wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Were Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker Supposed to Feud After Wrestlemania XX?

January 22, 2024 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Undertaker Brock Lesnar WrestleMania 30 WWE Image Credit: WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.
If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

Hey, ya wanna banner?

Uzoma is walking on with the Minnesota Vikings:

Were The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar supposed to feud again in 2004 after the former reverted back to his Deadman persona and before the latter left after WrestleMania XX?


According to the March 22, 2004 edition of the Figure Four Weekly newsletter, Brock was told in January 2004 that a newly re-dead Undertaker was going to be one of his first rivals after Wrestlemania XX, and the belief was that Brock was not going to be the winner at the end of the feud, likely due to the fact that Taker put him over at the end of their prior series of matches. There was also apparently some frustration because, when he dropped the WWE Title to Eddy Guerrero, there was initially talk that he would be getting the strap back, but that seemed less likely if he was going to be on the losing end of a feud with the Undertaker immediately following Wrestlemania.

F4W did state that Lesnar’s distaste for these creative plans contributed to his departure from the company, though that was far from the only reason, as he was also physically beaten up and apparently not the biggest fan of WWE’s road schedule, going so far as to buy his own private airplane towards the end of his run with the company.

Stupid sexy Undertaker . . .

Michael is projecting his own feelings of futility:

Has there ever been a less effective manager than Mr. Fuji? I mean he really did nothing except stand there during most of his wrestlers matches and obviously wasn’t a mouthpiece.

I have long thought that the most useless wrestling manager in history was Teddy Long during the Monday Night War era in WCW. Long had previously been successful in the company as a heel managing acts like Doom, but, during the Nitro years, he was turned babyface and given a stable of dudes who were half a step above being pure enhancement talent, including Joey Maggs, Jim Powers, Craig Pittman, and “Hard Work” Bobby Walker. Though Teddy was capable on the mic, they almost never gave him promo time, and, because he was a babyface, it’s not as though he was going to interfere on behalf of his charges.

Mr. Fuji may not have been able to cut a coherent promo, but at least he was able to get heat by cheating and also garner a reaction by taking bumps. Babyface Teddy Long didn’t even do those things. He really just stood there and clapped while the wrestlers that he managed lost 90% of their matches.

I wonder what is on Jonfw2‘s birth certificate:

What is the Mt. Rushmore of wrestlers’ real names that should have been character names?

In no particular order, I give you . . .

Richard Blood: This one gets brought up a lot in similar conversations, but Ricky Steamboat’s real name of Richard Blood sounds pretty badass, plus if you’re in an edgier promotion you can have babyfaces taunt him by calling him “Dick Blood.” Of course, the problem is that Richard Blood really sounds like a heel name, and Steamboat was the consummate babyface.

Miroslav Barnyashev: Yes, I assume that WWE made this guy Alexander Rusev because it was easier to spell and AEW deleted 80% of his name for the same reason, but there’s something about the full “Miroslav Barnyashev” moniker that just screams “foreign monster heel.” Plus, wrestling fans eventually learned how to spell “Zbyszko,” so anything can work.

Rycklon Stephens: Admittedly, the man who most know as Ezekiel Jackson did use his real name as his ring name for parts of his career, but it was never on a major stage, so I’m still counting it. “Rycklon” just sounds like the name of a guy that you don’t want to mess with, especially if he looks like the real Rycklon Stephens does.

Gionna Daddio: Gionna Daddio. Liv Morgan. Liv Morgan. Gionna Daddio. You’re a woman and you have to pick a ring name. Assuming you don’t have your employer telling you that you CAN’T use your real name, which one do you choose? It’s blatantly obvious.

Dave B. is pulling skeletons out of closets:

Matt Hardy and Edge are both in AEW. Have you heard if there is any animosity between the two of them based on past history. Seems there both happy with wives but there past was bad with the Lita situation.

The two of them had an in-ring program against each other in WWE in the summer of 2005, a matter of months after the Lita affair came to light. If they were professional enough to work directly together then, they’re almost certainly professional enough to share a locker room now.

Bryan is communing with his only child:

As a kid in the 80s (yes I’m old), one of my favorite cartoons was Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling. It was silly but decent enough and got me into wrestling. What I’m wondering is, could WWE do that now? It would fit into their more mainstream approach but the time it takes make a cartoon, wrestlers can come and go and change face heel alignment, so the show might seem outdated when it airs. What says you?

WWE has done another animated series in the fairly recent past, that being Camp WWE, which released five episodes to the WWE Network in 2016 and five more in 2018. However, as I understand it, that show was structured in such a way that things like heel/face alignments and current in-ring storylines were far less significant than they were in Rock n’ Wrestling. Even that show had somewhat of a continuity issue, though, in that the Ultimate Warrior was a character despite the fact that he died while the show was in production.

So, the company could still do something like that today, putting out an animated show with little ties to its current continuity.

If the question is whether a Rock N’ Wrestling style show specifically would work today, I think it’s more likely to work than you’d guess because of changes in how television operates. There is less lead time needed on an animated series than there used to be (particularly if you’re using something like Flash to animate), meaning that toons can remain more topical. Plus, though it’s not going back to what it is in the 1980s and I don’t think it ever will, we are getting more long-term storylines and thus longer heel/face runs in WWE, with the Bloodline being a prime example.

James is taggin’ and baggin’:

Has any person taken credit or been named for being behind the idea of the nWo spray painting the championship belt or on their opponent’s backs?

Yes. Neal Pruitt is a television producer who used to work with WCW, and he was the one primarily responsible for putting together the nWo “paid announcement” promos that helped give the group much of its original vibe. In fact, Pruitt was also the guy who did the voiceover that would announce “the following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order.”

Pruitt did a podcast for a bit in the late 2010s and, in one of the episodes, claimed that he was the one who came up with the idea for the nWo to tag things with spray paint, emulating the behavior of street gangs.

Tyler from Winnipeg is sorting through people’s unmentionables:

I once read Hulk Hogan’s Wrestlemania III tights sold for a hefty sum; have you heard of other “game-used” gear that surpassed the yellow tights?

This is not the first time that I’ve answered a question related to Hulk Hogan’s Wrestlemania III trunks. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that I’ve answered a question related to Hulk Hogan’s Wrestlemania III trunks that was asked by Tyler. Back in 2022, Tyler asked me if the tights in question had ever sold to a private collector and, if so, for how much.

I responded that there was some evidence, albeit scant, that a pair of trunks claimed to by those from the Hogan/Andre match were listed on eBay at one point in time, with bids reaching at least $30,000.00. (However, as Disqus commentors correctly pointed out, chances are good that Hogan didn’t even save the trunks he wore that night. Wrestlers at the time largely weren’t thinking of such things as collectors’ items.)

In any event, yes, there are other items of wrestlers’ gear that have gone for at least that much money. WWE maintains its own auction website for memorabilia, and a story from Rinside News in September 2023 reported that the entrance gear Cody Rhodes wore at that year’s Night of Champions pay per view had bids that exceeded $50,000.00.

Clyde is getting into some minutiae:

Something that caught my mind and eye. It almost hurt. Watch this match Honky Tonk Man had with Dave Lanning around the 2:40 mark. Dave did the HTM’s dance with the thumbs behind his back and the whole thing. If he thought of that original idea, would he have been blackballed/fired, or would he have had a good chance of a possible promotion (unlikely as it could have been back then)?

The match between Honky Tonk Man and Dave Lanning took place on a WWF television taping on August 23, 1988 in Providence, Rhode Island. Lanning had two WWF matches to his credit before that time, the first being on June 21 of the same year in Jim Duggan’s hometown of Glens Falls, New York, when he was half of a tag team that was squashed by Demolition and the second being the following night on June 22 in Binghamton, New York when he was squashed by Bad News Brown.

Lanning actually was brought back by the WWF to act as an enhancement talent again. Specifically, he lost a rematch to Bad News Brown on February 16, 1989 in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and then he lost in a tag team match on April 4, 1989 back in Glens Falls against the Twin Towers.

So, we actually have data to back up the answer to Clyde’s question. Nothing that Dave Lanning did in his match with the Honky Tonk Man impacted his use in the WWF one way or the other. He was a garden variety job guy before the HTM match, and he was a garden variety job guy after the HTM match.

Brad can’t take it anymore:

When did the WWE move away from the verbal “I quit” to the “tap”?

It was when Ken Shamrock started wrestling for them in 1997. However, before that, there were already tap outs in WCW and ECW, with the former coming in the cruiserweight division (Psicosis tapped to Ultimo Dragon’s Dragon Sleeper earlier in ’97) and the latter coming in Taz’s matches that ended with the kata-ha-jime.

Moses says it’s time to play the game . . . as long as the game is Donkey Kong:

A lot of top modern professional wrestlers are well-known to be avid video gamers, to the extent that it manifests in their wrestling work (i.e. Omega’s finisher being named after a Final Fantasy VII track and his Undertale-inspired Wrestle Kingdom 13 entrance, just about everything related to Woods and Up Up Down Down). Outside of publicity work, what’s the earliest record of a wrestler playing video games in their free time? And if they’re different, who would be the oldest?

The only point of reference I have for this is the little bit of trivia that Stevie Richards was apparently enough of a gamer to be one of the earliest people, period, to pitch a perfect game in MLB 2K11. Stevie was born in 1971, which would make him roughly ten or so when the first big arcade games and the Atari 2600 became popular in the late 70’s/early 80’s, so I imagine it’d be difficult to find a wrestler much older than him who could have grown up playing video games.

Honestly, it’s difficult to say what the earliest instance of a wrestler being a gamer outside of promotional work is, because wrestlers, particularly of the 1980s and early 1990s, like to blur the line between reality and promotion, so you see plenty of guys from that era talking about how great wrestling games are when asked, because they’re trying to make sure that they sell.

I will say that the oldest wrestling gamer that I could find in terms of age is:

Glenn “Kane” Jacobs, at age 56.

How do we know this? Between 2003 and 2012, WWE partnered with THQ, who at the time held the license to produce video games based on the company, for the “THQ Superstar Challenge,” a video game tournament in which WWE wrestlers competed with one another to see who could come out on top in the latest THQ release. There is a brief clip online of Kane being interviewed at one of these events and admitting to playing games on Xbox Live:

Come to think of it, in that interview, Kane mentions Shelton Benjamin, and Shelton may be the first wrestler who I remember hearing had a reputation as a gamer. In fact, he won the THQ Superstar Challenge for four consecutive years, before voluntarily bowing out of the competition in what would have been his fifth year.

Also, in researching the answer to this question, I happened to come across press releases promoting the first two THQ Superstar Challenge which included lists of the wrestlers who competed in those tournaments. They’re not responsive to the question at all, but I’m going to include them here anyway, because I found them interesting and maybe someone out there in the readership will as well.

The competitors in the first-ever THQ Superstar Challenge, held prior to Wrestlemania XIX in Seattle, were: Booker T., Mark Henry, Jamie Noble, Shannon Moore, Rosey, Maven, Rey Misterio Jr., Billy Kidman, Rikishi, Hurricane Helms, Jamal (later known as Umaga), John Cena, D-Von Dudley, Christian Cage, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Chris Kanyon.

The competitors in the second annual THQ Superstar Challenge, held prior to Wrestlemania XX in New York City, were: Booker T., Shelton Benjamin, Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson, Victoria, Nidia, Rey Misterio Jr., Billy Kidman, Kane, Hurricane Helms, Matt Morgan, John Cena, D-Von Dudley, Christian Cage, Bubba Ray Dudley, and A-Train.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.