Brock Lesnar: Should the Beast really be considered as the G.O.A.T? King Of The Ring and Wrestling Royalty co-founder Andy Spoors seeks to answer one of the biggest questions dominating this weekend’s WrestleMania landscape.
As soon as that reverberating electric guitar note screeches, signalling the entrance of Brock Lesnar, every fan, whether at home or live in the audience, knows one thing. Business is about to pick up.
The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, has been dividing the WWE Universe for close to two decades since bursting on to the main roster. Like him or loathe him, win or lose, one thing that cannot be disputed, you will be talking about him after the show.
Such is the faith WWE has in Lesnar, an entire episode of the spectacular Ruthless Aggression documentary series on the WWE Network focuses on his emergence and the absolute dominance he displayed in that period. There are multiple arguments why Lesnar is bad for business and there are just as many for why he should be considered as one of the all-time greats.
The thing people forget, by and large because of the impact he had, is that Lesnar’s first stint in WWE lasted two years. After winning the King Of The Ring tournament, the Royal Rumble match, capturing the WWE Undisputed Championship and main event in WrestleMania all within his first year, Lesnar’s reign of dominance was spectacular. That list of accomplishments is more than the vast majority of Superstars will ever achieve in their lifetime, let alone in 12 months.
But it wasn’t just the titles. It’s the scalps of legends and future Hall of Famers that makes Lesnar even more frightening. The Hardy Boyz, The Rock, The Undertaker, The Big Show, Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan. A who’s who in sports entertainment. But after growing weary of the stresses and strains of life on the road and a relentless schedule, Lesnar quit the business in search of something else. Impressing in NFL try-outs for the Minnesota Vikings and capturing the UFC Heavyweight Championship, The Beast disappeared from WWE television for eight years before returning in 2012.
This seems to be where Lesnar’s fractious relationship with parts of the WWE Universe begins. There’s a resentment that someone so obviously talented could walk away from everything and then one day return. It didn’t seem to sit right with some. Furthermore, a heavily reduced schedule, often referred to as ‘part time’, is construed as not caring for the business.
Title shot after title shot seemed to follow, as well as a then record-breaking run as WWE Champion. But do the cold hard facts get in the way of a great story? Since his return to the company, Lesnar has competed in 42 PPV matches, winning 29 of them. Sure, a 69% success rate is impressive, but probably on a par with the likes of Stone Cold or The Undertaker or even Hulk Hogan in his 80s pomp.
Title wise, Lesnar doesn’t touch Randy Orton or Triple H when it comes to the number of Championship reigns. He hasn’t held either of the US or Intercontinental Championships. He’s barely been in tag matches, let alone claimed the Tag Team Championships. Hell, even Stone Cold was a four-time Tag Champion with four different partners. Brock is box office or bust.
Since 2012, he has competed at seven WrestleManias, main eventing only two. Much less than Roman Reigns. His win ratio on the biggest stage? 57%. Were he to lose to Drew McIntyre in a few days’ time he literally has a 50/50 chance of winning at WrestleMania.
Addressing the rumours of Lesnar’s huge salary and limited appearance contract, it is worth pointing out, no one went gunning for Sting, Goldberg, Ric Flair and the rest of the WCW roster that took huge salaries when the company folded to stay at home. If someone offered you the chance to stay at home with your family, in the comfort of your own surroundings, enjoying your hobbies and only work when absolutely needed, would you turn it down?
Infrequent appearances mean others need to step up and fill the void left by the champion. Quite frankly, looking at the way fans easily turn on Superstars that work every week and every WWE PPV such as Reigns, Rollins or Cena, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Lesnar is a self-confessed loner, he lives in the mountains of North America, hunting and fishing with family. He’s not the guy that does chat shows or media appearances. He won’t stop for photos or do autograph sessions at Axxess when WrestleMania rolls into town.
It’s easy to counter argue all the above points, but when you boil it down there is only one question that really matters. Is he really that good to be worth the fans’ backlash? Well the answer is, of course, subjective but when someone like The Undertaker agrees to let you be the one to break his infamous Mania streak, or you’re the guy that Vince McMahon calls on when the chips are down, you must be doing something right.
The truth of the matter is, Lesnar is one of the most athletically gifted Superstars to ever compete for the WWE. A big guy that can move as fast as a cruiserweight. A suplexing machine that can say more by keeping his mouth shut and letting his advocate, Paul Heyman, become a personal hype man. When Lesnar steps in the ring, his pedigree in mixed martial arts, combined with his physical stature, gives him something that you can’t learn. Legitimacy.
You genuinely believe Lesnar could inflict pain on any opponent at any time. It’s the reason Andre The Giant was such an attraction. Brock can and has hurt opponents. Randy Orton’s skull was cracked open when Brock removed his MMA style gloves. The Undertaker was rushed to hospital following their match at WrestleMania 30. John Cena’s arm was messed up in a Street Fight match with The Beast.
The reaction that erupted around Minute Maid Park when he was eliminated from the Royal Rumble match by McIntyre, proved just how much of a surprise it was to the entire WWE Universe. It’s the same reaction anytime Lesnar loses.
Heyman once coined the nickname ‘The Next Big Thing’ and was ridiculed for doing so. The nickname may have been apt back in 2002, but in 2020 surely there can be no doubt Brock Lesnar is now just the best.
Tune in to the WWE Network this weekend to find out if The Beast can maintain his dominance, or if the UK will be celebrating their first WWE Champion in Drew McIntyre when the pair clash at WrestleMania.
*King Of The Ring Andy Spoors will be live on Facebook from 8pm tonight. Check out the Wrestling Royalty Facebook page for more details.