Tuesday 3 February 2015

The Manager of Champions

It’s looking like Brock Lesnar may soon be losing the WWE championship. Whether he loses the prize to Roman Reigns in the WrestleMania main event, to a Money in the Bank contract cash-in from Seth Rollins or via some other, as yet unknown, means, the likelihood is that he won’t be champion come Tuesday March 31. In fact that day may see him start preparing for his return to MMA. Which would put an end to his relationship with advocate extraordinaire, Paul Heyman.

Well, probably. There’s nothing to say the Heyman-Lesnar partnership won’t transfer over to UFC, Bellator or wherever Lesnar goes (assuming he goes at all). But it’s not likely. Heyman’s brand of obnoxious, bragging hype is well-suited to wrestling. Elements of it would work in an MMA environment but what makes him so good in pro wrestling is the predetermined nature of the sport. He can seed things in before a loss or make proclamations based on already made booking decisions. That’s something he obviously wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere.

There’s also the question of money. Who would pay Heyman for his time promoting Lesnar and his fighting prowess? Lesnar himself? Maybe, but I think giving Heyman a cut of his wages would be a rude awakening for Lesnar, who’s used to having someone else foot the bill for Heyman’s services as his mouthpiece. Then again, it’s not like Lesnar is or would be hard up and he clearly respects Heyman and understands how talented he is at what he does. Perhaps he would be willing to take him with him.

Heyman trying to telepathically communicate with Lesnar.
But I can’t imagine WWE letting Heyman go without a fight. He’s one of the company’s most valuable performers. His promo ability elevates those he’s associated with. This includes guys who are pitted against his clients. One of the saving graces of the upcoming Reigns-Lesnar programme, for example, is the fact that Heyman’s around to talk at length on ‘The Beast’s’ behalf and set up Reigns to reply with monosyllabic grunts that seem apt instead of embarrassing. He understands how to make those around him look good. Plus, there’s the fact that his last couple of years as an agent have basically established Heyman as one of the most effective men to ever work in the role. Any wrestler associated with him after his partnership with Lesnar ends would gain a huge credibility boost.

Should Lesnar leave I’d like to see Heyman stick around in WWE and be given someone else to manage, long-term. It’s unlikely any new agent-client relationship would surpass the one he has with Lesnar, if for no other reason that they have been linked since 2002. But that wouldn’t have to be the goal. Putting Heyman with someone new could elevate that new person and make them a bigger star for the future, after Heyman’s moved on, retired or turned on them.

The obvious person to point to is Roman Reigns. He’s a worse talker than Heyman’s current client Lesnar. At least ‘The Beast’ can make a pre-taped or studio-bound segment work. Heyman would cover Reigns’ obvious deficiency and enhance his already established status as the next main guy in WWE. The only downside is that Heyman is going to spend the next two months cutting promos against Reigns before he challenges Lesnar at WrestleMania. Heyman turning on Lesnar would feel wrong at this point. A segment could be broadcast in which Heyman, after Lesnar’s gone, offers his services to Reigns and convinces him that the fans will never take to him, but I can’t see WWE going with something like that. Although having said this the January 26 RAW featured interplay between Heyman and Reigns that could be read as the agent trying to court the Rumble winner for a business partnership.

The guy I’d really like to see Heyman put with in the absence of Lesnar is Seth Rollins. He’s one of the company’s best workers, he’s proven he can make it to the top, and Heyman has already acknowledged that he’s talented. Again there’s the awkward situation of Rollins having a briefcase that he needs to cash-in, but that’s not quite as tough to write around as the Reigns and Lesnar stuff. They could simply reveal that Heyman and Rollins agreed that Heyman would help to distract Reigns for Rollins should Reigns defeat Lesnar. It would be a logical progression and set up a new partnership for Heyman without writing off the one he has with Lesnar.

Whether he remains at Lesnar’s side or gets a new client I’d like to see Heyman stick with WWE. He’s too good a manager for them to lose.

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