WWE | Pro Wrestling

Brock Lesnar: Part-Time WWE Champion, Full-Time Beast

Brock Lesnar has held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship since August 17, 2014. He has defended the title only twice, and has been absent from 3 WWE PPV’s since he became champion. His infrequent appearances as the champion seem to have fans split. Some feel that it makes the World Heavyweight Championship seem more important, after being frequently passed between top stars for a long period of time. Some feel as though it makes WWE’s main event scene seem irrelevant, since big matches have no further implications, such as a title shot.

Even with his limited schedule, the value that Brock Lesnar brings to WWE as a whole is remarkable. Lesnar is always slated to be a monster, a story that is rarely told in the company today. There are plenty of reasons why he is seemingly unbeatable. Let’s start from the beginning.

Brock Lesnar debuted in WWE in 2002. He dominated every opponent that was fed to him, and fans instantly took notice. His character had the feel of a silent, untamed monster. Shortly thereafter, he was paired with Paul Heyman who served as his mouthpiece. Heyman dubbed his client, “The Next Big Thing”, a title he proved himself worthy of quickly.

Lesnar continued to rack up an impressive amount of victories, culminating with his win at the King of the Ring PPV in June, 2002. This match had an added stipulation; the winner would receive a WWE Undisputed Championship match. From there, Lesnar was launched into the main event scene at a meteoric pace.

In August of 2002, Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock to win the Undisputed Championship at Summer Slam. Not only did he take The Rock’s title, he also took his record of youngest WWE heavyweight champion in history. Lesnar was only 25 years old, but had already accomplished the top feat in WWE.

The “Lesnar Era” bridged the gap between WWE’s Attitude and Ruthless Aggression eras. Lesnar held his own with some of the best superstars professional wrestling has ever seen, such as Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Triple H, and Eddie Guerrero. Although it was so early in his career, it never felt as though Lesnar didn’t belong in the main event scene with the best stars in the business.

Brock continued to reign as WWE’s resident beast until 2004, when he famously left wrestling to pursue a career in the NFL. His absence was very impactful to the company, as well as the roster. With their top star gone, WWE was left to fill a huge void. John Cena then made a fast rise to the top, and was WWE Champion by 2005.

The same question has been asked amongst fans for nearly a decade. If Brock Lesnar never left WWE, would John Cena be in the position he is today? Cena went on to build a brand and an empire, elevating WWE to new heights and giving them major visibility worldwide. He has become one of the most popular and decorated stars in the history of professional wrestling. WWE went from their top star, Lesnar, being a villain, to their new top star, Cena, being a superhero. Lesnar’s departure caused WWE to take a completely different path than they originally planned, and some could say that it altered the history of the business.

Following his failed pursuit of an NFL career, Brock Lesnar began a new career path and became an MMA fighter, signing a contact with UFC in 2007. Similar to his debut in WWE 5 years earlier, Lesnar dominated his opponents and quickly rose to the top of UFC, winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship in 2008. In 2010, he was the highest paid fighter in UFC.

After struggling for 2 years with a stomach condition known as diverticulitis, Lesnar was sidelined from UFC in 2011 and underwent surgery for his condition. He competed in one more match, which he lost, and retired from UFC formally in December, 2011.

Yet again, similar to when he left WWE in 2004, his absence was impactful to UFC as a whole. Lesnar was a box office sensation during his time with the company, participating in 5 of the highest selling PPV events in UFC history, 3 of which he main evented. After seemingly never recovering from the health issues that plagued him, fans wondered if Lesnar would ever be able to physically compete again in any sense.

In 2012, a healthy Brock Lesnar made his triumphant return to WWE after an 8 year absence. His first order of business was attacking John Cena, the man who took his top spot in the company following his departure. This was the start of excellent feuds that put him up against the likes of Cena, Triple H, and his former mouthpieces’ new client, CM Punk.

After winning the feud with Punk and realigning himself with Paul Heyman, Lesnar rode high atop a wave of destruction. In February of 2014, he demanded a World heavyweight Title shot at Wrestlemania 30, threatening to walk out of the company again if he didn’t get what he wanted.

The Undertaker, however, had different plans for Brock Lesnar.

A shot at defeating the most sacred streak in the history of professional wrestling is much more important than a title shot. The Undertaker’s annual WrestleMania match is always by far the most anticipated match amongst fans.

As we all know, Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker’s historic WrestleMania streak, becoming the 1 in 21-1. His victory changed the course of WWE history.

WWE legends and Hall of Famers such as Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Kane, and Triple H all had their chance to be the man that ended the Undertaker’s streak, but none were given that honor. Brock Lesnar was.

He carried the heat he gained from that match all the way to Summer Slam, where he decimated John Cena like no opponent ever has, and became WWE World Heavyweight Champion once again.

It seems as though Brock Lesnar never missed a step, even after being out of WWE for 8 long years. Now, in 2015, Lesnar is once again the most important star in the company.

Of course, he will never be a “kid-friendly” character. He will never sell the amount of merchandise that John Cena does. He will never have a fun catchphrase or chant. Lesnar’s effortless way of systematically destroying his opponents is all he needs to succeed as champion. That in itself is an impressive feat.

He beat The Undertakers WrestleMania streak, the most sacred thing amongst WWE fans. Still, he was the most cheered for star at the Royal Rumble PPV in his match against John Cena and a fresh, young heel, Seth Rollins. Another impressive feat.

Brock Lesnar has reminded us all that he is a unique, once-in-a-generation type of superstar that cannot, and will not, be duplicated.

With rumors of Brock leaving the company again after Wrestlemania 31 to go back to UFC, the possibilities seem endless whether he stays or goes.

WWE has been molded by Lesnar’s presence, and has also been radically altered in his absence.

This will surely again be the case when WrestleMania 31 draws to a close.

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Michelle Shelton

Michelle is a mom, lifelong pro-wrestling fan, and blogger from Cleveland, Ohio. She enjoys writing articles that start conversations amongst wrestling fans, and challenge them to think about different things. More of her articles can be found on her blog, Michelle’s World of WWE, at michellelee905.wordpress.com.

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