Fighting

PRO WRESTLING: Paul Heyman to main event WWE WrestleMania 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Roman Reigns challenges Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman for the WWE World championship at WrestleMania 31 on Sunday, March 29 on pay-per-view and WWE Network.
Roman Reigns challenges Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman for the WWE World championship at WrestleMania 31 on Sunday, March 29 on pay-per-view and WWE Network. Photo Courtesy WWE

If there was a WWE world heavyweight champion of the microphone, it would no doubt go to Paul Heyman.

You can call him loud, outspoken and controversial, but it’s hard to deny the New Yorker isn’t entertaining whenever he walks through the curtain and heads to a pro wrestling ring.

The advocate for the WWE World heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has played a pivotal role heading into WrestleMania 31 7 p.m. EST Sunday, March 29 on WWE Network and pay-per-view.

Heyman will stand ringside inside a jam-packed Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. as his “Beast Incarnate” defends the gold against challenger Roman Reigns in the main event on the grandest stage. The ECW visionary and legendary manager is ready to add another accolade to a resume spanning almost 30 years.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been in the corner for a WrestleMania main event,” he said. “This is a career highlight for me. To share that with my best friend and an athlete I have so much admiration for in Brock Lesnar makes it even more special.”

Heyman has found so many ways in recent years to articulate just how good Brock Lesnar is, whether it’s in a squared circle or UFC octagon.

“I have the easiest job in the world,” he said. “I get to sing the praises of the most legitimate, the most authentic, most credible WWE champion in history. He is my best friend in the world. He is someone I truly admire. He is a once in a lifetime performer. There is nothing I say about him that I don’t 100 percent believe in my heart and soul.

“It’s like people that walk around and pull their kids’ photos out of their wallets or their smartphones saying, ‘Look at my kid on the seesaw. Look at my kid in the sandbox.’ It’s the same thing. I get to sing the praises of an once-in-a-lifetime attraction. It’s the easiest job in the world. I don’t even have to think about it when I ‘m doing it. I truly do admire Brock Lesnar, and I get to tell the whole world about it every time I go out with a live microphone in my hand.”

Episodes of Raw spotlight Heyman at his absolute best. Check social media and find largely rave reviews from the audience, which is hard to come by. He is no doubt among the best talkers in the history of the business. The gift of gab comes naturally to Heyman, whose candidness and razor-sharp delivery doesn’t always sit well with his employers.

“I obviously don’t have as much freedom as people think I do because they keep cutting off my microphone,” he said. “I have been out there for three straight weeks and the microphone has legitimately been cut off on me three straight weeks without my blessing, language, knowledge or permission.”

Throughout his run, Heyman hasn’t been one to abide by the shackles of scripts or rules or conventions. It’s his ability to speak from the heart and express his opinion, no matter the consequence, that has made him so captivating and successful. To have the respect and admiration of peers is nice, but Heyman is more concerned with how he resonates with the customers.

“The affirmation that I seek comes in the form a WWE Network subscription, a pay-per-view buy or event ticket sold,” he said. “Whether the other talent admires what I say does not affect how I approach a promo because I’m not here to entertain the boys. I’m here to sell tickets and pay-per-view and network subscriptions. If I fail in that capacity, I won’t have the privilege of a live mic every Monday to perform.”

When looking at the growth of his abilities, Heyman can recount an epiphany moment involving a certain “American Dream” in WCW. He will never forget the words of wisdom he received.

“The best advice I can give to others is advice I once got,” Heyman said. “The advice was from Dusty Rhodes. Dusty Rhodes gave me the last promo on a show leading into the Clash of the Champions. Everyone had spoken on those two hours of television. Ric Flair, Sting, Dusty himself, a who’s who of personalities within the Turner era was represented. Dusty gave me the last word. I went out there with the mindset of, ‘look who I’m following.’

“I tore that mic up with so many things to say and so many voices and inflections. When I came back Dusty said, ‘That was great. It was so entertaining, and you didn’t sell me on the show. Next time you go out there, ask yourself, ‘What am I selling, and how do I sell it?’ It was the best advice I was ever given. What am I selling? So every single solitary word I say now is designed to sell. I’m selling you on something.

“Whether I’m selling you on Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, WrestleMania or WWE itself, I’m selling you on something. Every word that I say, every inflection in my voice, every syllable that comes out of my mouth is with the designation and desire to sell you on something. That is the advice I would give someone is to keep that in mind at all times. What’s your job here? What’s your gig? What’s your responsibility and obligation, and how do you fill it?”

No matter the result, WrestleMania is going to be memorable for Paul E. However, he is also excited about the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony the night before at the SAP Center in San Jose. It’s where a number of his former colleagues are getting recognized for their contributions.

“The truth is there are a lot of people going in that I’ve been affiliated with,” Heyman said. “I managed Rikishi when he was part of the Samoan Swat Team in WCW. There are a lot of people associated with Paul Heyman going into the Hall of Fame this year. I’m really intrigued to what Madusa is going to say because Madusa has always been unfiltered. She is not shy on her opinion regarding female empowerment, and this industry has not been her only means of support in her life. So I’m very interested in hearing her take on going into the Hall of Fame. I think it’s going to be one of the most intriguing inductions that we’ve had in quite some time.”

When Heyman goes into the Hall of Fame, his work with Lesnar would be a prime reason for his induction.

Lesnar, whose deal with WWE was ending after WrestleMania 31, just signed a new deal with WWE. Before the re-signing, Heyman discussed his client’s situation.

“Brock Lesnar is going to do whatever Brock Lesnar feels like doing,” he said. “There is nobody in this planet that can stop him. If Brock Lesnar decides he wants to stay in WWE, that’s what he is going to do. If Brock Lesnar decides to leave WWE, there is no one that can physically force him to stay, and there is no one that is going to be able to talk him into staying. What I do in the event that Brock leaves WWE?

“I plan on holding his title in my lap whether he stays or he goes because he said on television Monday. Whether he stays or he leaves, he is not handing that title over to Roman Reigns. He is going to keep it. I think people should take those words very seriously. I don’t think people are paying to see a great wrestling match at WrestleMania. I really don’t. I think people are paying to see a beating.

“I think people are paying for this WrestleMania main event to see just the severity of the beating that Brock Lesnar is going to lay on Roman Reigns. In the true spirit of Ronda Rousey and Mike Tyson, we have a champion now that is a wrecking machine. I don’t think people are paying to see a 45-minute wrestling match. I think people are paying to see the severity of the beating Brock Lesnar is going to bring to the Samoan badass.”

- Paul Heyman will be in the corner of Brock Lesnar when The Beast Incarnate defends the WWE World championship against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31 on Sunday, March 29 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Other bouts include Sting battling Triple H, and Bray Wyatt taking on The Undertaker.

John Cena goes after the United States championship against Rusev with Lana. Brie and Nikki Bella are in tag team action against Paige and AJ Lee.

The Intercontinental title hangs in the balance as Bad News Barrett defends against Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Stardust, Luke Harper and R-Truth in a ladder match.

Bell time is 7 p.m. EST.

The pre-show features the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Participants are The Miz, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Fandango, Adam Rose, Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Titus O'Neil, Darren Young, Big Show, Kane, Erick Rowan, Damien Mizdow, Sin Cara, Goldust, Heath Slater, Mark Henry, Konnor, Viktor and NXT’s Hideo Itami.

Also pre-show, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (with Natalya) defend the WWE tag team titles vs. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (with Xavier Woods) vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando with El Torito) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso with Naomi) in a fatal fourway.

For full details on WrestleMania and other events surrounding the big event,

visit www.WrestleMania.com.

- Follow Paul Heyman on Twitter @HeymanHustle

Visit www.HeymanHustle.com

- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN from California with live tweets from WrestleMania Weekend.

PRO WRESTLING ON THE WEB

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/

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