It's time for my Sunday column in a blog.
Brock Lesnar was on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats in pro-wrestling history. He had speed, agility, size, intensity, and a legit background in wrestling while in college. What more could you want from an athlete? He quickly became the youngest WWE Champion and main evented at Wrestlemania. Lesnar started to pick up pinfalls over name-brand wrestlers such as The Rock, Undertaker, and Kurt Angle. “The next big thing” was on his way.
The end of the road
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. For those that don’t know how his run ended in the WWE, he’s a brief stroll down memory lane. Shortly before Wrestlemania 20 in New York City, it leaked on the internet that Lesnar would leave WWE following his match. Lesnar was tired of the rigorous travel schedule. Fans caught wind of this and booed him out of Madison Square Garden. The Garden filled with "You sold out chants." The match against Bill Goldberg was a thud. It was promoted as this awesome match between two brute forces of unbelievable strength. In the end, the fans saw 10 minutes of two guys dancing around the ring with only a handful of grapples before Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned both of them out of the building and the WWE.
Fans and wrestlers alike slammed Lesnar and Goldberg for their performance. Many described the match as “bowling shoe ugly.” Both were criticized for giving a lackluster performance and not trying on the biggest stage in wrestling at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” To make matters worse, both Lesnar and Goldberg were exiting the WWE following that match. Goldberg’s contract was up and Lesnar was off to pursue a career in football.
Many fans thought Lesnar would get the win over Goldberg. Logic would dictate that the WWE would give the win to the guy they thought would eventually return to the WWE. Furthermore, Lesnar gave a lot more to the WWE in his few years than Goldberg did in his one year. Goldberg walked out of Wrestlemania with the victory. Did they give Lesnar the L as punishment for walking out? Maybe.
What does this all mean? Six short years later, Brock Lesnar has become an absolute force in UFC. Fans may have laughed when his venture into football failed, but fans are celebrating his name once again. Even many wrestlers are giving Lesnar is proper credit.
A reunion with WWE stars
Last weekend at UFC 116, many big names from the wrestling world watched as Lesnar made a huge comeback against Steve Carwin. Guys like Stone Cold, Rock, Paul Heyman (Lesnar’s former manager and now closest friend), Jim Ross, and even Bill Goldberg. All those stars gave Lesnar nothing but praise and showed him a great degree of admiration. Lesnar reciprocated and spoke highly of his former colleagues in post-fight interviews. He spoke how those stars in attendance helped push him to the top of the WWE and get his feet wet in the sports entertainment world.
"I got thrown into the entertainment business. I didn't know what I was getting myself into to," said Lesnar. "Those guys are good guys. Those guys elevated me and helped make me what I am today. I wrestled Dwayne [The Rock] and Goldberg, all those guys, they elevated my star status. I was just another guy in WWE. But I showed certain things and they decided to put their rocket on me and launch me to the top of the heap."
Lesnar watched his last WWE match with Boll Goldberg before UFC 116. It sounded like it was more like a high school reunion with all the WWE stars.
There was such a love fest between Lesnar and his former colleagues that it even caught the attention of the UFC president, Dana White. According to this blog post on Yahoo Sports, White said this after the Lesnar/Carwin match: "The Rock was going nuts. They were pretty pumped. It's like one of their own just crossed over into the real fighting and made it.”
Gotta love the "real fighting" part.
A return to the WWE one day?
Lesnar has a long way to go before his career is done in UFC. However, he is 32-years-old and there will come a time he will hang it up with UFC. With all the good relationships he has formed with former WWE stars, could he eventually make his way back to the WWE following his career in UFC? Why not.
If guys like Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart can make returns after bitter fallouts with the company, why not Lesnar? Also, Lesnar can probably still compete at a high level if he was to return to wrestling at the age of 37. Guys like the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels have giving two extraordinary matches the last two years and they’re both in their mid 40s.
If there is one thing that can be said about Vince McMahon, he is a man that loves his money and bringing back former stars that the fans really want to see. Lesnar could fulfill all of that and more. I’m not saying Lesnar should leave his perch in UFC in two years. When the time comes for him to call it a career and he goes home maybe the idea of getting back in the WWE will excite him. I’m not pretending I know anything about the guy, but I am going to assume he runs on energy and emotion. Say what you want about pro-wrestling and the WWE, but you don’t get any more energy and emotion than from a hot WWE crowd.
He wouldn’t have to wrestle a full-time schedule. Instead, something very similar to what the Undertaker has been doing for the past six years. Am I really pushing the envelope on this return? Probably. But there are very few things that excite a wrestling fan more than great matches and shocking moments and that is one hell of a return to the ring.
I picked up these quotes from a Yahoo Sports blog post by Steve Cofield. I gave him credit above, but I just want to pass it on again.