Paul Heyman is leading Brock Lesnar to a huge showdown against John Cena at WWE's upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view on Sunday, August 17. The match is a result of Triple H's recent decision on Monday Night Raw to find a suitable opponent to not only face Cena but also take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from him.
While many fans are already speculating about how this match will go, the fact is that Heyman deserves a lot of credit for building the initial hype surrounding it.
He is definitely a big-fight manager, and he is actually much more effective in that role.
Heyman's reputation was already that of a great manager long before this most recent WWE run. From his time in WCW to his stint as the owner of ECW, Heyman epitomized what a truly great manager was. He also made the case for being one of the most brilliant minds the business of professional wrestling had ever seen.
But when he came back to WWE in 2012, his skill and creativity on the mic were realized once again. Fans who may have not been very familiar with his work or may have forgotten how talented he is were reminded. Heyman stepped right back into the fold as if he never left, and he's been going strong since then.
Heyman has a way of telling a story on the mic. He does what it normally takes two guys to do in a wrestling ring, and he does it all with supreme confidence in who he is and what he brings to the table. At this point, it's likely not even an effort on his part anymore.
Basically, Heyman shows up, grabs the mic and levels the building. He's been doing it for 27 years now, and there is arguably no one better in the industry and certainly no one better in WWE. Heyman is just a master, and to top him is to do what many fans believe is impossible.
Heyman has been so good during this run that fans eventually began to ask the question of a stable. When would Heyman build a Dangerous Alliance for the new generation of fans? Long before he referred to himself as an advocate, he was a manager.
And that was something WWE had been missing for quite a while.
Would Heyman eventually be given the opportunity to stretch his creative muscles and assist other Superstars besides Lesnar and CM Punk to get over in WWE? He had a lot of influence over the careers of both men—would he get a chance to give the rub to someone else?
The answer to that question was yes. Heyman announced in May 2013 that he had a brand-new guy. That guy was Curtis Axel, and from the moment Axel debuted, fan speculation ran wild. Just how far would the son of the late Mr. Perfect be able to go now that he was under the tutelage of WWE's evil genius?
That answer came in the form of the WWE Intercontinental Championship, which he won on Father's Day in 2013. It was a great start to what many believed could one day become a great career.
The WWE faithful had every reason to believe big things were on the horizon for Axel. After all, Heyman's work with Lesnar had become legendary, as he was essentially used to sell The Beast Incarnate to the masses. It was a task he readily accepted when Lesnar first debuted, and it was one he continued to master in the current era.
Fans also could not deny the impact Heyman had on the career of CM Punk, a man who seemed to not have a way in WWE. Very few believed in Punk, but Heyman knew he had something special and did everything in his power to help him.
The two men were seemingly meant to work together, as Heyman perhaps did more for Punk's career than anyone else ever had in WWE.
As soon as fans had become accustomed to seeing Axel at Heyman's side, they were then given yet another Superstar to speculate upon: Ryback.
Ryback's WWE career started strong, but it had definitely cooled off by the time he was paired with Heyman. The move breathed new life into Ryback's character and his place in the company while also establishing the stable that many had been dreaming of. With Ryback and Axel in the mix, WWE was seemingly moving ahead with a new Dangerous Alliance, and fans could not be happier about it.
However, Punk had turned face during this time, and Lesnar was not even a part-time Superstar. Axel and Ryback appeared to be less like a stable and more like a tag team.
Punk's face turn against Heyman immediately impacted both Axel and Ryback, and before long, it became apparent that the two men would not be able to get over on The Best in the World. After Axel spent nearly five months at Heyman's side and Ryback was in at only two months, both men ended their associations with the evil genius.
A dominant and powerful stable under Heyman's direction was just not meant to be. So when Cesaro was placed with Heyman in April 2014, many fans may have been speculating once again about the possibility of a new group. But they perhaps did so with cautious optimism.
That optimism would have been short-lived, as Cesaro only lasted three months as Heyman's client. It seemed WWE was not committed at all to doing anything related to a heel stable for Heyman.
Heyman did assist in getting Axel, Ryback and Cesaro over in the short term. Axel was nobody when Heyman began working with him, and he became the intercontinental champion. Ryback was seen as a guy with much unrealized potential, and he got a new lease on wrestling life under Heyman. Cesaro was thought of as a very talented worker who only needed one extra intangible to help him succeed, and Heyman appeared to be it.
Heyman influenced the careers of all three men, but the fact is that it was just not meant to be in the long term. Any hope fans had of seeing Heyman as the godfather of a large heel family had very well been dashed by the obvious realization that his character was not the one they had seen in the past.
This Heyman was not the one to work with and shape the careers of young Superstars. He was also not to form any sort of entity to challenge the power structure that already existed in WWE. Heyman is the evil genius, but when it comes to being a criminal mastermind, that is a title reserved for Triple H.
Heyman is meant to be the big-fight manager, and that is a role he absolutely thrives in.
Heyman is the WWE equivalent of Don King. He is able to hype a match to unlimited heights, he can work the crowd, and he can entertain with his words like no one else. By the time Lesnar gets to the match itself, fans feel as though they've already lived it more than once. Heyman is the visionary who can create a big-fight feel with one promo and can completely change the course of the entire program in the process.
He is supremely confident in his abilities and is very aware of what he can do on the mic. Heyman's impact next to Lesnar has never been more apparent than at WrestleMania 30, when The Beast beat The Undertaker and ended the undefeated streak. Heyman was given full credit not only for prepping Lesnar for that win but also for being the architect behind the biggest loss in WrestleMania history.
Heyman's presence on the main event level is expected at this point, and every time Lesnar returns, Heyman does his part to ensure that the weeks leading up to the match itself are filled with anticipation among fans. Heyman brings it like no one else can, and his talents are definitely best used on a very high level.
Heyman may be fully capable of helping other Superstars along the way, but in the end. he will always shine the brightest when he is standing next to Lesnar. Heyman is the most successful manager in the history of WWE, and every time he opens his mouth, he does nothing but add to that legacy.