Why Brock Lesnar will retain his WWE Universal Title at SummerSlam 2017
Not since the match against Goldberg at Survivor Series last year has Brock Lesnar even looked remotely vulnerable heading into a contest. Even then, no one actually expected Goldberg to mow him down in the fashion that he did.
Barring a shock result, then, everyone who knows anything about Brock Lesnar or the way the WWE books him, knows that he's the favourite heading into any match. Period.
He shows up, checks his unsuspecting opponents directly into Suplex City, defends his WWE Universal Title and leaves, only to be seen again when the next important pay-per-view swings around.
But for the first time ever since he broke the Undertaker's WrestleMania streak, none of the bullishness you'd originally expect to associate with a Brock Lesnar match applies to SummerSlam. At SummerSlam, he's up against not one, but three other legitimate opponents all of whom can shut his lights out and strip him of his Championship in the blink of an eye.
One thunderous spear, one deep-sunk chokehold or one capsized ambulance is really all it takes.
Factor in that Lesnar himself doesn't need to be pinned to lose the match or the looming prospect of a money-spinning super fight in the UFC against Jon 'Bones' Jones, and the odds that the "Beast Incarnate" walks out of Barclays Center 20-odd pounds lighter shoot up considerably.
In a nutshell, if you are a betting man, this would be as good a time as any to bet against Brock Lesnar. Not to mention, even Paul Heyman -- whose rhetoric is generally confident to the point of being dismissive -- sounds genuinely worried.
There's talk of Lesnar leaving WWE should he relinquish the Universal Title at SummerSlam and accusations -- that sound alarmingly like excuses -- hurled at the company for unfairly stacking the deck against him.
For a man who prides himself on doling out spoilers instead of predictions, the mouthpiece of Brock Lesnar has been making all the wrong noises in the lead-up to SummerSlam. And if you'd care to listen to him carefully, you may note a quiver of worry in his voice... a dash of uncertainty in his tone.
For the first time ever, the WWE has baited and reeled you in with the idea that Brock Lesnar cannot get the job done.
Like Muhammad Ali suckered in George Foreman with his rope-a-dope tactics, you've got a stiff one-two headed your way if you actually believe them.
Make no mistake, Brock Lesnar is walking into WWE SummerSlam as the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion, and he's walking out with every one of those descriptions intact.
Despite all of the hoopla surrounding Samoa Joe - the man who is unafraid of the Beast - the enigma that is Roman Reigns -- Vinny Mac's handpicked golden boy -- or the devastating Braun Strowman, there isn't a shred of concrete evidence to otherwise suggest that Brock Lesnar will actually lose his Universal Title at the mega event.
Yes, all of his opponents look like solid and tenable potential Champions, but it just wouldn't make sense for any of them to nick the Title off him amidst the muddle of a Fatal 4-way match.
If the one in 21-1 is to give an almighty rub to another Superstar, if the once-in-a-lifetime athlete is to stare at the lights for his spiritual replacement, if the hitherto unconquerable beast is to be finally slain then it had better be in one-on-one competition. And it had better be at the grandest stage of them all.
As you'd have guessed by know, that pretty much rules out WWE SummerSlam. And the person who's going to do it sure as hell isn't Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman either.
Ever since the ending to WrestleMania 31 was punctuated by Seth Rollins tearing down the ramp, Money in the Bank briefcase in hand, a sense of inevitability has surrounded the fact that Roman Reigns will eventually pick up where he left off and finish off what he started.
And if rumours year long are to be believed, WrestleMania 34 is when his journey to the top of the food chain in the WWE will culminate once again at the lair of the Beast.
Apparently, Vince is so adamant that there is no better way to book the demise of Brock Lesnar that even speculating he may prematurely lose the Universal Title at SummerSlam is a futile exercise.
In fact, the WWE has already mapped out their champion's road all the way to WrestleMania, which likely includes a ring-bursting pit stop at No Mercy against Braun Strowman and, possibly, an ethereal encounter against Bray Wyatt at a later date.
And as tempting as it may be for the WWE to tease that any one among Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe or Roman Reigns could realistically relieve Brock Lesnar of the Universal Title at SummerSlam itself, why pull the trigger now when the payoff will be that much more pronounced and deliberate if they just hold off till WrestleMania 34?
So while we wait for April 8th, let us take a moment to appreciate WWE Creative for putting in an inordinate amount of thought -- well, compared to their usual standards at least -- in booking the three challengers to the Universal Title as legitimate and believable threats to Brock Lesnar's throne.
It's been a while since a story in the WWE has been so convincingly told.