A friend of mine recently said “don’t over think Brock.” His comment set me back a bit, mostly because I’m a pro wrestling analyst. Over thinking is what I do. I’m paid to over think. But the more I pondered his statement, the more logical it became.
Brock is not hard to understand, though fans insist on transforming him into a very complex subject. To be fair, he is complex on the surface. After all, the man known as The Beast Incarnate is indeed an anomaly, as Paul Heyman referred to him.
He’s a brawler, yet he’s a mat wrestler. He’s a legitimately competitive athlete despite what sport he’s ever been part of, yet he makes a very handsome living as a professional wrestler. He’s a force of nature that could be considered one of the sports world’s most popular figures, yet he shies away from the spotlight and prefers to be on his farm in Canada.
He is an absolute monster in every sense of the word, but mere moments after he wins his first MMA fight in five years, he speaks of Americans standing together. Suddenly, he’s a unifying voice of reason after physically beating another man down in a three round fight?
Brock Lesnar reeks of complexity. So, the over thinking is not my fault. But the truth is there’s nothing complex about him. Brock Lesnar is an entertainer that likes to get paid. That’s it. Get as deep as you want, analyze him from top to bottom, but you would be wasting your time. But then there’s that failed drug test.
It came as a shock because Lesnar is such a freak of nature. From the moment he first debuted in WWE to the moment he first stepped into the Octagon, Lesnar has always been seen as the exception, not the rule. He was different because he wanted it more. He was a beast because it was in his blood. He looked like a tank because he wants to wage war. He’s a combat machine and always has been.
How many fans feel that way now? How many will now believe he got there the right way? Details are still forthcoming, and the fact is all of this could blow over, but it will follow him everywhere he goes from this point on. Turns out he’s more complex than we could have ever known.
Vince McMahon is no fool. He’s got a main event player that wants to do business, why wouldn’t he use him as much as possible? For that matter, why wouldn’t he give him the top championship, a truck full of cash, and a win/loss record that would make Hulk Hogan-in-his-prime jealous?
That’s exactly what he’s done, and the more fans see Brock in a WWE ring, the more they see just how much the company loves him. He’s allowed to rule his domain, while stars of the so-called New Era are forced to play second fiddle. Actually they’re not even in the band at this point. It’s Brock’s show when he’s there.
Why shouldn’t it be? How does anyone control The Hulk, and make him play nice with other heroes? The answer is they don’t. It’s impossible. Brock is no different, and no one should even try. So if the SummerSlam match with Randy Orton goes as planned, and Lesnar wins, no one should be too upset or surprised. Right?
But here’s the problem; everything has changed now. Brock was supposed to be different; he was supposed to be special. That’s how he’s always been booked, and that’s how he’s always been viewed. Will fans still see him that way after the controversy? Orton is no saint of course and has had his issues here as well, but why should he have to job to Brock now?
If he beats Brock however, what does that say about The Beast Incarnate? He just won in UFC, he’s been presented as unstoppable in WWE from the beginning, and he’s still the same monster he was before the anti-doping violation came to light. If he goes down now, then does that mean his star is fading?
Without the failed drug test, who in WWE could actually beat him? For that matter, who in the world could actually beat him, and make it look good? More importantly, does the drug test now negate all of this, and so his win/loss record is open season for anyone WWE decides to book against him? Has Brock Lesnar finally become human?
Where does this leave WWE? Brock may be easy in terms of his character, but this situation is definitely not. The company used him as its top draw, because it could. But without the obvious problem, there’s another one. In the midst of him conquering the house that McMahon built, no one else is being built.
What happens when all of this does blow over, and Lesnar’s done? Will WWE be ready? All of the focus has been on John Cena and his eventual transition to part-time status. Who will be the man to become the new face of WWE? The latter has certainly been asked more than the former, but both are valid questions. Cena is the top guy, but Brock is the top draw. Who’s in line to replace that?
Roman Reigns? Seth Rollins? Dean Ambrose? What about AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, or even Samoa Joe? Are any of these men capable of selling tickets and packing a house the way Lesnar can? Is the answer even in WWE’s locker room right now?
On one side, the age-old argument can be made that if a guy really wants it, he has to go for it. WWE can’t make a guy get hot; it’s up to him to get hot, then the company capitalizes on it. But on the other side, how many Superstars in WWE right now are even being given the chance actually reach that level?
Brock was the man, there’s no question about it. WWE had no choice but to book him as superhuman, and use him as the indestructible powerhouse that he is. The company needed a high profile attraction, Lesnar wanted to be there, it was easy math. He’s a once in a lifetime star, and the story of Brock Lesnar will be told years after he’s hung up the boots.
But it’s how WWE handles this new problem, and how it deals with life after Lesnar’s gone that will make for an interesting story as well. Maybe it’s a bit more complicated after all.