The Fantasy Book on Booking an Absentee Champion (Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, John Cena)

Greetings, salutations, and well wishes from the edge of sanity. Today, The Fantasy Book will look at a scenario which we may well be dealing with: an extended run as Universal Champion for Brock Lesnar.

This upcoming weekend, Lesnar will be challenged by Samoa Joe for the Universal title in a much-anticipated match. It has been rumored that the WWE writers are working a long-term storyline for Lesnar which would culminate in a WrestleMania match against Roman Reigns. At present, perhaps 4 or 5 people in the world want that match at WrestleMania. Unfortunately, one of those people is believe to be Vince McMahon.

So if that is the long-term plan, chances are Lesnar will hold the title until that time to make Reigns look that much stronger when he wins at WrestleMania. And given Lesnar’s contract which requires limited appearances, the WWE could have a Universal champion who is not present very often. In fact, that fact has already been addressed briefly on Raw in the build up to the #1 Contender match a few weeks ago.

Myself, I do not like the idea of Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. I wouldn’t put Roman Reigns in the main event of that show, especially if the live crowds were still booing the ever-loving hell out of him. I am okay with an extended title reign for Lesnar though and here is how I’d do it.

Even though Brock Lesnar has limited dates required in his contract, his advocate, Paul Heyman, often serves to spice up things when Brock is not around. And Heyman does that better than anyone in the business. We can use this to our advantage.

First, let’s assume Lesnar defeats Joe at the Great Balls of Fire PPV. After that match, Lesnar disappears again for a while, but Paul Heyman doesn’t. Instead, Heyman comes out of Raw the next night and demands that Kurt Angle removes Samoa Joe from the Raw roster. His reasoning is that he does not feel like it is a safe work environment as Joe has physically attacked and threatened him. Angle reluctantly agrees that Heyman has a point and says he will work something out.

Later in the show, Corey Graves receives a text message and says he can’t believe it. He tells Michael Cole and Booker T that he has just been sent a major scoop and needs to go confirm it. He runs off from the broadcast position and heads backstage as Booker T and Cole are yelling to him, asking what is going on.

Backstage, Graves catches up to Kurt Angle in a hallway. Angle is walking with a purpose towards the ring, and as Graves comes up to him, he just puts up his hand to stop him. Angle says, “Corey, the answer is yes. It’s true. It’s damn true,” and he continues to the ring as we go to commercial break. After the commercials, Kurt Angle is in the ring. He explains that after talking with Paul Heyman earlier, he checked with corporate in Connecticut and he has to do something. He says he just got off the phone with Samoa Joe and informed him of what was happening and he is not happy.

Angle continues to drag things out and calls Paul Heyman out. Finally, Angle says that he looked into all options, including altering Brock Lesnar’s contract so Heyman would have someone there to have his back week in and week out. Heyman starts yelling that he can’t do that, Lesnar’s contract is rock solid and guaranteed. Angle tells him to calm down, that is correct, he can’t make any changes to Lesnar’s contract. So he has worked out a deal where Samoa Joe will no longer be on Raw. Joe will move over to SmackDown Live! beginning next week. Heyman says that is good and he leaves the ring. Angle stays in the ring and says that in order to fill the space on the roster, Raw will welcome back John Cena the following week! The crowd half cheers and half boos.

So, do you think John Cena on Raw will help ease the void of not having the Universal champion there all the time? Me either. We’re the internet, folks! We can come up with something better than John Cena returns as a solution to this issue. Don’t worry, the Fantasy Book has you covered.

The next week, we see Paul Heyman talking to Finn Balor backstage saying that he really thought it was going to be Balor facing Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire, but that sneaky Samoa Joe stole his shot. But Heyman wants Balor to know that he meant everything he said to him a few weeks ago and he truly believes in Balor’s self-belief. Balor says thank you and they shake hands.

The week after that John Cena returns to Raw. He starts off the show with a rambling promo saying he is coming for the Universal title. That brings out Paul Heyman. Heyman says that Cena has already been to Suplex City and he really doesn’t want to go back. Heyman then points out that Cena hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania, so how can he declare himself in line for a title shot. Cena then brings up Lesnar’s absence and Heyman just laughs.

Heyman says that it is true that Lesnar is not here. It is true that Lesnar doesn’t have to be here because his contract was so well negotiated by his advocate. He adds that the road to the Universal title goes through Brock Lesnar. But the road to Brock Lesnar goes through his advocate, so Cena needs to speak with a little more respect. As Cena starts to say something, Heyman cuts him off and says that he wishes to clarify. Heyman says the road to Brock Lesnar goes through him, and the Guardian, his newest client, Finn Balor!

Finn Balor comes out and stands next to Heyman while Heyman says that anyone who comes after Brock has to get through Balor first. And no one is getting through the Guardian, Finn Balor. Especially John Cena!

Later on Raw, Finn Balor versus John Cena is announced as the main event. Balor wins a very competitive and fun match against Cena with Paul Heyman smiling broadly.

For the next 8 months or so, Finn Balor is held up by Paul Heyman as the Guardian of the Universal Title. Anyone getting close to a title shot has to get through Finn Balor first. And for the next 8 months or so, no one does. Lesnar would return for SummerSlam and a few other PPVs, but only to work a tag team match, or the Survivor Series match, or against an opponent he has hand-picked. No one would be able to get past Finn Balor though to challenge for the Universal Title on their terms.

Eventually, sometime after the Royal Rumble, Balor would mention to Paul Heyman that there is one guy who seems to be in line for a title show against Brock. Heyman would ask who that is and if there is going to be any problem with Balor beating him. Finn would say that he’s sorry, but he thinks there will be a problem with him defeating him, so Lesnar really should get ready. Heyman stops what he is doing and says, “Who are you talking about?”

Balor would look away for a few seconds and then say, “You know who I am talking about, Paul.” Heyman’s eyes would widen and we would fade to black. The next few weeks we would understand that Balor means that he is the one in line for a title shot and it should be at WrestleMania. Heyman tries to deflect and talk his way out of it, but Balor persists. One week Lesnar even shows up to try to intimidate Balor to stop lobbying for a title shot. It doesn’t work.

The next week we see Lesnar and Heyman talking backstage while looking suspicious. Later in the show, Lesnar comes out and destroys Finn Balor after one of his matches. He suplexes him about 15 times and hits 3 F5s on him. Lesnar then screams at the beaten Balor that he needs to know his place and that he isn’t on his level.

The following week, or at the next PPV, Finn Balor tells Paul Heyman that Brock shouldn’t have done that last week. He wanted to handle things direct and up front and that Heyman has been good to him. But for all intents and purposes, Balor has been the de facto Universal champion on Raw for almost a year and it is time for him to actually hold the title again. Balor continues on, telling Heyman that he has spoken to the McMahons and they have granted him a Universal Title match at WrestleMania.

However, Balor will continue, Lesnar made a big mistake last week. And at WrestleMania, he won’t be facing Finn Balor alone. At WrestleMania, he will be facing The Demon King! Balor will walk out and Heyman will be left with his mouth open, speechless.

This will set up a much more compelling WrestleMania match for Brock Lesnar against an opponent who will be able to get the crowd excited without pissing them off. It should also be a good place for Lesnar to drop the belt, especially since Balor had been the “acting champion” for the most part of the year. Balor would have solidified his main event cred by then, and the added dimension of having The Demon King persona come out would add greater intrigue.

With this plan, we will have survived a year-long reign by Brock Lesnar with compelling in-ring action and storytelling while establishing a WrestleMania main event which would be a promoter’s dream – The Beast versus The Demon King!


What do you think of this idea? Could Finn Balor be a good Paul Heyman guy? Heyman would be able to boost up Balor’s promo level while still keeping the thought (and fear) of Lesnar active even if the champ isn’t that active. Balor would get a major promotional push and the Demon King persona would not have to be brought in too early, thus establishing Balor as a legit player in the WWE Raw scene. Let me know in the comments what you think would work or not work. Or just yell at me if you are a Roman Reigns fan.

Until next week…


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