I am still at a loss for words. This... this... this... promo, or whatever you want to call it that Paul Heyman just delivered on behalf of Brock Lesnar. A lot of people seem to be asking themselves ‘What the actual hell was that?’ I might offend some Heyman fans by saying this, but this might actually be one of the worst promos ever witnessed in a WWE ring.
Last week on RAW, we witnessed the emphatic, ‘triumphant’ return of the juggernaut of WCW known as Goldberg. Coming back to the ring, he responded to Paul Heyman’s challenge by announcing that Brock Lesnar wasn’t only next, but he was also “last”.
It was immediately announced on last week’s Raw that Brock Lesnar would be making an appearance next week. After all the hype that was generated with the return of Goldberg, fans everywhere waited with bated breath to see what Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman had to say about Goldberg’s acceptance of their challenge.
But after a week of waiting for Brock Lesnar’s return, what we got was nothing short of a shambolic mess of a short-sighted promo (if you can call it that) which resulted in the segment being cut off before it even got anywhere.
The ‘promo’ was ten minutes of Brock Lesnar standing in the middle of the ring while Paul Heyman failed at doing whatever it was that he came out to do. Let’s try and understand what actually went wrong with that segment.
Brock Lesnar is a heel and Goldberg is supposed to be this mega-over babyface that everyone’s going to decidedly cheer for. I suppose Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar came out expecting the biggest heel reaction they could have possibly gotten and had plans in place to bank upon that heat to hype the match up.
It seemed to me that Paul Heyman was going for some sort of an ‘everyone has turned against Lesnar’ angle where Lesnar would subsequently get annoyed and break out in some sort of a rage, flinging a planted fan out of the crowd for supporting Goldberg, or at least that’s what it seemed like.
One thing that they seemed to have forgotten, however, was that Brock Lesnar was coming back to his hometown arena of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The homecoming of an athlete that the entire town is proud of, it couldn’t have been more obvious that he was going to get cheered, as he always is, regardless of his status as a face or a heel. We’re not quite sure what Heyman expected, but it definitely wasn’t this.
Their approach would have worked anywhere else, but not at Minneapolis and definitely not tonight.
The promo started with him stuttering his words trying to mockingly describe Goldberg, then singling out a fan who was trying to start a Goldberg chant. Fair play. We were all with him until that point. It appeared to be the start of a good promo and Heyman seemed to have things in control.
But then, Paul Heyman, still trying to work the crowd, started to seem a bit taken aback by the Suplex City chants that had grown louder. He tried to threaten the Goldberg supporters (there were quite literally none) with dire consequences should they have continued chanting for Goldberg,
It was at this point that some weak Goldberg chants broke out. Paul Heyman tried to appear agitated (almost relieved in his heart, I’m sure) by them but they were quickly drowned out by the ‘Suplex City’ and ‘Goldberg sucks’ chants instead.
This was a crowd that quite apparently took a lot of pride in their hometown boy Brock Lesnar and fiercely supported him. A throwback to the old territory days when heels and faces often changed dynamics on the basis of where the match was happening. Heartwarming, but an embarrassment for WWE Creative tonight.
After the ‘Goldberg sucks’ chants started and actually gained a lot of momentum, Brock actually started to laugh in the middle of the ring. He appeared to be quite amused at how things were turning out, and we don’t blame him.
While it was certainly a bit out of character for the ‘Beast Incarnate’ to have not kept a serious face as he normally does, he acknowledged the positive crowd reaction.
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar then exchanged words off the mic, possibly about the approach they had come out to do (There must have been a plan of some sort) and how it was not going to work on this crowd.
The two seemed clueless and confused, managing to merely stare blankly at the crowd for a few moments.
Continuing with the crowd reaction and trying to cut a promo through it at this point might have actually added to Brock Lesnar’s build as a face, not a heel. How did NOBODY in the WWE think of this ahead of time, though, is our question.
Furthering a positive reaction for Brock would have certainly hurt Goldberg’s current buildup as a mega babyface and a section of the crowd, had it been encouraged, would have continued to cheer for Brock at all shows henceforth. This seems to have been the reason why it was decided on the fly to just cut the promo short instead.
With the ‘Goldberg sucks’ chants resonating through the crowd, Paul Heyman didn’t look too happy. Which makes no sense in kayfabe, but all the sense when you realise that it’s a man who probably realised that things had gone horribly wrong for what is being booked and billed as one of the biggest matches this year.
It was at this point that Vince McMahon (as per Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer radio) reportedly got agitated over the way things were going, due to the crowd reaction for the segment. According to Alvarez, Vince McMahon directed for the segment to be cut off before things got even worse. It was actually supposed to go on for longer.
Brock Lesnar’s music hit and Heyman, almost begrudgingly, threw the mic down and made a hasty exit with his client.
The blame certainly goes to WWE creative and Paul Heyman. There was no plan B, no contingency, nothing. The possibility that Brock might get cheered in his very proud hometown, it seems, wasn’t even considered in the first place. A very poor segment overall. Certainly a worthy contender of the Botchamania Hall of Fame.
Brock Lesnar gets paid millions for each appearance with the WWE and this Brock Lesnar appearance will definitely go down in history as one of the biggest wastes of a segment, not to mention the money involved.
We’ve seen people being booed out of buildings but this might very well be the first instance of a wrestler, quite literally, being “cheered” out of a building instead. How this will affect the build to his match against Goldberg remains to be seen.
Please let us know your thoughts on this weird segment in the comments below! Also, here’s the most carefully edited, non-cringy public version of this event that the WWE media team could come out with:
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