Monday, 28 April 2014

The Conqueror

Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s much celebrated Streak at WrestleMania XXX. You may have missed this. It’s not like ‘Mania was the most watched wrestling event of the year or as if Paul Heyman has mentioned it multiple times during every appearance he’s made since it happened. But that’s the world we’re living in, and it indicates that WWE has plans for Brock Lesnar.

Looking at it logically, how could they not? ‘Taker’s ‘Mania win-loss record was (and arguably still is) one of the most impressive things in wrestling. Handing ‘The Dead Man’ a loss was not something that just anyone was going to do. Whoever ended The Streak, and bear in mind it was at no point a foregone conclusion that anyone would, was going to be someone WWE saw as a significant part of its programming.

And it’s at this point we have to stop and say “Really… Brock Lesnar?” Because although Lesnar is an incredible physical specimen with a marketable look, amazing athletic ability, headline aura, and an (often overlooked) understanding of the wrestling landscape he cannot be described as a company guy. That is, he is not someone WWE can count on being around in five years’ time.

More to the point he is not someone who can be relied upon to be around in one year’s time: his current deal expires shortly after WrestleMania XXXI. Even if he does stick around (and I suspect he’s already agreed to and that’s part of the reason he beat The Streak) he is not somebody who’ll be on TV that often. That’s the nature of his enviable limited dates deal.

And that’s fine. Having Brock Lesnar on television every week misunderstands the appeal of Brock Lesnar. He is not a performer who benefits from being on TV every week. His status is better served making occasional appearances to hype his next match and with those matches being months apart. This way any appearance he makes becomes event in itself, even if he’s doing something as relatively banal as jobbing out 3MB or destroying Mark Henry. In this sense he occupies the same sort of position as The Rock or The Undertaker, someone who appears and wrestles occasionally to make certain shows that bit more significant.

So, on the one hand we have a man who has accomplished arguably the most impressive thing in WWE in ending The Streak, and on the other a man whose appeal is partly that we don’t see him very often. These two things seem to be mutually exclusive. How can WWE capitalise on giving ‘The Beast’ such a massive victory and bragging point if he’s not around to be capitalised upon?

Well, they’ve got Heyman. He’s been talking up the accomplishment and will continue to do so for some time to come. That’s a good thing, but it only goes so far. Really, all Heyman can do is talk about it. Yes, it’s something worth talking about within the bubble of wrestling logic, but sooner or later Lesnar has to actually do something to show that he is the unstoppable, dominating ‘Conqueror’ we’re being told he is and that defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania was really only just the beginning of his reign of supremacy.

The natural thing to do is to have Lesnar become WWE champion. This would not be some huge, landscape-redefining event. Title wins are rarely that these days. But it would continue to build Lesnar’s credibility and aura and set up some killer matches. Obviously the first would be with Daniel Bryan, a match that currently seems like the obvious SummerSlam main event. And how could it not? After spending months regaining the title Bryan is settled in for a lengthy title run in which he will overcome various intimidating challengers (the first of which is to be a remonsterised Kane). After a spring and summer of Bryan fighting valiantly to keep hold of his title the perfect man to unleash upon him as The Ultimate Challenge (WWE should feel free to use that as a tag line for ‘The Hottest Event of the Summer’) would be Brock Lesnar.

I'd put my money on this man being the next WWE champion.
Lesnar v Bryan would be a tremendous match. Lesnar defences against Cena, Triple H, Orton, Batista and Roman Reigns could all be made to work (whether the last should or not is another kettle of fish), and it’s possible CM Punk will be back for the return engagement he never got. Smart hoarding of the limited dates and strategic deployment of Paul Heyman, which is a standard thing at this point anyway, could allow Lesnar to have a reign stretching into 2015.

Planned properly they could construct another WrestleMania around Daniel Bryan and do a SummerSlam rematch in which he regains the gold from ‘The Beast’. That could be another Career Point for him and would equal the Bryan-Lesnar score at one all. A third match could up the buys of a B-show or be held off until SummerSlam.

There are four special events (hey, they’re not pay-per-views anymore!) between SummerSlam and the end of the year. That’s four dates off Lesnar’s contract. Adding one RAW appearance between each match to get him to interact with his latest foe would take him to eight. That’s not too ridiculous for four months of TV, not to mention something that would reinvigorate the legitimacy of the title (as much as that matters in 2014) and increase interest in WWE from casual and non-fans. It’s an approach I think would benefit WWE greatly. How could having a man like Brock Lesnar as champion not?

Right now it’s not just Bryan and Lesnar headlining SummerSlam that looks obvious. It’s also Lesnar being the next WWE champion.


  1. I think it would be awesome and make perfect sense for Lesnar to get the WWE title at Summerslam, beat challengers like Cena, Orton, Batista and lose it to Reigns at WM 31. If Reigns cant be the guy to break the streak, let him conquer the monster that did.

    1. That could work very nicely. I'd enjoy it.