Thanks to Heyman, as well as WWE’s Al Stavola and Joe Villa for accomodating the interview.
Phil Strum: One thing that struck me in getting ready for this interview is that you were around for the early years of both The Undertaker, as Mean Mark in WCW, and Brock Lesnar in WWE. Compare the beginnings in wrestling of the two.
Paul Heyman: They come from very different beginnings. The Undertaker was a phenomenal athlete that required someone with a long-ranging vision to mold and produce and promote him. That wasn’t going to happen in WCW. Vince McMahon saw this raw piece of clay walk in his door and realized he had one of the most enduring performers of this or any other generation for him to promote and present and preserve and build a company around.
Brock Lesnar came into WWE with the credibility of being the NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling champion. He didn’t suffer through the territory system with its limited imagination. The moment WWE knew it could sign Brock Lesnar, the company, as a whole, salivated at the opportunity of big money involving this once in a lifetime athlete.