The infamous “What?” chants started to be heard in WWE in 2001. Steve Austin had just turned heel and was using the one-word question regularly in his promos. For two decades since, fans chanting “What?” during promos has become a polarizing topic in wrestling.
Mick Foley recently commented on how the chants can make cutting a promo difficult. He took to Twitter to let his feelings on the matter be known.
“It can be very difficult for any wrestler to find their voice amidst a chorus of “what” chants – it’s like going up to bat with the count starting at 0-2. While it’s still POSSIBLE to hit a promo out of the park, those annoying chants make it a hell of a lot less likely.”
Foley’s comments were in response to a user on Twitter noting that Roman Reigns didn’t “find his voice” until after live crowds were no longer in attendance at events.
Christian noted in an interview in 2019, that he played a role in the “What?” chants coming to be. He said that Austin first started using it on a voicemail he left him around that time.
“(Austin) left this rambling voicemail on my message machine. He was just saying random stuff like: ‘I’m just passing a tree. What?! I said I’m passing a tree. What?!’ Random – about anything,” Christian said.
“Then a week or two later I was sitting in the back on Raw and I could hear the audio of him doing a promo in the ring and I heard him doing the ‘What?’ I was like ‘I can’t believe he’s going to do this and he’s going to get this over’”.