Let’s face it: Brock Lesnar is leaving WWE for UFC after Sunday’s WrestleMania 34. That means he’s probably dropping the Universal Championship to Roman Reigns in this weekend’s main event — unless in a twist the “Beast Incarnate” walks away with everyone’s least-favorite (aesthetically) title belt. But where does the probable scenario leave Lesnar’s “humble advocate,” Paul Heyman, whose contract is also up by next Monday morning?
As TheWrap exclusively reported last week, pro-wrestling’s best talker is pitching a TV show around town with “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” creator Roy Bank. The busy Heyman is set to star in and executive produce the project, but it won’t prevent him from returning to WWE — if both sides can come to an agreement, that is.
The leading WWE options would call for Heyman to either manage newcomer and UFC import Ronda Rousey, or the man likely to carry the all-red belt home with him late on Sunday. Even Heyman’s not sure what his near-future holds, as Vince McMahon notoriously never looks past WrestleMania, which is basically his “show’s” season finale.
“I have no idea what’s gonna happen after WrestleMania because all focus right now is on the final moments of WrestleMania and how to build everything in WWE to that collective moment,” Heyman told TheWrap. “Once we all figure out collectively what that final moment of WrestleMania is going to be, then the focus of this multibillion dollar global conglomerate will be what happens next.”
No, that’s really how WWE operates — even with its biggest stars in its biggest week.
“The best analogy I can give you is, the creators of ‘Dallas’ didn’t think about who shot J.R. — they just knew they had to put a bullet in the bastard,” the ECW founder made it sound all TV-friendly for us. “Once they shot him, they had to come up with who did it. And that’s how WWE is focused… ‘Let’s get to that final moment of WrestleMania, then we can discuss the ramifications of it.”
The case for Heyman handling Roman Reigns is threefold: 1) Reigns will now be the champ, replacing Lesnar; 2) Reigns, who was hand-plucked by McMahon to succeed John Cena as the face of WWE, has faced a lot of resistance from the fans, who love Heyman; and 3) Such a pairing could help Reigns turn “heel” — or become a bad guy, for the uninitiated. WWE needs a top baddie.
Reigns recently discussed the possibility of being Heyman’s next “guy” with NBC Sports.
“I think it would be really cool,” he told them, per Sportskeeda. “Obviously it comes down to a couple of different things creatively, but I think it would be really neat. I think it would be able to show a different aspect of myself.”
“It would show not only myself, but also him in a totally different light,” Reigns continued. “I wouldn’t just be the guy bouncing around not saying anything. If there’s something I need to say, I’m going to step up and say it because, regardless if I’m with a guy like Paul Heyman, I would not be a ‘Paul Heyman Guy,’ he would be a ‘Roman Reigns Guy,’ that’s the way that would work.”
That “guy bouncing around not saying anything” is a shot at Lesnar’s participation level when the fists aren’t flying, by the way. Beyond his mouthpiece Heyman, Brock generally lets his german suplexes do the talking.
“My role is my role and I don’t plan on changing that for anybody,” Lesnar’s opponent this weekend concluded. “As long as nothing crazy or drastic would change, I think we’d be able to do a lot of really cool stuff. I’m into it.”
Yes, Heyman’s talents would create some “really cool stuff” for any WWE Superstar’s storylines — but as Reigns pointed out, he’s doing just fine on his own. Rousey makes more sense, and she and Heyman already have a relationship. Back at SummerSlam 2015 in Los Angeles, Heyman was actually the one who first introduced Rousey to WWE executives Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Stephanie McMahon.
So that’s how the two potential (probable, we’d estimate) partners know each other, but why does she need him? Well, have you ever heard Rousey cut a wrestling promo — or even just do an interview? They’re… not good. But don’t take our word for it — ask Mike Golic.
Forget the in-ring action that she’s still learning — the lifelong athlete and judo champ will pick up on that — Rousey is not yet comfortable with anything involving a microphone. Hell, even her pointing at the giant “WrestleMania” sign at the end of the Royal Rumble was awkward.
A tag team of Rousey and Heyman is a win-win for WWE. After all, who mirrors Lesnar’s fighting career, intensity level and preference for silence more than Rousey? Heyman knows and creates the big fight feel better than anyone in fake fighting.
And you know what’s great about the desire for a “big fight” atmosphere, which is what Lesnar has brought to WWE for years? It makes for part-time work. Heyman is already used to such a cake schedule, whereas Reigns is in the building damn near every night.
For a guy running a marketing agency, a popular blog and about to host a TV talk show (of sorts), Heyman might not have 40 hours/week for Reigns.
Finally, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a women’s revolution going on in WWE — and Rousey is the biggest name they’ve ever signed. For his part, Heyman seems down with switching locker rooms, which would instantly add extra legitimacy to a talented group.
“I find it hard to envision a scenario working with someone on the male roster that would compete with the body of work that Brock Lesnar and I have put together as a tandem since 2002,” Heyman said. “The concept of lending my history to the women’s division is quite intriguing, whether that means standing next to Ronda Rousey or opposed to Ronda Rousey, I don’t know.”
“And I don’t even know if it’s applicable, because the concept of Brock Lesnar riding off into the sunset with his Advocate never to be seen in WWE again certainly has dramatic value as well,” he concluded, rather poetically. We told you Heyman could talk.
Readers can catch Heyman and Lesnar Monday on “Raw,” which airs from 8-11 p.m. on USA Network. Lesnar’s big WrestleMania title defense will main event Sunday night’s WrestleMania 34.