Happy Monday TJR Faithful! Last week I was in Brooklyn for the Summerslam Weekend festivities. I attended NXT Takeover, Summerslam and Monday Night Raw. It was an ungodly amount of wrestling to take in live over the course of three days, but I had a lot of fun with a few of my pals watching three days of great wrestling (for the most part).
I could spend this piece talking about my favourite matches of the weekend (Cena/Styles, Revival/Gargano & Ciampa and Nakamura/Joe) or my favourite moments (Roode’s entrance, Nakamura’s entrance, chanting “Delete”, and of course Styles going over Cena), of which there were many. It truly was a very entertaining weekend. Unfortunately Summerslam on Sunday ended on a bit of a downer. To say I wasn’t amused by the Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar match would be putting it lightly. Yes the finish was different and unlike anything we’ve seen before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was good.
Put aside the inherent recklessness of the finish they had planned. Put aside the fact that they have deemed blood unacceptable and concussions to be very dangerous, yet they decided to have one of their superstars busted open via elbow strike from a heavyweight who has just been popped for a performance enhancement violation in the UFC. Even put aside the curious decision to have the show end with two screwy finishes (Reigns/Rusev not starting and a confusing TKO). What left me feeling less than impressed was the simple fact that the match was boring.
Suplex. Another suplex. Another suplex. Suplex again. Oh another one. A couple of punches. An RKO. Another RKO. An F5. Punches and elbows. Match ends… I was bored to death. Yeah I know there was a table spot and some tossing each other around on the outside of the ring, but seriously, the match sucked. The finish was the least of that matches problems (and again, it’s recklessness was a serious problem).
With all that said, I can’t say that I was surprised by anything I saw. I’ve been disillusioned with Brock Lesnar for quite some time (I know, blasphemy!). Part of it is he seems to operate under different regulations than everybody else on the roster, from everything to failing drug tests to swearing on TV. As much as I hate the special treatment, I do understand why he gets it, and all the power to him for exercising said power I guess. The main reason for my degrading appreciation for The Beast Incarnate is that his match quality has been pretty poor.
Don’t get me wrong, he always brings a certain level of star power to his matches. They all feel larger than life because his character is portrayed as such. Most of the time, that kind of star power can make an okay match seem better just because of the electricity the two combatants provide just by being themselves. Brock Lesnar on the other hand, often underperforms to a degree where not even his star power (which never really affected me that much to be honest) can make his matches seem good.
His match with Orton was boring until it was reckless. His match with Ambrose was just dull. I didn’t like his matches with Undertaker (including the one where he broke the streak). His matches with Triple H are forgettable. A lot of his matches in this extended run are forgettable to me. In fact only four stand out. The first match he had with John Cena upon his return. His match with CM Punk. The insane Suplex Squash of John Cena (which was a surreal moment in the history of WWE), and the triple threat where Brock faced Cena and Rollins. I literally don’t remember anything specific about any of the other matches.
Now this isn’t to say that I don’t understand the story that the WWE is telling with Brock Lesnar. He is the unstoppable monster that is running roughshod over the WWE. He breaks the rules because nobody can stop him. He breaks the other superstars because nobody can stop him. He is an occupying force that we are supposed to want to see vanquished by a heroic superstar one day. It’s a fairly simple concept to follow, and theoretically will get whomever beats him very over. As a guy who appreciates storytelling and character development in my entertainment, I can appreciate the simplicity of what they are building.
There are really only two big problems. One is the fact that I’m bored out of my mind by his matches at this point. He does two to three moves ALL THE TIME and I’m truly checked out whenever the bell rings to begin a Lesnar match now (at least Cena had 5 moves of doom). It’s a shame because I know the guy can work, he just doesn’t seem to care to.
His apathy should inspire me to loath his character, but instead I just find him dull. The lustre has worn off for me, and it is only a matter of time before people start to realize that the emperor, or in this case the conqueror, has no clothes. The idea of Lesnar is great, but in practice the matches are declining in quality. Even if what we are looking forward to is his eventual slaying, I have very little reason to believe that that theoretical match will be any good. I should have the utmost confidence that it will be great, but much like he beat Randy to a bloody pup to create a buzz on Sunday, he has beaten away my confidence in him to give a shit long enough to deliver a great match.
The other problem is that the person that will eventually dethrone him isn’t apparent. On one hand, that’s a good thing, because it will be a surprise when we find out who it is that gets the honour. On the other hand, we are currently watching only half a story. In Star Wars we see the abuse of power of the Sith and The Empire and grow to hate them, while also seeing our protagonist grow into the man he needs to be in order to defeat them. It’s the duality of that kind of story. Yes we see the horrors of the villainous monster that is terrorizing everyone, but we simultaneously see our eventual hero as he or she gets strong enough to vanquish the villain. The Brock Lesnar story has no protagonist.
It has had a series of lambs being led to the slaughter. There will likely be several more. But in the entire universe that the WWE has, there is no character that we can look at as the primary protagonist and eventual hero of the tale of Brock Lesnar’s dominance. On a narrative level that is a failure. Maybe the matches will improve and become more compelling. Maybe we will see our hero emerge. Hopefully they correct both of these blindspots in the story they are telling with Brock, but I fear that neither will be addressed any time soon.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Is Lesnar losing lustre for anybody else? Is it just me or are Brock matches getting worse and more one dimensional? Who would you like to see as the eventual protagonist in the tale of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar? Is it going to be Shane McMahon?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying I can’t wait until the return of You’re The Worst next week. My favourite TV shows are starting to come back! Have a great weekend everybody!