Since coming back to WWE, there has been a lot of criticism as to how Brock Lesnar has been portrayed. Obviously, a man of his size and stature, as well as his acknowledged accomplishments outside of the wrestling world, should be coming in and bulldozing everyone fearlessly and ruthlessly. That hasn’t been the case thus far. Yes, he dominated John Cena at Extreme Rules, but to the chagrin of everyone following the promotion, it was Cena who got the victory. Even if it was in flukish roll-up style, it was a loss that wasn’t followed up on.
[adinserter block=”2″]Then came the SummerSlam feud with Triple H. Lesnar exhibited the classic (and by classic, I mean tired and hackneyed) behavior of any WWE heel in its history save a few examples by hiding behind his lawyer, Pearl Harboring anyone he had beef with, attacking the retired and getting physically dominated by Trips at every turn before their match. For someone as special as Lesnar, the argument is that it wasn’t the best use of him. I contend otherwise.
Most people who are clamoring for Lesnar to destroy everyone in his path like he’s some kind of monstrous thresher mowing down the wheat that is the WWE roster are doing so because he conquered the world of “legitimate” sport. MMA isn’t scripted, obviously. However, in the world of kayfabe, neither is pro wrestling. Why should WWE hold up Lesnar as someone who is dominant over its roster because he happened to beat a lot of people (and lose to them too, mind you) in a different field? That would be like expecting Bo Jackson to be the best baseball player because he did well in football.
MMA and wrestling are two different beasts. No matter how much Dave Meltzer or anyone else on Twitter wants to pretend otherwise, there are different challenges to each. The fact that Lesnar conquered both worlds is impressive, but the best story to tell with him would be to have him come back to WWE, expect to destroy and dominate, but also to show that the game has started to pass him by. As much as people HATED Cena going over him at Extreme Rules, it was a true option.
Of course, there’s a difference between it being the right story to tell and it being executed perfectly. There has been a lot they’ve done wrong with Lesnar since he came back, the paramount of which was the fact that it was Triple H they decided to put him against at SummerSlam. Yeah, it had box office appeal, but at some point, you run out of these mythical special matchups, including ones that are promoted at the behest of the guys on the roster every day putting in their hours. Then what happens? Trips and Lesnar are guys who may not be here in a year. Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Cena, barring injury or unlikely contract dispute, are.
The far better option would have been to have integrated Lesnar into the roster. Of course, many, including myself, don’t trust the WWE writers to do that well, but to me, it beats having him get into protracted arguments with Triple H over THIS BUSINESS every week. Imagine a program with Lesnar against Bryan that ended at SummerSlam this past Sunday. Lesnar would have spent most of his time declaring that he would eviscerate Bryan because of the size difference, with Bryan arguing back that he knows more ways to make men bigger than him tap out than Lesnar knows counters for. The match would feature Bryan getting the stuffing beaten out of him but always kicking out and escaping Lesnar’s submission attempts and countering with his own. He’d need the help of Paul Heyman to help get advantages to mollify that Bryan was more than keeping up with him. Finally, Bryan would get caught in the kimura and keep trying to figure a way to counter it until the referee stopped the match fearing a broken arm.
With that, you would accomplish so much more than having Lesnar “break” the arms of a retiree and a part-time wrestler from the front office. Lesnar would look like a big bully, but a guy who was shockingly out of touch with the wrestling business that made him famous. It would have elevated Bryan to almost godlike levels for resisting the atomic bomb offense of Lesnar and continually besting him at the mat game. It also would have set up the story of wrestlers of all shapes and sizes lining up to take on an exposed Lesnar, only to have them beaten back with varying degrees of ease until WrestleMania, when Bryan would obviously get his win back and be cemented as a megastar.
That’s only one of the many options they could have gone with that would have made a better story, but something tells me that WWE and Vince McMahon aren’t interested in telling a good story with Lesnar. On the surface, they want him and his UFC box office mojo to make them money for nothing (even though UFC and WWE drawing power do not correlate with each other at all), but I feel like they’re trying to teach a lesson to their fans that UFC is bad and WWE is good. They control the narrative, at least from a storytelling standpoint, and I can totally buy that McMahon wants to engage himself in a needless dick-measuring competition with Dana White.
[adinserter block=”1″]The problem is that I can see why he’d want to make the difference. The problem is that he and his writers are going about it all the wrong way. If they really wanted Lesnar to reinforce the notion that WWE and MMA were two different animals (while subtly hinting that wrestling was better), they could have done it in a way better, more entertaining and more beneficial to the rest of the roster manner. Instead, what we got was a clumsy story where the bullies were the good guys and where we should be cheering that Trips got his arm “broken” and that he got his best friend’s arm done the same in the process.
Then again, maybe we shouldn’t ever expect WWE to tell an awesomely intricate story until they establish a changed track record. That way, we’ll never be let down at least.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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[amazon_link id=”B008IG0ESG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: CM Punk – Best in the World DVD[/amazon_link]