My thoughts on WWE’s use of Brock Lesnar since his return to the company.
When Brock Lesnar decided to return to the WWE the night after Wrestlemania 28, many thought it would would lead to another wrestling boom. After all, the WWE was coming off the biggest Wrestlmania ever thanks to the return of The Rock and now they were getting a former UFC champion and a man who headlined multiple PPVs that did over one million buys.
Leave it to the WWE to screw things up.
Things got off on the right foot. Lesnar returned on the Raw after Wrestlemania and laid out top star John Cena. In the following weeks, he beat the crap out of Cena and was made out to be an ass kicker who would bring legitimacy to pro wrestling. Things took a slight dip when Lesnar was forced to handle the mic for far too long during a contract signing, but he wasn’t brought in to talk a big game. He was brought in to beat people up. In his first match back he faced John Cena in a No DQ match. For nearly 15 minutes, Lesnar beat the hell out of Cena. Then, in true Cena form, he made the ultimate comeback and ended up pinning Lesnar clean. While it was the wrong decision to have Lesnar lose, they could have salvaged things.
Instead of having Cena carried out on a stretcher to show that he won the battle, but Lesnar won the war, Cena grabbed the mic to announce that he was, “taking time off.” So instead of having Lesnar beat a guy who would be leaving for a few months, they had him lose. The worst part of it all? Cena never took time off and proceeded to main event every PPV following Extreme Rules. It was reported that Lesnar was pissed off with how things were handled, and who could blame him? He not only lost in his big return, but he was made to look like an idiot after the fact.
Following the loss to Cena, Lesnar was booked to face Triple H, who is the acting Chief Operating Officer of WWE. Once again, things got off on the right foot. Lesnar laid out Triple H and broke his arm. Then things went severely downhill. Now, this is partly Lesnar’s fault as he went behind WWE’s back and showed up at a UFC event to reportedly talk business, but can you really blame the guy? He was made out to look like a fool in his first month back with the company and now he was feuding with Triple H, the guy who has ultimate say so in everything. Could he really trust WWE to do the right thing when it came to him? Obviously he didn’t think so.
After showing up at the UFC event, Lesnar never showed up at a WWE event. Triple H was making very valid points about Lesnar’s WWE status (both in storyline and real life), which, in turn, hurt Lesnar’s value in the eyes of fans. He was getting paid millions of dollars to increase the PPV stock of the company, yet Extreme Rules 2012, headlined by Lesnar’s return against Cena, only did 42,000 buys more than Extreme Rules 2011, headlined by Cena vs. John Morrison and The Miz in a triple threat cage match. If you pay someone over a million dollars to help your company on PPV, they better deliver more than 42,000 extra buys, which could’ve likely been added by simply producing better storylines. Lesnar was also brought in bring legitimacy to the company. Well, as Triple H pointed out, Wrestlemania 28 ended up being a pretty legit event given the media coverage and PPV buys. Finally, Lesnar was brought in to take over the WWE and become the face of the company. Well, he lost his first match and, as Triple H pointed out, Lesnar ends up quitting everything that becomes hard. The face of the company can’t be someone who is just going to quit when he’s challenged, otherwise Vince Carter would have been the face of the NBA in the early 2000’s and not Kobe Bryant.
Instead of Lesnar coming out to keep kicking ass, the WWE brought in his longtime friend Paul Heyman to be his mouthpiece. Now Heyman is fantastic on the mic, but the material he had to work with was absolute garbage. While Heyman should’ve been defending Lesnar against what Triple H was saying and claiming that Lesnar would destroy Triple H for having the audacity to talk down to him….he talked about lawsuits. That’s right, big bad Brock was suing the WWE for a breach of contract. The counterpoint that Triple H could’ve made (and maybe he did, I honestly stopped paying attention because the whole thing was so stupid) is that he could sue Lesnar for attacking and breaking the arm of, not a wrestler, but a corporate representative of the company. Triple H aint no bitch though and he wanted to fight Lesnar in the ring, not the courtroom. Heyman and Triple H went back and forth for weeks about this stupid lawsuit that did nothing but make Lesnar look like a pussy. While Triple H wanted a fight, Lesnar wanted a legal debate. Now at one point Heyman did argue that, “Brock will hurt you and end you for good,” but that didn’t stop Triple H from wanting to fight. So why didn’t Heyman just say, “Fine, if you want a fight here’s what we’ll do: If Brock wins, he gets everything owed to him. And if you win, we’ll drop the lawsuit and go back to the original contract.” How hard would that have been?
It all culminated at the 1000th episode of Raw, when Heyman once again confronted Triple H. After more stupid nonsense, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H’s wife in storyline and real life, came out and slapped Heyman. Despite threats by Triple H and even being punch in the face by him, it was Stephanie’s slap that sent Heyman over the top and had him agree on behalf of Lesnar that he would fight at SummerSlam. Stephanie then beat the hell out of Heyman, which led to Lesnar’s first appearance in the WWE since he broke Triple H’s arm. Did Lesnar return to once again lay out Triple H? Nope. Maybe he returned to lay out Stephanie, adding an extra personal wrinkle in his feud with Triple H. Nope. Instead Lesnar returned to exchange blows with Triple H before finally being knocked out of the ring by “The Game” forced to walk backstage, defeated, while Hunter stood tall.
So lets rewind and recap. Just two years ago, when Lesnar defeated Shane Carwin to retain the UFC heavyweight title, he was considered the best heavyweight fighter on the planet. Two years later, he’s a pussy who would rather fight in court than in the ring, and when he finally got in the ring with Triple H, face to face and not jumping him from behind, he was sent packing.
The return of Brock Lesnar to the WWE should have been a big deal. He wasn’t just a former pro wrestler, he was former MMA champion who proved to the world that he could fight for real and win. When WWE brought in Floyd Mayweather Jr., they didn’t treat him like a pussy. He had him stand up to the biggest guy in the company and punch him right in the face (and then he ran away, but that’s probably because he legitimately punched The Big Show in the face, thus angering a man who was four times his size) and had him win at Wrestlemania.
The fact that the WWE tried to act like Lesnar was scared of Triple H is an insult to the intelligence of their fans. Lesnar fought Randy Couture, Cain Velasquez, Alistair Overeem, and other top heavyweights in an actual fight. He’s really scared of a 42-year-old pro wrestler with bad knees and a broken down body? Lesnar hasn’t been a consummate professional through this whole thing, but can you really blame him? He’s been dicked around by the company from his very first match and made to look like a fool, and there’s really nothing he can do about it, at least nothing that will help his already bad reputation.
Things can still be salvaged, at least to an extent, but does anyone have faith that WWE, more importantly, Triple H, will do the right thing when it comes to Brock? If the WWE wants to actually make some money with Brock, they’ll have him beat Triple H at SummerSlam. Then he’ll beat John Cena in a rematch. He’ll destroy everyone in his path en route to a showdown with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29. Don’t expect that to happen though. Except Hunter to reign supreme like he almost always does and then expect the WWE to wonder why Brock doesn’t mean a damn thing for business.