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We told everyone not to buy in, not to believe what Paul Heyman was selling. Fortunately, Roman Reigns is smarter than that. “You are trying, and it’s not good enough. You’re going to understand this better than anybody. I was groomed at a very young age for this position. My father taught me a lot of stuff; he taught me how to swim with sharks in this business. And he also taught me how to recognise the ones that are drowning, because those sharks are very dangerous. And you, Paul, are drowning. And you’re just not worth saving. Good luck on your future endeavours.”

For those not familiar with the company, that last statement has significant weight; it’s what’s used when the company comes to terms of release. It could have ended there, but Paul has known Roman and his family for a long time. And if there’s one thing that’s important to Roman, it’s family.

“You’re right. You’re right! I am drowning. I’m drowning with the knowledge that I learned when I was fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen years old, riding in the car with your Uncle Afa and your father, Sika. You know what— you know what your father taught me on those car rides? Something that your father taught all of his sons. And he didn’t teach it to you in English, ‘cause he wanted you to understand, this came from the heart. ‘Cause he taught it to you in Samoan. ‘Fala fitu, manu malo.’+* I know this. ‘Cause he taught it to me. ‘CAUSE HE TAUGHT IT TO ME! ...Tell you what. I’ll make this so easy. I’ve prepared something; it’s an agreement in principle. There’s no pressure, there’s no games. Please, please, look this over. Don’t give me your answer tonight. You give me your answer this Sunday, at SummerSlam.”

Paul Heyman’s imitation of Sika was eerily spot on, catching Roman’s attention like almost nothing else could. Whatever Paul said in Samoan left Roman visibly shaken.

Which was when Paul Heyman attacked him with pepper spray, blinding him, and giving Brock Lesnar the opportunity to attack. Roman was defenceless against him—even moreso when Brock pulled out a new move from his MMA arsenal that he’d never used before: a guillotine chokehold. Roman has always been vulnerable to chokes, and this was no exception. Worse still, this is a move that is specifically designed to counter the spear. Have we just seen a glimpse of the future? In the moment, we were given no time to dwell on it. Not satisfied with choking Roman out, Brock returned to the ring to stalk him and deliver a vicious F5. While there was the obligatory “YOU DESERVE IT” and “ONE MORE TIME”, it wasn’t the majority of the crowd. They’ve had enough of Brock Lesnar, and Paul Heyman had shown them who their saviour could be.


+ Approximate spelling

*Non-kayfabe compliant speculation:
People were very curious as to what Paul said last night, that would shake Roman so visibly. Attempts were made at translation, and the two most prevalent were variations on an apology; “Please forgive me” or, “I am sorry”. If that’s correct, it lends itself to a very interesting interpretation. What if Paul apologised for what he was about to do? And what was written on that paper? A contract, or an explanation of what he was planning? Maybe both? Regardless, Roman never ripped it up. Did we just see another Heyman swerve? Probably not, but it’s difficult not to hope.

It’s the little things: This scene from last night got me. Not so much Roman lying there injured, but the way Kurt stood over him, making sure to touch him, because he knows that Roman can’t see him. A friend of mine says that ever since last October, he’s the surrogate father of The Shield, and that felt very evident last night.