Brock Lesnar hasn't been seen in a WWE ring since the night after he submitted Triple H at SummerSlam. Lesnar announced that he had once again quit the WWE since he had accomplished everything possible, but I believe The Next Big Thing's leave of absence is about to come to a close.
Lesnar's year-long contract limits the number of dates that he has to work, but the WWE is about to embark on a very important part of the calendar. Over the next several months, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania will all take place, and each of them would be considered part of WWE's "Big Four" events along with SummerSlam.
The WWE isn't paying Lesnar big money to sit on the sidelines during its most important shows of the year, so I believe all signs are pointing toward Lesnar returning at Hell in a Cell on Sunday. With CM Punk set to defend his WWE Championship against Ryback, it would be the perfect opportunity for Lesnar to come back and join forces with Punk.
It would make sense for a few reasons, the biggest of which is obviously the fact that Paul Heyman is now Punk's business associate, just as he has been for Lesnar. Also, while Ryback is most often compared to Goldberg, parallels can be drawn between him and Lesnar as well, so perhaps the two of them can begin an intriguing feud.
Every experienced fan knew that Lesnar's resignation from the WWE was nothing more than a work, so it has been a matter of when rather than if Lesnar will return.
I wouldn't say that there is an immediate need for Lesnar, but having him interfere on Punk's behalf at Hell in a Cell makes a ton of sense, so I have to believe that is the direction the WWE is going in.
Since iNDEMAND pay-per-view service is already advertising a classic five-on-five match for Survivor Series, it seems likely that the main event will feature two star-laden teams against each other.
I have thought long and hard about who might be involved and have come to the conclusion that a Heyman-led team of Punk, Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show and perhaps Alberto Del Rio will face a Vince McMahon-led team of John Cena, Ryback, Sheamus, Triple H and maybe Randy Orton.
There obviously aren't any guarantees that we'll see such a match, but everything needed to start a stable with Heyman and Punk at the top is in place, so it would be silly if the WWE didn't use that to its advantage. Wrestling is always better when there is a dominant stable to be reckoned with, and a potential "Heyman Guys" stable would run roughshod over the company.
When will Brock Lesnar make his return to a WWE ring?
Lesnar may not be the focal point of the WWE when he returns since so much emphasis is being placed on Punk, but he can play a very important role. No matter whom he ends up facing at WrestleMania, it's going to be a huge match. I could see him going up against a fellow veteran in The Rock or The Undertaker or perhaps even against a rising star such as Ryback.
Before that happens, though, he will have to be reintegrated into the WWE story lines, and bringing him back at Hell in a Cell would give the creative team ample time to set him up for a big feud.
Lesnar may have said that he had nothing left to prove in the WWE, but he has never beaten Taker at WrestleMania. He also has never gone toe-to-toe with a physical specimen like Ryback, so there is plenty left for him to achieve.
The WWE has done a nice job with managing Lesnar's dates to this point, so he should be able to appear fairly regularly between Hell in a Cell and WrestleMania. There wasn't much reason to have him wrestle at Night of Champions or appear on any of the RAWs since SummerSlam, but it has come to the point where he's going to be needed much more often.
While I and essentially every other fan wish that Lesnar would simply act as a regular part of the roster, there is no incentive for him to do so based on the favorable contract under which he is operating.
Lesnar understands that he will be a valuable asset moving forward, though, and that will become quite apparent on Sunday.