Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report recently did an interview with Paul Heyman. You can read some highlights below:
WCW releasing The Undertaker, where he wrestled as “Mean” Mark Callous:
“What happened in WCW is the same thing that happened there with a variety of talent. WCW was far too concerned with existing star power and investing in those that already had equity in their names. They had no vision of brand or talent development.
“The key to WWE’s success and longevity is that they are, as modern and as relevant as the company may be in modern social media and platforms and contemporary distribution, the company is still built around old-school promotion. Who are these two fighters? Why are they wrestling? And why should I pay to see it? In order to answer those three questions you have to build up the talent. And you can’t just build up talent that has equity in their names. You have to make new stars. And that’s the mantra that has always worked best in any period that you could call the glory days.”
How The Undertaker evolved and lasted in WWE:
“I don’t think it was as much the character as it was the man behind the character. I think The Undertaker is, much like Brock Lesnar a once-in-a-lifetime wrestler, a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and a once-in-a-lifetime performer. You can’t just put somebody in that slot. You need someone who can own up to the role and someone who makes the role theirs, who walks in the skin of the character. When that gels, when the athlete and the performer come together, then you have someone who is truly box office. This is not something that someone else could have accomplished. You couldn’t have given that name and that character to anybody else – they would have never survived.”