Report: How Big of a Backstage Role Does Paul Heyman Play in Roman Reigns' WWE Storylines?

Now that Roman Reigns is officially a heel and the reigning WWE Universal Champion, "The Big Dog" is firmly back at the top of the card on Friday Night SmackDown. And while fans have been begging for years to see Reigns turn evil, they were met with a bit of a curveball when Reigns aligned himself Paul Heyman. Ever since "The Advocate" returned to WWE he's played a major role in the creative direction of the wrestlers he is directly involved with on television, most notably Brock Lesnar. According to Fightful Select, that is once again the case with Reigns.

Sean Ross Sapp reported via Fightful Select this week that Heyman has been "highly influential" in Reigns' creative direction, and was responsible for the revelation of their alliance, Reigns' Universal Championship victory at Payback and the promo on last week's SmackDown where Heyman appeared to be fearful of Reigns.

Heyman explained in the promo that he is not Reigns' advocate like he is with Lesnar. He stated, "I serve as special counsel to the tribal chief."

A separate report from WrestlingNews.co's Paul Davis recently stated that WWE plans on keeping Reigns as world champion for the long haul.

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"We were told that this is the start of a long title reign for Reigns and Vince McMahon is all in with pushing him to the moon because he wants him to be on the level of John Cena," Davis wrote. A WWE source said, 'Vince is not playing around. He wants Roman to hold onto that belt until WrestleMania at least. Everyone knows the fans will cheer him and we all expect him to be a babyface sooner than later but the games with the silly verbiage in promos are done with. Roman will have more input this time with his promos.'"

Reigns will make his first defense against Jey Uso at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view on Sept. 27.