Why We (and WWE) Need More Brock Lesnar in 2020

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2019


WWE—and fans—can't really afford another extended Brock Lesnar absence. 

But it seems like that is where things are headed. 

Lesnar hasn't been in an overly prominent spot for a while now, and over the last few weeks, for those who haven't noticed, WWE has worked hard once again to prop up the United States title. 

As is tradition. 

Tradition, meaning the annual Lesnar hiatus when he takes a broadcast's top belt and dips out, leaving the rest of his brand to fend for itself. He makes it back when the big pay-per-views like Royal Rumble start happening as a new year starts bleeding into WrestleMania. 

But these periods of time without Lesnar, and perhaps, more importantly, a top title, generally come off as going through the motions. 

WWE can't afford that, right? 

Raw hasn't been bad, but it also has benefited lately from the shake-up that was NXT invading as part of the Survivor Series angle. That's gone now. There isn't supposed to be more cross-brand matchups or appearances after SmackDown moved to Fox. Raw is on its own. 

Don't misconstrue this. Rey Mysterio as United States champ is fun. He's been one of the year's biggest surprises through his sheer amazing performances. Even better—he deserves to have a fun run in a prominent spot. 

But one can't help but feel it's all for naught. The U.S. title open challenges with John Cena a few years back and otherwise have done plenty to revitalize the title and make it feel more important. But it immediately goes right back on the backburner and seems to devalue once the top title waltzes back onto the scene with Lesnar. 

Besides sheer title talk, WWE television needs Lesnar. The company remains in a ratings war with All Elite Wrestling, and the battle for fan interest is ongoing. If there's one thing AEW doesn't have, it's a talent like Lesnar. 

Everything Lesnar has touched in recent years, barring one notable match against the man formerly known as Dean Ambrose, has been solid gold. He's gotten incredible matches out of "smaller" guys like Finn Balor and Daniel Bryan. He's had unforgettable slugfests with Samoa Joe. He's even made a short feud with a limited work rate Goldberg incredible. 

So it's unfortunate, then, that WWE can't find a way to keep him around more often, especially in the doldrums of this time of year. He'll be back and generate interest when he returns, but it doesn't feel like WWE can afford to have these lulls in the year-round schedule anymore. 

And while Lesnar's gone, can fans trust WWE to build up his next contender? Who is it? Why? Can WWE make Raw interesting by having a tournament or something to declare the No. 1 contender? Or is it just going to be thrown at a part-timer or someone like Cain Velasquez?

This doesn't even have to mean Lesnar has consistent matches. But appearances wouldn't hurt. As great as Paul Heyman is on the mic—and he's a living legend in more ways than one—having him trot out there in Lesnar's place year after year continues to grow tired. 

One of the obvious counterpoints here is SmackDown's Universal titleholder doesn't appear in weekly matches either. But Bray Wyatt's The Fiend is a different sort of animal and has Firefly Funhouse going for him. He also hasn't repeatedly left WWE at the same point for a number of consecutive years. 

Maybe WWE shocks and Lesnar makes a few more appearances as the year closes, but all signs seem to point to another hiatus where Raw loses its biggest draw. One could argue this is a good chance for others to step up to take the spotlight, but fans should know by now that isn't usually how this works out. 

WWE needs Lesnar more often because fans need him more often. If this is another extended absence, everybody loses.