“Important things stay important”-Daniel Mydlack
This quote was said in my History of Electronic Media class this very morning. With one of the biggest returns in wrestling history still running through my head, my professor uttered those very important words. Sure, he was talking about Sid Caesar and how he has been largely forgotten in Television history. But I couldn’t shake it. It just fits here. Important things stay important.
And what is Brock Lesnar, if not important? He is a freak of nature, and in my opinion one of the best to ever step into the ring. The guy is a beast, professional wrestling personified. Look at the list of accomplishments. Former three time WWE Champion. 2002 King of the Ring Winner. 2003 Royal Rumble Winner. He even racked up titles outside of the WWE. He became IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and then won the UFC Heavyweight Title in just his fourth Mixed Martial Arts bout. He became the UFC’s biggest star, and proved that the WWE knew what they were doing when they decided to push him to the moon.
Last night’s crowd in Miami was the best I have seen in years. They were on fire throughout the entire show, and absolutely lost their collective minds when the first beat of Lesnar’s music hit. There is no doubt that Brock Lesnar is important. But he means something different to me because of when I happened to fall in love with this wonderful buisness.
November 2002, this is when I watched my first full wrestling show. I’d seen it before, but only in glimpses because it happened to be on wherever I was. But Shawn Michaels and Triple H had cut an amazing promo that forever drew me in. So the next week I watched Raw. That led me to watching Smackdown, and eventually me picking up Survivor Series 2002 on VHS. Why am I telling you all of this? Because there was one guy in the WWE at the time who ran the whole show. Brock Lesnar. He was THE guy. He was the WWE Champion, and he was quickly turning from the Next Big Thing into the Big Thing.
When I first started to watch, I basically bought into whatever was being sold to me at the time. Fun fact, I thought Scott Steiner was really going to be the guy to take down Triple H. Okay, stop laughing! I was a kid and didn’t know any better! But that’s relevant because the main feud on Smackdown that month was the Big Show challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. Lesnar had just destroyed the Undertaker in the Hell in a Cell, but Show was out to take him down. I could describe the build to you, but I’d rather you just watch:
First of all, that is an amazing video package no matter what standards you put on it. But now, imagine watching that with the beliefs you had when you were a kid. When you watched these warriors battle and you truly believed the storylines were real. Imagine watching that, and then seeing Brock Lesnar do the unthinkable. Paul Heyman pleaded with Brock not to take this match because he couldn’t do the three things he would need to do to walk out WWE Champion. He couldn’t suplex the Big Show. But he did. He couldn’t F-5 the Big Show, but he did. And he couldn’t beat the Big Show. But…well Heyman made sure he didn’t get that done. But it was clear that Lesnar had the match won. From that moment on, I was a humongous Lesnar fan.
The first Wrestlemania Main Event I ever had the pleasure of watching was Brock Lesnar versus Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. The build to that match was near perfect, and I wanted nothing more than for Brock to beat Kurt. Which he did, in one hell of a wrestling match. And that’s the thing about Brock. He isn’t just a pure athletic freak. He can go. He is a fantastic worker, and he knows how to put on a good match. While his career was short, it was no doubt one of the most impactful runs any superstar has ever had in this buisness.
And then he left. Just like that. Now, I have a particularly interesting perspective on his final match. What was that you ask? Well, I had no idea he was leaving. For real, it came as a complete shock. Though I was already a hardcore fan, I just didn’t have a computer. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have known to check the dirt sheets to find anything out. So I was in complete shock when the crowd began to crap all over the match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. I remember JR finally adresses the rumors, and it all made sense. Still, I was in shock. Brock was gone.
He had such a huge impact on the landscape of the WWE, and watching Smackdown without the Next Big Thing just felt wrong. And that feeling would stay for quite a while. As Brock pursued his life long dream of playing in the NFL, the WWE needed to find a new guy to take the reigns. Someone had to step up, and fill the shoes that Brock left. That man happened to be John Cena. Once a Ruthless Agreesion Rookie turned Doctor of Thuganmoics, Cena was tasked with carrying the entire company on his back. And he was up to the challenge.
The two men before him had been given the ball and ran very far with it. But both of them left well before their careers had to be over. John Cena had sat and watched the company lose its two big stars, and understood how important it was for him to rise to the occasion. With the Rock and Brock gone, it was up to the duo of John Cena and Batista. And as over as the Animal was, he was signifcantly older than Cena. Eventually Batista would have to hang it up while Cena continued on without him.
The rest is history. It’s cliche, but its true. Cena took the ball and ran with it. Loud and proud. Even when the dark days of the Beniot Tradgedy befell the wrestilng world, John Cena was not afraid to step up and beat the company drum. For that, Cena has been rewarded. There is no need to go through his long history with the fans. The mixed reactions have become a part of him now, and that is just fine with Cena.
Last night, John Cena called out the man who defeated him at Wrestlemania 28. The guy who he swore wouldn’t beat him, but did. He waited for the Rock to come out so that he could congratulate him. But Cena didn’t get the Rock. Instead, he got the guy whose spot he took. The guy whose departure played a huge part in Cena’s rise. He got Brock Lesnar.
You could see it in his face, he knows whats in store for him. He’s used to it now. The biggest and the baddest gunning for him. But this time, it isn’t the Rock. It isn’t a man with the desire to become the greatest of all time. It is Brock. A man with the desire to rip Cena’s head off and prove that he was and still is the better man.
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure who I’ll be rooting for in this feud. I love Cena, but Brock being back is just too awesome for me not to be in his corner. If nothing else, it should make for a really exciting story going forward. The Rock may have done his best to break Cena verbally, but Lesnar will do his best to break Cena physically. But the biggest reason I’m excited about these two locking horns? Because it is important. Very important.
Brock Lesnar and John Cena are undoubtedly two of the most important superstars of the 21st century. But in 2012, they will meet in the ring. There is no telling what will happen, but I’m sure it will be fun to watch. And 10, 20, even 30 years down the line, Brock Lesnar’s return will be remembered for the massive moment that it was. Why? Because important things stay important.