Paul Heyman has addressed his partnership with Roman Reigns and takes issue with people describing Reigns as a villain now, saying The Tribal Chief has always been that way.
When Roman Reigns made his huge return to WWE at SummerSlam 2020, it was a Reigns that the WWE Universe had never seen before. A new attitude was not the only change as the current WWE Universal Champion quickly aligned himself with his new Special Counsel, Paul Heyman.
“The first part of your interrogatory I’d like to address is the quote, “Roman Reigns was now a villain.” Roman Reigns has always been a villain.”
“WWE—in its infinite wisdom—was seeking the big merchandising cash cow, the big marketed celebrity within its own ranks. The next Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock or John Cena, and would continue to try to market Roman Reigns in a manner that WWE felt would put smiles on people’s faces. Roman Reigns was a top star from the moment he debuted in WWE as part of The Shield—brought in by Paul Heyman to protect the title reign of the then-champion CM Punk. What you’re seeing today is the real deal, the genuine artefact. You are seeing the authentic human being behind the character persona of Roman Reigns.”
Paul Heyman then went on to address how difficult it was for him to consider working with someone else so closely on television given his long association with Brock Lesnar. As Heyman explained, Roman Reigns was the only star that could make another long-term partnership with Heyman work:
“Now that we’ve addressed that, we can discuss the elephant in the room. I spent a majority of the past 20 years as the Advocate for Brock Lesnar. After the body of work that Brock and I put together—not just in WWE since 2002, but also writing a best-selling book together, also Brock’s accomplishments in UFC—I was remarkably hesitant to ever appear on camera with anybody again. It is well known that I was working behind the scenes as the Executive Director of Monday Night RAW. It’s well known that I’ve worked behind the scenes with Ronda Rousey.”
“But to be tasked with going on camera and articulating a position for anybody after what Brock Lesnar and I achieved together, I found to be an impossible task. The one human being that I know of that was willing to take on that impossible impossibility is Roman Reigns, and Roman Reigns is so obsessed, consumed with, desirous of becoming the absolute greatest of all time. Undisputed, uncontroverted in that designation. He yearns for greatness every micro-moment that he’s on camera. He needs it, he lusts for it. To such a degree that it inspires me.”
“So while many would say it is impossible to follow the legacy that was crafted by Brock Lesnar and his Advocate, as Special Counsel to the Tribal Chief, I’m very confident every minute of the day that the goal here is to top it, is to actually pull off something that any rational, sane human being would say can’t be done. I like that challenge—and so does Roman Reigns.”
Heyman went onto sing the praises of Roman Reigns and explain why he will achieve the greatness that he so fiercely pursues:
“Roman Reigns is now a five-time WrestleMania main-eventer. WrestleMania is the “Showcase of the Immortals”, and this immortal used it as his showcase to score the most declaratively dominant pinfall in the history of WrestleMania main events by stacking a Hall of Famer, Edge, and a first ballot Hall of Famer, Daniel Bryan [on top of one another]. It’s everything that I imagined it would be to work with Roman Reigns. His pursuit of greatness is just awe-inspiring.”
Roman Reigns may well face his toughest challenge to date as WWE Universal Champion when he goes one-on-one with John Cena for the title at SummerSlam.