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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Rise & Fall Of Brock Lesnar
July 7, 2005 by Joe L.


Joe L.: I'm sure you've heard of this guy: one of the most purely athletic WWE Champions in history, the future of this business and the man that has carried the SMACKDOWN in its shoulders. Do you know who it is?

A Mark: You must be talking about The Rock. The Rock was a huge draw, he was one of the driving forces behind the organization and people loved him inside and outside the ring.

A 2nd Mark: No, no, no...it's Kurt Angle. He is arguably one of the greatest athletes in the world and he made the likes of Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio look like credible threats to his title reign.

A 3rd Mark: Wait a tick, you must mean Eddie Guerrero. He might not have been a huge success story but he defended his title like a proud champion and always put up a hell of a show.

Joe L: What about Brock Lesnar?

All Marks: Brock Lesnar? That Shmo? F**k him! Even JBL is better than him.

The conversation I had made up pretty much describes the ongoing situation between Brock Lesnar and his relationship with the WWE. How art the mighty have fallen: from being an athletic SMACKDOWN champion to ridiculing in several failed attempts to play in the NFL. Brock has always been one of my favorite wrestlers on the roster as he (not Bam Bam or even Mike Awesome) was the most athletic big man in this sport. But success had gone to his head and felt that he should be treated like a true champion, not a guy who has to work harder than anybody. Things would've been a lot more positive about Brock if he had not whine about how he had to travel to every house show without any privacy. Or complain about the situation he was in due to the creative team. Or the fact that he spent his money on a private jet. Or belief that he should be paid more than anyone on the roster.

In other words, Brock Lesnar's major downfall was his inability to act like a true champion, act like an obedient worker, or even act like an adult. Brock's "spoiled-brat" agenda turned his career upside down completely. And that's just before his attempts to go to the NFL. That would be where the real disaster began.

Brock was brought to the WWE after his training OVW and was pushed as the unstoppable monster that could not be beat. After years of pushing big men being a total failure, this one actually worked. Brock won the WWE Undisputed title from the Rock at SummerSlam 2002 to a standing ovation, rather than monotonous groans from the audience. He was forced to be put in the feud with the Undertaker and even though the Undertaker made him look like a paper champion, Brock was completely over as a monster. So over, he was turned face and had excellent battles with Kurt Angle and carried the Big Show to some good brawls. He even main event at his first WrestleMania. Later on, Brock would turn heel, which should've been the time where his stardom was to be elevated.

But instead most of the focus went to the McMahon’s and that's where Brock Lesnar's ego started to boil inside his head. Although the McMahon’s were thankfully gone from television, Brock was becoming less tolerable and more of an egotist. How else to explain about a guy who "threatened to kill anyone who supplies information through the Internet?" or the man who regretted jobbing to Eddie Guerrero, saying it would do bad to his career? If anything, it might've made him even more important to the business, especially since Guerrero and Lesnar's match at No Way Out 2004 was a superb wrestling bout.

He then voiced major complaints about the travelling schedule or the ways he was being booked. The ball was then dropped big time when he announced his quitting of his WWE career...five days before WrestleMania XX!!! What the hell was he thinking? If he had made the announcement after WMXX, it would be one thing but doing so, five days before WMXX and with all the negativity he's been spooning about is not a way to go out in good terms.

And who could ever forget about the anti-classic between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX? Heckled big time by a New York audience that made Philadelphia look weak, Brock looked completely lost and confused over the reaction of the crowd. From "You Sold Out" to "This Match Sucks", to say that Brock was feeling small inside would be an understatement. So after his departure, he decided to set his sight on football.

It has been over a year and he has yet to make it to the football league. On top of it all, his attitude towards the WWE has dramatically changed. One day in 2004, he talked about how wrestling was fake and that he wasn't prepared and went as far as throwing a huge temper tantrum when teased about it. He attempted to return to the WWE, wanting more pay but he made a huge error: he signed a contract that has prohibited him from wrestling not only in the WWE but also elsewhere in the world including Japan. This sent Brock in an uproar and in a stupid moment, file a lawsuit at the WWE where he is pretty much likely to lose in. Well, so much for that comeback.

Now all of a sudden, he wants to return to the company that he defamed and put everything behind him. If he wants to reconcile his mistakes, then good for him. But what makes him believe that he will maintain the equal amount of respect that he received prior to his quitting? If he came back, everyone will probably look at Brock with either disgust or just ignore him. Anyone who has given their condolences to the NCAA veteran will reconsider their notion. Anyone who was greatly upset over Brock's action in the aftermath of his release will be displeased to hear that a guy who dissed the one promotion that made him one of the biggest stars on the roster is backed into changing his wrestling gear in the same room they're in.

People will bash me for saying that I hate Brock but I don't. Was I thrilled that he declared his retirement from wrestling? Of course, not. Words could not describe how angry I was to see Brock leave wrestling and realize the motivations that backed up his claim. To say I was appalled would be a serious understatement. Brock Lesnar failed to realize what he had: he had an extremely valuable contract, he had the wrestling physique that was nearly unsurpassable, he was one of the top heels in the promotion and he was the WWE Champion for more than four months. He was treated with dignity and respect by the locker room. But instead of benefiting from it, he felt the need of having more respect, more dignity, more money and less working in his career. What Brock failed to realize is that when you're a champion, you're supposed to defend the WWE title every night in house shows. Even HHH defended his belt in house shows a lot. As for more money, sorry, Brock, this is a wrestling company, not a deposit bank. You can't always have what you want. You had everything most wrestlers didn't have and you threw it all out in a remarkable display of stupidity.

Look, I'm not going to take away Brock Lesnar's athleticism and personal childhood history. Hell, I even wrote a review on this website about his DVD and I enjoyed it a lot. The guy was also a former NCAA Champion for Christ' Sakes. But for all the RAW wrestlers he has squashed, for all the Hulk Hogans and the Rocks he has choked out, for all the classic ****1/4 bouts with Kurt Angle and for all his desire to play in the football league, it will be Brock Lesnar's childish behavior and ignorance about wrestling that'll dominate his legacy, as well as it should.

The WWE did not screw Brock Lesnar for their mishandling of him. Brock Lesnar screwed himself by taking every credential that he once contained and threw it all in the garbage because of his disrespect towards wrestling and the company that gave him everything no champion could ever buy.

by Joe L. --- [View Joe L's Column Index]..


Anthony Tirado wrote:
Sure, I, as I bet millions and millions of other wrestling fans, hold a bitterness toward him for what he did, and for the show he and Bill Goldberg chose to put on at Wrestlemania (probably the biggest waste of TV time in WWE PPV history )........but think about it, you're young, highly talented, with a body bigger than Hulk Hogan's ego (he's my all-time favorite wrestler, but c'mon let's be serious....).....basically, Brock was a young man with everything it took to dominate the business, and noticing his impact and realizing his own strength and/or potential, he grew more and more confident of himself, so much that his confidence soon grew into an ego of which was fed more and more with every day he performed as the most dominant figure the WWE had ever seen, ruling the Smackdown! show and roster with an iron fist, even over ring veterans like The Undertaker, and Brock's about half his age.....you mean to tell me that after accomplishing what he had throughout his short WWE stint, your head wouldn't be the size of a Goodyear blimp as well? He just had a meeting with Vince in the WWE offices and from his interview on WWE.com, he claims to have matured and reformed his ways, which I choose to partly believe, considering the story of his rise, demise and resurrection is similar to many of sports' top athletes, and basically, it's just the pattern of life.....I say we give the poor guy one more shot.........I think he and Vince are ready to work out a new WWE contract deal, so America.....world....i never thought I'd say this again, but once again, one way or another, Brock's ready to make a return to the squared circle, so HERE COMES THE PAIN!!!!!!!
sccaldwell wrote:
I liked your column on Brock Lesnar, I think that the WWE should approach his return with some trepidation. Granted Brock is a great althlete and he has the potential to be so much more. But you do not go into a career like wrestling without knowing that the travel will be brutal, the pay is some what less than what you want, and the fact that you are going to be under the microscope that the public puts you in is a cold hard truth. The wrestlers that came before him all had to do the same things. The veterans DROVE themselves to all their shows. They played to house shows that were somewhere between a walk in the park and a walk in a dangerous part of town. You never heard these men and women bellyache about how bad thay had it. THEY DID THEIR JOBS!!!!!!! I have been a fan of this sport for the better part of 30 years. Over the years I have seen that if a wrestler suddenly turns on the sport and quits from his federation, he/she is suddenly not in the media at all. No one will have anything to do with them. If Brock is not carefull how he approaches this he will alienate himself from the men and women in the locker room(That is where you need to have friends). Watch what you do Brock. The fans and the "boys in back" do not forgive easily.
Jay Tusch wrote:
If Brock is more humble and mature as he claims to be, maybe taking a shot at the NFL was the right decision after all. Maybe he learned that his athleticism can’t carry him forever. That may even have a positive effect on him in the ring, as he probably learned that a month of NFL training camp is just as brutal on a person’s body as a month of wrestling.

I remember clips of him on SportsCenter. Maybe he was humbled by the fact that there were men outweighing him by fifty pounds, but still had strength, quickness, and agility. He looked short and stocky compared to some of those 6’5, 330 pound offensive tackles. Maybe he was humbled by the fact that he didn’t make the Vikings’ roster. Maybe Randy Moss yelled at him and made him cry. I don’t know, but whatever it was, I can’t see his NFL experience being bad for him. He didn’t get hurt, he was doing something that obviously kept him in shape, and it might have reinvigorated his passion for professional wrestling.

Maybe he learned that traveling wasn’t so bad, as players in NFL training camp"besides for preseason games"rarely get to leave their facilities. From the start of their morning practice at 8 until their last meeting at 10 at night, NFL players are under total control of the coaches.

It’s obvious Vince is a forgiving McMahon. He forgave Hogan after the steroid fiasco. He forgave Austin for taking his ball and going home. He forgave the Ultimate Warrior more than enough times. Hell, he even forgave Superstar Billy Graham, who pretty much tried to bury the company at one point. For McMahon, forgiving Brock Lesnar will be money in the bank (pun intended).

Maybe Brock just needed to step back and smell the roses. Maybe he’ll even hit a shooting star press this time.
Steven Pettigrew wrote:
What the hell do people be thinkingwhen they say something bad about lesnars wrestlings skills, I can take it when people say he sold out but for gods sake lesnar is the best wrestler WWE have seen in years.

His mic skills are fine, he does easily about 14 or 15 moves a match if not more.their is not a lot of ameture wrestler backround and if their is they are nothing like lesnar, like Angle, he is a great mat wrestler but lesnar is exactly the same but with much much more power and ability. His finisher in ovw was a shooting star press. I find that amazing, how many wrestlers can do that move at all and lesnar is like over 250 pounds. He wrestles like an ameture wrestler then out of nowere a monster triple powerbomb. He manhandles anyone, people say Batista is better, i think you must be blind, if batista had a match with Big Show it would be a piece of crap. Lesnar destroys anyone , he f5 the Big Show no problem and suplex and belly to belly, thats hard enough to do to a light weight but to do it to the Big Show is something else. Remember Batista against Viscera? He was clotheslining him then gave him the crapest looking spinebuster i have ever seen. Lesnar would have anything he wanted because lesnar is the best. And people say he left and should not be aloud to return, what about when Batista lied about his age, the so called future of evolution is 39. He will retire before Triple H so I dont really know what thats all about.

At the end of the day though I realy hate the two champs at the moment and we need lesnar to get the title holders to be noticed again for their wrestling skills and not their size or their lame rapping gimicks.
Patrick Wilson Erese wrote:
We might want to forget the past about Brock's "rise and fall". Why don't we keep updated about that since Brock has once again entered negotiations with the WWE. At least give him a chance. He was not matured enough though before but think about the contributions he has made on WWE. At least he has carried the name of the business. He's greater than JBL.
John Zurick wrote:
“Even HHH defended his belt in house shows a lot.” Why did you have to take a perfectly well written article and deface it by throwing yet another internet jab at HHH? I’d like to see someone submit an article on all the sacrifices made and good accomplished by HHH, rather than focus on internet rumors spread by the unsuccessful and the jealous. I’d like to see it, but since it’s not “cool” to respect HHH, I won’t hold my breath.
Phreak811 wrote:
Okay I wanna say I was reading this and the view points at the end. Then some schmo that wants to do unspeakable things to HHH comes on and whines about his man not getting a pop for sacrificing. Okay fine he did. But haven't they all. However one man went above and beyond for the buisness. Owen Hart DIED doing what he loved. If you ask me thats one hell of a sacrifice. RIP Owen Hart.....may he live in the hearts and minds of all wrestling fans forever. Now outside of that HHH has sacrificed much. So has Steve Williams.....and HBK.....and Terry Hogan.....and Mark Calloway.....And Kurt Angle.....and so many more I cannot list. Hell poor Mick Foley isn't even himself half the time cause of all the bumps hes taken. Sometimes I have heard he can't even remeber his own childrens names. When you go into the business though....one like that you know your going to sacrifice so lets not give them praise for something they know they are going to have to do. It was their choice. Everyone in the business does it and those that don't.....Lesnar....Hassan.....well they don't last long. Some I agree sacrifice more than others but they all do. Don't toot somones horn for something EVERYONE does eh?
Rohan (California) wrote:
I Rohan from California and being an fan of wreslting since I was in 7 years old and still watching wrestling with all my heart every week. My all time favorites was Rock, Austin until few years ago.

When Brock Lesnar stepped into the ring with an storm and an attitude that he had, he stole my heart and actually I became his fan and very huge fan of Brock Lesnar. Even if he was heel or face in the business I was still his fan and will be his fan forever.

RISE AND FALL : I think Brock Lesnar never fell or never will fall in the BUSINESS of wrestling because he is the youngest WWE champion in history until Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit and became the second youngest WWE champoin.

Brock Lesnar is different and will be remaining different from each wrestler at the locker room of WWE, because he is the guy who became 3 times WWE champion in few short years that not many other wrestler can do.

Brock is totally Classic in that ring and his moves and his evilish styles and looks and moves are all show stealers, believe me Brock was a show stealer.

Batista can be big enough, but we can see it by now that how big Batista and how famous Batista is in this business "Just Holding The Championship belt" once and his match at WRESTLEMANIA against HHH was full of crap. I was watching that main event match when Batista became the Champion by defeating HHH, it was all boring match and people were sitting quite and waiting when this will over.

For Brock, match, it was way better and different than any match that Batista had or will have because Brock always had an different way of even coming into that ring, people knew that this night will be a different actions by Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar demands more money from WWE, in some way I think he was right probably he knew that he is getting less paid than other wrestlers or he thought that an Champion should get paid more. Probably he didn't get paid much as HHH or past champions was getting paid.

Thats a ll I have to say, Brock is great and pure wrestler and will be forever. I just wish he comes back!
Tarek wrote:
I have to say that although I would agree with about 90% of it everyone seems to be missing something very key about this wrestler. Sure he was built, sure he was intense, sure he was great in ring and yes had some very classic matches but he was appauling on the mic. I mean one of the worst mic men ever given a push who wasnt a foreigner or limited by a gimmick. Lets call it the way it is this is Sports and Entertainment, in the sports area he was top notch and in the in ring entertaining he was also great but in terms of promos, mic work and charisma he was below par.
Harold of Michigan wrote:
Well I for one wished he come back! A lot of wrestlers have made mistakes as well and have been let back into the wwe. He is my all time favorite wrestler besides Hulk Hogan of course but I still always hope a mends can be made and he returns for he truly would be "The Next Big Thing" . Thank you
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