After Paul Heyman’s time as Executive Director of Raw ended, but before his time as Roman Reigns’ kayfabe advocate began, we got several stories about AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows dealings with Heyman prior to WWE releasing the Good Brothers duo.
Those brought to mind ECW era tales of Heyman as an untrustworthy boss, even by the low standards most wrestlers and fans have for promoters.
Erick Rowan, now taking independent bookings as Erick Redbeard, told Chris Van Vliet about a conversation he had with Heyman prior to being released in April (along with Gallows & Anderson). He’s not as point blank as The O.C., but...
“I went to Heyman and I said, ‘Hey, am I OK? I couldn’t make this [the spider in a cage gimmick] work, I feel bad I couldn’t make it work.’ Because I’m proud of what I do in the ring and at work. Cause it is an art, what we do. You’re given whatever on a piece of paper and you have to make it work to the best of your ability as a performer. It’s no different than in acting. You act out a scene – it could be the crappiest script you’ve ever read in your life but you try to make it work to the best of your ability because that’s your job.
“And when I couldn’t make it work to the best that I thought I could make it work - maybe it’s a mix of my creative ideas being tossed aside and this and that, but - directly to my face he says ‘Don’t worry, we’re killing the cage, better things are coming, you are in good standing with the company.’ Now that I look back I was like was he chastising me, did he know something I didn’t know? But why tell me something like that?”
Rowan isn’t bitter. As he’s said in other interviews, he doesn’t want to add negativity to the conversation. And he figures if WWE wasn’t using him anyway - and they hadn’t in the weeks between the end of the fake spider saga to the time of the releases - he’d rather have the opportunity to do other things anyway.
And look, “boss misleads employee” isn’t exactly a rare occurrence. But if you’re fortunate enough to find yourself reporting to Paul Heyman on a job, and he tries to sell you on how safe said job is... caveat emptor.