UFC Champion Brock Lesnar has been the subject of wild speculation
since crushing Randy Couture for the title. Is he a professional wrestling character, marketed as a larger than life bad ass who likes to hurt people, or is he the real deal, just a surly ornery farm boy who should legitimately frighten his opponents?
Paul Heyman has a unique perspective. Heyman, who was named one of the top 100 marketers by AdAge magazine, was known as "The Mad Scientist," based on his ability to build unique and identifiable characters in professional wrestling.
One of those people he worked with, both as a writer/producer and as
a performer, was Brock Lesnar. Coining Lesnar "The Next Big Thing," Heyman developed a relationship with the reclusive former NCAA Champion that has lasted to this day. Here's a taste of Heyman's hype.
I'm not kidding. In January, 2003, WWE Smackdown ran an event at the world famous Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. The main event was Brock Lesnar against The Big Show, with Brock's former "agent" (that would be me) in the Big Show's corner. Brock's coup de grace was to pick up his opponent, place said human being squarely on Brock's shoulders, and then spin them in mid-air as both performers went crashing to the canvas. Now while pro wrestling is based on the cooperation between the two men in the ring with each other, performing this move on the 500 pound "Big Show" was no small task.
However, for Brock Lesnar, just performing that awe-inspiring move wasn't enough. Brock started figuring ways to toss the 7 foot tall Big Show across the ring. You know, like a dwarf tossing contest. Except Brock was flinging a 7 foot tall, legit-500 pound giant. Just to amuse himself, Brock started flinging The Big Show not just for distance, but for accuracy.
The routine we did in every city was for Brock to defeat the Big Show with this move, which was called the F-5. Brock would then get his revenge on his dastardly agent (you see where this is going ,don't you?), and the evil agent "Heyman" would suffer the fate of the F-5 as well.
Brock used to hook me under the armpits, get this sinister grin on his face, throw me up into the air, and then catch me on his shoulders. Keep in mind, I'm no featherweight (again, I remind you, please reserve your comments). After milking the crowd's desire to see Heyman take the F-5, Brock would spin me around and we'd go crashing to the mat.
On this particular night, however, something went wrong. Either Brock's hand slipped an inch upward, or I was holding onto his shoulder too tightly, or just the manner in which we went towards the canvas was off by an inch, but instead of landing flat, I went head over heels down like a ferris wheel, and smashed into the canvas like a javelin. There was no doubt about it, I was hurt.
Brock, Big Show, and I were all making very good money at the time, and I didn't want to take any time off. so I kept the severity of the situation hidden from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. When it finally came time to get an MRI, we discovered I had bulging discs in my neck and a herniated C-7.
Here's the funny part. I still love Brock Lesnar. He's the 800 pound gorilla who likes to play with you as he eats a banana. You just can't be surprised when his inhuman strength is way too much for a mere normal human being (like you or me) to keep up with, or even to play with safely.
Brock Lesnar, even when he's in a scripted situation with a person he considers his friend,
is a very dangerous man.
This weekend, Frank Mir is in an unscripted situation with a person who considers him the enemy, and that person is a merciless 265 pound champion athlete who lives for the thrill of the kill. Brock Lesnar is looking at Frank Mir the same way he views a nine point buck through the scope of his rifle.