From UFC to WWE: Booking Brock Lesnar

Chris Bragg April 16, 2012 Comments Off on From UFC to WWE: Booking Brock Lesnar

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It all started a few days before WrestleMania XXVIII, when rumors started swirling that Brock Lesnar was in serious negotiations to return to the WWE, possibly as soon as the pay-per-view itself.  Fans began to talk, and fantasy booking scenarios ranging from the likely and logical to the insane started to make the rounds among the internet’s most passionate fans…

…Wait.  It actually all started on December 30, 2011, immediately after Brock Lesnar was defeated by Alistair Overeem at UFC 141.  Lesnar announced he was retiring and would no longer be competing in the UFC.  Ideas that he would be wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVIII began to take shape, as the IWC commenced to fantasy booking how they felt the build should go…

…No, that’s not right either.  It really all started on October 24, 2011, the day after UFC 121, where Lesnar lost his UFC Heavyweight Championship to Cain Velasquez.  Video surfaced of an “altercation” between the dismayed Lesnar (as he walked back toward the locker room area) and The Undertaker, who was being interviewed at that very moment by Ariel Helwani

…Well, in reality, it all started the day that Brock was cut by the Minnesota Vikings in 2004, just before the regular season…

…Oh forget it.  I think you get the point.

Speculation about Brock’s return to the WWE has been thrown about since his infamous final match against Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania XX.  Many fans are surprised it took him this long to come back, doubting every step of the way that he would/could be successful at his other endeavors.  But he WAS successful, especially given his lack of experience in football, and the relative quick assertion into the UFC Heavyweight Title mix.

“The Next Big Thing” became just that in the world of MMA, and quickly solidified himself as the UFC’s top draw on pay-per-view.  Unfortunately for himself and the sport, Lesnar’s two bouts with diverticulitis ultimately led to his retirement.

As quickly as his rise to the top of MMA was, it seems that his exit was just as abrupt.  And that brings us to last Monday night, the Post-WrestleMania edition of RAW.

When Lesnar didn’t make his return the night before, most fans (including the vocal majority in attendance) were expecting him to appear at RAW.  As John Cena attempted to call out The Rock, Brock’s music hit, and the crowd erupted.  One emphatic F-5 later, and the years of anticipation were satisfied.  Brock Lesnar was back, and his first target was going to be the company’s golden boy.

There are many ways the WWE could book his (expected) year-long run, during which he’s allegedly earning $5,000,000 for 30-40 dates.  Early indication is that Vince McMahon and company are looking to build toward a WrestleMania XXIX Main Event of Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock for the WWE Title.  While that would be a worthy main event, and would undoubtedly rock MetLife Stadium, I don’t like that idea.

Similar to the argument this past year concerning the build to Rock/Cena, a Rock/Brock match does not need the WWE Title associated with it.  The match would sell itself as it is.  Furthermore, unless these two are willing to commit to at least a semi-regular schedule following the event, the WWE should really spread their star power around to help build other major matches on the show.

For what it’s worth, I present my preferred scenario for Brock Lesnar, leading to next year’s WrestleMania XXIX.

To begin, I will say that I like Lesnar’s first program being with Cena.  I wanted him to cost Cena the match against Rocky, but I understand why they held out until Monday night.  I also love the altercation these two had this past Monday Night.  The huge pull apart, Cena’s bloody mouth, the mid-show promo, and the run-in to end the show (including the low blow) were all very well done.

Until Extreme Rules, Cena and Brock should be kept apart.  Whether this is done via the good old “touch each other and get yourselves suspended/fired” rule (not my favorite plot device in the world but, for two weeks, it should be fine), or by means of convenience (I assume Brock will not be traveling overseas and participating in the London RAW this week, so there’s half the battle already won).

The match at Extreme Rules is rumored to be in a cage, and that would be prefect.  The two superstars will have no problems beating the Hell out of each other for 20-30 minutes.  The story told should see Cena using his quickness and pro wrestling experience to gain the early advantage (remember, Lesnar hasn’t wrestled in 8 years according to the WWE) until Lesnar finally catches him and commences to ground and pound him into defeat.  Maybe the former UFC Champion uses an MMA type choke to finish Cena (perhaps we get a similar scene to Steve Austin passing out rather than submitting).

This will serve two purposes.  One, it further establishes Brock Lesnar as an absolute monster, a hybrid, and someone that will not be beaten with a standard pro wrestling repertoire.  Two, it’s a perfect time to write Cena off for a while (Don’t worry kiddies, we’ll come back to him later in the year).

With Extreme Rules off the calendar, GM John Laurinaitis (who was revealed this past Monday to be the triggerman for Brock’s return) uses his new enforcer to punish the latest “insubordinate” superstar, Sheamus.

Sheamus will have beaten Daniel Bryan at Extreme Rules to retain the World Heavyweight Title, but Brock will end up costing his that title (most likely toBryan) at May’s Over the Limit.  This will lead to the Sheamus/Lesnar showdown at June’s No Way Out PPV, where Sheamus suffers defeat (but nowhere near the level Cena did).

Now that Brock has disposed of Cena and Sheamus, Laurinaitis turns his attention on ridding himself of his biggest nemesis, CM Punk.

Punk, however, is a bit more cerebral, avoiding contact and physical interaction with Lesnar until they meet at Money in the Bank in July.  Punk is able to use his “MMA Influenced” offence to put up a good fight, even scoring a near fall or two, before finally succumbing to the more destructive Lesnar.

Now he’s the WWE Champion, and that brings back the man who vowed to be that once again, The Rock.  10 years in the making, Rock/Brock II would be perfect for Las Angeles and SummerSlam.  The build would consist mostly of promos, as conflicting schedules would keep both men apart, possibly alternating RAW appearances.

The match itself would go as you’d expect it to, until a returning John Cena shocks Lesnar to give Rock the surprise victory and the WWE Title.

Cena returns with a renewed intensity, as well as an updated move set specifically utilized to better match the hybrid Lesnar.

Their battle at Night of Champions in September gets out of control and ends in a No-Contest, leading to the Main Event at Hell in a Cell in October (finally, a Cell match that is not forced, and a feud that warrants the stipulation).

After an epic war, they could go a couple of ways.  Either Lesnar defeats Cena, then they do the mutual respect end to their feud.  Lesnar puts him over as the face of the WWE, says he’s one tough SOB, etc…

Or, the match ends in some sort of controversy that will precipitate ONE MORE MATCH (credit: Christian) at Survivor Series in November.  This time, it’s Last Man Standing or No Holds Barred.

But the story of this match starts the night after Hell in a Cell, on RAW, where Brock completely dismisses Cena, and says he’s accomplished almost everything he’s set out to do since his return, except rid the WWE Universe of The Undertaker once and for all.

Now, depending on how Hell in a Cell ends, Lesnar goes on to Survivor Series to face either Cena or The Rock.  Regardless the opponent, after weeks of call-out, Undertaker’s Gong makes a return, distracting Brock enough to give his opponent the victory (and feud win).

Lead up to TLC in December sees Brock continuously beg for Taker to face him.  The December pay-per-view features an altercation between the two, just enough to whet the appetite.  The next night on RAW, Brock challenges The Undertaker for WrestleMania, and the WWE can start the long-term build that they are itching to do (that’s a good thing).

Weeks of frustration can build to a point where Lesnar arrives at the Royal Rumble PPV looking for Lesnar the entire night.  After no luck, Brock interrupts the Rumble itself, eliminating the mid-card filler, and putting a halt to the match until the lights go out, and Taker appears.  They battle to the back, reminiscent of the Attitude Era, and Lesnar gets the best of him, then gets in his car and drives away (“I’ll see you at WrestleMania, Deadman!”).

The Road to WrestleMania will feature mind games from both sides, and the Elimination Chamber can see another impromptu fight, this time with Taker doing the call out, while Lesnar plays the elusive (maybe even a little chickensh*t) heel.

The Streak is once again on the line at WrestleMania XXIX, and Taker’s toughest test to date is Brock Lesnar.  I am of the opinion The Undertaker’s Streak should never be broken, so he is able to overcome the monster, and ends Lesnar’s run with the WWE.

These two have plenty of backstory to play on, and I feel that this route would create a mighty buzz.  Combine this match with the possibility of HBK/HHH, Punk/Austin, Bryan/Barrett, and Rock/Cena II (yes, this card is a wet dream, but all these matches are plausible with the above year long scenario), and there is no way the WWE could screw up a record buyrate for this event.

Throw in Paul Heyman at anytime throughout the year, and the promo work would improve tenfold.

Looking back at how my booking unfolds, Lesnar starts out strong, and remains so throughout the year, thus leading to the HUGE finale at WrestleMania.  However, he is not booked so strong that his opponents suffer in the aftermath, and will generally look better as a result.

So, what do you think?  I hope that I didn’t delve too far into the Jesse Baker realm of storytelling (whom I actually enjoy reading), and that my ideas are understandable and make sense.

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