Power Ranking Every Brock Lesnar WWE Match from 2019
As great as it would be for fans to see him in action more often, there is something to be said for how his infrequent appearances make him more special than much of the active roster. Not every bout of his is a barn-burner, but each of them has a big-fight feel that few others do.
That was again the case in 2019, when he wrestled just seven times in total. All but one of those matchups took place on pay-per-view, with the sole exception being in an October episode of SmackDown (his first outing on WWE TV since 2004).
Some were straight-up squashes, but others were actually excellent pieces of business. It depended on the story being told, what was being accomplished and the circumstances surrounding the contest.
Despite being the reigning WWE champion, Lesnar isn't expected back on Raw until Royal Rumble season at the earliest. That means the following seven battles will be how remember The Beast Incarnate in 2019.
With the year coming to a close, let's look at every match Lesnar has competed in over the past 12 months and rank them from worst to best in terms of their effectiveness, excitement level and memorability.
While he did technically take part in the men's Money in the Bank ladder match in May, that will not be included here as he wasn't officially involved until the very end of the contest.
7. Kofi Kingston: SmackDown, October 4
Kofi Kingston's reign as WWE champion has to be considered one of the best feel-good stories of 2019 for everything it entailed as well as how it came together and proceeded to play out.
For six straight months, the fun-loving New Day member took on all comers to his title and set back challenges from a variety of high-level competitors, including Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens, among others.
Of course, when Lesnar emerged as his latest contender on the September 17 edition of SmackDown, almost everyone assumed his days as champion were numbered. Only a handful of Superstars can say they've beaten The Beast, and unless Kingston could somehow pull off a miracle, he wasn't about to be added to that list.
If anything, it was a more a matter of how long he'd last. After all, their WWE Championship clash on SmackDown's debut show on Fox marked Lesnar's first outing on WWE TV in 15 years, so fans had high hopes for something special.
Sadly, it was over as soon as it started.
Within moments of the bell ringing, Lesnar reversed Kingston's Trouble in Paradise attempt into a thunderous F5. He then covered him for the three-count and left everyone in attendance in awe.
Once again, The Beast was WWE champion. The outcome wasn't the issue as much as how the match (or lack thereof) was booked to be a total squash, not doing Kingston any favors in the slightest.
Kingston has since gone on to reclaim the SmackDown Tag Team Championship alongside Big E, but he deserved better after everything he did to make the title mean something.
6. Seth Rollins: Extreme Rules, July 14
It was widely assumed Lesnar would be stepping away from the squared circle for an extended period following the loss of the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35, but those assumptions were way off.
In fact, he was gone from WWE TV for just one month before he made an unannounced return at Money in the Bank and captured the briefcase to end the evening.
Fans were divided on whether Lesnar as Mr. Money in the Bank was the best thing that could have happened or a complete waste of the contract. Either way, he got people talking and no one knew for sure when he'd cash it in for a shot at either the Universal or WWE Championship.
For weeks, Lesnar teased targeting Seth Rollins and taking his title from him when he least expected it. Paul Heyman went so far as to say The Beast would be cashing in at Extreme Rules days earlier on Raw, and he wasn't lying.
Rollins was fresh off a hard-fought victory in mixed tag team action alongside Becky Lynch against Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans. It was an opportune moment for Lesnar to pounce on the wounded titleholder.
As soon as Lesnar's entrance music hit the arena, Rollins' facial expression immediately went from that of elation to dismay. He was prepared to fight until the end if it meant holding on to his coveted title, yet it took less than 20 seconds for Lesnar to down The Beastslayer.
It was more of an angle than an actual match, yet obviously less egregious than the Kofi Kingston catastrophe three months later. At least this served to set up the rematch at SummerSlam in August.
5. Cain Velasquez: Crown Jewel, October 31
Never before has a feud from the UFC carried over to WWE, at least until Cain Velasquez shockingly debuted in WWE at SmackDown's Fox premiere on October 4.
This came after it had been heavily rumored WWE was in hot pursuit of the former UFC heavyweight champion, but no one expected him to be brought in so soon.
However, the company needed a major angle for the first SmackDown show on Fox, leading to him confronting newly crowned WWE champion Lesnar at the end of the episode.
Velasquez previously vanquished Lesnar in dominant fashion at UFC 121 nine years earlier. A rematch never came to pass in the Octagon, but WWE now had the opportunity to finally book that bout in its own world with another important piece of gold on the line: the WWE Championship.
Instead of waiting until WrestleMania 36 to have them rekindle their rivalry, WWE opted to rush into it at Crown Jewel on Halloween. It didn't help that they did nothing to make viewers care about Velasquez or their match in the weeks preceding the pay-per-view.
What should have been a knock-down, drag-out fight wound up being a disappointment. The pair exchanged blows for a few minutes, but once Lesnar had the Kimura locked in on his longtime foe, it was all over.
Granted, Velasquez's knee was legitimately injured going into the match, but that was no excuse for him losing as decisively as he did. We haven't heard from him since, so it's unknown what his future holds in WWE and whether the company plans to revisit this rivalry down the road.
4. Seth Rollins: WrestleMania 35, April 7
Perhaps the best part of the program between Lesnar and Seth Rollins going into WrestleMania 35 was how they played off their history from four years earlier.
The Architect had cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase in the main event of WrestleMania 31 and ended Lesnar's reign as WWE world heavyweight champion without actually pinning him.
Their story came full circle with Rollins winning the 2019 Royal Rumble match and choosing to face Lesnar, the universal champion at the time, at WrestleMania 35. Fans rooted for The Architect to be the one to finally dethrone The Beast, but it was unknown if WWE would give the green light to the title change.
Matters were made even more interesting once it was revealed they'd be opening The Show of Shows. It would not have been a stretch for Lesnar to retain his title in that case, but WWE went in a completely different direction instead.
The Beast reportedly demanded his title defense opened the event, and after throwing him around the ring for a few minutes, the crowd was worried he'd beat Rollins once the bell rang. Thankfully, the challenger rallied and had a counter ready for everything in Lesnar's arsenal.
Multiple low blows and Curb Stomps later, Rollins was the new universal champion. It was an unbelievable moment that sent the audience into a frenzy and opened WrestleMania on one of its highest notes ever.
Rollins' popularity peaked at that point, but no one can take that quick win over Lesnar away from him.
3. Rey Mysterio: Survivor Series 2019, November 24
On paper, Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio sounds like a match straight out of SmackDown in 2003, but they ended up working better together in the present day than anyone could have expected.
The Beast originally targeted Mysterio on Raw's season premiere and cost him his shot at the Universal Championship following a vicious assault. Worse yet, he laid waste to his son, Dominick, by battering him all around ringside.
Mysterio sought revenge, and after Lesnar defeated Cain Velasquez with relative ease at Crown Jewel, he stepped in to get a piece of The Beast. He forced him to flee from the ring by wielding a chair, thus setting the stage for a WWE Championship clash at Survivor Series.
The Master of the 619 has suffered so many injuries over the course of his career that it was difficult to imagine a scenario in which he could beat Lesnar, which is why the addition of the No Holds Barred stipulation. That allowed him to even the playing field and invite outside interference if need be.
Sure enough, Dominick came to his father's aid halfway through the match and saved him from a brutal beatdown. The two then teamed up on The Conqueror, going so far as to hit him with a double 619 as well as a pair of beautiful-looking top rope Frog Splashes.
The crowd nearly came unglued before Lesnar powered out of Mysterio's pinfall attempt. Less than a minute later, he caught Mysterio in midair and planted him with an F5 for the emphatic victory.
This was everything it needed to be and so much more. Mysterio may have come up short at Survivor Series, but he walked out of Raw the next night as the new United States champion.
2. Finn Balor: Royal Rumble 2019, January 27
As a result of his victory over Baron Corbin at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chair in December 2018, Braun Strowman earned the opportunity to vie for Lesnar's Universal Championship at the following month's Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Although it made sense from a storyline standpoint considering it was Lesnar who beat Strowman for the vacant title in the first place at Crown Jewel, it wasn't exactly a match fans were clamoring to see. The two had previously waged war several times and none of their matches were particularly good.
Thankfully, the decision was made for Strowman to be replaced at the Rumble with a fresher face. Finn Balor ended up taking his spot after winning a Fatal 4-Way on Raw in which he pinned John Cena in clean fashion.
Lesnar vs. Balor had been in the works for well over a year, as it was at one point penciled in to take place at the Rumble one year prior. In a similar situation, plans changed and Balor was bumped in favor of Strowman and Kane.
Balor was ready for The Beast this time and took the fight to him as soon as the bell rang. What followed was a fantastic sprint between the two with the Irishman enduring all of Lesnar's hard-hitting offense and battling back to the best of his ability.
The former NXT champion put forth an exceptional effort but ultimately tapped to Lesnar's devastating Kimura lock.
Some may argue Balor portraying his Demon persona would have helped him look more of a threat, but he had a stellar showing in defeat. Now we await the rematch.
1. Seth Rollins: SummerSlam 2019, August 11
Lesnar had more matches against Rollins in 2019 than he has anyone else in recent years.
Although anticipation for their encounter at SummerSlam was low due to the poor story they told heading into the event, it was easily the best bout they've had together.
Lesnar regained the gold from Rollins at the end of Extreme Rules via a successful Money in the Bank cash-in, leaving The Architect to again fight from underneath to regain the title at SummerSlam while also dealing with the fact he was slowly falling out of favor with the fans.
As a result of Rollins losing virtually every redeeming quality that made him beloved to begin with, there was a contingent of the crowd at SummerSlam rooting for Lesnar so he could solidify his superiority over Rollins once and for all. It was an odd dynamic, but the outstanding in-ring action made up for it.
Rollins rekindled that babyface fire by brutalizing Lesnar every chance he had and kicking out of everything thrown at him. Although he had his injured ribs to worry about, he fought like a man possessed and went to great lengths to keep The Beast down for the count.
It was an extended version of their thrilling WrestleMania 35 match. The Toronto audience ate it up and provided an electric atmosphere for this exciting war of attrition.
Rollins' second singles victory over Lesnar should not be underestimated, though. Goldberg and Kurt Angle are the only other athletes who can lay claim to beating The Beast twice, therefore putting The Architect in a league of his own among the current crop of WWE talent.
Putting aside how Rollins' second reign as universal champion was as forgettable as his first, this match must top the list of Lesnar's strongest showings in 2019, as it perfectly captured the magic he's still capable of creating even today.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.