Wow! So much wrestling to enjoy this past week, wasn’t there? From NXT Takeover, to Summerslam to our regular five hours of programming to all the extra content I haven’t had time to watch. So much to see, so much to discuss. There was plenty I wanted to write about, but I kept coming back to the Brock v Orton match. I’d recorded it overnight and sat down with my kids the following morning to watch the PPV. After a quick glance on the internet while the intro was playing, I saw mentions of the last match. Intrigued and drawn in by the spoilers, I read on. The kids think that the PPV ended before the final match.
I’m no prude, but I don’t feel comfortable watching the ending to that match with my three year-old son, and I’m okay with that. Later that evening, I watched the match by myself and have to say, I loved the intensity and energy put into it by both men. The blood was unexpected, especially in that amount. I watched as Lesnar dominated Orton, raining blow after blow onto his head. For a moment, I thought I was watching UFC. I guess that was the whole point.
While I saw the aftermath on Twitter and regular WWE programming, I couldn’t help but think is Brock a hindrance to WWE or its biggest asset?
Let me first clarify by stating I like Brock Lesnar. The guy is a legit badass. I was a fan when he made his first run, the ‘next big thing’ creating ripples in the WWE seas. People were awed by his power and strength. I was, and loved watching him F5 the roster. One particular memory sticks out, the slamming of Spike Dudley over and over on the mat. Sheer brutality.
Brock was this young upstart. A tough guy who came in and started tearing up the roster, but he was still just a wrestler. Back then he was in a pool of talent that had opponents such as Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H, Kurt Angle and the wily Eddie Guerrero.
But that was then, when Brock was the up and comer. This is now, when he’s seasoned and not only a former WWE champion, but a two time UFC champion. There’s no ‘sports entertainment’ pedigree in the UFC. It’s real. Very real. While I don’t pertain to be a huge UFC fan, I do know that Brock did well when he was there. Hell, in my opinion, he deserves credit for even stepping into that octagon.
Back to WWE. Here’s this decorated athlete, no doubt a draw even without the genius that is Paul Heyman. He’s an attraction. A once in a lifetime star. We’re not going to see another like Brock Lesnar in this generation and probably for generations to come. WWE have a bonafide star on their books. Yes, he’s high profile enough to warrant a part-time contract. Yes, he’s entitled to earn silly money – if that’s what WWE want to pay him. So everyone should be happy, right? WWE have their man and he gets a good payday, except is that really the case? Are WWE blessed with this elite, super attraction, yet at the same time cursed by having him on the roster? Let me explain my thinking behind that:
WWE Titles – It doesn’t matter what the belt is, if Lesnar had it, there’s no way anyone on the current roster could take it from him. Even in ‘storylines’ I can’t think of one current main-roster star who could convincingly beat him one on one. True, he lost at Wrestlemania 31, but that wasn’t a traditional ‘clean’ finish, and he was protected when Rollins covered Reigns to win the belt. It works, but would the only way anyone could beat Brock be a swerve or have him not take the pin? How many endings of matches could the audience take before we got tired of it?
Opponents – The world has seen Brock go toe to toe with some of the most talented mixed martial artists in the world and come out on top. He transitions some of those moves into the WWE ring against wrestlers. It’s a mismatch before the bell rings. Could anyone watching see anything other than a Lesnar victory? How do you give him a credible opponent and not have him destroy the guy, thereby making the opponent look like the latest whipping boy? It would be damaging for everyone except Brock.
Legitimacy – Brock isn’t the young wrestler any more. Brock is a multi-time, multi-promotion champion. He’s a real threat and danger to opponents. Not just for the consecutive German suplexes he dishes out, but also in striking and a volley of heavy blows – something he didn’t previously have in his arsenal. A match with Brock Lesnar isn’t a wrestling match. It’s more akin to an MMA match, except he utilises his MMA experience, and his opponent is limited to wrestling moves.
WWE have a main player, a star attraction in Brock Lesnar. He sells tickets without question. The addition of Paul Hayman only succeeds in hyping him even more. More hype equals more tickets, which equals more money for WWE. Surely that’s all good? But then again, does his elite-level status and dominating reputation leave him as an albatross around WWE’s neck? The big ticket star, but limited in what they can do, in case he (unintentionally) stalls pushes of other wrestlers by having him destroy them? Case in point; Dean Ambrose was crushed by him at Wrestlemania, yet is our current WWE World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown. Would it have hurt Dean’s credibility if the gap between the ‘Mania match and him winning the title had been less than it was?
I suppose the real question to ask is if Brock is on that elite level, on a perch on which he sits alone with no equal, who can WWE give him as credible opponents that can both entertain the fans and at the same time, give Brock a challenge? I’m no fantasy booker, so I’ll leave that conversation for another day, or to be discussed in the comments. However, I’d love to see him go against Kurt Angle again. Just my opinion.
What do you think? Is Brock’s limited appearance contract a good thing for the roster? Is he too big for the WWE? Or does WWE need to let some of the roster loose on him and play him at his own MMA-style game? Thanks for reading.