Paul Heyman Expects Big Things From NXT Stars
Paul Heyman knows a star when he sees one. He is the father of the now defunct ECW brand, a promotion that exploded in the 1990's thanks to it's edgy and violent product.
So many of WWE's legendary performers made their mark in ECW: Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam and the late Eddie Guerrero to name a few. Heyman contributed to the successes of all of those men.
In WWE, Heyman has managed five WWE World Heavyweight Champions: Big Show, RVD, CM Punk, Kurt Angle and his current beast, Brock Lesnar. If you're a Paul Heyman guy, you're in pretty good hands.
NXT, WWE's third brand is on the rise, with a host of talents set to progress to the main roster in the upcoming brand split. Though he has his hands full advocating for the aforementioned Brock Lesnar, Heyman offered his thoughts on NXT and tipped several names for big things.
Speaking to theSPORTbible, he said:
I think [Finn] Balor is ready to be a main event superstar, Samoa Joe has always been a main event superstar. That NXT roster is filled with A-listers who are ready to move up and make a significant impact on both Raw and Smackdown. Even though I'm naming two right off the top and it's an easy two because they've just been featured in the main events [of NXT shows]. If you seriously take a look at the NXT roster and you realise how well-positioned WWE is for this draft on July 19 because there's so much talent in NXT and to go even further in that, I think NXT demonstrates its own strengths by the fact that NXT is practically guaranteed to lose not only its top tier but perhaps its 1A tier as well in this draft or six months after the draft and yet nobody in NXT is sweating this because the depth of the roster is NXT is so big with A-level talent right now, it's going to give people an opportunity to move to the top of the NXT roster as well. So to me, it's not just who makes an impact on Raw and Smackdown, but the fact that the fate of NXT will change for the better because now you are going to have people in the main event mix in NXT as well.
Another exciting feature in the brand split is that Smackdown will be going live, going head-to-head with Raw and possessing a roster and writing team. Heyman was in charge of the brand from 2002 till 2003,helping build new stars and competing with the flagship Monday Night Raw show. He emphasised how important it is to make the brand feel special again when it goes live on July 19.
It's paramount. Smackdown has to come across as a brand that truly competes with Monday Night Raw, if the brand is not competitive with WWE in terms of talent, in terms or production, in terms of look, in terms of presentation and just in terms of the manner in which the announcers get to describe the product and the prestige of appearing on the show, then it's doomed but I don't see it going down that way - Vince McMahon is not known for doing things half-assed and I am sure that the directive within WWE is that as of July 19 when the expansion of the two brands happens, that there will be an equal and distinctive roster on each side and that the rosters are going to compete. Vince, much like Brock Lesnar, thrives on competition and just like he did in 2002, when there's no-one out there competing with Vince McMahon, he'll create his own competition.
Heyman broke the news that his conqueror Brock Lesnar will continue his dominance across the world of combat sports and sports entertainment by appearing as the cover star for the WWE 2K17 video game, to be released in October.
Words by Josh Lawless