4 Superstars Brock Lesnar refused to wrestle & 3 that didn't want to fight him
Brock Lesnar is an enigma, a once-in-a-generation pro wrestler with a combination of great physique, menacing presence, and incredible athletic ability. Over the years, we've found out that Lesnar does what Lesnar wants to do. He plays by his own rules and always looks out for his interest first.
But there's no denying that he knows what sells in pro wrestling, and he has put on some fantastic feuds over the years. But The Beast Incarnate's insistence on playing by his own rules has reportedly caused a few potential feuds to not happen in WWE. While the brutality that Lesnar inflicts on his opponents may have also caused a few WWE Superstars to not accept a match against him.
Here, let's take a look at the four superstars Brock Lesnar refused to wrestle & three that didn't want to fight him:
Jinder Mahal (Brock Lesnar refused)
Much to everyone's surprise, Jinder Mahal won the coveted WWE Championship from Randy Orton at Backlash 2017. The reason behind the surprising decision was simple: having an Indian champion ahead of the company's India tour. As WWE Champion, The Modern Day Maharaja was supposed to face then-Universal Champion Lesnar in a Champion vs. Champion match at that year's Survivor Series pay-per-view.
However, Jinder lost the championship to AJ Styles in Manchester, England, mere days before the show. The decision was quite puzzling, as the India tour was still a month away, and making Jinder lose the title so close to the tour wasn't wise. As per Dave Meltzer, the reason behind Styles replacing Mahal was that The Beast refused to work with the Modern Day Maharaja:
"You know why they did that? Because Brock did not want to work with him [Jinder Mahal]," revealed Dave Meltzer.
The title loss was the beginning of Jinder Mahal's downfall, who hasn't been able to re-enter the main event scene since then.
Suggested: Jinder Mahal & four other superstars Brock Lesnar reportedly refused to work with
Cesaro (Didn't want to fight Brock Lesnar)
One aspect of Lesnar's post-UFC run with WWE that has been criticized by fans is that he is not a full-time performer. Lesnar appears just before the big pay-per-views and Saudi Arabia shows.
Cesaro, who is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers, revealed that he did not want to face Lesnar because he is not a full-time performer:
“I have not done a singles with Brock Lesnar. It is definitely not my [ambition to face him] as I’d rather stand in the ring against someone who is with WWE the whole time.”
Hardcore Holly (Brock Lesnar Refused)
Hardcore Holly was a tough WWE Superstar who gave as good as he got, and his hardcore wrestling style would have meshed well with Brock Lesnar's. The Beast and Holly had a few matches, most notably at the Royal Rumble in 2004, where the former defended his title and won.
Brock Lesnar was unhappy at facing Holly again following their Rumble match, and refused to face him during WWE's tour of South Africa in 2004. Here's what Lesnar said about it in his book, Death Clutch:
"Now I have to travel all the way to South Africa to work with Bob Holly? Could anyone please tell me why? I knew no one would pay to see that match. Since I'm not really needed, give me some time off. I really needed the break by this time, but John Laurinaitis told me how much I'm needed on the card. AGAINST BOB HOLLY? Are you sh***ing me?" (H/T WhatCulture)
Lesnar refused to face him, but had to eventually accept that he had to wrestle Hardcore Holly in South Africa.
Mark Henry (Didn't want to fight Brock Lesnar)
If there is one superstar who could have gone toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar and posed a big threat to The Beast, it would be WWE Hall of Famer, Mark Henry. The World's Strongest Man was incredibly well built and could have been one of the few performers to pose a threat to Lesnar in a real fight.
But even Henry, who is now retired from in-ring competition, said that he would not want to face Brock Lesnar a few years ago. During an appearance at ESPY's, the Hall of Famer was asked which superstar he would not want to face, and he replied with this:
"One that I've actually fought, Brock Lesnar! He's big, he's strong, he's enduring and he's a little big deranged. You gotta be crazy to train like he trains and to accept getting hit in the face. He just embodies what a WWE Champion is." (H/T WrestlingInc)
Mark Henry and Brock Lesnar did not have a proper feud in WWE, but they had a brawl a few times back in 2014.
Matt Riddle (Brock Lesnar Refused)
Let's start off with the most recent one. Matt Riddle has been vocal about his desire to "retire" The Beast Incarnate from WWE over the last year or so.
Riddle had time and again stated publicly that he wanted to face Lesnar, but Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, did not take it lightly to Riddle's taunts and challenges. The former NXT Superstar was told that he will never ever get the chance to face The Beast in a WWE ring.
Riddle recently revealed that Paul Heyman and his "security guard" - referring to Brock Lesnar - told him this:
"Let's just say he came up to me with a security guard, not that he needed the security guard. He came up to me, put his arm around me and told me we were never going to work. So, I shouldn't mention his name or talk about him or anything like that. And I should not call him out on social media. And I said, 'Whatever you want, Bro.'
Riddle said that he was heartbroken that a match with Lesnar is not going to happen, but he hasn't given up hope on fighting Lesnar yet. The two men did fight inside the Elimination Chamber in 2022, where Lesnar easily eliminated Riddle with an F5.
Tazz (Didn't want to fight Brock Lesnar)
Like Hardcore Holly, Tazz was a tough competitor who made a name for himself in ECW before making the switch to WWE. After ending his in-ring career, Tazz became a commentator on WWE television.
It was during his stint as a commentator when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon asked Tazz if he would like to have a program with Lesnar. Tazz said that Vince McMahon came up to him before the show and proposed a match between him and Brock at Madison Square Garden. Tazz said at the time that he was too banged up and hence declined the opportunity to face The Beast Incarnate.
"So I walk over there in the corner with Vince, and he goes, ‘Listen. This is big. You ready?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah. I’m ready. What’s up?’ He goes, ‘You and Lesnar do something at the [Madison Square] Garden. I’d be great. You would come back, do a match at the Garden, we’ll plug it, push it.’ I go, ‘Vince. No thank you. I love Brock, I love you, and I love the company, but I can’t do it. I’m banged up, I got a lot of numbers to my body. I’m just, physically, I’d be too risky for me to do.’ He goes, ‘No, I know that. We’ll work around it, we’ll do business.’ [I told him], ‘Vince. I’m not what I was. I can’t go be what I was, and I don’t want to put myself at risk.’ (H/T WrestleZone)
Vince McMahon was fine with Tazz declining the offer to face The Beast but ribbed him about how terrible a businessman he was for not asking him how much he was willing to pay him for it.
Shane McMahon (Brock Lesnar refused)
Brock Lesnar has wrestled Vince McMahon as well as Stephanie McMahon (yeah, that did happen!), but The Beast has never faced Shane McMahon in the ring. But that could have reportedly happened if Lesnar had agreed to the match.
Goldberg, who returned to WWE in 2016, was set to have a match at Survivor Series against Lesnar, which is when his contract would have expired. Following this, Lesnar was reportedly set to face Shane McMahon next year at WrestleMania 33. But, according to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer (via Comic Book), Lesnar refused to face Shane and he "certainly didn't want to do" the match.
At WrestleMania 33, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg faced off again, this time with the Universal Championship on the line. Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens at Fastlane in 2017 to win the title and then defended it against Lesnar at WrestleMania. Lesnar won the title and held it for a year.
Shane McMahon, meanwhile, faced AJ Styles at WrestleMania 33.
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