Heyman unveils Paulie awards
By PAUL HEYMAN
Published: 31 Dec 2008
AS 2008 draws to a clean finish, let’s look back on the people and events that provided the biggest impact on the wrestling, MMA and boxing industries over the last 12 months.
With wrestling, MMA, and boxing promotions all fighting over the ever-elusive pay per view, live gate, and merchandise piggy bank, it’s time to realise that each industry has an effect on the other, at least for now.
So The Paulies are open to anyone who could or can influence a consumer’s choice as to where to spend that available money.
The impact player Paulie award: Brock Lesnar
Nobody made an impact this year quite like my former “client” in WWE, the current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
UFC president Dana White marketed Lesnar as the fake sport outsider coming into the very real world of ultimate fighting. The results of their marketing? Lesnar was the single biggest revenue-grossing attraction on pay-per-view this year.
Despite getting caught by Frank Mir on Super Bowl weekend, Lesnar punched a hole in Heath Herring’s face, and won the UFC title from the legendary Randy Couture.
Indeed, “The Next Big Thing” has arrived, and he’s waiting for his next huge pay-per-view main event in the Brocktagon!
The time capsule moment of the year Paulie award: Shawn Michaels’ sweet chin music to Ric Flair at Wrestlemania.
It was the Wrestlemania moment that will be replayed ad naseum for years to come, and with damn good reason. It was a fantastic video clip, filled with real emotion, with the audience living every moment with the performers who pulled it off magnificently.
Shawn Michaels saying “I’m sorry, I love you” right before kicking Ric Flair’s head off will go down as one of the most memorable moments in modern day pro-wrestling.
The “It’s my turn” Paulie award: Edge and Manny Pacquiao (tied)
2008’s biggest PPV attraction Brock Lesnar has a big task ahead of him as he tries to unify the UFC heavyweight titles, because the man who beat Lesnar on February 3 â<80>” Frank Mir â<80>” is not going down easy.
Manny Pacquiao, however, can write his own ticket. The Filipino sensation is a global boxing phenomenon, and you have to believe the pundits’ declaration of Pacquiao as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world is something Floyd Mayweather Jr would be enticed to prove incorrect.
Whether the Pretty Boy can do it or not is a subject for another day.
In pro-wrestling, 2008’s best performer was Edge. Not only did he main event at Wrestlemania with The Undertaker, but everything Adam Copeland touched was magic this year.
Even his rift with Vickie Guerrero was gold. While Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho both had a fantastic year, Edge was the best performer of them all, and everyone who got to share a video frame with him was better for the privilege.
I am interested to see if he can stay ahead of former Team RKO troublemaker Randy Orton, who seems to be really hitting his stride as we turn the calendar to 2009.
The “Industry Snapshot” Paulie award: TNA is an asterisk
I enjoyed reading The Sun Awards this year, because there was a category which, by its very existence, demonstrates the enormous opportunity that TNA Wrestling continues to squander. It was a simple list of nominees called “Best Non-WWE Wrestler.”
I just can’t pass this one up. Isn’t it funny how there’s a need for a category that actually specifies an award to given to someone outside of WWE? What does that tell TNA? It should tell them the simple fact the direction they’re going in is not paying off, because TNA is not only seen as a distant second tier promotion, but the lack of branding continues to hamper the chances that present themselves to the independently-funded organisation.
A tremendous talent roster that anyone would salivate to develop, a network that actually wants to help, and a vast audience of former WWE fans who are simply looking for an alternative.
And the best TNA can continuously come up with is…”WWE Lite.”
It’s a shame when a promotion spends big money for Kurt Angle and Sting and Mick Foley and Booker T and stops itself from recouping that investment.
The most marketable idea for Petey Williams is to be Little Poppa Pump? How many knockoffs can one promotion do (Jay Lethal as Randy Savage, SoCalVal as Elizabeth, Shark Boy as Stone Cold)?
Team 3D lose every night, which they understand how to do and stay on top, and yet no wrestling fan walks around saying “Wow, The Motor City Machine Guns muist be the best tag team in the world.”
Here’s a really easy question for you: Why not? Why don’t wrestling fans walk around saying it? Because TNA doesn’t take the time to capitalise on their own storytelling to persuade the audience that’s the case!
TNA is so hell bent on trying to present a WWE-style product that it loses its own audience, which just aches to be given a reason to brag “we’re better,” or “we’re cooler,” or simply “we’re different.”
Until Dixie Carter and TNA management wake up and play to the potential audience that’s out there, their big claim to fame will be “we’re number two.”
Sounds good, in a crowded field.
But lousy in a two-promotion-runoff.