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After the Attitude Era ended, WWE seemed to be in a rut. The ratings were falling, their competition was gone, and they weren’t creating stars like they used to.
The night after WrestleMania 18 though, a star was born.
Just one year later, Brock Lesnar was in the main event of WrestleMania, and one year later he wrestled his last match on a full-time basis.
It was an incredibly fast rise to the top, a trip that very few have ever taken. It was too much for him though, he grew sick of the travel and quit.
It was a huge blow to the company, as they'd invested so much time and money on him.
Lesnar then tried out for the Minnesota Vikings, before beginning a successful UFC career. Had his interest in wrestling not waned, it would have had wide reaching consequences on the rest of the roster.
First and foremost, John Cena wouldn’t have reached the top so quickly.
After Brock left, SmackDown was lousy.
The roster was depleted. WWE scrambled and out of nowhere, JBL was suddenly pushed to the top. Other, stranger wrestlers were introduced to fill out the roster. Guys like Kenzo Suzuki, Rene Dupree and John Heidenreich were given their shot, but weren’t in Lesnar’s league.
You can imagine that Lesnar would have been the face of Smackdown from the 2004-2007 era (unless he was traded to Raw). WWE still would have struggled to create stars though, and he would have faced the same roster of veterans (like HBK and Triple H) that Cena did.
While Lesnar is legitimately tough, he doesn’t appeal to kids in the way that Cena does. Because of this, Cena still would have become a top star. WWE probably would have kept the two on separate brands, and it would be more likely that guys like Batista and Bobby Lashley would never reached the top instead of Cena.
In the end, Cena’s rise to the top was inevitable.
The two have completely different fanbases, but with the PG era in full force, Cena would have won out in the end as the face of WWE.
It’s not hard to imagine that the two would have faced off at multiple WrestleManias though by now. It's another case where things worked out well for Lesnar and Cena, but it was the fans who were deprived of missing out on the peak years of Lesnar's talent.
How do you think things would have played out? What are your favorite "what ifs?" from wrestling?