Pardon the cliche but I have to ask, on that topic of the GOAT discussion and everything like that, is there that dream match for you? Keep it to non-active guys. Is there someone who you would want to tear the house down with if given the opportunity?
It changes, to be honest. I think there’s an obvious one out there with Dwayne, the Rock. Do either of us really need it? No. But I think it’s something that the fans want to see. They kind of clamor over it and they make their comments and they gossip, and it seems to be that talk that’s constantly brought up. Obviously, we want to please our audience and we want to service them. So  if that’s something that they’re into, I have no problem smashing him. [Laughs]

I think from my own personal standpoint, I would say Bret Hart because he was just such a hero of mine growing up. Even as a kid in the wrestling business, growing up part of a huge wrestling family, I looked at a lot of the guys as almost like my family’s coworkers, but there was something about Bret. He just made me believe as a kid. He made me believe that pro wrestling was as legitimate as the NFL, any sport you could think of. I think it was just the way he carried himself, the way he attacked it, the psychology, his matches, his presentation, he just felt very real. And I think if you asked him that he would say it’s because it was, it was to him. And he grew up in this business just like I did. You see a lot of generational talents come through this business because this is all we know. This is something that’s been in our blood and something that we can easily connect to. I think if you can connect to it then you can present it properly. And Bret Hart always did that to me.

Roman Reigns Paul Heyman
Image via WWE

Taking it back to the present day, over on RAW you have Big E as a champ right now. I know in the past you’ve sort of been vocal about his potential and it finally seems to have fully come to fruition for him. You’re both veterans at this point, and you both kind of have similar timelines in your career in the sense that you were both at some point part of wildly successful stables. What has your reaction been to seeing him finally capture that title and what he’s been able to achieve on Raw recently?
As someone who came up with him, I mean, you can go back and there’s like the video of him bench pressing 575. I was the guy spotting him. We were in a workout group—me, him and, Haku’s son Tevita who I believe is in New Japan— but we have a lot of history together. We’ve been around each other quite a bit. Are we like the greatest friends? I’m not going to be texting him today or anything like that, but I think there’s a huge amount of respect and a huge amount of admiration for each other and what we’ve done and where we’ve come from. I think we all knew who Big E was. I think we all knew he was a star, but the path to get there isn’t the same for everybody. So it was really just a matter of time before that opportunity presented itself. 

I think it was a different mindset too. Not that we as the Shield—me, Seth and John—weren’t 100% brothers and loved each other and were for each other when we were in the Shield, but there’s a difference. New Day was so much more than just the wrestling business or having some drinks and BS’ing together. Those guys are like blood brothers. They have so many common grounds and hobbies and interests that they share. So I think that was something that kind of slowed that progression from a singles standpoint down. But there’s no denying Big E. I don’t know if you saw him doing the intros for the Wilder-Fury fight, but man, dude looked like an absolute star. Obviously he’s got a great voice and it works perfect for what that opportunity was, but just seeing them, the visual of him opening up, he didn’t look out of place to me at all. If there were people who don’t even know what WWE is or what it’s about. I think they could’ve seen Big E and been like, ‘Man, dude sounds legit. I want to check out what he does.’ He’s entertaining. He’s intense. He checked off all the boxes. I think we were all proud to see him doing his thing.