Paul Heyman on Working For TNA: “TNA Is Not Ready For Me”

Nick Paglino

Paul Heyman made a rare interview appearance on "The MMA Hour" with host Ariel Helwani over at MMAfighting.com earlier today to discuss a number of topics including his recent talks with TNA, his interest in getting involved with the MMA industry and so much more. Here is a detailed recap of what was said by Heyman during the interview.

- Host Ariel Helwani brought up some recent quotes by Eric Bischoff who thinks it is ridiculous to compare pro wrestling and MMA. Heyman said Bischoff’s remarks were ridiculous. He said Bischoff is very intelligent and would be shocked if he actually thinks that unless he is trying to be a heel.

- Heyman said he brought the conversation of the popularity of MMA to Vince McMahon back in 2006 and that Shane McMahon also did the same.

- Said WWE is not a place where it is encouraged to speak truth to power. Stephanie McMahon has even discussed utilizing some successful aspects to Vince before.

- Heyman said Vince lives in his own world and that since he can’t control the explosion of the MMA world then it doesn’t exist to him.

- He believes eventually there will come a time where Vince educates himself about MMA, but will need it presented to him though since that is how Vince works and has no time.

- In an interesting note, back when WWE was on Spike TV, Heyman said the company had the final say on if it was okay for The Ultimate Fighter to follow Raw. Heyman said he was one of the guys to shoot that down fearing UFC would be a huge competitor for them.

- When discussing using aspects of MMA in pro wrestling, Heyman said ECW was one of the first companies to introduce the tapout finish to pro wrestling.

- Says wrestling is easy to book, but they make it too complicated these days. Heyman added that wrestling today is trying too hard to out think themselves.

- Said he has interest in working in the MMA world, but doesn’t know what his role would be. Heyman said he isn’t exactly sending out resumes at the moment.

- Mentioned talking with IFL after he left WWE. Said he didn’t sign because they wouldn’t do it in a cage and thought it would fail. Also talked about being approached by Yamma and joked that all the failed MMA promotions were the ones who came after him.

- Mentioned having talks with UFC during his time running ECW.

- Talked about how there are still no new ideas in wrestling.

- In 2007, Heyman said he almost bought Strikeforce with a group of other individuals with past MMA experience with K-1, Pride and Dream.

- Said he has no interest in being an "on air" guy for MMA or wrestling and that he has been on TV since he was 21. Heyman added, "I’m f*cking sick of it."

- When the topic of his recent talks with TNA was brought up, Heyman said, "TNA has held me back from TNA. They are not ready for me."

- He said the main thing he wanted out of a deal with TNA was a combination of network-stock-ownership. He added that he has largely stayed away from wrestling since he left in 2006 and hasn’t done shoot DVD’s, conventions, etc. – the things that most people do when they leave WWE.

- Heyman added, "I have no plans on going back into the wrestling business and I have no desire to get back into the wrestling business."

- He said he didn’t take TNA seriously until Dixie Carter called. Heyman said the timeslots TNA has on Spike is intriguing, but that TNA has a specific vision and they are unclear to themselves about that vision.

- Heyman said, "Bottom line with TNA is this: TNA is looking to serve too many masters and you have to have a long-range plan in this industry."

- Said WWE has a 90-95% market share of the wrestling business right now, that Vince eats-lives-sleeps pro wrestling and you aren’t taking market share out of this guys pocket. Heyman added, "You will have to fight for every inch of turf you get."

- Things got interesting when Heyman continued his discussion about TNA adding, "TNA chases Thursday’s and are biting their fingernails waiting for the numbers to come in on Friday afternoon and they will never go anywhere if they keep with that mentality."

- "If I was a legend in TNA, I would not want Paul Heyman to walk through the door", he added. "If you are over 40 [on the TNA roster], you are getting your f*cking head cut off. I don’t want a bunch of guys in their 40′s."

- Heyman even discussed TNA’s "Whole F’N Show" event last Thursday. "TNA comes off their PPV and do this two hour show. And its the original line-up for Hard Justice. They build the whole show to Hulk Hogan’s big announcement to bring out ECW guys that get their ass kicked by Ric Flair’s guys." Said all the ECW guys are in their 40′s and all the focus is on Flair who is even older.

- He said if he was booking that show, he would have all the ECW guys, Hogan, Flair, etc. say yeah they are here, but they really want to see that final Best of 5 match between Beer Money and The Machineguns and give that match the main event spot instead of giving all these older talent a main event spot.

- When asked about Batista going into MMA, Heyman added, "I just don’t think he is ready for mixed martial arts."

- On Ring of Honor: "They have a unique product and don’t get enough exposure."

- In closing, he mention he has a Brock Lesnar book coming out next year and is also working on another book about his life.

MMAfighting.com also has another recap up of Heyman discussing Vince McMahon, Brock Lesnar and more at this link. A full video of the interview should be posted shortly.

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