On Lesnar fighting at UFC 200: It’s what Brock wants to do. I think what drives Brock Lesnar to be everything that he is in WWE, what drove Brock Lesnar to be the youngest WWE champion of all time to–at the time, to be the one athlete that can score that unattainable pin fall over the Undertaker at WrestleMania, whatever sports entertainment is behind the scenes is irrelevant. You have to be able to deliver in the ring. And what has propelled Brock Lesnar to deliver like he does in the ring is the fact that he’s truly a competitor. And even though it’s sports entertainment, Brock is competing with everyone else that’s out there so that, when the show is over, people say, “Wow, did you see Brock Lesnar’s performance?”
So, it’s the same thing. It–he’s a competitor. And the moment he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, I think he regretted it. And, uh, I think he regretted the fact that he is, for the first time in his life, in perfect health. And he’s never had a chance to compete while he has perfect health. So, it’s the one decision in his life that he ever was second guessing. And therefore, for his own, um, mindset, I think this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him because he gets to go and–back and do something while he’s at an age that he can still do it, um, that he truly needs in his heart of hearts to do because competition is in his blood, and he wasn’t ready to walk away from that yet. Lesnar seems to have been the only athlete who has managed to transfer his talents across both sports-entertainment and mixed martial arts. Is there anyone else in your opinion who could do the same? The short answer to that is no. The long answer to that is this is one of the things that Brock Lesnar discussed at length with two case boards when they wanted Brock Lesnar to be the cover art for WWE 2K17. And when the game comes down on October 11th, you’ll see a lot of components inside the game that demonstrate that Brock wanted his name attached to something that’s unique and different and extraordinary.
Um, I have all the respect in the world, more so than most would ever believe, for John Cena, for example. But, John Cena could not main event Wrestle Mania, main event Summer Slam, and then walk into the Octagon in true heavyweight competition against another heavyweight UFC fighter, nor could Conor McGregor, the biggest box office attraction with the exception of Brock Lesnar in UFC, go from a UFC fight and then transfer over to do all the hype, all the television, all the publicity going in, all the appearances going into a WWE pay-per-view event, and then continue to perform at that level at the–not only a top level, but the top level of sports entertainment. It just can’t happen.
On the Brand Extension: I doubt that my name will be thrown into the hat to be separate from Brock Lesnar. I can’t really–uh, we’re not a tag team. Um, Brock Lesnar is an entity all unto himself. And I’m attached to that entity. So, I’m not a competitor. I’m certainly not, uh, a wrestler. I can’t survive 30 seconds in a ring, um, in any semblance of a way. It’s just not what I do. I’m an advocate. And I am exclusively Brock Lesnar’s advocate. So, wherever Brock Lesnar goes, I would suggest that Paul Heyman goes with him.
I think SmackDown is guaranteed to be built around top-level WWE superstars simply by the fact that this draft is happening. 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. So I think all bets are off on July 19th as to who ends up on SmackDown and who ends up on Raw. Um, I think one of the biggest components of this draft is going to be the NXT factor in that you’re going to have a whole bunch of new opportunities for people to move up into the main event mix because, just by the very nature of the fact that Raw’s going to have an exclusive roster and SmackDown’s going to have an exclusive roster, this opens up the possibilities for new people to rise to the top. And as we saw with the debut of the Shield a couple years ago, you can get a lot of people into that mix very, very fast if they seize the moment of the opportunity that’s given to them. July 19th, in my opinion, when this draft takes place, is going to be opportunity knocking for a lot of great talent to be able to step into a major spotlight and become the face of WWE SmackDown, the face of WWE Monday Night Raw.
It’s–uh, 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 19th because, from all indications that I’ve received, the desire’s to have true competition between the two brands.
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