Why did Brock Lesnar return to WWE?
What caused Brock Lesnar to embark on his iconic second run with WWE?
In an industry stunted by scripted promos and 50-50 booking, one man stands at the top of the heap: Brock Lesnar. A throwback to the glory days of professional wrestling, the Beast Incarnate is WWE's biggest star and is set to remain at the top of the company's food chain for as long as he sees fit.
However, things haven't always been rosy between the two parties. In 2004, Lesnar had a messy split from the company that made him a household name, later citing his inability to cope with the travel schedule as the primary reason for his departure.
His release even contained a 10-year non-compete clause that prevented him from wrestling for other promotions or doing MMA. Needless to say, the South Dakota native took the issue to court, and he won a settlement which allowed him to pursue other ventures during his athletic prime.
Lesnar signed with the UFC in 2008 and made an instant impact, winning the Heavyweight Championship from the legendary Randy Couture in only his third fight with the promotion. He also successfully defended the title against Frank Mir in the main event of UFC 100, the company's biggest pay-per-view at the time, to avenge his first loss in MMA.
However, the Beast Incarnate was diagnosed with diverticulitis in 2009 and didn't return to the Octagon until UFC 116 on July 03, 2010. Even though he managed to mount a comeback and overcome Shane Carwin, it was evident that the illness had sapped away some of Lesnar's athleticism.
Clearly, a shell of his former self, the University of Minnesota product dropped the Heavyweight Championship to Cain Velasquez before suffering a crushing defeat in the last match of his run at the hands of Alistair Overeem. However, there was always one constant throughout Lesnar's UFC career: his box office appeal. Despite his 5-3 record overall, he was easily the biggest drawing card in MMA history — a distinction he held until the rise of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
Almost immediately after his fight against Alistair Overeem, Lesnar entered into negations with Vince McMahon regarding a potential return to WWE. Besotted with his former protege's newly-found star power, the WWE head honcho offered the Beast Incarnate a deal with limited dates and a large sum of guaranteed money, which was rumoured to be anywhere between 3 and 5 million dollars.
Since he was exempted from the rigorous demands of WWE's travel schedule, Lesnar signed with the world's largest promotion, making his return on the episode of Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania 28. The rest, as they say, is history.
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