When it comes to WWE, Paul Heyman’s reputation for salesmanship and promotion is unparalleled on the microphone.
So who better for 2K Sports to enlist to make a big announcement for its upcoming WWE 2K17 video game. The advocate for Brock Lesnar revealed during his State of the Union for Suplex City media call that the Beast Incarnate will be the cover superstar for the release, out Oct. 11 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, as well as Xbox One and Xbox 360.
“Brock Lesnar continues his dominance of global headlines and remains the only athlete that can walk between the worlds of world-class sports competition and WrestleMania-level sports entertainment,” he said.
“This makes Brock Lesnar a first in history. The only man to hold the NCAA Division 1 heavyweight championship and the undisputed UFC world heavyweight championship and the undisputed WWE world heavyweight championship and the IWGP world heavyweight championship; the first man to score any semblance of a victory, let alone a clean pinfall in the middle of the ring, over The Undertaker at WrestleMania, conquering The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak. And the only man not only to be on the cover of the UFC and WWE video game, but the only man to go from a WWE video game cover to a UFC video game cover to once again the featured cover component of a WWE video game.”
Heyman admitted to not being an expert gamer, but his 12-year-old son is and was impressed with what he has seen with planning of WWE 2K17. The legendary personality hinted to having some involvement, doing some voiceover work for this project.
Heyman touched on a number of hot topics within WWE and UFC. His client is gearing up for a return to the Octagon at UFC 200 on July 9 against Mark Hunt. This is unheard of, considering Lesnar remains under contract with WWE.
“It’s what Brock wants to do,” Heyman said.
“I think what drives Brock Lesnar to be everything he is in WWE, what drove Brock Lesnar to be the youngest WWE champion of all time at the time. … Whatever sports entertainment is behind the scenes is irrelevant. You have to be able to deliver in the ring. What has propelled Brock Lesnar to deliver like he does in the ring is the fact he is truly a competitor. Even though it is sports entertainment, Brock is competing with everyone else out there, so when it’s over, people are saying, ‘Wow, did you see Brock Lesnar’s performance?’
“So it’s the same thing. The moment he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, I think he regretted it. I think for the first time in his life he is in perfect health, and he never had a chance to compete while he had perfect health. So it’s the one decision in his life that he was second-guessing. Therefore, for his own mindset, I think it’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to him because he gets to go back and do something, while he is at an age that he can still do it. … Competition is in his blood, and he wasn’t ready to walk away from that yet.”
On July 19, the WWE roster will be divided up in the Draft as SmackDown goes live Tuesday nights on USA Network. The question addressed the potential of breaking up the conquering superstar and his outspoken supporter.
“I doubt that my name will be thrown into the hat to be separate from Brock Lesnar,” Heyman said.
“We are not a tag team. Brock Lesnar is an entity all unto himself, and I’m attached to that entity. I’m not a competitor. I’m certainly not a wrestler. I can’t survive 30 seconds in a ring in any semblance of a way. It’s not what I do. I’m an advocate and exclusively Brock Lesnar’s advocate. So wherever Brock Lesnar goes, I would suggest Paul Heyman goes with him.”
Heyman expects SmackDown to be built around top-level superstars simply because the Draft is happening. For the former ECW visionary and show creative team member, this is not just happenstance.
“This draft is happening because Vince McMahon has made the decision that he is going to have two equal, separate, competitive brands,” he said.
“So I think all bets are off on July 19 as to who ends up on SmackDown and who ends up on Raw. I think one of the biggest components of this Draft is the NXT factor in that you are going to have a whole bunch of new opportunities for people to move up into the main event mix just by the nature of the fact Raw is going to have an exclusive roster and SmackDown is going to have an exclusive roster. This opens up the opportunity for new people to rise to the top.
“And as we saw from the debut of The Shield a couple of years ago, you can get a lot of people into that mix very fast if they seize the moment of the opportunity that is given to them. In my opinion, when this Draft takes place, opportunity is going to be knocking for a lot of great talent to be able to step into a major spotlight and become the face of WWE SmackDown and the face of WWE Monday Night Raw. I can’t actually sit here and tell you that I was a fan of the whole New Era concept. But in my opinion the New Era does begin on July 19 because from all indications I’ve received, the desire is to have true competition between the two brands.”
Lesnar on the WWE 2K17 is the latest in a string of announcements from 2K. The video game company created a buzz after it premiered its first commercial featuring Bill Goldberg, who was last seen in a WWE ring at WrestleMania 20 in 2004 against Lesnar. Goldberg will be a playable character for those who preorder the game.
“I know there is all this hype about Bill Goldberg being the big presale this year because the only way to play as Goldberg is to get the presale,” Heyman said.
“Even as a presale, Bill Goldberg will be conquered by Brock Lesnar.”
Goldberg in a video game, Lesnar fighting again for the UFC with the company’s blessing, the arrival of AJ Styles, and relations with outside independent pro wrestling companies have made 2016 an unpredictable year in WWE history. Many are surprised to see these developments on Vince McMahon’s watch, but not Paul Heyman.
“I think Vince McMahon’s perspective changes many times a day, and I think it has to if you want to survive in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing environment,” Heyman said.
“I think the entire concept of the WWE Network is indicative that Vince McMahon’s perspective is constantly changing because the WWE Network has created a completely different business model for WWE itself. So does Brock walking between the two worlds serve as being demonstrative of Vince McMahon’s acceptance of change?
“I think Vince McMahon has always been willing to change. His whole goal when he bought out his father was to completely change the perception and distribution and marketing and promotion in this industry. I can’t say that what Brock Lesnar is doing is indicative of anything regarding Vince McMahon because the only two people who truly know Vince McMahon’s level of acceptance of Brock walking between these two worlds are Brock and Vince because those are the two who had the conversation about this.”
Roman Reigns, one of Lesnar’s biggest rivals, suffered a setback recently when he was suspended for 30 days from WWE due to a Wellness Policy violation. Heyman says he doesn’t know any better advice to give someone than to not make excuses and to own up to the transgression. Reigns did just that on his Twitter.
“It’s called accountability,” Heyman said.
“It’s the same thing I teach my children. Did you leave the cap off the toothpaste? No, it wasn’t me! It was her! No, it wasn’t me. It was him! Did you leave the cap off the toothpaste? Yes, I did it. It was my mistake. I apologize. I put the cap back on the toothpaste, and I will make many mistakes in my life, but I will never make that one again. It’s the same thing. The man took accountability for his actions. He said I have no excuses, and I own this. That’s the best advice I can give anybody in my life because it’s the same advice I give my own children.”
Heyman advises fans to preorder WWE 2K17 with Lesnar on the cover or risk taking a trip to Suplex City.
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