Though The Bloodline reigns supreme on WWE television these days, one Anoa’i family member’s WWE debut was cut short due to Brock Lesnar.
Lance Anoa’i, the cousin of Roman Reigns, recently reflected on his experience facing Shane McMahon on WWE Raw on May 27, 2019. Anoa’i, who has made multiple appearances on WWE TV over the years, discussed his multiple tryouts with the company on The Family Business podcast. He stated that he kept trying to change, but he wasn’t quite sure what the company wanted.
“I went to Orlando to the Performance Center three times. My first tryout was with Bill DeMott. It was his last tryout class before he got let go, and then every two years, around the same time, they invited me back. I was trying to figure out why they keep bringing me back, but I’m not getting that paper [laughs].”
Anoa’i went on to describe how the company called him just two days before the episode of Raw and told him they were flying him out for the show. Once he arrived, he learned that he’d be in a match with Shane McMahon.
“Right after my last tryout, which was also in 2019, they said, ‘Yeah, we don’t have nothing for you at the moment.’ Then I got the call in May of that year saying, ‘Hey,’ two days before Raw, ‘We’re flying you out to Kansas City. Are you available?’ Of course, yes, I’m down. I don’t know anything, what’s going on. I was like alright, maybe this is the deal, I’m gonna get a break.”
An Iconic Brock Lesnar Segment Cut Lance Anoai’s WWE Debut Short
However, the time for the match between Lance Anoa’i and Shane McMahon was cut back because Brock Lesnar’s “Boombox Brock” segment went long. As a result, Anoa’i’s spots were pulled from the match. Reflecting on that day at Raw, Lance Anoa’i said:
“Before we went, I knew Roman was doing a little feud with Shane and Drew and all them at the time. So I knew it might have been something with them, but I didn’t think it was gonna be an actual match.
“So yeah, once they tell us, and they pull me and Shane to go over everything, they tell us what we’re doing. Shane, man, he was honestly cool. We were sitting in catering together, talking, we were by ringside talking. He was just making me feel very comfortable to get in the ring with him, and just going over spots. He goes, ‘Oh, what do you want to hit? What do you want to do?’ I gave him all my ideas, which we had in.
“We had planned to go out there, so at first they gave us, I believe it was seven minutes they gave us in the ring, and it ended up being cut down to four because Brock Lesnar’s boombox, it was the day he did the boombox. That went a little too long, so they had to cut our time. It took out my whole shine, so all I got in was a dropkick. But that was cool, man. Just to be even in the ring on Raw and a great time, and then tapping out, and then my cousin Roman coming down to make the save, and just me and him in the ring was awesome.”
Despite the match being cut short, Anoa’i described the experience as an incredible one. He praised Shane McMahon for being a professional and helping him feel at ease in the ring. He also mentioned that he was excited to be on the show and to be featured in the prominent spot with Reigns.
“It was an amazing experience, I was so excited to be on Raw and to be in the ring with Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns. It was a dream come true.”
Anoa’i also mentioned that he learned a lot from the experience and that it has helped him grow as a wrestler. He also stated that he hopes to have another opportunity to perform on WWE again in the future.
“I learned a lot from that match and it has helped me grow as a wrestler. I hope to have another opportunity to perform on WWE again in the future.”
On the most recent episode of WWE Raw, The Bloodline themselves caused a segment to be cut short when the cage match between Becky Lynch and Bayley was scrapped after the Trial of Sami Zayn went long.