Prior to his WWE television debut, Brock Lesnar was frustrated and nearly quit before the company put him on television.
When Brock Lesnar was signed by WWE in 2000, he was an NCAA Heavyweight Freestyle Wrestling Champion that had no experience in pro wrestling. After he was signed, Lesnar learned about pro wrestling at Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville.
Brock Lesnar was part of arguably the greatest training class in wrestling history at OVW. That’s because Lesnar was training with John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista (Dave Bautista) and Shelton Benjamin among others. All five men debuted on WWE TV in 2002.
Back in that “Ruthless Aggression” era of WWE, the company didn’t like to rush its talent to television. They needed to be trained and ready before they were on the main shows.
For Brock Lesnar (and Kurt Angle before him), WWE would put him in dark matches before TV tapings meaning he’d wrestle before Raw or Smackdown started in a match that wouldn’t be televised. Lesnar did that for several months before he debuted on the March 18th, 2022 edition of Raw after WrestleMania.
Paul Heyman was right by Brock Lesnar’s side for that debut on WWE Raw because Vince McMahon wanted Heyman to be Brock’s manager or advocate, as Heyman likes to say.
During a recent interview with Rick Rubin, Paul Heyman spoke about how Brock Lesnar was so frustrated about not being put on TV that he nearly quit before his WWE debut.
“He’s not getting called up to the main roster, and I couldn’t understand what the delay was. And I’d seen him a couple of times, you know, they had Jesse Ventura come out to the ring with him in Minneapolis. Why are we not going with this? My god, he’s 24 years old, let’s go, 23 at the time. So they bring them to a TV to start him on dark matches, because he had enough and he left Louisville and he went back to Minnesota.”
“He said whenever you’re ready for me, call me. There’s nothing more for me to learn in Louisville, I’m ready to go. You don’t want to use me, my contracts gonna run up, I’m gonna go find something else to do with my life.”
It was 21 years ago when Brock Lesnar made his WWE debut. Now at 46 years old, Lesnar remains a prominent figure in WWE and a future Hall of Famer, no doubt about it. This past Monday on Raw, Lesnar accepted Cody Rhodes’ challenge for a SummerSlam match on April 5th in Detroit.