Paul Heyman’s pre-WrestleMania media tour stopped by for a visit with his friend and ours, Ariel Helwani, today (Mar. 30). The MMA Hour host got his mensch on the record about a couple things besides hyping this weekend’s winner-take-all clash between the Superstar he currently counsels, Roman Reigns, and the one he used to advocate for, Brock Lesnar.
One topic they covered was Helwani’s controversial chat with AEW’s Maxwell Jacob Friedman last week. Heyman said he’s impressed with MJF:
“I think he’s very credible on the mic. Incredible’s not a compliment. Incredible means he’s not credible. He’s credible. He’s very good at what he does. And he’s very young, so he has a big future ahead of him.”
While it was different from his approach to his recent re-signing, Heyman endorses MJF’s openness about his contract status:
“In his position, no. Where he’s working right now, no. Where he wants to work in the future, no. It’s not bad business at all. For what he obviously views his trajectory to be, for what he obviously views his future to be? Not bad business at all. Pretty smart, I might even say. No even might, I would say he’s pretty smart. And I will. It was pretty smart.”
You can read between the lines there and see that Max’s interview probably didn’t play poorly at WWE headquarters. So does Paul think he and MJF will work together someday?
“Right now he’s in a very enviable spot in an upstart promotion that has tremendous financing and excellent distribution... we’ll see what the future holds for him. I’m sure, at some point in this life, we’re gonna bump into each other.”
With that, Ariel turned his attention to someone who has left AEW, and who reportedly will be joining WWE this weekend. He kept it mostly hypothetical, but Heyman said Cody Rhodes leaving All Elite did and didn’t surprise him:
“He’s one of the founders of the company, a lot of it is his concept, a lot of the initial phase was on him, and Cody always had a vision to fill the boots of his father, not just in the ring but behind the scenes. And the fact that he didn’t have the level of participation in decision making that he initially probably thought — this is speculation on my end, I never heard this from Cody, but just seeing the manner in which the creative end of that company grew — it doesn’t surprise me that at some point he was going to say, ‘Not what I originally envisioned and I want to see what life is like elsewhere.’ So when a founder of a company whose initial vision it was, or part of it was, leaves — that’s always surprising. Knowing what I know, and that’s admittedly very little of the circumstances, not so surprised.”
It also sounds like Heyman’s speculation lines up with much of what we’ve heard from reporters and even AEW EVP Kenny Omega. Make of that what you will, and check out Paul E’s entire chat with Ariel Helwani here.