JC’s Top Rope Report: The Failed Brock Lesnar Experiment
Sometimes you just have to admit you were plain wrong. I’ve been doing that for awhile now on my RAW reports and the HTCWrestling Podcast, but now it is time to do that in written form here.
Back when Brock Lesnar first one the WWE Title I was an advocate for it. I was in favor of it and defended it constantly when by fellow podcaster at the time Matt was strongly against it. One year for Christmas he even sent me a Brock Lesnar action figure with the WWE Title. Want to hear something really funny? Back in 2012/2013 I even strongly pushed for a Ryback vs Brock Lesnar match! Though in my defense, Ryback was heavily over at the time and I think it could have been big if built right.
All that aside, I’m now here to admit that I was horribly wrong. Brock Lesnar’s WWE run, when we look back at it from start to finish, will be looked at as a giant failure and one that ruined the WWE from a creative perspective more than helped it. There were some decent matches involved. But nothing Brock Lesnar did from a storyline standpoint helped anyone involved.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, was excited when the news broke that Brock Lesnar was returning in 2012. Of course, a lot of people also thought Lesnar would be working more dates than he did. And then in his first match back Brock Lesnar lost to John Cena at Extreme Rules. That was a head scratcher. This was back in the time where PPV buys were still a thing. Lesnar added some to the PPV buys but it wasn’t a big enough increase to make you look twice.
Lesnar then went on to have a series of three of the most boring matches you could see when he fought Triple H. I saw the one at Wrestlemania 29 in person and it practically put me to sleep. And I can tell you from being in attendance that there were a good amount of people that agreed with me. The fact that this Triple H feud extended from June 2012 to April 2013 was killer. It almost killed the Brock Lesnar buzz all together. He then went on to have one of the better matches of his run at SummerSlam with CM Punk. But unlike Triple H, Punk only got one match so he couldn’t get a win back against him.
After a short Rumble match with Big Show, Brock Lesnar went on to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30. I can remember writing and saying at the time that I would bet my house, life savings, family relatives etc. that The Undertaker would win this match.
Thank god I didn’t listen to myself. And if anyone out there did, why?
Sure, this ended up being a huge Wrestlemania moment. And it got people talking. But when we look back at this, outside of the pure shock value, what exactly did this moment accomplish? Some will argue that it made Brock Lesnar THE guy in the WWE. I would argue that the WWE could have easily done that if they booked him right when he first came in, rather than having him lose to Cena and have even-steven booking with Triple H. For years wrestling fans argued about The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak. The majority thought it should end. But I don’t think anyone wanted it to end via Brock Lesnar. The Streak should have been used to catapult someone to the next level. Instead it was used to make Brock Lesnar seem like a guy that was better than anyone on the current WWE roster. And that has been the problem with Lesnar since coming in: He has always been treated as above everyone else, and no one is on his level.
Lesnar’s first Title win came at SummerSlam when he demolished John Cena. He carried the Title all the way til Wrestlemania where he lost due to the classic Seth Rollins cash in. You know, instead of going through every one of Brock Lesnar’s Title reigns and defenses from here on out, I think we can safely put together all of Lesnar’s Title reigns and matches into one lump sum. Again, there were some good matches sprinkled in there. The two matches he had with Undertaker were surprisingly good. He had a good match with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and the Fatal 4 Way at SummerSlam last year.
But when it is all set and done. When you look back at all the matches and the results, one big question remains: Who did Brock Lesnar benefit during his time in the WWE? What full time current roster member benefited from Brock Lesnar being around? Dean Ambrose was squashed by Lesnar at Wrestlemania because Lesnar already had his mind set on the UFC. Roman Reigns has yet to beat Lesnar in a one-on-one match (though that is probably changing soon). Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles all lost to Lesnar in one-off matches that were pretty much forgotten in the end.
When Brock Lesnar’s WWE run FINALLY comes to an end, the only full time person he is likely to have put over is Roman Reigns. Don’t buy any of the “just being in the ring with Lesnar” is a win for someone. Now of course, Lesnar isn’t the person making these decisions. That is in the hands of Vince McMahon. And once again it shows that Vince McMahon likes to live in the past and is either too afraid or doesn’t trust his new stars to handle a win over Brock Lesnar. Vince McMahon spent all of this money on Brock Lesnar and in the end it is just going to have hindered his full time roster more than helped it.
Brock Lesnar’s WWE Universal Title run since winning it from Goldberg at Wrestlemania 33 has been filled with good matches, but it has hit a brick wall since the calendar turned to 2018. RAW has been absent a Universal Champion since Wrestlemania and it has put RAW at a stand still. So now we have to listen to Roman Reigns coming out every week, trying to play the victim in this whole situation when the majority of fans know that he is the heir apparent to taking the Universal Title off Brock Lesanr in a move that has been delayed for what seems like a decade now. Meanwhile, you have guys that are OVER on RAW like Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and Braun Strowman who can’t fight for the Universal Title and instead are stuck in an endless loop of feuds that are going pretty much nowhere. Seth Rollins has been on fire lately and they have barely let him say Brock Lesnar’s name once.
Most people believe that Brock Lesnar’s contract extension that he signed comes to an end at SummerSlam. I really hope that is true. I’m sick of Brock Lesnar in the WWE. I have a feeling most fans are as well. I’m fine with not having Titles defended on every PPV (and that is especially the case with dual branded PPVs now). But not having your Champion around for the majority of the year is just a slap in the face to all of your full time talent that work hard every day.
I can’t fault Brock Lesnar for taking the deal that he did with the WWE. And if we are all being honest, anyone reading this would as well. Who wouldn’t want to be paid as much as Brock Lesnar is to work as little as possible. But Vince McMahon should have realized long ago that Lesnar isn’t worth what he is being paid. People wonder why RAW has been so bad lately and half of it is because there is no Universal Champion around. What are these guys suppose to be fighting for? And now they want to turn Lesnar not showing up into a storyline to get people to cheer Roman Reigns. At the end of the day people are going to be sick of it. Sick of Roman Reigns, sick of Brock Lesnar, sick of there not being a Universal Champion on RAW. RAW has talent on their roster, it just can’t be properly used when Brock Lesnar puts things in a holding pattern.
As we sit here and wait for what is next with Brock Lesnar, we are left to wonder what could have been if Lesnar left at Wrestlemania. Sure Roman Reigns would be WWE Universal Champion, but at least we would have a Champion around full time. At Wrestlemania we were ready for another Roman Reigns coronation and to get on with it. Now we are still waiting for that, and waiting for the WWE to have Brock Lesnar show up.
Meanwhile I’m just sitting here waiting for Brock Lesnar to be shown the door.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka