“Acknowledge him.”

It’s a phrase that has been echoed numerous times over the past few months as a decree to the WWE universe to show its appreciation for the current WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman, Reigns’ Special Counsel and longtime industry veteran who has been by his side since he captured the title in August 2020, deserves some acknowledgement of his own too. 

His career in the wrestling industry spans over three decades. He got his first taste of the business as a photographer in the late ‘80s when he was just 13 years old. He’s perhaps most known as the mind behind ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), an independent promotion based out of South Philadelphia in the late ‘90s that acted as a catalyst to introduce a more edgy style of wrestling complete with beer guzzling and barbed wire. By 2002, ECW had folded and he was a manager in the WWE, aligned with a promising, freakishly athletic new talent, Brock Lesnar. He would realign with Lesnar in 2012 as his personal advocate as he was taking countless opponents to Suplex City. Today, fans may know him as the Special Counsel to the Tribal Chief who walks lockstep to the ring with Reigns every Friday night on SmackDown and reacts in agony or joy while he stands ringside during his championship matches. Along the way, he’s earned his stripes as one of wrestling’s greatest managers ever and arguably the best talker of all time. Heyman’s resume is extensive to say the least. All of this is just a small piece of the pie.

Despite all of the accolades he could look back on, don’t expect him to acknowledge them this Friday when SmackDown’s special Go Back episode airs on FOX. Reporting live on Zoom from his car, dressed in an expensive suit from Zegna, Heyman is quick to let me know there will not be any clever nods to his wrestling past, not a brick phone in hand or ball cap on his head.

“I am not into nostalgia. I don’t live in the past. And I think it’s a great theme that they’re doing for SmackDown. I think it should apply to every segment except for Roman Reigns’ because Roman Reigns does not live in the past, Roman Reigns does not reflect on the past,” says Heyman. “We respect the past. We bring the past forward. We’re progressive. We’re looking into the future.”

Ahead of this Friday’s show, we got a chance to sit down with Heyman to talk why he believes Roman Reigns is the GOAT, his current role on Talking Smack, the future of wrestling, and more. Check out the full interview below. 

SmackDown is hosting this Go Back episode on Friday. Can we expect some nods from you to kind of get into the spirit? Old brick cell phone, baseball cap, your best Zegna suit out of the closet dusted off?
Well, actually it’s funny that you mentioned that, and just to prove it. [shows tie logo to camera] I am wearing Zegna today. I was thinking of a Brioni or a Ferragamo, but I heard you were appreciative of the Zegna style, so I actually wore this for you. 

I am not into nostalgia. I don’t live in the past. And I think it’s a great theme that they’re doing for SmackDown. I think it should apply to every segment except for Roman Reigns’ because Roman Reigns does not live in the past, Roman Reigns does not reflect on the past. We respect the past. We bring the past forward. We’re progressive. We’re looking into the future. So I think the entire program should be a throwback SmackDown, except when Roman Reigns is on screen, and that should be a look into the future of sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment.

Looking into the future, so what can we expect from you and Roman on Friday? What are you guys bringing to the table?
Another demonstration that Roman Reigns is achieving a level of greatness never before achieved in WWE or anywhere in sports entertainment, even outside the WWE parameters. It’s a constant unfolding of the layers of this persona, this character, and this man that is transpiring in front of your very eyes. It’s for the audience to witness. It’s watching Tiger Woods at his second Masters. It’s watching Michael Jordan after just a couple of years starting to enter his prime. Everything that you’ve seen in the past eight or nine years from Roman Reigns pales in comparison to what is happening now with Roman Reigns, because that’s the level of greatness that he is going to achieve in front of you, the audience, as a witness, every single solitary micro moment that he is in frame on camera.

Another thing being billed for that night is a big match between Seth Rollins and Cesaro, two men you have a history with, two men Roman himself has a history with. Will you have a close eye on that one, as they’re two potential future opponents for the title?
I have an eye on everything regarding the sports entertainment industry. I don’t limit myself to Seth Rollins and/or Cesaro and/or potential challengers to Roman Reigns. I keep an eye on Gable Steveson, for example, who’s heading into the Olympics as a heavyweight. I had my eye on Gable Steveson because he was the number one high school wrestler. It just so happened he was heading into the University of Minnesota, where obviously I have a track record of poaching greatness from. But I have my eye on everything regarding this industry. I haven’t survived 34 years on top in the sports entertainment industry because I’m blind to anything that goes on. If there’s Buenos Aires Championship Wrestling, I know who’s on top and I know who’s the up and comer in Buenos Aires. I do. I keep tabs on everything regarding anything that can affect this industry. Otherwise someone’s going to pass right by me, and I’m not going to allow that to happen. I stay relevant this way.

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Image via WWE

So speaking on Roman, he’s an unstoppable force right now. You’ve been vocal about calling him the greatest of all time, which is high praise coming from you, a veteran in the industry. What about Roman makes him a superior talent in your eyes? 
Anytime I tell you Roman Reigns is the greatest of all time, the GOAT, I’m offering you not a prediction but a spoiler. I’m telling you something that you need to know. I’m informing you something not only about the character that you see on television, about the persona that is projected through that character, but about the man himself.

Let’s what they call “a shoot.” What could I do to top what I’ve done with Brock Lesnar? How’s that even possible? Look at the run that we had since we both returned in 2012. Look at what we put together as a body of work since 2002. That includes writing a bestseller book. That includes what Brock was doing in UFC. Let alone a near 600 day run as champion, multiple world championships outside of that one. And of course the biggest victory in the history of WWE, Brock Lesnar conquering the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania 30.

How could I even approach being on camera after that run? The only way to approach even the concept of going on camera after that is to do it with someone that wanted to achieve the impossible, that looked at the task of topping a run like that and saying, “We can top that. We can do better. We can be more historic than even that run.” And the only person that I know that would be willing to take on that challenge is Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns looks at his first eight years in WWE and says, “I can top that.” We’re talking about a man that main evented WrestleMania four consecutive years. Talking about a man that main evented around the world since the day he debuted on the main roster. And yet he wants to make everything that he’s done before pale by comparison. That’s the only thing that could have lured me back, seduced me back in front of the camera. Because Roman Reigns takes a look at sports entertainment history, looks at Bruno Sammartino, he looks at Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, The Undertaker. He looks at all of their accomplishments and just like he did at WrestleMania, when he stacked Daniel Bryan and Edge on top of each other and pinned them, he wants to stack all of those Mount Rushmore names, all of those Hall of Fame names, all of those icons, all of those legends, all of their accomplishments, stack them together, and he wants to go one level above.

That’s his vision. That’s his goal. That’s what drove him back to WWE. That is the driving force. That is the yearning. That’s the craving. That is the lust. Every micro moment you see the man, the character, the persona on camera, that’s what drives Roman Reigns. That’s why I call him the GOAT. Because if he’s not the GOAT by this moment, I’m telling you, it’s not a prediction, it’s a spoiler. He’s going to achieve that level because that’s the reason why he’s there. And I know him and nothing’s going to stop him. Nothing. No one.

Pardon if this next question seems a bit redundant after what you just said there, but obviously you’ve been involved in plenty of monumental moments throughout your career in the business. The vision is what it is with you and Roman right now, but where do you currently position your work with Roman in terms of your timeline within wrestling? 
With all humility aside, if I didn’t think I was doing the best work of my career or that I was capable of doing the best work of my career, or that I wasn’t delivering the best work of my career, I wouldn’t be doing it. I will never rest on my laurels. I just won’t. It’s not who I am. I can’t do that. I refuse to do it. My ego won’t let me, my ambition won’t let me, my yearning to myself being the best ever, the greatest of all time, won’t allow me to rest on laurels or to look back and go, ‘Wow. When I was better a couple of years ago. I was better yesterday than I was today.’ My goal is to be a more complete performer tomorrow than I am today, and a more complete performer two days from now than I am tomorrow. 

My appearances on Fridays are just auditions to be invited back by WWE and by Roman for the next Friday’s appearance. And the day that I fail that ambition, I want to be out. If there’s someone better than me for this role, I want them to have the job, not me. I don’t want any gifts. There’s no charity case with Paul Heyman. I’ve had 34 years in front of the camera. And I would dare suggest it’s taken me this long to figure out how to do it right. And if I don’t look back on today’s performance tomorrow and say, ‘What was I thinking? Oh, I can do it so much better today,’ then I failed at my task. I should look back on last Friday’s performance on SmackDown and say, ‘Wow, I can top that. Wow. What was I thinking when I did that? Oh, I can’t believe I did that. Ah, wait until next Friday.’ And if you don’t look at your next performance like that, then you’re lazy, then you don’t have that drive. You don’t have that ambition. You don’t have that yearning, that lust to achieve a level that no one has ever achieved before. And when you say no one, that has to include yourself. You got to top yourself at all times. Has to. Otherwise, what am I doing here?

Roman also debuted his new entrance theme. I saw when you guys walked out, it looked like even you had a little bit extra swagger in your step there. You know the importance of the entrance theme when it comes to the character. What do you feel is the importance of the entrance theme and this new music for this continued evolution of Roman right now?
It was the final step away from The Shield. That’s what it was. One of the things that Roman Reigns and I spoke about, with all final decisions being Roman Reigns’. I am Special Counsel to the Tribal Chief, and that’s not just a public persona on television. Behind the scenes, I’m Special Counsel to the Tribal Chief. And one of the many things that we were both desirous of, A. Change the mannerisms. B. Change the presentation. C. Change the hairstyle. D. Change the look. 

He took off the vest, and rightfully so. He changed the music. It was time to change the music. That was The Shield’s theme. Now it’s evolved. Now it’s Roman Reigns’ theme. Now it has nothing to do with The Shield or the members of The Shield. It has evolved. It’s better. We’re not resting on what it was. We are invoking the future. We’re not reminding you of the past. With respect to the past, we’re bringing it forward.

So it’s funny that you mentioned my swagger, coming out with Roman to the new music. Everything about the Roman Reigns presentation needs to circle around Roman Reigns. If you watch Peaky Blinders, everything revolves around how it affects Tommy Shelby. If you had watched the Sopranos, no matter what the side storylines were, it always ended up, how does this affect Tony Soprano? And that’s a central character in any kind of entertainment presentation. And that’s Roman Reigns. So, when it’s the debut of his new music, and there is a certain swagger that Roman Reigns has walking out to the ring, isn’t it incumbent upon all those around him to be in step with that persona so that we are presenting a united front, so that I am simply an extension of the swagger with which Roman Reigns approaches the squared circle.

In other weeks, I am the side salad. I offer a contrast to the mindset of the Tribal Chief. Okay, look at the swagger that this athlete, this champion, this head of the table, this top attraction, walks out to the ring with. Oh, that’s his Special Counsel. Wow, he seems pensive. He’s in thought. He’s looking for guidance from his star athlete. This one, we had to be in lockstep. I was an extension of Roman Reigns. The swagger was united because this was the first time you were hearing the music. There was no contrast. We were together. We were in unison. If you watched, it wasn’t just the swagger. My shoulders swayed as his shoulders swayed. My left foot went with his left foot. My right foot went with his right foot. We were in lock step because that was what the new theme required in order to convey to the audience the enormity of this moment.

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Image via WWE

You mentioned the contrast and that whole aspect of it. Not to take away from what he does in the ring at all, but one of my favorite parts of Roman’s matches is your mannerisms, your facial expressions that you make ringside during these matches. Is there an art to that? Are you practicing that? Is it all organic reactionary in the moment stuff? 
I believe what I’m watching. Because it’s not a credible product if you can’t believe it. You’re not living that moment. You can’t think when you’re out there. You can’t. If you’re watching a movie and you see the actor struggle for his life, you know you’re not watching Olivier or Brando or Pacino or DeNiro or Tom Hardy or Christian Bale. You know you’re watching someone just put on a performance.

When someone lives it, when someone steps into the role and they’re feeling it, it’s who they are. You can’t pull them out and say, ‘Oh, wait a second now. Maybe if you say that word differently.’ You couldn’t pull them out of the character if you tried. Then you’re watching a performance that you can’t tear your eyes away from. You need to see that transpire in front of my eyes in order for you to believe in it. If I believed it, I’ll convey to you that I believe it because I believe it. I can’t think when I’m out there. I’m reacting to what I’m seeing. It’s not a matter of the, “it’s real to me” But it’s real to me. I’m in that.

There’s an old thing about walking through the curtain. And I’ve heard so many people talk about this. I’ve heard Ric Flair talk about walking through the curtain. I’ve heard John Cena talk about walking through the curtain. There is a mindset of walking through that curtain. And I’m telling you that I’ve had days where I’ve had pneumonia and walked through the curtain. I feel fine when I’m out there. And the moment I walk back through the curtain, I’m on the floor because I have pneumonia. When I’m out there, I don’t have pneumonia because that guy doesn’t have pneumonia. The Special Counsel doesn’t have pneumonia. The advocate didn’t have pneumonia. The CEO of the Dangerous Alliance didn’t have pneumonia. The Pied Piper of ECW didn’t have pneumonia. The guy behind the curtain had pneumonia. Not that guy.

If you’re out there thinking, you’re failing in your task. If you’re out there doing, believing, you get the audience to believe in it and invest in it if you believe it and invest in it. I appreciate your kind words about the facial expression. But the facial expressions are real. I don’t practice them. They’re real because I’m living it. I’m living that match with Roman Reigns. And if I’m not, then someone else needs to do this job because they’re better than I am.

Aside from your work with Roman, you have a seat on Talking Smack every Saturday. You’ve been involved in a lot of memorable segments recently with Bianca Belair, Big E , Apollo, there’s a few others. But even though you’re not officially aligned with any of them, it kind of seems like these segments on Talking Smack are an avenue for you to talk up or support some of the stars in the company that you have taken a liking towards. Can you just talk about that dynamic and your role on the show and that whole aspect of what you’re doing right now?
The whole heel/babyface dynamic is antiquated, yesterday’s news. Listen, I’m appreciative of the contributions that Hulk Hogan has made to sports entertainment, but the days of, ‘Let me tell you something, brother,’ are over. They are. You have to constantly update and upgrade the product. Is Roman Reigns the villain? Right he is, damn right. And a damn good one, and maybe the best one ever. The reaction to him in WrestleMania told one hell of a story. But, villainous people can admire people who aren’t villains. It’s the old, Bill Apter magazines, “fan favorites and rule breakers.” I loved Bianca Belair’s work. I think Bianca Belair could go down as the greatest female champion in the history of WWE. She has a lot of competition for that claim, Charlotte Flair being one of them, Ronda Rousey being one of them, Moolah being one of them. But Bianca Belair has everything it takes. Am I supposed to not convey that when speaking to her? Because I’m quote unquote, a villain?

Listen, I’m a villain in real life. Okay? I’m not just a villain on television, anybody who knows me will tell you I’m an asshole. My children will tell you I’m an asshole. And screw them for saying that about me, unappreciative little bastards. But anyway, another story entirely, am I not supposed to tell you how much I admire Bianca Belair? Am I not supposed to show respect to Edge? Edge broke his neck, had a pinched nerve, multiple surgeries. They had to take a hammer in surgery and smash his hip. They took bone out of his hip and fused it into his neck so that he could feel, let alone walk, let alone not to spend his life in a wheelchair, let alone ever even have the prayer of entering a ring again. This man was told he would never ever perform again in a ring. And he’s performing now at a level he never performed before. At this age? With that injury? And he was the first man in the Royal Rumble, and outlasted everybody. What am I supposed to do? Look at him and go, ‘Oh, oh, you’re not good. Oh, you don’t pose a threat to Roman Reigns.’ God damn right he poses a threat to Roman Reigns. And a very serious threat at that. Am I not supposed to show respect and admiration for Edge? Am I not supposed to affirm his greatness? Of course I am. I shake everyone’s hand who walks on the set. I don’t care how serious the rivalry is with Roman Reigns. I shook Kevin Owens’ hand every single week. And he was in a deeply personal rivalry with Roman Reigns. Why? I respect Kevin Owens. I respect Kevin Owens as a performer. I respect the Kevin Owens as a character. I respect Kevin Owens as a man. I respect Kevin Owens as a father. And if you ever saw Kevin Owens as a father, you would respect him as a father too.

Am I supposed to play into this antiquated notion of sports entertainment, pro wrestling that as a bad guy, as a villain, I can’t show respect to people? Of course I’m going to show respect to people. They’re walking onto Talking Smack. They’re being gracious enough with their time to sit down and speak. Whether they’re speaking respectfully or whether they’re talking smack. I don’t care, come on, say anything they want. I’m going to shake their hand. I’m going to show them the respect their character deserves. And here’s another way to look at it. If they weren’t worthy of a handshake, if they weren’t worthy of a conversation with Paul Heyman, what does it say about the show that I’m co-hosting? Why would I co-host it? What does it say about me? Why would I waste my time on a show that doesn’t elevate everyone to the level of at least having a respectful conversation with each other or an argument that plays out in front of an audience?

Of course, I’m going to show respect to Bianca Belair, Kevin Owens, Edge, Big E. My god, Big E. How could I not show respect to Big E? This man could potentially main event a WrestleMania with Roman Reigns. I’m not supposed to show respect to Big E? Come on, let’s upgrade the product. Let’s move it forward. Let’s be more progressive in our pursuit of where sports entertainment is headed and anybody else that’s out there today. And thank you for noticing.

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Image via WWE

To that point, I have to ask you, Roman, Rock, Punk, Mean Mark. The list of legends you have managed is extensive.
Steve Austin. I mean, there’s a man that had a pretty decent career.

Of course, he’s one of my favorites. But is there anyone that you wish you could’ve had time as an advocate for, as a special counsel for? Do you have one of those people that you wish you could have worked closely with that you didn’t get a chance to
Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H. And not as performers, but as people, because I would like a percentage of their earnings and their stock.

Is anyone on the current roster that impresses you, that you see as having an especially promising future, that’s on the roster currently?
I think we have a roster full of greatness right now. Limiting the entry to SmackDown, I think anyone that takes a look at Apollo Crews and doesn’t see it, and doesn’t see huge upside is not watching Apollo Crews. Big E is in the same position that Roman Reigns was in when he broke away from the Shield. I mean, there is greatness inside of Big E, and it is just coming to the surface now. Imagine what Big E is going to be like a year from now when he’s a year removed from the New Day. I don’t think we’ve seen the height of Seth Rollins’ greatness. I think Seth Rollins is reinventing himself in front of our very eyes right now. I think Kevin Owens having just had that main event run with Roman Reigns and starting to realize things about Kevin Owens that is going to propel him to new heights.

I have become, much to my own chagrin, a great admirer of Sami Zayn. And I really hate saying that because I think he’s a prick, and I don’t like him. But my God is he a magnificent television personality. Look at Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks in the main event of night one of WrestleMania. Are you telling me the Street Profits don’t have the potential to be not only the most entertaining tag teams ever, but the greatest team of all time? These guys haven’t even scratched the surface of how far they can go.

I look at our roster and I’m leaving a whole bunch of people off. Look, I’ll be selfish. Look at main event Jey Uso. You know? Jey Uso said something on television. It was very real. He used to walk through an airport, people would legitimately go up to him and say, ‘which one are you?’ Nobody says that to him anymore. People know the main event Jey Uso, the right hand. Jey Uso has main-evented more SmackDowns, in over 2 million households, than anybody else on SmackDown, ever. On Fox. My god. And this was someone that you looked at as a tag team wrestler. He is a main event sports entertainment attraction. What’s the upside of Jey Uso? Then you look at Raw. Isn’t this the Bobby Lashley everyone always dreamed of? Isn’t this the Bobby Lashley that everyone wanted to see? Isn’t this, the Bobby Lashley everyone predicted? How great is Bobby Lashley with MVP? What’s the limit of Drew McIntyre’s talents? Now we’re seeing Drew McIntyre have to fight back through adversity. We’ve seen Drew McIntyre rise to the top, we’ve seen Drew McIntyre regain the top in his rivalry with Randy Orton. Now Drew McIntyre is facing true adversity from multiple levels.

What could be said about Randy Orton? How great is Randy Orton? How versatile is Randy Orton? Again, another person that debuted on the roster in 2002. By the way, drafted to SmackDown by Paul Heyman. My number two draft pick from OVW after John Cena was Randy Orton. Not a bad one, two punch call up for SmackDown. And you think you’d seen it all from Randy Orton, The Legend Killer, The Viper, all these different incarnations of Randy Orton. Just when you think you’ve seen everything that Randy Orton has to offer? Look at his work with Riddle. How great is Randy Orton? How great will he be six months from now? Randy Orton will justify his appearances and his status at the time he’s on top.

You look at that RAW roster, there’s some true greatness there, and its untapped potential as well. That includes Bobby Lashley, MVP, Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, my God, look at her, just look at the different facets of personality that comes out when you see her on television. And Rhea Ripley, finally stepping into the spotlight that, I will candidly say, she should have been in a year ago and she is going to make up for that lost time. We have more greatness on Raw and SmackDown, and I won’t even start to tip my hand as to how much greatness is on display at NXT right now. If you’re not watching NXT on Tuesdays you’re missing the future of the industry. We are surrounded, we are deeply embedded by greatness right now in WWE.

So I know you don’t like to be nostalgic, but you had the foresight to tap into this more raw and extreme side of wrestling with ECW in the ‘90s. You also had the foresight to highlight what would become cruiserweight wrestling in ECW as well. Back in the ‘90s, there were these promotions jockeying for position, you see that again now. As someone with all this experience and time in the business, in your opinion, what do you see as the next big thing for wrestling as a whole? How do you view the landscape? What are your general views of pro wrestling at the moment?
Roman Reigns. 

[laughs]
I see you laugh, but I’m very serious about that, we are creating a megastar. We are creating a star that will achieve a level that has never been achieved before. That’s the goal, that’s the desire, that’s the vision. If it wasn’t the vision, how did the triple threat match in the main event of WrestleMania for the Universal Championship become a handicap match with Roman Reigns stacking two legends, icons, Edge and Daniel Bryan. And Roman Reigns delivered the most declaratively dominant pinfall in the history of WrestleMania main events. If that’s not the future of sports entertainment/pro wrestling please tell me what is. If you’re not witnessing a Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods level performer, what are we witnessing here? Just another run? Just another champion? Just more hyperbole getting into next year’s WrestleMania? The whole desire is to create the future, and that future will be circled around Roman Reigns. When I say he is the sun around which the entire WWE universe shall orbit, that’s not just some line in a promo. I mean it when I say it. It’s there. It’s there for the taking. That’s what we are putting together here. Otherwise I wouldn’t be wasting my time and neither would he. He’d be off doing movies. You think Hollywood’s not knocking down his door? You think Dwayne Johnson doesn’t want Roman Reigns by his side in his next movie? You think Jason Statham is doing action adventure films right now not craving a Roman Reigns as the villain for him to slug it out with? C’mon, who doesn’t want Roman Reigns in the frame with them? We’re here for a reason, and that’s to propel this industry into its next generation, into its next incarnation, into the future of sports entertainment/pro wrestling. No one on Raw, SmackDown, NXT, or even outside the parameters of WWE can compete with the level that we present every Friday night, every micro moment that we are on camera.

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Image via WWE

One last thing, you got a text or a call from Brock Lesnar tomorrow expressing his interest in returning. How does Paul Heyman handle that?
Yes. Well, first of all, if Brock Lesnar would decide to return, I don’t know if he really needs Paul Heyman’s permission, blessing, or advice in doing so. Paul Heyman, as the advocate for Brock Lesnar, conveyed and articulated the message that The Beast, The Conqueror wanted the audience to understand through his actions. Let me be very clear about Brock Lesnar. Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do. It’s not a saying, it’s not a T-shirt, it’s not a slogan, it’s not a catch phrase. It’s a fact. It’s a methodology by which he lives his life. You know how you can tell Brock Lesnar hasn’t decided to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship? He hasn’t done it. If Brock Lesnar wanted to do it, he would do it whether Paul Heyman likes it or not. 

Now, as to your hypothetical. I appreciate you asking me the question. Not because I like the question, but because it allows me to invoke the name of my father who was a far smarter man that I will ever hope to be. My father had an expression, ‘If your aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle. She doesn’t, so she’s not.’ I don’t deal in hypotheticals. I answer in derogatories that are based on fact, not fiction. Brock Lesnar returning, until he does, is fiction. My aunt does not have balls. Therefore she’s still my aunt, not my uncle. Brock Lesnar has not returned because he doesn’t want to, at least not yet.