Why Brock Lesnar's absence is not a bad thing for the WWE
Brock Lesnar is arguably the WWE's biggest star right now. The man who conquered The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania - incase Paul Heyman hasn't told you enough already - is the current Universal Champion, though his regular absences from the company make Raw a frustrating show to watch at times.
To anyone outside the hardcore wrestling fanbase, it's confusing when trying to understand why the company's top champion does not appear on their flagship show on a weekly basis, though that doesn't stop Lesnar from picking up his quick and significant paychecks at the big four pay-per-views every quarter. One can argue that keeping Lesnar off TV makes his returns more special, appreciated if you will, whilst his next opponent is elevated in that spot.
However, it's hard to ignore the copy-and-paste formula for Brock's matches over the past year - with the exception of Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire and AJ Styles at Survivor Series.
The "beatdown, suplex, suplex, F5: repeat" cycle can only continue for so long and the rumour mill has been running rampant about just when Lesnar will inevitably leave the WWE and make his UFC return. Originally set for WrestleMania 34, according to Dave Meltzer, Lesnar surprisingly retained his Universal Championship in a snoozer of a main event.
Lesnar's absence provides opportunity elsewhere
It's matches like these which turn the hardcore members within the WWE Universe off from hoping to see Lesnar return, though his absence does have some perks for Raw and company product as a whole.
Lesnar's absence has made for both good and bad moments on Raw and recent pay-per-view events. The aforementioned Lesnar vs Joe match at Great Balls of Fire would never have felt as important, had Samoa Joe not earned his #1 contender spot in a five-way match during the Extreme Rules main event last year.
Seth Rollins wouldn't have been in the Raw spotlight as Intercontinental Champion for the better part of three months, if Lesnar was present during this spell. Rollins has managed to justify his worth on the Raw brand as THE guy (sorry, Roman) and has put on show stealing matches and main events at a high level with Elias, current champion Dolph Ziggler and even Jinder Mahal, proving himself as the true workhorse of the brand.
While Roman Reigns has struggled continuously to get over, partially due to the excessive losing efforts against Lesnar, he's still been allowed to have a flexible role on the Raw brand, wrestling in mid-card feuds against Jinder Mahal and top-tier encounters with Samoa Joe and Bobby Lashley.
Lesnar's absence has also given way to Braun Strowman's rise to stardom. The winner of the Greatest Royal Rumble and current Mr. Money (or Monster) in the Bank has endeared himself to the WWE Universe, taking names all along the way. Strowman has proved himself to be the top babyface ass-kicker that WWE wants Reigns to be, along with showing that he's a man of humour in a feud with Elias and in interviews outside of the ring.
Appreciation on SmackDown too and Brock's future
Even if you aren't a fan of Raw, Lesnar's absence has allowed the WWE Universe to recognise the importance of the WWE Championship on Smackdown, especially with AJ Styles as champion. Smackdown Live has been a better product than Raw on occasion, with a plethora of top-tier superstars and dream matches waiting to happen. We've seen the return of Daniel Bryan, a Shinsuke Nakamura heel turn that's rejuvenated the Kyoto-bred superstar, and new talent ready to leave their mark on the blue brand such as Sanity and Andrade "Cien" Almas.
Whether you like it or not, the future of Brock Lesnar's 450+ day reign as Universal Champion is uncertain. Will we see him drop the belt at SummerSlam? May he just leave as champion abruptly? Either way, Lesnar isn't missed in the WWE landscape and his departure will only lead to new stars paving their way in the company.