In 2002, a 24-year-old former NCAA Champion wrestler named Brock Lesnar was called up to WWE's main roster after 18 months in the developmental system. He was instantly fast-tracked for superstardom, debuting the night after WrestleMania and winning the WWE Championship from The Rock at that year's SummerSlam.
Lesnar is nothing if not an all-around athlete. He's a super heavyweight who moves like a man half his weight, he has a huge vertical leap, and he's absurdly strong. Being a great amateur wrestler made him about as good at throwing other men as a human being could be.
When he was in developmental, fans would hear tales of him suplexing other wrestlers so hard they'd do one-and-a-half revolutions in the air because he wasn't used to throwing people who were cooperating with him.
As time went on, it became clear that with Lesnar's unprecedented level of functional strength, one of his best potential opponents would be Big Show, who had never really been thrown around by anyone in WWE.
And throw around Big Show he did.
Nobody had ever seen anything like it, and it's arguably the most memorable feud of Big Show's career. While it was eventually re-done by Show with Mark Henry, the match where they broke the ring with a superplex is one of the most iconic moments of post-"Attitude Era" WWE.
That takes us to last night on Raw.
For the second week in a row, Lesnar had just made quick work of Mark Henry, this time breaking his arm in the process. If Lesnar could do that to the world's strongest man and the proprietor of the Hall of Pain, who could stop him? Enter Big Show, who calmly walked out and proceeded to throw Lesnar across the length of the ring.
I'll be honest: Of the two big babyface monsters in WWE, I'd rather see Mark Henry as a Lesnar opponent right now.
Big Show is really flat after the way his main event run with The Authority ended and he was suddenly being used as a comedy character in those "world's largest New Year's baby" promos. Henry just came back, is fresher, and has historically made more of a difference in pay-per-view buys and ratings when put in a key role.
Still, the general idea is sound. Lesnar is being built up as an unstoppable monster for WrestleMania, presumably as The Undertaker's opponent. What better way to do that than have him run through "the world's largest athlete" at the Royal Rumble?
While it's probably unwise for Big Show to pinball for Lesnar the way he did in their 2002-2003 feud, Lesnar can still run through him in his own inimitable fashion.
Big Show can benefit, too: Lesnar's matches have generally been memorable since his return, in quality and thanks to his infrequent appearances. A great match with a huge part-time star on the second-biggest show of the year will do a lot to bring Big Show's stock back up and undo whatever damage was done to him in the last few months.
It's been a while since WWE has had this kind of compelling super-heavyweight match, and I'm looking forward to it. What does everyone else think? Would you rather see Lesnar vs. Henry? Can Big Show rehabilitated an a competitive losing effort? Let us know in the comments.