Once the Internet and various forms of social media became overly popular, the idea of surprises and shocking happenings in professional wrestling disappeared. It’s hard to not have leaks or rumors flying around regarding what may go on backstage or in the future, but WWE is working on fixing that. This week on SmackDown Live, they revealed another big surprise return and it seems as if their new practice is working quite well for them.
At Clash of Champions, Luke Harper made a huge return out of nowhere and helped Erick Rowan defeat Roman Reigns. That happened just days after The Inquisitr reported that Vince McMahon was prepared to keep Harper at home until his contract expired.
On this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Rusev came back during a segment with Mike Kanellis and it was a shocking return after months away. With both Rusev and Harper, none of the fans or even anyone backstage had any idea that they were going to make comebacks like that.
It appears as if WWE is literally hiding superstars and having them arrive after the show’s officially begin, and this is to keep them from being seen. This is the exact same practice that was used on SmackDown Live this week and it is how the returns of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were such surprises.
Lesnar showed up after the opening match between The New Day and the team of Randy Orton and The Revival. The “Beast Incarnate” challenged Kofi Kingston to a match for the WWE Championship on the debut episode of Friday Night SmackDown on October 4, 2019, and the champ did accept.
According to PW Insider Elite, by way of Ringside News, no-one backstage knew that Lesnar was going to make his return on Tuesday night. Mike Johnson reported that it was a great surprise because WWE higher-ups kept it such a secret and let virtually no-one know that it was happening.
“They hid Heyman and Brock. You know Heyman wasn’t around the show [on Tuesday]. You know they kept him hidden. Heyman wasn’t helping people with promos, bouncing ideas off of others — Heyman was nowhere to be seen. In fact, you know there were people who were shocked when he showed up in Gorilla Position because they assumed that he had left and gone home.”
WWE being able to keep big returns such as Rusev, Harper, and Lesnar a surprise is a huge move for them. It actually helps the old-school wrestling fans who miss how things used to be before the Internet was huge and everything was spoiled ahead of time.
Brock Lesnar’s return and jump to SmackDown is big enough in itself, but WWE being able to keep it a total secret is possibly even bigger. Somehow, Vince McMahon and Triple H have come up with different ways to shock everyone and that includes the superstars backstage who are usually told what’s going to happen.