— WWE (@WWE) April 18, 2017
Viewers of World Wrestling Entertainment’s flagship Monday Night Raw program on Monday got a treat when the main event between The Big Show and Braun Strowman ended with a bang. In a move that had been teased earlier in the match as well as in a previous bout several weeks earlier, Strowman stopped Big Show as he climbed to the top rope, grabbed him, and suplexed him off, collapsing the ring and sending referee John Cone flying to the floor.
WWE had only done the collapsing ring stunt twice previously, both with Big Show: Once with Brock Lesnar in 2003 and later with Mark Henry in 2011. Monday’s collapse may have been the most theatrical and spectacular to date, as both the steps leading to the ring and Cone being sent flying were both new aspects to the stunt that hadn’t been done before. Since the goal was to set up Strowman as an unstoppable monster of a villain, he got to his feet on his own power and ended the show by roaring to the crowd.
While Big Show tends to be fairly open and candid in interviews, he spent a dozen years insisting the 2003 Lesnar ring collapse was unplanned, feeling that it was a nice way to help with fans’ suspension of disbelief. That changed in 2015, when he appeared on fellow wrestler Chris Jericho’s podcast:
[WWE Stunt Coordinator] Ellis [Edwards] had airbags under the ring. So they had lifted the ring a couple inches. So now, when I’m standing on that top corner, that ring is like standing on marbles. Because it’s moving. Of course now I’ve got my fat ass up in the air, 500 pounds on a not very stable surface … So then the ring broke. I just remember when it happened because … you don’t know how the stunt is going to look. But man, it was so perfectly timed the way we did it and Ellis did a great job of setting up. That thing collapsed and everybody they bought it so long.
[Photo: Screen grab]
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