2014 has been an incredible year for Brock Lesnar.
After trouncing the Big Show at the Royal Rumble, the former UFC champion marched on to WrestleMania XXX where he scored perhaps the biggest victory in pro wrestling history. Doing what no man before him had been capable of, Lesnar ended the Undertaker’s Streak at the Showcase of the Immortals.
From there, it was clear that the only thing left for the Beast Incarnate was a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But few could have foreseen the overwhelming dominance that the challenger displayed as he decimated John Cena in what was arguably the most one-sided title bout of all time.
Those two victories were enough to place Lesnar at the very pinnacle of the entire industry. In just a few months, he achieved more than many will achieve in an entire career.
But despite this dominance, could Lesnar’s year be over already?
He’s wrestled at a mere four pay-per-views, and by my watch has appeared on less than a dozen showings of Monday Night Raw, but it looks like that could be Lesnar’s lot for 2014. As reported by Raj Giri of WrestlingInc:
Brock Lesnar is not currently advertised for any pay-per-views or RAWs through the end of the year. It should be noted that Lesnar's other appearances this year were advertised months in advance. Lesnar has worked four pay-per-views so far this year, which is the most PPVs he's worked in a calendar year since he returned to the company in 2012. With no real program for him and his hefty price tag, it remains to be seen if Lesnar will defend the title before The Royal Rumble in January.
Given Lesnar’s recent capture of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, this news is perhaps a little disappointing. Sure, 2014 has already been his busiest year in terms of PPVs since his 2012 return, but after details surfaced of his new arrangement with WWE, many—myself included—thought we may be seeing Lesnar slightly more often than we’ve been accustomed to.
The deal in question stated that WWE can use him as often as they like as long as they’re willing to pay his “steep per-date appearance rate.”
It would have been naive to assume this meant a full-time return for the part-time star, but surely a few more episodes of Raw and at least another PPV—Survivor Series perhaps—would have been a reasonable schedule to expect from Brock?
Apparently not, according to this news—and also the fact that the WWE are clearly trying to divert our attention away from Cena/Lesnar and towards Cena/Rollins.
This was always going to be the risk of putting the title on Lesnar. But I can’t help but feel that the issue of his absence could have been easily solved by simply producing an angle to explain his most recent disappearance. As it stands, we’re left looking back at an inconclusive title bout with no indication as to where the champion goes from here.
Even in the realm of professional wrestling, that seems to push the boundaries of believability a little too far for my liking.
But regardless of how the WWE handles this, news of the company’s continued hesitance in their use of Lesnar raises further questions over their financial health. The news story itself refers to his “hefty price tag,” and given the new arrangement whereby Lesnar can be featured as often as the WWE wants, does this mean that it’s a matter of the company being unable to afford Lesnar rather than unwilling to incorporate him?
At present such theories remain mere speculation, but it’s certainly interesting that the WWE would allegedly renegotiate those terms, only to opt not to take advantage of them.
Either way, this is certainly an interesting situation to keep an eye on. Three successive PPVs without a WWE title match could be seriously detrimental to the overall product—especially if the matter is not mentioned at all.
But with unique gimmicks set to be featured at each of those PPVs in question, perhaps the WWE can get away with their sparing use of Lesnar. For me though, there definitely should be some kind of explanation as to why he has simply disappeared. Something as simple as announcing a no. 1 contendership program to preoccupy us in the meantime would more than suffice in my eyes.
But what do you guys make of this one? Do you really think that Lesnar has made his final appearance of 2014? And furthermore can the WWE cope if that turns out to be the case?
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this one, as well as any of the other issues that were covered in the article itself.