This past Monday’s Raw was followed by a special Steve Austin podcast on the WWE Network. Austin’s guest was former UFC and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. During the podcast, Lesnar’s match with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 19 was brought up. Toward the very end of the match Lesnar attempted a Shooting Star Press off the top rope and he missed because Angle was too far away. Lesnar landed on his head, was immediately stunned, and went on to improvise the ending of the match with Angle in order to make up for the missed move. Lesnar won clean with the F5 to win the WWE Title for the second time. After the match, Lesnar was diagnosed with a concussion.
Lesnar told Austin that he was talked into doing the Shooting Star Press and how he didn’t feel comfortable doing the move. He wouldn’t name names, but Lesnar said this person pushed the move on him, saying that it would be a great “WrestleMania moment.”
There have been some conflicting stories as of late as to whom the person was who insisted on Lesnar doing the move. Lesnar mentions in his autobiography Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Dominance, and Survival, that former Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and on-screen Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis was the one who suggested the move. However, once this story hit the web it seems like many others also felt that they were the ones responsible for Lesnar performing this move. Jim Ross has apparently mentioned how he thought the move would be a WrestleMania moment and felt responsible for the botched spot and Lesnar’s subsequent injury. Jim Cornette also took responsibility for the move by mentioning on Twitter how he saw Lesnar perform the move tons of times in WWE’s old developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and told him to save it for a “big moment.”
With all that said, Raj Giri of Wrestlinginc.com recently conducted an interview with Kurt Angle who gave his thoughts on the topic, saying the idea of performing the move was in fact his idea and how he takes total responsibility for Lesnar doing it.
“That was my idea, I will take responsibility for Brock doing that. At the time I had to leave (WWE), it really wasn’t in the plans for me to drop the title at WrestleMania. I had suffered a broken neck and was going to have surgery, so I wanted to do something that people would remember. I asked Brock to do the Shooting Star Press, which he had done many times in OVW. I just thought it would be a great way to end the show.”
Angle’s comments on Lesnar misjudging the distance of the jump:
“Unfortunately Brock came up short. I think I was a little too far away, and Brock kinda double guessed before he went. If you ever watched the tape, you’ll see he goes, then he kinda stops, then he says screw it. So that hesitation caused him to land on his head. But that was my call. I know that Brock didn’t necessarily want to do it, but we did practice it earlier in the week and he was doing it perfectly well; he just got in a situation in the match where he kinda slipped a little bit and that was it.”
Angle’s feeling on whether or not the move succeeded in being memorable:
“But I can tell you this, fans still remember it!”
Its funny how all of a sudden this has become quite the news story after all these years. Lesnar and Angle’s match at WrestleMania 19 is one of my favorite matches of all time. It was such an amazing wrestling match from arguably two of the greatest pure wrestlers of all time. The Shooting Star Press was certainly a moment that never escaped my memory. Even though it didn’t connect, the fact that someone of Lesnar’s size could do a move like that, where he leaps more than half way across the ring and almost connects was an achievement in itself. They played the botched move perfectly with Angle going for the cover, Brock kicking out and then hitting the F5 to finish the match.
I’m sure Laurinaitis, Cornette, Ross, and Angle all had a little something to do with Lesnar deciding to go for the move. All the comments he heard from them probably sank into his psyche one way or another and added to the pressure of Brock feeling like he had to do the move. Ultimately though, it was Brock’s decision. As we’ve learned from the past, Brock isn’t someone who tolerates getting pushed around backstage and very much does things on his own terms. I don’t think Lesnar would agree to do the move if he didn’t, at the time, think he could perform it safely.
What are your opinions on Lesnar’s botched spot and his overall match with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 19? Is it a match you look back at fondly or does the missed Shooting Star Press ruin it for you? Do you think there will ever be another opportunity in the future where we get to see an Angle vs. Lesnar match again? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.