|By Raj Giri||July 23, 2012 | Comments|
It was a great night for him and I think he was just so proud. He was with his family and it was very touching. Then, you saw Chris Benoit and Nancy in toe with his family and they were mingling. You look at it very differently now, in a less romantic way. In a tragic way because of what happened to Eddie just a year later and tragically what happened to Benoit's family. Little did we know the monster that was lurking.
WrestlingINC: Yeah. That's still, to this day, hard to put your arms around.
Bauer: It's a very heavy thing and I don't think anyone can ever really peg precisely what transpired and why and how. But, I think WWE responded in a way -- the only way they could, looking at it now. They have access to a therapist, they have advanced concussion treatment and analysis and that didn't exist then. I don't buy into the idea that Benoit was like an 85-year-old dude with Alzheimer's. I don't think you can accurately do diagnostic testing. Neurologically, on someone that has been dead for three days and exposed to the elements of the Southern heat, which probably was 100 degrees and humidity. There's no way you're getting accurate readings. I don't care. I know a lot about this area and there's just no way that's happening.
So, I don't know what happened. You look at cases, like what happened to Nicole Simpson in the '90's and the allegations there with OJ. They say, 'Well, crimes of passion are violent acts.' This was obviously a very violent act. So, it's a crazy, crazy thing, but I think WWE has done a good job of putting their best foot forward on this in being as proactive as they are. I think other companies, like TNA, should be a little more proactive when it comes to drug testing and concussions. I've heard a lot about the environment and the drug culture down there and it doesn't sound very good.
WrestlingINC: Yeah. Also, about Lesnar, I guess you never worked with him...
Bauer: No, actually, that's not true. He came back in '05. There were talks for him to come back and a deal was, I guess, pretty much in place but not executed. He came, we met with him. The first impression of Brock was that he was a very happy, easy-going guy. He was not as big as he projected on TV. He's 6'2" but he projects on TV like he's 6'6", unstoppable force -- just a huge guy. He really wasn't the biggest dude by a long shot. You think he'd blend in a bit but on TV, he's one of those guys that just projects big.
But, he was excited to get back into the mix and we started working on different concepts to re-introduce him. The leading plan we had in place was to have him return to Smackdown!, which was kind of his home turf. Ultimately, we were to build towards something with Dave Batista. [Alex] Greenfield, myself and Dusty Rhodes, we had kind of cobbled together at that point. Then, of course, within a week or two, we build this whole thing up and we pitch it to Vince and Vince says, 'Brock Lesnar will not be in our future plans so don't consider him available.'
We're like, 'What happened?' We find out that they hit a few bumps in the road. There were some issues; I think it was money and travel. But, I don't want to speak as an attorney because I honestly might be wrong on that. I don't remember. Ultimately, he wouldn't return to the company until 2012. Which was seven years later, which was so crazy. But, in that seven years, it was a crazy ride for Brock.
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