Is Brock Lesnar Destined to Be Face of SmackDown Live on Fox for Rest of 2019?

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2019


Brock Lesnar showing up on SmackDown was the most predictable development of WWE's 2019 so far. His throwing down a challenge for Kofi Kingston's title was a close second. 

He was always bound to be the face of SmackDown Live, after all. 

And credit WWE—it was at least interesting. The sheer execution of the inevitable Lesnar appearance was entertaining. Kingston and The New Day were in the ring celebrating and it looked like the blue brand was on its way to a backstage segment or commercial break. 

Instead, Lesnar's music hit and out he strolled alongside advocate Paul Heyman. Everybody in the building and watching from afar knew why The Beast Incarnate had just strolled through the curtain.

However, the pop from the crowd was enormous simply because of the timing. That Big E seemed hyped for a fight and Kingston called off his friends so he could face Lesnar alone made everything all the better. 

Now the key is keeping it this interesting as things progress. 

SmackDown's transition to Fox was always going to feature Lesnar as the centerpiece. Fox didn't do a deal with WWE for mind-boggling numbers just to turn around and not have access to one of the biggest, most incredible athletes of our time with UFC and otherwise crossover appeal. 

No, The Beast was always going to be the headline act. Roman Reigns is a top dog in the company but doesn't inhabit the same universe as Lesnar in terms of drawing power. Kingston is fun, but he isn't Lesnar. Nobody is. 

And this match doesn't mean the New Day man's title reign has to end. Sounds daft, but it isn't beyond WWE to pull a silly finish out of their hats at the most unpredictable of times. Kingston winning in a nefarious manner, via an opportunistic pin or help from others, isn't totally out of the realm of possibility. Maybe somebody with a bone to pick with Lesnar comes out. Who knows? 

In time, yes, The Beast is likely taking the strap, if not on that first night. 

Be honest: How else did fans want Kingston's enjoyable, bordering-on-historic title run to end? By dropping the title to Randy Orton? Reigns? Using it to put over the next guy doesn't really work either because one could argue it just makes him look a bit weak. 

Lesnar taking the belt makes sense—and it doesn't have to end there. Like so many other faces who are "ehh" on the mic, Kofi is better in chase mode. A loss doesn't mean the end of the feud. 

Think of something else here too—even if Kofi loses, a feud with Lesnar on the Fox opener in front of more eyeballs than usual builds him into an even bigger star with more name recognition. It's the sort of match that helps everyone in the long term. WWE could have shoehorned in a Lesnar-Reigns match for maximum drawing power and instead it is Kingston getting the rub and long-term benefits. 

So yes, Lesnar is the star of the show. Easy to see coming and easier to accept given the circumstances. But he's already being used in such a way that everyone should win. 

One can even take a hopeful stance and point out that the new Fox deal might mean more Lesnar than in the past to quell the "part-timer" complaints. Having a top title off television on a routine basis stinks, but that criticism of Lesnar has overshadowed some downright classic matches he's put on lately with guys such as Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor and AJ Styles. Kingston is merely the next. 

In part, the fact The Beast has to serve as the face of the new show is indicative of WWE's bigger problem when it comes to building Superstars in a modern environment. But at the same time, there probably isn't a way to organically build someone bigger than Lesnar given who he is and what he's done. 

Provided WWE uses Lesnar smartly as opposed to a cheap ratings pop, which is what they're doing already via the challenge to Kingston, his serving as the face of the blue brand on Fox can only register as a good thing. Inevitable, yes, but it doesn't have to be stale or alienate fans by doing the same old thing.