The next chapter in the long, storied rivalry between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will be written this Thursday when both men battle it out over the WWE Universal Championship at Crown Jewel. This is a match that wrestling fans have been waiting to see ever since The Tribal Chief first sat down on a couch next to his special counsel Paul Heyman.
It's somewhat unusual for the WWE Universe to clamor for a bout that they've seen multiple times before, on every big stage that exists no less, but here we are. What's old has become new once again, and that's thanks in large part to Paul Heyman.
The biggest question heading into Crown Jewel Thursday isn't, "Who's going to walk out with the Universal Championship?" It's, "Who really has Paul Heyman in their corner?"
The history between Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar is well documented. For years, Heyman has walked down to the ring to loudly and proudly proclaim himself to be the advocate to The Beast Incarnate. But it's when Lesnar's WWE contract expired last year that Heyman found himself adrift - just floating along without aim or purpose. That was until he landed on the shores of the Island of Relevancy.
When Paul Heyman aligned himself with Roman Reigns and completed The Tribal Chief's heel turn, many fans began to wonder. What's going to happen if and when Brock Lesnar comes back? At SummerSlam this year, we got our answer - babyface Brock coming after what he feels belongs to him, that being, both the Universal Championship and Paul Heyman.
It's a simple, yet highly effective twist on this rivalry. There's no question that over the course of his career, Brock Lesnar has faced off with some of the biggest and baddest dudes to ever lace up a pair of boots.
When speaking to Sportskeeda Wrestling, however, Paul Heyman said there was no bigger rival to Brock Lesnar than Roman Reigns.
"We've done multiple WrestleMania main events between the two of them, and we'll most likely do more," Heyman noted. "This is a really interesting situation. You know, The Undertaker was very simple. History was made. Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania. With John Cena, that was an intense rivalry between the poster boy for WWE and the most heavily hyped sports entertainer on the face of the planet, against a former NCAA Division-1 Heavyweight Champion, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. But with Roman Reigns, you have a completely different dynamic."
When talking about the greatest rivals for Brock Lesnar, the list doesn't stop at The Undertaker and John Cena. You have to mention Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers like Goldberg, Triple H, Kurt Angle, and The Big Show, as well.
In Paul Heyman's opinion, none of them match up with The Beast the way Roman Reigns does.
"You have someone that is also a Division-1 athlete and a champion. You have someone that could have gone into UFC and smashed everybody. You have someone that matches up against Brock Lesnar, and you have someone that is equally as credible as Brock Lesnar. And there's not a lot of human beings... that can match up that way in terms of credibility with Brock Lesnar." Heyman continued, "So I find the dynamic between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to be the great rivalry, like the Lakers and the Celtics or the Yankees and the Red Sox."
Lesnar currently holds the all-time series lead over Reigns in one-on-one matches, but that could change at Crown Jewel. According to Cagematch, Reigns is 1-2 against Lesnar, with their WrestleMania 31 match not included thanks to Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and making it a triple threat match last minute.
Is Roman Reigns set to pull even with Brock and continue his 415-day reign as Universal Champion? Again, that could all come down to the actions, or non-actions, of Paul Heyman.
Will we find out where Paul Heyman's loyalties truly lie?
Since making his surprise return at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar has done a masterful job of making both The Bloodline and the fans wonder if Heyman is working some kind of angle.
Did he know Brock was going to be at SummerSlam? Did he secure Lesnar's status as a free agent? Is there some kind of master plan in the works to make sure that Brock Lesnar once again becomes the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion? Could Paul Heyman really screw over Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
That's the point. You just don't know. A masterful web of deceit has been spun by WWE creative and Heyman didn't tip his hand one way or the other when talking to Sportskeeda Wrestling.
"Spoilers are the worst things imaginable, except when I deliver them," Heyman said before offering up a tiny nugget about Thursday's Crown Jewel pay-per-view. "It will be worth the investment of your time to watch."
Paul Heyman isn't called the wise man for nothing. He's a genius. He knows what he's doing, and he's fully aware that people are going to tune in to watch this massive main event for not only Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar but also for Paul Heyman.
Which is exactly why he went on social media this week, and stoked the fire one more time.
"I hate to spoil the ending of what is the biggest box office match of 2021, but... Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman, and I will be walking down the aisle at Crown Jewel with the reigning defending undisputed WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion... and I assure you, I will be leaving Crown Jewel with the WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion!"
You'll notice a big omission in that statement. He never says the name of the Universal Champion he'll be accompanying out of Crown Jewel. So where do Paul Heyman's loyalties truly lie? We'll all have to watch Crown Jewel Thursday at noon ET on Peacock to find out.