Unless you live under a rock or live in Cumnock where there's next to no internet you'll have seen by now that the lads from Inside The Ropes are bringing Paul Heyman to the UK this July for his first ever UK Q&A event. A fantastic opportunity for them to take their events to the next level with one of the wrestling industry's greatest speakers and a fantastic opportunity for folk like us to be able to pick the brains of someone with the experience that Paul Heyman has in "the business".
Heyman's done it all: he's booked, he's promoted, he's commentated and he's managed with great success; he's managed five WWE champions and is the mouth-piece for one of the most savage beasts in wrestling history, Brock Lesnar. He has contributed to wrestling companies across the globe in a career spanning nearly 30 years... but that's not for me to tell you, that's what you're gonna be paying Kenny and Robert of ITR for.
What I can do however, is tell you about previous events they've put on so that you know you'll be getting your money's worth with this one. Not that you need telling, the name sells itself really. But still, it always helps seeing the success of previous events so that you know what to expect with an upcoming one, right?
I've been to three Inside The Ropes events so far: Sunny, Sting and Scott Steiner. The, erm, stability of the guests has varied, from Sting being relaxed and really conversational with the boys to Scott Steiner shouting into a mic about dugs for an hour. What doesn't waver with each show is Kenny and Robert's ability to remain professional throughout the events and the well-researched, thought out questions that they ask their guests.
I remember going to Sunny in the Classic Grand in Glasgow and honestly, she's up there on the list of completely abhorrent human beings. She spent a lot of time talking about how amazing she is, the people she's slept with and ended the night by telling people they probably won't achieve their dreams of becoming a wrestler and if they do then they won't live long enough to enjoy the ride. Oh and did you know she was AOL's most downloaded something-something of... eh, well, a year that certainly wasn't recent because AOL's been defunct for fucking years. If it were anyone else interviewing her they'd have probably thrown themselves off the stage but they managed to keep their cool and keep on asking her stuff that wasn't just all about her. And lemme tell you, trying to get Sunny to stop talking about Sunny is fucking hard. They spent a good portion of the first half of the show talking about Chris Candido, his career and her off-again-on-again relationship with him. It was actually quite touching; she spoke highly of him and got quite emotional when she was discussing their relationship. For a few minutes, they made her seem... fuck, dare I say, almost human. Then of course she went on to say how she was cheating on him with Shawn Michaels and all was normal with the world again. But as much as I'm having a dig at her, it was actually a really enjoyable show. I got to learn about an era of wrestling that I wasn't alive to experience and hadn't had enough time to research on my own (I had only just started to get back into wrestling again so I had a lot of catching up to do) and I got to have a giggle at some of her absurd stories.
I didn't know what to expect from Sting as I didn't really know what he was like. I never got the chance to watch WCW as a kid and by the time I got back into wrestling he was in a promotion I didn't care about. But, by the time I had left the Q&A I was educated. I knew of his different personas before going but I was schooled on what he done, when he done it, whose arse he battered with a bat and whose head he'd clobbered after jumping on it from the rafters. I was educated and I was entertained because once again the right questions were asked and conversations were had on the stage between the guys and Sting. That's the thing, you could have all of the good questions in the world but if you don't know how to react, how to have a conversation once that question has been answered then it doesn't make for a very interesting show, but Kenny and Robert nail it every time. It also helped that Sting seemed to be a lovely guy. He was well spoken and kind even to the audience members asking the silliest of questions; "What did you think of the Montreal screwjob?" and the likes. Even that didn't crack him though; he was lovely throughout.
Then there was the latest show, Scott Steiner. When I first found out about this show I automatically said "oh my god, this is going to be a fucking car crash". And it was, in the best possible way. People paid their tickets, not to see Steiner come out all smartly dressed and have a chortle about the "good ol' days" with the lads, they paid to see Steiner come out in his chain metal gear and talk shit about everyone and everything, and that's exactly what we got. I forget who he called what because there was a lot of it going on, but Steiner doesn't like a lot of people. He likes a bear that wrestles, and he likes dogs, but if you're Triple H or Stephanie McMahon then you're in the bad books. And by bad books I mean he thinks you're a cunt and wants to send you bags of bear shit in the post on a daily basis. He likes Magnus though. Magnus was brought out as a wee surprise half way through the show to keep Steiner entertained, which added to the festivities.
But can you imagine Steiner, of all people, coming out and having a full, civil conversation in he way that I described Sting doing? NAAAAAAH. That's not what the people wanted. Don't get me wrong, Robert and Kenny tried their best to ask as many of their questions as they could but Steiner just kept going off on tangents and talking about completely irrelevant stuff, and it was wonderful. The boys had a laugh with him, Steiner enjoyed himself, the audience enjoyed themselves and I had a rare good time too so what is there to complain about?
So, given that they can handle some of the most outrageous, unpredictable personalities in wrestling and still put on a good show, how do you think they're going to do with someone as easy to talk and listen to as THE Paul Heyman? A man who could read the writing on the back of a Cornflakes box and still be one of the most interesting people in wrestling?
Someone you could give a mic to and just let them speak for hours and never get bored.
I don't know about you lot, but I'm excited.
Inside The Ropes - An Evening With Paul Heyman will be coming to London, Manchester and Glasgow in July. Dates, ticket prices and event info can be found out by subscribing to the mailing list on their website: www.insidetheropes.co.uk.
Editors Note - All at ATPW would like to wish Inside the Ropes and Paul Heyman the very best of luck with July's tour...not that they'll need it!