When Brock Lesnar made his WWE return in April of 2012 following an 8 year hiatus from Pro Wrestling, many fans including myself were excited to see him back. When he walked out to the ring at the end of RAW the night after WrestleMania 28 to confront WWE’s top star John Cena, it had everyone excited. He came out and offered John Cena his hand but not to shake it, he gave him a thunderous F5 instead. He dropped Cena and symbolically kicked his hat out of the ring as Michael Cole told us the landscape has changed. This was the set up for one of my personal favorite matches in the history of the WWE. Brock Lesnar and John Cena had a match at Extreme Rules and it was simply put epic. The story those two told in the ring was unlike anything i’d seen previously. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just different and in the best possible way. Brock Lesnar ended up losing that match and i thought that was a big mistake. No, not a mistake that he lost to Cena but that he was in that position in the first place. Let me explain…
When we first heard rumors of Lesnar returning to the WWE, i had it all figured out in my mind. He would come back to reclaim his throne at the top of the WWE. How would he get there? He’d wreak havoc on the entire roster. That’s how. The story is simple. He’s done everything he wanted to do as an “Ultimate Fighter” and now he’s back for unfinished business. He wants to be the top dog, but he’s told he needs to prove himself again. So everything he does during his rise has great consequence. How does the former UFC champion get to the top? He tears through every WWE superstar that gets in his way. Who’s waiting for him at the top? Who could possibly stop the beast dead in his tracks? The Undertaker. Sure, John Cena is a viable opponent too but following the confrontation at a UFC event that was seen by over 5 and a half million people the match with Undertaker seemed so right.
There were some old rumors that i can remember dating back to 2010 of a possible Undertaker/Brock Lesnar match at a future WrestleMania, but it never happened likely due to Dana White shooting it down. Now we’ve got the match but it feels a bit dated at this point, and if that isn’t bad enough the WWE, you know the guys who have full control over their stories and finishes have been dropping the ball all along the way. When i first heard of this match finally happening i was filled with excitement, i could hardly contain myself because i was finally going to get to see this match i’ve waited a long time to see. No it’s not the first meeting of these two, but it is the first meeting at a WrestleMania and had they mixed in a little reality into the story such as the UFC confrontation it’s very intriguing. Not to mention, Undertaker is a huge MMA fan a likes to incorporate MMA moves in his repertoire so when you mix that with Lesnar’s style it makes for a great match on paper. Only we didn’t get any of that “intriguing” build.
The Undertaker made his yearly return on the February 24th edition of RAW. He came out got face to face with Brock Lesnar and when it came time for him to sign the contract he simulated stabbing Lesnar in the hand with the pen and chokeslammed him through a table. Not the worst way to start the build to WrestleMania assuming Lesnar is going to get his heat back. In the past month we haven’t seen Lesnar get the upperhand on the Undertaker. Instead, Undertaker gets the last word and Lesnar acts as if he’s in fear of him. Not the best way to hype the match when the streak is on the line and we all know that Undertaker is going to win the match. I praised WWE last week for adding the stip to the Bryan/Hunter match where no matter what the World Title match was going to be a Triple Threat and that there’s a chance that Hunter could get added to the match. It creates doubt to the audience that the so obvious finish isn’t so obvious anymore. Sure, Bryan is more than likely going to end Mania as champ but that’s not so easy to see among a lot of fans who DON’T follow the business closely.
The WWE has had the full opportunity to make Lesnar look credible and instill doubt that Undertaker’s streak this year might finally be in real jeopardy. But they haven’t sold anyone on that. Why is that? Is it because Vince/Triple H don’t want the former “Ultimate Fighter” to look tough? Is it because they don’t want him to have more of an edge going into the match than say a Triple H who faced Undertaker 2 years in a row (3 times total) at WrestleMania? I wrote on twitter last night that with the way Lesnar has been booked since his return, it’s almost as if Vince brought him back to suck the star power from the once monsterous box office draw that played a part in making UFC filthy rich. My worst nightmare about Brock Lesnar has come true. He’s simply just another guy on the roster, only he isn’t around all the time and no you can’t just have him plow through the biggest stars because he isn’t a full time guy but you also can’t have him just lost a majority of the time either. I don’t think Lesnar cares if he wins or loses as long as he’s getting paid, but WWE has left a tremendous amount of money on the table to prove their point of UFC guys aren’t tougher than WWE guys. The amount of money that could have been made with Lesnar putting the top stars in jeopardy, but losing some of the time in a close competitive sports like contests is gone. Much like WWE did a lot of wrong and a lot of damage with Daniel Bryan, the same can be said for Brock Lesnar on a different level. The mystique is gone and with one week left to sell this match to a large audience, WWE certainly has their work cut out for them. Problem is, it’s more than likely too late to correct course on this one and thats a damn shame.