For Paul Heyman, there is no faking it when it comes to taking bumps.
Paul Heyman has been in the industry since 1985. In that time, he has managed several of the top talents in the industry, and more often than not, that means that at some point Paul Heyman is going to have to take a bump.
Whether it's a Rock Bottom from The Rock at SummerSlam in 2002, an F5 from Brock Lesnar on SmackDown in 2003, or a beating from CM Punk atop Hell in a Cell in 2013, Paul Heyman says it is all 100% real.
Making this point during an appearance on the Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch, Paul Heyman equated his time on the receiving end of a CM Punk beatdown to that of CM Punk’s brief career inside the Octagon for UFC.
“My preparation for physicality is the emotional understanding that this is going to hurt. The beating I took on top of Hell in a Cell from CM Punk was as real as any beating that he took inside the octagon at UFC. Samoa Joe locking me in the Coquina Clutch on Monday Night Raw was as real as anything that anyone else is going to feel in mixed martial arts because I don't trust my timing and I have no athletic ability. So I prefer, if I'm going to be subject to physicality, bring it. I also have been of the mindset that if you put Paul Heyman in a physical situation, the lure is that the audience is going to say, 'Okay, this is going to be visceral. This is going to be a fight. This is going to be interesting.' Because, I've watched other people in this role or similar roles in the past, who didn't want to take the hit. I think the lure, the seduction of Paul Heyman finally getting his ass kicked is that Paul Heyman gets his ass kicked. You sit there and say, as an audience member, 'Hey, I want to see this.' It's why the ratings for Paul Heyman vs. Adam Pearce match on SmackDown did so well.”
Paul continued, explaining why this role allows him to speak eloquently to the opponents of Roman Reigns as the co-host of Talking Smack.
"The irony of just part of our conversation is that the character that I have inhabited or evolved into as Special Counsel for 'The Tribal Chief' Roman Reigns is not a character that people really want to see get smashed. Which is why, on Talking Smack, I can shake the hands of Roman Reigns’ most dynamic opponents. Kevin Owens, in an aggressive, politically incorrect word, violent storyline with Roman Reigns can come on Talking Smack and I can shake his hand and have a conversation with him about the Dynamics of his rivalry with Roman Reigns. The guests this weekend, WrestleMania weekend, on Talking Smack will be Edge, 24 hours before he gets into the ring in the main event of WrestleMania, fighting for the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman, the person, and Paul Heyman, the character/persona, has all the respect and all the admiration in the world for Edge. I liked him personally, I admire him professionally. I intend on A) shaking his hand the moment he walks onto the set and B) expressing my personal and professional admiration for him, his family, his story, his ability, and his performances. I would dare suggest that he will do the same with me. Because I'm not a manager. I'm not.
"I'm not Lou Albano, I'm not Freddie Blassie, I'm not The Grand Wizard, I'm not Bobby Heenan, I'm not Jimmy Hart, I'm not JJ Dillon. I'm not directing my charge to end the career of the opponent... That's not my character. I'm Special Counsel to 'The Tribal Chief.' Some of this has to do with my age, I'm 55. There's a difference between 55 and 45, and 35, and 25. I'm not attached to the heat that Roman Reigns has generated. I'm the liaison. I'm the liaison to Roman Reigns. So I can intelligently discuss with Edge this weekend what it's going to be like for him to be in the ring with Roman Reigns while having intimate knowledge of Edge's greatness because I'm the one that broke him out into a singles when I was the lead writer of SmackDown dating back to 2002. I was the executive director of Raw when he returned at the Royal Rumble 2020 and worked with him hand-in-hand with his WrestleMania storyline with Randy Orton. That's all public knowledge. So why would I hide that? Why wouldn't I be the one to sit there and say, ‘I admire you, I respect you, I have such respect and admiration for what you bring to the table and you're stepping into the ring with the person that I'm attached to in the main event of WrestleMania, let's talk about it like intelligent human beings. So, it's just a progression, an evolution of the role and maybe it's a new role. Maybe this Special Counsel/Advocate is the natural evolution to a more realistic basis of what a manager was and should be. Or at least it is for someone my age.”
Paul Heyman has been in the role of advocate for a major championship match in six of the last seven WrestleManias. This year, however, it is the first time he will not be in this role in the corner of Brock Lesnar.
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