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Suing WWE for Brock Lesnar: Payday or payback for Paul Heyman?
One of Hollywood’s most famous lines is from 1972’s Academy Award winning film "The Godfather" when Michael Corleone, about to enter the world of organized crime, tells his brother, “It’s not personal Sonny. It’s just business.”
Paul Heyman’s two lawsuits against WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H and WWE for breach of Brock Lesnar’s contract and assault and battery clearly have business ramifications for all parties involved, but could Heyman’s involvement be part of his own personal vendetta?
Lesnar debuted in WWE 10 years ago with one of wrestling’s greatest Managers, Paul Heyman, as his agent. Heyman had already been with WWE for a year following the bankruptcy of ECW, boasting a five-year tenure with WWE that was marred with animosity both on and off television.
Following the abysmal ECW December to Dismember pay-per-view in 2006, a very public disagreement about who was to blame for the subpar show saw Heyman part ways with WWE either by resignation or termination, depending on whether you ask Heyman or WWE. Heyman remained publicly silent about his acrimonious split from WWE. Did Heyman sign a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement or was the Extreme mastermind simply biding his time until an opportunity for vengeance materialized or both?
Lesnar and Heyman remained friends while Lesnar did the unimaginable, leaving WWE in his prime to UFC at age 30 and battering his way to the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship. In fact, the former ECW Owner co-wrote Lesnar’s autobiography.
Fast forward to Raw on April 30, 2012. One night after beating John Cena bloody at Extreme Rules, Lesnar was confronted on Raw SuperShow by Triple H, who dismissed Brock's outlandish demands, including private jets. The WWE COO explained that the ludicrous details Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis had verbally agreed to the previous Monday on Raw were not authorized by him or the Board of Directors and were, thus, invalid.
Enraged, Lesnar savagely attacked Triple H and snapped his left arm with a punishing MMA hold called the Kimura Lock. ( VIDEO | MORE ON THE KIMURA) A week later, Brock sent a legal representative to state his position. His representative? None other than Paul Heyman! Heyman read Brock’s statement to the WWE Universe that Lesnar quit ( VIDEO), then, moments later, Heyman told WWE.com that his client was “owed millions” by WWE. ( VIDEO)
From a business standpoint, as a representative of Lesnar’s, recouping even a small percentage of Lesnar’s seven-figure contract is a nice commission for Heyman. The question is: Does Heyman (who turned down multiple offers to return to wrestling during his five-year absence from WWE, indicating income is not an issue for him) relish suing WWE as personal payback rather than a pecuniary payday?