When WWE discovered Brock Lesnar at the University of Minnesota, they knew that they had a superstar on their hands. The 6' 3", 265-pound powerhouse swept through the amateur competition, going 106-5 in his career and winning the 2000 NCAA National Title in the heavyweight division.
Lesnar is genuinely one of the most remarkable athletes to have graced the pro wrestling ring. With ridiculous strength, surprising quickness, and an uncanny vertical leap for a man his size, The Beast Incarnate checks all the boxes if you are trying to build the perfect grappler.
That's why Brock has been pushed and coddled all at the same time for most of his career. He was on the fast track to WWE as soon as he finished college, making his way out of Ohio Valley Wrestling in less than two years.
The downside of this trip to the top was Lesnar's attitude. He had not been a pro wrestling fan growing up and even looked down on it due to his status as an amateur or "real" wrestler.
They say money and success make people who they are. If that's the case, Brock Lesnar must have been a complicated person to be around then. He very publicly did whatever he wanted - when he wanted - and didn't care what else thought about it.
The bottom line is Brock Lesnar was really hard to like
After leaving for a while and proving his legitimacy in the octagon, he returned to WWE. Now, as a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and a man with a ton of options, he could have turned Vince McMahon upside down and shook the money out of his pockets.
And he did. So to speak.
For years, Brock Lesnar has been able to get paid every single nickel he wants to get paid, appear when he wants to appear, and do whatever he wants. It's rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way and, in many instances, wasn't the "best for business."
But in the last couple of years, we've seen a bit of a change in the former WWE World and Universal Champion. As he's gotten older, he seems to have mellowed out a bit. It's not just his character, but the fact that he's portraying a babyface onscreen. Even away from WWE - in public appearances and guest spots on talk shows - he looks like a guy who is starting to come to peace with life and his career.
For example, in his recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Lesnar let loose and was laughing and joking with McAfee and his co-hosts. He just seemed more relaxed than he's generally been in years past.
Even with WWE recently, he seems to have settled in as somewhat of a leader in the locker room when he's there and referred to Vince McMahon as a "father figure." That's something we would never have heard from the brooding, angry version of Brock.
This isn't to suggest that Lesnar has gone soft and will be going on a journey to Tibet to find himself. He's still the baddest man on any planet and could rip most human beings in half with merely his thoughts.
It just appears (for now) that Brock is finding a place in his life where he's matured, his kids are getting older, and he's thinking about what the next stage of his life will be. Like most great athletes, he's probably also thinking of the legacy he will be leaving behind.
For a long time, Brock Lesnar kept up a concrete facade to protect his character and spot within WWE. But now he knows he has nothing left to prove and is having more fun just being himself. At least that's what it looks like to an outside observer looking in.
Sure, next week, he might tear the arms off of an innocent bystander. But let's at least enjoy the calm for now.
Do you think Brock Lesnar's attitude has changed significantly since his earlier tenures in WWE? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.