The best history of professional wrestling takes center stage on Saturday in Atlanta at WWE’s Day one pay-per-view event, as Roman Reigns defends the universal title against Brock Lesnar.
And right in the middle of it all is Paul Heyman.
Call him an advocate. Call him special counsel for the Tribal Chief. Never call it boring. Heyman has infused passion into the industry since he began taking photos for the elderly Vince McMahon in the 1970s at Madison Square Garden. The energy it brings to the industry is still as raw, authentic, and yes, extreme as ever, that will show more as 2021 turns to 22.
The Reigns-Lesnar encounter in Day one He is expected to headline the show. There is beauty in simplicity and this story is not too complicated. It’s a tug of war for the title, with Heyman as the wrinkle. Will he be loyal to Lesnar? Or will he reunite with Reigns?
While we’ve seen Reigns and Lesnar fight before, this encounter feels fresh thanks to a role reversal, with Lesnar being the babyface and Reigns the villain. Heyman will provide the leverage.
There are different risks at stake here, with Heyman’s loyalty playing a central role. After nearly 20 years of history together, it’s natural to think of Heyman when Lesnar is mentioned, and vice versa.
Heyman’s quest for greatness reminds me of a story he once told me about his father years ago during a Summer festival press tour. The late and great Richard S. Heyman was a lawyer, as well as the driving force behind his son’s dreams. The eldest of the Heymans is the reason his son learned to think big.
“My father could connect with a jury in a language and a way that everyone could understand,” Heyman said. “I was even allowed to skip school to see him at trial.”
More than a poignant memory, Heyman was sharing a part of his past that had helped make him the force he is in the present.
“Anyone who knew my father understood,” Heyman said. “People were in awe of him. You would meet the man and you would just want to see him in the courtroom. “
Like his father, Heyman possesses the ability to capture people’s attention and their imagination. And whether it’s 1995 or 2005 or 2015 or today, anyone who knows Paul Heyman instantly wants to see him in the middle of a ring doing a promotion.
This current show, with Heyman between two giants, gives Heyman an opportunity to prove that he is the best at his craft. At any time, you can play the main character or the antagonist. And as a final statement to the jury, Heyman has made a compelling argument why this match is a must see.
In Day one, the next chapter of Reigns – Lesnar will be developed. The story goes to Wrestlemania, progressing at the right pace. Right in the center of it, giving the performance of his life, is the man who reinvented his profession. And with a jury of wrestling fans from around the world watching, Heyman knows this is his chance to paint his greatest masterpiece yet.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.