Paul Heyman spoke with Sports Illustrated to promote Friday’s SmackDown main event, which will see his client, Roman Reigns, team with Jey Uso to battle Sheamus and King Baron Corbin in a Samoan Street Fight.
Heyman commented on his new alliance with Reigns, and said the role is a chance for him to reinvent himself.
“It’s an opportunity 33 years into my performing career to completely redefine, reimagine and reinvent myself,” Heyman said. “I’m now the special counsel to the tribal chief, a role I’ve never played.
“I’ve been a manager. I’ve been an agent. I’ve been an advocate. I’ve been the CEO of the Dangerous Alliance. I’ve been an executive producer in ECW. I’ve been the executive director of Monday Night Raw. I’ve been the general manager of multiple brands. This is a completely different role for me. That’s the way I look at it and approach it, and it’s a completely different dynamic than I’ve ever had with any other talent.”
Heyman acknowledged that the history and rapport he has with Reigns is much different than what he has with Brock Lesnar. He said Reigns rescued him, and described the process as exhilarating.
“With Brock Lesnar, I began by advocating for the next big thing, an NCAA Division I champion,” Heyman said .”We were tied together at the hip on his way to the top. That’s not what this is. Roman Reigns has been established as the top act for eight years, and I was the one thrown out into the ocean of obscurity. Roman Reigns rescued me.
“We’re not navigating his trajectory to the top. Our entire focus is keeping him fresh, relevant and reinvigorated, and making that presentation seamless. That is exhilarating, even for someone who had a career in wrestling that dates back to being a photographer as a kid in Vince McMahon Sr.’s Madison Square Garden locker room.”
“Brock Lesnar is very aware that I am working with Roman Reigns,” Heyman said. “There shouldn’t be any confusion here. Brock Lesnar legitimately does whatever Brock Lesnar wants to do. There is no shortage of box-office appeal in the name Brock Lesnar. If and when Brock Lesnar wants to capitalize on that box office appeal, his name will be ringing from the headlines the moment he decides to return to the ring.”
It was noted that while Lesnar and Heyman built an extremely lucrative alliance over the the past 20 years, Reigns and Heyman share more of a personal history. Heyman recalled how he’s always praised Reigns, and said the backstory makes sense.
“If you look at the backstory, it all makes sense,” Heyman explained. “Since day one, I’ve pontificated the greatness of Roman Reigns. There was a time going into WrestleMania 31 when it was Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar for the title.
“And I said, in any era, my money’s on Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns in his prime versus Bruno Sammartino in his prime? My money’s on Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns against Ric Flair, both in their prime? My money’s on Roman Reigns. Reigns vs. Hulk Hogan? Reigns vs. the Rock? Reigns vs. John Cena? Put whomever you want against Reigns, and I’ll take Reigns—and I was stating this a half-decade ago.”
Heyman said WWE putting he and Reigns together was the biggest talent move WWE could have made at this time.
“With all humility aside, this is the biggest move WWE could make with its talent at the moment,” Heyman continued. “We have the tenured, still-young, just-hitting-his-prime WrestleMania main-eventer, the undisputed No. 1 star in WWE, and he’d been off for seven months. Didn’t even appear at this year’s WrestleMania. Now he’s ready to come back, and he returns with someone that has been on top and been associated with top acts for 30 years.
“However you define me, whether it’s as a manager, an advocate, a supporting mouthpiece, and now special counsel to the tribal chief, I have been with more WWE and universal champions than anyone. And now these two acts are together for the first time.”
It was confirmed that Heyman does have creative input into Reigns’ storylines. Heyman said the last two weeks were just the beginning of a run that they plan on topping each week. Heyman said this will be the portion of Reigns’ career that makes him a WWE Hall of Famer.
“That was only the first two weeks,” Heyman said. “We plan on topping that every week. And the reason we will is because of Roman Reigns. He has been at the very top of WWE since he debuted in 2012, yet is even more ambitious today than I’ve ever known him to be. Everything he has accomplished up to now has served as a buildup to the true Hall of Fame portion of his career.
“Roman takes the responsibility of being the top star in WWE very seriously, and he is going to do this Friday what he’s done for his entire career. He’s going to overdeliver on SmackDown, and when the show is over, people will be talking about it. And you can believe that.”