Badass Babyface Brock Lesnar Primed for Career Resurgence with Roman Reigns Feud

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2021

Credit: WWE.com

For well over a year, WWE fans wondered when Brock Lesnar would make his inevitable return to the company.

They waited and waited, only to face the harsh reality that the founder of Suplex City may not be back in the company that had devoted so much time and attention to him and his penchant for smashing opponents into oblivion.

Then it happened.

Lesnar returned to the company Saturday night in the closing moments of the SummerSlam pay-per-view, confronting Roman Reigns and setting in motion a feud that will revisit one of the most heated rivalries of the past five years.

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In doing so, he not only planted the seeds for a series of physical wars with The Tribal Chief over the Universal Championship but also set in motion a babyface turn that could rejuvenate his WWE career.


Breaking the Monotony

There is no denying that Lesnar is an effective heel. As the unstoppable force all babyfaces must overcome in order to achieve their dreams of being WWE champion, he is perfect, mostly because he is a believable badass who could tear any one of the fans' favorites limb from limb if he so pleased.

The problem is, WWE Creative became so dependent on Lesnar in that role that repetition set in and The Beast lost his aura. Fans watched every year for the past eight as he stepped back on to their screens and attacked a prominent babyface before winning one of the top prizes in the company.

The "eat, sleep, conquer, repeat" catchphrase that adorned one of his most famous T-shirts because a bit too literal because that's exactly what Lesnar did, with little or no wiggle room for anything fresh, new or exciting.

By the time Drew McIntyre beat him in the five-minute main event of WrestleMania 36, it had become painfully obvious that Lesnar needed to go away, freshen up and return as something different if he wanted to remain engaging and interesting to fans.

We got the first hint of that Saturday night as Lesnar came face-to-face with the heel who rose to prominence during his 16-month absence, The Tribal Chief, Reigns.

Lesnar returned to an enormous pop, confronting the universal champion and former advocate (and closest friend) Paul Heyman, forcing them to retreat to the locker room. The crowd responded favorably to the shocking turn of events, backing Lesnar in a much-needed change of pace.

As the badass babyface who still smashes the opposition but does it on the side of the fans, The Beast can enjoy a career resurgence. After years spent in a creative abyss that can be attributed to both the performer and WWE finding comfort in the same old, same old, Lesnar can break free of the shackles that being a one-dimensional heel placed on him and do something different.


A Vengeful, Smashmouth Babyface 

One thing WWE has been missing on its programming is a badass babyface who just beats the hell out of bad guys. The company's overreliance on smiling good guys and inspirational underdogs has made for a very black-and-white television product over the years, leaving little room for the "shades of grey" that Vince McMahon once touted while formally introducing the Attitude Era.

Lesnar would reintroduce grey to the product. He would obliterate the competition, moving through whomever he had to in order to set the date with Reigns. But Roman isn't the only person he has business with.

The moment Brock lost the WWE Championship to McIntyre and went away, Heyman abandoned him in search of another meal ticket. He was cast aside in favor of Reigns, and Saturday night at SummerSlam, the look on the advocate's face as he stood inches away from the man he once called both client and friend told the story.

And that is where things get interesting.

Lesnar could easily smash his way through the roster and face Reigns at the next major pay-per-view, but that is almost too easy. Too lazy, even. The better story is told from Heyman's perspective.

Paul spent two decades hyping up Lesnar, telling anyone who would listen just how mean, nasty and badass his client was. Then he watched him go prove it. Championship after championship, conquered WrestleMania streaks and Suplex City—he was there for all of it. No one on this planet knows better than Heyman how dangerous Lesnar is and how real the threat to Reigns' title he is.

Alex McCarthy @AlexM_talkSPORT

Babyface Brock Lesnar has returned! The battle of Paul Heyman clients looks to be where we're heading. Lesnar Vs Reigns. #SummerSlam https://t.co/0FpqlqKgrr

Throw in the fact that Reigns has historically struggled against the former UFC, WWE and universal champion, and you have an intriguing story that flips the script and puts Lesnar in the vengeful babyface position for once.

In that role, Lesnar can succeed in ways he has not in recent years. It freshens things up, not only for him but for everyone involved, including the fans. This is a story they can sink their teeth into. It is a fresh incarnation of Lesnar that will be welcomed with open arms.

We have seen him as a babyface before, and it did not work thanks to questionable creative that never played to his strengths. Hopefully, both he and WWE have learned from the mistakes in the past and let him be the ass-kicker he is, winning over fans and setting up marquee matches along the way.

If so, Lesnar will become one of the hottest things in wrestling once again, and everyone will benefit.