he didn’t want Young to see his bloodshot, teary eyes until she “misspoke” and used the word “client” to describe Lesnar’s relationship to the battered attorney. That reveal is about as powerful a moment as Heyman-Lesnar fans can get, this side of one of Brock’s devastating F-5 finishing maneuvers.
Watch the performance via the video above.
Heyman, who has managed Lesnar from 2002-2003 and from 2012 to the present, just inked a new deal with WWE, TheWrap is told. Lesnar is poised to leave for UFC after Sunday’s annual pay-per-view event SummerSlam — unless he and McMahon cut one of their patented last-minute deals, which is exactly what happened after this year’s WrestleMania.
Either way, Lesnar will be focused on Dana White’s real-fighting promotion, we’re told, with plans to battle Daniel Cormier. What becomes of Heyman’s WWE role post-Lesnar is still undecided. Heyman could manage Roman Reigns, who is likely to finally win that Universal Championship on Sunday when he faces off with Lesnar, or the ECW founder and head of WWE creative could spend time coaching up young talent and producing their promos, something Heyman recently spent three days doing at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
Before they break up for good, Heyman and Lesnar will both appear tonight on USA Network’s “Raw,” the WWE’s flagship TV series, which airs Mondays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Reigns will also be in the Greensboro, North Carolina arena tonight for “Raw,” as will Young, who gets to call the entire show from the announce table as a commentator tryout of sorts.
Reigns and Lesnar will square off Sunday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in SummerSlam’s main event. If you know anything about WWE, expect the sneaky Heyman to play a key role from the ring apron.