The partnership between Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his special counsel Paul Heyman is over. But the split should have never happened.
Reigns’ heel turn has been the best thing in WWE over the past several years. With Heyman by his side, his character was elevated from simply a world champion to the must-see face of the company. Heyman does the talking, and Reigns dominates his opponents. This formula was the same Heyman had with Brock Lesnar – but better.
Lesnar was always dominant, and the WWE Universe hated him. With Reigns, the fans are split. Some feel his new persona makes him detestable. Others love to cheer him on as he powers his way through the WWE roster as well as Hall-of-Famers.
Reigns was a perfect 10-0 in pay-per-view matches this year. He defeated Lesnar, John Cena, Edge, Daniel Bryan, current WWE champion Big E and Kevin Owens.
The Tribal Chief is better on the mic than Lesnar, who is reliant on Heyman’s bravado, but Reigns is better as a silent assassin. His character shines when he lets his winning do the talking and Heyman does the rest of the speaking.
Think about The Undertaker. He spent his career saying few words and rolling through opponents. He remained quiet and did his talking by winning in a dominant fashion.
Reigns’ title run is approaching 500 days. It is the seventh-longest world title reign in history and is the second-longest since the late 80s, trailing Lesnar’s 504-day run. Reigns has been untouchable since his return in August 2020.
When Reigns simply barks at an opponent or the crown “acknowledge me,” it carries more weight than if it’s part of a long monologue. It builds his persona. It builds his brand as The Big Dog. Reigns demonstrated his bite is bigger than his bark by beating every opponent in front of him.
One could argue that having a strong presence on the microphone is necessary to being a successful superstar. For example, Edge is a great wrestler in the ring and a sensational personality on the microphone. Reigns does not have that swagger with his words, so yes, he is lacking in that sense.
He’s better without it. His new persona as the Head of the Table requires him to be quiet and let his winning – and Heyman – do the talking.
But what is he going to do now without Heyman? That is the question.
Will the Needle Mover take over the mic? Will he do the talking himself? That will completely change his character. He will turn from being a dominant champion who doesn’t need to talk to a conquering loudmouth. That won’t work.
Will Jimmy and Jey Uso pick up the void left by Heyman and serve as Reigns’ advocates? They already assist the Tribal Chief by running interference in his matches. But they do not have the bluster that Heyman does. It won’t be must-see content to find out what they have to say on behalf of Reigns.
Or will Reigns bring in another manager? Could he hire someone like Eric Bischoff? That would bring sparks throughout the company. Imagine Bischoff returns less than a year after being inducted into the Hall of Fame to manage one of the most dominant champions the company has ever seen. That’s compelling but unlikely.
And what’s next for Heyman? Could he reunite with Lesnar? That seems to be the next step for him. He can return to his old client and provide him with the tools necessary to dethrone Reigns. Heyman told Reigns he was protecting him from the Beast.
“I told the truth to Roman Reigns and it’s a truth he didn’t want to hear,” Heyman said in an interview with Kayla Braxton on this past week’s SmackDown. “My role as special counsel was to tell Roman Reign these uncomfortable truths. My role as special counsel was not just to protect Roman Reigns as a personality, as intellectual property, but as champion. And make no mistake about it – Roman Reigns is the greatest Universal Champion of all time. But he needs to be protected from Brock Lesnar.”
Well, now the fired Heyman can turn the tables and push Lesnar back to the top. That would be one way to end Reigns’ title run. Have Heyman help Lesnar knock him off. But that would be such a disappointing way to end one of the best title runs in history.
Reigns should bring Heyman back to continue their partnership moving the needle at the head of the table. It’s the only way to keep Reigns at the center of the Island of Relevancy.