Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman Reflects On 9/11 Show, Talks Lesnar/Reigns Confrontation, MSG & More

Paul Heyman recently spoke with Sports Illustrated for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling.

During the discussion, Heyman spoke about Brock Lesnar confronting WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns on SmackDown, the 9/11 edition of the show where he sat next to Jim Ross and more.

Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.

On being on the air next to Jim Ross for the 9/11 broadcast: “I didn’t know how to convey that on the air, and I didn’t know if it was my place to do so, but as a New Yorker, I felt obligated to identify myself—not only from the perspective of New York as a locale in which I reside, but also that deep down, the person you see talking at the moment is culturally, physically, spiritually a New Yorker at heart,” Heyman says. “I hardly remember anything about that night, other than the memory of Lilian Garcia singing. I don’t even remember what she sang, whether it was ‘God Bless, America,’ ‘America, The Beautiful,’ or the national anthem—I just remember she sang. When she was singing, she did it flawlessly. Her voice carried the emotion of the moment to such a degree that it moved me and woke me up. It also made me a complete emotional wreck.”

“I can’t tell you one match that happened on that show,” Heyman says. “All I remember is the bolt that went through my system when I heard Lilian sing, which reminded me I had an obligation to deliver. Then I heard Jim Ross say, ‘Just follow my lead, kid, and you’ll be fine,’ which is the same thing he’d said to me during my first broadcast on Raw. Afterward, I can still remember Vince McMahon in my headset saying, ‘That was great. Now it’s time to entertain.’ From that point on, I hope J.R. and I did justice to the job for which we were tasked, but I don’t remember doing it all.”

On the confrontation between WWE universal champion Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar on Friday’s SmackDown: “You can expect history to play out in front of your very eyes on SmackDown,” Heyman says. “It’s going to happen as Brock Lesnar returns to television for the first time in 18 months. He obviously wants to make an impact in doing so, and we’ll see whether that impact is at the expense of the ‘Tribal Chief,’ the most dominant champion in the history of WWE, Roman Reigns. That’s the history we’ll see play out on Friday.”

On MSG: “Just walking into Madison Square Garden, even as a fan, is a humbling experience,” Heyman says. “To be part of the headline feature at Madison Square Garden—on this particular weekend, on this particular night—is so humbling that I don’t have the words to convey the enormity of the honor. I’ve spent my entire life articulating emotion to the masses so they can relate to it, and yet, I don’t have a proper description that would allow someone to grasp how all-encompassing this privilege and honor is.”

Check out the complete interview at


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