At the 2014 Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar and Big Show will collide once more, revisiting a rivalry that benefited both behemoths.
Their matches have been like watching two rhinos smashing into each other, each leaving marks on the other after the fight. No man has brought out the best in Big Show more than Lesnar. "The Beast" matching aggression and power with "The World's Largest Athlete" has produced great sparks before, so it's not surprising to see WWE look to tell this story once again.
On the Dec. 6 edition of Raw, the two foes' paths intersected again.
Lesnar had just snapped Mark Henry's arm with the Kimura lock. He sauntered out of the ring, seemingly proud of his destruction.
Big Show soon emerged.
Their brief brawl has now led to a match at the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view. It will be the latest installment in a rivalry that began over a decade ago.
In 2002, Lesnar crashed onto the WWE scene with Paul Heyman at his side.
By the time he met Big Show late that year, Lesnar had torn through his opposition. He knocked out Jeff Hardy, dominated Hulk Hogan, dethroned The Rock and outlasted The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match. Heyman's powerful client looked to be unstoppable.
It was then a giant's turn to try and stop the freight train that was Lesnar.
They met for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series 2002 in a short, intense match. It took a combination of Big Show's size, steel chair shots and Heyman's betrayal to conquer Lesnar.
The match served as a preview for intensity between Lesnar and Big Show to come. It was a rarity that an opponent could slug it out with Big Show so effectively. This was a matchup that felt like Godzilla and Megalon going to battle in Tokyo's outskirts.
After Survivor Series, Big Show had the WWE title and Heyman as a manager, but he also had a beast in pursuit of him. Heyman made sure that Big Show didn't have to face Lesnar in a rematch, but that didn't prevent him from making sure that Big Show's reign was a short one.
The Addition of Angle
At the Armageddon 2002 pay-per-view, Kurt Angle defeated Big Show after Lesnar hit the big man with a F-5 during the bout.
Angle revealed that Heyman was now his manager, creating a triad of hatred centered around the weaselly manager and the WWE Championship. Angle and Lesnar would go on to have a storied rivalry, and Big Show often forced himself into the fray throughout it.
He did so as both an ally to Lesnar and as a rival.
At the 2003 Survivor Series, Big Show joined Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones and A-Train as members of Team Lesnar. They failed to beat a team captained by Angle.
Just a few months before that, Angle, Lesnar and Show clashed over the WWE title at Vengeance 2003.
Their No Disqualification match left the ring smeared with blood. Big Show was dominant early, but a trip through the announce table derailed his championship hopes. Angle left both Lesnar and Big Show reeling as he captured his fourth WWE title.
Angle's greatness certainly helped elevate that bout, but Lesnar and Big Show's chemistry was a big part of why it was so well-received. WWE had tapped into that chemistry, their hard-hitting collisions, several times over.
In order to earn his spot in the 2003 Royal Rumble, Lesnar first had to defeat Big Show.
Watching this men fling each other around was enthralling. Very few men could toss Lesnar over the ropes with such ease, and the sight of Big Show being on the receiving end of an overhead belly-to-belly suplex just didn't seem real.
Lesnar managed to lift Big Show onto his shoulders and hit the F-5 for the win. A victory in the Rumble match itself followed.
The two most memorable times these powerhouses met involved a forklift and a wrestling ring left in ruins.
The WWE Championship was once again on the line when Big Show and Lesnar clashed at Judgment Day 2003 in a stretcher match.
Lesnar swung the stretcher at the big man as if he was hitting fastballs during batting practice. So opened a match that captured the audience's attention with power moves, stiff strikes and mercilessness on both men's parts.
Choking Big Show with a microphone cord and sending him crashing into a gurney wasn't enough to keep him down. Lesnar had to turn to a forklift, creating one of the most memorable moments in WWE history.
He drove the industrial vehicle up to the ring and after pounding Big Show senseless, dragged him up the entrance ramp, his body hanging limp on the forks of the truck.
The enemies topped themselves in terms of lasting images when they met on SmackDown on June 12, 2003. Lesnar and Big Show were having their usual hard-hitting match when The Beast tried to put away the giant with a superplex.
The ring imploded from the impact. The referee tumbled to the mat. The fans howled in excitement.
In Lesnar's first WWE run, the collapsed ring and Big Show lying on a forklift stand out as two of his most memorable highlights. Angle, Undertaker and Zach Gowen had huge parts to play in building his resume, but that stretch wouldn't have had the same impact had Lesnar not been asked to battle Big Show and create these memories.
As they prepare to lock horns again, 11 years after the peak of their rivalry, can Big Show and Lesnar create something equally as enduring?
WWE knows that there is a special electricity when these two men battle. Their previous bouts will be hard to top in terms of both shock value and violence. There will be no blood this time around. Big Show is now 41 and has been slowed by the hard toll of wrestling for so long.
Still, as their feud continues after a long hiatus, there will be plenty of reasons to keep one's eyes on the screen, waiting to see what one beast does to the other.
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