The Anti-Antagonist: A Year of Pain

Adam Gorzelsky

Brock LesnarIt’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the bevy of part-time superstars that continue to be relied upon to lift WWE during the pinnacle times of the wrestling year. I love nostalgia and I understand the drawing power of these individuals, but I stand firm with the notion that the remainder of the full-time roster is devalued when the hired guns are brought back as the focal point of the year’s biggest shows.

The Undertaker undoubtedly is an exception to this rule as the streak has become so engrained in the minds of wrestling fans that this side story has come to be expected and relied upon. Ultimately, the streak is so unique that it serves as a side-plot that in no way interferes with year-round booking. Furthermore, when the match involves a member of the full-time roster such as CM Punk, the rub felt from this classic encounter continues to reverberate throughout the year.

While my feelings about the Rock/Cena have been made abundantly clear in the past, the one situation that I have yet to address is the match-up between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. In this situation, two men who currently embody the definition of part-timers are being given the spotlight in what essentially is being termed as a third main event.

I can’t particularly say that I’m disappointed with the pairing itself, as the build-up has been logical and the match promises to be brutal and entertaining. In fact, I walked away from Raw this Monday more disappointed in the fact that WWE and Brock Lesnar have yet to come to terms on a deal that would feature Lesnar as a fixture of the roster for at least a year.

Maybe the asking price has been too high or maybe one or both sides has declined interest in such an arrangement…Whatever the case may be, the short bursts that we have seen from Lesnar have highlighted the disappointment associated with his failure to return for a full time second stint.

Lesnar/Cena was a match of the year candidate and while his first bout with Triple H might not have risen to that level, it was not inadequate by any stretch of the imagination. His level of intensity has been unmatched during all of his appearances, providing a sense of believable fear emanating from any individual who unfortunately crosses his wake. He’s a legitimate monster…plain and simple…And this past year has accomplished the impressive task of conveying this real life personification in a fictional setting.

WWE needs this…More than any other time in recent memory, WWE needs him. There is no question that star-power is lacking in general and with a Wrestlemania featuring a top of the card stacked with part-timers, the serious threat of a major post-Wrestlemania hang-over looms large.

While I understand that Lesnar will be available to play some sort of role in the big picture, I can’t shake the feeling that he’s not a part of this roster. While referenced from time to time, his sporadic appearances make it nearly impossible to see him as part of the storyline fabric…Instead, I see him as nothing more than a revenue producing hired gun.

At the moment, the combination of Lesnar’s ferocity and mainstream appeal make him one of the most effective options to generate momentum on a consistent basis. With his current career avenues at a minimum and with limited alternatives on the horizon from WWE’s perspective, a full-time relationship should be a match made in heaven. From the standpoint of both parties, such a deal should get done.

Nevertheless, I understand the realities of the business and recognize that such an arrangement simply may be out of the realm of possibilities for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, this harsh reality may prove to be one of my biggest disappointments in the professional wrestling department.

Full-time Lesnar is a game-changer.

Part-time Lesnar is a distraction…Not a distraction in terms of revenue, as PPV buy-rates have reflected his worth in that regard…But a distraction in terms of forcing us to recognize a glaring example of unfulfilled potential.

While I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Lesnar in his limited appearances, I’m near the point of apathy if this continues to be the formula. A year of full-time pain is all I ask.

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