Professional Wrestling. I know what you’re thinking: “That shit’s fake!” “Who wants to watch men in tights fighting each other?” “Go back to talking about superheroes in tights fighting each other!” All of these statements are true. However, I’ve loved wrestling my entire life. From the days of Bret “The Hitman” Hart fighting his turn coat brother, to Stone Cold fighting his evil boss Vince McMahon, even through the cartoonish PG John Cena era. I love wrestling for the same reason I love comic books, the pageantry, the spectacle, the art of it. So make fun of me if you want, tell me you’ll never read my column again, cause riots in the streets, none of that will change the fact that I’m a wrestling fan, and damn proud of it.
All that being said, in all the years I’ve watched wrestling there has never been a more believable badass to grace the squared circle than BROCK LESNAR! Brock made his debut in 2002, and I was an instant fan. A man that size that could move with the kind of explosiveness that Lesnar had was something WWE fans had never seen before. I cheered when he beat The Rock for the WWE Undisputed Championship just 6 months after his debut. I watched his rivalry with Kurt Angle, in awe of the show the two former amateur standouts were able to put on. Alas, his time in WWE was fleeting. The hectic schedule that the company puts on its performers had taken a toll on Lesnar and a mere two years after his debut he quit the WWE. I remember reading about Lesnar trying out for the Minnesota Vikings, being the last man cut even though he hadn’t played football in ten years. So, in 2008 when Lesnar signed with UFC I knew he was going to be successful. His drive and determination are unmatched by mere mortals, and no one in the UFC would be able to stop his rise to the top.
Brock was immediately treated as a main eventer in UFC. Even though he lost to Frank Mir by submission in his debut, Dana White saw the kind of draw Lesnar was and put him in a fluff match before giving him a title shot against Randy Couture, which Lesnar won. At UFC 100 Lesnar defended the title against Frank Mir in what was at the time the most watched PPV in the company’s history. In October 2009, Lesnar almost died from diverticulitis and his fighting career was postponed. Lesnar would return in 2010, but never quite looked the same. Lesnar was knocked down, once a god amongst men, now toiling with mere mortals. That was until April 2nd, 2012 when Lesnar made his triumphant return to WWE. The man who was once a young, unproven powerhouse had been replaced by a grizzled mountain, and a legitimate bad ass.
Since this return, Lesnar has made far fewer appearances than the other wrestlers who share the WWE locker room. He is Vince McMahon’s ultimate trump card. A performer Vince can pull out whenever he needs to boost a rating for RAW or buy rate for a PPV, albeit as long as he’s willing to pay. This was maximized by Lesnar defeating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, ending the legendary undefeated streak the Deadman had at the event. The importance of this moment for Lesnar and the WWE cannot be overstated. Lesnar has been virtually undefeated since then, as WWE only intends on having their next big star slay the beast. Now I’ve told you all this because last month UFC announced that Lesnar would once again enter the Octagon at UFC 200. The WWE’s most protected asset, their most legitimate badass, now has the opportunity to step into a legitimate contest and, potentially, have his ass legitimately knocked out.
I heard this news with excitement and concern. Part of me is excited as a wrestling fan, if Lesnar wins after not fighting for five years it will only enhance his mystique and will help validate the athleticism of the WWE performers to the more casual observers. A larger part of me is concerned. Is my fandom clouding my judgment? Am I buying too much that he is the unstoppable monster that WWE portrays him to be? If Lesnar fights Mark Hunt and looks like a fool than all of the careful planning and work the WWE has put in for three years will be for nothing. The payoff they have been wanting for the man who can beat him will become nonexistent and wrestling will be even more of a laughingstock than it currently is. There’s only three ways this fight can end, and two of them could be catastrophic for pro-wrestling.
The first way this fight could go is that Hunt knocks Lesnar out early in the fight. This result is probably the worst option for WWE. For starters it would destroy any credibility Lesnar has in the eyes of the fans. The Streak ending would have been wasted and WWE would have to decide to build Lesnar back up or move on from him completely. Also, Lesnar is advertised for the company’s second biggest show of the year, Summer Slam, less than a month after UFC 200. No athletic commission in the country would clear Lesnar to wrestle less than a month after being knocked out live on PPV. So WWE would not only lose the appeal Lesnar has built up, they would also lose one of their biggest headline attractions.
The second way this fight could go is Lesnar dominates Hunt and earns a quick decisive victory. This outcome would benefit the WWE in the short term, but could hurt them in the long term. Lesnar has stated many times his disappointment in the way his UFC career ended, and his desire to fight again, even going as far as threatening to leave the WWE in 2014 to return full time. If Lesnar walks into the Octagon and destroys Hunt, this could rekindle the competitive fire inside of him and make him desire to fight full time once again. So while WWE would certainly gain publicity in the months after, they could risk losing one of their most valuable assets.
The third outcome for this fight is Lesnar and Hunt battle for three outstanding rounds and the judges decide the victor. Whether Lesnar wins or loses in this fashion, this could be the best outcome for WWE. The company will gain the credibility and publicity from the fight, and hopefully gain some sort of leverage on Lesnar to stay in the “fake fighting” world of professional wrestling. If Lesnar fights three hard fought rounds, he might realize that the WWE is a much easier pay day for him and stay with the company until he retires from competition completely. After all, everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the mouth, and in the UFC they punch for real.
No matter the outcome WWE is taking a huge risk allowing Lesnar to fight. I’ll be ordering the PPV, cheering for the now 38 year old badass with every inch of me. I think he can and will win and bring new found glory to the WWE, but maybe I’m just another mark.
Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @reimeras or the Fantasy Life App @mrmeseeks. Come back next week, same Clock Dodger Time, same Clock Dodger Channel.