WWE: Why Trying to Work the Locker Room About Brock Lesnar Is a Terrible Idea
Coming out of last week’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view, the major story was the revelation that, shortly after his shocking loss to John Cena in the main event of the show, Brock Lesnar stormed backstage and threw a gigantic tantrum in the locker room.
Per the initial report, the former UFC heavyweight champion angrily lashed out at WWE officials about how they were booking him disastrously and didn't have a clue what they were doing. A disgruntled Lesnar claimed he felt double-crossed by the promotion and threatened to quit on the spot.
Mark Carano, John Laurinaitis’ assistant, was said to have bore the brunt of Lesnar’s wrath, as the executive attempted to reason with the MMA behemoth only to be met with a violent flood of insults and verbal abuse.
Of course, reports have since leaked out that this tantrum was mostly an act, with the entire thing being devised by management as a way to work the “the boys in the back.” Apparently, WWE hoped that word would leak before RAW that Brock had sensationally quit the company and stir up major interest before the show went on the air (it didn’t, by the way).
As if this situation wasn’t muddled enough, people are still insisting that Lesnar, while not about to quit over it, was genuinely upset over his treatment at Extreme Rules and at least some of his tantrum was legitimate.
In his (subscribers-only) Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer would claim that Lesnar had almost certainly went off script with his scathing and offensive remarks to Carano (per Meltzer, Lesnar used a very famous DX catchphrase on the backstage staffer at one point and—unlike Triple H or HBK—was not trying to funny or get a laugh).
Yes, wrestling had apparently had its first work/shoot backstage tantrum that was mostly fake, but not totally so. How wonderfully preposterous. Anyone remember the days when explaining a backstage news story wasn’t as difficult to explain as quantum physics?
So, as we can garner from this whole head-scratching debacle? Well, for one thing, WWE management are now actively trying to swerve their own wrestlers.
All we can say to this development is: Welcome to the dying days of WCW.
Because, as harsh as it may sound, this is exactly the type of stunt then-WCW president Eric Bischoff and head writer Vince Russo would have pulled in 1999 or 2000, back when crazy, nonsensical work shoot angles were plaguing the waning promotion and rapidly speeding up its decline.
There are too many examples of WCW’s blurring-the-line antics to name, but the most famous—and shameless—one may have been in 2000, when the booking team got Ric Flair to fake a heart attack on Nitro and allowed the majority of the shell-shocked WCW wrestlers and staffers to think it was real.
Needless to say, rather that being the start of some great angle, the whole thing only served to make the long-suffering wrestlers resent the higher-ups even more. As Bryan Alvarez astutely noted in the Death of WCW: “They went to such lengths to convince folks—even Flair’s closest friends—that it was real that everyone lost what little trust they had left in management.”
This wasn’t surprising in the least.
Even taking out the pro wrestling element: How could anyone feel remotely comfortable working in a place where they are constantly double-crossed and lied to by their superiors? Doesn’t exactly make for a happy, productive work environment, does it?
Indeed, all you get is a group of increasingly-miserable and disillusioned people who start phoning it in and doing the bare minimum, like in the dwindling days of WCW.
Have WWE paid attention to the fall of their once-rival and learned not to deceive their loyal employees simply for the sake of leaking something to "The Dirtsheets?"
Of course not.
And with this recent Brock farce, WWE brass have only served to inculcate an environment of fear and distrust in their once-content and united locker room—and for no real reason at all. Vince Russo would be proud.
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