Well That Didn’t Work: The Brood Break Their Silence

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Jamie Lithgow

While few would rank The Brood alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin, Degeneration-X or The Rock as pillars of the Attitude Era, it is probably fair to say that the trio are still fondly remembered as a popular low/mid-card act.

Given that they never had a prolonged feud, were never clearly defined as babyfaces or heels and never spoke, it is remarkable that anyone remembers them at all. But remember them some people, including myself, do… and fondly. However, one thing probably best forgotten by Brood fans is the pilot episode of Smackdown! on which they cut their first, and last, promo.

The date was April 29th 1999 – well, not really, it was a pre-taped show – and WWE were presenting a two hour special on UPN called Smackdown! This would prove to be a pilot episode with a full-fledged version of the show – complete with new set – launching in August . The major news from this show was the “merger from hell”, with The Undertaker led Ministry of Darkness joining forces with Shane McMahon’s Corporation to create the, imaginatively titled, Corporate Ministry.

While The Acolytes were making friends with The Mean Street Posse, former Ministry members, The Brood, managed to secure themselves some in-ring promo time with Doc Hendrix. Yes folks, it’s their first promo and rather than a pre-taped backstage interview, our three little vampires were thrown on front of a live audience. After they had made their typically cool entrance, Doc – who was dressed like a jar of mayonnaise – refused to do them any favours by not actually asking them any questions, instead handing them “centre stage”…

Gangrel was up first, and oh dear oh dear. Typically, mysterious characters like this are usually quite deliberate with their words and take time to think about what they are saying, right? Well, not Gangrel. He rattled through his carefully memorised lines like a child being forced to recite a poem. The content of his speech, although unremarkable, was not too bad. He mentioned sssssss-something about the “mystery of life” and “the power within all of us”. As bad as his delivery was, we can at least be thankfully that he actually attempted an evil laugh, and didn’t just say “evil laugh”…

Carrying that theme forward, Christian was up next. Resisting the urge to say “long pause”, the future Captain Charisma just ignored Doc’s questioning and continued to shuffle uncomfortably as if he was desperate for a pee. Of the three, Christian came across as least crap, purely because he kept his mouth shut. He actually pulled off the stroppy teenager vibe rather well. Let’s just hope that is what he was actually going for…

With Doc being blanked by Christian, the microphone was seized by storyline big brother, Edge. Bless his cotton socks for trying, but the inexperienced – in terms of promo work – heartthrob could not rescue this segment. While nowhere near as bad as Gangrel, Edge too was awful. Like Gangrel, Edge mentioned something about a “power within us”, only delivered his lines in the manner of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Believe it or not Edge’s promo is included in his You Think You Know Me DVD documentary, with various talking heads waxing lyrical about the potential he showed. Despite this extreme truth bending, one can make a case for Edge’s speech being more appropriate for a vignette or video package.

Gangrel: Cool gimmick, crap promo

Gangrel: Cool gimmick, crap promo

To compound the group’s misery, Doc then suggested that their gimmick was just that… a gimmick. Taking exception to this assassination attempt of their, erm, gimmick, Gangrel fired back in much more convincing fashion than his earlier attempts at human speech. The head vampire dropped a kayfabe shattering bombshell and a Lost Boys reference all in one word…. “Michael”. Despite everybody knowing that Doc Hendrix was Michael P.S. Hayes of Fabulous Freebirds fame, commentator Jim Cornette tried desperately to explain this demolition of the fourth wall. At this point business returned to normal as the lights cut out, The Brood’s music played and Doc received a Blood Bath.

Quick aside: At no point in their existence were The Brood called vampires, merely that they lived a ‘gothic lifestyle’. Moreover, the contents of Gangrel’s goblet was never referred to as blood, rather a ‘thick, red liquid’. So, Val Venis can be a porn star, Sable and Jackie can get their tits out, but The Brood can’t drink blood? Even more odd is that their calling card was allowed to be called The Blood Bath. Anyway…

That was the first, and last, Brood promo. Next time we heard from Edge he had left the group, with Christian following soon after. So, what was the purpose of this segment? Was it a slightly contradictory attempt to reveal more information about a group whose entire gimmick thrived on secrecy? Was it a slightly ill-judged and somewhat premature attempt to put the spotlight on Edge? Was it merely an opportunity for Michael Hayes to drop the Doc Hendrix character and make way for his role as manager of The Hardy Boyz, who would feud with The Brood? Whatever the reason for the promo, one question will remain unanswered. The show was pre-taped….. so why did a promo segment this shit make it to air???

You can read all previous ‘Well That Didn’t Work’ pieces here.

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2 thoughts on “Well That Didn’t Work: The Brood Break Their Silence

  1. Everything for the Brood was working… until Gangrel opened his mouth. One of those concepts that definitely killed something good. Yet, it led to Edge and Christian going on their own and become icons in the process while Gangrel…

    Like

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