Crowd Booing The Scripted Wrestlemania Hero? Just Edit Out The Boos

Crowd Booing The Scripted Wrestlemania Hero? Just Edit Out The Boos (UPDATE)

The advantage of a pre-determined sport like pro wrestling is that promoters can book the ideal storylines. Usually, that means you'll get a Wrestlemania main event the crowd is excited to see, though usually they're not supposed to be booing the good guy a few days before the big show. Good thing you can edit out some of the boos!

What you'll see below is the lacklustre ending of last night's episode of Monday Night Raw, as it aired a little past 11pm ET. You're seeing bad guy manager Paul Heyman finish hyping Brock Lesnar, arse-kicking current WWE champion, destroyer of the beloved Undertaker and kid-favourite John Cena. Ostensibly, Lesnar is the baddest of the bad guys, the unbeatable heel champion who some hero will finally dethrone at the main event of Wrestlemania 31 this Sunday.

Entering the ring after Heyman stops talking is Roman Reigns, the fairly green but physically imposing man who WWE promoter Vince McMahon has been trying to position as a Lesnar-slaying crowd favourite for about a year. (It hasn't been working very well.)

In this clip, you're listening for how the crowd reacts when Reigns gets in the ring and, again, how they react when he grabs the world title.

Next, listen to the version of that moment that WWE published to YouTube last night. I'd advise you to listen to how the crowd reacts when Reigns enters the ring, except that — hey! — they cut that part out.

Jump to 3:25 or so.

For a lot of us who like watching WWE, half the fun is trying to figure out the script and cheering when the men and women we like get elevated into starring roles in pro wrestling's never-ending drama. When we don't like how the drama is going — when we think we know a better way for the story to be told — we boo. To our detriment, we don't change the channel, because we hold out hope that if we boo long enough, the show's writers will change the script, as they have in years past.

If you asked me, crowds boo Reigns for a few reasons:

  • Some of them (like me) are fans of beloved underdog Daniel Bryan and wanted to see the smaller, athletically gifted and arguably most-loudly-cheered WWE performer face the giant Lesnar in a ready-made David vs. Goliath comeback story in the main event of Wrestlemania 31. Reigns appeared to get in the way of that.
  • Lesnar's shocking defeat of The Undertaker at last year's Wrestlemania — breaking the historic performer's 21-win Wrestlemania winning streak — appeared engineered to paint Lesnar as WWE's ultimate villain and therefore set up whoever finally beat him as the ultimate WWE hero and a successor to The Undertaker's legacy. That would be a lot of pressure to put on any young performer, including the still-developing Reigns and has probably hurt him in fans' eyes. I bet Reigns would be booed less if he wasn't essentially being set up to beat The Streak by proxy.
  • Reigns is indeed new blood, a fresh face in a main event scene that's been too full of Cena and Randy Orton for the past decade, but he's relatively untested as WWE competitors go. He has wrestled too few major singles matches to convince crowds he's going to be able to put on a fun main event, let alone be a compelling champion.
  • Reigns has the stink of being what management seems to like, a handsome, hulking super-hero of a man who happens to be related to all-time great The Rock. WWE management has never seemed to care all that much if their giants can wrestle well, if they can move around the ring dynamically and do more than the same five moves, as long as they connect with the crowd and look cool. Reigns may not be connecting with a lot of the crowd, but he appears to be the chosen one. Fans tend to prefer guys they imagine struggled to get to the top. That's not Reigns' scripted persona.
  • Lesnar is rumoured to be leaving WWE after Wrestlemania, which would seemingly make it certain he's going to lose. That makes a Reigns win feel all the more inevitable. It also makes some of the matches some fans wanted for Lesnar (vs. Bryan, vs. Orton, etc) seem like virtual impossibilities. UPDATE - 6:58pm: Brock Lesnar just announced on ESPN that he is not going back to UFC and is re-signing with WWE.

Reigns certainly gets some cheers, but anyone who has watched WWE long enough know that it's highly unusual for any supposed good guy other than Cena to get booed like this going into the main event of a major show, let alone the main event of Wrestlemania.

WWE management has been trying to blame crowd rejection of Reigns on rogue cities. Reigns — along with his cousin The Rock — was loudly jeered when he won the Royal Rumble in January to earn his shot against Lesnar. WWE pinned that reaction on a Pittsburgh Philadelphia crowd that, they said, liked to cheer villains and boo heroes. How to explain last night? The L.A. crowd cheered a cameo by Hulk Hogan, cheered WCW stalwart Sting, booed bad-guy executive HHH, and even did the old "U! S! A!" chants against talented Russian-sympathizing bad-guy Rusev. They were perfectly happy to play their expected role in the script all those other times. They just didn't want to play along when Reigns showed up.

All of this leads to Wrestlemania this Sunday and a potential train wreck of a main event. It's funny how it loops around like this. The biggest match at the year's biggest wrestling show won't be must-see because the fans demanded to see it. It's must-see because so many fans demanded not to see it. What's going to happen?

Will WWE dare given Reigns the win and risk having fans boo him out of the arena, as they did The Rumble? That would seem to be a very bad move. Bad guys rarely, rarely win the main event in Wrestlemania — only three times in the show's history, I believe, and that's if you count Stone Cold turning heel in Texas (the crowd still cheered) and The Miz beating Cena only to get shown up by The Rock. The WWE does not want their version of the Super Bowl ending with an angry crowd.

But, after last night in L.A., how could they engineer an ending that has the crowd cheering?

  1. Have Lesnar retain.
  2. If Reigns wins, have him get defeated by Seth Rollins, a bad guy who the crowd loves to hate and has a contract to have a title match any time, anywhere, even in the final minutes of Wrestlemania 31. If Rollins cashes in and wins, he might be cheered as a saviour, of sorts.
  3. Have Reigns win in some fashion that reunites him with legit crowd favourite Dean Ambrose and the hated Rollins. Together, Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins were in a popular faction called The Shield, before Rollins turned on them last spring. Fans would love to see them together again and would probably even retroactively appreciate Reigns curious rise to the top. It'd be easy for WWE to say that the trio secretly decided to get back together to win all the championships in WWE and dominate the company, to say that Rollins and Reigns both played WWE management what with Rollins kissing their asses every week and with Reigns acting like the chose one, all the while pursuing an agenda of their own.

I think option three would be best, and it will be telegraphed if Ambrose wins the Intercontinental title earlier Sunday night.

If, instead, WWE simply decided to have Reigns win this Sunday and stand tall, well, they're going to have to edit out a lot more boos.


    This is the dumbest "sport" in the entire history of humanity. Only in america I guess.

    I kind of feel like Daniel Bryan has damaged WWE in a big way. Don't get me wrong, I love him and believe he's worthy of being champion, but no one wants a bar of any other face at the moment. Bryan is just too popular. Although, I loved everyone booing Batista at last years Royal Rumble. That was great!

      The problem with Bryan is simple: if they give him the push he deserves, he can't claim the underdog status that makes him worthy of the push. Cena tried to claim being the underdog and always fighting against the odds. He still tried to claim it after his umpteenth title defence and crushing everyone on the roster.

      What they're doing with Bryan is consistent with the character but a complete waste of the most popular guy on their roster. Instead they're trying to force Reigns as the next Cena and nobody is buying it. In part, it's because they're sick of Cena but mostly because Reigns just isn't ready to be "the guy".

      I think the easiest solution to all of this is to just watch NXT and Lucha Underground. They're just better products right now.

        Problem with WWE - they think Bryan has to be the underdog. He isn't. He is the most talented wrestler they have, with Ziggler in second. Most of WWE's roster wouldnt be able to lay a finger on either in a real match.

    "Some of them (like me) are fans of beloved underdog Daniel Bryan and wanted to see the smaller, athletically gifted and arguably most-loudly-cheered WWE performer face the giant Lesnar"

    Aaaannddd this is exactly why I stopped watching WWE. The crowd and fans like you are just morons. Cena gets booed because he always wins and is always the good guy, yet the fans want Bryan to be the always winning good guy. Bryan's matches already smack of Cena's, he starts off fast and strong, then gets beaten down, then miraculously recovers and wins the match from nowhere.. Cena Mk.II

    The Royal Rumble, probably the second best PPV of the year, has been ruined in the past 2 years by the crowd booing purely because Bryan didn't win / wasnt in it.

    For the record, I did like Bryan at first too and think Cena needs a spell as a heel (will never happen), but the crowds reaction to Bryan and treating everyone else as anti-Bryan has done more harm then good. The best months of WWE have come while he was out injured.

    Last edited 25/03/15 12:43 pm

      "The crowd and fans like you are just morons."

      Wow, glad you’re the (unnecessarily rude) arbiter of such things.

      Honestly, if I was going to blame ANYTHING on the issues with pro-wrestling crowds I’d blame… the internet.

      Seriously, through the mid 90’s and even up to the late 90’s (wrestling fans are kinda slow) it was probably a LOT easier for the WWE to manage crowd views and reactions using their product as the only vehicle for progressing wrestling storylines.

      Post mainstream internet boom people get their news and views from websites and it makes it a lot more difficult for the WWE to manage the wrestling zeitgeist (to misappropriate the term). People band together on twitter and on forums and start these movements long before the WWE can get a handle on it, and instead of what would once have been an audience of individuals who would (mostly) react as expected you get a single community who can collude to react a certain way.

        I will concede I may have gone a step far in labeling those who act this way as 'morons' and I in no way intended to present myself in a holier then thou way, it just really gets my goat the way the crowds boo anything or anyone that isn't Bryan. I actually really liked the guy at first, came across as a real underdog and the storyline WWE have him running with was interesting, but the crowd just ruined the experience for me, especially during the Rumble PPV's as I mentioned.

        You're spot on about the internet community being a key factor in it all, can't argue there at all.

          If someone has to get pushed as the top guy, why can't it be someone with talent like Daniel Bryan?

      Fans are morons because they want the guy they like to be in storylines? Really?
      Fans don't want him to be the "always winning good guy", they want just want him in a better position than him being relegated to typical RAW midcard storylines and spinning his wheels. For example, the current intercontinental feud look how has just been slotted into this coming off the last year and a half, and see this poster for the event his relegated to the background, their most popular star should be a focal point of the show.
      Maybe fans are so vocal about Bryan because they've realised after Zack Ryder being dropped off the face of the Earth despite his demand at that time, they need to really show their support otherwise WWE will continue to give them what they want as opposed to what the majority of their customers want. The Royal Rumble apparently being ruined as you say follows from that.

      Last edited 25/03/15 3:39 pm

        in 2013 Daniel Bryan was in the main event on a PPV 5 times in a row and then won the title at WM30 in 2014 before he was out with injury for over 6 months. I think I'd be more annoyed if he'd come straight back into the title picture after injury much like Cena did then the WWE keeping him lower while the current feuds run their course.

        I agree he's better then what they're giving him (and certainly far better then stardust and R-Turth that's for damn sure), and yes I can understand the crowd being very vocal in their support, that doesn't mean that it doesn't ruin it for me when guys like Reigns gets booed for not being Bryan.

          Yeah and Randy Orton was in the main event 9 times in a row (not including the rumble) starting and finishing after that ppv row of Daniel Bryan, all of which Bryan lost.
          So its not okay for Daniel Bryan to come back in the typical royal rumble manner to the main event? But Reigns, Batista, Edge, etc can?
          Reigns doesn't just get booed for not being Bryan, they boo him because he is not Rollins, not Ambrose, not Ziggler, etc, and not as good as a performer as those prior mentioned. People also boo Roman Reigns because of what you said was annoying about Cena & Bryan coming to the title picture after injury. Yet here is Reigns having yet done nothing since leaving the shield and being billed as the next big thing.

    Lesnar wins. Rollins cashes in.
    WWE can't have Roman he the one to defeat Lesnar if superman Cena couldn't do it twice. The crowd would riot! Doesn't matter how good Wrestle Mania is, if that's how it ends it will ruin everything.

      Imma call it like this. Match lookes even, reigns gets the upper hand looking for the superman punch, heyman intereferes shoving the ref into it, reigns clocks the ref, lesnar with an f5 off the distraction, both men are down because of exhaustion, the authority comes out with rollins and a ref, rollins cashes in while their both down. Match hasn't ended yet so it becomes a triple threat for the title curb stomp to lesnar, curb stop to reigns, pins reigns for 3, rollins is the new champion celebrating with the authority to end the show.

    WrestleMania and RAW after WresteMania tend to be the events the SMARKS attend (Combination of Smart and Mark, Mark meaning a wrestling fan who believes (or temporarily suspends his disbelief) in pro wrestling. The Smark is the fan who knows wrestling is choreographed, but appreciates it on a higher level.)

    Just like at WtrestleMania XXX in which if Daniel Bryan didn't win they would riot, the first ever One Night Stand in which Rob Van Dam won the title there were signs just like Money in the Bank in which CM Punk didn't win they would riot.

    It would be interesting the see if there are signs along the lines of "If Reigns wins We Will Riot" and will the WWE believe them. I believe considering the nature of these events that the WWE wouldn't risk Reigns taking the title especially with Lesnar resigning with a PT schedule and FT pay.

    It is time for the IC and US titles to mean more than just a paperweight.

    Lesnar's staying. They'll keep the belt on him and the Main Event will be a double-turn(face becomes heel, heel becomes face).

    It's been slightly given away by (the most consistent performer in this whole lead up debacle),Paul Heyman. Heyman interrupting Reigns on ESPN confirmed it for me. He's as much a part of Reigns story as Lesnar is.

    Think of Heyman as Darth Sidious/Palpatine and Reigns as Anakin Skywalker. Lesnar can be Count Dooku/Darth Tyrannus. As Heyman pushes Reigns buttons - we'll see a savage beast unleashed , and the Master will watch as the angrier, more driven younger unwitting disciple takes out the older Apprentice for Sith Emperor Heyman. Cue "Paul Heyman Guy" Roman Reigns t-shirts on sale next week.

    But Lesnar keeps the belt, loses Heyman. Reigns goes out a heel. Rollins narrowly defeats Orton (cleanly), but is in no state to cash in his money in the bank contract.

    Last edited 26/03/15 9:05 am

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