It is not harsh to say Brock Lesnar’s run with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been deeply disappointing and, in general, a major missed opportunity for WWE and its fans.
It’s easy to see why WWE made the call to put the belt on Lesnar at SummerSlam. He was—and still is—a great monster heel. He was also the man who destroyed The Undertaker’s legendary streak at WrestleMania 30, practically guaranteeing WWE had to continue pushing him to the moon.
WWE undoubtedly felt Paul Heyman would be an appropriate replacement for his client on Raw and SmackDown. With Heyman around to do the talking, you surely wouldn’t need the former MMA fighter on television every single week.
Alas, three months on from Lesnar’s title victory, it’s clear the writers made an egregious error in putting the belt on him.
It would be one thing if Lesnar was making sporadic appearances on television, but he hasn't been making any at all. Save the odd recorded promo and his title defense at Night of Champions, he’s been totally absent. Even with his busy Hollywood schedule, The Rock made more appearances when he held the title in early 2013.
And Heyman is not a particularly prominent character anymore. Both he and his client—and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship—have faded from relevance.
The problem may be that Lesnar works mainly as a special attraction, and while that may work in UFC, it's something that is just not compatible with holding a top wrestling belt in 2014. Fans have been conditioned to expect to see their champions on at least a semi-regular basis.
Perhaps WWE assumed Lesnar’s name value would be enough to overcome his absence from television, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have panned out that way.
The title hasn’t been helped by its association with him at all. Indeed, you could make the argument it’s been greatly damaged by it.
WWE programming has continued to go smoothly, even without the champion or his belt. Lesnar is not a major loss. It's not like Raw feels like it's missing something huge without him.
Granted, John Cena has a title shot coming up at some point, but it’s hardly ever mentioned anymore. In fact, Cena appears more concerned with taking down The Authority these days than getting the supposedly prestigious belt back.
All this does is reinforce to fans that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship isn’t important or very relevant. It’s a prop.
The days of it being a centerpiece of the company feel like a thing of the past. Lesnar’s reign isn’t entirely to blame for this, but it has certainly been a factor.
This is too bad, because with a few more television appearances and pay-per-view main events, his run with the title really could have thrived. His could have been the reign that helped make the title a big deal again.
It's not too late, of course. Someone as talented as Lesnar always has the ability to turn things around. But if Vince McMahon was going to be able to convince him to make more appearances, he surely would have done so by now.
Perhaps the star is simply unwilling to go on the road more than is absolutely necessary. Or maybe McMahon has decided he is just not worth the extra money.
Credit to WWE: It had to try with Lesnar, and putting the belt on him at SummerSlam probably did seem like a good idea at the time. The writers must have had high hopes, but it just hasn’t worked out.
Sadly, that just might be the story of the performer's entire run since he returned in 2012.