After being hailed as “The Next Big Thing” back in 2002, Brock Lesnar was thrust back into professional wrestling relevance in April, and quickly disappeared again after being defeated by John Cena after a short feud. This left the WWE Universe wondering, what happens next and why is he back?
There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks about what the WWE intends to do creatively with Lesnar. The smart money points to a feud with current COO Triple H, though others have mentioned current WWE champion CM Punk, the Undertaker, or even another match with Cena, whom he lost to at Extreme Rules in April.
Lesnar burst onto the scene in 2002, and tore a path through the competition. In a matter of a few short months, he was the youngest WWE champion in history, which signalled huge things for his career going forward.
At the time, putting the belt around the waist of such a “green” performer was a risky move. It paid off though and his matches with the Rock, the Undertaker and Edge, among others, garnered a lot of attention, due in large part to the level of skill of his opponents.
However, what also garnered attention was Lesnar’s tendency to work in a sloppy manner. Beginning with legitimately breaking Hardcore Holly’s neck during a match and continuing with a string of overzealous F5’s, Lesnar’s matches quickly turned into the fan caring less about who walked away with a win than if Lesnar’s opponent was able to walk away at all.
I distinctly remember watching WrestleMania XIX with my friends, and waiting to see what would happen when Lesnar stepped into the ring with a performer that could match his stellar amateur background, Olympic gold-medalist Kurt Angle. This night would become the infamous shooting-star press incident.
After under-rotating a reverse somersault, Lesnar crashed down onto the mat at an angle that made every viewer think they had just witnessed a fellow human being snapping their own neck. Luckily, with his massive physique, Lesnar’s neck did not snap, and he merely sustained a concussion.
But this incident permanently put a point of view in my head about Lesnar, one of sloppiness and disregard for both his own and his opponents safety. So now, possibly past his prime as a performer, Lesnar may be unfixable. And at age 35, he probably can’t do too much to correct that.
So putting him in the ring with Triple H, albeit a 42-year old Triple H, is a huge mistake. True, the current COO of the company has a tendency to make anyone that works with him in the ring look much better, but can his skills allow him to carry Brock and the match on his back?
Currently, Lesnar’s overall MMA win-loss record stands at 5-3, hardly stellar numbers. And he was supposed to be the new face of the world of mixed martial arts. Lately, there has been talk of him being one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport, which I see as a complete slap in the face of fighters like Frank Mir, Randy Couture and Junior dos Santos. True, he does hold wins over Mir and Couture, but he oftentimes looked completely lost during those fights, and most of his fights overall.
Also, Lesnar's outward attitude of “I’m better than anyone and can do anything I damn well please,” has gotten him in trouble throughout the years in both professional wrestling and the world of MMA.
The only problem is, in MMA, his opponent could legitimately hit him. And after being pummeled by both Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem, Lesnar decided to call it a career back in December.
But it’s not Lesnar’s credibility as a “real” fighter that I call into question here. It’s his legitimacy as a true draw at this point.
Yes, we were all shocked when he returned to RAW in April, doing exactly what we have come to expect from him: completely destroying what was in his path, in this case, Cena. But how long can the company hope to keep that up?
They bring out the Undertaker once or twice a year as a shocking draw, and that always goes over well. The Undertaker has also been an enormous part of the WWE landscape for over 20 years.
Lesnar is a one-trick pony (the F5) that didn’t deserve a second shot to begin with. His attitude and lack of skill make him a huge liability to both the company’s financial picture and to anyone that steps in the ring with him.
However, Vince McMahon has long been a huge fan of monster heels, and they don’t come much bigger than Lesnar. It is expected that something big will happen with regards to Lesnar on tonight’s 1,000th episode of RAW.
Either way, whether Brock Lesnar becomes a big part of the WWE’s plans going forward or they choose to let him return once in awhile for a quick storyline, it should be an interesting ride.
We’ll all just need to buckle our seat belts and tune in to RAW’s 1000th episode tonight to find out what happens.