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Brock Lesnar's retirement fuels return to WWE rumors

Brock Lesnar celebrates after beating Frank Mir via

Brock Lesnar celebrates after beating Frank Mir via second-round TKO to defend his heavyweight title at UFC 100 in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: AP Photo

Brock Lesnar announced his retirement last night following a loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. Thus, the rumors are beginning to fly that a return to the WWE could happen in 2012.

From all indications, the WWE and their fans would welcome Lesnar back with open arms. He was the company’s biggest star before he abruptly left in 2004 to pursue a career in the NFL. The former WWE champion didn’t leave on the greatest terms and his final match at Wrestlemania XX at Madison Square Garden against Bill Goldberg was a laugher.

However, Lesnar and the WWE seemed to patch things up recently. Lesnar’s likeness was used in the “WWE ‘12” video game.

“I think it's an honor to be back. You know, I never had any really true hard feelings for WWE. It just wasn't for me,” Lesnar told ESPN.com before the release of the video game. “I think during the time that I spent there, I dominated the show.”

And he certainly did dominate becoming the youngest WWE champion at the time. The WWE was quick to remove his name from the record books when Randy Orton won the title at Survivor Series in 2004.

The WWE is heading into the homestretch of their year with Wrestlemania 28 in April. This is the hottest part of the year with the Royal Rumble just a few weeks away. But look at the landscape of the WWE once the smoke settles after Wrestlemania.

The Rock will head west to Hollywood after his match with John Cena. Cena, the most hated face of all-time, is still the face of the company, but for how long? The WWE is selling "Cena Sucks" shirts now. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the guy who is supposed to be your No. 1 face. After Undertaker’s match with Triple H, he will likely go on hiatus again. Randy Orton could be out anywhere from 10 weeks to six months with a back injury he suffered this past week at the "Smackdown" tapings.

That leaves CM Punk, Big Show, Miz, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus as your top stars. Even with Punk at the height of his popularity, it’s not enough for a brand that produces two weekly shows and 12 pay per views a year.

Lesnar seems like a slam dunk. Yet, there are two caveats to bringing Lesnar back. Remember, he left the WWE because he hated the WWE’s rigorous schedule on the road, which calls for a full time performer to be away from home over 250 days a year. Does the WWE want him as a special attraction? Yes, but at what price? Before Lesnar left the WWE in 2004, he was reportedly making in the neighborhood of $10 million.

Also, Lesnar has been battling diverticulitis, a digestive disorder that forms puches outside the colon. The disease has kept Lesnar away from the UFC for and extensive period of time and resulted in surgery.

The obvious answer is he will come back. If you’ve watched the WWE as long as I have, you realize at some point they all come back: Hulk Hogan, Rock, Bret Hart and the list goes on.

It’s the oldest wrestling cliché: never say never in the WWE.

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