On “Where’s Funaki?”

I think many wrestling fans who were watching that night more than a decade ago remember when Brock Lesnar said “Where’s Funaki?”  It became something of a cult meme, and that was back when only the most effete intellectuals I knew were calling things memes.  Why was this tiny moment so memorable to us?

Brock Lesnar was so scary when he debuted!  He was a snarling, teeth-gnashing, bicep-flexing meat-headed monster, a goon who would beat the snot out of anybody Paul Heyman’s sicced him on.  He had been giving poor skinny mike-holding Funaki nothing but trouble in his interviews, real schoolyard bully stuff, and then suddenly Funaki wasn’t there to take his abuse.  There was faux-concern in his voice, as well a hint of cruelty.  Somehow it stuck with us.  Maybe we were impressed, back in the Vince era, that a cartoon bully like Lesnar could show such a subtle hint of depth.

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