On last Monday night's (Feb. 24, 2014) episode of Raw from the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their return to reveal The Authority would not be granting them a WWE world heavyweight championship title shot. Instead, they were given an open contract to face whomever they wanted at WrestleMania 30, scheduled for Sun., April 6, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
They decided they only wanted a title match so they could make history. And because they weren't going to get one, well, they were leaving.
We pick up the video at that point with an in-depth breakdown of its brilliance below:
0:01: Lesnar nods at Heyman, signaling it's time to go. Heyman throws his hands up, shrugging his shoulders at the lack of response. They came, said what they needed to say, nothing happened, now it's time go. Oh well.
0:03: GONG. Lesnar tentatively takes another step before stopping, looking to the back in wonder. He's very clearly not happy to have heard that sound. He understands what it brings. We all do, of course, but it's his job to bring that across. He does so.
0:06: Heyman, who is brilliant in situations like these, doesn't move his head after looking up. Instead, he blinks once before looking to his right to see how Lesnar is reacting. That's the image we're left with as the lights go out.
Already, this is great.
0:10: The lights flicker and we can see both Lesnar and Heyman slowly stepping back. Tentative terror.
0:29: Lesnar shuffles a bit but continues looking toward the titantron. Now he's waiting. He knows, but he's curious to see what is going to happen next.
0:47: Undertaker appears.
1:07: I cannot overstate how amazing WWE production was here. Undertaker, after walking out, stopped just in front of the stage set up. He had his head titled down, but was looking up to the ring to see Lesnar and Heyman standing in it. The picture fades with Undertaker staring unwaveringly to Brock returning it, though he's breathing heavier and showing that he's rattled, but not too much. Not yet, at least.
Here's a gif of the moment from WrestlingWithText.com:
1:35: While Undertaker is making his way to the ring, the camera switches to a wide shot of the entire arena. The spotlights run across the crowd, the lights flicker, and we see the picture of the ring, with Lesnar and Heyman still awaiting Undertaker as he makes that slow walk down to them. This was timed beautifully. Understand that this is a big moment and that's how it's made to look here.
1:48: Undertaker continues his slow crawl to the ring and they fade to Lesnar, who tilts his head and furrows his brow. He always knew "The Deadman" was coming to join him in the ring but now it's actually starting to sink in. He even licks his lips. His mouth is dry.
2:02: Another fade between 'Taker walking, now a little faster, and Lesnar reacting to how much closer his former rival is to the ring. Brock now has his hands covering his mouth. He's got that fear you only get when you think something bad is going to happen and don't want it to but aren't sure how to stop it or what you can do to get away from it. He knows he'll be face-to-face with the "Demon from Death Valley" soon enough. He does not like this.
2:48: Undertaker finally makes it to the steps outside the ring and he slowly raises the lights. Inside the ring, both Lesnar and Heyman lean back, both with a single step. Though it was surely unplanned, they do so in near perfect synchronization. This is perhaps the best moment of the entire sequence.
2:55: Fade to Undertaker and his eyes are wide and wild but he's still clearly under control. This is his environment, after all.
2:58: Lesnar is looking on with an almost stoic expression betrayed by the rest of his body language. He's still leaning back and fidgeting with his hands. He's nervous, but not so much that he's panicking yet. Compare this to his camping out in the desert and a lion is slowly approaching him. He's holding out hope that the lion has its eyes on something further in the distance, even though he knows better because there is no one else out in the desert with them. He hopes because he's a foolish human and he knows he will be powerless to stop the lion once it reaches him. Still, he stands his ground, while leaning back and praying this doesn't end the way he knows it will.
3:06: Undertaker steps into the ring and Lesnar actually runs his hands across his face. It's like he's wiping his nervous sweat away. Or maybe he can't believe his eyes. He's now in the same ring with Undertaker and there is no longer any mistaking it; there is no longer any reason to hold out hope. The lion stopped at his camp site, and it's here for him.
3:23: Undertaker walks around the table set up in the ring and Lesnar exhales a deep breath. He needs it. His breathing has been labored from the moment the gong hit.
3:28: As Undertaker continues to work his way around the ring, Brock looks back to Heyman. He does so quickly. His nerves are shot at this point. Until now, he had completely ignored his mouthpiece. Now he looked to him as if to confirm that what he was seeing was real.
3:32: With one turn of his head, Undertaker is now once again staring into Lesnar's eyes, except now he's doing it from mere feet away. He decides quickly to close the distance with a few strong steps. Brock, understanding there's no way out, does the same, but tentatively. He comes forward and meets Undertaker's gaze.
The next 20 seconds or so simply showcase the staredown. Undertaker appears every bit as physically imposing as intended. His hood is still on and it casts a dark shadow over his already dull eyes. His grown out goatee elongates his menacing face. Lesnar, as though he's looking into the eyes of the devil himself, heaves with each breath. He's twitchy and unsure, every bit as uncomfortable as he is supposed to be.
3:57: Lesnar swallows, but his mouth is dry so it's difficult. He has to contort his entire body to get what little saliva is left in his mouth down his throat.
4:11: Brock works up the best mean mug he can, but his eyes are glossy. It's false bravado at its best. His mouth is moving, almost quivering. He's a man who must stand up to a beast he doesn't believe he can defeat because he knows he cannot escape.
4:14: Undertaker, with a chant of that very name ringing out through the crowd, looks up to the WrestleMania 30 sign hanging from the rafters. Lesnar does not follow suit. He keeps his gaze locked on the monster in front of him. Heyman, however, does. When his eyes come back down, he's still too shocked to show any emotion.
4:22: After a long look at the sign, Undertaker returns to staring at Lesnar. Brock reacts with a renewed fear. He swallows once more, and again finds it difficult.
4:26: Brock actually nods his head and grits his teeth. He's still breathing heavy, sure, but his confidence is growing with each passing moment that he's standing in front of Undertaker and nothing is happening. He understands now what must be done. He knows why Undertaker is here and after this staredown, after having gone face-to-face and not backed down, he's ready to accept the challenge.
4:34: Lesnar nods again and points to the piece of paper on the table. He tells Undertaker to "sign the damn contract".
4:39: Lesnar looks to Heyman, telling him to get everything set up. Undertaker's eyes never leave Brock's. It's like he's looking beyond that and into the man's soul.
4:43: Heyman grabs the contract and a pen, and a readies it in front of Lesnar. He does this reaching out instead of stepping over. He's still very afraid and incredibly respectful of the powerful force he's in the ring with. Keep in mind, he's in the ring with a powerful force in Lesnar almost every time he's out there. But this is something else entirely.
4:56: After returning Undertaker's stare and puffing his chest out -- this is his attempt at continuing to build his own confidence that was shattered when the gong hit -- Lesnar signs the contract. He's made the first move and he feels good about it.
5:10: Lesnar's confidence has returned with a vengeance. It seems Undertaker's deadpan stare has lulled him into a false sense of security. He takes the pen he used to sign the contract and pushes it into Undertaker's chest. Heyman, witnessing this, responds with raucous laughter. He knows how capable his charge is when he's on his game, and this would seem to signify a return to it. Plus, BOSS FUCKING MOVE.
5:21: Undertaker finally takes his gaze off Lesnar and looks at the hand stuck in his chest. He slowly takes the pen away before looking back up at the suddenly cocky man standing in front of him.
5:34: Lesnar grabs the contract and slaps it down. Heyman speaks: "The contract has been signed and if you'd like to sign it, Mr. Undertaker, you may have the match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania." Heyman, proud of himself, tosses the mic across the table and walks away. He thinks they played this perfectly.
5:44: Lesnar slaps the contract again and looks up at Undertaker, outright daring him to make a move. "The Deadman" responds by taking the pen and slamming it down onto Lesnar's hand. Brock sells this like a lion is actually gnawing one of his limbs off. Heyman, who still had his back turned, whirls around in shock and screams out. He quickly exits the ring. This is now a battle zone and is no place for his kind.
5:52: Undertaker is a beast stalking his prey now. He waits for Lesnar to stand and, with Brock still clutching his hand, choke slams him through the table. Right after Lesnar goes through, Heyman is shouting, now on the outside, while reaching one arm in with his hand out wide. There's nothing he can do.
6:01: As he circles around, Undertaker has a look of angry resentment on his face. How dare Lesnar disrespect him this way. This is the price that must be paid for such defiance.
6:10: After 'Taker makes his way to standing over Lesnar's now broken body, Heyman is shown on the outside, looking up with a mix of horror and awe. He understood the power but let his client's hubris get the best of the situation. Now they were all paying for it, and he's left to wonder what else is going to happen. He quickly backs up and puts his hands on his head. Despite the early danger, it seemed to be going so well. Now, it's a complete disaster.
6:17: Undertaker looks from Lesnar's body back up to the WrestleMania 30 sign. He doesn't need to sign a contract. This is all the confirmation we need.
6:38: 'Taker walks away and the camera pans down to survey the destruction he's leaving in his wake. Lesnar is still laid out, eyes closed and twitching.
6:46: Now Undertaker looks back at what he's done before looking out at the masses. This is the carnage he brings and all must know and remember that.