Breaking Down Each of Brock Lesnar's Matches at SummerSlam

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 28, 2014

Breaking Down Each of Brock Lesnar's Matches at SummerSlam

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Brock Lesnar has made SummerSlam the savanna where he chases down and rips apart his prey.

    Compelling destruction has been a constant each time The Beast Incarnate has wrestled at the pay-per-view. When John Cena battles him at this year's SummerSlam, he'll know what to expect—chairs stinging flesh, thunderous slams and attempts to crank his arm in the wrong direction.

    Those have been hallmarks of Lesnar's collisions with The Rock, Kurt Angle, Triple H and CM Punk.

    Whether those clashes have been part of the main event or not, they have been among the most captivating, most memorable offerings of the pay-per-view. He has an excellent shot to add excellence to his resume when he meets Cena and the fury-filled animal seeks to become champ once more. 

    The following is a look at each of Lesnar's SummerSlam showdowns including the results, the star ratings Dave Meltzer awarded them in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t The Internet Wrestling Database) and what made those bouts so stirring.

Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock (2002)

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    Result: Brock Lesnar wins via pinfall.

    Star Rating: 3.25

    Stipulation/Championship: WWE Undisputed Championship

    The main event of the greatest SummerSlam to date pitted an emerging star against WWE's biggest name. Lesnar's triumph announced his arrival to the top tier and made him the youngest WWE champ in company history. 

    With Paul Heyman at his side and fresh off crushing Hulk Hogan on SmackDown, Lesnar took on the charismatic champion in SummerSlam 2002's marquee bout.

    The bout began with a frenzied pace, The Rock and Lesnar trading rapid-fire punches. The slugfest soon morphed into a display of the challenger's power. The Beast Incarnate rammed his knees into The Rock's ribs and smashed him onto the mat.

    Not as if the powerhouse needed the help, but Heyman sneaked in a chair shot and a chokehold without the referee seeing him.

    The match produced a cathartic moment when The Rock sent Heyman crashing through the announce desk. It was not to be the hero's day, though.

    This was Lesnar's proof that he belonged atop WWE. He kept up with The Rock athletically, kipping up in step with The Great One, for example. He looked every bit the star that WWE had been telling fans he was.

    An F-5 in the center of the ring put The Rock away and ushered in Lesnar's era.

Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (2003)

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    Result: Kurt Angle wins via submission.

    Star Rating: 4.25

    Stipulation/Championship: WWE Championship

    Brock Lesnar and Angle are two of wrestling's most compelling rivals with chemistry most wrestlers can only wish to have with their opponents. SummerSlam 2003 displayed that when the two men seemingly born to face each other produced one of the most thrilling bouts in the event's history.

    This remains Lesnar's only loss at SummerSlam.

    He had a chance to win the WWE title for the second SummerSlam in a row, but his archenemy halted him with an ankle lock. En route to that outcome, Lesnar and Angle put on a stunning performance built around mat wrestling.

    So many of Lesnar's bouts have been a means for him to barrel over his opponents and show off his affinity for brute force. Against Angle, though, it was as if he was transported back to his days as NCAA wrestling champ at the University of Minnesota.

    Arm drags and takedowns contributed much of the match's early highlights. As one would expect, Lesnar forced this to evolve from amateur wrestling clinic to in-ring war.

    He overpowered the champ, hitting him with a muscle buster, clotheslines and right hands aplenty.

    Angle showed himself to be an elite strategist in response. He focused on Lesnar's left shoulder following his collision with the ring post. Angle repeatedly attacked the weak spot, managing to keep some space between him and the monster for the most part.

    Even a chair shot by Vince McMahon couldn't end Angle's reign.

    The match ended with a rare image—Lesnar tapping out. Only his battle with CM Punk a decade later outdid this in terms of Lesnar's most attention grabbing and memorable SummerSlam outings.

    Thanks to its quality and the wrestlers' superb execution, one could argue that despite being on third to last that night, Angle vs. Lesnar was the true main event.

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (2012)

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    Result: Brock Lesnar wins via submission.

    Star Rating: 3.5

    Stipulation/Championship: No Disqualification match

    Lesnar spent his years away from WWE adding to his star power. Winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship amplified his destroyer aura, thanks to him having knocked out men in non-scripted combat.

    WWE played that up, making him a human wrecking ball leading up to SummerSlam 2012's main event. He broke Shawn Michaels' arm just months after doing the same to Triple H. Even his loss to John Cena at Extreme Rules served to make him more terrifying.

    Cena celebrated that win with blood dripping from his head.

    A dogfight at SummerSlam furthered Lesnar's violent reputation. He and Triple H traded punches outside the ring and rammed each other into the announce table.

    The new weapon Lesnar brought with him from the MMA world—the Kimura lock—was the venom lying in wait inside the powerhouse's fangs.

    It threatened to put Triple H away earlier, forcing the COO to slip out of the hold just before his arm snapped. Eventually, that hold was what ended the clash. Lesnar clamped it on after their hard-fought battle and sent Triple H to the hospital with a damaged wing once more.

    Despite its biggest moments—from Lesnar hitting Triple H with a nasty low blow to him kicking out of the Pedigree—this was the least effective of these enemies' trilogy of matches and Lesnar's SummerSlam outings.  

    There wasn't as much spark here as there was against Kurt Angle or CM Punk. WWE will be hoping that Cena vs. Lesnar is more like those matches, instant classics rather than a very good match.

Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk (2013)

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    Result: Brock Lesnar wins via pinfall.

    Star Rating: 4.5

    Stipulation/Championship: No Disqualification match

    Some fans worried how realistic a man of CM Punk's size tangling with the beastly Lesnar would be. The two wrestlers crushed those worries with what WWE.com named the best match of 2013.

    Once both clients of Paul Heyman, Lesnar and Punk now squared off with their animosity boiling. 

    Punk continued his excellent run of matches in 2013, and Lesnar produced his best work since he and Kurt Angle were in the ring together.

    The Beast Incarnate hurled Punk around the ring, over the announce table and into the steel steps. Only Punk's quick feet allowed him to survive. He managed to stun the monster with blows to the head, but Lesnar kept charging at him.

    Punk's fury blinded him, and he too often turned his back to Lesnar. 

    That was the centerpiece of a well-told story in the ring. Lesnar played the teeth-gnashing animal that devoured the vengeance-minded hero. It was a role that he, not surprisingly, thrived in.

    A chair shot to Punk in mid-air, the Kimura lock and finally an F-5 that smashed Punk's face onto a chair were among the many highlights of a match that felt like the main event despite going on before John Cena and Daniel Bryan's title bout.

     

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (2014)

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    Brock Lesnar and John Cena's battle for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship promises to be another in the line of the beast's memorable contributions to SummerSlam.

    They showed off excellent chemistry in their clash at Extreme Rules 2012.

    This time, the WWE title hangs in front of Lesnar, the carrot inspiring him to fight harder, to be an even bigger destructive force. He hasn't been world champ since returning from UFC, last holding the belt in 2004.

    While it's a match fans saw coming months ago, it is one that features a rare level of star power.

    Lesnar was once the clear king of WWE. Cena has taken up that throne during Lesnar's absence. They meet once again with higher stakes than last time, both in real life and in storyline. 

    WWE has to hope that "The Champ versus The Beast" produces enough interest from casual fans to significantly increase the WWE Network's subscribers. The numbers for that service have disappointed so far, and this is the type of marquee bout to pull in reluctant spenders.

    It's uncertain if the appeal of two of pro wrestling's biggest names will accomplish that, but Lesnar's SummerSlam resume points to the certainty of this being a violent thrill ride.