When Brock Lesnar walked away from WWE after WrestleMania 36, Paul Heyman's on-screen role with the company seemed to go with it—and Heyman was perfectly fine with the arrangement.
“I cannot begin to convey how reluctant I was to ever do anything in this industry after the eight years, let alone the 18 years, that I put together with Brock Lesnar,” Heyman told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. “Look at our accomplishments: a 500-day run as champion, multiple world championships, the single biggest, most historic victory in sports entertainment history in the conquering of ‘The Streak.’ There was very little chance of me ever returning on-screen.”
However, when the opportunity to serve as Roman Reigns' special counsel came up, he realized it was another, different chance at chasing greatness.
“For me to pursue, in front of the camera, life after Brock Lesnar, the only lure that could seduce me to even attempting such an impossible goal was to do it with someone that would live their life in the pursuit of achieving that impossibility, and that’s Roman Reigns,” Heyman said. “And that’s why someone, that’s why anyone and that’s why everyone should watch Roman Reigns. Every micromoment he’s in the frame, you are witnessing the pursuit of the all-time greatest career in the annals of sport, in the annals of entertainment and in the annals of sports entertainment.”
Heyman's role with Reigns is far different than the one he had with Lesnar.
While Heyman served as something of a prototypical manager for Lesnar, doing 95 percent of the talking and even carrying storylines when Brock was unavailable to appear on television, that's not been the case with Reigns. Heyman, like Jey Uso, is subservient to the "Head of the Table." Reigns does about half the talking himself, with Heyman doing promos that are "below" Roman like backstage segments.
The buddy-buddy relationship that exists between Lesnar and Heyman off the screen carried onto WWE programming. That's not the case between Reigns and Heyman, which is portrayed as a business-only arrangement.
Even as Heyman continues to do all of the things that make him one of the best promos in wrestling history, there is enough of a remix to the character that it doesn't feel like a retread.