Why the Dream Brock Lesnar Opponent at WrestleMania is Not Bobby Lashley

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2022

Brock Lesnar holds up the championship belt after winning the 2022 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Elimination Chamber at the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on February 19, 2022. (Photo by Amer HILABI / AFP) (Photo by AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images)
AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images

It's easy to think Brock Lesnar's role in WrestleMania 39 next year is one of the most obvious parts of the event.

He's facing Bobby Lashley in a dream match, right?

Not so fast, friends. Another Lashley-Lesnar matchup would be a blast. But it would be another bout between the two former MMA fighters and pro wrestling heavyweights. A fun one, but a rehash and something that pales in comparison to another probable idea.

Lesnar vs. Gunther.

That alone should earn a raise of the eyebrow, at the very least. Using Lesnar as a way to prop up one of the best up-and-coming pro wrestlers in the sport at Mania is something it feels like the new Triple H-led creative would do. As opposed to shoving him into a "spectacle" match against a veteran like Lashley, at least.

And what a fast riser Gunther is in the new WWE. He's been a juggernaut of a force since the NXT days and already has the Intercontinental strap around his waist.

But Gunther hasn't had a marquee feud, instead sparring in the tag ranks or taking on mid-card solo challengers like Sheamus and Shinsuke Nakamura.

That changes in a hurry if he steps into the squared circle with Lesnar. Gunther, slightly taller than Lesnar and plenty intimidating himself, would have a chance to put on a thriller of a match that is straight-up fun as two big workhorses take part in some violence. It wouldn't be totally unlike another Lesnar vs. Lashley, except it's putting over a potential main-event star for the next decade-plus.

This is the sort of usage Lesnar should see at this point, too. He's out of the unified title scene with Roman Reigns for several reasons and doesn't have much else to do. WWE doesn't need the spectacle factor anymore. He brings non-wrestling viewers, but the company has that boost with the likes of Bad Bunny and Logan Paul.

What might need the boost is something else on the way to Mania, like Royal Rumble. That's the perfect spot to get Lesnar back in the mix with an appearance on a Raw to lay the groundwork. Lashley benefits by getting a huge spotlight match there too, then perhaps he can find a new long-term feud or find a way to compete for another mid-card title in the aftermath.

It's hard not to love this sort of idea given Lesnar's track record for putting other superstars over. He's arguably one of the best sellers of all time. Remember how good AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor and others have looked when he's not necessarily just being used as a spotlight item in the title scene?

Why not give Gunther the same thing? Keep the intercontinental title on him, too, which would only further cement the mid-card titles as prestigious things all superstars should want to pursue again. That has been a big goal of this new WWE too, so Lesnar helps accomplish two things that leave the company a much better place upon his exit.

And sure, we could find other opponents for Lesnar. It would be fun to see Austin Theory seek him out for a bit of long-term revenge. One could run down a big list of veterans or otherwise it would be fun to see him spar with.

But Gunther is just this similar, heavyweight bout fighter with international appeal who needs his first big feud while he's blatantly on his way to contending in the main-event scene once it opens up.

This matchup is also a big win for the Mania card itself. WWE needs to fill the two nights with must-see material and there's no bigger contender for one of its mid-card titles. As a middle-Mania match (or even opener, knowing Lesnar), everything from the entrances to the fight and aftermath would be a Mania-styled spectacle befitting of the card. If booked and executed properly, it might just steal the show outright.

Another fun thing about the long-term? While Reigns looks like he could be on the way to being the next Lesnar, a final-boss type who shows up every now and then, Gunther could be the full-time version of that.

After all, one of the biggest things about Gunther is the aura around him. Nothing would enhance it more than a win over Lesnar after an unforgettable sleeper, but no-brainer Mania feud.