On Oct. 17, Goldberg returned to WWE and was welcomed with open arms by the crowd in Denver. The response was so positive and enthusiastic, Vince McMahon & company apparently thought they could bank on not only pro-Goldberg, but also anti-Brock Lesnar, audiences everywhere.
Even in the city where Brock was a collegiate wrestling star and almost walked onto their NFL team’s roster.
As you probably recall from the Oct.24 Raw in Minneapolis, Minnesotans by and large were not interested in either booing Lesnar or cheering Goldberg. The segment with the Beast Incarnate and his advocate, Paul Heyman, designed to build from Denver toward Survivor Series went so far off the rails it not only rattled Heyman but caused Vince to pull the plug from backstage.
In a new interview with Brian Fritz of Sporting News, Heyman talked about that night. First, he says in a couple different ways that he wouldn’t have run the segment in what is essentially Lesnar’s hometown:
Fritz: What would you have done differently?
Heyman: I would not have accepted the booking for Minneapolis.
Fritz: Anything else?
Heyman: I would not have let Brock Lesnar appear in Minneapolis.
After establishing how tough a sell it was to try and get heat on the former University of Minnesota star in Target Center, Heyman takes ownership for the failure of the segment... for a compelling reason:
I'll take full blame for it. I'll tell you why. If I am, as people claim that I am, the best or one of the best or one of the greatest fill in the adjective of all time in terms of someone who can deliver a promo, and if I can go out in Chicago, right before WrestleMania, when CM Punk had just walked out and the 18,000 people in Chicago were hellbent and driven on hijacking that show — I opened the show coming out to Punk's music, sit down in his pose, never raise my voice, shut them up, lure them in, get them to buy that I'm on their side, double cross them and sell them on Brock Lesnar versus Undertaker and shut down the CM Punk chant all without ever raising my voice — then I'm surely talented enough to go into Minneapolis and manipulate the crowd to say or do anything I want them to say or do.
That's my job. I am supposed to take an impossible situation and make it look easy. And if I am as good as people say that I am, and I dare suggest I'm better than that, then Minneapolis would have been just another story to add to the story of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Ultimately, I failed in my task and I own up to my failures like a man and I accept them and I move forward. Lesson learned. If I'm faced with a similar situation again, I know what I would do differently but I'm surely not going to reveal it to the public because then they'll know how I'm going to handle it.
I’m not sure even Heyman at the peak of his considerable powers could have turned that crowd on Oct. 24, but I love how he managed to take the blame and put himself over at the same time.
While you’re wondering if Vince will now book Heyman to try and get Shawn Michaels booed in Texas or something, check out the rest of the Sporting News piece, where the advocate takes credit for getting Goldberg signed to WWE, talks what’s next for Brock, and more.