It’s Paul Heyman’s yard at WWE SummerSlam

NEW YORK - MARCH 26: Brock Lesner UFC Heavyweight Champion and Paul Heyman attend the UFC 111 party at 632 Hudson on March 26, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for City Publicity) *** Local Caption ***
NEW YORK - MARCH 26: Brock Lesner UFC Heavyweight Champion and Paul Heyman attend the UFC 111 party at 632 Hudson on March 26, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for City Publicity) *** Local Caption *** /

SummerSlam is one of the biggest events on the WWE calendar, and we should be just days away from resolving one of the longer running feuds in recent memory.

It’s been over three years since Roman Reigns faced Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Over three years since Reigns was on the verge of defeating the Beast, only to be thwarted by Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and stealing the belt. In those three-plus years, a lot has changed in wrestling. One of the constants has been the reaction that Reigns gets every time he comes to the ring. This Sunday, it’s time to put that to an end and pick a lane.

Reigns has been chasing that title and the acceptance of the majority of the fans as the company’s top babyface star for a long time now. One of his foils has always been Brock Lesnar, managed by the ingenious Paul Heyman. These two have gone to war multiple times, but no matter how close he gets, Reigns can’t seem to get that elusive and decisive victory to kick off a long title run.

WWE should have three goals this Sunday in its main event:

  1. Keep Brock Lesnar relevant to capitalize on him fighting in the UFC while taking the title off of him, finally.
  2. Kee Paul Heyman on camera and a relatively prominent character through the time Lesnar is not there.
  3. Give Reigns the title and validation with a significant run as champion or get him out of the picture for the belt for quite a while.

It appears the time has come for Lesnar to relinquish the title. Even most of his supporters (meekly raises hand) would agree the belt should be a bigger part of Monday Night Raw moving forward. We get it, WWE. He’s the Beast Incarnate and he can show up when he wants and how he wants. He broke the modern day record of CM Punk for the longest reign, and nobody with an ounce of sense thinks that was an accident. You got the last laugh there, Lesnar is not doing anything positive with the belt from an on-camera point of view. However, this doesn’t mean that Lesnar has to lose to Reigns.

Over the past couple weeks, a new and interesting dynamic has been pushed forward in the Heyman-Lesnar relationship. We’ve seen tension and outright disdain for Heyman from Lesnar, and it’s been a welcome change in the tone of these two men. It’s always been smooth sailing and it’s been fascinating to watch it unfold. Heyman saw actual violence at the hands of Lesnar and then followed that next week by one of the better promos in recent WWE history. It was right up there with the infamous “Pipebomb” promo that CM Punk rattled off a few years back. All of this set up Heyman offering to help Reigns, only to pepper spray him and clear the way for a Lesnar sneak attack this past week. Having Heyman and Lesnar work together again just like that is simply too easy of a solution, but there is a scenario that paves the way to achieve all of the goals laid out earlier.

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One thing that Lesnar and Reigns have always been good at is making their matches look pretty brutal by WWE standards. Some fans chant “boring,” but those fans are knuckleheads, frankly. We could all do without the 72,742 finishers in the match but these two bring it as far as the realism factor goes. So after about 15 minutes of beating the tar out of each other, Heyman should double cross Lesnar for real. Maybe it’s the pepper spray he used on Reigns this past Monday. Maybe he just gets in the way, allowing Reigns to get the upper hand. The key thing is whatever Heyman does, it shouldn’t work. Lesnar should overcome and pin Reigns clean as a whistle, retaining his title. That’s when Heyman takes a different route, and as Triple H once said, “There’s always a Plan B”.

After the match ends, Lesnar should be ready to squash Heyman like a bug, and that’s when Braun Strowman comes down to save the day. He can cash in the Money in the Bank contract while still having Lesnar look strong since he came off a grueling match and got double crossed. Strowman is the new champ who the crowd already loves and he’s there every week. Heyman can still be a prominent figureand help Strowman transition from hulking menace who gets by on brute strength and breaking stuff to a fully evolved character. As much as the big man is adored right now, there’s only so far he can go with his current character. It has an expiration date, but Heyman can help all of that.

That’s not meant as disrespect toward Strowman because going from a Wyatt Family goon to where he’s at now is fantastic and a credit to him. However, he’s still limited. Sticking him with one of the best to ever do it while letting Heyman be a face for a while would be refreshing. Reigns can now go on a quest to get back to the top, since he’s been beaten by Brock routinely. Maybe he takes a few losses and gets the crowd behind him more organically as he shows a different side of the character. A heel turn wouldn’t hurt as he could lash out at fans booing him for so many years, but don’t hold your breath on that one. As popular as it is to boo Reigns, it’s not his fault he’s been mishandled at almost every turn by WWE.

This solution might seem too easy and convenient, but sometimes it’s best to stick with the basics. The reaction that Strowman would get coming to rescue Heyman after they get deflated that Lesnar is still champ would be incredible. To find out it was a master plan by Heyman would be the cherry on top. After a few months away from each other, Reigns and Strowman could re-kindle their feud, which was a lot of fun. Lesnar can still be the Beast when he decides if/when to show up. He doesn’t need to cut promos or do much else but show up, destroy, and try to reclaim the title. Hopefully there is a different dynamic because turning Strowman heel with Heyman as the mouth is just Lesnar 2.0 and would really hurt everyone involved.

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As Strowman grows, wouldn’t it be fun to see Heyman take a role on-screen to help get incoming NXT talent over? That’s been a real weakness of WWE in recent years. NXT talent tends to make a splash and then fade. Perhaps Heyman could help that issue since he carries a weight with whoever he works with. A stable on the main roster would be a blast and could inject some life into portions of the programming.

As long as Heyman is on TV, the belt is home where it belongs and Reigns has a distinct direction, the SummerSlam main event should be a smashing success.