WWE was forced to get very creative when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down touring and live audiences. Cinematic matches started popping up more and more and the company innovated the ThunderDome concept to keep things interesting until fans were allowed to return. One of the most infamous of those pandemic angles was the time Tozawa got eaten by shark.
Ex-WWE writer Chris Dunn recently talked about the segment during the Universal Wrestling Podcast. Dunn said that while Tozawa being consumed by a shark was not his idea, he did contribute to the storyline. Originally, there was supposed to be a much more drawn-out finish to the angle.
“I was doing a lot of the 24/7 stuff, and sometimes, when you’re there, if you just give the man [Vince McMahon] what he wants, you have freedom to do whatever with it. If there’s like one thing he wants and you give it to him, he’s happy.
I knew he wanted to do an off-site during the pandemic era at the beach. So, I pitched a 24/7 off-site there. Obviously, Tozawa was eaten by a shark. Not my idea, but, it’s like when you get an idea that’s like out there like that, that’s like so insane, it kind of gives you a certain level of freedom, so I was like, ‘Oh, we can do a funeral for Tozawa, where he wins the title back and he staged his death.’
So, I spent about three days calling funeral parlors around Orlando looking for a casket… I got a day rate on a casket. I got $250, day of. So I wrote out a whole four-part thread. In part of it, you realize that Tozawa had a secret affair with Billie Kay, who we had come in for it. It would be really emotional, and we had like all this stuff planned and I was using Titus in it… Lo and behold, because of the Randy Orton Rainbow 6 sniper killings that he was doing to everyone backstage, we had to cancel it because it was maybe going to be too much on production to have both. Not being able to do that funeral is one of those ideas, as dumb as it sounds, that I wish we could have nailed.”
The story of what might have been after Tozawa was attacked was never fully realized. Randy Orton’s storyline was prioritized over the 24/7 title picture, so we never did get to see the funeral or the full aftermath. We will never know how that wild idea would have gone over with fans.
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Transcription by Ringside News