The Stomping Ground: The Brock Lesnar Situation
by Mike Gojira on April 12, 2012

Brock Lesnar. His very name sends shivering orgasms through Scott Keith’s body (have you read the guy’s reviews lately?). From the moment news leaked of his impending return, the IWC immediately responded with both negative and positive arguments in regards to the impact he’ll have on the business. This week I’ve decided to cover both sides of the story to enlighten you, the reader, as to the situation we now find ourselves in. NOTE: None of what follows is my opinion; this is simply a non-biased report.

Is Brock’s return to the WWE good for business in the long run, or will his short-term deal ultimately alienate more fans by the time Wrestlemania XXIX rears itself?

1. “Brock Lesnar is back! My eyes are now firmly glued to the TV just to see what happens next!”
The initial interest in Brock occurred the moment he walked to the ring two weeks ago and demolished John Cena. That fervor continued into this past Monday thanks to the brawl that erupted at the start of the program. Speculation is that this seems to be McMahon’s way of trying to get mainstream coverage, what with his direct acknowledgement of UFC and the “realism” of the brawl. One could argue that the close-ups of Cena’s mangled lip along with the constant utterance of the word “legitimacy” is Vince’s cry for attention to the media. Besides, if this short-term engagement works out in both parties’ favor, it could be an invitation for Brock to stick around longer or for other former talent to return.

2. “Wow, Brock’s going right after Cena! I can’t wait to order Extreme Rules!”
The smartest move the company has made so far is to have the audience wait until the next PPV to have Lesnar wrestle, and the best way to improve buy rates is to have him go after the top dog. It remains to be seen what the ‘E does with this feud over the next two weeks.

3. “Brock’s return means that a lot of the guys in the back need to step up their game in order to be noticed, which is a win-win for wrestling fans.”
A recurring concern that the dirt sheets continue to bring up is that of dissent in the locker room from guys who are lower on the card. One could argue that the guys in the back should take this as an invitation to improve what they do in the ring and on the mic to prove they belong with the main eventers. All that remains is for the booking team to give them the time to showcase said abilities.

1. “Brock’s only here until Wrestlemania XXIX. That’s not going to help the business in the long-term.”
Currently, Brock’s deal is set for under 40 appearances from now until Wrestlemania. In that time, the WWE hopes to get a few marquee match-ups out of the big man before his contract is up. The questions on the minds of many naysayers are: what happens after his time is up? Do things go back to the way they were? Just how effective will his presence be if he has a “hit-and-run” mentality?

2. “Putting Brock up against Cena now is a bad idea. They should have fed some other guys to him first. The next logical step for Lesnar after this Cena business is CM Punk, right? Is everyone just going to be fed to the former WWE Champion?”
Having Cena face Lesnar at the beginning of his year-long sojourn means the WWE is throwing their ace out the window, because there is no one bigger than John Cena in the company. The next logical step is for Lesnar to battle CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Another concern is that Lesnar will dominate the workers throughout the company and then leave next year, making them all look like chumps.

3. “Brock’s appearance mirrors The Rock’s, except magnified by 100. With Lesnar sticking around for a whole year, the undercard will get no love. Look at what happened on Raw. We saw a lot of guys just pop in for a quick cameo and the main focus was once again Cena and Lesnar.”
The lower card always draws the short straw, but now things will be even worse for midcarders who were getting pushes and are now on the back burner. Take Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, for example. Ziggler is jobbing to Brodus Clay and Miz hasn’t done anything remarkable since winning for his team at Wrestlemania.

MY Thoughts
You all know where I’m going with this: wait and see. So many of us go right for the pessimistic approach, preferring to let ourselves down now rather than allow the WWE to spoil the moment as they often do. Others are immediately optimistic to the point of rabid fanaticism and refuse to see any negativity in this endeavor. I like to just take in and enjoy what’s going on as an observer (I suppose much like on Fringe) and I’ll reserve my judgment for the aftershocks.

But you already knew that about me, right? ;)

Sound off in the comments below and let me know if you think Brock’s deal is good or bad for the business.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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  • Ryan Alarie

    The logical way to use Brock:

    Have him do some brief stuff, and then just recap his appearances during the off weeks (since he’s got like 2 appearance per month type of contract). He doesn’t take up a lot of time (especially if he’s only wrestling on PPV), so the idea is to use the attention he brings to showcase the other talent, and hopefully hook people long term.

    Similarly, use his PPV appearances to boost buyrates on the off brand PPVs, and again, showcase talent.

    As far as who to have him go up against? That is the harder part. If he’s only wrestling on PPV, they don’t want him to lose too early. They could try to extend some of the feuds past one match (say that he does go after Punk in month two, maybe their match ends in a DQ, which leads to a rematch in month 3). It’s also possible that Punk may lose his title, have a match against Lesnar on PPV, and then go back to working to reclaim his title. Lesnar is working as a bit of a heel at the moment, so the pay off may be for him to lose to some up and comer part way through the year (perhaps at Summerslam), although he could get his win back. The endgame is likely to give Taker his 21st win, as it would be a different ‘style’ of streak match than the last four, especially if Brock is basically a disrespectful jerk going into the match, compared to DX’s reverence for the Taker in their build.

    As far as potential opponent’s … if Cody gets his IC title back from the Big Show, another Brock/Show match could be fun, as they actually did some fun stuff in the past. They could go the nostaligia route, and have Brock renew some old rivalries (although apart from Show, Cena and Taker, I can’t really think of any on the roster). Also, Orton has been doing nothing for a while with Kane. A match with Brock wouldn’t be putting him back in the title picture, but it would be something to do. Sheamus is also the kind of character that would like a crack at Brock, perhaps after he loses his title.

    Even in losing to Brock, some faces on the roster could get themselves a bit of extra toughness cred for hanging in there with him. And Cena at least, but maybe some other faces, could afford to get the sympathy boost from getting their ass kicked once in a while.

  • Mike Gojira

    I’m not sure how well getting one’s ass kicked to garner sympathy will really help a face these days. Sure, Zack Ryder gets a lot of sympathy, but he’s currently treated like a tool and his push is going nowhere at the moment. He got his ass kicked by Kane for well over a month and was treated like shit by Eve, and yet it’s done nothing for his career other than stall it.

  • Ryan Alarie

    Well, the problem with Ryder is that they never gave him a chance to take advantage of the sympathy. After getting beat up by Kane repeatedly, being embarassed and dumped by Eve, losing his US title, etc … he just disappeared off TV entirely.

    And THEN, he got back together with Eve for NO apparent reason. Eve was still playing the heel, teaming with Beth at Wrestlemania, but was also simultaneously part of Team Teddy and “turned heel” on Zack a second time.

    So, the whole “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” thing applies. Now, instead of getting sympathy, people see him as an idiot for going back to the OBVIOUSLY EVIL Eve, who screwed him over a second time. Also, he didn’t even try to go after Kane OR Swagger. And hell, his reason for being on Team Teddy wasn’t “I want to make sure Johnny doesn’t become GM, he cost me my US title, he did nothing to stop Kane from killing me, he forced me to compete while injured, etc, etc, etc”. Nope, it was just another “I want to be on TV” thing.

    So basically, the character seemed to just completely ignore and forget the whole period of getting his ass kicked (and his heart stomped on). So, the audience either forgets about it, and the net effect is zero, or the audience remembers, and thinks that this guy must be an idiot to not really be upset at all about being put into traction by Kane, and to still be head over heels for this chick that broke his heart and has put zero effort into making it seem like she’s actually changed.

    Complete failure to properly capitalize or execute an angle that would garner sympathy is not proof that it cannot be done.

    In the case of Cena/Rock, and Cena/Brock … Cena has pretty much always been on the losing end so far. Cena kept getting Rock Bottomed during the build, ended up losing, and now Cena keeps getting F-5’d. Seeing cracks in the Super-Cena armor (and Cena actually selling that he’s seriously angry instead of bemused) has made Cena interesting for the first time in years.

  • Cowardleader

    I’m really getting tired of wrestlers(kayfabe) forgetting why their in a fued. Only Punk and Jericho seem to remember,”Oh hey, That’s the guy who poored beer all over my head.” Why can’t Zak and Miz get pissed and fight, anyway? Oh and YES YES YES !

  • Mike Gojira

    I assume they weren’t out there because their feud is supposed to be “personal” now instead of just over a belt and a claim to be the best. Can’t have two bitter brawls break out at the same time, now can we?

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