What if Brock Lesnar hadn’t returned to WWE in 2012?
Wrestling fans are, in many ways, getting ready for life without Brock Lesnar, given the pervasive rumors he’ll be done with WWE for at least the time being after SummerSlam. It’s hard to imagine the last six years of WWE programming without him, and so it’s also interesting to think that just six and a half years ago, it seemed like a pipedream that Lesnar would ever work a match for WWE again.
Lesnar’s success in UFC and the poor terms under which he left WWE in 2004 made a huge deal when he did come back in 2012. Understandably, WWE booked him directly into high profile situations to make the most of his unique identity—pairing him off against John Cena, then Triple H, then CM Punk. From there, we’d enter the Suplex City, dominant monster era that saw lesser theatrics, more straightforward smashing, while Lesnar has as often as not held a world championship, despite his part-time status.
But what if Lesnar hadn’t come back in 2012 at all? His absence, perhaps more than that of any part-timer, would result in huge shifts in the WWE landscape. This article looks at five potential outcomes
#5 Lord Tensai Main Events
One of the biggest casualties of Brock Lesnar’s return was that monster push that had been underway for Lord Tensai. After a successful tour of Japan, Tensai returned—rebranded from his previous A-Train run, and was treated like an immediate threat to the top of the card.
Between WWE fans remembering from his less serious days, and the shadow of Lesnar as a real deal, undeniable monster returning at the same time, it was impossible for Tensai to get over. He settled back into the mid-card en route to a comedic face run teaming with Brodus Clay, before transitioning fully to his role as a trainer rather than an active wrestler.
Without Lesnar in the mix, WWE almost certainly would have had more patience and focus in getting Tensai over, and he would have stood a much better chance without the most credibly dominant big man in the business looming.