In an interview with TV Insider, Paul Heyman had a lot to say about Roman Reigns. He discussed working with Roman Reigns, his credibility as a main eventer, and any comparisons to Brock Lesnar. Heyman believes that Smackdown won the 2020 draft, not due to the roster, but because they managed to lock in Roman Reigns as their first pick.
I think Friday Night SmackDown got the better of the draft. Perhaps the best of the draft was right off the top when SmackDown’s first pick was Roman Reigns. The fact that this network can keep Roman Reigns as their premiere star on Friday nights on network is the determining factor: SmackDown won the draft this year and perhaps scored the greatest draft pick in the history of the WWE Draft.
Heyman is asked the differences and similarities between Reigns and Brock Lesnar. Heyman says that the two aren’t even comparable because their paths have been very different.
That’s a difficult question to answer because it’s very hard to differentiate the vision and goals and desires of Roman Reigns behind the scenes [from those] on camera at the moment. They are one and the same. Roman Reigns accomplished a body of work in his first eight years on the main roster in WWE that will go down in history. To his enormous credit, he looked back at that body of work and felt very unfulfilled and unsatisfied because, much like Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey, Roman realized history will be unappreciative of Roman Reigns’ contribution to the narrative of WWE 25, 50 and 100 years from now.
As he enters his prime, Roman decided to challenge himself to put forth a body of work that would make the past eight years pale in comparison—make people realize that the past eight years was the warmup for…the true Hall of Fame, legendary portion of his career. Everything you’ve seen Roman Reigns accomplish until now was just setting the table for the history you’re going to witness unfold in the next few weeks, months, years. He was just getting ready for this portion of his career.
It’s a widely known fact now that The Shield was originally meant to be teamed with CM Punk, and so Paul Heyman by association, but plans were later changed. Heyman added that since then, ideas for the two to work together were brought up but the timing never seemed right until now.
If you remember how Roman Reigns debuted in WWE, it was in 2012 as part of The Shield. The Shield was brought in to protect the title reign of CM Punk. The idea of [my] being paired with Roman Reigns is something that dates back to his debut on the main roster of WWE. This is something we have discussed for many years. It’s no secret—we’ve acknowledged this for a long time. The timing was never right.
With everything that happened this year—Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, Roman Reigns not at WrestleMania, the entire landscape of sports and sports entertainment changing, Roman Reigns taking a hiatus, Paul Heyman being removed as executive director of Raw—it was just the perfect time to put these two together and see the level they could push each other to achieve on camera and behind the scenes.