Over the summer, the WWE subjected its Universe to a never-ending feud between CM Punk and Paul Heyman featuring the likes of Brock Lesnar, Curtis Axel and Ryback. At first, it was a feud fans were interested in because it had been highly anticipated for years and featured a star of the past (Lesnar) and a star of the present (Punk). What soon soured the program, however, was the sheer size difference between the two competitors. In a real fight, a man Punk’s size would never have stood a chance against Lesnar, let alone someone advertised in his return as a former MMA fighter and the ‘beast incarnate.’ In an era of the WWE when fans are constantly asked to juggle the scripted with the reality with the kayfabe, it became increasingly difficult for fans to accept that CM Punk could legitimately beat Brock Lesnar in anything other than a battle of wits.
At this weekend’s Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar will take on The Big Show in what was probably written as a matchup between Lesnar and someone hanging around who could actually matchup with him physically. There is no denying that it is entertaining to see Lesnar finally experience a physical comeuppance; the WWE is missing out on a great opportunity here.
Part of what made Lesnar’s re-debut program somewhat entertaining — other than the intrinsic value of a former star returning — was that it was against John Cena. The believable aspect is what made it compelling enough that most fans could get behind the idea that Cena stood a chance (Cena was a body builder, after all). What resulted was a pummeling the likes of which Cena had not seen since his Nexus days. Regardless of the fact that Cena ultimately won the match (the result of any single Cena non-title match is largely irrelevant and the topic of a future article), Lesnar proved himself that night to be the absolute top monster in the business.
So what happened next for Lesnar? He had a yawner of a feud with Triple H that featured a couple of ‘broken’ arms and the aforementioned Punk saga. Cena, Punk, Triple H and Big Show are clearly not in need of getting over with the fans, so it is obvious that Lesnar was brought back for ratings. However, while ratings have been steady for the most part over the course of the past two years, Lesnar’s appearances have not coincided with any spike in viewership or PPV buy-rate.
WWE would be wise to begin using Lesnar’s reputation as the central point of future storylines with younger talent. Watching Lesnar go toe-to-toe with wrestlers in and past their prime serves little purpose anymore. Meanwhile, the WWE has plenty of young, large stars that could use a feud with Lesnar to help them get over with the fans. The WWE would be much better off using Lesnar as a tool to get over the likes of Ryback, Big E. Langston, Sheamus or even Roman Reigns. If management is truly looking for a pop from fans and to establish the next true big man for the future, having someone like Reigns spear Lesnar across the ring would not only put him massively over with the fans, but it would also be believable from a physical point of view.
Brock Lesnar, despite the language being spouted by his talking head Paul Heyman, will not be winning any titles in the near future and would never be asked to carry the load on a weekly basis again. As such, the WWE would be wise to employ him in a similar fashion to Chris Jericho to help the future generation of monsters reach the levels he did in his career.