Is Brock Lesnar's Return a Sign of the Times for WWE?

Robert AitkenAnalyst IJuly 8, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 13:  MMA fighter Brock Lesnar walks in the garage area during practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

In two-and-a-half weeks, we were assured by Paul Heyman that his client, Brock Lesnar, would return to RAW for their 1,000th episode. In an attempt to steal the spotlight from the impressive milestone episode, Lesnar will answer the challenge for a SummerSlam match against WWE's COO, Triple H. By anyone's educated guess, Lesnar is expected to return to the ring on August 19 to take on The Game in his first match since Extreme Rules.

There are a few reasons to believe this. For one, Lesnar has already had his representative, Paul Heyman, say no to the challenge previously. If Lesnar is going to address it personally now, why bother being involved in a situation that has already been addressed? The other reason is the poster for SummerSlam, which has included the face of Lesnar on it for quite some time now. If he was not going to appear at the event, which is six weeks from today, wouldn't the poster have been changed already?

Simply put, the match card in six weeks at SummerSlam will include Brock Lesnar on it. It just has to. With such uncertainty in WWE right now, something as consistent as Lesnar is exactly what is needed to make things interesting again. Lesnar is not a guy that will be around long for WWE in all likelihood, so using him for big events like SummerSlam is crucial. As WWE tries to gain momentum in the ratings during the difficult summer months, Lesnar is a good tool to use to bring in viewers.

Even though Lesnar has not competed in an MMA match since late 2011, he is still a notable name in UFC. His return to WWE after WrestleMania did make headlines with MMA fans worldwide. UFC president Dana White has been quoted about a possible Lesnar return to UFC, which has many fans wondering how serious and how long this Lesnar thing in WWE will be.

With Lesnar making the jump from WWE to MMA and back to WWE, it is yet another example of pro wrestlers moving into mixed martial arts. Former WWE stars like Batista and Bobby Lashley have made similar moves in recent years. Then again, there have been such WWE superstars as Santino Marella who have used an MMA background before debuting in WWE. Even former MMA fighters like King Mo Lawal have made headlines about their interest in joining WWE.

Let's not forget the hype built around Ken Shamrock leaving the early days of UFC to join WWE in 1997 and being billed as The World's Most Dangerous Man. Shamrock won a King of the Ring and even was the inspiration for his own match type, inspired by his training ground known as The Lion's Den.

Will Brock Lesnar bring more MMA fighters to WWE in the future? It's possible. The financial design of MMA and the money that their fighters make is a lot better than it seemed a few years ago for their fighters. MMA has really taken away the money that boxing used to rake in and the popularity is more worldwide than boxing has ever been. Could we be seeing MMA become an Olympic sport one day?

Not to be outdone, WWE has the ability that UFC wishes they did for building a brand around a guy. Brock Lesnar was a nobody outside of college wrestling circles before WWE, but was known across pop culture during his WWE departure, years before making into a UFC octagon. Outside of the few megastars of UFC, many fighters are looking to make a name for themselves beyond their fighting, especially with fighting careers becoming so precious and able to be ended quickly.

Just as Lesnar seemed to be the leader for the large number of college wrestlers coming to WWE in the 2000s, Lesnar can be the first big MMA star to come to WWE in this decade. As Lesnar makes the money that he does and WWE competition gets a more realistic edge to it, more and more fighters may flock to WWE for the chance to become the next Next Big Thing. Who knows? Maybe there will be enough real fighters that the Brawl For All tournament can return.

Okay, maybe we shouldn't be talking too crazy.