Paul Heyman cut another seamless promo during Brock Lesnar’s coronation on Raw.
Lesnar had been presented with the slightly altered WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and from there Heyman proceeded to do his thing. Brilliantly.
In fact, it’s a thing he’s done better than anybody in WWE during his latest run.
Run his mouth.
Heyman continued his scorching 2014 momentum during the first promo of what should be a long world championship run for his client.
He combined his signature sharp delivery with clever high spots—like when he said “suplex, repeat!” 16 times at one point—that matched the effectiveness of most television matches.
At certain points, Lesnar—usually stone-faced and menacing while his manager speaks—couldn’t help but sit and stare in awe.
Once Heyman got going, Lesnar giddily asked him to announce his name ("Baarock! Lesnar!") in the animated fashion that has become popular across WWE programming.
Lesnar sat on a display table previously occupied by his championship. Like a kindergartner during storytime, he gazed while Heyman effortlessly did what many young talents struggle to do—deliver a spirited, genuine, seemingly unscripted promo.
It was as if Lesnar, who slayed an invincible streak and was coming off the most one-sided world championship victory in wrestling history, had subconsciously reverted into a fan. He couldn't help himself.
Lesnar eventually snapped back into beast mode. He kicked over the table like an angry mule and returned to his signature scowl. The reigning WWE World Heavyweight champion had come out of an apparent trance the only way he knew how: violently.
That subtle sequence was an important subtext of a segment that featured arguably the best heel-manager duo in wrestling.
Who is more valuable to the Lesnar-Heyman tandem?
Lesnar kicked over that table with the same ease that Heyman delivered his promo. In all his physical danger, he is just as important to Heyman as Heyman is to him. Lesnar disposed of the table with such immediacy following his trance, it was as if that was the message he was trying to send.
Heyman’s top-notch promos would fall on deaf ears if he didn’t have Lesnar’s unprecedented run of dominance to build on. In fact, the concept of "Paul Heyman Guys" is actually quite overrated.
Most of Heyman’s success as a manager has come alongside talents who have already been established. The Big Show, CM Punk and post-UFC Brock Lesnar are all formidable examples.
But on the others side of that coin lie a wasteland of talent such as Heidenreich, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, Ryback, Curtis Axel and most recently Cesaro.
Despite Heyman’s knack for spotting fresh talent, which was a theme in his newly released DVD Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman, he has a sketchy record of actually elevating fresh talent as an onscreen manager.
To really tap into the ingenious that allowed him to break into professional wrestling at age 14, Heyman needs to work with proven talent. That’s where Lesnar comes in.
The Heyman-Lesnar relationship is quid pro quo. Just as Heyman needs proven talent, Lesnar needs his own private promoter. Without Heyman, Lesnar’s ceiling to sell pay-per-views would be much lower.
In 2012, before he was reunited with his longtime friend and manager, Lesnar was involved in an Extreme Rules contract signing opposite then-authority figure John Laurinaitis.
Lesnar was given a live microphone and had to do a lot of talking during the main event segment. It was awkward to say the least. James Caldwell of PWTorch.com described the uneasy segment:
A flat ending to the segment. Even 'saving the physicality' for the PPV didn't come across well trying to create a money-making feeling of ‘I can't wait to see them beat each other up at the PPV’ or ‘I can't wait for Cena to get his revenge on Lesnar.’ I didn't feel they got there; they just didn't hit the big emotional highs very well before the PPV, especially with Brock out of his element and out there without a net having to do a lot of talking and not having a good partner, Laurinaitis, to work with.
Lesnar had been exposed as someone who should’t be put in position to talk fans into the building through an extended promo. Fortunately, that’s Heyman’s calling.
Heyman as the sharp-tongued carnival barker makes for the perfect complement to Lesnar’s beastly bona fides. Monday on Raw, the brash, obnoxious Heyman openly admired Lesnar’s conquering. Lesnar, who works best with subtleties when he isn’t wrestling, involuntarily returned the favor with a momentary glance.
Their segment was an example of a relationship that will bring the best out of every blockbuster match. Each brings to the table what the other needs in order to be effective. As long as that table remains upright, Lesnar and Heyman will continue to conquer the WWE together.