There are a lot of fans who are not happy that Cody Rhodes came up short in his match with Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 39. But does Paul Heyman agree with them?
During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani for BT Sport, Heyman opined on the fans who are criticizing WWE for missing an opportunity with the American Nightmare, when Cody could be built back up for another title shot, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On fans being disappointed about Rhodes’ loss: “I like the fact that everyone walks in now thinking this is the last title defense. I experienced this before, it was something I had a hand in ending, which was the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Every year, you sat there, ‘Oh, this is it.’ During the match, the audience is anticipating and salivating for it, this to be the moment that they get to witness the historical three count on the Undertaker to which the streak would end. Then, when Undertaker would defend the streak, they would say, ‘I don’t want to see this end, I can’t wait until the next chapter.’ Then, it finally ended, and the audience was shocked. They thought they would see it, they thought they would see it, them didn’t.
“It’s the same thing with Roman Reigns’ title defenses now. You hope this is the one, you think this is the one, you’re sure this is the one. You watch the match happening, you know this is the one. Then it turns out to not be the one. ‘Man, I can’t wait to see the next chapter.’ The response [at WrestleMania 39] to Cody Rhodes, which was louder than the response last week, which was a response more passionate, which was the response of an audience that believes in Cody Rhodes this week more than they did last week when they hung their hopes and dreams on him. He didn’t disappoint them. We disappointed them. We took that away from Cody Rhodes. Roman Reigns took that away from Cody Rhodes and the audience. They blame Roman Reigns for it and they appreciate how close Cody came and they know the next time Cody steps in the ring with Roman Reigns, ‘this will be the one.’ That’s the business. That’s the business at its very best. That’s promotion at its very best. That’s storytelling at its very best. That’s what you want. You want the challenger to come out a bigger star than he would have been if he won because then, where do you go from there? What’s the story to tell? Now, you know the story. It’s Cody’s redemption. It’s coming back from what was just taken from him. From the defeat he just suffered that he didn’t deserve to have inflicted upon him.”
On if WWE missed an opportunity by having Rhodes lose: “We’ll be hearing this all summer. ‘Oh, this is perfect. The stars are aligned. It has to happen now.’ We’ve been hearing this the whole time. Two years ago, last SummerSlam with Brock, the Royal Rumble with Kevin Owens, Montreal with Sami, Cardiff with Drew McIntyre, two SummerSlams ago with John Cena. ‘This is where John Cena gets number 17. Wouldn’t it be perfect if he beats Roman Reigns. This is it. John Cena becomes the most decorated champion of all time. Perfect. Everything is in line.’ Of course it’s in line for it. That’s how you make a challenger. If the challenger is, ‘I guess this is okay.’ Nobody is going to buy that. ‘IT HAS TO HAPPEN NOW!’ That’s the promotional business.”
On when Rhodes could be built back up for another title shot: “Whichever is the biggest box office. If the biggest box office dictates, ‘let’s get to it right now, this moment.’ We already sold out the Crypto Arena (for Raw), so that’s not the biggest box office. If it would dictate to do it at the next Premium Live Event, okay. Do it in London, okay. Cowboy Stadium again, okay. You go for the biggest box office. It’s a business. When will people be at their peak of the desire to see Cody challenge again for the championship to such a degree that they’re willing to pay the most money to see it happen?”