***THE CROWD IS CHANTING, “YANKEES SUCK” AT PAUL HEYMAN, WHO IS WEARING A NEW YORK YANKEES HAT***
PAUL HEYMAN: Thank you, thank you ladies and gentlemen for your irrelevant opinion. But don’t worry, I assure you that as long as Brock Lesnar is standing here, we will take as long as we deem appropriate. You see, when you stand next to Brock Lesnar, you can do anything you damn well please. And it pleases me this evening to educate all of – you’re welcome, by the way – to educate all of you on some historical facts.
Historical facts that led Brock Lesnar to the monumental decision of hiring…me as his agent. You see, it was a historical fact that I, Paul Heyman, managed Steve Austin and groomed him to be Stone Cold. It is a historical fact that I represented The Undertaker, and groomed him to The Dead Man. It is a historical fact that I was the architect of a concept called ECW that spawned WWF Attitude, and created the multi-billion dollar conglomerate of sports entertainment that you see today.
There is a moral to this story, and that moral is: I, better than any single one of you, can spot, the next big thing, and ladies and gentlemen, the next big thing is BROCK LESNAR! NCAA Heavyweight Champion, BROCK LESNAR! The invincible, BROCK LESNAR! The invulnerable, BROCK LESNAR! The indestructible, BROCK LESNAR! The impervious to pain, BROCK LESNAR!
Ladies and gentlemen, THE NEXT BIG THING, BROCK LESNAR!
From Monday Night Raw on April 8th, 2002.
THE NEXT BIG THING
How do I sum up Brock Lesnar’s original run in the WWE? He debuted in March of 2002, and left in March of 2004. He was only around for two years, but he left one hell of a mark on the company’s history.
His first title win came by defeating The Rock, who was supposed to be the good guy. Instead, The Great One was showered with boos, and Brock was treated like a conquering hero. It’s crazy how the people turned against a guy who called himself, “The People’s Champ.” To his credit, he worked through it, and helped put Lesnar over big time.
So big, Paul Heyman was able to bring it up as recently as last year. They were building for Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 31, and The Advocate mentioned how The Beast Incarnate sent Roman’s cousin packing to Hollywood.
After that, Brock began a hellacious feud with The Undertaker. This produced some of his greatest work during the initial two year run. I don’t remember the promos, to be clear. I’m judging by the caliber of their in-ring performances. The Hell in a Cell match they had at No Mercy 2002 is still one of the best that particular gimmick has churned out.
A couple months later, Brock lost the WWE Championship to Big Show at Survivor Series 2002, thanks to a double cross from Paul Heyman. Only a month after that, at Armageddon 2002, Show dropped it to Kurt Angle. He kept it all the way to WrestleMania XIX.
His challenger for that title was decided in January of 2003 when Brock Lesnar won the Royal Rumble.
The buildup and match were both solid. Lesnar and Angle are two elite athletes who, over time, got better and better with the show business aspect of professional wrestling. That doesn’t really matter, of course, because their entire main event was completely overshadowed by the fact that during it, Brock Lesnar almost broke his neck.
He attempted a Shooting Star Press, which is a move he had pulled off on a number of occasions.
Not this time…
I’m sure you’re wondering, how did he survive that? Luckily, our partners over at ProWrestlingStories.com have already put together an entry focused entirely on this incident, including quotes from Brock himself, as well as Kurt Angle, and Jim Cornette.
“It was supposed to be the greatest moment in Wrestlemania history.
He was supposed to finish me with that move…but he nearly finished himself…”
“I worked with Brock when he started [at Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental] and I’ll be honest with you, he was getting paid about four or five times more than everyone else in the developmental programme because of who he was. You don’t come across an athletic specimen like that who won the NCAA Heavyweight Championship every day.
The shooting star press he did at WrestleMania, he would do that for us all the time – and I would tell him he was crazy and to save it for the big show at the Louisville Gardens when the WWE agents are there and not in the high school halls.
He did it in front of the WWE agents and they signed him directly because of that.
The time he did it at WrestleMania is the only time I’ve seen him miss it…”
“That match was so important to me because I had to have neck surgery immediately after. I was supposed to have it a month before – because my neck was broken. I couldn’t really use my left arm because of nerve blocks…I knew there was a chance I could hurt it really badly…”
“To tell you the truth, I was worrying just touching the guy. His neck could have snapped at any second, so I was really worried with everything I did with him.
Now when I look back, I was very nervous. And I don’t get nervous hardly ever…”
“So when Brock landed on his head, I thought he broke his neck too…”
“There I stood, on the top rope, both arms raised in triumph, my head back, letting the crowd take it all in…and then I launched the Shooting Star Press.
Every wrestling fan knows what happened next.
My boot slipped off the wet rope…I saw the people, I saw the top of the arena, I saw the mat coming and then I saw Kurt’s singlet, so I thought I was ok…”
“It was my idea for him to do it, so I have to take part of the blame. (laughs)
When he missed me, I thought he was dead, I mean, I thought he was paralysed…”
“I under-rotated, crashed in spectacular fashion, and gave myself a massive concussion. I damn near broke my neck…”
Click HERE to read the entire piece from PWS.
After that, the greatest thing Brock Lesnar did was lose to Eddie Guerrero. I do not mean that as an insult to Brock, to be clear. Lesnar gave Latino Heat his greatest career triumph. He made himself a despicable heel who went after Eddie’s troubles with addictions. Everyone can identify with making mistakes, and trying to change for the better. They wanted Eddie to overcome and were overjoyed when he did.
Click HERE to read a previous piece I wrote about No Way Out 2004, and Eddie’s Undisputed WWE Championship victory.
From July 2002 to February 2003, Paul Heyman was the lead writer of SmackDown. His main goal was to take the B show, and make it competitive. He wanted to give Monday Night Raw a run for its money.
That’s exactly what he did. While Heyman was in charge, SmackDown beat Raw in the ratings, live attendance numbers, and merchandise sales. Six members of the locker room were the real center piece of the show, at that point: Edge, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, and Kurt Angle.
They were dubbed, “The SmackDown Six.” They were the workhorses. Some of their greatest battles were over the WWE Tag Team Championships, which were created for SmackDown, so that brand could have its own tag team titles. Benoit and Angle beat Edge and Mysterio to crown the innaugural Champions at No Mercy 2002, the same event where Brock battled Taker in that bloody Hell in a Cell match I linked above.
The tag match went on to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s, Pro Wrestling Match of the Year, completely outshining Brock and The Dead Man.
Years after that, ECW was resurrected in the form of a One Night Stand. It was a true testament to the popularity of the brand, and its performers. The event recorded 325,000 PPV buys. On top of that, so many people tried to order the event through WWE.com, that they had to shut down the website entirely, due to a lack of bandwidth.
ECW was given another One Night Stand in 2006. Then the show started, and it all went to shit. I was trying to think of a way to explain how far downhill it went, and then I remembered: I don’t have to.
A Monster in the Octagon
As I’ve written, my original intention was to release this all at once, but there’s simply too much. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are accomplished men, to say the very least. Part four, focusing on Brock’s time in the UFC, will be published on Saturday, March 12th, 2016 at 2PM EST.
Hope you enjoy.
For Part One, “A Beast is Born,” Click HERE
For Part Two, “Paul E. Dangerously,” Click HERE
For Part Four, “A Monster in the Octagon,” Click HERE
For Part Five, “The Beast Returns,” Click HERE
THIS ARTICLE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY MARK OUT ENTERTAINMENT
We here at Nerdopotamus are thrilled to have joined forces with Mark Out, and its owner Anthony Iovino.
Our goal is to present you all with more quality wrestling-based content. That’s why our first venture together will be the Nerd/Out Top 100 Wrestlers of the Year. We have formed a committee. The selection process has begun. The qualifying period is from WrestleMania 31 to WrestleMania 32.
That doesn’t mean it will be limited to WWE, to be clear. The performer’s promotion matters as much as their gender, which is not all. The only thing that matters is their ability as a professional wrestler.
Numbers 100-91 will be published on April 4th, 2016. From that point on, we’ll drop another ten numbers every day, until we are finished on the 13th.
We hope you all join us!
Click HERE for numbers 100-91
Click HERE for numbers 90-81
Click HERE for numbers 80-71
Click HERE for numbers 70-61
Click HERE for numbers 60-51
Click HERE for numbers 50-41
Click HERE for numbers 40-31
Click HERE for numbers 30-21
Click HERE for numbers 20-1
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: From an article written by Paul Heyman at thesun.co.uk.