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Is Brock Lesnar the hero WWE needs?

Johny Payne
SENIOR ANALYST
Editor's Pick
2.17K   //    21 Dec 2017, 23:31 IST

Brock Lesnar serves as a silent protector for WWE and the professional wrestling business today
Brock Lesnar serves as a silent protector for WWE and the professional wrestling business today

Since April of 2012, Brock Lesnar has been public enemy number 1 in the eyes of the hardcore pro-wrestling fans.

The aforementioned thought isn’t hyperbole, and in fact has resonated all this time with the vast majority of the WWE Universe, ever since Lesnar returned to the WWE back in ‘12.

‘Oh, he’s a part-timer’, ‘Lesnar can’t wrestle’ (sic), and several other gems of knowledge, courtesy the passionate and ever-divided modern-day sports-entertainment fan-base, may paint a rather disconcerting picture of the industry’s most intimidating Superstar.

Regardless, in an era of acrobatics galore on the indies, and the ongoing war of ideologies in pro-wrestling—one where most people of differing views and business methods get way too emotional and personal against someone whom they may disagree with as to the how and why of wrestling—Lesnar remains a stubborn, ironically unintentional salvager of the old school values which form the very foundation of this industry.

To paraphrase a popular Batman one-liner…’The Dark Knight’ if you will—

Brock Lesnar is the hero WWE deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

Since The Rock heading to Hollywood full-time, and Steve Austin retiring due to injuries, the WWE had the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista serve as the biggest attractions on its shows, before the CM Punks and Daniel Bryans of the world briefly took reigns of the company. And although Punk and Bryan were hailed by the hardcore fans as heroes, the casual professional wrestling viewer longed for the likes of Cena and Batista—the latter who had departed from the promotion, barring a brief stint in 2014—to once again be ‘The Face That Runs The Place’.

Professional wrestling is just as subservient to entertainment, as it is appurtenant to the in-ring performances.

The WWE—promoted by genius businessman Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon as a sports-entertainment company rather than a pro-wrestling organisation—further drives home the fact that the entertainment aspect in WWE is just as essential if not more, than the sporting contest.

Brock Lesnar’s WWE comeback has lasted about 5 years now, and been witness to performers such as Punk and Bryan fade away, while a new wave of indie heroes and WWE originals continue to proudly wave the ‘E flag the world over.

Lesnar represents both ends of the sports/entertainment spectrum—wrestling skills and a mythical persona—converging in a strange mosaic, which has helped the WWE lure back a certain section of casual fans who turned off their TV sets upon watching smaller, less-believable wrestlers destroying and beating guys like Batista, Randy Orton and Triple H ‘clean’.

Brock Lesnar’s segment during an edition of the longest-running weekly episodic TV show, Monday Night RAW, receive considerably more viewership than that an average Superstar would garner.

The viewership for THIS episode peaked at 3.52 million during the Beast Incarnate’s segment on the show, and later tapered off toward the end. HERE’s another instance of how well Lesnar draws for WWE even when RAW is up against one of the most formidable sports-entertainment entities in the world—the NFL.

The numbers don’t lie…

Irrespective of whatever propaganda a run-of-the-mill pro-wrestling ‘expert’ may spout so as to appease the hordes of hardcore fans, Lesnar is the saviour sports-entertainment never quite acknowledges. In fact, he’s been so ever since returning to the WWE following two bouts of diverticulitis and a couple of losses inside the UFC’s famed Octagon.

Speaking of the eight-sided cage—the proving ground for modern-day gladiators—Lesnar made a triumphant return to the UFC, besting legendary knockout artist Mark Hunt last year... albeit getting his win overturned owing to an alleged drug test failure which is being attributed to asthma medication The Beast was administered around the time of the test.

Lesnar is a legitimate badass and left no doubt about it by stepping right into the scariest weight class in all of combat sports, and dominating one of the most-feared strikers of all time in ‘Hunto’, all while returning after a lengthy MMA hiatus.

Legitimate… a funny term, which seems to be lacking in today’s flip-flopping pro-wrestling scene, where anyone with a modicum of resemblance to Hulk Hogan or Kevin Nash, is viciously accused of committing the sin of ‘getting by’ or dare I say, ‘phone it in’, on the basis of their physical appearance.

In simple terms, a greater section of today’s pro-wrestling fans demand that the performers ought to look no different than the audience, and larger-than-life personalities and characters be prejudged as bad workers, unworthy of ‘5 10-star matches’.

Now, Lesnar never appears to be anything close to an average person, does he? Nor does the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Universal Champion care about excessive flip-flopping or unnecessary acrobatics inside the squared circle. By no means does that imply he isn’t capable or athletic enough to do so!

The only man in history to win the WWE and UFC Heavyweight Championships, Lesnar stands for everything today’s ‘smart mark’ claims to hate, yet his ‘haters’ tune in to watch his performances so they can later type a hate-filled 10,000 word essay on the interwebs, reprimanding him for stealing golden opportunities from their beloved indie darlings -- the horror of a proven box office draw and global Superstar hogging the spotlight over relatively unproven, average-looking, good ‘workers’.

A piece of advice to such fans—before lashing out in a strongly-worded novella on the internet, step back and assess the bigger picture. Without seemingly superhuman stars such as Lesnar, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns, there would be no global audience who’d care to tune into RAW and SmackDown Live every week.

Pro-wrestling on such a grand scale exists, not because the casual fan wants to watch an amateur wrestling athletic contest or a gymnastics session, but rather owing to the allure a top promotion like the WWE has courtesy entertainers and Brobdingnagian personas such as our Universal Champion.

Let’s face it, the WWE is a huge entity, and would probably carry on without Lesnar; especially considering how ‘OVER’ fellow behemoths such as Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe and the athletic specimen Roman Reigns are today. Nevertheless, Lesnar pops up every now and then—much to the delight of the casual sports-entertainment fan, and chagrin of a few You-Know-Who.

Brock Lesnar may be hated by most ‘hardcores’ now, but his reign will most definitely age well…Brock Lesnar is the hero the WWE Universe deserves, but doesn’t need right now.

Look forward to the smart marks complaining about Lesnar successfully rolling over competition well after the 2018 Royal Rumble. As for the Beast’s haters and fans who despise gigantic characters, please do not Google the word Brobdingnagian.           

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Johny Payne
SENIOR ANALYST
Martial artist and combat Lover from Goa, India. Can be reached at johnypayne121@gmail.com
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